Saturday, August 31, 2013

Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding the Middle East

Late breaking news informs us that our esteemed Leader will "consult" with Congress when it reconvenes after the holiday weekend on how to proceed against Syria over that nation's alleged use of chemical weapons within its own borders.

"The chart is a spin-off of the most amazing letter to the editor ever written, which appeared in Thursday's Financial Times. It also explained the entire Middle East, in a few short sentences. Here they are:

Sir, Iran is backing Assad. Gulf states are against Assad!

Assad is against Muslim Brotherhood. Muslim Brotherhood and Obama are against General Sisi.

But Gulf states are pro-Sisi! Which means they are against Muslim Brotherhood!

Iran is pro-Hamas, but Hamas is backing Muslim Brotherhood!

Obama is backing Muslim Brotherhood, yet Hamas is against the U.S.!

Gulf states are pro-U.S. But Turkey is with Gulf states against Assad; yet Turkey is pro-Muslim Brotherhood against General Sisi. And General Sisi is being backed by the Gulf states!

Welcome to the Middle East and have a nice day.

KN Al-Sabah,
London EC4, U.K."
click on chart to enlarge

Miscellany And Errata

Because sometimes, you just gotta say, "What the fuck," right? Right?


First, and irrelevant to most Gentle Readers, so please excuse the deferral of today's parade of trivia:

WIFWA is now open for business.

I must express my great gratitude and tremendous appreciation for the efforts of WIFWA's Webmaster, Steve Sumner -- Don't laugh; he's a real person, not the fictional politician from Shadow Of A Sword, and yes, the coincidence is almost too great to be true, but really! -- who took it upon himself to create and configure the WIFWA site, entirely as a labor of love.

Indie fiction writers, your hour is upon you. It's time to put your best foot forward -- and WIFWA is here to tell the world that you're good enough. Don't waste this opportunity!


"Blurred Lines?" "Rainbow parties?" "Hannah Montana" twerking?

Dear God in heaven. I must be getting really old.


Syria? The news is entirely about Syria? All the talking heads are obsessing about whether or not it would be wise to strike Syria? We must bomb Syria because Syria is bombing Syria??

Yo, assholes. Allow me to clue all of you in: It wouldn't be wise. It would be moronic. It would be counterproductive to the interests of the United States of America.

That doesn't mean Barack Obama will restrain himself, of course.

Some commentators have advanced the thesis that our Maximum Leader is "unserious," and have offered Obama's vacillations over the Syrian civil war as evidence to that effect. I must disagree, at least in part. Obama is perfectly serious -- about Obama. He's sensed that his waffling on this subject has made plain his lack of leadership qualities, most important among them the resolve to follow through on a commitment. The chiefs of state who've declined to help him are snickering at him in private, and he knows it. If there's anything that stirs him to fury, it's being mocked -- or, as his Chicago homies would put it, "dissed."

Granted, most of us wouldn't launch the B-52s over such a slight. But most of us aren't figments of the imagination of a political machine, raised to the heights of power with no preparation in serious statecraft. Most of us aren't painfully aware of our complete personal hollowness and acutely sensitive to any infringement upon our unearned self-esteem. Most of us, in other words, aren't Barack Hussein Obama.


In connection with the above, there's a lot of talk about whether Obama can strike Syria -- i.e., take the United States to war -- exclusively on his own authority.

No, he can't. The Constitution does not give the president the power to take the country to war. As Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, the president can deploy them to defend the United States or its extraterritorial possessions against ongoing or imminent attack -- and that's all. For a hostile act against a nation which has neither struck nor threatened the U.S., he requires Congressional authorization. This is in the Constitution by implication, and made explicit by the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

Two wars -- Korea and Vietnam -- made plain the importance of that constraint. Harry S. Truman took the U.S. to war on the Korean peninsula without Congressional authorization. Lyndon B. Johnson deceived Congress into allowing him to escalate America's participation in the Vietnam War, on the strength of the fraudulently obtained Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. America continues to suffer the consequences of those actions to this day.

Yes, the Constitution's reservation of the warmaking power to Congress has been violated several times. Yes, some of the presidents who've done so are well liked by the historians and generally approved by the American people. The consequences of such a violation of the Supreme Law of the Land don't care about anyone's opinion:

    “Why are you so...fixated on the Constitution, Mr. Sumner? Isn’t it a little bit naive to think a document two centuries old contains all the answers to the problems of a complex modern society?”
    “Have you read it, Miss Weatherly?” Sumner’s voice remained mild.
    “Not lately, no.”
    “Then you might have forgotten that it’s the supreme law of the land. All other law and all government action must conform to it. If it needs to be revised or expanded, it contains provisions for that.”
    “A lot of people would say,” Weatherly cooed, “that we’ve done that, only informally.”     Sumner pursed his lips and glanced down at his shoes. For a moment, Weatherly thought she might finally have scored against his infuriating self-assurance.
    “Miss Weatherly,” he said with a note of regret, “I’m a lawyer. I was raised by a lawyer. He taught me to think of the law as our most precious possession. One of the questions he repeatedly insisted that I ponder was ‘What is the law?’ Not ‘What would I like the law to be,’ but ‘What is it really, and how do I know that’s what it is?’
    “My profession, sadly, has made a practice of twisting the law to its own ends. There aren’t many lawyers left who really care what the law is, as long as they can get the results they want, when they want them. So they play the angles, and collaborate with judges who think they’re black-robed gods, and generally do whatever they can get away with to get what they want, without a moment’s regard for what it does to the knowability of the law.
    “I care. I want to know what the law is, what it permits, requires, and forbids. I want my clients to know. And the only way to reach that result is to insist that the words of the law have exact meanings, not arbitrary, impermanent interpretations that can be changed by some supercilious cretin who thinks he can prescribe and proscribe for the rest of us.
    “The Constitution is the supreme law, the foundation for all other law. If it doesn’t mean exactly what its text says—the public meanings of the words as ordinary people understand them—then no one can possibly know what it means. But if no one can know what the Constitution means, then no one can know whether any other law conforms to it. At that point, all that matters is the will of whoever’s in power. And that’s an exact definition of tyranny."

[From Shadow Of A Sword]

Either that matters to you or it doesn't. If the latter, move very slowly around me and keep your hands where I can see them.


But soft! What real crisis through yonder window peeks?

Hilarity ensued Monday after @Andria_XX complained that social-media criticism of Miley Cyrus included “bodyshaming/slutshaming” and “heteropatriarchal crap.” Readers will recall that Andria has an “Honors BA in Social Justice and Peace Studies” and is pursuing a Master’s degree in Gender Studies. So . . . how’s that going?

For the answer, read Tweet #1 and Tweet #2.

As we Certified Galactic Intellects have been known to say, ignorance can be cured, but stupid is forever -- and no creature that fits into any recognized taxonomic category is as deeply or as irretrievably stupid as a female American "peace studies / social justice" major in her twenties. Still, perhaps all is not lost for this poor soul. There's probably a federal program to provide minders for such persons, lest they foul up traffic by standing naked in the middle of Grand Concourse to protest the insidious wiles of the Evil Dead White European Male Capitalist Heteronormative Patriarchy and get hit by a bus. Also, I understand the "sex worker" industry is still hiring, but perhaps Our Heroine should hold that possibility in reserve.


I'm afraid that will be all for today, Gentle Reader. This fine Saturday has presented me with an agenda that would make a lifelong teetotaler take up blackout drinking. But do please enjoy your Labor Day weekend. Word on the street is that it's about to be bumped off the calendar by an Islamic holiday. And with that, it's off to the toolshed.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Are They Syrious Part 2: The Crucial Variance

Quite a few correspondents have brayed nonsense at me for the previous essay. That's normal here at Liberty's Torch; certain...persons have made it their avocation, at the very least, to heap abuse on our commentators, myself especially, in the hope of silencing us. No, it doesn't work. But such individuals are hardly the quickest learners of our species.

Today's exercise in seeing the obvious -- remember what that word really means? -- concerns the observable divergence between the attitudes of sitting executives and legislators and those of private citizens when there arises a temptation to take the nation to war. It's a gap whose explanation has become imperative.


"Nations will go to war whenever there is a prospect of getting anything by it." -- John Jay

War, like other human activities, is conducted for a purpose. The purpose of a war -- any war -- is to impose the dictates of the government of one nation upon the government and people of another nation. The identities of the governments involved are utterly irrelevant.

Private citizens tend to grasp this at once, even if it must be articulated to them and for them. Politicians, supposedly more knowledgeable and insightful about the decisions of governments than are we groundlings, tend to bridle at the suggestion. They'll "yes, but" it to death: qualify it, talk around it, and in some cases dismiss it entirely. The reason was encapsulated perfectly by early 20th Century peace activist Randolph Bourne:

"War is the health of the state."

A war -- any war -- magnifies:

  • The importance of political maneuverings;
  • The government's control over economic intercourse, both domestic and international;
  • The subordination of private decisions to the decisions of the government.

Thus, whatever "objective" or "humanitarian" reasons a politician might advance for entering some war, he has at least three more than those of which he's willing to speak.

Let that sink in for a moment while I put up another pot of coffee.


"He Kept Us Out Of War" -- Woodrow Wilson's 1916 re-election campaign slogan.
"Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The "prospect of getting anything by it" of which John Jay spoke was externally focused. But then, Jay was a politician, one of the three principal authors of the pro-strong-centralized-government Federalist Papers. He went on from the Founding to pursue (unsuccessfully) the governorship of New York, and eventually became the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was unlikely to state explicitly what every politician and aspirant to high office has known since the birth of the nation-state.

Many a nation has heard its rulers pound the war drums for reasons of the rulers' own. Indeed, in modern history, the overwhelmingly most frequent and most imperative reason for warfare has been to distract the subjects of a nation from their domestic troubles. That the distraction will be accompanied by the expansion of state power and control is not lost on those who promote war so avidly. With the sole exception of Operation Just Cause, initiated by Bush the Elder to remove Manuel Noriega from power over the republic of Panama, America's 20th Century insertions into wars occurred under America's most statist presidents:

  • Woodrow Wilson (World War I)
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt (World War II)
  • Harry Truman (Korean War)
  • John F. Kennedy (early involvement in Vietnam)
  • Lyndon Johnson (continuing and greatly intensifying involvement in Vietnam)

Those wars were all but uniform in promoting the expansion of the federal government. Indeed, the sole exception, as stunning as it might seem, was the Vietnam War. That war is distinguished by having been ended inconclusively, by armistice, during the Administration of Richard M. Nixon. Nixon was the president who withdrew 90% of America's military manpower from Vietnam, forced the North Vietnamese to the conference table with Operation Rolling Thunder, and put a de facto end to military conscription, the favorite policy of Democrats from Woodrow Wilson onward.

It's difficult to argue that America was serving any American interest with its insertion into World War I, Korea, Vietnam, or Panama. World War II is distinguished from the others by virtue of the Pearl Harbor attack and Hitler's declaration of war on the U.S. in solidarity with his Japanese ally. However, FDR agitated for American involvement in World War II in many ways, seeing it as an avenue to the alleviation of America's domestic economic troubles. There are indications that, had America not experienced Pearl Harbor, he would have contrived to get us involved in the conflict in some other way.

All those wars brought about an increase in the size, power, and intrusiveness of the federal government. Would any Gentle Reader care to argue that that our political class found that outcome uncongenial?


Whoever thinks over earnestly and objectively this question of a general disarmament, and considers it in its remotest contingencies, must come to the conviction that it is a question which cannot be solved so long as men are men, and States are States. -- Theobold von Bethmann-Hollweg

It is customary in democratic countries to deplore expenditures on armaments as conflicting with the requirements of the social services. There is a tendency to forget that the most important social service that a government can do for its people is to keep them alive and free. -- Sir John Slessor

Americans take a just pride in our nation's magnificent military, and in its record of achievement in the conflicts it has faced. Yet we complain bitterly about the loss of individual freedom we've suffered this century past. The connection is there to see for anyone who cares to look. Robert Higgs's fine book Crisis and Leviathan provides a comprehensive tour of the process by which our wars have progressively shackled us ever more straitly.

This is not an argument against ever going to war. War is sometimes forced upon a nation; when that occurs, it must respond with force and resolve. Similarly, there are American interests, such as the freedom of the seas and the inviolability of Americans' extraterritorial possessions, that can sometimes be protected only by warfare. Finally, we do have defensive alliances with other nations; an attack upon one of those nations compels us to enter the fray both morally -- we did promise -- and practically -- if we default on our given word, we would forfeit all international credibility.

But with any decision to go or not to go to war, we must learn to ask, openly and stridently, Who would benefit? We must return to putting American interests -- military, economic, Constitutional, and international -- ahead of all others. And we must be unsparing in cross-examining our political masters, whose motives for their decisions are never made entirely plain...on the subject of warfare as on every other.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Are They Syrious?

Q: How can you tell when a politician is lying?
A: His lips are moving.

Suddenly there's a "coalition of the willing" congealing around the insane notion of "punishing" Syria's Assad regime for its use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians. At least one of the countries that was vociferously opposed to Operation Iraqi Freedom, which targeted a regime that used both chemical weapons and environmental warfare against its own, has demanded that the U.S. strike the Assad regime.

"Let's you and him fight," anyone?

No question we could put a big hurtin' on the Assad regime. And despite the objections of some, there's plenty of reason to believe that the regime did use poison gas on at least one rebel-held district. But I have this teeny little question no one seems ready to answer:

What's in it for the United States?


Not long ago, I wrote that:

Borders matter because people matter. Borders are important because there must be a limit on every man's responsibilities for others, and on every nation's, too. Every political system binds its citizens in a web of mutual responsibility. Not for everything, but for the really big things commonly delegated to government: the defense of the realm, the maintenance of order in the streets, a common, generally comprehended legal system, and above all the protection of individuals' rights to life, liberty, and honestly acquired property. Israel granted the Palestinians autonomy within their zones, or, as Eric Frank Russell once put it, "the right to go to Hell in their own fashion." Now that they've chosen their course, they should be allowed to follow it to its conclusion, out of respect not only for their right to do so, but the right of Israelis not to be involved in it. Likewise, America did not agree to shelter or employ the whole world. If our borders were better secured, not only would our streets be safer, but Mexicans' interest in reforming their own polity would be greatly increased.

The quoted post was a refutation of the supranationalist argument that America has "responsibilities" to all the peoples of the world, which had most recently been advanced in support of the insane notion that the citizens of other countries should have a say in our elections. But the Border Principle also applies to the use of military force.

A national military is not a charitable organization. No, not even ours. Nations raise and support armies for the protection and advancement of their own people, territory, and interests. He who is taxed -- i.e., compelled under the threat of punishment -- to pay for the maintenance of a military establishment, which establishment is then used to do "good works" for the peoples -- or the governments -- of other nations is being robbed, by exactly the same reasoning as applies to involuntary taxation for the support of a welfare state.

Yet for sixty-eight years, the United States' military, which has been pressed into service as a "world policeman," has hardly been used for anything else. What's wrong with this picture?


If there's nothing for the U.S. in striking the Assad regime, then why is Washington oozing toward it as we watch?

At one level, it's about Barack Hussein Obama's vanishing credibility. No one, even among his most ardent backers, believes anything he says anymore; certainly no one in a position of power in the government of some other nation. This is as it should be; no other American politician of comparable stature has amassed anything like Obama's record of distortions, prevarications, and outright lies. But you can bet your bottom dollar that it rankles him, especially in the wake of his most recent foreign-policy missteps. So he's ready to "flex his muscles," to show the world that he means what he says...even though, most of the time, he doesn't.

At another level, it's a gesture of defiance aimed at Congress, both houses of which have become ever more reluctant to follow Obama's lead. A chief executive determined to "show 'em who's boss" is more likely to exercise his military than anything else at his disposal -- and flouting his contempt for Congress by blatantly ignoring the statutory limits on his use of America's armed forces is a particularly contemptuous way for Obama to flap his genitals at Capitol Hill. Obama's record of opposition to Operation Iraqi Freedom, which had overwhelming Congressional support, makes the gesture even more striking.

Finally, there's Obama's waning popularity with the electorate. He knows his image has been badly tarnished. He's desperate to restore some luster to his "legacy." Drawing the sword against the Assad regime, given the general and justified horror of decent persons at the use of poison gas as a weapon, probably seems to him to offer the best prospect for the improvement of his popular standing.

Inasmuch as no one seems to be able to rein Obama in -- I've lost count of his violations of the Constitution -- he'll proceed with this adventure, even though, as a number of other commentators have already observed, striking the Assad regime as "punishment" rather than to achieve some definite objective is the worst thing he could do.


Yet another war is imminent. It's impossible to put a bound on the repercussions at this time. They might involve Israel, as both Iran and Syria have threatened to take vengeance on Israel should the U.S. strike Syria. Only this is certain: more American treasure will be expended, and more blood will be spilled.

Regardless of what any Washington Insider might say -- see the gag at the top of this essay -- it won't be "surgical." It won't be just Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from airborne and seaborne platforms that are completely out of harm's way. Our uniformed men will be put in mortal danger once again...and once again, for no good reason. American casualties are possible, perhaps likely. And once again, we will ask ourselves "Why?"

You've just read a thousand words of "why," Gentle Reader. What do you propose to do about it?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Once In A Great While...

...the enemy will let the mask slip and call something by its right name: in this case, himself:

Washington insiders Doug Schoen, John LeBoutillier, and Pat Caddell, talk inside baseball every Sunday on Fox News’ “Political Insiders” with Gregg Jarrett

This week, the Insiders tackled the Ted Cruz/Mike Lee plan to defund Obamacare. All three of the insiders agreed that if the Republican party adopts Ted Cruz’s plan, they will have gone from the “Stupid Party” to the “Suicide Party”....

The Insiders also took an incredibly dim view of impeachment, Pat Caddell calling it not only self destructive, but “mental self abuse by people on the right….”

Moving on to Syria…. Hey, did you know that the gas attack in Syria happened on the one year anniversary of Obama’s “Red Line” ultimatum, “which he then didn’t enforce”.

By the standards of realpolitik, the “Insiders” went zero-for-three in the above. But there’s something else to consider: the name of the show itself.

What do I mean by that? Why, the same thing as this gentleman meant:

Robert Welch understood Public Choice-style decision making long before James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock won the Nobel Prize in Economics for it.

Yes, there are “Insiders,” determined to protect their privileges and perquisites from those of us desperate for a return to Constitutional government. Some of those “Insiders” are very, very rich; others are hirelings with far smaller rice bowls to protect. It doesn’t matter. The dynamic operates on great and small alike. He who has a personal stake in protecting The Regime will do so, barring the possession of an unusually (for today) acute and unrelenting conscience – and how many persons manage to get “Inside” in possession of one of those?

These days, the John Birch Society, which stands foursquare for Constitutional government and Judeo-Christian values in public life, is among the most slandered organizations in America. That’s one of the principal reasons I joined: I considered the source.

Have you considered the source, Gentle Reader?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Enemies: A Call To The Colors

Just yesterday, in response to this article at Breitbart’s Big Government, I commented:

Remember, conservatives, that Dean is the enemy. Do not take counsel of the enemy!

To which some anonymous leftist – aren’t they always? – replied thus:

The ENEMY ? ... That is ridiculous.... No matter how much you may disagree with DEMS politically... WE ARE STILL YOUR FELLOW AMERICANS......... This existential threat you people have conjured in your heads is Destroying this country ....and is destroying the Republican Party to boot... Considering DEMS as your mortal enemy is absurd...........

And I, in the special clarity I seem to be able to achieve at 4 AM, replied thus:

I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for.” – Howard Dean.
You are the enemy.
You are not benevolent.
Your first goal is to disarm us.
Your second goal is to eliminate privacy.
Your third goal is to criminalize our opinions.
You want power for yourselves, and nothing else.
You believe yourselves entitled to rule us absolutely.
You routinely wish for the deaths of conservative figures.
You would have us forcibly “re-educated,” if you could pull it off.
You are trying to destroy all remaining restraints on the federal government.
You’re doing everything you can to criminalize disagreement with your agenda.
You accuse your political opponents of every foul crime and motivation in the book.
And you do it with a contemptuous smirk that says “You can’t stop us no matter what you do.”

I tried to grant you the presumption of integrity.
I can’t. You’ve forfeited all claim to decency or benign purpose.
The only difference between you and the Communists of North Korea is your skin tone.
From here to the end of my life, I will do all in my power to have you seen for what you really are.
Not decent people with different opinions about what’s best, or what means are acceptable.
Not persons agonized over America’s residuum of violence, or poverty, or racism.
Not neighbors peacefully willing to agree to disagree with other Americans.
You are none of those things.
You are the enemy.
You are villains.
Traitors.

If you dislike that, take it up with your fellow “Democrats.”
I will have no more of you.

And I realized that I’d penned a call to battle.


The Left’s most insidious weapon against us is our unwillingness to see its motivations clearly and to recognize them for what they are. We want so desperately to believe that they’re fundamentally decent, persons with whom we can share this country once we’ve worked out certain differences about acceptable means, that we deliberately blind ourselves to the implications of the tactics they’ve chosen. That deprives us of the righteous anger of a just cause: the anger that makes it possible to do battle with a clear head and a joyous heart.

The Left doesn’t have that problem. They see us as the enemy, to be defeated and subjugated or destroyed. They always have and they always will. That licenses them to use all the foul tactics that characterize them. It might strike you as bizarre, but they have that sense of righteous anger – toward us.

We need to match them. Not in tactics, but in fury and resolve. We won’t succeed at that until we answer their righteous anger with our own: the anger of freedom lovers and patriots determined to defend the greatest country in history, “the last, best hope of Mankind.”

Yes, we have truth and justice on our side. But many a noble cause has gone down to defeat because it was ineptly defended...because its defenders were men of divided hearts.

We can’t afford that. America can’t afford that. The stakes are too high.

Know your enemy.
Show him no mercy, allow him no respite, and offer him no quarter.
There’s no more time for vacillation, and no room whatsoever for compromise.
Rally ‘round the colors, boys.
The hour has come.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Irrationality unleashed.

Whatever happened at the end of the Cold War, it was not the defeat of socialism; for a new anti-capitalist formation predicated on environmentalism was already taking shape. Even as the hammer and sickle came down over the Kremlin, the spotted owl was becoming the battle cry of those who were seeking to smash capitalism and market freedom in the Great Northwest. . . .

It cannot be an accident that Earth Day was first celebrated on the 100th anniversary of Vladimir Lenin’s birth. . . .

In practical terms, socialism signifies government intervention in the economy [link omitted], and typically signifies financial decline. There are many technical reasons for the failures of socialism, and these are covered in Mises’s book, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis. Therein he wrote the following passage: “[That] since socialist society is not a [practical] possibility every step towards it must harm society.” Mises calls socialism a “destructionist policy” . . . . According to Mises, ". . . Socialism . . . works on the emotions, tries to violate logical considerations by rousing a sense of personal interest and to stifle the voice of reason by awakening primitive instincts.”

Those who seek liberation through the overthrow of capitalism are, in fact, revolting against freedom and prosperity. William Graham Sumner wisely noted, more than 100 years ago, “Modern civilization is built upon machines and natural agents, brought into play . . . through capital. Herein lies the true emancipation of men and the true abolition of slavery. . . .

Sanity and reason dictate that nearly everyone prefers the “comforts of high civilization” to barbarism. Therefore, only a madman would actively undermine the free market.[1]

Yet madmen rule the roost. As Mr. Nyquist says, "irrationality is becoming a power in and of itself."

This is surely the understatement of the decade. We spend ourselves into oblivion; import and subsidize foreigners by the millions; give away our precious citizenship like Mardi Gras titty beads; slobber over minorities; ignore massive black-on-white crime; weep when black rabble rousers cry out that "more must be done;" grovel before either the Chinese, Saudis or the Muslim Brotherhood; send our manufacturing capability to a communist dictatorship waging a currency war on us; wage war on coal and other fossil fuels; subsidize open-ended bastardy; implement a Dudley Do-Right foreign policy; and call Supreme Court subornation of the Constitution "constitutional law."

Our mystery-guest president announces and proceeds to effect the fundamental transformation of America and no one bats an eye. A screeching, rubber-burning, hi-rev, suspension-smashing exit from the interstate of centuries of custom and experience down the rock slide of socialist madness and cultural suicide? Why, what could be more reasonable?

Notes
[1] "When Rationality Breaks Down, So Does the Economy." By J.R. Nyquist, Financial Sense Online, 8/12/13.

It's On: What Now?

As I said in the previous piece, now that the long-feared race war is on, the imperative question is What now? However, the previous observation is so striking, and so paralyzing, that many Americans won't get around to asking themselves what they should do next.

Unfortunately, for perhaps two-thirds of us, the failure to address that question might cost us our lives.


Please take note: The following observations and recommendations are addressed to all races. Whites might be in the greatest degree of danger -- at least, there haven't yet been any reports of a pack of black youths attacking a black passerby -- but when savages are prowling freely, all non-savages are at risk in some degree.

Please take further note: Some recommendations will be harder to follow for certain categories of persons than for others. This is merely an observation of fact. However, as with all natural laws, this one is self-enforcing. Failure to be realistic about one's self-defense capabilities and to take appropriate remedial action will not be excused should the worst happen. There are no suspended sentences for the crime of wishful thinking.

Finally (and most seriously) for this series of caveats: Assume that no third parties will come between you and your assailants. There was a time when third parties were more likely to intervene in a street brawl or a mugging. Yet even in our best eras, it was less likely than not; the "mind your own business" street ethic Americans have always practiced is strong enough to inhibit even the capable from "taking sides" in a matter they know little to nothing about.

The situation is grave. The risks are high -- higher for some than for others. And you're on your own.


The war in progress isn't a "clean" war. It has no discernible "front." Neither do the combatants wear uniforms, though some identifying marks exist and should be taken seriously. Worst of all, there's no way to declare oneself a "neutral" or a "non-combatant."

Such a war demands the highest possible degree of situational awareness. He who ventures beyond a well-fortified "safe zone" must be continuously aware of everyone and everything around him. He must maintain a dynamic, continuously adjusted assessment of who and what might be a threat -- and he must be as ruthless about the assignment of "threat" status as any military analyst.

"Threat" refers to capabilities, not intentions.

Your personal circumstances -- where you live; what sort of people live around you; pertinent statistics about street crime in your locale; the times, durations, and other qualities of your mandatory exposures -- are the enveloping context, and must always be kept in mind. Specifics about this particular exposure must be folded into that context in real time.

Neither set of considerations should be allowed to "trump" the other. If you must travel through a high-crime area, do not assume that simply being surrounded by trusted friends renders you "safe." Similarly, traveling through a low-crime area doesn't guarantee that the neighborhood's lone street thug poses no threat to you. Stay awake and aware.

This is the paramount principle of personal protection.


This war recognizes no hard-and-fast alliances. Just as the combatants wear no uniforms and form no perceptible battle lines, you cannot assume that all whites are "on your side." There are white thugs just as there are black ones -- and the worst of them travel with black wolf packs, eager to show their solidarity with "the blood."

Tactical decisions about whom you can trust to "have your back" must be made in "real time." More, they must be based solely on what you know about the individuals in question, on their behavior when trouble looms, and on their responses should trouble start:

  • You cannot assume allegiances that arise solely from skin color;
  • You cannot assume affinities that arise solely from age or sex;
  • You cannot assume that even a trusted friend will come to your aid should violence erupt.

Sadly, there are a lot of pansies out there. Some of them are pretty big; size is no guarantee of readiness to defend life or limb. Also, many a PC type would excuse a black thug of your murder on the grounds of "white capitalist oppression"...as long as he got away cleanly, of course. You must know as much as you can about anyone you intend to trust with your well-being.


When traveling through an area in which you are an unknown, your first reaction to anyone who draws near enough to be a threat must be suspicion.

How near is "near enough to be a threat?" I suggest the following loose guideline:

  • 75 feet: Practical limit on accurate handgun fire for a non-specialist.
  • 20 feet: Practical limit of a "confinement ring" in which you can be trapped.
  • 5 feet: The zone of personal non-ballistic combat, in which kicks, punches, and muscle-powered weapons are most important.

No one's situational awareness is perfect. You can be pot-shotted from a tenement window. You can be trapped within a confinement ring despite your best efforts. A capable and determined assailant can get within bludgeoning distance of you if the surroundings are noisy and distracting, or if he's sufficiently sneaky. You cannot protect against these possibilities with absolute confidence; all you can do is make them less likely.

Suspicion is the key to reducing your risks. Do you know the person advancing on you? Is he within your age bracket? How is he dressed? Is he carrying something he could use as a weapon? What's his overall demeanor?

Most important of all: Is he a young black male in proximity to other young black males? That's the paramount threat category, and no PC bullshit can do anything about it.

Your aspirations for racial harmony mean nothing at this time. The stakes are your life. Make your decisions, both preparatory and instantaneous, accordingly.


Here we come to the grimmest observations of all:

    "What is combat, Christine?"
    "Huh?"
    "What is combat? How does it differ from other kinds of human interaction?"
    "Well, you're trying to hurt somebody."
    Louis cocked an eyebrow. "You're never trying to hurt somebody under other circumstances?"
    She thought it over. "Well, yeah."
    "So what's the difference?"
    "Well, you have to have an opponent."
    He waited in silence.
    "And he has to be trying to stop you."
    "From doing what?"
    "Whatever you're trying to do!" She was growing impatient.
    "And what are the rules?"
    "Um, do there have to be any?"
    He shook his head. "There have to be none."
    "What?"
    "You heard me. If it's combat, it has no rules, only objectives. That's really the defining characteristic."
    He went to a wooden rack across from his punching bag and lifted a large, gently curved sword from it. She had never seen him handle the thing before, and had wondered why he had it.
    "This is a medieval saber. A thousand years ago, it was one of the most potent weapons a man could carry. Moreover, possession was restricted by law. You had to be a member of the ruling class to own one legally."
    He swung the sword in a complex pattern that defeated her attempt to track it.
    "You can kill with one of these, if you have enough strength and skill. Of course, it's a little conspicuous, and it takes a lot more effort to use than most people would guess. Would you want to have to tote one around?"
    "No."
    "And why is that?" He laid the tip of the saber in his left hand and held out the sword as if offering it to her.
    "Because there's better available. We have guns now."
    He nodded. "Yes, we do. And for quite a wide range of combat situations, a gun is a better weapon than a sword. In fact, there are a number of cases where bare hands are better than a sword, but that's beside the point for now. If you were in a combat situation, where you had this and your opponent had a gun, what could you do about it?"
    She looked hard at the old weapon. It had a certain antique beauty and simplicity, but she couldn't imagine ever wanting to wield it.
    "Not a lot. Try to take the gun away from him, maybe?"
    Louis snorted. "I hope you never have to do that, Chris. The odds are going to be on his side. But one thing you wouldn't do is to shout, 'Hey, that's not fair.' Right?"
    She laughed. "Silly man!"
    His face went dark. "I'm trying to make a very important point here, Chris. Combat means no rules. What he has is what you have to deal with, period. If you can't face his size, his skills, or his armament, you'd better be prepared to run."
    "Well, you know I can do that."
    He glowered. "I said prepared to run." His voice had acquired an edge she hadn't heard before. "Emotionally. You don't ever duke it out with someone who's got the edge. A lot of guys have been killed by pride and unwillingness to admit they're facing superior force. Chris, this might be the most important thing anyone will ever tell you. Do you understand?"

[From On Broken Wings]

Do you know yourself?
Do you really?
Do you know your capacities, both physical and emotional?
Are you willing to commit violence -- possibly lethal violence -- in self-defense?
What about in defense of others?
Are you willing to carry a weapon?
What about an "illegal" weapon?
Should violence erupt, would you be ready, willing, and able to use that weapon?
Are you willing to strike the first blow?
Are you really being honest about all the above?
Most important of all...
How do you know all that?

Allow me to repeat myself: There are no suspended sentences for the crime of wishful thinking. Your beliefs about yourself could well be at odds with the realities. Moreover, the only way to determine whether a disjunction exists between your beliefs and the realities is when violence erupts.

Actually, it's even worse than that. No two violent altercations are exactly alike. What you did in that gin-mill brawl back when doesn't necessarily mean anything about the street mugging you're about to stumble into. Heraclitus was a smart old dude; it pays to keep his maxims in mind. Everything changes. You're not exempt.

What Louis was trying to impress upon Christine in the blockquoted passage above is the absoluteness of reality in a life-and-death situation. Reality is what it is. Your knowledge of it is guaranteed to be incomplete and inexact. That includes your knowledge of yourself.

I'm only going to say this once, so you'd better be paying attention:

Take no unnecessary risks.

Whatever you might once have known...whatever you might once have done...whatever you once knew about your neighbors and neighborhood is all historical information. You cannot know what elements of it have changed until the changes are made manifest to you in real time...and by then, it could well be too late.

All the rest of the above hangs critically on that one bit of wisdom.


So: It's on. Like it or not, if you're a decent human being of any race, you're a front-line combatant. I want you to go home alive. There are others who don't. You cannot wish that away; you can only cope with it, according to your personal abilities, circumstances, and station in life.

Are you prepared for what's upon us?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

It's On

Here's the evidence. Read it.
Here's a little more. Read that too.
Here's a lot more. Read it all.

Weep or not, as you prefer. For myself, I'm done with tears. And I'm too much of a realist to deny objective evidence and its implications.

In either case, the question becomes: What now?


If you use your senses routinely and are willing to credit what they tell you, Col. Bunny's citation of Vox Day below didn't tell you anything you don't already know. But then, neither did Robert S. Oculus. Neither did Paul Kersey. Neither did the badly maligned and maltreated John Derbyshire.

These gentlemen have been reviled so brutally as to make me wonder whether I'm being a fool for not concealing my identity and location. Yet what have they done, other than present verifiable facts and talk about their obvious implications?

Those implications weren't "politically correct." That's where the trouble arises. White Americans have been steeped in something its boosters call "multiculturalism" and the great Mark Steyn called "societal Stockholm Syndrome." I leave it to you to decide which of the above labels better describes the condition.

When it comes to the violence, the brutality, and the all too evident hostility toward whites that blacks have manifested these past few decades, we have been bludgeoned into accepting all sorts of excuses -- excuses that would never pass muster if applied to some other demographic cohort. The typical white American is internally so inhibited against looking plainly and speaking fearlessly about black-on-white violence that were he to be forced to do so, it might cause him a stroke.

Hot Flash To The Perpetually Somnolent: Blacks don't suffer the same inhibitions. Their mouthpieces speak openly of hatred for whites. They do all they can to whip up black hatred of whites among their fellows. If they grasp the inevitable consequences of such rhetoric, either it doesn't concern them or they expect to be safely and cozily dead before those consequences get here.

But we live in a universe with laws beyond Man's power to break. The deliberate evocation of racial hatred has put a train of events in motion that can have only one outcome -- and it would appear from the most recent events that that outcome is no longer a distant possibility the bien-pensants can pooh-pooh as a chimera over canap├ęs and white wine.

That race war I've been wringing my hands about? It's on.


At the base of the problem, as is always the case when we confront a violent social division, is politics.

When I wrote this short story and this exegesis upon it, I was of course focused on international relations: the techniques by which fractious, quarrelsome nation-states jockey with one another for prestige and other advantages. However, the approach can be applied equally effectively to relations between the races. The same analysis yields the same insight into underlying principles...and the same conclusions about what must be done.

Briefly and bluntly, when two identifiable groups disagree on fundamental moral principles, they must be rigidly separated from one another to avert bloodshed. If they aren't rigidly separated, bloodshed will ensue. That's what it means to differ on fundamental moral principles. "Morally different" is merely a circumlocution for evil.

Just in case any of this isn't utterly pellucid, the fundamental moral principles at issue here are the following:

Aggressive violence toward peaceable others is evil.
He who shields a violent aggressor from his just deserts is an accessory to the crime.

Yet the thrust of all race-centered politics these past fifty years has been to soften the hand of Justice toward black lawbreakers, at least in comparison to the treatment meted out to whites convicted of comparable crimes. Moreover, blacks generally have displayed a powerful tendency to shield black lawbreakers, whether by denying their guilt or by demanding special accommodations for them that a white criminal would not receive. Blacks' coherence as a voting bloc in supporting left-liberal politicians and their favored policies has put a huge impetus behind this two-tiered approach to penal justice.

You've heard all the excuses. "The legacy of slavery." "Pervasive discrimination." "Structural racism." "Unequal opportunity." "Capitalist oppression." There have been others, but those are the most frequently cited.

The excuses wouldn't matter even if they were both accurate and apposite. Take any vicious crime: a murder, a rape, a violent mugging, what have you. Conceal all details of race, both of the perpetrator and of his victim, from some passerby and ask him what should happen to the miscreant. Once you have his response, ask whether his opinion would change if the perp were black and the victim were white.

If the passerby is white, he'll be made visibly uncomfortable by the suggestion. If he's black, be ready for anything. An angry retort is virtually guaranteed. Violence is possible.

In a way, it's natural. When we sense that Smith is "one of us," and is under assault by "the other," our impulse is to protect him. But that natural impulse is obviously an impediment to attempts at racial integration...and it's been amplified by the anti-white rhetoric of black racialist hucksters for just as long.

The past fifty years' sallies at racial integration, at equalizing the legal and political positions of black and white Americans, and at dealing with the "residual" tensions as the two races approached "equality" have struggled against that impulse. So far, the impulse, which is equally the driver for all trends toward racial segregation, has had the upper hand.

When I wrote:

[D]espite everything, the great majority of American blacks are devout Christians who strive with all their might and main to live according to their faith. If you're a white Christian, used to the tenor of the religious services that white Christians normally attend, you'd be blown away by the fervor of a service at a Southern Baptist or Church of God in Christ meeting. There's no hypocrisy there: these folks are passionate Christians who really mean it, in all particulars.

How much greater an injustice could we do than to group these good and gentle people with the thugs who exploit black class privileges to the hilt, cynically and ruthlessly, to the detriment of all of American society?

...I meant it sincerely. I work with several such persons, and they have my respect...right up to the point where they declaim about "the legacy of slavery," "pervasive discrimination," "structural racism," and so forth. Given the hazards to which an American -- a white American -- in corporate employment is exposed if he dares to make an objective statement about race relations, I've managed to avoid expressing my own opinions. But I can't help asking: If intelligent blacks working in a demanding field can't escape the racialist corral erected by the Jesse Jacksons, the Al Sharptons, the Jeremiah Wrights, and similar villains, what hope is there for anyone else?

Which is why I ask: What now?


I'm a child of the Civil Rights Era. I've yearned for the day when Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" vision would become the unquestioned reality of our nation. It has not arrived. If anything, it's receded further from reality with every passing year.

Intelligent people who would never act so foolishly in any other venue have collaborated in the suppression of information about black-on-white violence, black cultural pathologies, and blacks' hatred of whites. I have a special animus for "journalists" who have done so; their betrayal of their occupational responsibilities played a large part in bringing us to where we stand today.

The race war is on.
Recent black attacks on whites are the opening skirmishes.
If more and worse violence can be avoided by "negotiations," the time for the effort is now.
I don't plan to leave myself defenseless if they should fail.
What about you, Gentle Reader?

Pray.

Debased debate.

There are all sorts of candidates for the root cause of the systemic global financial crisis, but if we separate the wheat from the chaff we're left with risk and moral hazard. Pointing to human greed and cupidity as the cause doesn't identify anything useful about this era's crisis, as human greed, self-interest and opportunism are default settings.

That institutions have failed is self-evident, as is their inability to structurally reform themselves. If we ask why this is so, we eventually come back to the source: risk and moral hazard.

The key to understanding risk is to ask where it is being offloaded. Risk cannot be disappeared, it can only be transferred or cloaked. The question is: who is it being transferred/offloaded to? What are the consequences of risk pooling up in these reservoirs?

Moral hazard is a fancy way of saying those who have no risk act quite differently from those burdened with risk. Here's an easy way to grasp the concept: imagine two gamblers in a casino. One is backstopped up to $1 million by a wealthy patron; every loss he incurs will be made good until the $1 million is consumed.

The other gambler has only his own cash to put at risk.

Moral hazard means risk has been separated from consequence.[1]

I love the simplicity of Mr. Hughes's "human greed, self-interest and opportunism are default settings."

The left mendaciously believes these are loathsome characteristics of the "right." In their view "right-wing" means "Nazi," of course, exemplified by William F. Buckley, Sarah Palin, Russell Kirk, Justices Scalia and Thomas, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Pat Buchanan, Gen. Pinochet, and any graduate of Hillsdale College and Grove City College. Anyone, in short, who has the unmitigated gall to want a society with real popular sovereignty and constitutional government. Who wants a country free of municipal water treatment departmental SWAT teams, 24/7 video surveillance, U.N. kleptocrats, environmental nut jobs, communist Congressmen, judges who wrap their garbage in the Constitution, and mystery-guest presidents with school girl fetishes about the Muslim Brotherhood and electric power grids energized by Harry Potter.

"Corporations" are greedy by leftist definition. And they exist only to distort the electoral process by donating billions to radical, racist, and anti-democratic causes and candidates. However, unions are never greedy, participate in the electoral process only to vindicate the interests of "good government," and are all out for the working man.

QED.

Individual leftists themselves are never greedy either. They only want "social justice," a tricky though still praiseworthy concept. A cynical friend observed that when leftists speak of "social justice" they really mean "what I want," but let's not go there.

The left's perpetual focus on right-wing greed, self-interest, and opportunism is yet one more illustration of the debased political debate in this country. Mr. Hughes raises well thought out points about the danger of offloading risk on the (wildly unconstitutional) central government and the moral hazard danger in doing so, but the left will want to keep the debate focused on greed, self-interest, and opportunism as though these human defects never ever were encountered until the spawning of the Eisenhower administration. So the centralization of risk and flirtation with moral hazard continue because we can't begin to have a rational debate about these problems with the left.

And note that it's no counter to this point to say that Republicans enthusiastically pursue centralization of risk and moral hazard. This they do do but this assumes that "Republicans" are somehow right-wing. A laughable, pathetic misunderstanding of the way it is.

Smith mentions institutional failure and institutional inability to structurally reform. These are hugely important points. Spending continues to reach stratospheric heights yet the citizen will search far and wide to find a currently existing institution that exerts even feeble efforts to control spending. The RHINOceristic Cong. Paul Ryan and the Simpson-Bowles Commission took a stab at chopping a narrow footpath through the jungle of rent seeking, redistributionist feeding frenzy, and financial sector criminality but their efforts disappeared into the background noise of the universe faster than Vince Foster's autopsy x-rays.

Notes
[1] "The Source of Systemic Crisis: Risk and Moral Hazard." By Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds, 8/21/13 (emphasis in original).

Friday, August 23, 2013

Back to the future.

It should be noted that the consequences of mass migration are all but indistinguishable from the effects of invasion and occupation, and multi-ethnic societies have shown a strong historical tendency to collapse amidst vicious ethnic violence. No one who recalls the intra-black violence in Rwanda, the intra-white violence in Yugoslavia, or the intra-yellow violence in Vietnam should be misled into thinking that expanding the range of population heterogeneousity is going to alleviate, rather than exacerbate, the eventual inter-ethnic violence. . . .

I understand that three generations of Americans who have been raised to venerate the Civil Rights movement will find it hard, if not impossible, to grasp that history may ultimately prove to be firmly on the side of those they have always believed to be monsters of bigotry. But if what logic suggests is the most probable outcome indeed comes to pass, I suspect that forced segregation and non-violent ethnic cleansing will be the best case scenario in consequence of the damnable social engineering of the grand multicultural experiment that began in 1965.

It may already be too late for a peaceful return to historical segregation patterns. But if history is an even remotely reliable guide, the West will return to them one way or another. . . .

There is a flaw in someone's assumptions. The error may be on my part. But based on the known historical patterns as well as the way in which increased integration throughout the West has observably increased racial tensions rather than eliminating them as the multiculturalists so confidently asserted, I very much doubt it.

Vox Day quoted in "Vox Day: Answering a Simple Question." Conan the Cimmerian, 8/19/13.

Ideological zealots.

In 2003 we published In Denial, which discussed how an embarrassingly large number of academics denied, minimized, avoided noticing, or, the last resort, justified Soviet espionage against the United States as well as such Stalinist mass murders as the Great Terror and the Katyn massacre.

It was bad enough that such deplorable history was written prior to the 1990s. But our outrage was prompted by the sad spectacle of supposedly trained historians continuing to distort evidence from Russian and East Bloc archives that contradicted their biases. [Footnote in article to John Earl Haynes & Harvey Klehr, In Denial: Historians, Communism, and Espionage. (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2003).]

And it still goes on. One conclusion we have reached is that many of those who continue to write historical nonsense about Soviet espionage and communism are not consciously dishonest. It is not a matter of their knowing the truth and lying about it (although there is some of that). More frequently, we are dealing with intellectual “true believers,” ideological zealots who are mentally incapable of accepting or processing information that undermines their historical world view. To use a metaphor coined by the historian Aileen Kraditor, it is as if they wear special glasses that can only see what conforms to their world-view. Information that contradicts their fiercely held view is denied, explained-away, or, most often, simply ignored.[1]

This blindness is peculiar to the left in my opinion. The so-called Right is invariably accused of bad motive and nasty thoughts but not of a lack of realism. Leftists, by definition, subscribe to economic, social, and cultural fairy tales as their life's foundation. Hence, nothing can be permitted to crack that foundation. Haynes and Klehr are exceedingly courteous to wayward historians by characterizing their failure to deal with inconvenient facts as being a result of the historians' being ideological zealots. However, to borrow a formulation from a friend, if these historians were being dishonest, how would it be different from merely being ideological zealots.

I can't think of a lot of things that I'm zealous about except the obvious: totalitarian government will invariably be run by or taken over by human scum; free markets are better than regulated markets; government intervention in human affairs is invariably wasteful, destructive, or poisonous; the United States Supreme Court has betrayed the Constitution; it's a peculiar form of misery to have to put up with bureaucratic morons; and the civil rights revolution has failed utterly. These being true, I nonetheless cannot think how any of these beliefs impel me to ignore facts or arguments that undermine them.

Notes
[1] "Washing White." By By John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Washington Decoded, 8/11/13.

An Evolution That Matters

You can blame Mark Alger for this one, if you like. His brief, pithy observation about the reason there are no free, lightly governed societies today prompted the repost that follows. It first appeared at Eternity Road on June 11, 2006.


An awful lot of ink has been spilled these past few years onto the question of the emergence of life, particularly human life. Just in case you've spent the last twenty years in a Turkish prison, the most vocal of the contending camps have been the Darwinians and the intelligent designers. Neither can mount a conclusive case for its own contentions, but each has ridiculed the other's core thesis as unscientific, improbable, and a leap of faith. We're no closer to a definitive answer than we ever were, and we'll never come any closer, for a simple reason: there's no way to test any imaginable hypothesis.

Something that's already happened, with no one around to witness it, must remain forever causally undecidable. It's always possible to conjure two or more ways in which an event might have developed. To demonstrate that it could have happened in one particular way -- even that something very like it can be re-enacted at will in a laboratory -- does not prove that that's the way it happened previously; it merely strengthens the plausibility of the proposition.

Improbability is not impossibility. Despite the unlikelihood of the event, it's still possible that the "right" random mutations and confluences did produce the bacterial flagellum. After all, the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox won the World Series in consecutive years, David Gregory and Helen Thomas are still admitted to White House press conferences, and Kevin Costner continues to be cast into leading-man roles.

Postulates of supernatural intervention are neither provable nor disprovable. We haven't the means to investigate anything outside our natural realm. If God exists -- and you know my position on the matter -- His manifestations to us are a matter of His Discretion. What agents and agencies He chooses to employ are similarly outside our jurisdiction. The extent to which He relies upon unmodified "natural processes" to work His Will is something we won't know until the Day of Judgment, if indeed He sees fit to tell us even then.

All that having been said, there are places for serious intellectual inquiry about the evolutionary thesis. One such has hardly been explored up to the present day: the evolution of the abstract. For we possess adequate records of the civilizations and conduct of our distant forebears to be sure that our capacity for abstract thought far exceeds theirs, not merely in quantity but in degree. It's not too arrogant to imagine that this talent, which in its fundamental form is our clearest perceptible difference from the beasts, might evolve still further. But to get a sense for how our future as thinkers might unfold, we must look also into the past.


We've demonstrated empirically -- that is, by doing it -- that Man possesses the power to form generalizations from the observation of concrete events. Since Roger Bacon, we've known how to arrange a generalization in such a fashion as to make it testable, and therefore disprovable. Thus, we have learned science: the sheaf of attitudes and methods that make possible the accumulation of knowledge about how the universe works.

But in more recent years, we've acquired an even more potent tool: we've penetrated some of the secrets of our own, generalization-empowered minds, and thus have begun to systematize a science of the sciences. The late Gregory Bateson called this meta-science deutero-learning: the special art of training the mind in how to formulate a potentially valid and testable abstraction; in other words, of learning how to learn.

There's no field in which this breakthrough is more important than my own. Software specialists, weighed solely on their core talent, are all but useless. No one would have much use for a man who's good with computers, if that were all he could do. The useful software engineer is a man who combines facility with computers with the ability to comprehend and absorb the knowledge domains of his clients. He must become as expert in their fields, in particular their fields' information-handling needs, as they are themselves, if he's to render them a service they'll be happy to pay for. The top software engineer is a man who has ruthlessly schooled himself in how to learn.

Might there be still further dimensions in abstraction? Might our posterity someday see our achievements in abstraction as the revered foundation under their higher achievements? One cannot know from here. Even to speculate on the possibility strains the brain. What we can do is look at the development of abstraction during classical and pre-classical times, and try to get a sense for what conditions might bring further advances about.


Causal penetration into natural law was very shallow until Man began to explore the possibility of "static" agriculture. Hunter-gatherer society was founded on coincidence. The band kept moving until it happened on a food supply, at which point it would halt, exploit the supply down to the margin of subsistence, and then move on. We cannot know exactly why or how some tribe or tribes decided to test survival in a fixed locale, but it is certain that they had to achieve adequately repeatable success at food cultivation to make good at it.

Early agriculture was a ritualistic affair. Pre-classical farmers knew only that certain actions, repeated at the right times of the year, would probably result in edible crops a few months later. They didn't know why, and had yet to learn how to investigate such things. So they formulated explanations that emphasized supernatural interventions, and conjured notions of duties toward "the gods" which, if properly fulfilled, might lead to more abundant and more reliable harvests. The pre-classical pantheons always included a god of the harvest, to be propitiated for the sake of food just as the gods of the waters and the sky were propitiated to ward off death from the elements.

About five centuries before Christ, bursts of abstraction struck simultaneously in Mediterranean Europe, the Middle East, and in coastal Asia. The first proto-science, philosophy, took its first halting steps toward refining Man's cognitive tools. A handful of philosophers laid down the basis for organized rational thought. Despite considerable opposition, often violent, they pulled the classical world into their wake. The adventure of rationality had begun.

What made those advances possible? What developments had tilled Man's mental garden and made it fertile for new growth?

One cannot be certain, but conspicuous among the conditions of those times and places was that written records of all kinds had been kept for centuries previous. Those societies had begun to accumulate data from which to generalize. Perhaps the flowering of philosophy -- and philosophy's supernatural adjunct, religion -- depended mainly on an adequate supply of such data. In all three locales, further advances came rapidly.

Particularly notable among those developments was that of Judaic society. For some centuries, the Jews had lived according to the Mosaic Law, as recorded in the Books of Exodus and Leviticus in the Old Testament. With the classical proto-Enlightenment came questions about whether those laws, which Moses had presented as the commands of God to His Chosen People, might imply still other laws of equal force. Large sectors of Judaic society set to work on the extended meaning and implications of the Mosaic tradition. The Jews' penchant for recording their history guaranteed that those debaters would have a lot to work on.

But the Essenes, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the other intellectual communities of classical Judea tended to move in a single direction: a restrictive direction. As Moses had been the Jews' spiritual leader and political ruler, his laws rationalized the pervasive exercise of State power over both the bodies and souls of men. Though in many respects the elaboration of the Mosaic tradition was wholesome as well as intellectually fulfilling, among its consequences, it largely disarmed the Jews in the face of the Roman conquest and the subsequent centuries of foreign domination of Judea.

Another path was available to them, of course, but it took the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, and the continuation of that ministry by His Apostles, to set Man upon it.


Human advancement since the time of Christ has emphasized respect for the natural law. Not coincidentally, so did Christ:

Now a man came up to him and said, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to gain eternal life?” He said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” “Which ones?” he asked. Jesus replied, “You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false witness, honor your father and mother and love your neighbor as yourself.” [The Gospel According To Matthew, 19:16-19]

The emphasized passage above summarizes what are sometimes called the Noachite Commandments: the elements among the first Ten that can be derived from the natural laws of the universe. Indeed, these are the first abstractions that one can directly derive from easily amassed data about Man and his societies. For a society to countenance the violation of any of them is to admit a destructive force that will tear that society apart. But for Jesus to have named these things, and no other item from the vast Mosaic Law, as essentials to salvation was in and of itself the proclamation of the New Covenant: the separation of the demonstrable requirements for individual survival and social success from the dross that surrounded them. By implication, He had dismissed the hundreds of omitted demands of the Levitical Covenant as inessential -- even harmful when enforced by political power ("Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's.").

Such a departure from the established Levitical Covenant would have been impossible to sell without a prior major breakthrough in abstraction. This has largely been overlooked by men who dismiss Judeo-Christian religious thought as irrelevant to "real science," even as they pile their own far smaller advances atop its indispensable foundation.

It is possible that for the Jews of pre-Christian times to become ready for the arrival of Christ, they had to be subjected to the sort of rigor demanded by Moses. I find the thesis attractive. One of the principal stimuli to hard creative thought is empirical contradiction: the repeated failure of a time-tested tactic that's always worked before. Under Roman domination, the Jews of the first century A.D. chafed but could not break free. Their highly legalistic tradition more or less forbade them to revolt against or subvert the Roman colonial administration. More, it had been their way to react with political force against dissenters of their own for centuries before the Romans arrived; they could not claim Roman rule, which was largely civil and tolerant, to be inconsistent with any principle they held.

Christ's message of freedom simultaneously liberated those who accepted it from the Mosaic constraints and appropriated the Romans' greatest social advance -- the notion of uniform, impartial law -- in a fashion that would ultimately conquer the Roman Empire from within. Derived from a single unifying principle, the Golden Rule, it was abstract as no other doctrine of right action has ever been. Yet precisely because it was both easily grasped and wholly consistent with all of Man's experiences on Earth, it proved irresistible.


Supporting all inquiry into natural law is the assumption that it exists in the first place, and that it does not change with time. (Alternately, if it changes at all, it does so slowly enough that it may nevertheless be studied as if it were immutable.) The Law of Non-Contradiction first formulated by Aristotle is really just a statement of that assumption. His methods of definition and categorization won't work without it.

Another philosophical primary, held inarticulately for many centuries and made explicit during the battles over relativity, is the Law of Correspondence: for thesis B to displace thesis A, thesis B must explain the phenomena addressed by thesis A at least as well as A does, and to at least as demanding a tolerance. Thus, if further evolution of our abstractive powers is to occur, what replaces them must do at least as good a job at elucidating the natural laws as what we have today.

No one alive can imagine what powers of abstraction might belong to our descendants. Perhaps we stand at the terminus of the development of human thought, exactly as we are today. But of this we may be sure: whatever new ability might belong to those who come after us, if its to support human flourishing, must be at least as much in harmony with the natural law as the powers that were tapped by Christ:

  • It cannot countenance murder.
  • It cannot excuse theft.
  • It cannot sanction the breaking of a solemn vow.
  • It cannot allow the bearing of false witness.
  • It cannot smile upon envy or covetousness.
  • It cannot accept the severing of the bonds of obligation between the generations.

It cannot be otherwise unless the natural law itself should change, a development on which it would be unwise to bet. As for any other possibilities, we shall see.

May God bless and keep you all.


Thus endeth the repost.

I would say that we have ample evidence, merely from the daily news, that Mankind has a way to go before a truly free society can sustain itself. Our race has not advanced far enough, intellectually or morally, to tolerate the existence of a free society. Perhaps if we had reached our current intellectual and moral stage without advancing technologically beyond the level of Europe at the time of John Locke, a free society might have a chance. As matters stand, it's too easy for the world's many wolves to fall upon a peaceable libertarian sheep and devour it before it can get its defenses in place.

There is still hope. But freedom? Not today...and perhaps, given the perversities to which Mankind is prone, not any time soon.

It might make an unsatisfying epitaph, but at least we tried.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Why A Race War?

The reactions to the piece below have included the above question more often than not. As I am rather pressed just now, I’ll confine myself to a link:

This Homeland Security Employee Is Preparing for a Coming Race War

Please note that the DHS employee under discussion is:

  • Black;
  • A rabid and comprehensive hater of all things White.

This...person, supposedly employed in the name of Americans' security, is quite ready – even eager – to “kill a lot of whites” to save “his” people from our “homosexualizing” influence. Ironically, he claims to be a Christian.

If you can read that and still deem a race war impossible, I can’t imagine what to say to you.

Comanches and Hollywood lies.

S C Gwynne, author of Empire Of The Summer Moon about the rise and fall of the Comanche, says simply: ‘No tribe in the history of the Spanish, French, Mexican, Texan, and American occupations of this land had ever caused so much havoc and death. None was even a close second.’

He refers to the ‘demonic immorality’ of Comanche attacks on white settlers, the way in which torture, killings and gang-rapes were routine. ‘The logic of Comanche raids was straightforward,’ he explains.

‘All the men were killed, and any men who were captured alive were tortured; the captive women were gang raped. Babies were invariably killed.’

Not that you would know this from the new Lone Ranger movie, starring Johnny Depp as the Indian Tonto.

"The truth Johnny Depp wants to hide about the real-life Tontos: How Comanche Indians butchered babies, roasted enemies alive and would ride 1,000 miles to wipe out one family." By Jonathan Foreman, Mail Online, 8/18/13.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Too Good Not To Steal

This one I swiped from Gerard Vanderleun's KA-CHING! site:

I have never encountered a Presbyterian with a detectable sense of humor. Must be something about that "predestination" stuff...

Double Standards Dept.

Have a gander at this:

The New Black Panther Party opened its radio program earlier this week with audio calling for the murder of all white people in South Africa, The Blaze reported Thursday.

The shocking audio featured the late Khalid Muhammad, a former spokesman for Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam.

"We give them 24 hours in South Africa to get out of town by sundown. I say, if they don’t get out of town, we kill the men, we kill the women, we kill the children, we kill the babies, we kill the blind, we kill the cripple, we kill the crazy, we kill the fa**ots, we kill the lesbians, I say god d****t we kill them all," he said.

"If they are white, kill ‘em all," he added.

"Why kill the women? Why kill the babies? They are just innocent blue-eyed babies? Because god d****t they are going to grow up one day to rule your babies. Kill them now. Why kill the women in South Africa? I say kill the women because the women are the military manufacturing center. And every nine months they lay down on their backs and reinforcement rolls out from between their legs, so shut down the military manufacturing center by killing the white woman,” Muhammad said.

Muhammad explained that old "crackers" got that way by "oppressing and killing black people..."

"Kill ‘em all," he added. "Kill the f****t. Kill the lesbian. And after you’ve killed them all […] I say then you go to the god d**n grave, and dig ‘em up, and then kill ‘em a-god-d**n gain because they didn’t die hard enough."

According to Discoverthenetworks.org, Muhammad originally made the "particularly vulgar, three-and-a-half-hour diatribe" in 1993 at Kean College, New Jersey. In that speech, he also claimed that Jews provoked Hitler by being in Germany.

Farrakhan expelled Muhammad, explaining “that he was doing so only because of the tone, and not the content, of Muhammad’s message,” Discoverthenetworks.org said.

[Emphasis added by FWP]

Yes, Farrakhan, his lieutenants, and NBPP types have been saying such things for a while. Yes, the Main Stream Media has discreetly effaced such things from the national news. But it’s just a bunch of marginal malcontents, right? Their vitriol couldn’t have any real effect, could it? We can pass over it in silence so as not to “prejudice” whites against blacks, can’t we?

Well, can we really?

Three Oklahoma teenagers, aged 15, 16 and 17, have been arrested and face the death penalty for the random killing of 22-year-old Chris Lane, an Australian attending East Central University on a baseball scholarship.

“He apparently was jogging,” Danny Ford, chief of the Duncan, Oklahoma Police Department, said. “He went by a residence where these three boys were, they picked him as a target, they went out and got in a vehicle and followed him. Came up from behind and basically shot him in the back with a small caliber weapon, then sped away.”

Investigators believes the teens were on a “killing spree” after they discovered a message on one of their Facebook pages that read, “Bang. Two drops in two hours.” Ford added, “We would have had more bodies that night if we didn’t get them.”

Just days before, Lane had returned from Australia with his girlfriend, who lives in Duncan. “There’s not going to be any good come out of this because it was just so senseless,” Lane’s father told reporters in Melbourne. “There wasn’t anything he did or could have done. He was an athlete going for a jog like he would do five or six days a week in terms of his training schedule. He was just a kid on the cusp of making his life. To try and understand it is a short way to insanity.”

In an alleged confession, one of the accused teens said they killed Lane “for the fun of it.”

The true evil of NBPP / Nation of Islam-style victimist ideology and propaganda only becomes visible when we confront an atrocity such as that one...or this one...or this one...or the infinite willingness of the race-hustlers to condemn a white man for a black man’s crime.


I’ve been lectured innumerable times about how wrong it is to judge an entire race by the deeds of its miscreants. I’ve tried to explain to such lecturers that that’s not what I’m doing. My words always fall on deaf ears -- willfully deaf ears.

Very few persons want to look past the individual horrific events to the larger atrocities:

  • The willingness of the Main Stream Media to suppress reportage of atrocious crimes and blatant, hate-suffused calls for violence) by blacks, because “it would be bad for race relations;”
  • The amazing speed black race-hustlers display in seizing upon mixed-race crimes to spread hatred of whites among blacks, for personal and / or political gain;
  • The readiness of so many nominally civilized blacks to rally ‘round their thugs, and to demand that they be held harmless even for the worst imaginable crimes;
  • The pitiable reluctance men of good will display about demanding objective, race-blind justice.

When we extend, de jure or de facto, a form of immunity from objective judgment and justice to a group because of some irrelevant characteristic such as skin color, we turn it into a privileged class -- and a privileged class will invariably abuse its privileges, at the expense of all others.

By treating American blacks as a privileged class, our left-liberals, particularly those in the communication trades, are creating the preconditions for “a real, flying-lead race war.” Given the objective facts of the situation, such a war could only have one outcome.

The Gods of the Copybook Headings are not mocked. They cannot be.


No, we’re not done yet. It would seem that the Left desires to confer special privileges upon everyone but law-abiding white Americans:

Last month, the FBI was running a terrorism awareness campaign featuring bus ads depicting photos of sixteen of the world’s Most Wanted Terrorists. This was a publicity campaign sponsored by the Joint Terrorism Task Force for the State Department’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program. But then the Leftists and Islamic supremacists complained that the ads were “Islamophobic,” and they came down – and unbelievably, Seattle is refusing to allow my group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), to put them back up.

The RFJ program offers huge rewards, up to $25 million, for information that helps stop jihad terror plots. It has been very successful, helping bag the notorious jihadist Ramzi Yousef, who is now in prison for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center jihad bombing. This program saves lives.

However, Muslim groups and the politicians in their pockets actually succeeded in pressuring the FBI into removing the ad. As such, we decided that we had to do the FBI’s job for them, in the interest of national security. We took it upon ourselves to alert the public to the nature and magnitude of the terror threat, and submitted the same ad, with minor variations in the color scheme and design to avoid copyright issues, to Seattle Transit.

Thursday we received their response. They refused it. They refused our ad that the FBI ran last month.

It's a spectacular submission to terror. Seattle King County is refusing our ad because they consider it disparaging to Muslims.

Hm, let’s see:

  • Terrorism.
  • Muslims.
  • Sectarian violence.
  • Islam.

Do or do not these words and phrases belong in the same discussion – if not the same sentence?

There’s a strong correlation between Islamic allegiance and swarthy or dark skin. That has facilitated the Left’s addition of the claim that a poster such as the one referred to above is “racist” as well as “Islamophobic.” If you’re suddenly reminded about the objections to New York City’s “stop and frisk” program on the grounds that it disproportionately affects young black males, you can certainly be forgiven.

Ann Coulter, some time ago, noted that when the correlation between a “profile” and the perpetrator of a crime reaches 100%, it ceases being a “profile” and becomes “a description of the suspect.” She, too, was universally denounced by the Left for saying so...not that they hadn’t already tagged her as Conservative Enemy #1.


It can seem pointless to go on about these things. There are those who will see them as they are, and those who will refuse to do so. The latter camp appears determined to believe that reality can be massaged into whatever shape their ideology desires...that unpleasant consequences arise from our opinions and the words we use to express them, rather than the realities around us.

It is not so. It never has been.

So let us not talk falsely now,
The hour is getting late.

[Bob Dylan]