Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Torchwood


John Barrowman, now Malcolm on Arrow, was Captain Jack Harkness in the series.

He's very good, I think, in both roles.

While all our regular stuff is on holiday break, the wife and I have been doing mini-marathons using Comcast on Demand.

Torchwood, starting with episodes from season 1, has been part of this.

Fun show.

Bit stronger than it needs to be, for general (as opposed to cult) audiences, on the gay thing.

Bit polymorphous perverse, as one might say.


Sayeth Wikipedia,

On November 30, 2008, Barrowman was asked during Radio 1's Switch programme about his habit of exposing himself during interviews, and did so on this occasion.

Although the act was not seen (a show staff member had covered the webcam), the BBC and Barrowman subsequently apologised for any offence caused.

Who says gays are perverts?

Hey, nobody would say that, right?

That might offend someone.

Ever seen photos of a gay pride day?

Not a whole lot of people those festivals of obscene perversity don't offend, very deeply, indeed.

As for this particular gay, Barrowman, the sites you find if you look up Arrow are burying the guy.

You might find his picture but not his name.

If you look him up you can find references to Arrow.

What do you think of that?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Chapter 1, Section 6, Treatise on Politics, Spinoza

This realist says the state cannot rely on government by good men but must be so organized as to provide no temptation to bad faith or evil-doing.

That is impossible.

But one needs to make the state, at least to some extent, assuming one can, proof against both.

And, as we know especially in our age, proof against fanaticism.

Though in our own country the greater danger is sinister interest, not so much individual as class, meaning the interest of the plutocracy. 

This is more harmful to everyone outside the plutocracy, usually, than mere individual corruption.

But less so than fanaticism.

And as to that, though perhaps only because of historic technological limits, religious fanaticism has been less horrific than secular.

I am not convinced that is possible, either.

To make the state proof against fanaticism, I mean.

And in any case the price might be too high.

The fight to suppress unbelief

Perhaps it was always more about sinister interest, in Bentham's sense, than anything else like disinterested suppression of error or divine service.

Much less preservation of comfort, consolation, or encouragement for the sorely tried.

That would be a liberal's motive.

Or pretended motive.

Kinds of fanaticism.

Animal rights? Humbug.

Morality is so much humbug, anyway, but the law isn't.

And not only am I happy to eat animals but also I am glad of their role in useful and helpful research.

What is enlightenment?

It is unbelief.

In one phase, it rejects the myths of traditional religion but retains belief in at least one god, human immortality, and objective morality.

In its radical phase it is frankly atheist and rejects both the objectivity of morals and human existence before or after this, the only life we know.

Per se, it is not and does not entail a political, economic, or social program.

But historic periods during which unbelief has won express tolerance affording a measure of freedom of belief, of speech, and of written or other expression, usually accompanied by the suppression or end of forms of religious savagery, have been called by that name.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

All the walls are made of glass

In Eugene Zamiatin's We.

It helps us realize the importance of privacy, which is the ability to escape control and violate law, custom, and the expectations of others whose expectations matter, unbeknownst to anyone we choose to keep - or rather leave - in the dark, in safety and with impunity.

This is a crucial aspect of liberty that is never discussed with candor.

When I was a lad I bought books for cash at stores where no one knew me.

I never had or wanted a credit card until I was more than 30, and checking account debit cards did not come into general use for years after that.

But now my credit card bank knows nearly everything I buy and where I buy it.

My phone, tablet, and auto navigation device all have GPS.

My grocer knows my eating habits and what my wife smokes.

Amazon and B&N know nearly all the books I buy and the library knows what I borrow.

I believe the country is working toward everyone having a single, on-line medical record with the whole scoop in it.

Computers and the net have put privacy in the gravest possible danger and, coupled with foolish police and intelligence measures adopted to deal with the much inflated threat of Muslim terrorism, have vastly diminished our ability to safely ignore and disobey government.

This is the kind of Big Government Republicans especially but office holders and government agents generally, especially in the forces of order, very strongly favor.

Politicians will tell you that in the face of all this they can and will protect privacy, but that is pretty much always boilerplate.

They do not value disobedience.

They do not cherish its possibly, much less its widespread and far-ranging reality. 

Good Lord.

Street membranes!

A sneer on the wrong side of the face

This is your brain infected with liberal survivor guilt.

Or at least your prose debased to propaganda to inculcate same.

Still, he over-plays his hand by a good ways.

Varlam Shalamov.

Primo Levi.

Christopher Hitchens.

And many others.

Not everyone condemned flees to religion, suicide, or self-destructive intoxication.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Live your own life








It is an old lesson, not only anti-collectivist but anti-political, though not anarchist.
Anti-fanatical but not anti-religious.

And not so solipsistic as "individualism" might seem to entail.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

And the point is?

"It's a Wonderful Life" is communist propaganda according to Ayn Rand and J. Edgar for the same reason public schools and Social Security are socialism, Medicare is (per Ronald Reagan in 1965) communism, and Barack Obama (per Joe Lieberman and John McCain in 2008) is a Marxist.

All favor or are favored by progressives and progressive values.

And that's enough for them.

Joe Lieberman sold out the Democrats, Barack Obama, the ordinary folk of America, and his own career for Israel, Zionism, and the neocon wars.

No doubt he will die in his bed, a happy warrior well satisfied with his choices and his achievements.

A loyal Jew whose first priority was for America to be Israel's cat's paw, at whatever cost to America in American blood and American treasure.

And at whatever cost in damage to America's politics.

Would McCain have freed Pollard by now?

Oh, I think so.

Sex traitor


No, but then who thought that would be the point?

There are class traitors, race traitors, and sex traitors.

Charles Lane, feminist against sexual freedom and persecutor of male desire.

Holy Cross freshman orientation, 1967

A collaborative work of faculty and upperclassmen, the program that year included small group discussions led by students of three books we of the entering class had been instructed to read over the preceding summer.

The books were The Wretched of the Earth, Poverty in America, and The Plague.

That was not a reading list chosen by the Vatican or the American Legion.

Who did choose it?

I never knew.

All three were hits with the left of the period, though not entirely with the same factions of the left, and not for the same reasons.

I did not know it at the time, but both Camus and Harrington were anti-communists and Camus could never bring himself to betray his countrymen, the pieds-noirs.

However guilty his liberal conscience, he could never have brought himself, as Sartre did, to endorse Fanon's bloodcurdling project of global race hate.

All the same, remarkable testimony to the power of the left at that time at that school, I think.

Although with great effort I was able to later, that summer I couldn't finish Fanon.

The hate was too much for me.

Nobody but the left. Why?

Branson calls for Uganda boycott

Steve M. notwithstanding, only the left does boycotts these days.

Why is that?

What does that tell us about power, who has it and how it will be used?

Secret news of the Jihad

Christians targeted by Baghdad bombs

Church heads mark Christians' plight

Persecution of Christians: no room at the inn

Unsaid, even by the Guardian trying to be bravely un-PC.

Nearly all the persecution is by Muslims.

Longer sentences, please

Butterfly botnet 'mastermind' jailed.

These guys do vast harm and get puff sentences.

With that much money at stake, only more serious punishment could possibly deter.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas to all

Atheist that I am, I really enjoy Christmas and am glad to celebrate it with the rest of my family, all of whom are at least cultural if not entirely orthodox or believing Christians, and mostly Catholics.

Last weekend we visited the kids and did presents with the grand-children, since we can't be there for Christmas and will be home, instead.

In fact, tomorrow I get to cook my second turkey of the holiday season, the first having been to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Shopping yesterday, for the second time in as many weeks I stuffed a few dollars into the pot outside the grocery store, owned and operated by the Salvation Army.

You don’t have to be a believer to chip in a bit, at Christmas, to help them help out.

You don't have to be a 17th Century New England Puritan, or share their values, or think much of their achievements to enjoy a good Turkey Day with the family, either. 

Nobody went to church, for either holiday. 

Nor will anyone be going for New Year's. 

Andrew Bacevich blames all our ills on the common people and says only universal military service will make them shape up, goddammit.


From false premises like the one bolded below he draws the ludicrous conclusion that universal servitude militaire prevents the US government fighting stupid wars when the truth is it has always enabled just such stupidity when the people were too wary or incredulous to volunteer in sufficient numbers.

That is what a draft is for.

That is what a draft has always been for.

Take this one in the teeth, lefty anti-interventionists.

In evaluating the Global War on Terrorism, the overriding question is necessarily this one: has more than a decade of armed conflict enhanced the well-being of the American people?

The war fought by citizen-soldiers at the behest of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt did so.

Can we say the same for the war launched by George W. Bush and perpetuated in modified form by Barack Obama?

Post-WWII conventional liberals were the folks who fabricated and have most emphatically purveyed the idea that Father Abraham and wise old FDR, both of whom took the country to war against massive popular opposition, thus forced the country to do what was for its own good, despite the folly of the people.

They have never given up that nonsense and nowadays are even trying to rehabilitate Wilson’s decision to drag us into The Great War.

Up to now, only the globo-interventionsts who took over the Republican Party with the coming of the Cold War, William F. Buckley, Jr., and The National Review have joined in the chorus chanting that myth, a chorus that even includes right wing paleocons like Pat Buchanan for whom global alliances and wars half a world away lost their luster only after the fall of the Soviet Union and the conversion of the Chi-coms to capitalism.

Those post-Cold War, half-assed isolationists include friend Bacevich, who has now joined some Democrats in the lie or the folly of claiming giving our ruling class an even more vast military to play with will cause them to play less.

And that dragging every able bodied youth (and youthess?) into the military, thus providing vast supplies of canon-fodder, is the only way to enable the people to put a stop to wars that don’t truly serve the national interest.

Does anyone but me remember Korea and Vietnam?

His idea seems to be that if the people truly lack enthusiasm for a given war they will stop it with mass demonstrations.

Did the draft riots stop the Civil War?

Did the massive demonstrations of the 60’s stop the war, or only first the use of draftees in it and then the draft, after which the demonstrations stopped and the elites were perfectly free to pursue their idiot war for another few years, which they did?

Not only that, he attributes the success of the ascendant right in screwing up the economy and the country so nicely, also, to the lack of universal conscription.

For this absurdity of course he has no argument, but only bald and risible assertion.

Here it is.

Apathy toward war is symptomatic of advancing civic decay, finding expression in apathy toward the blight of child poverty, homelessness, illegitimacy, and eating disorders also plaguing the country.

Americans have registered opposition to the neocon wars for several years, now.

By ‘apathy’ he seems to mean lack of the mass demonstrations and rebellion provoked in the past by the draft.

He repeatedly blames the people for ‘apathy’ in what can only be this sense.

Shrugging off wars makes it that much easier for Americans—overweight, overmedicated, and deeply in hock—to shrug off the persistence of widespread hunger, the patent failures of their criminal justice system, and any number of other problems.

The thread that binds together this pattern of collective anomie is plain to see: unless the problem you’re talking about affects me personally, why should I care?

See?

People don’t care about illegitimacy, the failures of the criminal justice system, eating disorders, and widespread hunger [Really? They don’t?] because nobody drafted them, whether or not to fight in stupid wars.

Or because nobody drafted their kids.

A few years in the barracks, pal, for you or your son [and daughter?] and you’ll care about childhood obesity soon enough!

And this distortion is so gross that it is just a flat lie.

To a nation gearing up for global war, FDR had promised jobs, help for the vulnerable, an end to special privilege, the protection of civil liberties, and decisive military victory over the nation’s enemies.

To a considerable degree, Roosevelt made good on that promise. Judged by those same criteria, the Bush-Obama global war came up short on all counts.

So Roosevelt promised and delivered on the New Deal in exchange for the blood of the nation’s youth in a war that came after the New Deal?

That is what happened?

Not on your life.

Roosevelt promised the American people all that three times starting in 1932 in return for their votes, not for the lives of their children in a war they continued to refuse him right up to December, 1941.

Besides blaming the American people for not rioting and rebelling, not being drafted, and not caring enough about being overmedicated, he blames them for dumping the burden of war that belongs on their shoulders [according to him] onto “the 1%” who actually volunteer for it – though of course it is exactly the willingness of these latter fools that actually enables our elites to prosecute the dumb-ass wars Bacevich speaks so ill of.

Yes, I am saying if Bacevich wants to blame somebody for enabling the elites to get us into stupid wars he should be blaming those who volunteer so proudly to fight them – and then so needily demand our endless praise and thanks for having done so.

Instead, he will just give us the old “freedom isn’t free” and “land of the free because of the brave” bullshit.

Yet a people who permit war to be waged in their name while offloading onto a tiny minority responsibility for its actual conduct have no cause to complain about an equally small minority milking the system for all it’s worth.

Crudely put, if the very rich are engaged in ruthlessly exploiting the 99 percent who are not, their actions are analogous to that of American society as a whole in its treatment of soldiers: the 99 percent who do not serve in uniform just as ruthlessly exploit the 1 percent who do.

Bacevich is an increasingly influential and celebrated man who has chosen to write a burst of propaganda aimed at half-educated half-wits.

Which makes him well suited to his chosen role of political wise-man.

Or even for a future in elective office.

He finishes with this crap so awful I won’t even comment on it except to point out that here he even goes so far as to implicitly claim the neocon wars failed for lack of draftees to fight them through to success and pretty much explicitly threaten that without a draft Americans will have to pay a price in lost freedom.

Or maybe that’s only obesity?

The choice Americans face today ends up being as straightforward as it is stark.

If they believe war essential to preserving their freedom, it’s incumbent upon them to prosecute war with the same seriousness their forebears demonstrated in the 1940s.

Washington’s war would then truly become America’s war with all that implies in terms of commitment and priorities.

Should Americans decide, on the other hand, that freedom as presently defined is not worth the sacrifices entailed by real war, it becomes incumbent upon them to revise their understanding of freedom.

Either choice—real war or an alternative conception of freedom—would entail a more robust definition of what it means to be a citizen.

Don’t you love it when such obvious enemies of our freedom as AB tell us we have to accept their impositions and their re-definitions of freedom and citizenship, or else?

The title of his blasted book says it all, no?

The vices of her virtues

Elizabeth Warren is a four-square, all-around liberal.


There is a theory alive and well in the field that the Harappa and the Maya Indian civilizations collapsed from environmental carelessness and overly intensive use of the soil.

So little were they interested in sacrifice for future generations that they left no more behind than Ozymandias.

People so little regarded the good of others that slavery existed in all societies including all major civilizations until the mid and late 19th Century.

The 20th Century was no better, though the forms of man’s disregard for man have been not quite the same.

How likely is it humanity will really make the vast sacrifices leaving fossil fuels unused in the ground would entail, including the massive suffering and loss of life, not even for the sake of other living humans and not even so that future people will be better off, but so that in the future there will be better off people?

And what will future people ever do for you?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Mob City

First time for me.

The music is great.

Good cast.

The story takes liberties with the truth, but then that's what "based on fact" means, is it not?

Sid Rothman, for example, is a wholly made-up character and Bugsy was a crazy trigger-man for Meyer Lansky and later for Lucky Luciano.

Robert Knepper, who plays Rothman, has been a seriously under-rated portrayer of bad guys for many years, now.

I wish him greater success in the future.

Much more of a surprise is the also excellent Neal McDonough playing a good guy.

I keep expecting his William Parker to turn out to be the secret boss of all the mobsters in the city.

People familiar with his work in the past will understand what I mean.

Overdoing it, are they?


Are Jewish waiters allowed by their employers to refuse to serve bacon, sausage, pork, ham, and all forms of pig meat in British restaurants?

Do Catholics serve only fish on Fridays?

Are pharmacies and pharmacists in Britain refusing to provide contraceptives for reasons of religious conscience?

Employers refusing coverage for contraceptives in their health plans?

(Whoops, I forgot National Health.)

Or are only Muslims allowed to refuse to enable others to, according to them, disobey God?

Surely that's a step too close to the outright theocracy of refusing to allow others to disobey?

Not really the same, anyway, as hospitals or medical professionals demanding the right to refuse to personally do what, according to them, God forbids.

And even that much indulgence of religious silliness is more than what's included in free exercise.
That only encompasses doing what God, the gods, or anyway religion, according to you, requires or urges.

You exercise your freedom by doing something.

True enough, so absolute a guarantee, like the First Amendment's equally absolute guarantee of free speech and a free press, is idiotic unless the regulatory power it denies to one authority is held by another.

Say, for example, the several states.

But in any case no Christian society has allowed polygamy, nor is any with a strong feminist movement likely to do so.

Nor does any modern society that I know of allow even animal, let alone human, sacrifice.
And spontaneous decisions of inconvenienced shoppers to take their trade elsewhere do not a boycott make.

Steve should know better.

And in fact I'm sure he does.

A serious question, as BooMan would say.

Do the same people both oppose the right of Catholic hospitals to refuse to do abortions and support the right of vegetarian restaurants to not serve meat?

Just asking.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

No, it's not. Yes, it is. But they're right, all the same.

This isn't 'feminism'. It's Islamophobia | Laurie Penny

And they're not only right about Islam being a girl's worst enemy in the world, today.

Think about gays and novelists.

Evolutionists.

Women drivers.

Oh, right.

Girls, again.

Islamophobia is like the visceral anti-communism Brezhnev's thugs used to wag their fingers about.

They earned it.

Schizophrenic politics?

Tobacco's ugly truth must be uncovered | Julia Gillard

Suppress tobacco, legalize pot and maybe lots more like coke?

Really?

And all the while bitching about booze?

Neither surprised nor distressed

CIA 'helped Colombia Farc attacks,' says BBC.

The FARC are smoldering remnants of a global wildfire that could still flare up again, though for now they pose a threat to America that is hard to rank, say, against al-Qaeda.

And yet they could in the end be more annoying as a legal opposition.

Difficult to say, just as it is difficult to say whether they are more threat than hopeful sign for the people of Columbia.

They will certainly shift the political center of gravity of that country to the left.

More and better medical care for all?

A slide toward party dictatorship and ruthless repression of opposition?

The other stupid war

90% of Americans were all for it when GW invaded Afghanistan.

People are fucking idiots.

And now?

Elizabeth Warren on the fate of ordinary Americans.

Pocahontas for president.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Two concepts and two misunderstandings

Freedom as freedom from coercive constraint or interference is one thing, called "negative freedom."

Freedom as political self-rule is another, called "positive freedom."

Berlin does not seem to see that the first is a property of either individuals - liberty as ordinarily understood - or of nations, the object of wars of national liberation against colonial or other foreign domination.

But the second, understood as political self-rule, is never a property of individuals, absolute monarchs and dictators apart, but only of peoples, and realized only imperfectly through the institutions of democracy.

Also, Berlin opposes to the monism of liberals who insist there is only one political good (liberty) - nowadays we know them as libertarians or classical liberals - the view that there are many legitimate and not necessarily wholly reconcilable or even compatible political goods perhaps including, for example, equality and justice.

He does not even consider the more radical pluralism inherent in the recognition that the good of each person is unique to himself and there is no truly common good in which conflicts among those of individuals disappear, nor any just manner of adjudicating those conflicts.

Acute and astute though he is, Berlin from first to last sees the issues of politics as moral issues.

For him as for nearly the whole of the Western tradition, politics is a branch of morals and political philosophy - aka political theory - is a branch of moral philosophy.

He can no more think outside that box than can the Ayatollahs of Iran think of politics in purely secular terms.

Ideas have consequences

And with that advertisement for the sovereign importance of his own trade, that of the intellectual, Isaiah Berlin begins his inaugural lecture, Two Concepts of Liberty.

But while ideas have consequences in the logical sense they are wholly without efficient causality.

It is what men do with ideas, it is human action that makes, or rather is, history.

A point worth remembering, since more than a few of those who uncritically accept the intellectuals' assessment of their own importance draw the obvious practical lesson that it is prudent to police ideas - meaning, of course, to police speech, the press, and thought and so to police men.

But then the reputation of liberals as defenders of freedom of thought and expression was built by their centuries-long fight for their own freedom.

Most contemporary liberals, admittedly or not, favor and often actively seek punishment of speech and belief they disapprove, in Europe by law and in America by orchestrated loss of employment.

And in both, as well, by campaigns of public harassment and opprobrium often intentionally involving the threat of violence.

Blessed few agree, and many loudly deny, that freedom of thought and expression, more central to liberty than democracy and as crucial to democracy as the franchise, require at least as much protection from private coercion as we provide the vote by the device of the secret ballot.

But ensuring people can believe and express their beliefs in complete security and confidence is not at all what liberals want.

Of this you can be sure.

Liberals would nowadays oppose any construal of the Constitution protecting speech and belief from punishment by employers, though the shoe was quite on the other foot during the era of the Hollywood Blacklist, loyalty oaths, McCarthyism, and the Red Scare.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Does she feel like that about the vote?

Freedom of speech doesn't entitle Duck Dynasty star to reality TV show, says Jill Filipovic.

Uganda enacts life in jail for gays

Local Christians as mad as the maddest of Muslims are behind this.

Wikipedia blames colonialism, white people, and Christianity for what black natives have done with their religion 50 years after independence.

[Who do they blame when it's Muslims? Colonialism, white people, and Christianity.]

Interesting question, why some peoples at some times are so exceptionally receptive to a religion or a politics so drenched in such extreme malevolence, such naked and joyful hatred.

So often we displace agency and responsibility with it from people to the doctrines they embrace, for the horrors these people - but we say "these doctrines" - insist upon.

As when we blame Christian beliefs for Hitler's pursuit of a "final solution to the Jewish Question in Europe," as well as for the German people's support for him and his projects.

The saw goes, "Religion is a good thing for good people and a bad thing for bad people."

But perhaps the truth is that religion, though always a delusion or a deception and generally an imposition, is relatively benign in the hands of good people and sometimes spectacularly malignant in the hands of bad people.

Not that it's good or bad for people, but that it's in some ways good or horrifically bad in their hands.

Not that we couldn't say the same for purely secular ideologies or beliefs like Marxism or socialism.

Or even beliefs as apparently remote from politics as materialism.

See Dostoyevsky or Turgenev.

P.S.

Which side of the culture war in Uganda would Pat Buchanan want to be on?

I ask because his anti-interventionism lately seems to be trimmed to fit his basic political sympathies.

And these in turn?

He doesn't care for Jews, non-eurowhites, or indeed people who are not conservative Christians in faith and morals.

Does that explain all of his politics?

Or only most of it?

P.S. 2

Accordingly to the Wikipedia piece to which I link, above, a theme of the infamous conference of Christian leaders in Uganda was that "'the gay movement is an evil institution' whose goal is 'to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.'"

To which one is very tempted to say, at least in foro interno, "Well, what of it? What's it to you?"

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The march of the Red Guards

I was distressed, depressed, and annoyed to see from this piece how far the march of the pointy-headed liberals through the institutions has progressed.

Gramsci would be smiling.

Unimportant as it may seem to the many, America's philosophy departments have a great influence on American elite opinion.

But I am old.

The harm will fall, I hope, principally on later generations.

Only fair.

People much younger than I are doing these cruel and dreadful things.

When I was an undergraduate at Holy Cross, I was gratified that philosophy departments served as a refuge from the political pressures both of the Cold War and of the rebellions against it.

The department at HC was a sheltered place where in utter privacy and security one could reveal and discuss one's inmost thoughts in complete candor, with no fear of the stupid and vicious mob or the demagogues who led it.

What a priceless freedom that was!

Is it lost?

Will it be destroyed by these wretched fanatics?

Do they really think the freedom insisted on by the 18th century was only freedom from their enemies, but not from themselves, these modern liberals unworthy of the name?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Popularity contest

The popularity of royalty and aristocracy tells you how much people cherish republicanism and democracy.

And of films, plays, and stories of kings and knights and the like.

What does the popularity of dictators tell you?

Castro.

Franco.

Peron.

Mussoloni had a real following, both at home and internationally.

I had an affair with a woman many years ago who was quite proud of an uncle who had been a firm supporter of Il Duce, right through the war.

On the other hand, "my country, right or wrong" does not express commitment to any particular form of government.

Stalin, like Alexander I, appealed to patriotism, with ultimate success.

As did the Emperor of Japan in the losing war against America and the allies in the Pacific.

Political reality is not much like what the partisans and blabber-mouths say it is.

Political loyalties and even antipathies often have little to do with political theories or more than - and often less than - the most rudimentary ideas of justice.

In this they are much like human affections in general - love, hate, friendship, enmity, and the like.

That is to say, often a triumph of sentiment over intelligence and interest.

If I recall correctly, Napoleon abolished serfdom and cut the privileges of aristocracy in all his conquered countries.

Think of all those Russian serfs proudly fighting against him for Holy Russia and the Tsar.

Think of that patriotic nitwit, Tolstoy.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hit a nerve, there


Annoyed, they are.

But I never knew Pat was in a culture war “for mankind’s future.”

That seems an odd claim for a man who has spent above a decade proclaiming himself a leader of anti-interventionism and very firmly rejecting US globo-meddling.

Even in this piece he is taking Puntin’s side against that.

We knew all along the culture war is global for the liberals.

But the paleocons?

That’s something new.

PB writes,

President Reagan once called the old Soviet Empire "the focus of evil in the modern world." 

President Putin is implying that Barack Obama's America may deserve the title in the 21st century.

No, Putin did not imply that.

But Pat meant to put such an implication into Putin's mouth, to make the gall more bitter for sociocons like himself.

Remember that this is about gay marriage and nothing else.

Just gay marriage.

Just little ole that.

Well, all right.

"The whole panoply of Hollywood values."

That makes us "the focus of evil in the modern world"?

He even quotes Putin in favor of democracy.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Say "No" to false equivalence

The Democrats are not as bad as the Republicans, and are not as much at fault.

That is because the Republicans are dominated by that congeries of ideological factions, the conservative movement, while the Democrats are not dominated by the opposite grab bag, the liberals.

If the liberals had the power over their party that the conservatives have over theirs, politics would be even more bitter, hysterical, gridlocked, and horrible.

But we are approaching that.

Support for abortion on demand from conception to birth, for example, they have almost made a requirement for all Democrats.

And everywhere Democrats have quietly empowered thought police, virtual Red Guards, to police up our sensitivity, our speech, and our thoughts.

And far from being ashamed, they account this a fine success.

The Swedish model


Would you criminalize people who buy cheap shirts because in some parts of the world slaves are used in their production?

I can see criminalizing knowing rental of a slave or of any sex-worker one should have suspected was acting under coercion.

But this is a moralistic attack on the trade per se, a convergence of Christian morals and feminist – likely lesbian – resentment of men and male sexuality.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Marx was not the first nor the only nor the last critic of capitalism

Though he was certainly one of the most acute.

No surprise then that the pope says he is not a Marxist, but defends his criticism of capitalism.

Doesn't really sound like he's going to be much of a reformer.

The cursus honorem

Chile and Colombia join Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Argentina as states in which politicians fundamentally hostile to capitalism, or at any rate far from enamored of it, have rejected or are abandoning violence to assume positions of leadership by winning elections.

(And Uruguay. I forgot.)

Of course, one could say that of the United States, California, and New York City.

That can lead to good things, but it can also lead to stupid things and even just plain bad things.

More good than bad, one hopes, though.

Still, the American right wing noise machine is apt to exaggerate both the stupidity and the badness while ignoring the goodness.

Consider Venezuelan price controls.

Heck, Nixon tried price controls.

It was evidence neither of impending red revolution nor of impending economic chaos.

And habitual animosities die hard.

In Colombia, they might even queer the deal to bring the FARC in from the cold.

No doubt, just as some wish.

While they are out in the boonies living on snakes, going from shootout with the army or with right wing guerrillas to shootout, they are in no position to actually implement leftish policies.

But all of these devoted leftists competing for office and joining the electorate?

That could bring real change.

Was it only yesterday we were reading Disaster Capitalism, a book about neoliberalism on a roll?

And what was Beinart writing about the Millenials?

Update.

About that downside, just consider how little regard these folks have for diversity, freedom of expression or opinion, or democracy.

How willingly they play the Red Guards and the Thought Police.

And how frighteningly their attitudes have spread like a cancer from the radical left to the professional left to the entire class of 100%, down the line liberals and all their allied interest groups and factions.

Revel had it wrong.

People don't want to be subject to totalitarian power. 

They want to exercise it.

Almost Human

He should've fallen back on reasonable doubt by accusing his clones.

Successful TV in America has faith in God and immortality.

For androids, too?

Meat and electricity.

“The brain is just meat and electricity. How does that account for consciousness?”

So says Gloria Verrano, the Medical Examiner on Haven, over-playing her hand and using a common argument for property dualism as a basis for substance dualism and “universalist” – as opposed to Haven-specific – notions of life after death.

One argument intended to take us past emergence and property dualism is that neither “meat and electricity” nor any material basis can explain the unity of apperception.

For that, only the radical unity of the res cogitans could suffice.

But supposing meat and electricity in fact account for my representations being all mine and none of them yours, perhaps some failure in the meat – or the electricity – accounts for multiple personalities.

That kind of multiplicity seems a lot more plausible in that case. 

A peek at her underwear? (Red diapers?)

Consider Joan Walsh's apology for Nelson Mandela’s role as a moderate in the peaceful take-down of South African Apartheid coming after her unmitigated praise for his commitment to armed conflict as "a revolutionary who believed in a radical redistribution of wealth, and a global warrior against poverty" (he was a communist and a terrorist).

Some truth to this, after all?

By the early 1970s, the openly defiant and revolutionary New Left had spent its political capital and was a dying movement.

But its adherents remained committed to the cause, altering their tactics so as to work within the system in a manner the New Left had previously chosen not to do.

These latter-day leftists incorporated the tactics of the infamous Saul Alinsky, seeking to change society by first infiltrating its major institutions – the schools, the media, the churches, the entertainment industry, the labor unions, and the three branches of government – and then implementing policies from those positions of power.

Most notably, the ex-New Leftists found a home in the Democratic Party.

Or among the liberal pundit class, particularly in Blogland, including those who were too young or were, or are, fellow-travelers of the New Left.

(Yes, I know what "red diapers" actually means. So?)

(Wasn't that Gramsci, not Alinsky? "Cultural hegemony"?)

Actually, it's a war on Christianity

KOS's chief racist feminazi takes on the winter solstice

The gays and the Olympics in Russia

No one so absurdly dishonest as an angry activist about his - or her - cause.

NBC

Complicity

Not even hyperbole can stretch the notion so far that he who is not with me is against me, and of course there is no conspiracy of silence.

When you pass beyond the limits of hyperbole you merely rave.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

There are no rights

But there are interests.

Sherlock, learning empathy, is learning deference to the interests of others.

Witnesses, cohorts, others.

And so it appears he will be backing away from his "by any means necessary" crime-stopper outlook.

The price will be just what he supposes, no doubt.

Nothing is free.

Blue Bloods

Liberals disguised as conservatives.

So Danny the thug is a liberal thug who reacts with shame and guilt when a brownish Muslim immigrant greets him with racist hatred.

Like a bully's victim, he whines and pleads his harmlessness and personal innocence.

Danny Reagan, the thug.

The rest of his family is just as bad, the Commish, especially.

Plus ca change

Browsing The New Left Reader.

The unhealthy concoctions so many of our fellow boomers imbibed in youth continue to do them and us lasting harm.

The title of Furet's magnum opus was mistranslated into English as The Passing of an Illusion.

It's better taken as The Past of an Illusion.

The publisher's title both misses the allusion to Freud and falsely suggests the book maintains the illusion has passed.

That it's all over for the anti-capitalist radicalism intellectually and politically inspired by the thought and history of revolutionary Marxism.

It's not.

Neither for its chiliastic illusion of a classless utopia nor for the hatred of actually existing civilization it inspires, sanctions, and feeds on - though the former nowadays as in the past seems often no more than a plastic idol whose worship is perfunctory, infrequent, and of doubtful sincerity.

Nor for its hatred of the natural egoism of mankind, expressed on the one hand as the rejection of politics for private life and, in our age, on the other in the institutions of bourgeois society.

Nor for its own institutional expressions as, at best, social democracy and, at worst and far more commonly, democidal chaos and terror.

Think of a cook breaking sixty dozens of eggs and producing only a twelve ounce quiche.

And the pilgrims continue to arrive in Havana.

Since 1917, utopian dreams, obtuse faith in benevolent dictatorship, and irresponsible hatred of the rule of the haves have drained off the support of hundreds of millions from the practical and efficacious left and squandered it on horrors that have done vastly more harm than the most vicious capitalism they opposed.

Friday, December 13, 2013

New rule for the senate: You can pass anything with 40 votes.

How do you like that for anti-majoritarianism and minority rule?

Go ahead, I dare you.

Tell me that's not constitutional.

The bizarreness continues, as well as the malice



All over the web, today, liberals with nothing better to do continue to attack Fox’s Megyn Kelly for saying (I have no idea why or in what context) Santa and Jesus are white.

It's one of the three top stories for today at Think Progress.

You might think that claim is as uncontroversial as that David Copperfield and Louis XIV (or anyway Hamlet) were white, but you would be reckoning without the bored left at Christmastime.

Every leftist who has felt called upon to comment on Megyn’s remark has huffed and puffed and sought to paint that remark, her, and/or Fox as racist and, furthermore, to deny or cast doubt on its truth.

Since they have been doing it for days either they are very bored or this is very important to them.

So far as I can tell, the only point to the “controversy” is to disparage Ms Kelly, Fox, and all people who agree with her as racists and to create a whole new type of racist thought-crime.

So, not only bizarre but annoying and malicious, this liberal craziness.

For BooMan and Steve M, this is at least the second day of the “controversy.”

Awesome.

What started it all was a Slate article by somebody not white expressing just how sick and tired he or she was of old, fat, white, male Santa, and suggesting he be replaced as a symbol of Christmas with a penguin.

That, of course, was exactly how liberals feel about old white guys, so there was naturally no outcry that the author's remarks and attitude were blatantly and offensively racist in the anti-white direction.

As have been, of course, the attacks by liberals on Megyn since then and their absurd rejection of her remarks, both as racist and as false.

After all, ask any liberal and he'll tell you there is no such thing as racism in the anti-white direction.

And maybe even that the thing is impossible.

So there.

Did I mention these guys are all still running stories about how awful George Zimmerman is and how much we should hate him and want to see his life ruined, preferably by jail time, somehow?

Freedom not for thee

Bavaria abandons Mein Kampf reprint.

They will continue to ban publication because Holocaust survivors or relatives of victims say it would cause "enormous pain."

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Death of a general

ALGÉRIE Paul Aussaresses, le bourreau, est mort

Le général Aussaresses est décédé, le 3 décembre, sans avoir jamais exprimé aucun regret quant à son passé de tortionnaire durant la guerre d'Algérie, déplore le quotidien.

I read his book in the original French.

No, far from having regrets, he thought we Americans ought to use such methods in our GWOT.
Unlike the French, we let others do our dirty-work.

Think rendition.

He was nowhere near as bad as the FLN terrorists whose torture he directed, of course.

Needless to say, this patriotic and anti-colonialist Algerian paper doesn't see it that way.

The mau-maus themselves were terrorists and torturers

Kenyatta in appeal for equality.

Much worse than the whitewash of Mandela.

Human beings suck

China eye-gouge boy is discharged.

If I have to explain it, you suck.

When feminazis attack

Here.

Supply your own commentary.

See, that’s where they all went wrong, liberals and conservatives


What is lost in most of the heartfelt remarks, including the touching tribute of  former South African president, P. W. (Pik) Botha, is that Mandela was on the wrong side of the Cold War, a far-more important war, frankly, than the war against apartheid.

Well, no; it wasn’t.

Not for America, anyway, and not even for SA.

The Russians were just not going to be coming.

Too big a disaster to let on? Fukushima. Just say “No” to nukes.


To my dismay, things are moving faster than expected and human incompetence, sloppiness, and greed may have a chance to kill me, after all.

Frankly, I thought the first nuclear disaster to do serious harm to lots of the public would happen after my death.

Fukushima may prove me wrong.

I’m not the only one who finds liberal globo-meddling annoying


Meddle, meddle.

Want to fight a war to make India safe for gays?

Maybe Iraq?

Maybe Russia?

How much national power ought to be expended by our heroic leaders to make other countries comply with their – not to say “our,” as it surely isn’t that of most of our Christians and we amoralists don’t have any, anyway – morality?


Putin is annoyed at all the meddling.

Everybody on the wrong end of moralistic American meddling finds it highly offensive and annoying.

And isn’t it anti-democratic to be trying to subvert the laws of other democracies because they don’t comport with the wishes of America’s liberal elites?

On the other hand, liberals have about the same degree of respect for democracy here at home, when it comes to such things, don’t they?

Anyway, Putin also takes the opportunity to defend Christian values against the West.

And that must really annoy American conservatives.

I found links to these stories prominently displayed on Drudge, today.

More liberal craziness about race

Megyn Kelly on Santa and Jesus

She say's they're both white, as indeed they are, even if neither is real, as I pointed out in a comment.

Not entirely clear why she felt a need to say, but all the same.

On the other hand, do Christian parents who are not white feel a need to portray Jesus otherwise to their children?

To portray Santa otherwise?

Do we care about the 'druthers of parents who are not Christian in this matter?

Unitarians, say?

Or in-the-closet atheist Methodist ministers?

My comment:

When you're right, you're right.

They are both white, even if neither one was or is a real person.

Just as they have hair and eye color and even sex, fictitious characters, mythical characters, etc are white, black, Chinese, Indian (red or East), or whatever.

But that's hysterical, all the same.

Gump thinks Middle Easterners aren't ("necessarily"?) white?

Tell that to your Syrian restauranteur.

Actually, go LOOK at your Syrian restauranteur.

He thinks fictional characters "can be whatever you want them to be"?

Try passing a quiz on David Copperfield with that attitude.

Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, or whatever, y'all.

I fully expect to be denounced as a bigoted racist.

Gump was a comment writer who opined otherwise.

"Megyn"?

Really?

Women are nuts about the spelling of girls' names, these days.

If they got to name the boys, too, there would be kids running around named "Goe," "Whylliam," and "Ghonny."

Btw, David, who put up the post at C&L, takes issue with Megyn with the following entirely faux au contraire.

Contrary to Kelly's assertions, Jesus Christ was a Jew of Mediterranean descent and not the white European figure often depicted in paintings and movies.

And yet, Jews of Mediterranean descent are white.

And yet, she didn't say Jesus was a Swede.

Anything to avoid agreeing with the hated truth, Jesus was white and so was Santa.

(As well as St Nick and Kris Kringle.)

It just kills them.

Even whispering these things makes them explode.

Mediterranean men are white.

And Muslim is not a race.

By any means necessary


A short while ago the Republicans brought themselves opprobrium by pitching a colossal, irresponsible fit that cost the nation twenty odd billion and risked far more because the Democrats would not accede to their demands for additional draconian cuts.

It was possible to cast the Republicans as the bad guys because everyone knew they were trying to use the threat of disaster to extort what they did not have the votes in the senate to get legitimately, repeal of Obamacare or extensive defunding of key features of social democracy and more tax cuts for the rich.

Their radicalism, their willingness to harm the country to get their way, led to the people as well as the Democrats seeing them as extortionists holding a gun to the nation’s head, though the Democrats were the ones who repeatedly refused offered budgets and funding that would have mitigated or prevented the harm at the cost of cherished Democratic values.

That time the Democrats refused to be “the responsible adults” and refused to be bullied, and earned kudos and esteem for it.

But today BooMan and since yesterday many others are perfectly willing to reverse roles and refuse every budget deal that does not include Republican concessions, Republican surrenders of victories the Democrats could not win without the threat of disaster and do not have the votes in the house to get legitimately.

Things like an unemployment extension or expanded food stamp coverage and tax hikes for the wealthy, that are not in the negotiated deal BooMan and other liberals want the Democrats to reject, thinking the Republicans will get the blame if the government is shut down again and not seeing at all the importance of the fact that it is they, now, who want to hold a gun to the nation’s head to get their way.

It is they who now are the radicals, the extremists, the bullies, the extortionists, the political thugs holding the country hostage, out to win at any cost.

And that makes a difference.

If they do this they will vindicate every Village pundit who bloviates a plague on both their houses and so facilely blames both parties equally for gridlock and bitterness in our politics.

Better to take the negotiated deal - and I'm not saying it was well negotiated or it's a good deal - and let the Republican radicals be the bad guys, if they can't help themselves.

Much better.

Update.

BooMan added another post with the same point.

He claims if Boehner cannot get enough votes to pass the deal in the house without the Democrats that will make the collapse of the deal the Republicans' fault.

He just doesn't see that if the deal fails because Democrats want to extort more for their side with the threat of another shutdown the public will correctly perceive this and blame them, just as last time they blamed the Republicans, for holding a gun to the nation's head to win by extortion what they don't have the votes to win by legitimate, majority rule.

But they will.

The Democrats will be blamed and they will deserve it.

Why do I have the impression that bloggers, if not all pundits, are in the nature of the case so committed to their side winning that they tend almost without a moment's thought to plunge into unscrupulous, unpatriotic, and dangerous methods for a better shot at victory?

Oh.

Because it's true.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

White guilt

Hopi masks to return to their tribe.

My God, what a crock.

No atheists need apply

An atheist president?

Chottner says it's not harder for politicians, but there's no clear up-side to coming out as an atheist, compared to coming out as gay.

Jennifer Heckt sees things otherwise.

He ignores a poll they both quote that says Americans are much less willing to say they would vote for an atheist than a Jew, a Catholic, a Negro, a woman, or a homosexual (male or female).

And Barney Frank is just incredible.

Soft on the Sandinistas

Ortega 'could stand for fourth term.'

When they came to power in1979 they were communists and installed themselves as a Marxist, one party dictatorship on the Cuban model, allied with Castro and the Soviet Union.

Reagan's illegal support for guerrilla opposition forced the profoundly unwilling dictator, Daniel Ortega, to open the country to real, competitive elections and break off cooperation with Cuba and the Russians in supporting guerrillas and subversion throughout Latin America.

That was all Reagan wanted.

But Ortega to this day, like other admirers of Castro in presidential palaces, is impatient of constitutional limits on his power or its duration.

And so a chief duty of his party in the legislature is to push back those limits.

The left is generally fine with that, the radicals more than the others.

But when Hitler and Mussolini did that - or even Peron - the left was very unhappy. 

Schizoid World

Saudi human genome project launched.

Within the last few weeks a Saudi cleric visiting England issued a fatwa condemning a Muslim to death for denying creationism.

The Muslims are as crazy on this as the Christians, but more violent about it than the Christians have been for several centuries.

The Leader of the Free World?

Obama-Castro handshake 'unplanned.'

The gopsters are still calling the US president by that title.

Ubiquitous?

India court reinstates gay sex ban.

A court in Delhi had thrown out a law from colonial times banning homosexuality and punishing it with 10 years in prison.

The Indian Supreme Court has reinstated it.

Apparently the law is quite popular with Indians regardless of religion.

Interesting how the gods so often seem to want to herd people, however unsuitable their proclivities, into what gays disparage as "breeding pairs."

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Friend or foe?

I write dissenting comments at sites of the left and sites of the right.

The lefties' responses berate me as a conservative.

The wingers lambaste me as a liberal.

All abuse me for missing the diversity of views on their side of the street.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Mandeville. The Fable of the Bees

Crude, but candid and full of insight, in particular the essay, An Enquiry into the Origin of Moral Virtue.

Essentially correct, though not great on the relationship between morality and religion.

Much undervalued.

And a good joke on J. S. Mill, in more ways than one.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The death of Mandela and the nostalgic radicalism of the American left


Like many other liberals, Joan Walsh has seized the opportunity of Mandela's death to smear today's right with the racism and white supremacy of their ancestral heroes with a mix of charges fair and foul.

Great play in the media for these attacks, these past days.

But only the even more absurd and annoying Ann Coulter reminds us the Democrats opposed the Civil War and supported racist terrorism and American Apartheid for a century after, including such liberal heroes as Woodrow Wilson.

All because everyone believes that whites who have a problem with non-whites today are mostly Republicans, while the Democracy harbors in its bosom a veritable rainbow coalition of people - people holding megaphones, like Joan - who hate American whites or white people, globally, including many white liberals and feminists who make no bones about it and scream their venom at every opportunity.

Including this one.

A question for Ms Walsh.

At the time he was imprisoned, Nelson Mandela was in fact a terrorist and no one had more reason to believe in the democratic aims of the ANC than in those of Uncle Ho, though things turned out otherwise not least because though Ho won his war Mandela sat in prison for thirty years.

The same Ho, that is, whose project was so recently and absurdly, er, whitewashed as democratic by a certain non-white Democrat in the White House, come to think of it.

[And the left never tires of accusing the right of a propaganda of whoppers.]

Joan implies but does not quite say she supported Mandela, back in the day.

And did she support Uncle Ho?

She may have done both.

As for Mandela, she celebrates his commitment to violent revolution as a radical leftist, though she will not call him the outright communist he was.

And, while carefully praising his refusal to renounce violence as a condition of his release, she excuses his post-prison acceptance of peaceful transition and democracy as best she can - clearly, in her view, it is this that requires an apology - "as the best strategy to achieve freedom and justice."
Her exact words.

He was a revolutionary who believed in a radical redistribution of wealth, and a global warrior against poverty, to the end. . . . But it’s equally important to remember the commitment to equality that let him endure prison, and adopt reconciliation as the best strategy to achieve freedom and justice.

Does it not seem that, like Dr. King and others of the left, when she says "freedom" and "justice" she means "equality" and "social justice" - and so again "equality"?

It seems inescapable she thinks "freedom" is something that might be won by a red revolutionary dictatorship.

Does she think Ho was a "freedom fighter," along with Mandela?

And what of Obama's recent whitewash of Ho Chi Minh that fit so well his friendship with Bill Ayers and his long relationship with Rev. Wright?

Scratch a liberal, find a fellow-traveler of the radical left, or worse, sometimes.

Isn't it almost comic, looking back, how Obama and his supporters were going to put behind us the political conflicts and allegiances of the boomer generation?

If you don't feel powerless already

State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax http://gu.com/p/3yxgf

When next you hear Islam is better for science think of this

How a creationist fatwa proved a shocking example of Wahhabi Islam's influence | Andrew Brown.

Oddly, the American left thinks worse of our Christian fundamentalists than of the Muslim variety.

Locally, of course, the Christians are the greater threat.

But not globally and not even in Western lands where their numbers reach critical mass, though far less than those of Christians.

No more Muslims in the US, please.

The International Brigades

BBC NEWS today has a story about thousands of soi-disant al-Qaeda fighters from all over the world, including many from Britain and France, using safe houses in southern Turkey for passage into and out of Syria, fighting Asad's dictatorship under a false flag of democracy - or a true flag of Islamist, faux democracy.

Hmm.

No, it's not Munich this reminds me of.

Ah.

Got it.

That the Western powers don't want to unseat the dictator but cannot espouse his cause, instead cheering for democracy with no enthusiasm, makes those echoes of Spain all the more clear.

Yes, I have cast the Muslim volunteers from all over Europe and the world as the communists of the faux-republican International Brigades, type-casting as those of decades ago today's deluded fanatics depicted so widely in Western media as heroes - and how else can one say it? - of anti-Fascism.

In the past, Turkey - or anyway the Turkish generals of Ataturk's army - would've put a stop to this.

But recent, successful moves to end that tradition of secularist intervention by that country's ruling democratic Islamists have made Turkey hospitable to Jihaders, including al-Qaeda.

Is there not current congressional authorization for the president to make war against not only al-Qaeda but also allied forces and sheltering nations, anywhere in the world?

And what loon would expect or want war with Israel's once and perhaps future ally, Turkey, in defense of the anti-Zionist dictator, Asad?

Certainly not those Jewish-American agents of Israeli influence, the neoconservatives - or their goyische cohorts - who have done their best for decades to get America to crush both Syria and Iran on behalf of the only country they love more than the USA, their ethnic, religious, and ancestral homeland, Israel.

Whatever their blather, they fear and hate first and foremost Israel's nation-state enemies.

Not Islamists, not Muslims, and not al-Qaeda or other Muslim fighters, per se, but enemy states and their tools.

Which is why they first insisted America's retaliatory attack on al-Queda and the Taliban must include outright invasion, occupation, and regime change in Afghanistan and then diverted that effort as soon as possible, in the first flush of apparent, easy success, into a struggle against Israel's three most hated enemies, dubbed for the purpose "The Axis of Evil," though succeeding only in forcing America into wasting a trillion dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives in war against only one of them, Iraq. 

But America is tired of Israel and it's endlessly warmongering Jewish-American agents of influence, though it would take bunker-busting nukes to blast them out of their dominant positions in America's classe-politique and American culture.

And given that last, we know America's days as Israel's super-power cat's paw are very far from over.

Only fools believe for every problem there is a solution.

Friday, December 6, 2013

One sure way to find out

Republicans want to know how many retirees have guns.

Take away their Social Security.

You'll find out soon enough.

The robot future is coming

So says Jonah Goldberg at NRO, today.

And when the robots do all the work?

Creative and scientific and cultural - all the work?

Jonah will starve unless Jonah owns robots.

Only robot owners - capitalists - will eat.

They will do nothing for their command of all the wealth.

But they will be owners, and so not takers.

Right?

But it's a very small step from a robot economy to a robot planet.

No?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

No philosopher Kings

If he is wise, the philosopher is an atheist and an amoralist.

Judging by the general run of men, he is in some degree averse to the distress of others but, personal acquaintances aside, he is for the most part indifferent to their fate.

Indeed, again judging by the ordinary run of men, he fears his fellows more than he loves them, and his feelings and preferences are colored accordingly.

All the same, his preferences don't suffice to decide many questions that others among that same general run can decide only by appeal to moral or religious beliefs, if at all.

Assuming, of course, that he has no personal stake in the matter, nor does anyone whose fate concerns him personally.

But that is what, according to the classical view, the wise man, the philosopher King, is supposed to do.

Decide all those controversies.

Make law for all those cases.

But with no stake in the matter and neither moral nor religious convictions to guide him, absent both a love for others unnatural as hen's teeth and a not so unnatural general malevolence, he must truly be indifferent.

Let's put the question a little differently.

Don't imagine you had to make all those decisions.

Imagine someone else with no stake making those decisions, and able to make them with complete impunity.

Scary thought, eh?

Too many people like to wreck anthills or torment helpless animals . . . . or children.

Ordinary people, sufficiently informed, can sometimes decide which of the major parties is, based on its policy commitments, likely the lesser evil or the greater good, judging by their own interests and, though in most cases it counts for much less, by those of their acquaintances.

A more interesting question is how the ordinary politician arrives at the preferences that will enable him to decide what to support and what to oppose, once in office.

Assuming he isn't simply for sale.

In any case, it's not wisdom.

The left bails on the sex biz

Too young to be old hat, the KOS gang, rather than deploring them for blue-nosed absurdity, rejoice in prosecutions in Texas of male noncoms for recruiting female troops into a prostitution ring as an attack on or proof of sexual harassment in the military.

Not even a hint the girls are being or should be prosecuted.

Much less that the trade should be legal.

Numerous writers at left venues, mostly women, are mad as heck and beating up the military for its "corrosive gender culture," blah, blah, blah.

Coercion is as taken for granted in this case as Zimmerman's guilt in the Trayvon Martin affair.

Not to say it might not have been involved, perhaps even as the main inducement.

But nothing could be further from the minds of any of these irate feminazis than the possibility that prostitution might be an uncoerced choice that ought to be legal and - gasp! - morally acceptable.

I think we need a few new words, here, friends.

Whoreophobia, perhaps.

Or Johnophobia.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pocahontas for president

On the money and class war issues, anyway, Elizabeth Warren is to the left of both Clintons and most office holding or office seeking Democrats.

I find it difficult to think she's more hawkish or more in Israel's pocket than Hillary, though of course she might be.

So, pending dissuasion, I think I am with her.

Besides, it's time.

Really, it's time for America to put a female redskin in the White House.

Don't you think?

Yes, that's a joke.

Look it up.

But I mean it about supporting her.

Ukraine’s future is not our problem


Nor was the Russo-German partition of Poland in 1939, any more than the three previous partitions of Poland.

Why does America spend a fortune on the military?

Why can’t America go more than a decade or so without a new war?

People just like it, I guess.

So guys like this Freedom House fellow have always been able to bully, cajole, and wheedle Americans into ridiculous wars.

Honest, disinterested advice to the young? 

Leave the country and don't even look back. 

America will not change in this regard in the foreseeable future. 

Nor will its political right be less revolting or less powerful. 

Canada is cold but good.

Excellent, in fact. 

Too late for me, but not for you. 

Things there ought not to be

There really shouldn't be a “national Christmas tree,” unless some church or private party in DC or somewhere wants to put one up on its or his own property.

Separation, etc.

Which is not to say the president can't have one in the White House or on the lawn, I suppose.

Interesting question.

Good grief. The man has a skull full of mush.

The pope, I mean.

Reading the passages of his "The Joy of the Gospel" that deal with the economy, one gets that impression.

The rest might be worse, for all I know.

But this is quite bad enough.

This does seem to take us outside traditional Catholic social teaching, mostly in the direction of ick and ooze.
 
And muddle.

Yes, that's it. 

Ick, ooze, and muddle.


Yes, there are sentences that make some sense and might have been written by a secular progressive.

But they are very few, and there is far too much extravagance, goop, muddle, and religious silliness for liberals to find much of an ally in this clownish priest.

Have you ever read "Being There"?

The left is basically just spinning this guy like mad.

The right are beside themselves.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Limbaugh more bush every day

Now he has angrily denounced the pope as, you guessed it (but how could you miss?), a Marxist.

Just barking like some demented, exceptionally stupid, rabid dog.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Free exercise

It's clear as day.

To interfere with your free exercise of your religion I have to stop or hinder you doing something.

Going to mass, for example, or receiving communion.

Or attending prayers at your mosque or synagogue.

Or teaching or studying your religion.

Or indoctrinating your children in your religious beliefs, however objectionable or obviously false, or contrary to the scientific view of things.

A free-exercise absolutist would insist forbidding animal or human sacrifice, polygamy, or ritual prostitution are also interferences that, like any other, are prohibited to the federal government, but not the states, by the First Amendment.

After all, how many ways are there to understand "Congress shall make no law"?

Forcing you to act contrary to your religious beliefs is a different thing, though apparently many think it is not.

And even more remote from such interference would be requiring you to do something that enables somebody else to do something prohibited not by his but by your religious beliefs, though it does not ensure that he will.

Such as, say, requiring Quakers to pay taxes that are partly used to fund the military and actual wars.

Or requiring employers to cover medical services forbidden by their own religions.

Think of blood transfusions and Jehovah's Witnesses.

Or, as in the present case, contraceptives.

But it's not really the First Amendment at issue, here, but a federal law purporting to clarify it by forbidding any law to substantially burden free exercise without compelling reason.

Leave aside that statutes can no more clarify than change the constitution.

Leave aside that this statute appears to lack foundation in any of the congress's constitutionally assigned powers.

Leave aside that this statute, intended by conservatives to strengthen protection of free exercise, instead weakens it.

All the same, the considerations above still apply.

Interfering with free exercise is stopping you doing something required or urged by your religion.

Making you do something forbidden or discountenanced by it is another.

And making you do something that enables somebody else to do such a thing is yet another step away from interference with free exercise.

Yet even those who support this requirement of Obamacare grant what is not true, as in this ungrammatical clause by Jill Filipovic in The Guardian, "Free religious exercise is burdened when the government forces an individual to participate in activities that violate their [sic] religious beliefs[.]"

And perhaps this is what lawyers generally think - mush heads that they are, despite their endless, ludicrous crowing about logical rigor and clear thinking - and plausibly reflects legislative intent.

But it's nonsense.

And the truth, by the way, is that lawyers by trade specialize in pettifogging obfuscation and obscurantism, not to say the most egregious lying.

An honorable profession, indeed.

And don't later federal laws just trump earlier ones in case of conflict, anyway?

Which came later, Obamacare or RFRA?