Strange Days, II

A school district punishes a teacher for what we used to call 'doing the right thing.'
A Florida school district allowed a self-described transgender female student regular access to the boys’ locker room, with no advance warning to the boys or their parents. The first time she walked in, she caught “boys (literally) with their pants down, causing them embarrassment and concern by the fact that they had been observed changing by an obvious girl,” says a complaint letter to Pasco County School District from Liberty Counsel, a pro-bono constitutional law firm.

With a “gag order,” school administrators forbade teachers from talking about the change, and ordered a male P.E. teacher to supervise the potentially undressed girl in the Chasco Middle School locker room, the letter says. When he refused to “knowingly place himself in a position to observe a minor female in the nude or otherwise in a state of undress,” administrators told him “he will be transferred to another school as discipline for ‘not doing your job in the locker room.'”
I note that the law firm mentioned has been placed on the SPLC's list of hate groups. I checked because they used the phrase "an obvious girl," which is so big a violation of PC-speak that I figured they'd be there, and they are.

Strange Days

A judge at a Naturalization ceremony tells the new citizens to boycott the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the nation they just elected to join.
Her speech to the new citizens, to the extent that I could hear it, was appalling. Sounding like a Democratic Party ward boss, she urged the new citizens to vote as soon as humanly possible. She made voting sound like a tremulous act of self-defense against the country they had just joined. The exhortation, needless to say, gave off a strong anti-Republican, anti-Trump whiff.

Then she started in on some ludicrous riff about the First Amendment, encouraging the new Americans to exercise that right as robustly as possible, including by “taking a knee.” Huh?

So here we have a federal court judge, who just turned a room full of foreigners into American citizens, and her first piece of advice to them is: boycott the American flag you have just been handed. It was depressing and infuriating as hell.

In the past, a judge who dispensed such nihilistic advice to new Americans would be impeached.
Congress will have a lame-duck session before that becomes impossible.

Against Sins of Openness

The American Mind proposes an interesting reading:
The postwar era has been characterized by a de-regulatory consensus. This has a cultural dimension. In the 1950s, mainstream liberal writers bemoaned “organizational man” and wrote about the “lonely crowd.” More and more people came to reject legally (and socially) enforced racism—the epitome of bad cultural regulation. These concerns about intrusive and unsustainable regulation intensified in the 1960s.... Sexual liberation was but one part of a much larger project of cultural de-regulation, championed mostly by the center-left, but often with the center-right’s cooperation. (See the history of no-fault divorce....

The de-regulatory consensus also had an economic dimension. In 1945, sixty-five percent of American GDP went to the war effort. Our economy was regulated by production goals, price controls, and all manner of central planning. From the time Truman released Detroit from military production quotas, the American economy has been on a trajectory of de-regulation.... As the Soviet empire was crumbling in 1990, George H. W. Bush addressed the United Nations. He urged a global effort to create a future of “open borders, open trade, and, most importantly, open minds.” This formulation could well serve as the postwar era’s catechism, which, again, I must emphasize rested upon a center-right and center-left consensus. By the time Barack Obama had become president, Bush’s formulation was thought to express a metaphysical truth...

Today’s populism rejects the de-regulatory, “openness” consensus. Building the “beautiful wall” was one of Trump’s most effective campaign slogans. It is the image of closure, not openness. Trump backed this up not only with promises to combat illegal immigration, but to also rip up free trade agreements and build a wall of economic protectionism. All of this was laced with un-nuanced, pro-American rhetoric. Meanwhile, Trump addressed social conservatives with blunt directness. He did not reiterate conservative pieties about appointing judges who will “respect the constitution.” Instead, he said he would appoint pro-life judges. He did not promise to protect religious freedom; he promised to say “Merry Christmas.” He repeatedly, pungently, and unapologetically violated the canons of political correctness, which is the police arm of the cultural de-regulation project.
I would have said that political correctness was the police arm of a regulatory project: it doesn't intend to stop people from judging, but to pass judgments (sometimes quite harsh ones, which can destroy careers or ruin lives). Still, there's a point to be made here:
Conservatives like the word “freedom.” That’s a better word than “open,” which has utopian connotations of limitless and borderless existence: we are the world! But we need to learn from Trumpian populism. At the end of the postwar era, the meaning of “freedom” has become libertarian and de-regulatory, almost a synonym for “open.” As a consequence, conservative voters — voters who want to renew and restore something solid and enduring in America — no longer thrill to our rhetoric of freedom....

The postwar era is ending. The center-left politics of cultural de-regulation no longer commands widespread support, which is why it has to rely on a punitive, hectoring political correctness. The center-right project of economic de-regulation is losing its appeal, especially in its global aspects. Voters are rebelling. They want national reconsolidation, cultural stability, and relief from ever-intensifying economic competition. We see it in Europe. It’s happening in the United States. I say, thank goodness.

A Lost City of Trojans

Following the Trojan War, the victors forced captured Trojans to build themselves a new home south of Corinth. It prospered, but was lost sometime after Rome destroyed Corinth during its capture of Greece. Now it has been found:
On Tuesday, the Greek culture ministry announced Korka's team had found "proof of the existence of the ancient city" of Tenea. An image of the excavation site released by the ministry depict stone walls, the remains of what were likely houses from the settlement nearly 3,000 years ago.
More at the link.

An Almost Nuclear Iran

The seized Iranian intelligence cache proves to contain some explosive details (pun intended, though I suppose this is no laughing matter).
“The U.S. was issuing statements that it would take a year at least, perhaps two years, to build a deliverable weapon. The information in the archive makes it clear they could have done it a lot quicker,” said Albright. He added that the French government, which was then saying Iran could achieve a weapon in three months, was much closer in its estimates.
If Iran goes nuclear, we'll finally find out if that "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" stuff was just rhetoric, I suppose.

A Message from Tracey Ullman

Ullman's message is brought to you, on this occasion, by Jessica Valenti.

WW1 Oversimplified

This fellow has a series of videos that are mostly educational but also comically oversimplified. In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1, here's his take on that:

Part 1


Part 2

Nationalism and WWI

Wretchard is discussing the question of whether nationalism or internationalism was responsible for the First World War. I'm old enough to have been educated by confident teachers in both propositions. 'Nationalism caused WWI' was taken to be the definitive argument some decades ago; as Wretchard points out, we understand a little more about it now.
It might be argued it was the international system with its entangling alliances and secret treaties that dragged the world kicking and screaming to slaughter of the trenches.... a world without firebreaks can internationalize a local incident that might otherwise have remained isolated. It was precisely the telegraph, railroad and even the invention of corned beef that made "some damned fool thing in the Balkans" able spread like wildfire. Once the finger of Serbia had been caught in the mangle the entire European arm was pulled into the meat grinder, inevitably and inexorably.
The focus on nationalism as an evil was made more plausible to teachers as the educational establishment moved left, for the great Soviet cause was internationalism. Nationalism, in the absence of entangling alliances and mobilization plans that thrust British troops to the German front, might well have turned there as here into isolationism. It might have inclined the Brits as the Swiss to avoid the war, because it wasn't their people's business and they would prefer to be left alone.

Imperialism, another Soviet bugaboo, is a better candidate for blame than nationalism. The British people could sit out a world war, but the British Empire couldn't.

In any case, Wretchard points out (as our Eric Blair has long argued) that WWI destroyed the foundations of Western civilization; we may yet die of it. I saw someone post something yesterday to the effect of, 'if we don't have nations, if we don't have children, if we don't have borders: they all died for nothing.' Maybe that's right, as Wretchard notes:
It's instructive to note that even a century has not proved enough time for Macron's EU to recover its religious, national and erotic confidence. In the quartet of leaders formed by May, Macron, Merkel and Trump only the Donald has children. To Macron at least, national ideals have become demons. And as for religion -- perhaps that is a subject best left untouched for the present.

Veterans Day

Have a good one, you who have earned it.

Advice For House-Breakers


From the Saga of Burnt Njal, when some house-breakers decide to go after Gunnar:
Now when they were come near to the house they knew not whether Gunnar were at home, and bade that some one would go straight up to the house and see if he could find out. But the rest sat them down on the ground.

Thorgrim the Easterling went and began to climb up on the hall; Gunnar sees that a red kirtle passed before the window-slit, and thrusts out the halberd, and smote him on the middle. Thorgrim's feet slipped from under him, and he dropped his shield, and down he toppled from the roof.

Then he goes to Gizur and his band as they sat on the ground.

Gizur looked at him and said—

“Well, is Gunnar at home?”

“Find that out for yourselves,” said Thorgrim; “but this I am sure of, that his halberd is at home,” and with that he fell down dead.
(I substitute 'halberd' for 'bill,' both of which are English weapon-names that are sometimes used for the atgeirr, and neither of which is quite right: see this article. My guess is that it was somewhat like the Lochaber Axe, which is another weapon similar to a halberd but not quite, and which may be descended from the atgeirr.)

It's worth noting that, though the house-breakers did finally kill Gunnar, they didn't get him until his bowstring broke. House-breakers facing more reliable artillery may want to rethink their whole approach to life.

Toleration Doesn't Work That Way

Arabic-language 'vloggers' go around mocking LBGTQ culture in the West. Vocativ wonders why a people of a faith potentially subject to discrimination wouldn't be more tolerant.

That's not how toleration works. Toleration is a decision to accept something you dislike in order to obtain benefits, especially peaceful co-existence. That is why religious toleration came to be. It came to be in order to end the religious wars.

If there's no penalty for intolerance, there is no reason to tolerate things that you despise. These folks know they're already protected by the PC culture they're mocking. They know it can't really turn on them. It just has to hope they'll someday agree to be the allies the PC hope they'll become.

Allies against me and you, of course. That's ironic, since I long ago adopted Hondo's rule:
"[A] long time ago, I made me a rule. I let people do what they want to do."
You might think that this rule opens you to abuse from the abusive, but as you can see it tends to work out if backed up with the right spirit.



Problem we've got is that nobody is willing to let people suffer the consequences of doing what they decided they wanted to do.

No Confidence

Corruption in the "counting of votes" sounds highly likely down Florida way, especially given the history of that particular official who is overseeing it.

Georgia and Arizona remain in similar places, with Democratic parts of the states continuing to "find" new votes. We used to say "If it's not close, they can't cheat." The corollary to that is that, when it is close, they certainly can try.

Empathy is Overrated

Matt Y says he 'cannot empathize' with Tucker Carlson's wife, who was frightened last night when Antifa's DC chapter "Smash Racism" busted in her front door after surrounding her house. The move wasn't 'tactically' wise, he says, but it doesn't affect him on a human level.

Empathy in politics is generally unhealthy; it leads to injustice fairly reliably, as it makes the person we feel for more into a victim who deserves redress, or the person they're accusing into a villain who deserves utter destruction. Or, if we should happen to feel for the violator, it makes his crimes minor things that should be brushed away, and his victims persons of no special account. Whenever people tell me they wish there was more empathy in politics, I assume that means they are the sort of person who should be humored rather than heeded.

That said, Matt raises another good point about empathy by his lack of it. We can't rely on people to have empathy for those that they think of as enemies, and Carlson's wife -- whose name he probably doesn't even know, and who has done nothing other than be married to a guy whom he hates -- is going to get tossed in that camp. Whatever happens to her, eh, that kind of thing happens to bad people. They have it coming. Divine justice, he'd have said back before the Party mandated that people stop talking unironically about God (with a few specific exceptions).

An appeal to empathy is overrated. Patrick Henry knew where to appeal in such cases:
Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope.

If we wish to be free... we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!
Henry was right. It might be your house, next.

Forcing Another Bite at the Apple

In Georgia, the Abrams campaign continues to refuse to concede defeat; the candidate says that, if only counting the provisional ballots can lower the margin of victory of her opponent's below 50%, she'll be entitled to a new election under state law. In Florida, a recount is already being required in spite of some highly irregular activity in Boward County, which is "still counting" and refuses to disclose how many more votes they still have to count (as many as necessary, one assumes). Marco Rubio is on the latter case.

"Orange Man Bad"

Molly Hemmingway apparently said on FOX last night that Democrats and Never-Trumpers were united around their idea that "Orange Man Bad."

Turns out that's a frame from the NPC meme we were discussing not long ago.



Speaking of NPC Conan, he's back on today -- with an orange theme, even.


It's not true that 'few would call Conan smart,' by the way; in Howard's stories he is respected as an intelligent and savvy tactician even by his worst enemies.

The Results Come In

This post’s comments thread is the place for election discussion, if anyone is interested in that.

Come down now they'll say

Last night I watched "Homecoming," a Julia Roberts production on Amazon Prime.  Typical antiwar, anticapitalist politics aside, it was an affecting story about the death of identity we court when we numb a painful memory.  The soundtrack to the final scene was this song "The Trapeze Swinger," with its insistent chorus of "Remember Me."  In tracking it down I found I also liked "Such Great Heights," a cover from the same artist.  Actually most of his songs are pretty similar, but dreamy and effective.