Pesky strings on that money

The University of Missouri faces a moral dilemma.
In 2002, the university received a $5 million bequest . . . to fund six professorships at the Trulaske College of Business to be filled by devotees of free market economics.
[The will included] a unique enforcement provision. Mizzou would be required to certify every four years to the satisfaction of Hillsdale College that each professorship had been filled by “a dedicated and articulate disciple of the Ludwig von Mises (Austrian) School of Economics.” The remaining funds would revert to Hillsdale in the event that this requirement was not met.
But the university obviously doesn't approve of Austrian economics. You might suppose, therefore, that its moral dilemma was whether it was justified in taking the money. Just kidding. Of course they took the money. The moral dilemma was their concern that "acceding to [the donor's] request would consign the school to being 'held hostage by a particular ideology.'" Ideology is wrong, at least when it's the wrong ideology. The university stands foursquare against it.

Unfortunately, the university was dumb enough to generate internal memoranda admitting that it was trying to circumvent the donor's intent, explaining that “the Austrian School of Economics is quite controversial ... [w]e didn’t want to wade into that controversy, so we focused on some Austrian tenets that are compatible with what we do in our business school.”  That's pretty close to “a dedicated and articulate disciple of the Ludwig von Mises (Austrian) School of Economics,” right?  Presumably they scrounged up a few guys who at least agreed with the Austrians on one or two basic economic principles on a good day when no pressing social justice issues intervened.

Somehow, this didn't satisfy Hillsdale College, which recently lost patience and filed a lawsuit arguing that no “disciple” of Austrian economics was ever hired, let alone a dedicated or articulate one.  No doubt the university will give up now and hand the donation over to Hillsdale. Again, just kidding.

Racism problem worse than I dreamed

Until today I had no idea front-door cams were racist:
Critics complain that the systems turn neighborhoods into places of constant surveillance and create suspicion that falls heavier on minorities. . . . Critics also say Ring, a subsidiary of Amazon, appears to be marketing its cameras by stirring up fear of crime at a time when it’s decreasing. . . . “Amazon is profiting off of fear,” said Chris Gilliard, an English professor at Michigan’s Macomb Community College and a prominent critic of Ring and other technology that he says can reinforce race barriers. Part of the strategy seems to be selling the cameras “where the fear of crime is more real than the actual existence of crime.”
Thanks, Prof. Gillard, but I think I'll make up my own mind how secure my front door is.  Do front-door lock manufacturers profit off fear?  If so, bully for them.  Ditto vaccine and airbag manufacturers.

I notice the linked AP article didn't even try to explain the race-barrier angle, because frankly that line of reasoning won't bear close scrutiny.

Son of Scalia

Here's some good news:  With Acosta out as Labor Secretary, his second-in-command, a workmanlike conservative with a good reputation, will be acting secretary.  In the meantime, President Trump has nominated Eugene Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, to take the helm.

Scalia runs the labor/employment law department at Gibson Dunn, one of the few law firms with a national reputation, and the only top-shelf D.C. law firm I know of, that includes a number of serious and credible conservative partners.  Scalia worked for Attorney General Barr during that gentleman's first stint at the Department of Justice, and must have gotten a thumbs-up from him.

A Heroic Cleric

Another good story from CNN.
The US government is honoring an 83-year-old Muslim cleric who hid 262 Christians in his home and mosque during an attack in central Nigeria.

Imam Abubakar Abdullahi, along with four religious leaders from Sudan, Iraq, Brazil and Cyprus, were awarded the 2019 the International Religious Freedom Award, which is given to advocates of religious freedom.

Abdullahi was recognized for providing shelter for hundreds of Christians fleeing attacks from Muslim herdsmen who had launched coordinated attacks on Christian farmers in 10 villages in the Barkin Ladi area of Plateau State on June 23, 2018, the award organizers said in a statement.

"How the Soviets Won the Space Race for Equality"

I swear, these people are beyond parody.

Happy 50th landing anniversary to a real hero of humanity, Buzz Aldrin, whose mission flew in the face of all godless Communists. "In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup. It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, were communion elements."

Norse American History News

A new layer for archaeologists to explore has been discovered at L’Anse aux Meadows.
The colony was thought to be short-lived, but a new find may extend the length of its occupancy.

While taking sediment cores from a nearby peat bog to help study the ancient environment, archaeologist Paul Ledger and his colleagues discovered a previously unknown chapter in the story of L’Anse aux Meadows. Buried about 35cm (14 inches) beneath the modern surface, they found signs of an ancient occupancy: a layer of trampled mud littered with woodworking debris, charcoal, and the remains of plants and insects.

Based on its depth and the insect species present, the layer looks like similar surfaces from the edges of Viking Age Norse settlements in Greenland and Iceland. But organic material from the layer radiocarbon dated to the late 1100s or early 1200s, long after the Norse were thought to have left Newfoundland for good.

Artifacts like a bronze cloak pin, a soapstone spindle piece, iron nails, and rivets make it clear who lived in the eight Icelandic-style turf shelters at L’Anse aux Meadows. Stone tools at the site suggest that indigenous North Americans, probably ancestors of the Beothuk and Dorset people, also lived or visited here. L’Anse aux Meadows may be the first place where Europeans and indigenous Americans interacted, and those interactions may have happened off and on for as long as 195 years.
There's more.

The USS Boxer at Sea

For CNN, this is a good piece on the USS Boxer.

A Surprising Senator in Arizona

I had concerns about Senator Sinema, compared with the fighter pilot she was running against. But she's representing the interests of her state fairly well, all things considered.

War of Words

Almost all Democrats, but also a majority of Republicans, think heated rhetoric in our politics may provoke violence. Empirical evidence supports this. There was a terrorist attack last week in Tacoma in which a prominent American politician's heated language was cited verbatim by the attacker. As Instapundit's site points out regularly, that wasn't the first time.

So far the rhetoric hasn't cooled, but perhaps it will.

Greenwashing

Vodkapundit defines "greenwashing" as sweeping your environmental impacts under someone else's rug.
Are you tired of paying too little for clean-burning energy that reduces carbon emissions? Then has Berkeley got a deal for you!
On Tuesday, the City Council approved a new ordinance forbidding any new low-rise residences from using natural gas: It's all-electric or nothin', baby. Councilwoman Kate Harrison, who sponsored the measure, told the Chronicle that "It’s an enormous issue" and "When we think about pollution and climate-change issues, we tend to think about factories and cars, but all buildings are producing greenhouse gas."
And more than a few local politicians, too.
Discerning readers already were aware that gas heat is much more efficient than electric heat, but California now imports 33% of its electricity, so there's less need to think about what has to be burned (Nevada coal) or killed (Oregon salmon) to produce it out there in non-Cali-land.

Decades ago during the first PG&E bankruptcy, you may recall some fantastic spikes in California power prices and widespread brownouts.  The spikes were widely attributed to shady Enron behavior but actually resulted, I believe, from California's insistence on squeezing down its paltry collection of interstate transmission corridors, while undermining domestic power production, until it was practically begging for a supply-demand crisis.  The California PUC helped things along by refusing PG&E's increasingly urgent requests to be allowed to buy long-term price-hedging contracts to smooth over the confidently predicted price spikes.  That would be unfair to consumers, if power prices declined, as the PUC apparently expected in the brave new world.

As you might imagine, California has not in the interim been taken over by bureaucrats with a firmer grasp of market principles.  Time to tee the system up for a bigger and better replay!

Is he really that hard to understand?

This Inside Hook article sums up Trump's style as "don't start no *$^%, won't be no *$^%."

Weird numbers

Sometimes I wonder if people who answer polls are rolling dice or making up answers at random. I'm slightly encouraged that more people are discounting the "Trump is a racist" story that blares out of nearly every mainstream media outlet several times a day. It's more dispiriting to find such a stark partisan divide on the issue, but I'm getting used to that.

What's more bizarre is that as many as 16% of self-avowed Republicans could be brought to say that any criticism by a white politician of the political views of a politician "of color" is per se racist. As Glenn Reynolds says, it leads one to assume that 16% of Republican respondents simply didn't understand the question.  For 16% of self-described independents and 32% of Democrats to answer that way could be chalked up to muddle-headedness or partisan mania, but what kind of Republican subscribes to such a theory?  Not just that some criticism of a person of one race by a person of another might turn out, on closer inspection, to be racist, but that "all" of it is?  What part of the Republican platform would appeal to someone with such a mindset?
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 47% of all ‘Likely U.S. Voters’ think Trump is a racist, down slightly from 50% in January 2018. Slightly more (49%) disagree and say his opponents are accusing him of racism only for political gain, up from 43% in the earlier survey,” said a pre-release analysis of the poll posted at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Other features in the analysis:
The partisan division of opinion couldn’t be any clearer. While 80% of Democrats believe the president is a racist, 85% of Republicans think the racism charges by his opponents are politically motivated. Voters not affiliated with either major party are evenly divided on the question. Thirty-two percent (32%) of Democrats, however, say it’s racist for any white politician to criticize the political views of a politician of color. That’s a view shared by just 16% of both GOP and unaffiliated voters.

Aristotle's Ethics: What Is a Happy Life?

I had not intended to take this long in posting, but family is visiting and we're catching up and seeing the sights.

Lesson 3 in the series is about happiness, but not the emotional, fleeting sort. Rather, Aristotle discusses what it means to have a happy lifetime, from beginning to end.

I have never given a great deal of thought to what makes a happy lifetime -- not just this moment, day, month, year, decade, but lifetime.

What makes a full, happy life of seven or eight decades? And are there general principles to achieve this that apply to everyone?

Aristotle claims there are. Prof. Arnn claims that it has only been in the last couple of centuries that people have started thinking that there aren't, that a happy life can be a completely individual thing and that the principles that create a happy life for one may create a miserable life for another.

What do you think? Are there general principles for a happy lifetime that apply to everyone? If so, what are they?

"Muscle Dysmorphia"

There are two responses to this, one more humorous than the other.
The idealised male body has become bigger, bulkier and harder to achieve. So what drives a generation of young men to the all-consuming, often dangerous pursuit of perfection?
What do you think?


Of course, all things done by young men are chiefly about attaining the attention of young women, gay men excepted but with a similar substitute motivation. They strive for the ideal because that's how you attain the attentions when you're young, before your blood cools and you learn to really appreciate the other aspects of human love. If this is what you present to them, it's what they'll go for -- provided, that is, that it's a plausible thing that young women really do seem to like. If you try to convince them that the real ideal male body is squishy and flabby and fat, they'll notice quickly enough that you're full of it when the girls don't take notice of their physique.

But ask any young man who has begun lifting for a while if the girls have started to notice him. He'll blush behind his downy mustache, nod, and perhaps say a few shy words to affirm it.

So that's why young men are doing it. But the bigger response is: What's wrong with it?

Ok, illegal supplements, dangerous drugs, damage to the body, granted. Those things work in terms of attaining size and 'cut,' but they make it so easy that you fail at developing the real virtues that come from the hard work to get there. They substitute ease of success for both virtue and health. So don't do those things.

All the same, a man can go a long way on this road -- enough to enter the top 1% of human strength -- without reference to such things. If you get focused on having the perfectly sculpted body, you'll make some basic errors that will lead you away from what it takes to have the strongest body. To whit:


That's accurate. Bodybuilding will make you look (somewhat) like Arnold; but if you want to be strong, you'll want to look more like Halfthor. So, in terms of attaining the maximum virtue of functional human strength, Bodybuilding is less effective than Powerlifting, and Powerlifting is less effective than Strongman. (Which has a thriving women's division, by the way.)

By all means get strong. Why not?

Strong Enough for a Man, But Made for a Woman

This is all very clever, but what's going to stop him from sitting in the woman's seat? Not the block in the middle, if he should merely sit with his legs even further apart over the edges of the stool.

Actually, both stools look entirely uncomfortable -- but making people uncomfortable is, I gather, the telos of high feminist architecture.

You Can't Have the Gadsden Flag, Commies

Nor the Culpeper Flag, nor the Navy Jack, and especially you may not have the Flag of the Veterans Exempt. Nor the Betsy Ross flag.

The Confederate flag, fine. The rest of them you're just going to have to learn to live with.

water rug

A friend hand-loomed this rug made of home-dyed worn-out bed sheets.


A Debacle in the House

So, last week the tension in the Democratic Party was that Nancy Pelosi stood accused of being a kind-of racist because she was always putting down what has come to be called "the Squad," or, as Squad-leader AOC puts it, 'freshmen women of color.' Speaker Pelosi pulled out all the stops in self-defense against this career-destroying claim, up to and including the Congressional Black Caucus and Maureen Dowd in the Sunday New York Times.

As of yesterday, it appeared that President Trump had decided to rescue Speaker Pelosi by giving her an ample chance to turn the charge around against him, and show staunch support for 'the Squad.' Yesterday afternoon, however, 'the Squad' called for the President to be impeached (for an ill-considered exercise of his First Amendment rights, I suppose, which is apparently either a high crime or a misdemeanor these days; although one of them mentioned Russia Collusion, as if that were still a live issue that might lead to impeachment somehow). Speaker Pelosi risked another split with the four by insisting on a toothless resolution instead, arguing that impeachment would fail in the Senate and the President would claim vindication.

The idea was this was the safe bet, and she could peel off some Republicans and have a symbolic victory at no cost -- assuming 'the Squad' didn't keep raising a fuss about how she didn't impeach.

Instead, what happened was that she used language that violated rules going back to Thomas Jefferson; the Parliamentarian sided with a challenge to that language from Rep. Doug Collins (my old representative, actually, from Georgia's Mighty 9th Congressional District); Pelosi then left the floor in violation of the rules; the chairman abandoned the chair rather than accept the ruling that she was guilty; the next chairman did accept it, so the House voted to reject applying the rule and keep her remarks on the record; and then the House voted to exempt her from any punishment for breaking the rule, even though the punishment was purely symbolic.

So now, not only did they not get the show of Republicans joining them to shame the President, they damaged the cause of impeachment. Now, if they ever do impeach, the Senate Republicans can simply point to this as a clear precedent for how things are done these days. If they'd made Pelosi accept the token symbol of a punishment, they could have claimed the high ground for applying the rules to their own elected party leader. Now, they've set a clear standard that those with the power to do so shall set the rules aside to protect their party leader (even when there's really nothing at stake in applying the rules). They've deprived themselves of a huge rhetorical advantage, making a successful impeachment and removal of the President far less likely than it already was.

The floor of the House is a smoking ruin this afternoon.

Hate Speech Banned

The banned content:
“Let us never assume that if we live good lives we will be without sin; our lives should be praised only when we continue to beg for pardon. But men are hopeless creatures, and the less they concentrate on their own sins, the more interested they become in the sins of others. They seek to criticize, not to correct. Unable to excuse themselves, they are ready to accuse others.”
The author of this hate-filled content was a little-known writer named Augustine of Hippo.

Where Have I Heard This Before?

Headline: "Joe Biden, Echoing Obama, Pledges to Shore Up the Affordable Care Act."

But don't worry, he says:
“If you like your health care plan, your employer-based plan, you can keep it,” Mr. Biden told an AARP forum on Monday. “If you like your private insurance, you can keep it.”
Well, gosh, that makes me feel so much better.

Privileged People Are The Ones Who May Not Speak

A follow-on to Tex's post. It's always struck me as ironic that the dialogue works this way: you can spend literal years using the phrases "Traitor!" and "Nazi!" without being charged with being divisive or with questioning someone's loyalty to America if you are on one side. If you are on the other side, raising a question about someone's loyalty to the American project is itself proof of your own racism or xenophobia or whatever -- even if they have themselves said very nasty things that might lead an unbiased observer to think that maybe they weren't very fond or very proud of the United States of America.

If you asked why, the answer would be that the ones being silenced were the privileged who had to be held to a higher standard for the good of us all. It was all very well for oppressed minorities to make reference to racial solidarity as a means of resisting their oppression, for example, but it could never do for the majority; that would lead to further and increased oppression. Because of the fact of privilege, then, the unprivileged deserved extra privileges that counterbalanced the privileges of the majority.

That rhetorical move (rooted in Rawls, I think) was persuasive to the majority for a long time, but it couldn't go on forever. For one thing, since 1965, the demographics have been shifting rapidly. The old assumptions about privilege were eventually going to have to be tested as majorities collapsed, and newcomers proved in many cases to do better than the native-born. Who, then, deserves the countervailing privileges? Perhaps the double-standards are obsolete?

The late Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Lewis Grizzard used to talk occasionally about migrants from the northern United States who moved South to escape oppressive weather, high cost of living, and massive taxation, only to complain about how 'backwards' they found the South. "If you don't like Dixie," he would say, "Delta is ready when you are." I hear similar sentiments from Texans today dealing with "California refugees." I hear similar sentiments from people in Brooklyn or Austin, for that matter, about richer people moving into the poorer neighborhoods and making them unaffordable for those who used to live there. It's no wonder that people get mad about folks moving here from Mexico and then raising the Mexican flag over American facilities. You can be from Mexico or Somalia, or you can be from New York or New Jersey or San Francisco; you can be born of whatever parentage. If you move somewhere and then gripe about how badly it compares to your earlier homeland, or go about trying to change it into your former homeland, someone is eventually going to ask you why you don't just go back if you liked it their way so much more.

The 'gentrification' complaint is allowed, though, with no one thinking it is really about race rather than wealth even when race plays a big factor in the complaints. Other complaints are not as freely permitted; some are painted as outright racist or as hate-speech. But it is the same complaint in all cases: it's about people of different cultures moving into an area and bringing changes the original inhabitants don't like, and may not be able to afford. It's about communities that exist being disrupted or destroyed or driven under by migration. Some of it's internal to the United States; some of it, the races of both migrants and the extant community are the same. Sometimes they're different, and when that happens race seems to be a bigger factor than it really is. The concerns are severable: even where the races and nationalities are the same, people raise the same objections.

Not everyone is allowed to do so without being demonized, though. That's a cultural double-standard that probably can't survive any longer than it has. For a long time it made sense to people in a larger, stronger majority as an article of justice. These days, there's not so much patience among the smaller, weaker, vanishing majority for being told they must swallow their concerns. Nor will those who long enjoyed a monopoly on the counterbalancing privilege surrender their own privileges lightly. These ugly fights are likely to be with us for a while.

Shuttuppism

From Instapundit:
A few, a very few, have begun to realize that Podesta and Hillary’s polarization game (“Deplorables!”) has contaminated — and possibly rendered toothless — Democratic politics for years to come. It was only a matter of time until they began to use this tactic on each other.

Once Upon a Time

Sergio Leone, over a storied career, made two movies that began with the words "Once Upon a Time." The one he had actually wanted to make most is the one he made last, a piece about Jewish gangsters during Prohibition starring Robert De Niro. The earlier one, of 1968 vintage, was called "Once Upon a Time in the West." It is one of the great Westerns, with a closing sequence that summarizes the criticism of Modernism perfectly. The whole film celebrates and inverts the symbols of the Western, as Clint Eastwood -- Leone's most famous alumni -- later would do with his own "Unforgiven."

Now Quentin Tarantino is coming out with a movie called "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," the soundtrack of which has been released. It features De Niro, actually, though it does not star him.. It contains tracks from both of the Sergio Leone films, in case the homage was not obvious enough. The film is set in the same era in which the earlier Leone film was made, 1969. It's built around Charles Manson, but I think it will doubtless be interesting if the soundtrack is any clue.





Tarantino is the only director whose films I always watch. The closest to that besides himself is Ridley Scott, but he sometimes turns out a production I'm not interested in seeing. Tarantino regularly produces films I don't think I'll be interested in watching, but find worthy when I get time for them.

Pulp Fiction is of course the greatest of his works, though. It was like "Once Upon a Time in the West" in that it has a closing sequence that is surprising and unexpected even given all the groundwork that was laid for it, and transformative to watch. The Bible verse isn't even real, but the idea of building a better and more virtuous life around scripture is taken so seriously that it is unlike anything else I've ever seen in a contemporary Hollywood film. I can't think how far you would have to go back in Hollywood's history to find so clear and unalloyed and expression of respect for the power of Christian faith to transform a soul in majestic ways.

The centrality of music remains the same in all of these films. The first time I saw Pulp Fiction, I walked out of the theater and went straight to a record store to buy the soundtrack. Tarantino has an ear for music. This time he includes some songs written and performed by Charles Manson himself. One of them was apparently recorded by the Beach Boys, about whom AVI has recently been writing. (They were a big favorite of my father's, as was the Kingston Trio. As a kid I always assumed that was Kingston, TN, since Dad was from Knoxville. So, as it happens, is Tarantino; that's why Knoxville turns up in his work sometimes.)

I'll be interested to see what becomes of this film. If you're interested in movies with strong musical selections set in 1969, by the way, let me re-up my recommendation for Bad Times at the El Royale. I've managed to get a couple of people to watch it with me, and all of them have been extremely impressed with it. If you see a copy, think about picking it up. It's worth your time.

Freedom and prosperity

An amateur tries to sum up history using trends in five metrics for human well-being:
Basically, if I help myself to the common (but certainly debatable) assumption that “the industrial revolution” is the primary cause of the dramatic trajectory change in human welfare around 1800-1870, then my one-sentence summary of recorded human history is this:
Everything was awful for a very long time, and then the industrial revolution happened.

Chapter and Book

One should be careful when challenging a man on the ground where he made his life's work.

RIP H. Ross Perot

Rick Perry tells a story about his good works.

Tunisian Marriage

There's a push to liberalize the Islamic laws on marriage and inheritance in Tunisia.
The announcement has drawn criticism from the region’s religious scholars. In a public statement, Abbas Shuman, deputy of grand imam Ahmad Al-Tayyib of the Egyptian religious authority Al-Azhar, the highest religious authorities in Sunni Islam, wrote that the potential reform to inheritance was, “unjust for women and is not in line with Islamic Sharia”.

In regard to inter-faith unions, he said: “Such a marriage would obstruct the stability of marriage.”
Inter-faith unions are already legal, as long as the man is a Muslim. The new laws would permit Muslim women to marry non-Muslims as well.

Millennial Nuns

I'm going to follow AVI in linking to this piece on the sudden, unexpected rise of vocation-seeking among America's youth. It probably shouldn't be surprising; there's a kind of cyclical flow to these things, with periods of disenchantment reliably followed by periods of intense faith. Philosophers wrongly talk about the Enlightenment as one long disenchantment, forgetting the Great Awakening of the 19th century that brought the end of slavery in the West among the heartfelt singing of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. For that matter, they tend to forget -- as do most -- that the craze for burning witches was not a feature of the High Middle Ages, when faith was triumphant. It was the age of science that brought witch-burning.

Still, it is good to see young hearts full of faith. It gives me joy to look upon it.

Just Black Men?

The article is by a black woman and for black men, but I think there may be a wider lesson or two to be learned. Mind you, there's plenty that are unique and particular concerns of that community as well. But there are a few general lessons hidden in this angry analysis.
It’s also interesting that the very people who created the laws to ensure [black mens'] incarceration, now want to give their right to vote back to them so that they can in turn vote for them.... [N]o one ever discusses how black men are never lauded unless they can be used when murdered or attacked by police. The democrats push policies for every group with the exception of black men, unless you count mass incarceration. White women, white working class (white men), LGBTQRST…, Jews, Immigrants, black women etc., but never anything that speaks to the plight of black men. White liberals love ranting about the pay inequality for black women by comparing them to the pay rates of white men, but cleverly leaves out the fact that black women and black men make less than white women. This clever game of pretending to lift up black women, is nothing more than a rouse to use black women for votes on issues that place white women in elevated positions of power.
Yes, it seems some people are catching on to the way the identity politics game is played.

Related

"No country can survive being ruled by people who hate it."

Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Patriotism

Looking back at the old Patriotism and Extremism post cited in the piece below, I realize that it barely said something I thought I had more fully explored. Perhaps I did elsewhere, but it's worth doing again even if so.

The idea is certainly mentioned in that piece: "It is necessary, in other words, to learn to forgive your ancestors: to recognize their flaws, their failings, and even their crimes, but to love them anyway.... in the end, patriotism proves to be a kind of health. As with other loves that forgive, it sets you free: free to honor the past, and to work for better in the future."

It is not for no reason that the root of 'patriotism' is 'patria,' meaning 'fatherland' in the Latin. It could be 'motherland' just as easily; in some languages the concept is captured that way (e.g., 'Mother Russia'). There is a strong analogy between the family and the state, as well as a clear relationship between the family you happen to come from and the coming-to-be of the particular state you are likely to inhabit. A few true immigrants leave family and culture behind, but more bring it with them; and even the assimilated descendants of 19th-century Italians or Irishmen belong now to a country that has learned from their culture as they have learned from it, and which has integrated their norms and patterns into its own.

Thus the question of how you feel about your country is rather like the question the Freudians used to ask about how you feel about your mother. You may have some very good reasons for animosity towards your mother. All the same, the existence of such animosity reliably predicts the presence of larger and more dangerous mental health issues. If you hate or despise your mother or father, you hate something of the root of your own being. This is going to manifest itself in many terrible ways, things that will cause you immense suffering.

A negative answer to that question of how you feel about the ground of your being also points out the treatment. The treatment is forgiveness and gratitude. It is not the adoption of ignorance about what they did wrong, which you likely did not deserve and which may have been the source of legitimate pain. Rather, the treatment is to forgive them for it. One needs to forgive them for one's self, because it is only in forgiveness -- easiest in the context of the recognition of one's own flaws -- that one can at last be liberated of the weight of carrying the anger.

This enables one to reflect anew on the good things one has gotten, also often undeserved, even from bad parents or nations. This does not require you to maintain ties to them; you can cut an abusive parent out of your life, and we are free as citizens ultimately even to dissolve a nation if we decide that is the right way to proceed. Even in doing so, though, it is helpful to one's self to recognize the goods they bestowed upon you: existence, some degree of protection and nurturing even in the worst relationships, education (even when learning from their mistakes or abuses). One becomes free in forgiving the faults without forgetting them, while being grateful for the goods they gave you in spite of their faults.

It is my sense that countries that cannot forgive their national ancestors wither away, as individuals do who cannot forgive their parents. I begin to think the same is true for individuals who cannot forgive their national ancestors. Aristotle says that we are social animals, and that the polis in a sense completes the work that the family can only begin.

Sometimes it is right to begin anew, but even then forgiveness and gratitude are appropriate. The United States separated from the United Kingdom, but for generations it looked back with honor upon Shakespeare and Sir Thomas Malory, Sir Walter Scott and Magna Carta. That sense of having grown from a fertile and happy ground was ultimately itself fecund, even though we had chosen the path of political separatism and independence.

Quite So

Responding to an assertion that the Women's Soccer team had "Nothing given, everything earned," a writer notes that most everything is unearned -- existence itself is, for example, as are any advantages that come from your particular genetics -- but that 'privilege theory' masks what is really owed behind a cartoon idea of who has (or hasn't) got 'privilege.'

In this case I am reminded of the brief discussion with LR1 in which a comment teased out a very privileged relationship at work here:
Almost no country in the world funds women's soccer to any serious degree. Our team is so great because it is drawn from feeder teams that are drawn from college programs that are hugely funded because -- via Title IX -- the colleges have to fund women's sports programs in order to justify their expenditures on their money-making college football teams.

It's doubly ironic, then, that the women's team is piggybacking off the greater popularity of another sport twice over. The college teams underlying their success wouldn't mostly exist except for government mandates for 'equal' spending, which they are now trying to replicate at the professional level.
They're privileged because they live in a country that values women's equality to such a degree that it mandates colleges spend vast resources on female athletics, even though those colleges often lose money doing it. But they do it anyway, in order to be able to make money off college football. That process is what gives the WNT the talent pool that sets it above the rest of the world, which lacks such processes on anything like that scale.

A lot was given. It was given explicitly to favor these women and develop their talents. They've been carefully taught not to see it, nor to express any gratitude to their society and culture for having nurtured them in this way.

In this way they are the opposites of Socrates:
Soc. "Tell us what complaint you have to make against us which justifies you in attempting to destroy us and the State? In the first place did we not bring you into existence? Your father married your mother by our aid and begat you. Say whether you have any objection to urge against those of us who regulate marriage?" None, I should reply. "Or against those of us who regulate the system of nurture and education of children in which you were trained? Were not the laws, who have the charge of this, right in commanding your father to train you in music and gymnastic?"
Socrates goes on to posit that this creates a master/slave relationship between the polis and the citizen, which any true American would reject. We would say that we created the state to do these things, and if it does them well, it is only doing a servant's work; if it does not, it is the state that can be fired and replaced, or 'destroyed' on Socrates' terms.

Still, some sense of gratitude for what was given is wise and appropriate. A lot of people worked hard to create the system that made it possible for these particular individuals to excel. They were then sent forward as representatives of that system, and they might be expected to show by their conduct love and gratitude for the help they received in attaining their particular excellences. We might once have called such gratitude "patriotism," but whatever you call it, it is surely a duty of justice. The failure to be grateful is injustice, then; and like all vices, injustice (and ingratitude) harms the self as well as the others. It is a kind of poison.

Politicians Need Chaperones

Male ones, at least, if meeting with unaccompanied female reporters.

Actually, a chaperone for politicians is a plausible idea. Instead of being there to prevent sexual harassment allegations, however, how about making them keep an ordinary American around to smack them every time they try to implement socialism?

Up the Militia

Col. Kurt hits some material that will be very familiar to the Hall.

Varmints

"Putting up a sign saying his farm is a coyote or feral hog free zone should do the trick, huh?"

Those are two species that aren't in much danger of extinction. Someday we'll regret killing off the red and gray wolves who might have helped us out with that project.

An Age of Revolution Beckons

France's government rivals Britain's in its worthiness for a revolution.
Quadriplegic man reportedly ‘cried’ when told France has ordered him to be starved to death

...The Court of Cassation’s final ruling means that Lambert, who is not otherwise ill or at the end of his life, would be removed from food and water and left to die slowly, which can take 14 days or more. The decision cannot be appealed in France, but his parents are fighting the order and have threatened to press charges for murder if his food is removed.... On Monday, Viviane renewed her plea for her son’s life. “He sleeps at night, wakes up during the day, and looks at me when I talk,” she said, according to Reuters. “He only needs to be fed through a special device and his doctor wants to deprive him of this so that he can die, while legal experts have have shown that this is not necessary.” She also emphasized that he has reacted to their voices, stating, “In May, when learning about his planned death, he cried.”
From a utilitarian perspective, starving one quadripelgic man to death against his wishes does less harm than, say, hanging a few thousand politicians from the oak trees or lampposts most convenient to their places of business. However, the adoption of utilitarian ethics is exactly the problem with these cases. There are other ethical systems, and in some of the better ones a revolutionary movement is approaching the morally obligatory.

Science that cures

So much medical news seems to chronicle the many ways the health industry can make us miserable, but here is a medical advance I'd classify in the genuine miracle-cure category:  surgical techniques to reattach nerves and tendons so that people with paralyzed arms and hands can regain function there.  It's not like walking again, but what a difference use of one's hands makes.

Barbarians at the gate of the administrative state

The Chevron Doctrine is up for review at the Supreme Court this fall. Powerline has a good take on the dispute.
I recall the first line of Gary Lawson’s famous 1994 article on the Administrative State published in the Harvard Law Review that begins: “The post-New Deal administrative state is unconstitutional, and its validation by the legal system amounts to nothing less than a bloodless constitutional revolution.”


"Pathway to Citizenship"

Bill Barr is merciless in his choice of words.

Speaking of choice of words, Sec. Pompeo has decided to give "unalienable" a spin.

Presidential Primary Updates

Arguably the worst candidate, Swalwell, bowed out today. So that's good. He will not be missed.

However, there's at least as good an argument that Kamala Harris is really the worst one -- and certainly she is the worst one remaining. It's not just people on the right who think so. Truthout has a big piece on her and her "record of injustice" today.

Tulsi Gabbard hit back at Harris for her deceptive practices today. That's good too.

Round up the Usual Suspects

Venezuela has it down.
Venezuelan special forces have carried out thousands of extrajudicial killings in the past 18 months and then manipulated crime scenes to make it look as if the victims had been resisting arrest, the United Nations said Thursday in a report detailing wide-ranging government abuses targeting political opponents.

Special Action Forces described by witnesses as “death squads” killed 5,287 people in 2018 and another 1,569 by mid-May of this year, in what are officially termed by the Venezuelan government “Operations for the Liberation of the People,” U.N. investigators reported.
Well, they do have Chinese advisers.

Hating the Market

I have not heard a living person voice the word "soccer" in the last year, so I think this is another one of those issues that's huge on Twitter and not in real America. Still, it does illustrate. People who understand economics point out that, in fact, women's soccer players in FIFA receive equitable pay even if they don't receive equal pay: they're paid disproportionately more than the men are, given their contribution to the economic game.
In 2015, when the U.S. Women's National Team beat Japan to take the World Cup in Vancouver, the Women's World Cup brought in almost $73 million in revenue, of which the players got 13 percent — $10 million. In 2010, the men's World Cup in South Africa made almost $4 billion, of which 9 percent — $348 million — went to the players.

The men simply make more money for FIFA — boatloads more money. The men's World Cup in Russia generated over $6 billion in revenue, with the participating teams sharing $400 million, less than 7 percent of the revenue. Meanwhile, the Women's World Cup was expected to earn $131 million for the 2019-2022 cycle and give out $30 million to participating teams. That's a whopping 22.9 percent!

In other words, the male players take home a smaller percentage of the money they earn for FIFA, even though they take home more money overall. The problem isn't FIFA being sexist against women — in fact, the percentage gap suggests a preference for women or at least an effort to make sure women make more money.
What the activists want is not equitable pay, but equal pay -- even though there's nothing like an equal contribution to the pot. They act as if pay were an expression of their moral value as human beings, rather than their contribution to the economics.

I don't think they fail to understand the economic argument. My sense is that this truly is a rejection of capitalism as a mode of social organization. Of course the men make boatloads more for the sport; of course it is already the men who are disproportionately underpaid compared with the women. That's not the point. The point is that pay should reflect moral, social values -- not economic ones.

That is of course how you get to a place like Venezuela, where enormous amounts of natural wealth still can't support a functional economic system. As someone pointed out this weekend, our socialists will tell you that they're aiming for Sweden or Norway, not Venezuela. What they forget is that Venezuelans were trying to be Sweden or Norway, too. (Also, they forget that Sweden and Norway largely abandoned socialist models; but that's a conversation more readily had at AVI's place, where he discusses it occasionally.)

Numbers

This is a Harvard-Harris poll. It's not finding what they'd like to find, so there's some reason to think it might be accurate; it's an argument against interests.

Some of these numbers are big. Some are titanic.

Let Me Tell You of the Days of High Adventure

Our own LTC Joel Leggett, USMC, has penned an essay on R. E. Howard's Conan as American mythology. The Abbeville Institute, of which I had not heard before Joel mentioned it to me, has published it under the headline "Conan the Southerner?" Well, Howard was a Southerner, but I took Joel's point to be that the Conan stories were explicitly American and not particular to a subculture.

Indeed, he has an interesting parallel with Tolkien:
[M]ost people accept the observation that America lacks its own mythology. To the extent the observation has any weight the same could be said of England. In fact, the lack of an indigenous English mythology is what motivated J.R.R. Tolkien to write the Lord of the Rings. Whether or not he accomplished that goal, he created stories that are loved all over the world.

However, an American author writing at about the same time as Tolkien did create an American mythology that continues to expand and thrive to the current day. The author was Robert E. Howard and the mythology he created centered on his most famous character, Conan.
I think Joel is quite right; we've discussed Howard's works in this space fairly frequently over the years. My view of the Conan books has changed over time. Once I thought that Howard's race-realism defied evolution, since races like the Picts and the blacks and the Stygians retain recognizable characteristics across millennia. In more recent years I've rediscovered the central role that evolution plays in Howard's works: evolution and natural selection really are at the core of his vision of humanity, and even the race that becomes the Cimmerians is described as having fallen all the way back to animality at one point, only to evolve into men (and barbarians) again. Joel touches on that later in his essay. I would say that the centrality of race -- and its inescapable qualities -- are good evidence for his proposition that the Conan stories are the (or at least an) American mythology. America is also trapped in its racial categories.

Nevertheless, for the most part Joel's essay is not about the issue of race, but about the American virtues, and how they are expressed in Conan stories.
Walter Russell Mead, in his book “Special Providence,” identified five core values that formed the basis of Jacksonian culture created by the Scot-Irish settlers. These values were self-reliance, equality, individualism, financial adventurism, and courage. Unsurprisingly, Howard used these same values to flesh out the personal code of the mythological Conan.
Virtue ethics is of course the correct ethics. Naturally, then, I strongly recommend that you read the essay in full, and that we should discuss it here.

They've already attacked Mom and apple pie

Glen Reynolds quotes a friend: "Trump maneuvered his opponents into attacking the Fourth of July."

You Can't Fight Betsy Ross

In the movie Fight Club, there's an extended sequence in which the guys explore who they'd choose to fight from historical periods.  Lincoln is named:  "Big guy, big reach. Skinny guys fight till they’re burger." Respect for the man who won the Civil War and gave his stunningly magnanimous Second Inaugural address is absent; the only measure of respect is how well he can fist-fight.

The current period has a similar feeling, except the once-honored dead are not present to fight back. Nevertheless, some few of them are strong enough to defend their reputations even from beyond the grave. Betsy Ross is likely one of these. For one thing, as a Quaker, she enjoys original abolitionist status. More than that, though, she occupies a particularly powerful archetype: she is America's Mother, as George Washington is America's Father. You cannot reject her without rejecting the whole, which is a road most Americans are unwilling to take.

Many years ago I read an article by a retiring professor of history, who for his whole career had surveyed incoming students about what they already knew about American history. He attested that, throughout his time, students had reliably volunteered the names of George Washington and Betsy Ross. Washington made sense, he said, because of the magnificence of his role; but Ross was unmentioned in the state curriculum except in very early primary education. Nevertheless, students who couldn't remember Cornwallis or Sam Adams would come up with Betsy Ross quite on their own. The human mind being what it is, a mother fits into a primal spot. America can't just have a father, or two fathers, or ten; like anything else, if it comes to be and flourishes, it must have had a mother too.

The President was prescient in his warning that allowing the Confederate statues to fall would call the whole into question. Thomas Jefferson may fall with the other secessionist slaveholders. But Washington won't, and Betsy Ross won't. America cannot let them go, and will not as long as she clings to life. Their enemies are fools, for they have chosen a foe too strong for themselves.

Americana

Some collected 'memes' on Independence Day.  But definitely follow the flag link to the "Spirit of Rebellion" essay, which is the proper reading for today.






I am on the road again for family business. Click the flag on the sidebar for the Independence Day post. 

Don't Tempt Me

'Making fun of members of Congress should be prosecuted,' says Congresswoman. She actually seems to believe that it might already be against the law to do so.

The CBP and AOC

Well, yesterday was quite a day for agent provocateur and Congresswoman Alexandria Occasio-Cortez.

After the Abu Ghraib incident, I don't think anyone can rightly just outright refuse to believe it is possible that guards at an American detention facility could be engaged in brutal and humiliating acts against foreign detainees. For that matter, American prisons don't always treat actual American citizens very well either. Still, the CBP denies her basic claims about detainee treatment; and while there's no reason to doubt that a Border Patrol-celebrating secret Facebook group might contain some pretty nasty memes, at this point it's too early to suggest that CBP membership in the group is widespread. That could be true; it was true for the Marine Corps in similar circumstances.

At this point it's unclear how the facts will shake out. Treacher is right that we must have answers. However, it should be clear that the best thing to do is to close these camps -- by returning everyone to where they came from, as quickly as possible, accepting no new persons. If they come claiming to be a family unit, by all means return them as a family unit. We can avoid the danger of mistreatment of detainees by detaining no one.

More on Marianne Williamson

Since she received such a rousing endorsement from Ymar, and Tex knows her family, perhaps she deserves a closer look. Here are a couple of pieces that dive deeper into the spirituality guru.

VICE: 'She knows you think she's a joke, but her campaign is not.'
With over 3.5 million social media followers even before the debates (and 2.7 million on Twitter alone as of Sunday), Williamson qualified much earlier than many of the other candidates who made the stage last week. She’d reached the 65,000-donor threshold by early May, faster than half the field (many still aren’t there). In late May, she hit 1% in a third reputable national poll, double-qualifying for both the last debate and the next one....

That’s also why she’ll be onstage at the next debate, and why she’s better-positioned than some other more seasoned politicians to reach the fall debates as well. Get a good laugh at Williamson’s expense? You’re not getting rid of her that easily.
National Review has a dive into her background.

Lunacy

I know it's Salon, and I shouldn't expect much, but even by those jaded standards, the explanation offered by Chauncey deVega (if that really is his name) for robust Trump support among "white voters" leaves me blinking rapidly.
The idea behind white identity politics is that there is a subset of white voters and/or white Americans in general who feel a sense of attachment to their group. They feel a sense of solidarity. They think that their race and their racial identity is important to who they are, and that influences how they see and view the political world. Tied up in that sense of identity is the belief that whites are losing out in the United States and that their status and their power are somehow under threat. Subsequently, these white voters are responding to that politically by supporting policies and candidates that they view as protecting their group and preserving its status.
I do support Trump's policies from a belief that they protect my interests, and I will grant that I perceive my interests as under threat. The source of the threat, nevertheless, doesn't take the form of dark skin, though it's true that a candidate who has nothing to point to but his skin (approvingly, and mine, disapprovingly) will arouse my suspicion. The argument has devolved to "Of course you only think that way because you're blinded by race, so listen to me while I obsess on race." Supposedly I'm motivated by fanatical loyalty to Social Security and Medicare (which I don't even like), primarily because they are the kinds of things white people like.

Chauncey's whole argument is that, Trump being indisputably contemptible, there's only one explanation remaining for my support: I'm evil, too. And how are people evil today? Only in one way: racism. Q.E.D. Even my otherwise inexplicable sense of oppression by "non-believers" can be explained by racism, because if you scratch the surface, white evangelicals are simply terrified racists who hate brown people.

And then it seems I overlook Trump's "gross disregard for the Constitution."  Where do people even get this stuff? Chauncey might as well be beaming Martian at me.

What to do? Chauncey advocates court-packing, "discarding any notions of civility and compromise," using social media to correct a pro-right advantage (you need special spectacles to detect that), and using
simple, clear direct messaging which speaks to both emotions and the facts: The Republicans are trying to kill you. The Republicans are making you sick. Republicans don't care about your family. Republicans don't want you to vote. Republicans are stealing your money and giving it to rich people. Donald Trump thinks you are stupid.
Would that primitive bludgeon of a message square any less with reality if you substituted "Democrats" for "Republicans"?  Is there anything left in politics of this stripe but projection?

Don't Be Ridiculous

They're being ridiculous.
One of the arresting officers at yesterday's #NeverAgainAction can be seen sporting a Molon Labe tattoo, a prominent slogan of contemporary fascism.
1) Those kids are only being arrested because they want to be arrested. It's a form of protest, probably negotiated with the police in advance to ensure they will receive light or dropped charges, good treatment, and short stays in detention that can be used as bragging rights as demonstrators.

2) "Molon Labe" as a sentiment is opposed to overbearing governments; I take it to mean that this officer is refusing to enforce gun control laws he might see as unconstitutional. That's the opposite of fascism, when even the actual officers of the state posit limits to state authority they would refuse.

Guns and the Anarchist

A left-leaning anarchist writes about guns.
In Stone Mountain, Georgia, when a group of us marched through the streets to celebrate the cancellation of a Klan rally on February 2, we were accompanied by local activists with rifles and ARs slung over their shoulders; the police kept their distance, which was an extraordinary sight for someone used to New York City’s ultra-aggressive, hyper-militarized NYPD. As the black militant liberation group the Black Panthers showed back in the 1960s, as the Zapatistas showed in the ’90s, and as anarchists in New Orleans showed during the aftermath of Katrina, when cops and other fascists see that they’re not the only ones packing, the balance of power shifts, and they tend to reconsider their tactics.

To be honest, the thought of a world in which the state and their running dogs are the only entities with access to firearms sends a shudder down my spine.

Leftist gun ownership is about protecting marginalized communities


Not everyone should have access to guns — domestic abusers, for example, have proven by their actions that they cannot be trusted with that kind of responsibility — and not everyone needs it. No one without a significant amount of training should be handling a firearm at all, which is why I think designated community patrols made up of well-trained, highly trusted individuals who are chosen by and held accountable to said community (and who do not hold any or less power than anyone else due to their position) is a far better and more equitable defense model than messy “everyone gets a gun!” rhetoric.

I’m also not interested in creating a parallel cultural universe wherein balaclava-clad “gun bunnies” pose for the ’gram (I’d much rather shore up support for Rojava’s all-women YPG Women’s Defense Unit). I’m interested in reclaiming the notion of armed self-defense from those who have long used it as a cudgel to repress dissent and terrorize marginalized communities, and emphasizing its potential as a transformative tool toward collective liberation.

There is a long history of leftist gun ownership, and a concurrent theme of state repression against it.
"Designated community patrols made up of well-trained, highly trusted individuals" is more or less exactly the original vision for local militias as the primary defense of a free state; and concerns about a militarized police are quite similar to the Founders' concerns about a standing army.

There are two criticisms I would make, all the same.

1) It's hard to square 'designated... highly trusted' with 'protecting marginalized communities.' When you move from a universal individual right that can only be lost by demonstrated criminality (I agree with the domestic violence disqualification, for example), you allow space for marginalization to occur. In fact, that is exactly how the racist roots of gun control worked: through processes of restriction to 'trusted' members of the community, which just so happened to disqualify people of a particular race. This subject, of which she makes much in her essay, is extremely well-known to those of us on the right; it's been one of our chief arguments for at least a couple of decades.

If you want to protect marginalized communities, you have to prevent marginalization of individuals. Otherwise, you'll find that your marginalized community gets marginalized one individual at a time. There are some clear and acceptable reasons to marginalize an individual, but the defense of an individual right is necessary to ensure that distrusted communities aren't shut out of the right to the tools they need to defend themselves.

2) It would be wiser to make common cause with the gun-rights right than to try to set up against us. The temptation to do that is clear in the current culture wars; we're just used to thinking of each other as opponents at least, enemies at worst. That said, there's an opportunity not to be missed here. She's saying very little I haven't said myself in these pages, from praise for the original pre-criminal Black Panther project to a defense of the general idea (inherent in the NRA's original mission, which provided firearms and training to Freedmen in the South) that the individual right to keep and bear arms is a necessary part of the defense of human dignity. The argument that we can't rely on the police to protect us? Regular feature of the Hall. The argument that having only the servants of the state armed all but ensures tyranny? All the time here.

If we can't find a way to be allies, we'll end up killing each other. That won't protect anyone's community. The idea should be -- as it was framed by the Founders, even if they did not actually live it out this way -- to set up these local militia as guarantors of a state of liberty for all. That's harder to square with anarchism than it is with citizenship, because it is something like citizenship that creates and binds individuals together with common duties toward one another that wouldn't exist naturally. Minarchism makes more sense than anarchism, in other words.

Funding the Trans*ition

It's the usual TIDES Foundation suspects, of course, but there's an interesting twist on why it's a priority.
Why do they care? The obvious answer is: money.

Melding this manufactured medical issue with civil rights frame entails the continuance and growth of the problem. Transgenderism is framed as both a medical problem, for the gender dysphoria of children who need puberty blockers and are being groomed for a lifetime of medicalization, and as a brave and original lifestyle choice for adults. Martine Rothblatt suggests we are all transhuman, that changing our bodies by removing healthy tissue and organs and ingesting cross-sex hormones over the course of a lifetime can be likened to wearing make-up, dying our hair, or getting a tattoo. If we are all transhuman, expressing that could be a never-ending saga of body-related consumerism.
The amounts being spent to advertise and advance this lifestyle choice seem vast until you compare it to the amounts that would be spent by a society that invests in a lifetime of additional medical supplies and treatments. If even an extra few percent could be convinced to do it, purveyors of such technologies would make back their investments many times over.

To a certain degree technological change makes these kinds of things likely. William Gibson was imagining cyber and biotech allowing people to alter their bodies decades ago; one gang he envisioned replaced their teeth with animal fang implants. We will be in charge in a new way, and that means we can treat the body as an opportunity for a kind of art.

Against that challenge, of course, stands the Aristotelian philosophy we've been discussing. Because it sees nature as the source of the good, it will be predisposed to reject adopting a lifetime of pharmacology to suppress hormones or provide humans with wolf-like teeth. The role of art, for Aristotle, is to perfect the goods inherent in nature but imperfectly or incompletely realized. Dental surgery to fix improperly-grown teeth is good because it improves the perfection of a natural good; pulling out the teeth and replacing them with wolvish fangs that do not fit the natural diet of a human being is bad because it works against rather than with the goods of nature.

"Well, we can change our dietary tract too, someday, at least in principle; and we can grow 'meat' in vats that will avoid any ethical problems with switching to an all-meat diet; and we can force, with drugs and surgery, our bodies to accept all this, becoming artists of ourselves."

Perhaps. But there is something to be said for being able to sleep under the stars, with no medicine and no technology, to survive on natural strength rather than technological infrastructure. Aristotle has an advantage here, even in spite of all the long years and great changes.

Hearty and Hellish!

Per Gringo and my conversation, in the Jug of Punch post below, it turns out that "Hearty and Hellish!" was actually the name of the album -- recorded live at a nighclub in Chicago in 1962.



"Hellish," they said. Well, "-ish" is the ultimate in approximations.

Deadly Force Authorized

You'll want to carefully consult your local laws to be sure how this works for you, but in most parts of America it would be considered reasonable to shoot someone if they tried to hit you with a crowbar or tire-iron. It would be less reasonable to shoot someone for throwing a milkshake at you, except if it became sufficiently commonplace that milkshakes were really chemical weapons.

Powerline wonders about how long this sort of thing will be allowed to go on. My guess is that it will go on for a while, until someone's patience wears out. Then, when the cost of this sort of behavior suddenly becomes much higher -- and especially if juries refuse to convict people for defending themselves, lowering the probable cost of defensive action -- suddenly it won't be necessary to worry about it that much.

UPDATE: Wretchard makes sense like always.
It's not surprising that the French Terror began with the purge of the moderates and the urgency of virtue. As Robespierre put it, virtuous men have no choice but to employ any means necessary:
If the basis of popular government in peacetime is virtue, the basis of popular government during a revolution is both virtue and terror; virtue, without which terror is baneful; terror, without which virtue is powerless. Terror is nothing more than speedy, severe and inflexible justice; it is thus an emanation of virtue; it is less a principle in itself, than a consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing needs of the patrie.
He also says "the combativeness of the last few days alarmed those accustomed to regarding themselves as civilized." Well. Oddly once I thought of myself that way; I wrote that the essence of a gentlemen was "to bear arms, in defense of country and civilization." Surely I still think that, somewhere in my heart. I've spent many years becoming educated, if not precisely civilized; I pursued and gained advanced degrees in both history and philosophy. Whatever it means to have a civilization, history and philosophy are at the core of it.

More and more, though, I think of the Conan quote from last week, and find that my eyes linger on my axe.

Ignoring Warning Signs

Bret Stephens issues a clear and sober warning:
Promising access to health insurance for north of 11 million undocumented immigrants at a time when there’s a migration crisis at the southern border? Every candidate at Thursday’s debate raised a hand for that one, in what was surely the evening’s best moment for the Trump campaign.

Calling for the decriminalization of border crossings (while opposing a wall)? That was a major theme of Wednesday’s debate, underlining the Republican contention that Democrats are a party of open borders, limitless amnesty and, in time, the Third World-ization of America.

Switching to Spanish?... Eliminating private health insurance[?]...

And then there are the costs that Democrats want to impose on the country. Warren, for instance, favors universal child care (estimated cost, $70 billion a year), Medicare-For-All ($2.8 trillion to $3.2 trillion annually), student-debt cancellation and universal free college ($125 billion annually), and a comprehensive climate action plan ($2 trillion, including $100 billion in aid to poor countries), along with a raft of smaller giveaways, like debt relief for Puerto Rico....

Throughout the debates, I kept wondering if any of the leading candidates would speak to Americans beyond the Democratic base.... [Nope!]

None of this means that Democrats can’t win in 2020. The economy could take a bad turn. Or Trump could outdo himself in loathsomeness. But the Democratic Party we saw this week did even less to appeal beyond its base than the president. And at least his message is that he’s on their — make that our — side.
Did anyone listen? No, they called him a "white nationalist" like he was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood or something.

How about Andrew Sullivan? Is he a Klansman too? He's actually asking that question, except he mentions "Japan" and "China" in place of his own name.

The thing is that these guys are really against Trump, and trying to keep the Democrats from making a massive mistake. This is as clear a warning as you could ask, from people who are your friends and want you to win. I've never seen this movie, but this clip has come up from time to time. It seems appropriate to the moment.



UPDATE: Colonel Kurt, who is less concerned what anybody calls him, sums up.
But it was the thought part where they came together in a festival of insane acclamation. They agreed on everything, and it was all politically suicidal. Yeah, Americans are thrilled about the idea of subsidizing Marxist puppetry students and getting kicked off their health insurance so that they can put their lives in the hands of the people who brought you the DMV.

Exactly who, outside of Manhattan and Scat Francisco, think Americans are dying to stop even our feeble enforcement of the border, make illegal immigration not illegal, never send illegals home once they get here and – think about this – take our tax money to give these foreigners who shouldn’t even be here in the first place better free health care than our vets get? That should go well in places like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. I eagerly await Salena Zito’s interview with a bunch of construction workers at a diner near Pittsburg who tell her, “It really bugs me, Lou and Joe here that those people coming into the country illegally aren’t getting free heath care on our dime. We all want to work an extra shift so we can give it to ‘em. We need a president who finally puts foreigners first! Also, we all agree we ought to give up our deer rifles because people in Cory Booker’s neighborhood can’t stop shooting each other.”

Spirituality and Such

A set of meditations from Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson (h/t Wretchard).

From 2010: The Boar's Head

This one's from Tex, being recipes for several classic pig's head dishes. We're a long way from Christmas, but since it crossed my screen tonight, I wanted to bring it forward.

Here's the carol, too, while we're on the subject. It's a long way to Christmas, but it's not bad to be reminded of it even at this distant hour.

From 2007: Choosing a Stetson

I came across this post while looking for something else. It's useful, practical advice that holds true still as far as I know. If you get one of the good ones they're good hats; I wore one to the Philippines (which I gave away to a member of the RP military) and another Iraq the whole time I was out there, and it served in the desert as well as in the wood.

The Jug of Punch

Before the merry month of June ends, we should have a listen to this beautiful piece.

Two from AL Daily

The first one wonders if AI means the end of anonymous authorship. Maybe looking backwards, but couldn't an AI serve to randomize your language just enough to ensure you weren't recognizable? Seems like more of an arms race than a finale.

On "The end of enchantment" and the Enlightenment. I obviously disagree that ending animism or enchantment is a necessary product of reason; panpsychism is as old as Plato, and inherent in the Neoplatonic philosophy that I think is the closest human beings have gotten to the truth. Praise for the Frankfurt school strikes me as short-sighted, but it's worth reading all the same because of this insight:
[A] surprising 83.3 per cent of Americans believe in either guardian angels, demonic possession or ghosts, and there is evidence for similar belief patterns in western Europe. (I should note that disenchantment should not be confused with secularisation. The sociological evidence suggests that de-Christianisation, while usually equated with secularisation, often correlates with an increase in belief in spirits, ghosts and magic – not the reverse.) Nor are sociological surveys the only evidence. If one views Europe and North America through the same sort of anthropological lens that European and American anthropologists are used to directing abroad, it seems hard to defend the notion that the ‘modern West’ is straightforwardly disenchanted. There are plenty of examples.

Walmart sells ‘Sage Spirit-Smudge Wands’ and clothing chains such as Urban Outfitters sell ‘healing crystals’ and tarot cards. You can go on eBay right now and pay an Australian ‘white witch’ to perform a ritual to summon a djinn and bind it to an object of your choice. Celebrities such as Anna Nicole Smith and Bobby Brown have publicly described having sex with ghosts. Coffee shops and co-ops throughout the US and much of western Europe display flyers advertising ‘palm readers’, ‘energy balancing’ and ‘chakra work’. Even if you ignore the Harry Potter craze and other fictionalised depictions of wizards, ghosts and witches, studies of American reading habits suggest that ‘New Age’ print culture is incredibly lucrative, with ‘non-fiction books’ about magic, guardian angels and near-death experiences frequently appearing in the upper echelons of Amazon’s bestseller lists. And the past 15 years have seen a proliferation of ‘reality’ television series that claim to report evidence for ghosts, psychics, extraterrestrials, monsters, curses and even miracles.
This pattern is older than the Frankfurt School, as it was known to Chesterton. Like Chesterton, we sit in a strange place with regards to it. On the one hand, Chesterton favored Roman Catholicism over some other variations of Christianity -- and especially materialism -- just because it offered him the opportunity to believe in faerie.
The Christian is quite free to believe that there is a considerable amount of settled order and inevitable development in the universe. But the materialist is not allowed to admit into his spotless machine the slightest speck of spiritualism or miracle. Poor Mr. McCabe is not allowed to retain even the tiniest imp, though it might be hiding in a pimpernel. The Christian admits that the universe is manifold and even miscellaneous, just as a sane man knows that he is complex. The sane man knows that he has a touch of the beast, a touch of the devil, a touch of the saint, a touch of the citizen. Nay, the really sane man knows that he has a touch of the madman. But the materialist’s world is quite simple and solid, just as the madman is quite sure he is sane.
It seems as if there is a health that attends to belief in the imp, in the not-quite-settled and not-quite-understandable nature of reality. Which indeed there is; philosophy can sketch the limits of reason readily. Kant does so in his first critique, and prior philosophers come to the ineffable regularly. The worst thing to believe is that reality is purely rational, subject to human science, and completely comprehensible. Chesterton is not wrong to say that madness lies that way.

On the other hand, healing crystals are bunk, and the 'white witch' isn't really sending you a magic item with a bound jinn.

A Real Russian Information Operation

Vladimir Putin does not have "traditional values." Vladimir Putin is a former KGB agent turned gangster-government strongman. So when he says things like this, it's worth remembering that he's not advocating things he really believes in; he's advocating things he thinks will exacerbate divisions in the West.

It would behoove us to find a way to attain the stability associated with 'traditional values' without playing into the hands of people like Putin.

Serious People

"Medicare for All" was already supposed to cost a nearly unfathomable amount of money. What if we were to pledge to add to it the costs of anyone from anywhere in the world who shows up here needing health care, regardless of whether or not they have any sort of visa or legal right to enter the country?


As I've said in this space before, I'd love to hear the plan to save the Medicare we have before they start telling me that they're going to institute Medicare for All. That was when I assumed that "all" meant "all Americans," rather than "∀." It's a logical principle easy to script: (∀x)Fx->Gx. That is, 'for all x, if x is a person who needs healthcare, x gets it for free.'

People ask, "But how will you pay for it?" They answer, "We'll print the money we need." Well, yes, you can print money. Can you also print the doctors you'll need? This way lies inflation, sure, but the bigger problem will be scarcity of medical resources -- just as our largest population of American citizens, the Boomers, reach the age at which their need for medical resources will be greatest.

It's madness. Every single one of them put their hands up for it.

Just Not Getting It

The SCOTUS issued what strikes me as a completely weird decision today on the census. As I'm sure you've heard, they declared that the administration's explanation for wanting to ask whether counted people were citizens was "insufficient," and sent the case back down for more consideration once a fuller explanation was provided.

I'm unclear on exactly why any explanation is needed. This is surely what a census is supposed to do. What exactly is the census for if it isn't to count the number of citizens in each state? Is there some reason the United States government shouldn't be allowed to know how many people are inside a given state who aren't citizens? By law, all of those people should have a legal status registered with the government, after all: a visa or a permanent residency, for example. Conducting the census is an actual Constitutional duty of the Federal government. Why should the government need to explain itself at all?

Political Courage in Contemporary America

Tim Young: I dont know about you guys, but I thought the bravest, most courageous moment of the #DemDebate was when Julian Castro defended a transgender woman's right to have an abortion.
I wonder how long it will be before "Life of Brian" is held to be hate speech -- not because it makes fun of Christianity, but because of this scene:

Dan Crenshaw vs. Google

The tech giants seem determined to force a conflict in terms of their effect on our self-governing republic, and they're starting to get one.

Tulsi Beats Warren

Her argument that she is 'the most qualified to be commander-in-chief' is not quite right, but she is the most qualified of the ones who have any kind of chance. They're running a bunch of career politicians, so she's the closest thing: a real military officer, albeit one who served in a medical staff role rather than one who would have "commanded" in the ordinary military sense of the term.

She won the Drudge Poll and the Google Search quasi-poll, and Reason was impressed with her.

I like Tulsi, as I've said before. It's just hard to imagine turning the keys over to her given her courting gas-my-own-population Assad. On the other hand, she has been a strident defender of religious liberty at a time when that liberty is under heavy assault. We could certainly do worse than to have her head the Democratic ticket.

UPDATE: TNR strikes a measured tone:
Over the course of two hours, approximately seven minutes were devoted to the top existential threat facing humanity. And only four of the ten candidates on stage were asked directly about how they intend to rapidly reduce carbon emissions over the next eleven years—something that must be done to preserve a livable planet for future generations.... It was, to put it lightly, a disgrace—and not just because climate change was the number one issue that Democratic voters wanted to see discussed at the debate. The debate itself was held in Miami, Florida, a city that’s literally being swallowed by the rising ocean.
If you are curious, Tulsi's "vision" says some very sweet things about the environment, but has zero specifics on exactly how to attain any of them.