Rivers of Blood

Rivers of Blood:

The incomparable Roger Scruton has a review of an old speech. The year was 1968, and a British politician stood up to warn about the perils of immigration:

“Human kind cannot bear very much reality,” said T. S. Eliot. It is not one of his best lines, but he used it twice—in Murder in the Cathedral and in Four Quartets—and in both places its prosaic rhythmlessness reinforces its sense, reminding us that our exaltations are invented things, and that we prefer inspiring fantasies to sobering facts. Enoch Powell was no different, and his inspiring fantasy of England caused him to address his countrymen as though they still enjoyed the benefits of a classical education and an imperial culture. How absurd, in retrospect, to end a speech warning against the effects of uncontrolled immigration with a concealed quotation from Virgil. “As I look ahead,” Powell said, “I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood.’” These words were addressed to an England that had forgotten the story of the Aeneid, along with every other story woven into its former identity as the “sweet, just, boyish master” of the world—to borrow Santayana’s luminous phrase. It is hardly surprising that Powell’s words were instantly converted to “rivers of blood,” and their speaker dismissed as a dangerous madman.
H/t Arts & Letters Daily.

Confer with Ron's warning, in the comments below, that the old Boy Scout Handbooks can no longer be read by the boys of today.

When Peace Comes

"When Peace Comes"

Today is a day for reflection on how to make America secure. The best way -- perhaps the only way -- is to make American men who are fighting men, as they have been of old.

For that reason, I bring back to the fore this post on bladesmanship, and in particular the comments. Two gentlemen and regular commenters, Bruce Dearborn Walker and William, warn me against what I propose: the carrying of knives. I respect both men greatly, but there are serious reasons for undertaking this business. Let us consider them.

Mister Walker first warns us, wisely, of the dangers of evil district attorneys:

There is no doubt in my mind that I can win any fight that involves close distance and a knife. The problem is to win the court case and the lawsuit.

I shun any weapon that smacks in any way of fighting, martial arts, Asian countries, survivalism, or any kind of machismo. If I could get a decent blade in lipstick pink I would consider that.

Prosecuting attorneys LOVE fighting knives. Nothing says "dangerous kook" to a jury like the Rambo Survival Killer Deathblade Mark Nine found in your car or home. Even if you didn't use it, guess what will have the starring role on the five o'clock news.
That is an argument, please note, not merely against the carrying of arms that look dangerous. It is also an argument against owning them.

William speaks next, on the same topic.
All in all I prefer the weapon of opportunity approach unless I am operating in a known hostile environment. It's far less hassel than trying to remember what you can and can't carry where and what enterence you had to check your (insert weapon of preference.) Many years ago a little old man taught me that every weapon has a range at which it is most effective and outside of that range other tools are preferable. The exception that makes the rule is the clear mind. As long as we have it, we are still in the fight and if it is taken away we are lost already. Everything else is just a tool.
These are good points, clear ones. A man must consider these things. Having considered them, though, consider also my reply.
Those are very practical and understandable responses, so let me give a practical reply to them.

Our society needs men to return to the open wearing of arms, and by arms I mean arms, things which are obviously weapons. For too long we have let ourselves be intimidated out of doing that which is perfectly legal, and an American birthright, by just such tactics as you mention. DAs who don't approve of armed citizens use dishonorable tactics; city governments pass innumerable ordinances, which make it a lot of trouble.

For those perfectly understandable reasons, a lot of good men like yourselves have become cautious of exercising these natural rights. In doing so, you gain some personal safety.

We lose something important as a society, however. The vanishing of weapons from the hands of honest men has made it possible for those who fear them to portray weapons as evil, and thereby to weaken our society. Consider this post from 2005, in which the family of a deployed Marine found that their local schools wouldn't allow his photograph -- because he was carrying arms in the performance of his duty. "What message am I sending to my students if I post that picture?" asked the principal.

There is only one way to reverse this trend in the long term, and that is for us to return to the open wearing of arms. While doing so, we must of course be certain to abide by the law. More, we must be certain to do nothing discourteous or impolite -- so that, if we are forced to defend our actions in court, the witness statements and the fact that we have obeyed every particular in the law will be our chief defense.

There is a chance this may expose you to such bad behavior by public officials as you mention. Even so, we need to do it. Our sons need us to do it, so that they will not inherit a world in which they are taught to be ashamed of being men. Our society needs us to do it, so that it will not quietly disarm itself, mentally as well as physically, learning from birth that arms are evil in themselves.

We need to continue to produce that breed of American man which is both certain of himself and capable of the defense of his and the common liberty. Nothing is more critical to the future of the country than that. It is up to us to buy our sons the space to learn to be men -- by not letting bad actors intimidate us into laying aside our perfectly legal knives, our perfectly legal conduct, which they cannot ban by law even though they do not approve.

It is a small way in which we can each serve our country. In an hour and on a day when we remember the need for such men, here is a way to help make them.

After breaking camp this weekend, we went down to the new Tallulah Gorge State Park. We hiked the canyon, from the hydroelectric dam to beyond the south tower, twice crossing the gorge at the suspension bridge. It was a beautiful hike, on which I carried a Buck Knife "Special" 119, available for half the listed price at any Wal-Mart. Hiking with my beautiful wife and charming little boy, I got not one odd look for the wearing of the knife -- it was obvious why a man might want such a blade, to protect two such treasures.

Following this trip, we stopped on the way home by an antique mall. As a gift, my wife bought me a 1943 copy of what is now called the Boy Scout Handbook -- then called the Revised Handbook for Boys. It is a truly remarkable piece of writing, about which I will have more in the next few days.

Published as it was during WWII, it has several war-related ads. It also has ads related to being a boy, and being a scout, and the things boys and scouts love. Remington and Winchester both have full-page ads (Remington's is actually a two page ad) on marksmanship. Remington's invokes the legacy of Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, and other famous wilderness scouts. Winchester's reminds boy scouts of the National Rifle Association, which still today stands ready to help young men -- and older citizens -- learn the basics of riflery.

What struck me most from the ads, though, was the ad for Marbles' knives -- the official Boy Scout knives of the day. Today the official knives are folding affairs, like the Swiss Army knife, suitable for trimming threads but not for fighting. The knife shown here, though, appears to be a variant of the Marble Ideal Hunting Knife, different only in that it bears the Boy Scout seal. This is an eight-inch knife with a more than four-inch blade, a real fixed-blade knife, in other words.

The ad copy reads:
When Peace Comes, Marbles' Produts -- improved and toughened by experience in combat service in all parts of the world -- will again be yours to enjoy.
That is exactly right. Of course the boys would enjoy it. Of course a knife fit for combat service is also fit for peace. Mr. Walker mentions a "gentleman's knife," but this is a gentleman's knife -- for a gentleman is distinguished by the right to keep and bear arms. True, "bearing arms" is symbolic in England -- it means the right to have a coat of arms -- but that symbol was itself designed to show that the gentleman had the right to actual arms.

It is through a system of wearing away at that actual right that England has been reduced, as it has, to a defenseless state. The laws have advanced where they could against the rights of gentlemen, and where they had not yet, willful prosecutors pushed the law into territory it had not deserved. Having thus cleared that new territory of resistance, the law could advance further, banning new conduct and weapons, until men in England are no longer gentlemen at all -- except as symbols.

If we are to raise free men and gentlemen, we must win back that territory. Boys must be free to love knives without shame. That means that men must love them, and wear them, and show that this conduct is not only legal but honorable and courteous. It is -- nothing could be more so -- it is nothing other than the behavior of the gentlemen of old, and the Knight before him!

On 9/11 of all days, we ought to remember this. How well would men with box cutters have fared against American bladesmen? Even without their blades, had they but been accustomed to think of themselves since boyhood as fighters and gentlemen? How well will they fare, such terrorists, if they try to kidnap or to take hostages in some American city today?

And in the next generation?

There is no homeland security but that we, the citizens, make her secure. We must each of us be prepared to do our duty for the lawful order and the common peace, here and now, if we are called. We must have the mindset, the heart, and -- wherever possible, and in accord with the law -- the tools.

We must win space for our sons to follow us, that this way will never die. Invoke the legacy of Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett -- and Jim Bowie, too! That is our way, and we must never let anyone make it seem shameful. No! It is glorious.

911 Links

Two 9/11 Links:

Here are two interesting links from Southeast Asia, both of which treat 9/11 as a major issue. It shows the degree to which 9/11 succeeded in kindling a world war, the full flame of which we have yet to see.

The first, from Malaysia's New Straits Times, includes statements from Southeast Asia's foremost opponent of al Qaeda, Rohan Gunaratna. It concerns an interesting figure in terrorism, who pulled off an elaborate triple-cross of the United States, Egypt, and Islamic radicals.

Thailand's The Nation, which is owned by one of the opposition figures mentioned a few posts below, has a 9/11 post here. It is a pretty good summary of how the war is going in Southeast Asia, if you will let pass the swipes at Bush and the ruling Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. Those are par for the course.



As is usual at Grim's Hall, a repost of "Enid & Geraint." It is a poem that I wrote on the original 9/11, in the afternoon when I could no longer watch replays of the towers falling.

Enid & Geraint

Once strong, from solid
Camelot he came
Glory with him, Geraint,
Whose sword tamed the wild.
Fabled the fortune he won,
Fame, and a wife.
The beasts he battled
With horn and lance;
Stood farms where fens lay.
When bandits returned
To old beast-holds
Geraint gave them the same.

And then long peace,
Purchased by the manful blade.
Light delights filled it,
Tournaments softened, tempered
By ladies; in peace lingers
the dream of safety.

They dreamed together. Darkness
Gathered on the old wood,
Wild things troubled the edges,
Then crept closer.
The whispers of weakness
Are echoed with evil.

At last even Enid
Whose eyes are as dusk
Looked on her Lord
And weighed him wanting.
Her gaze gored him:
He dressed in red-rust mail.

And put her on palfrey
To ride before or beside
And they went to the wilds,
Which were no longer
So far. Ill-used,
His sword hung beside.

By the long wood, where
Once he laid pastures,
The knight halted, horsed,
Gazing on the grim trees.
He opened his helm
Beholding a bandit realm.

End cried at the charge
Of a criminal clad in mail!
The Lord turned his horse,
Set his untended shield:
There lacked time, there
Lacked thought for more.

Villanous lance licked the
Ancient shield. It split,
Broke, that badge of the knight!
The spearhead searched
Old, rust-red mail.
Geraint awoke.

Master and black mount
Rediscovered their rich love,
And armor, though old
Though red with thick rust,
Broke the felon blade.
The spear to-brast, shattered.

And now Enid sees
In Geraint's cold eyes
What shivers her to the spine.
And now his hand
Draws the ill-used sword:
Ill-used, but well-forged.

And the shock from the spear-break
Rang from bandit-towers
Rattled the wood, and the world!
Men dwelt there in wonder.
Who had heard that tone?
They did not remember that sound.

His best spear broken
On old, rusted mail,
The felon sought his forest.
Enid's dusk eyes sense
The strength of old steel:
Geraint grips his reins.

And he winds his old horn,
And he spurs his proud horse,
And the wood to his wrath trembles.
And every bird
From the wild forest flies,
But the Ravens.