Mark Steyn notes the political success of fascists in Europe:

[I]n the western half of Continental Europe, politics evolved to the point where almost any issue worth talking about was ruled beyond the bounds of polite society. In good times, it doesn’t matter so much. But in bad times, if the political culture forbids respectable politicians from raising certain issues, then the electorate will turn to unrespectable ones....

On the day of the European elections, the Toronto Sun’s Lorrie Goldstein responded to my observations about his recent column accusing Tamilphobic Canadians of racism. “I wish,” sighed Mr. Goldstein, “Steyn would spend more time disagreeing with what racists say and less time defending their right to say it.” But that’s kind of a crowded market for a pundit to get a piece of the action in. I mean, Canada surely doesn’t need one more delicate flower shrieking “Racism!” at every affront to the multiculti pieties. That hypersensitivity is what’s helped deliver more and more of the European vote to “fringe” parties. You want to talk about immigration? Whoa, racist! Crime? Racist! Welfare? Racist! Islam? Racistracistdoubleracist!!! Nya-nya, can’t hear you with my two anti-racist thumbs in my ears!

Already, the European political class is congratulating itself at holding the tide of neo-nationalism to the low double-digits.
We do it a little differently in America. Remember Prohibition? How about when our betters decided that there was no legitimate dissent from the 55 mph speed limit:
[T]he newly imposed 55 mph speed limit was actually slower than the quickest average speeds of point-to-point travels of Erwin George "Cannon Ball" Baker in the first half of the 20th century. In 1933, Baker drove coast to coast in a Graham-Paige model 57 Blue Streak 8, averaging greater than 50 mph, setting a 53 hour 30 minute record that stood for nearly 40 years. If this could be done by a single man driving on bad roads and through villages, a team of two or more experienced (and even professional race) drivers, driving a modern car on safer and wider intersection-free highways that bypass towns, should be able to do it quicker without taking unacceptable risks apart from getting a speeding ticket, by cruising at 90 to 100 mph.

Another motivation was the fun involved, which showed in the tongue-in-cheek reports in Car and Driver and other auto publications worldwide.

The initial cross-country run was accomplished by Yates's son Brock Jr., Smith, and friend Jim Williams beginning on May 3, 1971. The first running was done in a 1971 Dodge Custom Sportsman van, called the "Moon Trash II". The race was run four more times, on November 15, 1971; November 13, 1972; April 23, 1975; and April 1, 1979. The most remarkable effort certainly was by American racing legend and winner of the 1967 24 hours of Le Mans, Dan Gurney, winning the second run in a Ferrari Daytona. Dan himself put it best, saying: "At no time did we exceed 175 mph."
The natural American response to tyranny is defiance. The tyranny of the "delicate flowers" -- and indeed, they are capable of tyranny! -- is best met with a sort of joyous defiance.

Steyn is a master of it. We'll need more of that spirit in the years to come.



A list of reasons someone likes Tolkien:

3) The Watcher in the Water

Dude. That totally was cool. I mean, say what you like about him, Tolk gives good monster.

Subcreation and the old Northern heroism (subdivided betweens reason 1 and 2) are indeed good reasons to admire the work, however.

Men & Women & Work

Men & Women At Work:

Cassandra has a good post today on women and the workplace. Her aside in the comments is also an interesting conjecture:

Men's wages have stagnated over the past generation, while women entered the work force for the first time.

Coincidence? I wonder.

I think there may be two things going on here:

1. A man who has a wife at home FT caring for home and family is freed up to focus his time and attention on his job. He also, as the lone wage earner, has more pressure to succeed.

2. Suddenly flooding the market with workers who don't negotiate for their salaries may well have had a depressing effect on the incomes of men.
I recall an earlier post at VC discussed the claim that women don't negotiate for salary, on average. (I am sure, however, that our friend Texas99 is a vigorous exception to the rule. :)

In any event, as Paul Ibrahim points out, it's no surprise given the difference in men's brains:
Being male, Caplan writes, “has 15.7% of the effect of a Ph.D. in economics[.]”
It's science.



So, the APA has come up with yet another way in which you might be crazy. Last time it was something to do with spending too much time on internet games, but now you might be bitter.

No one could accuse the American Psychiatric Association of missing a strain of sourness in the country, or of failing to capitalize on its diagnostic potential. Having floated "Apathy Disorder" as a trial balloon, to see if it might garner enough support for inclusion in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the world's diagnostic bible of mental illnesses, the organization has generated untold amounts of publicity and incredulity this week by debating at its convention whether bitterness should become a bona fide mental disorder.
I yield to none in my disdain for this whole branch of pseudoscience; but just as I was warming up to this article exposing the weakness of the evidentiary claims, it took an odd turn.
Now I grant that there's a lot of anger and bitterness out there. Part of it, I'd wager, is targeted appropriately at a Republican administration that managed in eight years to bring a largely healthy economy to its knees.
I'm sorry, what?
Do we need to give additional reasons for bitterness at that outcome? The Bush administration managed to lead the country into a protracted, illegal war, based on trumped-up evidence; ignored memos that said the country faced credible terrorist threats; locked up large numbers of suspects afterwards without trial or due process; lied to its citizens about the widespread use of torture; eliminated every sensible, necessary check on financial regulation to prevent a fiscal meltdown; mocked the facts of climate change; and dithered as Hurricane Katrina devastated a large city.
What were we talking about, again?
Heaven knows, there are reasons enough to be bitter about the untold number of opportunities squandered, the problems that have escalated in their place, and the crises now with us that were once entirely avoidable.

But when justified anger at such incompetence is discussed as a sign of mental illness, it's borderline insulting[.]
Oh... kay.

The author turns out to be a professor of literature -- which is an academic discipline at least more rigorous than psychology -- and an author. The book he wrote was called Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness.

I am struck by the comparison with Ms. Warner's article, which we discussed below. In her case, it was not "shyness" but "anxiety" that defined her experience with life.

There is something going on here. I wouldn't suggest it was a "mental illness," not just because I wouldn't want to be insulting, but because I don't believe that it is. The only "mental illness" I believe actually exist are the ones with physical, observable causes, which can be corrected. That's an illness, and part of the proper field of medicine. What we're talking about here is not illness, with a medical solution, but something else.

What we're talking about here is not part of the mind, but of the psyche -- which, so many have forgotten, is not the mind but the soul. These are people who have lived lives of remarkable peace and plenty, in a land now ruled by their preferred and chosen officials and policies, and who yet find themselves ruled by fear, by shyness, and by anxiety; and therefore by a kind of seething anger, which is the natural compliment of fear.

What is needed is not a diagnosis, nor a drug. It's a way of learning to live boldly; and a way of embracing joy, even if destruction lays overhead. "Take thou, and strike! The time for casting away is yet far off."

It is your hour. I am managing to enjoy it; why shouldn't you?

Water Maids

Water Maids:

SO THEY RODE till they came to a lake, the which was a fair water and broad, and in the midst of the lake Arthur was ware of an arm clothed in white samite, that held a fair sword in that hand. Lo! said Merlin, yonder is that sword that I spake of. With that they saw a damosel going upon the lake. What damosel is that? said Arthur. That is the Lady of the Lake, said Merlin; and within that lake is a rock, and therein is as fair a place as any on earth, and richly beseen; and this damosel will come to you anon, and then speak ye fair to her that she will give you that sword.

Anon withal came the damosel unto Arthur, and saluted him, and he her again. Damosel, said Arthur, what sword is that, that yonder the arm holdeth above the water? I would it were mine, for I have no sword. Sir Arthur, king, said the damosel, that sword is mine, and if ye will give me a gift when I ask it you, ye shall have it. By my faith, said Arthur, I will give you what gift ye will ask. Well! said the damosel, go ye into yonder barge, and row yourself to the sword, and take it and the scabbard with you, and I will ask my gift when I see my time.
Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte D'Arthur

Then bore this brine-wolf, when bottom she touched,
the lord of rings to the lair she haunted
whiles vainly he strove, though his valor held,
weapon to wield against wondrous monsters
that sore beset him; sea-beasts many
tried with fierce tusks to tear his mail,
and swarmed on the stranger. But soon he marked
he was now in some hall, he knew not which,
where water never could work him harm,
nor through the roof could reach him ever
fangs of the flood. Firelight he saw,
beams of a blaze that brightly shone.
Then the warrior was ware of that wolf-of-the-deep,
mere-wife monstrous....

'MID the battle-gear saw he a blade triumphant,
old-sword of Eotens, with edge of proof,
warriors' heirloom, weapon unmatched,
-- save only 'twas more than other men
to bandy-of-battle could bear at all --
as the giants had wrought it, ready and keen.
Seized then its chain-hilt the Scyldings' chieftain,
bold and battle-grim, brandished the sword,
reckless of life, and so wrathfully smote
that it gripped her neck and grasped her hard,
her bone-rings breaking[.]
The Beowulf

Then from the yelling Northmen
Driven splintering on him ran
Full seven spears, and the seventh
Was never made by man.

Seven spears, and the seventh
Was wrought as the faerie blades,
And given to Elf the minstrel
By the monstrous water-maids;

By them that dwell where luridly
Lost waters of the Rhine
Move among roots of nations,
Being sunken for a sign.

Under all graves they murmur,
They murmur and rebel,
Down to the buried kingdoms creep,
And like a lost rain roar and weep
O’er the red heavens of hell.

Thrice drowned was Elf the minstrel,
And washed as dead on sand;
And the third time men found him
The spear was in his hand.

Seven spears went about Eldred,
Like stays about a mast;
But there was sorrow by the sea
For the driving of the last.
Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse

'And near him stood the Lady of the Lake,
Who knows a subtler magic than his own--
Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful.
She gave the King his huge cross-hilted sword,
Whereby to drive the heathen out: a mist
Of incense curled about her, and her face
Wellnigh was hidden in the minster gloom;
But there was heard among the holy hymns
A voice as of the waters, for she dwells
Down in a deep; calm, whatsoever storms
May shake the world, and when the surface rolls,
Hath power to walk the waters like our Lord.

'There likewise I beheld Excalibur
Before him at his crowning borne, the sword
That rose from out the bosom of the lake,
And Arthur rowed across and took it--rich
With jewels, elfin Urim, on the hilt,
Bewildering heart and eye--the blade so bright
That men are blinded by it--on one side,
Graven in the oldest tongue of all this world,
"Take me," but turn the blade and ye shall see,
And written in the speech ye speak yourself,
"Cast me away!" And sad was Arthur's face
Taking it, but old Merlin counselled him,
"Take thou and strike! the time to cast away
Is yet far-off."
Lord Tennyson, Idylls of the King