Our Boys Uphold American Honor

A US military deployment to Iceland drains the capital city dry.

A Public Service

Hey kids! Why not steal your parents’ guns and turn them in to agents of the state? We mean your teachers, of course, who will have no reason to view your producing a firearm in their classroom as anything but good citizenship.

What could go wrong?

Trust but verify

A poll examines the trust gaps between the nation's main political parties:

Americans are united in their trust of the military and Amazon, and in their distrust of Facebook, political parties, and Congress.  Both parties are lukewarm on state and local government, philanthropy, non-profits, and the courts. They differ sharply in their trust/distrust of the executive branch, local police, organized labor, the FBI, religion, Google, banks, big corporations, the press, and academia.

It Does Have A Certain Track Record

Adopting the Benedictine Rule.

The Nazis and FOX News

I can understand Democratic concerns that they don't control as much of Congress as they'd like, or that the Supreme Court may have slipped out of their grasp, or that the Presidency is a very powerful weapon they'd prefer to wield than to have wielded against their interests. You'd think they'd be satisfied with the media, though. Over ninety percent of journalism directed at Trump, which is a shocking amount of the total journalism being constructed today, is negative in its treatment of the President and his interests. They control every major news agency but one.

However, the existence of that one is seen as a great and terrible problem.
Another parallel exists between the Nazis' skillful use of propaganda and state-sponsored media and Trump and the Republican Party's relationship with Fox News.

Fox News is a privatized ministry of propaganda. Under the Nazis, Joseph Goebbels was a key adviser to Hitler. They conversed a great deal. In a sense, Sean Hannity and Donald Trump have that same relationship. It is symbiotic because it works both ways, where Fox News is not just Trump's personal news outlet and propaganda arm but Trump also gets his inspiration from watching Fox News. It is a very reciprocal relationship.
I don't watch television, so I never see broadcast news of any sort unless it's a clip put online for some reason. This is a pretty intense criticism, though, which I have trouble imagining is well-grounded.

Ivy Diversity is a Racket

Diversity in general is, I suppose, but the Ivy Leagues are at least as bad as others. Harvard is in the crosshairs today.
An attorney for the plaintiff asked why a white boy in, say, immigrant-rich Las Vegas with a score of 1310 would get the letter, while his Asian classmate with a 1370 would not. Fitzsimmons responded with generalities about the need to recruit from a broad array of states to achieve diversity.
There's another fudging mechanism they use too: sports scholarships.
By the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s own estimate, 61 percent of student athletes last year were white. At elite colleges, that number is even higher: 65 percent in the Ivy League, not including international students, and 79 percent in the Division III New England Small College Athletic Conference, which includes elite liberal-arts colleges like Williams College and Amherst College....

All applicants to Harvard are ranked on a scale of one to six based on their academic qualifications, and athletes who scored a four were accepted at a rate of about 70 percent. Yet the admit rate for nonathletes with the same score was 0.076 percent—nearly 1,000 times lower. Similarly, 83 percent of athletes with a top academic score got an acceptance letter, compared with 16 percent of nonathletes.
If any of you know a junior in high school who would like to go to the Ivy Leagues, there's still time to get them into a sports program. It'll help if they're not Asian.

Mobs, Then and Now

Also, "then" was three days before "now."

My personal theory about all these non-exploding bombs is that they are the work of a civic-minded individual trying to illuminate to the recently pro-mob crowd just why they really don't want to go down that road. If so, it's working.

UPDATE: On reflection, Democratic leaders decide to reject the call for sensible behavior.

UPDATE: Andy McCarthy on the subject.

Trying Something New

North Carolina's solution to the student debt crisis: lower tuition.

Good news

Unclear on the concept

From Coyote Blog, on Texas U.S. Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke's proposals for encouraging entrepreneurship as a path to social justice:
Amazing. We are going to promote entrepreneurship by showering the economy with regulations (1000 new bills a year in progressive CA) and making sure many of the returns from an entrepreneurs' money and effort go to other people. This is like saying we really want to promote the growth of the rabbit population and we are going to do it by putting out lots of rabbit traps and making sure all the carrots the rabbits are eating are given to others.
Ted Cruz is so personally unpopular that I was worried about his campaign for a while, but Beto seems to be taking care of it. I think Trump's "stone-cold phony" description struck a chord here.

Flag-Burners Unite

It's a little odd to run for Governor of a state when you've a history of burning that state's flag, but such is the new normal.
Abrams has been a vocal critic of Confederate imagery on state symbols.

Shortly after white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Va., she called for the removal of the carving of Confederate war leaders from Stone Mountain’s massive granite face. Noting the state-owned site’s link to the Ku Klux Klan, she said we “must never celebrate those who defended slavery and tried to destroy the Union.”
As noted below, I was just at Stone Mountain for the annual Highland Games. The site has been tied to the Klan since 1915, when it was privately owned and chiefly used for rock quarries. One of the owners was tied up with the re-founding of the Klan, and offered the site as a location for the ceremony. In 1958, a Georgia government then intensely interested in defending segregation purchased the mountain specifically to be a monument to the Confederacy. The flag Abrams was burning dates to the same era, being adopted in 1956.

What few seem to realize is that the current Georgia flag is just as much a Confederate symbol as the one people got so upset about in the 1990s. I suppose that, if elected, Abrams would want to change the flag again. Maybe this time they can just put Dr. King's face on the flag and leave it at that.

As for the mountain, it is maintained by the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, a state agency that is not supported by taxes but by usage fees and the like. When I go camping in the park, I help maintain the Association. The Highland Games, the annual Cherokee-led Pow Wow, and similar cultural events do likewise. So too does the use of the golf course, the lakes, and so on. They have contracted out theme park attractions and similar services, and get a cut of the profits from all of those things. What they don't control is the carving; the State Legislature would have to approve legislation to remove it.

I hate to see such a beautiful place continually mired in ugliness and controversy. This feud is a feud about honor, specifically, about whom we will honor and whom we will treat as shameful. The Confederate leadership included some men who merit honor by virtue, but many who did not -- especially Jeff Davis, who is on the memorial carving. The Confederacy itself deserves little honor. The Klan deserves none. Perhaps there is a compromise position that can handle all that, but so far I haven't seen it.


Wretchard wonders if there isn't something off about the global order.
Open borders advocates wait with bated breath as central American refugee "caravans" headed for the United States in a replay of the migrant crisis that changed the political landscape Europe.... Ironically the caravans could wind up boosting Donald Trump the way the European refugee flows crippled Angela Merkel. Her position as "Leader of the Free World" now seems over as "her junior coalition partners, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), saw support in Bavaria halved." It would be one more hint that liberal policy analysts miscalculated badly.

Just how weak the globalist orthodoxy has now become was illustrated by Italy's budgetary defiance of the European Union. "In what is becoming a dangerous game of chicken for the global economy, Italy’s populist government refused to budge on Tuesday after the European Union for the first time sent back a member state’s proposed budget because it violated the bloc’s fiscal laws and posed unacceptable risks." The Atlantic notes that far from being fearful of Brussels the Italians are raring for a fight. The Independent suggests that Rome's open revolt is now a bigger threat to the EU than Brexit. "It could finish the euro ... Add the migrant crisis" and you have a perfect storm.

The chief challenges to globalization now stem from the cascading failures of the system itself principally in the effect of China, Russia and MENA's refusal to democratize. With hostiles inside the wire Western political parties are realizing that they are no longer complete masters of their own house. Russian collusion and Saudi influence are but different names for foreign influence now rampant in what used to be domestic affairs.
There is more, including a report on Chinese money in Canada.

Random Bee Stings

This infographic is going to leave a mark: How to Tell a Modern-Day Nazi from an Antifa Member

On Gender, Left Steps Up Effort Against Notorious Hate Group: Reality

What Should You Wear to Church? A handy guide for each denomination

Report: First Star Destroyer in Space Force to Be Named 'USS Civility'

Random Philosophy Links

Psychology research by philosophers is robust and replicates better than other areas of psychology

I didn't know there was a field called "experimental philosophy."

Philosophers Name the Best Philosophy Books

The War on Reason - A very interesting article by psychologist Paul Bloom that argues for a place for free will against the assault by sociology and psychology. It is long and wide-ranging and I found it thought-provoking. Plus, brief mentions of Aristotle.

The Theory of Mind Myth - a challenge to the idea that we can understand another person's mind

Update: Does reading give us access to other people's minds?

The Press


I've been swimming around in G.K. Chesterton quotations today:
“There are two kinds of revolutionists, as of most things – a good kind and a bad. The bad revolutionists destroy conventions by appealing to fads – fashions that are newer than conventions. The good do it by appealing to facts that are older than conventions.” Illustrated London News, April 30, 1910

STEM Gerrymander

The infamous Jordan Peterson warns the STEM field that it is about to get sucker-punched.

Format Change

I've restored a very old all-black format as a test to see if it is easier to read. The white-on-red text, though I find the design attractive, may be harder on the eyes than is necessary. Feedback is welcome, of course. But the design isn't an innovation, for what that's worth; we blacked out the blog for a long time way back when. It was done to protest the anti-Free Speech initiatives of the late Senator McCain.

NPC Conan

One of the more effective memes developed lately is the meme of the NPC, short for "Non-Player Character." These are characters one encounters in video role playing games that are supposed to simulate human beings, but whose responses are scripted and thus limited and predictable. Politically Correct culture forces its adherents into a similar role of only being allowed certain thoughts and expressions. Thus, they come to act as if they were NPCs even though they are, presumably, actual humans.

Naturally members of the PC culture are describing this meme as "fascist," which somewhat amusingly makes the point that they have a very limited range of acceptable responses. They claim it is "dehumanizing," which is a favorite term they use that doesn't seem to mean what I'd expect it to mean. Human beings are characteristically capable of free thought and, therefore, free expression. Limiting one's own capacity for thought and expression is more dehumanizing (to one's self) than mocking others for refusing to engage in freer thought and expression. The guy who mocks you as an NPC isn't dehumanizing you; he's pointing out the degree to which you have agreed to dehumanize yourself.

I thought of all of this because of today's edition of "Conan the Salaryman," an often-amusing Twitter account that imagines Conan the Barbarian forced into modern life. Normally the joke is that Conan would probably kill people on a regular basis if forced into such a life, which allows the author to make jokes about the indignities of commuting or working in an ordinary office. Now and then, though, you get stuff like this:

I find transgender claims philosophically interesting, at least the ones that arise from people who physically are biologically male or female but who claim to be the opposite sex essentially. The claim seems to point to a sort of dualism, in which the sex of the body and the sex of the soul/spirit/mind/etc come apart. That's so at odds with the materialism that wrongly dominates much of our philosophical conversation today that I'm inclined to entertain it, if only because I see the value of the challenge it poses to ordinary received wisdom dominant in our culture. (In addition, at least some people aren't either male or female in the strict biological sense; these people have a sensible claim to accommodation as they have been born into a world that otherwise doesn't really have a place for them.)

That said, it's absurd to adopt the persona of Conan and talk movingly of transgender rights. Robert E. Howard would have laughed in your face, probably just before punching it. Howard was an early 20th century adherent of understanding even many mystical aspects of the world in terms of hard science; he wrote of demons as coming from 'outer space,' and of evolution causing 'races' of men to rise nearly to godhood, or fall back to bestiality. Indeed, there's no separating Howard's racism from his adherence to Darwinism, at the hour when Darwin was being treated with intense skepticism by the Christianity of the period. Howard believed a man could come from an ape, and he believed a line of men might therefore be closer to apes than another line; or that a line could fall back into apehood, under the right conditions. He believed apes could come to take on manlike intelligence, thus being even greater perils for his heroes.

As far as I know, Howard didn't even imagine a transgender character, but I can't imagine they would have come off kindly in Conan's eyes had he encountered one. But it's the only acceptable viewpoint for the PC today, and therefore even NPC Conan the Barbarian has to mouth the line. It's the only line in the script.

Stone Games

That event is Weight Over Bar, i.e. throwing a 56-pound weight over the rising bar. They were throwing at 18 feet when I took that photo.

These games have been an important part of my life for decades. Old friends, old swords, old stories, old ways.


One of Maggie's Farm's recent posts concerned crushes in the workplace.  I liked this comment:
Life is too complicated for simple answers, but you fulfill your duties and obligations first. Then you make sure your actions reduce chaos and drama. THEN you satisfy your wibbly bits.