Why Not? Two and a Half Hours of Rebel Songs

Johston's Motor Car

He didn't quite get it back per order, but the damn thing's been found. It'll go back now, I suppose, only a little bit late.

The Nightingale song, if you know the whole thing, is the same bit as the Gentleman Soldier song from last week. Folk songs and all that.

Outlaw Country, Medieval Edition, Re-imagined

This was one of the great films. It's a shame it didn't take off. It's all about liberty by law, the American way, as prefigured in the Medieval.

It was anti-Prohibition, too, as any decent liberty should entail.

Outlaw Country, Medieval Edition

It's a tune still used by British intelligence on their 'numbers stations' out North Korea way.

It's the right season for it. But don't come out poaching my way; not of the bears, at least. If I catch you with a deer, that's one thing and I might share it with you, but if you kill a bear on my land you'd best not let me find you. All bears are under my special protection.

Introduction to Aristotle's Ethics at Hillsdale College

Hillsdale College is offering a free course on Aristotle's Ethics, "Introduction to Aristotle's Ethics: How to Lead a Good Life," taught by college president Larry P. Arnn. Here are the topics:
  1. The Good
  2. Aristotle's Politics and the Nature of Man
  3. Happiness
  4. Character
  5. Deliberation and Choice
  6. Courage
  7. Justice
  8. Practical Judgment 
  9. Friendship
  10. Contemplation and Action
The course is open to start whenever you want. There is a forum if you want to post back and forth with others taking the course.

There is a short reading from Aristotle, 2-4 pages or so, for each lecture, and the video lectures take about 30 minutes or so. It seems designed to take about an hour or so per topic.

I'm slowly working my way through it, and it's interesting so far. I would recommend it if, like me, you haven't had much time for studying Aristotle but wish you had.

Towards Noble Speech

It is a form of rhetoric American politics has abandoned, argues Titus Techera, in part because it seems undemocratic: "they exalt some men, usually fallen soldiers, above the rest of us — and, too, because they allow politicians to assume high authority, greater than the merely political, to speak to the nation about the nation as a whole."

Yet it is not necessarily anti-democratic to recognize that some men are better than others. The democratic aspect is reinforced when we realize that those better men are just as often found among the ordinary man of the countryside as among the rich, those thought well-born, or those thought well-educated. Indeed, in today's speech, President Trump does us the democratic service of being an elite-born, elite-educated, rich member of the politically empowered who is manifestly not the equals of the men his task is to praise. He may be a better President than he is often given credit for being, but he is nevertheless not the equal of the Boys of Point du Hoc.*

It is no insult to say so. Reagan didn't claim to be. Few men alive should dare, and of those who might, I can't think of any who would.

Noble speech is a form of honor, and honor is not improper for democracies. It is as essential to the success of our form of self-government as it is for any nobility, or for any form of human organization at all. The quality of democracy is that it sometimes finds honor where the well-born might not expect it. Democracy bestows honor on such heroes all the more capably when it puts their honors in mouths of duly elected, lesser men.

*(The NRO editors give "Point du Hoc" correctly the first time, but then several times as "Point de Hoc," which is another illustration that the elite are not always better than the ordinary man. We all make mistakes like this.)

D-Day at 75

Charles Schultz was a veteran of the Second World War, having served in the 20th Armored Division (there is now only one, with armor units being usually organized at smaller scales and integrated with combined arms). Here is what he wanted children to know about D-Day.

There are numerous inspiring stories, including that of Bill Millen and the bagpipes. Via Instapundit, which has many relevant posts today, here's a very good post from a surprising outlet. Just a short part of the whole:
Taylor leads his section crawling across the beach and over the sea wall, losing four men killed and two wounded (machine-gun fire) in this brief movement. Some yards off to his right, Taylor has seen Lieutenants Harold Donaldson and Emil Winkler shot dead. But there is no halt for reflection; Taylor leads the section by trail straight up the bluff and into Vierville, where his luck continues. In a two-hour fight he whips a German platoon without losing a man.

The village is quiet when Pearce joins him. Pearce says: "Williams is shot up back there and can't move."

Says Taylor: "I guess that makes me company commander."

Answers Pearce: "This is probably all of Baker Company." Pearce takes a head count; they number twenty-eight, including Taylor.

Says Taylor: "That ought to be enough. Follow me!"

Inland from Vierville about five hundred yards lies the Château de Vaumicel, imposing in its rock-walled massiveness, its hedgerow-bordered fields all entrenched and interconnected with artilleryproof tunnels. To every man but Taylor the target looks prohibitive. Still, they follow him. Fire stops them one hundred yards short of the château. The Germans are behind a hedgerow at mid-distance. Still feeling their way, Taylor's men flatten, open fire with rifles, and toss a few grenades, though the distance seems too great. By sheer chance, one grenade glances off the helmet of a German squatting in a foxhole. He jumps up, shouting: "Kamerad! Kamerad!" Thereupon twenty-four of the enemy walk from behind the hedgerow with their hands in the air. Taylor pares off one of his riflemen to march the prisoners back to the beach. The brief fight costs him three wounded. Within the château, he takes two more prisoners, a German doctor and his first-aid man. Taylor puts them on a "kind of a parole," leaving his three wounded in their keeping while moving his platoon to the first crossroads beyond the château.

Here he is stopped by the sudden arrival of three truckloads of German infantry, who deploy into the fields on both flanks of his position and start an envelopment. The manpower odds, about three to one against him, are too heavy. In the first trade of fire, lasting not more than two minutes, a rifleman lying beside Taylor is killed, three others are wounded, and the B.A.R. is shot from Pearce's hands. That leaves but twenty men and no automatic weapons.

Taylor yells: "Back to the château!" They go out, crawling as far as the first hedgerow; then they rise and trot along, supporting their wounded. Taylor is the last man out, having stayed behind to cover the withdrawal with his carbine until the hedgerows interdict fire against the others. So far, this small group has had no contact with any other part of the expedition, and for all its members know, the invasion may have failed.

They make it to the château. The enemy comes on and moves in close. The attacking fire builds up. But the stone walls are fire-slotted, and through the midday and early afternoon these ports well serve the American riflemen. The question is whether the ammunition will outlast the Germans. It is answered at sundown, just as the supply runs out, by the arrival of fifteen Rangers who join their fire with Taylor's, and the Germans fade back.

Already Taylor and his force are farther south than any element of the right flank in the Omaha expedition. But Taylor isn't satisfied. The battalion objective, as specified for the close of D Day, is still more than one half mile to the westward.
Back in the "another grim milestone" days of the Iraq war, the press appeared to delight in reporting that the American death toll had climbed by five hundred that year, or a thousand. On D-Day, nearly as many Allied forces died as would die in the whole of our war. Perhaps they had a better cause; or perhaps it was the same cause, as some of us believed. In any case they are due the greatest honor for the weight they bore in defense of the cause of human liberty.

Can't We Just Dispense with Knowledge?

Professor of philosophy at King's College London and CUNY David Papineau says we should just get over the idea of knowledge already. The article is interesting, and I will just briefly give the gist of it in case you'd like to read it.

He claims:

I’m against knowledge. Don’t get me wrong: I’m as keen on the facts as the next person. I’m no friend of fake news. I want truth rather than falsity. It is specifically knowledge I’m against, not true belief. Knowledge asks more of us than true belief, and it isn’t worth it. In reality, the concept of knowledge is a hangover from a stone-age way of thinking that has long outlived its usefulness. We’d be far better off without it. 

In Praise of Killing

...a key lesson of D-Day's 75th anniversary should also be the day's moral import in our consideration of war. After all, D-Day proves that killing people is sometimes not simply necessary, but also inherently moral.

Strange, I Always Found the Game Empowering

Researchers allegedly prove that dodgeball teaches unethical oppression.

The Silver Age of Facial Hair

Following Hesiod's concept that the silver age follows rather than precedes the golden age, our Golden Age may well have been the 19th century; but there's a Silver Age upon us now. In fact it has a lot to do with the Silver Screen, argues this piece in the New Republic.
You could consume more than half a century of American popular culture, from World War II to Korea to Vietnam to September 11, without encountering many bearded manly heroes; facial hair was generally reserved for wild enemies foreign and domestic, swarthy terrorists and libertine hippies. Even American westerns posited a surprising number of neatly trimmed frontier protagonists, reserving scruff for their foes. Italian-produced spaghetti westerns, which introduced Clint Eastwood’s perpetually unshaven man with no name, seem the exception that proves the rule, deploying beards as to emphasize that their protagonists are deeply flawed antiheroes, operating outside mainstream norms....

[W]hy is ours such a hairy century? What began this trend, and what fuels it? There is an easy answer, though it leads to harder questions: We can thank the Global War on Terror—or the Long War, the Bellum Americanum, whatever you choose to call it—and the reluctance of military leaders to impose discipline on the most professional of the units that participated in GWOT, special operations forces. Generals preferred to allow those units to operate based on “big boy rules”—a devolution of authority empowering them to operate like Apocalypse Now’s mad Col. Kurtz, “without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct.” The evidence of this is the proliferation of beards in the military, which now extends to civilian society. We worship the post-9/11 military operator. We are a nation drunk on “tacticool” culture.
I'll grant that there may be a connection between the popularity of beards and the cultural moment being enjoyed by operators in story and film. I reject just about everything else the article has to say, though, starting with its conception of 'big boy rules.'

Big boy rules is a real thing, but it doesn't mean that you're unrestrained. It's a simple concept: "Do what you think is right, being prepared to shoulder the consequences of your decision." If, like the authors, you wanted a tie to right wing American politics, you could point at the post-military career of LTC Allen West (who was and is clean shaven). He committed a war crime by staging a fake execution in order to intimidate a man into revealing details about the ambush that threatened to kill several of West's men. He then at once turned himself in, confessed himself, and took the consequences. His subsequent career is based not on respect for him being unburdened by morality, but by his moral decision to take the responsibility for bringing his men home alive even though it meant his career -- that, coupled with his complete refusal to try to dodge the responsibility for what he had done.

It is true that the American right saw the value in that, while the Left mostly saw the war crime; but the point is that it was metaphysically West's decision to make, he made it, and he owned the consequences. The law might argue that West had no right to make the decision; command and control might argue that it wasn't his to make. But ultimately, metaphysically, it was only he who was there in the position to decide.

A cinematic version of this occurs in the movie Flyboys, based on WWI-era Americans fighting in a volunteer flying squadron in France. Complaining about the murder of one of their own by a German ace, the men are told by their commanding French officer: "You want justice? You're the man with the gun." There may not be any justice forthcoming for what was done, but if there is, it's going to be on them to make it. Nobody else is going to step up and make things right. You have to decide what that's worth to you, and accept the consequences of whatever decision you make.

It is not that the man is unquestionable, nor that he is merciless. He submits to judgment after the fact; and perhaps his mercy was exercised on the wives and children of his men, rather than on the ones plotting to kill his people. The point is only that he had to make a decision, and he didn't hide from it, not in the moment and not after.

If you understand that, the rest of their essay unravels. Too, perhaps, you can come to see why this thing they are criticizing might prove to have some value after all.

One Reason I Don't Listen to Country Much Anymore

Of all the varieties of country music, I tend to like the sound of Outlaw Country the best. Robert Burke Warren & Holly George-Warren describe their time at the Outlaw Country Cruise in All in the Same Boat, and they focus on the politics of it. That is, mostly they talk about how left-wing, open borders, and anti-Trump the musicians are and how little of a clash there was with many of their presumably right-wing fans.

Fair warning: There's some pretty vulgar language in the quotes below.

Male Disposability

The biology behind this is obvious, but it does sometimes strike me as odd how much people don't realize that our society is structured this way. We have a "Violence Against Women Act" even though by far most victims of violence are men; and this kind of thing somehow makes sense to people to say out loud.
In a 1998 speech delivered before a domestic violence conference in El Salvador, former US senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that “Women have always been the primary victims of war. Women lose their husbands, their fathers, their sons in combat.”
She didn't just say that out loud, somebody wrote it down for her. A speech of that prominence got through some sort of editorial process, and that line stayed in.

Pay Attention

A feud I have been studiously ignoring has been drawn to my attention, even though I'm not a member of the target audience for this essay. But the guy's right, and his point applies more broadly than he makes it.
A religious minority cannot expect to last very long in a society, like the one the progressive left advocates, that is allergic to tradition and intolerant of dissent. Only in an America that takes faith seriously, that respects and empowers community, and that shudders at any attempt to censor wrong beliefs and incorrect thinking, can [religious minorities] hope to thrive.
The thing is, we're all religious minorities now. America's majority religion might still be mere Christianity, but it isn't any particular kind of Christianity; nor Judaism; nor Islam; nor Buddhism; nor any of the many other faiths that people practice. Or don't practice: "People with no religion - known as 'nones' among statisticians - account for 23.1 percent of the U.S. population, while Catholics make up 23 percent and Evangelicals account for 22.5 percent, according to the General Social Survey."

So it's all of us who need to take this seriously.

On second thought

Rumors greatly exaggerated.

Cities and Countries

It's commonplace now to note the distinctions between the urban and the rural political cultures in America; but maybe the bigger point is that the cities no longer belong to our countries at all.
Where the street once buzzed with English, spoken in a variety of accents, now you can go through an entire day without hearing English. From her small terraced house, she hears Pashto over one garden fence, Romanian over the other. In the nearby row of shops, the English-speaking Indian-owned mini-supermarkets have given way to Polish shops outside which young men gather every evening, speaking Polish.
Maybe you could have that international, global government in every city over a million in population; provided that no sovereignty was claimed over the surrounding countryside.

The Bear and the Maiden Fair

I'm not sure I understand the maiden's objections to the bear. Maybe she could do worse. A big, strong bear isn't the worst partner, if one is on offer.


Well, now, 'gentleman' is a thing we've made easy to come by. Once upon a time, it meant something. Now it doesn't, really. Is that an improvement? Are we glad about all this progress?

Boogie Barr

Mr. Chait is quite right to be terrified.

Yearning for a Brexit without tears

Or more likely, no Brexit at all:
It’s as if after America declared independence in 1776, your Founding Fathers then decided that self-government was just too difficult. Imagine if, instead of getting together in a court house in Philadelphia to hammer out a constitution, George Washington and Ben Franklin instead sent emissaries over to London to ask George III how best to arrange things.
* * *
Broadcasters, particularly those at the BBC, have taken every opportunity to try to delegitimise the referendum result, reporting as fact absurd stories of Russian intervention and implying that those that voted to leave were motivated by nothing more than nativism.
Rather than accept the referendum result as a legitimate expression of the public’s desire for self-determination, the political class has behaved as if it was all a massive mistake made by their social inferiors that now needs correcting.
Russian interference may turn out to be this decade's preferred method of undermining elections.  The Deep State resistance, of course, is old hat.

Too nuanced for my taste

Mueller and his staff were trying to function as impeachment counsel.  It probably would have been a lot more successful if not for our good fortune in the appointment of AG Barr, a plain-spoken man with coherent principles.  He doesn't lose his temper when people try to feed him nonsense, but he doesn't swallow it, either.