Tranquility Point

Not sure how it came by the name.


A long time ago, now. Few of us remember even the story. What became of that America?

Book Update

I received a proof today of the second attempt at getting a paperback version of Arms and White Samite.  Thanks to Douglas' help, and the patience of the cover artist, most of the problems are fixed.  There remain a few persistent issues that will require more work and another proof, but in a few weeks we might have a final version.

It is already much better, though.  It's just not right.

Right to Peaceful Protest

It’s too important to be limited by virus mitigation, but only if the cause is good enough. Don’t take my word for that; here are nearly thirteen hundred public health experts asserting it.

“Money quote: ‘This should not be confused with a permissive stance on all gatherings, particularly protests against stay-home orders. Those actions not only oppose public health interventions, but are also rooted in white nationalism and run contrary to respect for Black lives.’”

A Letter From General Flynn

Read it here.

Understanding Mathematical Dimensions

An article with links to advice.

"Define Racism"

It's a Socratic point, and one that brings us back around to the kinds of problems that Socrates tried to illustrate during his life.  (That video in which the discussion was taking place, by the way, is a vivid warning of what kinds of genuinely terroristic tactics are available.)

In the Euthyphro, Socrates is after a definition of piety.  Euthyphro is prosecuting his own father for murder; he claims that it is pious to do this because his relationship with his father should not blind him to the justice of the prosecution.  Socrates suggests this is merely an example of something pious, not a definition of piety itself.  Euthyphro decides that piety is doing what the gods love, and impiety doing what they dislike; Socrates presses him to explain whether the pious thing is pious because the gods love it, or whether -- and this is crucial -- they love it because it is pious.

There's a similar problem with racism.  A lot of people accused of racism don't actually even believe in race.  How can you be a racist if you reject that race represents something biologically real?  The answer is that you take (or endorse) actions that disproportionately harm people of some races and not others.  Yet this assumes the validity of race as a form of analysis; if race isn't real, why would you try to cash out its effects in terms of the harm 'to races' whose reality you have already rejected?

The best answer seems to be the one floated by Charles Mills and others, which is that race can be rejected biologically but not socially.  Socially, race is real even if in fact there are not "races" in any meaningful biological sense.  Then, rejecting race as a social phenomenon because you rejected it as a biological phenomenon is a category error, a serious philosophical mistake.

That still leaves us with problems.  Given that the social phenomenon is based on an incorrect view of human nature and biology, we might wish to move to a more correct view.  Yet because we have to continue to evaluate things in terms of the social account of race, we end up baking that view into our future.  We can't leave it behind if we have to carry it with us, and constantly check ourselves against it.  How do you build a society without race if you're judging progress by constantly referring to race?  It's dead weight, but treated like a lodestone.

The second problem is that the social view is often incoherent, which makes it a poor lodestone anyway.  In the discussion linked, the woman is charging racism based on the fact that a man suggested that this kind of violence was unsurprising in Mexico.  There are two sets of problems with that.

The first is that Mexico includes people of many different genetic heritages, who are even less plausibly 'one race' than, say, denizens of Scotland (many of whom, these days, are from the Indian subcontinent).  The fact is that the Mexican government has been involved in a decades-long fiction about 'La Raza' designed to paper that over.  Yet if we can eliminate racism by constructing new races, well, why not start doing that here?  Rather than continuing to recognize existing social definitions of race in America, might we not instead follow Mexico and institute a new 'American race' that ignores genetic heritage? 

The second problem is that violence in Mexico is unsurprising for reasons that are severable from race, 'race,' or La Raza.  If you're unsurprised by a violent assault in a country largely run by extraordinarily violent criminal cartels, well, why wouldn't you be?  There's no reason to rope biological commentary into it.  Mexico is violent because it is badly governed, especially in terms of the absence of a Second Amendment.  The people endure the cartels and their violence not because they are genetically primed to do so, but because they are disarmed.  The police are assassinated not because they are inferior or corrupt, but because the populace cannot provide them with effective support.  They're too terrified to work with the police because they are kept defenseless.

The second problem, in other words, turns out to be that the incoherence of the definition ends up allowing it to be used in places where the concept is actively damaging to attempts to fix the problem.  "It's all racism" suggests the problem is in people having a negative view of the chaos in Mexico, rather than the problem lying in the absence of positive steps to empower the citizens to defend themselves.

It’s a Trap!

Evangelical group threatens to sue the Babylon Bee.

Headlines from 2020

Slate: “Non-violence is an important tool for protests, but so is violence.”

That’s true, actually, but it does elide the moral question.

"Rule of Law"

It's pretty much dead now, isn't it? First we had governors assuming emergency powers often in direct violation of the Constitution and their own state constitutions; now we've got widespread support for rioting. Bernie Sanders has an 8 point plan (some of which are very good and reasonable, like ending qualified immunity) that would replace many cops with social workers, and District Attorneys in blue cities won't prosecute rioters.

The other day Minneapolis police managed to ignore rioters but arrest a guy for defending his business from looting and arson. Why should a jury go along with that?

An Attempted Coup at NYT

Andrew Sullivan is right about this one.

It's worth noting that all of this chaos is happening in the blue cities and blue states. The target of Antifa and their ilk isn't you and me, it's blue institutions. The NYT is in danger for the same reason that the Minneapolis Police Department -- controlled by Democrats since 1978 -- is in danger. The Hard Left is trying to win control of the left-leaning powers, which in fact control most of America's cities and therefore much of America's wealth.

They might come for us later, or they might decide it's too much trouble especially since they'll have taught police, who might possibly have tried to carry out gun confiscations in red America, that their only friends are in red areas and red states. The hinterlands may be too hard a nut to crack if police won't enforce their laws here, and juries won't either.

Ymar's Post


Night-Fire Practice

I can hear my neighbors shooting tonight, a fairly impressive array of hardware. It's all too methodical and regular to be any sort of gunfight; they're just practicing and making sure everything is in good order.

They're going to be so disappointed when there's no reason to use all that stuff. These hub city ninjas aren't about to drive out shadowed dirt roads in the high mountains, where one human habitation can't be seen from the next. They'd be terrified by the sight of such an empty road, long before they ever got out to someone's trailer or cabin. Everyone knows what happens to people who go out beyond the Fields We Know into the Wilds Beyond.

It's even in the folk songs: "Once a stranger climbed old Rocky Top, looking for a moonshine still. Stranger ain't come down from Rocky Top, reckon he never will." "Well, I wonder where that Louisiana sheriff went to? You can sure get lost in the Louisiana bayou."

It is an irony that Mad Max (1979) treated the cities as a kind of safe place, with the wilderness controlled by violent motorcycle gangs. It turns out it's the other way around. Police protection doesn't protect. Every night our cities burn with fire, and every night our mountains linger through the long gloam to twilight, fearsome, lonesome, and at peace.

Claremont: America Not Racist

A statement from one of the most committed think-tanks on the right.

The Real History of Antifa

Kyle's a good guy, and a careful worker in his field, which is the study of radical organizations. You can trust his findings.

Concerns about Government Power

Some of us have been here for a while, as Ellen Reynolds at the Federalist notes.
Distrust of government is a tradition going back to our founding. “I am not a friend to a very energetic government,” wrote Thomas Jefferson in a letter to James Madison. “It is always oppressive.”

As a result, the founders carefully limited the scope and power of the federal government. Since then, conservatives have continued to be skeptical of strong government and big government programs.... But in the last century, liberal progressives have celebrated the expansion of the federal government and its growing power. It was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a champion of the Left, who transformed the size and function of the federal government, specifically the executive branch, when the Brownlow Committee recommended the creation of the Executive Office of the President in 1937. (Roosevelt’s predecessor, Herbert Hoover, was criticized when he replaced the president’s singular secretary with four aides.) Roosevelt’s New Deal programs, lauded by the Left, dramatically increased the role that the federal government played in Americans’ daily lives.

Under the administration of democrat Lyndon Johnson, federal programs (and their influence and power) expanded again, with “Great Society” initiatives such as Medicare, Medicaid, federal involvement in education, and public housing programs. Certain bureaucratic failures of these programs aside, the Great Society posed another reach by the federal government into Americans’ lives.

Today, a man who was almost the Democratic presidential nominee (twice) advocates for dramatically expanding the power of the federal government. Sen. Bernie Sanders has plans for the nanny state to become the provider of higher education, housing, healthcare, child care, and even high-speed internet. He also wants to erase the constitutional right to bear arms, and plans to pay for his excessive programs by taxing Americans.

For the last hundred years, the Left has been the standard-bearer for the growth of government. And suddenly, they’re reaping the results. They’re horrified at a strong federal government and its power to police its constituents. On behalf of limited-government conservatives: welcome to the club.
It would be nice if these newly-shared concerns opened a path forward to solutions such as shrinking the size and power of the government -- to include the police agencies. We could even have fewer laws!

The Perils of Gentrification

There is more than one peril.  One is that it will bring the Left's rich, white faction into conflict with minority group factions -- such as in this post, "Cats v. Communists."

But perhaps sometimes the friction produces not just conflict but hybrids.
Beginning in the 1960s and the ’70s, with the Weather Underground terrorists, and continuing in the 1990s, with “black bloc” vandals traveling around the world to smash office and hotel windows at global financial meetings, there has been a violent subculture on the radical left in the United States and Europe. For the most part, the members of groups like Antifa, the latest incarnation of the violent left, have always been the pampered children of the white overclass. Twenty-somethings who are poor and working class lack the money to buy fancy black ninja outfits and the leisure to spend time plotting in advance of demonstrations....

What is new about the nationwide riots of the last week that have followed the death of George Floyd is the convergence of these two previously separate streams—traditional urban riots in poor neighborhoods triggered by police-related incidents, and the ideologically motivated vandalism by young white members of the overclass in downtown districts. This convergence is the result of hub city gentrification....

Gentrification explains why there are so many white young adults, both ordinary protesters and anarchist vandals, compared to African Americans in the videos we see of protests and riots in big cities across the United States, compared to images of urban riots in generations past. Thanks to rising rents, young white leftists and liberals have been displacing the nonwhite working class and poor, many of them social conservatives, in places like Brooklyn and Oakland and Austin.
The article is generally down on these spoiled children playing ninja, but sympathetic to the working class that's being supplanted. For those who remain on the fringes of the gentrifying areas, police are used intensively to protect the Cat Cafes owned by children of the overclass. This produces occasional brutality, which produces protests, which the children of the overclass feel very proud about joining and supporting. But they're the ones who are stealing, in the analysis of the poorer members being run out of those neighborhoods. The overclass children are stealing not just the neighborhood itself, but also the right to speak about these issues -- framing them instead in ways that are about the overclass' children's own issues.
The black poor and working class first had their urban industrial jobs taken away from them by corporate executives in the white overclass who offshored them to Mexico or China. Then they were replaced in their former urban neighborhoods by the hipster children of the white overclass. Now even their grievances like protests against horrific police brutality are stolen from them by their supposed allies in the white overclass and turned into an occasion for virtue-signaling or vandalism by the elite.
They're sure too that they're the ones on the right side, the very side of justice.


As the Russia hoax unravels, Rod Rosenstein admits to Congress that he wouldn't sign the Carter Page FISA warrant with the facts now in evidence.

Ymar’s Post

This is Wednesday’s post for Ymar’s metaphysical writing.

A Compelling Argument

Resolved:  America is not a white supremacist country.

A Headline You Don't See Everyday

"Bolivian orchestra stranded at ‘haunted’ German castle surrounded by wolves."

I suppose it's no surprise given the year we've been having. 

Test Post #2

This post is also being written in 'the New Blogger,' which I'm told is going to become the default soon. This time I'm writing the HTML code by hand like I usually do. 

BB: "Episcopalians Confused By Strange Book Trump Brought To Church."
Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, though, was nonplussed, saying she was confused by the strange book Trump had brought to church.... "No real Christian reveres a book like that. Well, maybe the Communist Manifesto or something. But not an old-looking leather book. It looks like one of those religious books, and Jesus wasn't about religion. He was about causing societal upheaval and burning things down."
Some Episcopalians suggested it was a cookbook and that Trump was only offering to bring something to the next church potluck. Others said it was a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, a revered religious text among the Left.
There might be some good casserole recipes in there.

A Test Post

This post is being written with "the New Blogger," which I'm told will become the default soon.  I've still been using the old one; we'll have to see if this changes things dramatically.

Here's a piece on the interview Rush Limbaugh gave with a radio host called "Charlemagne tha God" (apparently the same one Biden was talking with whom he, Biden, told that 'he ain't black' if he doesn't know how to vote).  I think the author raises some good points:

RUSH: How do you stop it? (crosstalk)

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: I have a question for you. I want to know. How are you gonna use your privilege as a white male to combat this prejudice. You got a direct line to Donald Trump. (crosstalk)

RUSH: No, wait a minute, I don’t buy into the notion of white privilege. See, I think that’s a liberal —


RUSH: That’s a liberal — (crosstalk)

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: You’re being delusional.

RUSH: — political construct right along the lines of political correctness. It’s designed to intimidate and get people to shut up and admit they’re guilty of doing things they haven’t done. I don’t have any white privilege — (crosstalk)

CHARLAMAGNE THA GOD: Do you know what white privilege is? White privilege is that what happened to George Floyd would not have happened to a white man.

RUSH: If what happened to George Floyd had happened to a white man we probably wouldn’t have even heard about it.


The pause lasted more than four seconds, as Charlamagne and his colleagues were caught by surprise.

Of course there have been white victims: Tony Timpa, for example, died in the custody of Dallas police in 2016. But his death did not provoke riots or become a national cause — nor did anyone take it as evidence of the conduct of police in general.

Charlamagne had not considered the problem from that angle. But what was even more revealing was that he was unwilling to discuss solutions to racism unless they involved Rush Limbaugh committing to ending “white privilege.”

In other words, Charlamagne gave power over his life, over black America itself, to a white man.

Fake News & Park Police

Did Trump clear protests for a photo op? Park police say no.

Of course they could be lying.

“An Unarmed Person Comin’ at ‘Em with a Knife”

More lessons on violence from Joe Biden.  It’s the latest in a series.

You know, Joe, severing the femoral artery reliably leads to death too.

That should do it

Ymar’s Post

We are going to try something new, whereby Ymar gets a post of his own to comment upon. He’s agreed to put all the metaphysical commentary here, rather than in other posts. Those interested in that approach to understanding current events can thus get all of it in one place.

Today’s is the first such post.

Insurrection Act

The President didn’t say it in so many words, but whoever wrote the speech knows what he just said satisfies the terms for invoking the 2002 version of the 1807 Insurrection Act. Of course, there is in fact an insurrection ongoing, but it’s still worth marking. Battle-hardened paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne will soon be deploying to American cities.

Have faith in them. They took the same oath we did.

Fake News Today

BB: “ Clever Churchgoers Avoid Arrest By Disguising Themselves As Rioters.”

Second look at home schooling

Did too many parents get a look at the public schools' typical offerings via ZOOM?
We asked 626 registered voters, “Are you more or less likely to enroll your son or daughter in a home school, neighborhood home school co-op, or virtual school once the lockdowns are over?” In response, 40.8% said they were more likely to choose one of the alternative schooling methods, while 31.1% said they were less likely to do so.
While home schooling is often associated with conservative or religious families, surprisingly, there seems to be no significant difference here with respect to party affiliation. In fact, Democrats were slightly more likely (45.7%) to express increased interest in home schooling, compared to Republicans (42.3%).
The data gets even more interesting when you look at the breakdown by ethnicity. Only 36.3% of whites said they were more likely to choose home schooling, and just 38.2% of Hispanics. That number was much higher for blacks (50.4%) and Asian Americans (53.8%).

The Ships at Sea

The nearly-forgotten virus exposes a threat to naval forces: what if a single case aboard could disable a major warship, even a fleet? Fortunately, that is not the case this time out.
The Theodore Roosevelt has now returned to sea, and the final data offered by the Navy remains at 1,102 cases, with only one reported death. Presumably, additional deaths aboard the ship would qualify as a “significant change,” and thus we can assume that, while still tragic, only one person, 41-year-old Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr., died of the virus. The Navy has not disclosed whether Thacker suffered from any underlying health conditions.

Doing some simple math, COVID-19 aboard the Theodore Roosevelt had a death rate of 0.09 percent, while the estimated death rate for the seasonal flu is 0.1 percent.

This data point offers incredibly useful insight into how COVID-19 affects a young and healthy population. Most enlisted sailors are under 30 years old.

A similarly low death rate has been seen on France’s Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, where more than 1,000 sailors contracted the virus but zero died. These death rates are even lower than estimates in a new CDC report, which estimates the death rate for people under 50 years old at only 0.05 percent.
Unfortunately, staying young is not an option. Staying healthy may not be either, although staying in shape is something most of us can do.

No Help from Police in Raleigh

At the capital of my new home state, the police chief says that she will not put an officer in harm's way to protect your property from destruction. We have to understand, she says, that it's not just law enforcement that is racist: it's the whole society. The police chief is in favor of group punishment of Americans for our collective sins.

North Carolina law currently does not allow for the use of lethal force to protect property, either, so citizens protecting their own businesses are putting themselves in grave legal peril. For the moment, at least: I expect that after the election we may well have some new laws on that subject. Also, you might have trouble finding a jury to convict someone for protecting their businesses after the police chief formally disavowed any duty to (or interest in) such protection.

Armed Voluntold

You should probably be prepared to hear this.

If the police dispatcher tells you "Do what you have to do," what are you prepared to do? You're a citizen. You have the right to keep and bear arms, and a duty to protect the common peace and to uphold the republic.

Some of you took oaths to the Constitution, but probably all of you said the Pledge of Allegiance at some time in your life. Did you mean it?

The Issue of the Day: Anarchists and Police Reform

Ah, the Russians again. It's almost nostalgic, especially since once again there are no actual Russians.
“I’m not reading the intelligence today, or these days — but based on my experience, this is right out of the Russian playbook,” Rice, who served as national-security adviser to president Obama, said in a CNN interview on Sunday. “But we cannot allow the extremists, the foreign actors, to distract from the real problems we have in this country that are longstanding, centuries old, and need to be addressed responsibly.”
These aren't 'little green men.' They're organizations that have been gathering loose armies of indoctrinated college kids for decades, and training them to think and act like Communists. Most of these people are not foreigners, although some of the funding for this (again, loose) network may be from abroad.

They're not less dangerous for being loose; the IRA was organized loosely in cells, just because it made them nearly impossible to finally break. You could shut down a cell, maybe get at two others connected to the one you broke, but there were always more.

I do take the point that there are serious issues in need of real reform, especially in terms of the relationship of the police to the community. I've written about that often, but here is a post that gets (in a calm and non-aggressive way) at what I think is the heart of the problem. Here is another post aimed at anarchists who want to protect marginalized communities. Here is a proposal for replacing professional police with volunteer citizen units. Here is a piece on why professional police tend to be non-accountable to the public more than armed volunteers.


ANTIFA desecrated their own memorial, or something.

Kubrick got it right

The High Feast of Pentecost

WHEN Arthur held his Round Table most plenour, it fortuned that he commanded that the high feast of Pentecost should be holden at a city and a castle, the which in those days was called Kynke Kenadonne, upon the sands that marched nigh Wales. So ever the king had a custom that at the feast of Pentecost in especial, afore other feasts in the year, he would not go that day to meat until he had heard or seen of a great marvel. And for that custom all manner of strange adventures came before Arthur as at that feast before all other feasts. And so Sir Gawaine, a little tofore noon of the day of Pentecost, espied at a window three men upon horseback, and a dwarf on foot, and so the three men alighted, and the dwarf kept their horses, and one of the three men was higher than the other twain by a foot and an half. Then Sir Gawaine went unto the king and said, Sir, go to your meat, for here at the hand come strange adventures.
The Quest for the Holy Grail began on Pentecost, and it was also the day when every year that King Arthur would have all his knights re-swear their oaths.
The king established all his knights, and gave them that were of lands not rich, he gave them lands, and charged them never to do outrageousity nor murder, and always to flee treason; also, by no mean to be cruel, but to give mercy unto him that asketh mercy, upon pain of forfeiture of their worship and lordship of King Arthur for evermore; and always to do ladies, damosels, and gentlewomen succor upon pain of death. Also, that no man take no battles in a wrongful quarrel for no law, ne for no world’s goods. Unto this were all the knights sworn of the Table Round, both old and young. And every year were they sworn at the high feast of Pentecost.
In Malory's day, such oaths marked out the duty of a knight; in our day, the duty of a citizen. We now are the ones with the right and the duty to keep and bear arms, and the duty to decide what is treason and by whom.

It may well be that this year more than any year we have to consider carefully what that duty entails.

“Police Erupt in Violence Nationwide”

What’d you think you were paying them to do, Slate?
The ongoing protests following the killing of George Floyd were caught up in violence again on Saturday, as police all over the country tear-gassed protesters, drove vehicles through crowds, opened fire with nonlethal rounds on journalists or people on their own property, and in at least one instance, pushed over an elderly man who was walking away with a cane.
“At least one instance.” But probably more, right? Cops were likely hunting for opportunities to shove old people down stairs, too.

Longtime readers know that I have long held a dire view of American policing; I’d like to see all SWAT-type units disbanded, all military weaponry reassigned, and the police move back to a more traditional “peace officer” rather than “law enforcement” model. Certainly the police in Minneapolis behaved disgracefully, and many others have over the years. There’s a lot to criticize.

But come on. They could have been clearing streets with fire all weekend. Overall the response has been remarkably restrained.

Home delivery favorites, lockdown-style

We haven't ordered any home-delivery meals during the lockdown, mostly because practically no one around here will deliver to our location in the boonies.  It's interesting to see what's trending in different states.  I confess I had never heard of "Bubble Tea," a favorite in three states.  Apparently it's an iced tea-based drink with milk and tapioca pearls, sort of milk-shakey.  Spam musubi also was a new one on me, as were boo buns (sweetened bread rolls).  Poke bowls (sushi salad) look good, but I've never encountered one.

Everything else on this map is something I'd seriously consider ordering if I were in a city where it was available and I was stuck in a hotel room or something, without room service, which is more and more often the case these days.  Hamburgers, chicken wings, Asian food of various sorts, sure.

Crawdads were a Texas favorite, though not with us.  I mean, I like crawdads, but it wouldn't occur to me to order them for home delivery.

All depends what you're angry about

Protest the lockdown?  Expect to be arrested, because no matter how angry you are, safety first.

Protest the murder of George Floyd?  Expect to be coddled, because we understand how angry you are.  Also because we don't want you to burn the city down, which we can be pretty sure those anti-lockdown types won't do.

If DeBlasio wants to make it 100% clear it's about the control, not about public health, he's doing it right.