Haud Hogmanay

The Scottish government has forbidden the celebration of Hogmanay this year, which attentive readers will recall is the reason that Hogmanay came to be in the first place. The wild, three-day New Years' celebration became what it is because the Scottish government forbade the celebration of Christmas, finding their subjects entirely too inclined to drunken revelry on the feast of Christ's birth. Thus, the Scots simply moved it to the next weekend.

This year England is paying the price for the Scottish government's attempt at avoiding revelry. England is not that far a drive for Scots who want to conduct their outdoor torch parades in Viking gear, drinking and setting fire to stuff. (Drinking and setting fire to England is also an old Scottish custom.)

We will be celebrating here. I'm making venison steak pies, shortbread, and festive drinks like raw-egg eggnog. 

Haud Hogmanay, and may you all have a much better New Year than either of the two past.

Authoritarianism's Appeal

For 'good' purposes only, of course. 
The contemporary political theory literature—which largely conceptualizes legitimacy in terms of democracy or basic rights—would seem to suggest not. I argue, however, that there exists another, overlooked aspect of legitimacy concerning a government’s ability to ensure safety and security. While, under normal conditions, maintaining democracy and rights is typically compatible with guaranteeing safety, in emergency situations, conflicts between these two aspects of legitimacy can and often do arise. A salient example of this is the COVID-19 pandemic, during which severe limitations on free movement and association have become legitimate techniques of government. Climate change poses an even graver threat to public safety. Consequently, I argue, legitimacy may require a similarly authoritarian approach. 

The idea that the government exists to keep you safe, and may violate your rights as necessary to do so, is pernicious. Government does exist to provide security in the sense of holding a space in the world that will not be overrun by those who would enslave or tyrannize you. If it does this by enslaving or tyrannizing you, however, it has already defeated the purpose for which security was wanted.

There are ultimately no limits to government power once you accept the principle that safety per se is a proper end of government. What could you regulate under the heading of climate change? Every economic activity, surely; and thus every activity whatsoever, since every choice one makes has economic consequences. Take an activity that has as few as possible: should I take a walk outside in the fresh air? If I do, I'm not doing other things that may be valuable in the fight against climate change. Perhaps I should be spending my exercise time generating power on one of those generator standing bicycles. Indeed, perhaps the government will find that we all have a duty to do so:

One bicycle could potentially provide a small village with electricity if each household spends on hour per day pedaling the bike.

So like Conan pushing the wheel, we could all be mandated to spend even our exercise time in a way that those with the whips have determined is in the interest of the common good.

Well, it worked out for him. Maybe it will be good for us too. Plato's Athenian would have liked the idea quite a lot. 

For those who believe as the Declaration of Independence does that the sole function of government is to secure inalienable rights, this principle must be rejected. Granting governments extra powers in emergencies is unacceptable because governments can always make emergencies as necessary to continue their powers. Granting them extra powers for emergencies as broad as "climate change" whisks away any defense from having them regulate every aspect of everyone's life. It is the choice of the frogs who demanded a king.

Advice You Can Use

If you are a reader of Grim’s Hall, there is a good chance that you would enjoy opening champagne tonight with a sword. If you’ve never done it before, The Art of Manliness has a helpful graphic

The Feast of the Holy Family

That is today's feast; I missed the Feast of Holy Innocents this year, but you can read prior posts about it. Likewise the Feast of St. John the Divine, which is remembered here.

"Dancing is Strictly Not Permitted"

Pakistan? China? No, the state of Washington Western Australia. [UPDATE: See comments. My mistake.]

You see it's not religion or totalitarianism... well, actually, it does sound like totalitarianism at the point that you presume the right to regulate dancing inside private homes. Amusingly masks are not required, so it's fine to breathe the same air in an enclosed space as long as you don't engage in any dancing. 

Consensual sex between adults of any kind, however, is presumably permitted. No decent progressive government would dare regulate that. So I guess it's not quite totalitarian, since there is at least one exception to totalized regulation. 

On a Similar Subject

Blogger is having a day, I guess; I usually have no trouble posting comments places, but today it's just doing a weird thing where it shows the comment as posted, but then when I come back it was never posted. I assume that, like other similar tech errors that crop up from time to time, this will pass in a while. YouTube was being completely impossible to use with Blogger about a year ago, and that went away completely until last week, when I began having very similar issues with the HTML editor on Blogger crashing. (If that happens to you, the only way I know to fix it is to log into Blogger with an iPhone rather than anything running Windows, and force it to change back to Compose View instead). 

So anyway, James' post linked to a post by AVI on Authoritarian Populists. He is also wondering where this intense fear comes from, given that in fact mostly people on the right are anti-authority. Certainly it is true that, were I somehow to come into authoritarian power, I would use it chiefly to dissolve the systems of power that currently are being misused. I might dissolve the entire Federal bureaucracy; or perhaps the entire Federal government, except for a Constitutional rump that ran the Navy (and not a standing Army), involved no other bureaucracies, and complied with the 10th Amendment by doing nothing whatsoever that the Constitution doesn't explicitly assign to the Federal government. I might dissolve the state governments, too, shifting to a voluntary model of government such as I have discussed here from time to time. Grant me this tremendous power -- which I don't actually seek in any way -- and I would use it to dissolve power, not to impose my will upon other people. Not even on abortion, which I believe to be philosophically indefensible in most cases (barring things like intertubal pregnancies, which will kill the mother as well as, inevitably, the child). Not even on armed robbery or murder, where I would license people to form self-defense leagues and militias to protect their communities, but would prefer to dispense with law enforcement officers and courts that operate as a separate class from the people. This might be called populism, since it returns power to the people; but it is not properly authoritarian in any way (especially since, contra hypothesis, I seek no power whatsoever but merely try to persuade people that this would be a good way for us to go together).

However! It is not me, or you, that these people fear. The issue is merely that they cannot distinguish us from the ones they fear. This is normal when you are really completely separate from another class of human beings: most of us could not easily explain the difference between various Hindu castes nor some of the more novel LBGTQ+ categories. Social distinctions are often very complicated, and impenetrable to outsiders. 

The people they are afraid of do exist; there just are almost none of them. They are people like Mencius Moldbug, whom I've never met, nor have I met anyone who has met him as far as I know. They supported Trump, and being unable to distinguish, the left thinks that everyone who supported Trump in any way and for any reason must be somewhat like them. 

They really can't distinguish between them and the people who showed up in Charlottesville, nor between them and the KKK (who did not), nor between them and the broad class of anyone who would consider voting for Trump. They cannot distinguish between those who believe the election was conducted in an unconstitutional manner in 2020 and those who believe the wilder tales being promulgated about election machines and servers in Italy. They cannot distinguish between those who came to the Stop the Steal Rally to hear the President speak, and those who marched on the Capitol; nor, easily, between those who marched on the Capitol and protested peacefully outside of it and those who went inside with flags and facepaint. Nor can they distinguish between those and actual fascist insurgents, who would have brought guns.

Your average Trump supporter is none of those things, in my experience; he or she is an ordinary American who was disengaged with politics for decades since Reagan left, increasingly seeing no one in either party who had his or her or America's interests at heart. Republicans and Democrats alike, they sold out their country for personal profit, sent jobs to China or Mexico, maximized corporate profit but let the American economy wither. Suddenly, in Donald Trump, they found a guy who really wanted America to succeed -- to become great again -- and who spoke a language they understood about doing the simple things like building walls (both physical ones to prevent mass immigration that depressed their wages, and economic tariff ones to restore the domestic economy). 

Those people aren't like me, or most of you, either. They are somewhat like my father, who was the most decent and upright man I ever knew. They do not fear democracy, but they do fear corruption; democratic forms mean nothing if they are corruptly prevented from expressing the true will of the people. They do not desire to be ruled by authoritarians, but by leaders they chose for themselves, who share their ideas about right and wrong, truth and falsehood, and other basic values. They may sometimes be wrong about those values, or not; but they wish to govern themselves, as a people who do have shared values, according to those values. 

This is in fact a very democratic notion, a Federalist notion that allows different values to exist in different parts of America; but to see that it is you have to be able to make all these distinctions. That requires coming to know these people on their own terms, and well enough to see how they differ from others who may also be on the right. 

Fearing Guns

James has an excellent question at his blog: why do people fear guns in a visceral way? There is good discussion in the comments. I would simply join it, but for some reason Blogger isn't letting me comment over there. 

So here is what I wanted to say:

To some degree it's the same thing driving the literary convention called "Chekhov's Gun." Any introduction of a gun into the drama, no matter how small, implies that the gun will be fired by the last act. 

Real life doesn't work that way, but human beings tend to construct dramatic stories about their lives, and this convention is so well-known because it is so completely obeyed by storytellers. Seeing a gun, then, implies that violence is being foreshadowed; that it is forthcoming. 

For those of us who live with guns, of course, sheer repetition proves that this dramatic tension is not a real feature of reality. I first saw a gun in my father's closet; he lived and died and never fired it as far as I know. I have that gun in my safe now, and I'm not going to fire it either because it's a cheap piece of crap from postwar Germany that might explode in my hand. I have a gun that belonged to my great-great grandfather, and another that belonged to my grandfather; whole generations have passed without them harming anything other than the occasional squirrel for Brunswick stew.

I have other guns I see or handle more-or-less daily, none of which have been fired recently (due to the expense of ammo more than anything else; it's fun to shoot for practice, and to keep in shape as a marksman). They never cause any trouble, but they're available in case trouble should appear from other directions. 

Still, I suspect it is chiefly the literary and dramatic conventions. Those who never encounter the things have only those dramas to fall back on, mentally, and that is how the story always plays out in the dramas.

Here's a fun piece on that topic.

The Feast of St. Thomas Becket

Martyred this day 1170, Thomas Becket is remembered by today’s feast. Here is a version of the story that suggests a motive for one of the knights who helped kill him. 

Viking Routes in Scotland

A major new mapping project by universities in Scotland will examine ports and portages

One man's trash

Maggie's Farm linked this charming article, originally published in the NYT, a periodical that still apparently manages to put out things worth reading despite its best efforts to ruin itself. Molly Young gives us a thoughtful and stimulating look at the work of Paul Rozin, who analyzes disgust reactions. I realized long ago that my disgust reactions are anomalous. It's one of the things that define my identity, which is founded on a willingness to question rules and conclusions rather than assume that the majority view is by definition correct. Our differences are the basis of a valueable exchange system, in which all the riches available to us can be sorted through a complex social market in which we each apply our own measures of cost and benefit. Around our house, for instance, I automatically take on jobs that I know would distress my husband but have a negligible impact on me, if any, like cleaning up poop. In return, my husband assumes responsibility for things that would drive me nuts but place little burden on him. Voila, an economy! Few things make me happier than to find that what I prize is so undervalued by others that I can pick it up for a song. It's exactly the opposite of wanting what's in vogue. It's what makes me at heart a contrarian. Society needs contrarians, as long as we're not too difficult to get along with. Someone should always be hanging around demanding that we reconsider some basic assumptions, just in case. The syndrome does come with a large dose of alienation. In my seventh decade of life I'm only just now beginning to get a handle on how to deal with that. We contrarian introverts do need communion with other human souls, we just can't get it in the most usual ways.

Military to Diversify Working Dogs, Include Chihuahuas

So far, there have been no Chihuahuas capable of taking down a 250-pound man by the arm, so the military has elected to eliminate that test altogether.

More Restrictions on Latin Mass

The Chicago Diocese is making it very difficult for priests to conduct a Latin Mass.
...priests, deacons, and ordained ministers who wish to use the "old rite" must submit their requests to Cupich in writing and agree to abide by the new norms.

Those rules specify that the Traditional Latin Masses must incorporate scripture readings in the vernacular, using the official translation of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

In addition, such Masses cannot take place in a parish church unless both the archbishop and the Vatican agree to grant an exemption.

The new policy also prohibits the celebration of Traditional Latin Masses on the first Sunday of every month, Christmas, the Triduum, Easter Sunday, and Pentecost Sunday.

The push follows the Pope's move to try to limit the usage.

The Vatican's explanatory document states that the intent of Traditionis custodes is "to re-establish in the whole Church of the Roman Rite a single and identical prayer expressing its unity, according to the liturgical books promulgated by the Popes Saint Paul VI and Saint John Paul II, in conformity with the decrees of the Second Vatican Council and in line with the tradition of the Church."

What always strikes me here is how much more the Latin Mass represents an establishment 'in the whole Church of the Roman Rite [in] a single and identical prayer." It's the one they sing in Jerusalem, and occurs in the same language and terms as when performed in America or Europe, Africa or in (secret, hidden churches in) China. It ties the Church together, and ties it also to its ancient ancestry -- those who, by doctrine, continue to be members of the Church after death. 

It seems to me that a quick way to divide the Church into many competing factions is to divide it into many competing languages. In fact, I believe there is a Biblical story about that.

Sleigh Bells Ring

In the discussion below, I linked to an article on how the lyrics of Jingle Bells have a kind of dark sarcasm about the joys of horseback riding and sleighing. I found this performance of the original version, which also has a markedly different chorus than the one we know so well. 

The lyrics aren't all that dark, really; rather, they make light of a real danger facing the people of the era. In that way it reminds me of this song, which likewise allows itself to make fun of a very serious peril that faces us today. It ends up being a fun song, even though the dangers of driving while intoxicated are very real and can be much more terrible than portrayed.

That seems to me to be something like the spirit of the original Jingle Bells. We all know we could end up 'upshot' or flat on our backs when we get out on horseback, just like we all know we could encounter one of these 'merry fellows' on the highway -- and that it might not be a laughing matter if we really do. Like M*A*S*H or similar military-themed humor, sometimes it is allowable to make fun of even the truest perils we face. 

Christmas Feasting


More Christmas Music

Dad29 has a collection; AVI has a nice piece sung in a stone cathedral. 

Christmas Day in the Morning

The giant laughter of Christian men 
That roars through a thousand tales, 
Where greed is an ape and pride is an ass, 
And Jack's away with his master's lass, 
And the miser is banged with all his brass,
The farmer with all his flails; 

Tales that tumble and tales that trick, 
Yet end not all in scorning— 
Of kings and clowns in a merry plight, 
And the clock gone wrong and the world gone right,
That the mummers sing upon Christmas night 
And Christmas Day in the morning.

-Chesterton, "Ballad of the White Horse"

Christmas dawn

My oldest friend's weaving studio at first light this morning. She likes to weave in the pre-dawn hours before all the craziness starts.

The High Feast of Christmas


O Holy Night


More Christmas Eve Baking

I’m not the artist Tex is, but I did bake a bit today. Not all of it survived to be photographed. 

Clockwise from top, Snickerdoodle cookies, a spice cake, an Asiago cheese ball (not technically baked), chocolate cheesecake tarts, and a full regular cheesecake, shortbread, and fresh baked herb bread. 

Tomorrow, roast turkey and ham. 

Christmas eve baking

It Would Be Poor Form To Laugh About This

...but how could you not?

Breakfast Sliders for Dinner

We've reached the stage of Advent where I am actively trying to do non-Christmas stuff so as to preserve the really good stuff for the 12 day feast to come. Two of the last three nights we've just had sandwiches for dinner. Last night I made pork burritos. Tonight I made sausage and cheese sliders, with eggs on the side. 

Almost there. 

A friend of mine hit upon the idea of reading a chapter of Luke every night in December; there are 24 chapters, so she'll finish the book tomorrow. Last night was Chapter 22, which includes my favorite divine instruction in verse 36 (roughly, "Buy a sword even if you have to sell your coat"). It's a worthy project, although it seems better for Lent because you end with the Easter story instead of the Christmas one. 

Holiday baking continues in preparation. I have now distributed that entire giant loaf of Julekage. Today I made shortbread. Tomorrow I will finish the baking for Christmas dinner, so that the ham and turkey breast can go into the oven first thing in the morning. 

A pond visitor

And a Christmas gator, one of my new batch of ornaments:

Scary Soccer Moms

The worst thing about them is that they're so likeable. It makes it hard to remain devoted to the necessary purges.

Some highlights; you can read the whole thing if you want to see how far into the motte-and-bailey, our-position-is-the-only-rational-one stuff she is. Her position is the only rationally possible one, which makes their positions unintelligible even though she claims to have met with them and joined their Facebook groups.
"What exactly that last phrase ["without coercion"] means is ominously vague...."

"Before 2016, I always thought of Nazis as mainly historical villains that belonged in Indiana Jones movies or old news reels or the sad stories my grandfather told me. Now, however... I am aware that fascism is creeping back into the world at large in terrifying ways..."
Nazis, you say?
"No, I don’t understand that argument either." [It is indeed plain she did not understand their argument, because the one she ascribes to them is absurd.]

"I found the members were all stripes of Republican and I was pleasantly surprised to see opinion was not monolithic in the group...."
So, Nazis, right? 
"I caught a gleam in the woman’s eye I didn’t like. Was there some flirtation with insurrection being suggested here? What, exactly, was she saying?"

"Despite my uneasiness, I couldn’t help but find myself liking the women in the room. They were charismatic. They were energetic. They had no problem letting my low-functioning autistic son play with their children, which is unfortunately rare among a lot of the other mothers I’ve encountered. But this made me even more uneasy. I realized these women were dangerous precisely because they were so friendly."
I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that none of these women are dangerous by any standard I would normally recognize. While I'm out there, I'll lay down a wager that none of them are Nazis, either. Not remotely, in fact. I'll bet they're not even fascists in any reasonable sense of the word. Maybe just that one with the gleam in her eye. You can't tell about people like that, with gleams and stuff. 


I'm nuts about clever boxes, but lack any affinity whatever for carpentry. It would be great if I had an acquaintance who would make a sorting box like this one, a one-off that apparently he didn't put into production.



This year made with dehydrated blueberries reconstituted in honey, and a compound butter swirl. 

UPDATE: This turned into a discussion of military ethics and the law of war. Joel, if you happen to see this your opinion would be welcome. 


It has been the solar new year for an hour or so. Thus begins the Yuletide, which refers to the wheel (‘Jul’ or ‘Yule’) of the sun. 

Hot Buttered Rum

Come Christmas, I may try this. The compound butter sounds great. 

I'm sure he's quaking in his boots

Sen. Schumer vows to hold a record vote on Build Back Bonanzalooza in January so certain people will have to vote in the Senate and "not just on television." Somehow I doubt that Sen. Manchin fears blowback from the West Virginia voters who supported Trump, and now oppose BBB, by about 70%. Manchin and his voters apepar not to be impressed by the repeated claims that the Election Fraud Enabling Act is necessary to combat voter suppression, either. I'll still be on tenterhooks about both of these pieces of garbage legislation until the November 2022 midterms are over, but three months ago I wouldn't have dared to predict that things would be going this well.

Smoked Beer

Tonight I had a Rauchbier, which is a smoked lager from Germany. The argument is that until the Middle Ages all beer was like this

This stuff is amazing. I’ve never tasted anything like it. Medievalists and beer lovers alike should seek one out. 

This is what people who care about data sound like

NY Magazine ran a far better than average article about how to analyze the Omicron news coming out of South Africa and the UK. I got all the way through it without receiving the irritating impression that either the interviewer or his subject were trying to wrench the story in either direction: neither "Wake up, it's worse than you thought!" nor "Go back to sleep, it's nothing." They're just trying to figure out how to make sense of confusing data and make useful predictions.

Perhaps a Cheese Ball this Year

Garden & Gun has some Southern suggestions. 

Better than the Wine that Consoles the World

Gadsden Flags on Downing St

A glorious sight



Who could object to a cultural gathering?

Fake News Today

DB: “Pentagon leaders really struggling with performance review bullets this year."

Yuletide mayhem

Normally we're quiet as mice on Christmas. We like to have a Christmas Eve dinner for neighbors, but the day itself we like best to spend home alone together. This year, however, my husband's brother astonished us by suggesting that all his many children are scattered to the winds for one kind of visit or another, and that he and my sister-in-law would like to stay with us for four days over the holiday. That's a lot of family togetherness for a couple of cave-dwellers like us. Fortunately, they're pleasant people, but even better, I hear they're bringing four, count them, four dogs--two of their own and two belonging to an a traveling daughter of theirs. Now that's my idea of a visit! With our own dogs, that will make six dogs and five cats. It's six cats if you count the tom who's been hanging around lately applying for membership. The cats don't come in the house, though, which will limit the comic potential. I vividly remember a dog chasing a cat up the Christmas tree some three or four decades ago.

Old Country Sounds

While trying to dig out the Christmas music records, I went back through a collection of old singles -- 78s? -- that I found when cleaning out Dad's house. It was a collection buried in the back of the last place we cleaned out, the crawlspace under the stairs to the basement. There's a bunch of them. A few of them probably belonged to my young father, but I think most of them were my grandfather's. 

Here's a small sample.

That's Marty Robbins, 1957. Dad would have been eleven, so I think too young to like songs about lost love. My grandfather would have been in his forties, I guess.

1954, that one, Carl Smith having fun on the same theme.

1951. It amazes me a little to see the artist given on the record as simply "Hank Williams." 
Hank Thompson, not singing about lost love.

Les Paul and Mary Ford, 1951. That's the fellow whose gold-top guitar was one of only two wishes of a young Ray Wylie Hubbard. 

I wish I had a Wurlitzer jukebox to put these things in. I probably have enough to fill one, but I definitely don't have ten grand for anything I just want.

Great Moments in Progress

Headline: "Giant Kites That Drag Cargo Ships Across Oceans Go on Trial."

So we've re-invented sailing, but without the systematic rigging that would give you much control. 

Low Down Freedom

"Too much freedom makes young people feel unsafe and unprotected: a possible explanation of alarming myocarditis events." 

Did the UK suddenly become a lot more free this year? Must have been Brexit.

The polling must have been brutal

The Biden administration has withdrawn from negotiations to pay $450K to each illegal immigrant family traumatized by the experience of enforcement of the border laws. In other news, Build Back Bankrupt and the Election Fraud Enabling Act both apparently are on the rocks.

Mixed Feelings

On the one hand, I deeply disapprove of this kind of secret police stuff. On the other, this guy actually managed to take down a corrupt high public official. 

Latex Glove Bagpipes

A how-to video:

I dated a girl many years ago who was fascinated by music theory. At dinner one time, while we were chatting, she took out a small pocket knife and made a playable recorder with the straw in her drink. I don't remember the tune she played on it, and yeah the sound quality was what you would expect, but it was a recognizable tune. She made other impromptu instruments at times as well and even got me playing an instrument for a while.

Ode to Dragons

This is a lovely instrumental piece that falls near the end of a new album. If you stay for the rest of the album, be ready for Black Metal -- but this piece is just a beautiful ode.


On the upside, I was briefly a trillionaire this afternoon thanks to my crypto earnings. Sadly, the titanic market spike only lasted a few minutes and I did not find any buyers at that price.

I suppose Senator Warren will be stopping by to tax my unrealized gains. 

The Home Front Is the Front Line

In What I've Learned Rescuing My Daughter from Her Transgender Fantasy, Charlie Jacobs shares how she discovered she was in a fight for her daughter as well as how she reclaimed her daughter from transgenderism. It's long and worth the read.

A quick excerpt:

My daughter was an ultrafeminine girl since birth. She insisted that her room be painted pink, and she refused to wear anything but dresses until third grade. She avoided her older brother’s toys and sports, choosing tea sets and Shopkins, a series of tiny, collectible toys.

Her favorite activity was to slip into my closet and don my few sparkly clothes and shiniest of heels. She rejected sports in favor of art and sewing.

That all abruptly changed when she turned 12. As her body matured into young womanhood, she stopped begging for a bikini and avoided any clothing that accentuated her figure. She hid her breasts under men’s extra-large sweatshirts.

I remembered doing similar things as my body changed, so I didn’t worry at first.

Then, my daughter immersed herself into anime art and cosplaying, the hobby of dressing like fantastical characters. I supported her creative side.

I didn’t know that anime and cosplaying can overwhelm a young mind. I didn’t know that anime and cosplaying involved gender-bending themes and that the community crosses into pedophilic and sexual themes.

I also didn’t know that the older cosplay community groomed the younger cohorts. 

During that same time period, my daughter went through Teen Talk—a Manitoba, Canada-based program that says it provides “youth with accurate, [nonjudgmental] information” on “sexuality, reproductive health, body image, substance use awareness, mental health, issues of diversity, and anti-violence issues”—at her public school.

She came home with a whole new language. She and all her girlfriends discussed their labels—polyamorous, lesbian, pansexual. None of the five girls chose “basic,” their term for a straight girl. 

Now, I was worried.

She distanced herself from her old friends and spent more time online. I checked her phone, but I was not astute enough to know that she had set up “appropriate” fake social media accounts for my viewing.


I've been increasingly down for about a week, with my wife finally dragging me (and herself) to the doctor  yesterday. It's a bacterial infection of my head and chest, for which I was assigned antibiotics. These are not sitting well, so I'm feeling a bit down about that too.

Hopefully that will explain why I've been quiet. Antibiotics can work pretty fast, though, so maybe it won't be much longer.

A Biker Rock Advent

YouTube being an interesting space, here's an opera coach reacting to the same video you just saw. It's worth watching it again just to see her face as she listens to it.


More About the Orkney Dig

Quite a lot more detail about the Viking sword mentioned last week, and other findings. 

Baboon percussion

In AVI's honor

Christmas meerkat, part of the animal musical band on 3-inch disks:

Nerd humor

Love in the Midwest

I guess there’s something to be said for Texas. 

Navy Beats Army

It’s an upset, but I suppose it’s not a surprise. Army couldn’t even beat Afghanistan this year. 

Language Warning

Today I was traveling down the highway and I turned on the radio -- always a mistake -- and heard some kind of 'country' on the broadcast that was half hip-hop. Now I like hip-hop; there's a lot to admire in the best of it, especially in terms of poetry, although here too I tend to like the older artists than the newer ones. That's probably just generational, or mostly: music in general has been getting objectively worse for a while.

All the same, it reminded me of this Dale Watson tune I haven't posted because of its foul language. I don't know why I try to maintain standards about that; I've long belonged to communities, both here and in Iraq, where good men frequently resorted to strong language. I won't claim that I don't occasionally use it myself for emphasis. Maybe just because it's a marker for standing for something; John Wayne used it once in a while, but only just once in a while when it really belonged.

Anyway, here's Dale, who is a great singer songwriter and has a good point about what's getting sold to us these days.

Instapundit: Self-Described Cabal Must Answer

Ideally, I guess. Good luck making them.

I'd be satisfied if they'd learn a pragmatic lesson. Their way doesn't work. Their idea that they're the right ones to be in charge is therefore manifestly false. I imagine it's hard to let go of power, prestige, and the money that come with them. But they have proven that they are not the right ones to lead. If they could accept that and get out of the way, I'd be happy to waive vengeance. 

Bob Dole Got There First

In his final letter, he anticipated the Babylon Bee. 

Dead Skunks in the Middle of the Road

If you ask Wikipedia, this is a novelty song. But I don't think that's fair. It's a song that celebrates a very common experience on which we do not adequately reflect. There's a big deal about how many animals we kill every year on the highway; and it's a big deal for the skunk. Passing one of these corpses on the road, a motorcyclist at least is inclined to reflect that it's but for the grace of God, as they say, that we go there. 

So good for Loudon Wainwright the Third, which is a very august name for someone singing about dead skunks on the highway. He's from North Carolina, originally, but apparently a hippie family that was mostly about yoga. His business, that. 

Proposed: A Typology of Conspiracies

A woman named Abbie Richards has proposed this typology of conspiracy theories, from wild-sounding things that turn out to be unquestionably true to things she thinks are detached from reality. She has a plausible topline that all the worst ones are anti-Semitic, although I am going to disagreee with one of her examples there.

Now there is going to be some debate about some of these. Obviously she puts 'The Election Was Stolen' in the "dangerous to yourself and others" category, which indeed it may be -- dangerous, that is, to yourself and others. It may nevertheless be true. I'm sure she doesn't believe it is at all true, but I think that some versions of that theory are not only plausible but likely. We've discussed that at length here: it definitely appears that the election was conducted illegally and unconstitutionally, and in ways that disabled fraud protections. Every audit or hearing in every affected state has found numbers of probably or definitely fraudulent votes well outside the margin of victory, and a Time magazine article has interviewed those who hired 'armies' of partisan poll workers to count votes.

So I'd say that one is no higher than blue, at least in some forms. The forms being put forward by some people who allege secret servers in Italy or wherever may well be much less well-grounded.

In her top category, I would dispute that the use of the phrase "Cultural Marxism" is necessarily anti-Semitic, and definitely not a conspiracy theory. Most people who use the phrase probably don't actually know who the Frankfurt school members are, or that they were Jews. More, they're not objecting to anything essentially Jewish about the school: they're objecting to the Marxism, which is formally material atheism. 

And it's not a conspiracy theory that these people existed and published works expressing thoughts and ideas that could be fairly characterized as a sort of Marxism applied to cultural issues. You can go read the books at the library. Objecting to a set of published ideas is not a conspiracy theory, and it's not anti-Semitic if your objection is to the ideas and not the people (who aren't all that Jewish anyway if they're Marxists, which involves a denial of the God of Israel). 

Broadly, though, I think she's not too far off. Tim Pool points out that she had to drop "Bill Gates is Microchipping People' because that one turns out to be true; sadly, instead of moving it to the green sector she left it off the list. It's an interesting and useful idea, trying to sort these in terms of which ones are really true, plausibly true, or wildly untrue. What do you think about all this? Are there any you'd move up, or down, on the chart?

UPDATE: On reflection, I think there are several top level items that are in no way essentially anti-Jewish; a few of them are barely or not conspiracy theories. There’s definitely a push by trans activists, who clearly do have an agenda; you can object to the ideas they’re advancing without ever having a thought about Jews enter your mind. They’re not even obviously related topics, since Judaism has a traditional sexual law very similar to Catholicism and not all that different from Islam. So this topline category may need examination. 

That’s a Bold Strategy, Cotton

Biden administration to advise Ukraine to surrender disputed territories to Russia. 

A Sword of Orkney

Not in the best of shape after a thousand years, but they can do a lot with X-rays now. 

Technically A Subversive Message

A boat in a holiday parade is disqualified for “an overt political message.”

Conan the Existantialist

Another essay on REH’s Barbarian, this one by a British comedian. Well, and a general appreciation for Howard’s work:
The Jacobean 1936 cowboy yarn The Vultures of Whapeton is, as John Clute points out in the introduction to Penguin’s Heroes In The Wind selection, “ostensibly a Western tale but… we are left with a sense of the profound entrapping starkness of the world … the tale systematically strips every character of any pretence that their ‘civilisation’ is anything but a sham.”

Its not as good as Joel’s but it’s another perspective— and one that tries to be fair.  

Brooks: "Conservatism is Dead"

David Brooks has penned an article in which he tries to explain what he understands the great conservative thinkers to be saying, and why he thinks contemporary Republicans are far from their philosophical roots. This sort of project is nearly always worthwhile -- understanding any of the grand philosophical traditions, I mean, whether you end up agreeing with it or not. 

It strikes me that Brooks sees conservatism as having two specific insights that I tend to think of as being in competition rather than alignment. 

1) The first of these is against central planning: the kind of order that arises naturally from freedom will pragmatically work better than any centrally planned effort, no matter how well-intentioned. This is the insight that favors capitalism over communism, local control over central control, etc. I would not necessarily call this strain 'conservative,' although conservatives often do approve of free(r) markets: but insofar as it is to be so named, it is because it is an observation about how reality works and an acceptance of the limits it imposes on us. Even if you want to help people, you have to recognize that government can't do it very well and will usually make things worse if it tries too hard. It is better to allow people to be free to help themselves, and thus un-directed by central institutions.

2) The second insight -- which I would have tended to describe as 'conservative' more than the first one -- is that people are shaped by institutions, and it is therefore important that these institutions be kept healthy and effective. Brooks is right to note that the Marine Corps makes Marines because it trains the whole mind and body, and as an institution it upholds and enforces certain values. The Catholic Church used to be the standard example here: it has a moral doctrine, training facilities, rituals, sacraments, and other things that raise children and turn them into Catholics. In turn, the whole of what we call 'the West' ends up having been in a sense the product of the Church, such as she once was.

The way I've set this up, you can see why I think of these as being in tension with each other. One of these traditions warns against grand institutions of significant power over human life; the other tradition goes about trying to set them up and empower them over very broad swathes of life. 

For Brooks, the hinge that holds them together is a distrust of human reason.
One camp, which we associate with the French Enlightenment, put its faith in reason. Some thought a decent social order can be built when primitive passions like religious zeal are marginalized and tamed; when individuals are educated to use their highest faculty, reason, to pursue their enlightened self-interest; and when government organizes society using the tools of science.

Another camp, which we associate with the Scottish or British Enlightenment of David Hume and Adam Smith, did not believe that human reason is powerful enough to control human selfishness; most of the time our reason merely rationalizes our selfishness. They did not believe that individual reason is powerful enough even to comprehend the world around us, let alone enable leaders to engineer society from the top down. “We are afraid to put men to live and trade each on his own private stock of reason, because we suspect that this stock in each man is small,” Burke wrote in Reflections on the Revolution in France.
It's not just selfishness that is the problem: as Brooks noted in his opening, central planning does not work even in cases where the very best intentions are involved. Brooks names the public housing crisis, which ended up being a nightmare in which people were trapped. You will recall, dear reader, our reading of Plato's Laws last winter: the final institution the Athenian wanted to set up was a nocturnal secret police council with plenary power over all aspects of citizen lives, to force them to live the virtuous lives that were surely going to be the happiest of all possible lives -- in the best of all possible communities, one designed from the ground up to produce happy and virtuous people.

So this is conservatism as he understands it, which he calls 'true' conservatism: a humble and modest arrangement that recognizes our limits, builds institutions but changes them only slowly, and trusts that our parents and grandparents passed on wise arrangements for the most part. Don't try to plan a whole society; let the church do part of the work, the family another, the Marine Corps a third, and the government strictly speaking a very small portion where it is absolutely necessary.

Now our institutions are looking pretty sick these days, but that's not the part that bothers Brooks. The part that bothers him is that conservatism turns out to be immoral and anti-American -- at least in his telling. First he identifies flaws within conservative tendencies:
I realized that every worldview has the vices of its virtues. Conservatives are supposed to be epistemologically modest—but in real life, this modesty can turn into a brutish anti-intellectualism, a contempt for learning and expertise. Conservatives are supposed to prize local community—but this orientation can turn into narrow parochialism, can produce xenophobic and racist animosity toward immigrants, a tribal hostility toward outsiders, and a paranoid response when confronted with even a hint of diversity and pluralism. Conservatives are supposed to cherish moral formation—but this emphasis can turn into a rigid and self-righteous moralism, a tendency to see all social change as evidence of moral decline and social menace. Finally, conservatives are supposed to revere the past—but this reverence for what was can turn into an abject deference to whoever holds power.
Then he charges American conservatism with being a kind of contradiction in terms, because 'America' as he sees it is about change and dynamism, and conservatism is about looking backwards to the best of our history.
I confess that I’ve come to wonder if the tension between “America” and “conservatism” is just too great. Maybe it’s impossible to hold together a movement that is both backward-looking and forward-looking, both in love with stability and addicted to change, both go-go materialist and morally rooted.
So here we come to the part that he would have been better off not having written, which is the part where he tries to talk about Donald Trump. Brooks and his class hate Trump so much that they can't see him remotely clearly. Brooks charges Trump with being backward-looking ("Make America Great Again") but doesn't see that Trump is the one who forced through the Space Force. Brooks cites Reagan's "Star Wars" program as an example of the kind of thing he likes, but can't see that this man he doesn't like was at the forefront of the same kind of program to force the slow-evolving military to make strides in space.

Thus, I'm going to ignore the parts about Trump and talk about the other aspect: conservative immorality.
Conservatism makes sense only when it is trying to preserve social conditions that are basically healthy. America’s racial arrangements are fundamentally unjust. To be conservative on racial matters is a moral crime. 
Now as I was saying a moment ago, I think a lot of our institutions are badly damaged at this point. Conservativism only makes sense when it is trying to preserve healthy conditions, including healthy institutions. Maybe you don't think race is the area where it's inherently immoral to try to conserve things, but it should be easy to see the point by picking an example of an unhealthy institution whose preservation actively causes harm. The Federal government is full of them; pick your favorite one, and you can see the logic of the point he is making even if you disagree about race in America. 

I'm not quite sure what he intends to capture when he says 'to be conservative on race,' except that he then cites William F. Buckley. I agree that trying to return to 1960s social structures around race would be a moral crime; but I'm not aware of anyone who wishes to do that, nor any argument for doing it being made by anyone anywhere. The heat of our discussions about race masks the fact that mostly people want to do right by each other, as per a recent discussion:
Grim: The thing about CRT that people don't get is that it has to be false to be functional. If America were really a racist plot, pointing out the ways that its structures keep down black people wouldn't have any effect. Nobody in the Jim Crow South was going to be shocked or moved by pointing out that grandfather clauses and such depressed the black vote: everyone understood that was the whole purpose of them.

So when CRT comes up with a criticism of American society being unfair and Americans rush to fix it, that is itself proof that the assumptions of CRT are false. And good that they are. Americans are mostly decent people who want to treat each other decently, and will try to be fair wherever they can see a fair way.
There is a sense, then, that being unwilling to change -- or wedded to institutions that are no longer healthy and wise -- can be inherently immoral. I do not think this is nearly the problem that Brooks does, partly because human nature includes death. There is simply no possibility of continuing forever along the same line, because the people who grew up with conditions that made that line seem sensible die and younger people have known other problems. Even in strict institutions, there is always a sense of changing (or falling away, to put it more conservatively: to return to the Marine Corps, every generation of it speaks of how the Old Corps was versus how soft it is now, though probably no one really wants to go back to Vietnam War era brutality by drill instructors, even if they think they might like to return to 1990s-era levels). 

Brooks also says that economics has played a role in the decline of American conservatism, where he is suddenly seeing the tension I opened with between the two strands he is trying to tie together. 
The right’s focus shifted from wisdom and ethics to self-interest and economic growth. As George F. Will noted in 1984, an imbalance emerged between the “political order’s meticulous concern for material well-being and its fastidious withdrawal from concern for the inner lives and moral character of citizens.” The purpose of the right became maximum individual freedom, and especially economic freedom, without much of a view of what that freedom was for, nor much concern for what held societies together.
In fact this tension strikes me as much more basic, and explains why those ideas don't naturally belong together. Conservatives who really believe in (1) can tolerate institutions only insofar as they are absolutely free to join or leave them (even if you only get to choose every four years, in the case of the USMC). It does not make sense to set up powerful overarching institutions to shape character if they are going to display the kind of benightedness characteristic of large bureaucracies. Families should be free from state control as much as possible, in every way possible. If they find an institution valuable, like a church, they can join it and stay in it for as long as it continues to be useful to them. 

(This is why I have come to think of myself as less a conservative and more of an anarchist, as Tolkien said of himself when he was getting older. The more I see of institutions, the less I think they can be trusted -- at least at scale, when it gets beyond you and a few of your friends from the community who see eye-to-eye. I can think of very few of our national institutions that have not become corrupted, as have our major cities and many state governments -- and, well, many small towns and local governments too. Keeping these things as small as possible, and as weak as possible, at least has the benefit of limiting the power of corruption over everyone's life. But this is meant to be about Brooks' essay, not my own thoughts.)

What Brooks says is the biggest decline in conservatism he calls "spiritual," although he does not mean religious at all. He means that we aren't as patriotic as once. He correctly sees that as a result of a movement from the left at once to denigrate and dominate American institutions: 
For centuries, American and British conservatives were grateful to have inherited such glorious legacies, knew that there were sacred things to be preserved in each national tradition, and understood that social change had to unfold within the existing guardrails of what already was. 
By 2016, that confidence was in tatters. Communities were falling apart, families were breaking up, America was fragmenting. Whole regions had been left behind, and many elite institutions had shifted sharply left and driven conservatives from their ranks.

Oddly, though, his criticism is not for those who are denigrating or destroying American institutions, while purging them of their ideological enemies. He is offended by those who wanted to fight back, which he sees as dirty and ugly, a 'shadow conservatism' unlike his own. "As long as the warrior ethos dominates the GOP, brutality will be admired over benevolence, propaganda over discourse, confrontation over conservatism, dehumanization over dignity."

(I will pause for the laughter to die down at the idea that the GOP politicians are dominated by a warrior ethos.)

This is where Brooks, like David French, have lost their ability to relate to the ordinary people in the American conservative movement. Brooks now says he will be a moderate Democrat; French we discussed recently. Ultimately they would rather not fight for the culture, thinking it ugly to do so. It's a focus on 'toughness' for French; it is 'volkish' politics for Brooks (a strange thing to claim in nearly the same breath as noticing that American conservatives he dislikes admire Viktor Orban, who shares no volk with almost any of them). 

Ultimately a more useful reflection might begin with the question of what one ought to do in the face of a long, disciplined assault on your beloved legacy. If conservatism can only be moral if it has a healthy set of institutions to preserve, such undermining ought to be seen as a serious problem. At some point it does make the project of conservation unsustainable; maybe we're over the wall on that already. As they destroy statues of Lincoln and Washington as well as Jefferson or Robert E. Lee, as they purge not just universities or newspapers but every major corporation of once-ordinary expressions of American patriotism, well of course over time people are going to feel besieged. They are besieged. 

One might try to fight for them to have a space within these institutions to be as they were without being driven out or destroyed. If that won't happen, well, then the institutions are going to cross the line beyond which they cannot and ought not be defended -- if, indeed, they haven't already. 

One might also try to set up new institutions. This is sometimes suggested as a voluntary project like the Benedict Option, and other times as a more emphatic program like the Declaration of Independence option. This, though, would require more of a warrior ethics (an actual one, in fact) than any of the combative language that bothers Brooks. 

That is not a concern for him, though, as he has left the program. Ultimately I think he made a key error in his understanding of conservative philosophy, but an even worse one in his understanding of just what kind of response is required for what he calls the 'spiritual' problem. If America isn't worth fighting for with a warrior ethic, what is? Your church? Only your family and friends? Where will you find enough friends, then, to make a stand?

Projecting Weakness

The NYT is worried that the Biden administration is projecting weakness on Ukraine and elsewhere. That's true, although I find their description of the causes a little wild-eyed.
If you were a foreign leader hostile to the United States — sitting in, say, Moscow or Beijing — how would you view the U.S. today?

You would know that it has conducted two largely failed wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq, over the past 20 years and that many Americans have no interest in fighting another faraway conflict with a fuzzy connection to national security.

You would know that the U.S. itself can’t seem to decide how strongly it feels about democracy, with a former president and his allies around the country mimicking the playbook of autocrats willing to subvert election results.

And you would know that the U.S. is so politically polarized that many voters and members of Congress may not rally around a president even during a foreign crisis. Americans, after all, have reacted to the pandemic with division and anger, which has fueled widespread refusal to take lifesaving vaccines and continuing chaos in schools.

Given all of this, you might not be feeling especially intimidated by the U.S.
So, the weakness is coming from the military and the political right, is it? Not from the White House at all?

Well, as to 'can't seem to decide how strongly it feels about democracy,' a hearing in Wisconsin today is revealing that there are serious problems with the practice of democracy there -- problems that citizen journalists are bringing to your attention, because the news media (including the NYT) refuses to discuss it. Just exactly the Americans they are implying 'may not care about democracy' are the ones most personally and vigorously trying to bring about accountability to this system so that democracy might be restored. 

A handful of legislators in the affected states are beating themselves black and blue to try to fix the problems with our democracy. I've been writing about the problems with voting machines since 2018. There is every reason to believe that the system is being badly run on purpose, just because of a desire by the powerful to subvert election results -- and not by protesting them or even rioting about them, but by inserting fake votes into the system in large enough numbers to overturn the lawful results. 

The military, meanwhile, turns out to be very badly led. This is astonishing, in a way, because for so long it looked like the last functional organization in the Federal government. Yet in another way it is unsurprising: in 1998, The Pentagon Wars mocked the corrupt and broken military acquisition process. This has only worsened with time.
While China builds its fleet at a rapid pace, lead ships of new U.S. Navy classes have had lengthy delays. To provide perspective, from Pearl Harbor to the surrender of Japan was 1,375 days. As of Nov. 29, 2021, it has been 1,885 days since Zumwalt was commissioned and 1,601 days since Ford was commissioned and neither has deployed.
Partly that lack of deployability comes from the fact that the Navy continues to tinker with the mission, exactly the way that the Bradly Fighting Vehicle became... well, something very different from what it was supposed to be.

Nevertheless the military is made of of very fine fighting men and women, who have carried out every mission they were asked to execute even with poorly designed fighting vehicles or ships that have no ammunition for their main gun. Oh, didn't I mention that aspect of the Zumwalt class? Yeah, there's no ammo for it. Actually there soon will be no guns, either; the Navy is ripping them out, even though they were the original design feature the destroyer was built around.

These fine fighting men and women won every conflict at or above the squad level in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The disastrous withdrawals from both places -- the Afghan one more spectacularly disastrous, but the Iraq withdrawal also badly managed and leading to the rise of ISIS -- were the fault of higher headquarters, the White House, and the State Department. (Particularly in Iraq's case, State failures were at the core of why that withdrawal was mismanaged, precipitous, and led to instability.) The actual boys on the ground performed extremely well for two decades, but looking at their leadership has to be emboldening for Beijing and Moscow.

It's going to be a tough few years for American allies like Taiwan, or even Japan or South Korea. If we do want to help Taiwan, we should begin by convincing Taiwan to pass a Second Amendment -- and then start shipping them rifles. If every man and woman were armed, it would be a lot less digestible for a hungry China.  Ukraine is on its own, in spite of American promises to the contrary. There's no way that this leadership is going to bail them out, or even could if it wanted to try.

UPDATE: That Wisconsin hearing produced smoking gun evidence of a cash-for-get-out-the-vote scheme; 157,000 voters have the same voter registration number. 

Guy Clark

Strangely I don't think I've ever mentioned Guy Clark before, or put up any of his music. Spotify came up with these two songs in a daily playlist for me, and I got to thinking how interesting the music is. The first one is a simple story about a man who loves a woman honestly, which is the best and only real way to love; the second is about leaving the city. It reminds me of an exchange from Paint Your Wagon. Lee Marvin's character says, "There’s two kinds of people, them goin’ somewhere and them goin’ nowhere,'" drawing an objection from the mayor until he explains that going to a place that could be called nowhere was the desirable part. 

UPDATE: This one goes nicely with the last post. 

Technology Worsens

In general we expect technology to improve over time. However, there are examples of older technologies that are actually superior to what replaced them, in some ways or in total. The appliances of my grandfather's generation may still be chugging along, but nothing built since the 1970s lasts so long. Some people would say that record players produce superior experiences of music compared with tape decks or CDs or even digital recordings. The automatic transmission is a miraculous technology, but there's something to be said for a stick shift. 

Sometimes, technology worsens on purpose.
Buried deep within the massive infrastructure legislation recently signed by President Joe Biden is a little-noticed “safety” measure that will take effect in five years. Marketed to Congress as a benign tool to help prevent drunk driving, the measure will mandate that automobile manufacturers build into every car what amounts to a “vehicle kill switch.”

As has become standard for legislative mandates passed by Congress, this measure is disturbingly short on details. What we do know is that the “safety” device must “passively monitor the performance of a driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired.”...

First, use of the word “passively” suggests the system will always be on and constantly monitoring the vehicle. Secondly, the system must connect to the vehicle’s operational controls, so as to disable the vehicle either before driving or during, when impairment is detected. Thirdly, it will be an “open” system, or at least one with a backdoor, meaning authorized (or unauthorized) third-parties can remotely access the system’s data at any time.

I definitely do not want one of these. I don't really want a car that thinks for itself at all. Anti-lock brakes are great and all, but almost everything that can be computerized on a car does not need to be and -- in my opinion -- ought not to be.  Cars can still do everything a car needs to do without a computer hooked to it.

An example of an older, superior technology.

The FBI Is At It Again

This is a friendly story to the accused and at a friendly outlet, but the FBI hasn't exactly been racking up reasons to trust them just lately. 

We really should repeal that law. It's been widely misapplied for political purposes for years now. 

(H/t: D29)

Puppet stage II

I finished the second of the puppet stages. They're dry enough now that I can spray both of them with an archival non-yellowing varnish and get them packed and shipped to Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, my attention has turned to painting a series of Christmas tree ornaments with animals playing musical instruments, of which I've completed these two. They're about 3 inches wide.

Pearl Harbor Day

We remember in honor of our parents or grandparents. When we are gone, maybe our children will remember. Once our ancestors did mighty things in response to a great provocation. It was long ago now, but they were great deeds. 


This bears some looking into. It's not the "dark side," by the way. The Moon doesn't have a dark side any more than the Earth does. It has a side that's permanently facing Earth and one that's permanently not, but all surfaces of the Moon have two weeks of day alternating with two weeks of night.

...and Bob Wills Music

 I never have had Lone Star Beer. I need to rectify that before I die. 

Panic in Washington

Claire McCaskill nags the Justice Department to hurry up and prosecute Trump for something so he can't run again. 

That doesn't sound like someone who is confident about the future. Using prosecution as a political weapon is tyrannical, something that one would wisely reflect on long before beginning. She doesn't want reflection. She wants haste.

Oh, That’s Mean

BB: “Bob Dole Switches To Democrat Party."

Ongoing Genocide

We hear so much about slavery in the 19th century, racism in American history, and the genocide versus the Native Americans. Yet there is an ongoing genocide in China, and it draws half measures at best

If you think this kind of thing is evil and want to fight it, fight the one you could possibly stop. The one that's happening right this second. That one. 


Scientists begin to get excited.

One-way lurch setting

Powerline recently posted a video by the newest "mini-Trump" French presidential candidate, an immigration skeptic (i.e., racist omniphobe unperson) about whom the bien-pensants are in full meltdown mode. Today's followup notes the NYT's somber warnings:
The Times considers it paradoxical that a Jew of North African descent whose ancestors arrived in France only 70 years ago should be a French nationalist. These same journalists can’t understand why most Hispanic American citizens are hostile toward illegal immigration.
Already this man without a party has illustrated just how far France has lurched to the right.
As a friend notes, no one ever lurches to the left.

Daddy Was

Wasn’t he just?