Enid & Geraint

By custom and tradition of the Hall, there will be only one post today. I think this will be the last time we observe this tradition. We are now able to see the end of the war that began when Geraint drew his sword, beholding a bandit realm. We have glutted the ravens, but in the end the bandit realm remains; and our own has fallen into darkness, not because of the war but at least in spite of it. 

The story begun on 9/11 has ended. Now it is time for another story.

Enid & Geraint

Once strong, from solid
Camelot he came
Glory with him, Geraint,
Whose sword tamed the wild.
Fabled the fortune he won,
Fame, and a wife.
The beasts he battled
With horn and lance;
Stood farms where fens lay.
When bandits returned
To old beast-holds
Geraint gave them the same.

And then long peace,
Purchased by the manful blade.
Light delights filled it,
Tournaments softened, tempered
By ladies; in peace lingers
the dream of safety.

They dreamed together. Darkness
Gathered on the old wood,
Wild things troubled the edges,
Then crept closer.
The whispers of weakness
Are echoed with evil.

At last even Enid
Whose eyes are as dusk
Looked on her Lord
And weighed him wanting.
Her gaze gored him:
He dressed in red-rust mail.

And put her on palfrey
To ride before or beside
And they went to the wilds,
Which were no longer
So far. Ill-used,
His sword hung beside.

By the long wood, where
Once he laid pastures,
The knight halted, horsed,
Gazing on the grim trees.
He opened his helm
Beholding a bandit realm.

Enid cried at the charge
Of a criminal clad in mail!
The Lord turned his horse,
Set his untended shield:
There lacked time, there
Lacked thought for more.

Villanous lance licked the
Ancient shield. It split,
Broke, that badge of the knight!
The spearhead searched
Old, rust-red mail.
Geraint awoke.

Master and black mount
Rediscovered their rich love,
And armor, though old
Though red with thick rust,
Broke the felon blade.
The spear to-brast, shattered.

And now Enid sees
In Geraint's cold eyes
What shivers her to the spine.
And now his hand
Draws the ill-used sword:
Ill-used, but well-forged.

And the shock from the spear-break
Rang from bandit-towers
Rattled the wood, and the world!
Men dwelt there in wonder.
Who had heard that tone?
They did not remember that sound.

His best spear broken
On old, rusted mail,
The felon sought his forest.
Enid's dusk eyes sense
The strength of old steel:
Geraint grips his reins.

And he winds his old horn,
And he spurs his proud horse,
And the wood to his wrath trembles.
And every bird
From the wild forest flies,
But the Ravens.

To the Wild

I am going to the Cherokee reservation and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the weekend. I have set up the 9/11 memorial post on a timer. 

Be well. We can talk next week about other things. 

Lawless Judiciary

Here in NC, Democratic justices are preparing to force Republicans off the bench to try to rule voter ID unconstitutional. The terms of the suit would facially appear to disqualify every other law ever passed in NC, and the state constitution. 

This one is worth reading in full. 

All Powers Turn

Every power granted to fight terrorism after 9/11 was turned against American citizens, reminds Reason

Good News

The Biden administration has been forced to pull their nominee to head the ATF, David Chipman, more properly known as the Butcher of the Branch Davidians. Dozens including 25 children were killed in that event, and then the compound was bulldozed before any investigations could be conducted. Janet Reno offered to resign, but Bill Clinton told her not to worry about it; and Chipman, a case agent at Waco, continued his career up until this moment. 

At least this one thing has gone right lately. He is a man whose heavy handed tactics have already killed many innocent Americans; he is the last person you should put in charge of an agency like the ATF, which would be better disbanded anyway. 

Speaking of Waco, where the Branch Davidian event took place, Constitutional Carry just went into effect there. The police chief urges you to get training anyway if you elect to carry a gun, which is honestly good advice. You should seek training if you're going to carry.

Doc Watson on Funerary Humor

Perhaps when a man reaches a certain age, his mind turns to funerals. Here is the legendary Doc Watson with a couple of jokes on the subject.

Afterwards they play some good mountain music for a while. Doc's gone to his own reward these days; this recording is from 2004. 

Year Zero

David Reaboi on the destruction of statues.

I feel like I should say something about this, but what's left to say? They intend to destroy all of it. They are actively doing so. We cannot stop them through legal means, because for the moment they have captured the government and all its power. The statues themselves aren't worth the blood that would likely result from resorting to extra-legal means; and so we don't. 

They're still wrong, though, to destroy the art of our ancestors and the peace that was built around it. They don't care, and they intend to continue until all of it is wrack.

Not Sure About This One


These folks are technically good, and I often find value in efforts like this. It seems very strange to me to do "Danny Boy" as an up-tempo number, though. Mixing it with "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" forces it into a strange place. 

See what you think. 

A little medical judgment

 I found this article about Ivermectin a welcome relief.  As far as I can tell, the jury's still out on whether Ivermectin does any good in treating COVID, but the jury's equally out whether it does any harm.  It certainly is no ground for the extraordinary paroxysms of hysteria and vilification we've been witnessing.

The problem with a disease that all but a tiny fraction of people survive is that almost anything you can think of can be administered to patients, the vast majority of whom will recover.  Does Ivermectin work better than chocolate ice cream or, for that matter, an amulet worn around the neck?  I have no idea, and I don't much care, because unless you take absurd doses it's pretty cheap and extremely unlikely to hurt you.  It's no nuttier than many medical fads wholeheartedly embraced not only by the journalistic-industrial establishment but frankly by the AMA and rank-and-file doctors.  A low-fat, high-carb diet probably will turn out to be infinitely more dangerous than popping the occasional heartworm pill pilfered from your pup.

This nonsense is no way to conduct public health policy.  We've squandered more credibility than I thought possible in the last couple of years--and I would have said we'd done a pretty horrible job already for the couple of decades before that.  We've devolved into superstition and ad hominem attacks when we aren't sunk deep into outright fraud.

Entertaining an Alternative View

Jan-Werner Müller, writing in the New Statesman ,would like you to consider that the elite/populist division is actually, secretly a means for the elite to retain power by dividing the working class. This is a standard Marxist way of understanding many conflicts -- and it sometimes proves true. For example, the intense encouragement of racist views and actions in the Jim Crow South really was at least partly about hiding from poorer white Southerners the fact that the richer Southerners and Northern banks were the real oppressors in their lives; in fact, they shared intense common interests with poorer black Southerners. The mythology they were offered, which they often bought, really was about keeping the elite in power by hiding the commonality of class interests.

Nevertheless, this has not been my view of the populist rejection of things like Hillary Clinton or Remain in Europe. They begin with a noteworthy observation:
Half a decade on, “Brexit and Trump” remain shorthand for the rise of right-wing populism and a profound unsettling of liberal democracies. One curious fact is rarely mentioned: the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Remain in 2016 had similar-sounding slogans, which spectacularly failed to resonate with large parts of the electorate: “Stronger Together” and “Stronger in Europe”. Evidently, a significant number of citizens felt that they might actually be stronger, or in some other sense better off, by separating. What does that tell us about the fault lines of politics today?

That similarity was not accidental; it is of a piece with how "Build Back Better" became a slogan on the tongue of every Western leader. Observe this montage of, well, all of them saying exactly this phrase.

This strongly suggests that in fact there is an international class who think alike, and find the same language persuasive -- who are learning from each other, at least, if not in fact designing together a common program to govern all of our various societies from a stratum above us (and separated from us). The NS piece is going to talk a lot about the ability to build such strata within societies, but still wants to assert that this is really about wealth and not culture. 

So let's consider that, after the jump.

The Sins of GKC

A new book, here reviewed.
[Chesterton] was content to have Frances manage his life.... His subservience to Frances may be seen as evidence of his gentle decency or alternatively as a weakness. Ingrams, I think, inclines to the latter view.

But what of the ‘sins’ of the title? Here too it may be a question of weakness. Ingrams has Chesterton led astray, like a medieval king, by evil counsellors. There were two: his adored younger brother, Cecil, and his admired mentor Hilaire Belloc. Chesterton had a better mind and sharper intellect than either of them, as well as a kinder and more generous, if weaker, character. 

It's mostly anti-Semitism, although anyone who has ever seen a picture of GKC might have thought of gluttony. In his defense, GKC lived before the depths of anti-Semitism were exposed; and the introductory version he bought on to is a form that masks a valid complaint that is severable from the Jews. "He felt that Jewish finance was corrupting Catholic Europe" is often described as a predecessor to the view that "loyalty to internationally-financed corporations undermines loyalty to one's own nation." You don't need any Jews to be involved to worry, for example, that Apple's or Nike's commitments to Communist China have worrying effects on our political culture here at home. You only even need 'the Chinese' accidentally; it could be any authoritarian nation with communistic values.

The reviewer continues:

I still read Belloc and Chesterton with pleasure. Few others seem to. Ingrams opines that only Chesterton’s Father Brown detective stories remain popular. This is probably true, though The Flying Inn, a fantastic novel about an Islamic takeover of England, has considerable vitality. (It’s not much use, I would add, to modern-day Islamophobes, Chesterton’s Islam being very different from theirs.) His book on Thomas Aquinas has been judged one of the best popular accounts of his philosophy. Chesterton is still admired in American Catholic universities, and a few years ago I was sent a copy of a French intellectual journal devoted entirely to Chesterton. All the same, today’s Catholic Church is very different from the one Belloc and Chesterton defended.

That last is certainly true, at least among the living. The Church believes in a metaphysical self, though, in which Chesterton himself is still a member -- and, hopefully, still praying for his beloved Ecclesia.  

Progressives and Genetics

It's ugly, they admit; "but what if it's true?", they begin to ask.

A Collegiate Theory

"Men appear to be giving up on college," Hot Air worries, citing WSJ data.
U.S. colleges and universities had 1.5 million fewer students compared with five years ago, and men accounted for 71% of the decline, the Journal analysis found.

This education gap, which holds at both two- and four-year colleges, has been slowly widening for 40 years. The divergence increases at graduation: After six years of college, 65% of women in the U.S. who started a four-year university in 2012 received diplomas by 2018 compared with 59% of men during the same period, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

In the next few years, two women will earn a college degree for every man...
All of this makes me worry about the future. Having CRT enter public classrooms and emphasize the idea of white supremacy and male privilege at a point where white males are already struggling with education seems like a perfect storm of bad ideas. Based on the data above, we don’t need to be telling boys that they need to check their privilege from the time they can first read and write, we need to be helping them do as well as girls.
Alternatively, it may be that college is objectively less valuable than it was, and men are on the forefront of figuring this out. Just as an initial baseline, college costs have skyrocketed over the last decades due to government making student loans easily available. Colleges responded by raising tuition to the limits the government would support. Thus, college costs a lot more now for whatever value you are going to get out of it.

There's less value to get out of it, too. Feminists sometimes complain that any field that women succeed in entering immediately begins to lose pay, although they read this as 'sexism' rather than as 'supply and demand'; if you add many more workers to the field, the supply increase naturally means that pay can be lessened. Women now are successfully dominating the office jobs that require a bachelors degree, and that means that office jobs are not as prestigious or well-remunerated as once. These environments were always unattractive to men, but the pay made up for the depressing need to be inside all day long. Now there's less pay, too. 

Meanwhile, a lot of college degrees are now education degrees or lower-level medical degrees -- nursing, say. In addition to being inside-all-day fields, these are also areas where there is social pressure to keep men out. Men are essentially unwelcome to be elementary school teachers, and barely welcome in secondary schools; and nursing is a traditionally female field, though of course men do become nurses. These are classic fields that offer security in return for no real chance of making a fortune, which are less attractive to men even absent the social pressures that keep men out of them. 

Outsourcing and offshoring are also an issue. It first affected factory workers, but at this point a lot of white collar jobs can be offshored. What can't be offshored is skilled trade work. Your plumber or electrician is going to have to be there where you are physically. Those are jobs that require certifications and practical experience rather than college degrees. 

I have obviously spent a lot of time in school, and don't mean to run down education's value. Yet an actual education is hard to get in college; you really have to work at finding one. If you want to know the secrets of the universe, it's possible to learn a lot about them in a university. What you'll probably be routed towards, though, is a degree in 'education' or some nonsense 'social science' that teaches you nothing about physics, little about math beyond statistics, and assumptions about philosophy and history rather than a capacity to inquire into them deeply. You'll read Aristotle's name a few times, but you won't read Aristotle. 

For me that was the real value in education, and most degrees do not now even aspire to it. Of course men might lose interest in something that has become less interesting. The question is why women continue to double-down on a play that has become vastly more expensive and obviously less valuable. 

Ritual of Abortion

Everybody knows this 'Satanic Temple' bit is a play-acting legal falsehood. It intends to provide fake 'deeply held religious belief' cover for things like drug usage and abortion, to mock actual religion, and to force communities to build sculptures to Satan if they allow things like crosses for war veterans on public land. It's always been an open joke by people who hate traditional religion and want to mock it, and one that occasionally proves useful to the designs of their real ideology.

One wonders, however, if invoking the abyss often enough won't actually summon it. 

"Protecting Women"

The Biden Administration's Justice Department vows to 'protect women,' by which they mean help them kill their children. Meanwhile, their new Taliban partners for peace are also interested in protecting women.

On the Importance of Sheriffs

The introduction is similar to the better movie Paint Your Wagon. This one has James Garner, and is lighter fare.

But Paint Your Wagon does seem to be the better prophecy.

Texas Bounty Hunters III

An ongoing series, because I really like the relevant music.

The Dumbledore Fallacy

Have you noticed that it's very hard to talk sense with people? Oh, you have? Sorry, so it's not just me. Apropos of nothing in particular, I spent a few hours this week trying to engage people in discussion of the new Texas "heartbeat" law, usually beginning with the startling notion that some of us think unborn children are human beings. I got lots of responses more or less amounting to "but it's really hard on some women that they can get pregnant when men can't, and men don't always support their children." I answer, yes, these are very bad things, but the point of a law limiting abortion is to protect unborn children, not to take sides in disputes between adult men and women. The answer tends to be, "Oh, of course, I agree, but the situation between the adult men and women is really very unfair, so I believe in personal choice, and a decision between a woman and her doctor/God whatever."

My brow stayed wrinkled much of the time. Why do I bother? I'm not sure; it may be because to this day I remember being struck by a placard reading "I love YOU, and I'd fight for YOUR life, too." Even if I didn't really change my mind on the subject until years later, the argument did worm its way into my conscience and do lasting good work there.

Anyway, speaking of fallacies and the never-ending work of exposing them, I came upon this 2009 piece about the "Dumbledore Fallacy":
I understand what it means to say “X is a good act” or “X is an immoral act”. I don’t understand at all what people mean when they say that Y is a good or bad person. Every person (even the damned) is ontologically good: we are all made in God’s image, all called to eternal beatitude with Him, all addressed by the same moral law. Every person has both good and evil desires; every person is capable of good or evil acts. The moral law gives us a key to evaluating acts, not persons.
“Good person” talk is closely related to what I call the Dumbledore fallacy. Here’s how it goes. I say “homosexual acts are immoral”. J. K. Rowling responds “Dumbledore protects the children of Hogwarts from the evil Voldemort. This is a good act, right?” “Yes”, I reply. Rowling continues, “So Dumbledore is a good person. Ah, but Dumbledore also likes to have sex with men. Therefore, homosexuality is good.” QED.
Now, the Dumbledore fallacy is obviously invalid; it could be used to justify anything. “Ah, but Dumbledore sacrifices children to Moloch. Therefore, ritual murder is good.” “Ah, but Dumbledore rapes old women. Therefore, raping old women is good.” It proves no such thing. At most, it proves that certain virtues can coexist with certain vices. Actually, it doesn’t even prove that much, because Dumbledore is a fictional character.
Rowling’s argument actually depends on a couple of unstated steps. “If a person does a good act, he or she is a good person. All the acts of a good person are good.” The argument only has the rhetorical force it does because these steps are left unstated. Say them out loud, and you can’t help but notice how absurd they are.

As Screwtape said, "Do remember you are there to fuddle him. From the way some of you young fiends talk, anyone would suppose it was our job to teach!"

I Guess It's Labor Day

Never was one to cross a picket line, myself. The unions may have gotten greedy and made it hard to compete with Japan, but it was the Chamber of Commerce that sold out America to Communist China.

Burn some brats, have some beers.

Frankland: An Idea Whose Time Has Come Again

My own pet project of establishing a new state of mountainous Appalachia has a precedent: the state of Franklin, or "Frankland," following the etymology that should be well known to readers here. 
Franklin represents the early American concept that “if your government is not representing you, then it’s your right and your duty to throw off that government and establish a new government,” Barksdale says. “Franklin demonstrates how the statehood movement in the heart of Appalachia was [of] central [importance] to our new nation immediately after the American Revolution.”

It didn't work out, but it should have.  

Flipping Virtue on its Head

Montesquieu warned "As virtue is necessary in a republic, and honor in a monarchy, fear is what is required in a despotism. As for virtue, it is not at all necessary, and honor would be dangerous there.”

True enough. This take, however puts a spin on it that may be even more true, and perhaps even more dangerous, as in the way C.S. Lewis warned us about tyrants with good intentions:

A tyrant that is not just an individual head or small group is difficult to unseat.

Mapped Ballot Fraud

From TrueTheVote:

We'd watched the mass mail out of paper ballots to highly inaccurate voter records, the harried installation of ballot dropboxes privately funded by billionaire tech magnates, and the hundreds of legislative changes, lawsuits, and consent decrees that fundamentally altered election processes. All of it came together in 2020, under the fog of COVID. It was planned. It was purposeful.

Indeed, they said as much themselves in that Time article.

Having studied election process for decades, our team was well aware of the pitfalls associated with America's uniquely insecure approach to elections. We knew that attempts to prove certain types of election malfeasance would fail, so we chose instead to focus on the grifts that would necessarily leave trackable, provable data trails.

To test our trafficking theory, we acquired over ten trillion location-based cell signals in major metropolitan areas across six states. Initially, we worked with whistleblowers and witnesses, but soon enough, the data alone told the tale. Using mobile and GPS data, we mapped the travel patterns of ballot traffickers to ballot dropboxes.  

They point out that this kind of tracking has been used by the NYT and by the government in several cases, so it's well established as a commonplace way to approach this kind of issue.

So what did they find?

Our findings reveal overwhelming evidence of ballot trafficking, some of which is highlighted in the article. We have much more.

All our research, including suspected locations where ballots were delivered, processed, and distributed, along with the individual devices associated, has been submitted in the form of a formal complaint, along with all data, to the FBI. Briefings have been provided to state law enforcement and political leadership in several states. These conversations will continue to broaden in the coming days.

We've also acquired over a petabyte of video surveillance data. The quality of this video is inferior overall; lighting is bad, cameras are poorly positioned, timestamps are manipulated, key timeframes are often missing. Nevertheless, we are working video by video, using proprietary AI-based code we've written to screen the over 100,000 clips in our possession. The result? We are successfully finding video evidence that corroborates the digital data and supports the need for full investigations by law enforcement.

The problem is, of course, that 'law enforcement' has not touched it for the same reason it will not touch it: law enforcement is controlled by the winners of that stolen election, people who intend to continue to steal elections from now on. The last thing they'd want is for law enforcement to get on with investigations into this.

The exception are the nation's Sheriffs, who are independently elected officers who do not report to the centralized governments -- not mayors, not governors, not Presidents. For this reason, in major cities they are generally defunded and their funds turned over to a "City Police" department whose leadership is hired and fired by the mayor and/or city council. This keeps law enforcement pliant. 

Outside the cities the sheriffs remain potent. Unfortunately, the fraud is city-based. Sheriffs still exist, and perhaps some of them can be convinced to take this up. If it can lead to arrests and prosecutions (another problem in those cities where non-prosecuting prosecutors have been solicited by left-leaning NGOs) maybe something can finally be done within the system.  

It's a big lift, though, because the whole system has been turned against citizen self-government. The thieves are in charge across the board.

This Airport Story

The version of the story given to CBS News is, as has become usual, designed to hide the Biden administration's culpability for a horrible situation. 
Excerpts of an email from the State Department to members of congress viewed by CBS News acknowledged that charter flights are still on the ground at the Mazar-i-Sharif airstrip in northern Afghanistan and have permission to land in Doha "if and when the Taliban agrees to takeoff." 

Such is the situation as of Sunday. On Wednesday, however, I was on a call with a member of the air evacuation efforts and the head of a small airline not in the Middle East, brokering a way to transfer people into normal airlines following their successful flight out.  Everything was in place except the money, and donors had been found -- just not quite enough as at that moment. 

I infer that someone within the Biden Administration or the State Department (whom the effort had been briefing, as we would need institutional support to finalize visas in some cases) decided to try to find their own way out, and decided Qatar was the obvious choice. Telling Doha about this is equivalent to having informed the Taliban of it, because Qatar hosted them in their exile, brokered the peace talks, and is one of their chief supporters. Qatar told the Taliban, and the Taliban now have these people as hostages. 

The Biden Administration is trying to convince the press that the Taliban are the bad guys here, and they certainly are among the bad guys: they're now holding Americans hostage. But the Biden administration also has a lot of blame to carry because they gave the game away. Instead of working with veteran operators they blew things up by trying to take over and run things with their regular incompetence.

He's in a tough spot

CNN offers the President political advice, after sympathizing with his rotten luck, what with the Taliban's betrayal of his trust, Delta unexpectedly cratering job creation, Republicans inexplicably continuing to push their agenda, and Democrat legislators balking at a couple of the fringes of the leftist agenda. Should he pick projects with broad appeal to Americans that can command a clear majority in Congress? Oh, gosh, no. He should forcefully support the Democrat traitors until they fall back in line:
What's Biden to do in the face of all these obstacles? The most important thing he can focus on at this point is keeping his party in line. He will need to lean in harder on Manchin and Sinema, giving them the support they need to retain their electoral standing while offering not-so-subtle reminders about the importance of putting on a united front to fulfill his agenda. If Democrats are perpetually stuck in a legislative logjam as the nation struggles with broken infrastructure, natural disasters, and an ongoing pandemic, there's little chance voters will give the party another shot at trying to address the many problems they face going into 2022.
There's also the danger that he will be distracted by the need to solve immediate problems with visible competence and honesty. No one cares about that stuff: voters want him to create a nationwide standard of ballot fraud and undermine the nation's energy independence, STAT.
Biden also has to actively shape his message and agenda, rather than react to events and circumstances as they occur. As the going gets tough, it is easy for presidents to be caught on the wrong foot and get swept up in the noise of the moment. What great presidents learn is that focus means a great deal. Presidents have the power to keep the nation — and Congress — on track. They have the ability to keep pushing specific issues like the urgent need to protect voting rights or address climate change — even if the news cycle veers off into different directions.
Keeping the news from veering off into unauthorized directions is pretty straightforward: just get the press back in line, where they're begging to be, anyway. Maybe they need more "support," too. That should help keep all those pesky voters from veering off into savaging the President's competence in the polls.