Saturday, June 08, 2019

Mis-Identifying what IS is - The real meaning which 'I identify as' distracts us from seeing

I'm re-posting the post below from a few years ago, in part because in the time since the 'Transgender Bathrooms' issue first grabbed ahold of a news-cycle, the weeds which have sprouted from its source have spread and infested the daily news to the point that their appearance have become a commonplace in our world, while its roots, unremarked upon, grow deeper, and spread ever wider. Although popular commentary on these headlines focus upon the 'Trans' & 'LGBT' portions of the story, for anyone other than those who do suffer from gender dysphoria or other psychological issues, those are the least important part of the issue, the magicians hand waved to distract our attention away from the more fundamental issue involved, which is: "What the meaning of 'IS', is"... or isn't, as the case may be. Our failure to attend to and identify what is, and what is not, true - whether in the home, or in the classroom, or at large in society - is leading our ever more rapid retreat away from what is real and true, and is diminishing our ability to even care about identifying what is true, which is enabling what isn't true, to run amuck in our world today.

This distractedness has spread through our lives, sprouting up like weeds in efforts to normalize pedophilia, to shrug at men beating women athletically by 'identifying' as women, in many areas it's popped out of the magicians hat fully normalized into a local suburban library district's "Drag Queen Storytime", or even the recent spectacle of a science teacher, 'coming out' in drag to his elementary school students, and in teachers & parents who recommend transitioning their children into sex change procedures. But again, if what you take away from these stories are only the attention grabbing headlines, while understandable, you're being distracted from the real issue, a direct assault upon Identity and the necessity of our saying what is true, and denying what is not true, no matter how compelling and outrageous (and entertaining?), the distractions might be (be sure to watch the video below).

All of these NewsCycle churners are but manifestations of our growing unwillingness & inability to come out and identify what is, and what is not, and when we take the 'LGBT!' bait, that enables the Pro-Regressive to wave the magicians hand again in calling you a hater, while what the real and more fundamental meaning is, again escapes notice, metastasizes, and spreads ever further throughout what remains of our culture.

That is the point that I hoped would be taken with this post three years ago in June of 2016, and what I hope even moreso will be taken from it today. And now without further ado, back to the future:

Identifying the Transgender Bathroom Issue: Flushing the West down the toilet
With all the media overload that's been put on the 'Transgender bathroom' issue, it might be worthwhile to look at it from a somewhat different perspective, one that goes in somewhere just below the froth of the spin-cycle. Unfortunately, there aren’t many of the typical articles floating around that are worth reading - mainly because most of them seem to think that the transgender issue, is about the transgendered, and if there's one thing that this latest drive towards 'toleration’ is not about, it's those afflicted with transgenderism.

Now wait, you say, these Transgender edicts and laws and demonstrations... they're all about the well intentioned concerns and efforts to make life easier for those unfortunate few afflicted with gender dysphoria... aren't they? Oh Hell no. You don't comfort the sick by inflaming their illness, nor do you afflict the healthy by forcing them to accommodate the delusions of the mentally unhealthy. What's worse, you don't impose restrictive behaviors upon all, which flatter one set of the mentally unhealthy, while enabling a more dangerously mentally ill set, the hetero sexual predator, with legal red carpet access to their prey in the most secluded and vulnerable condition - while at the same time preventing those who would defend them, from even identifying or acting upon the obvious threat. As you might be aware, identifying the obvious in that way, is... frowned upon. Why do you suppose that is?

There is one post on the issue though, by Heather MacDonald , that I can recommend, because rather than being too distracted by the transgender issues and laws themselves, she turns to some of the more fundamental issues involved. She identifies, lays fault and blame upon, the willingness of people to simply chuckle at the 'laughable' statements that have been flowing steadily out of Academia, for decades and decades. Because as she notes,
"One take-away from the transgender-bathroom wars is that the public ignores arcane academic theory at its peril. For two decades, a growing constellation of gender-studies, queer-studies, and women’s-studies departments have been beavering away at propositions that would strike many people outside academia as surprising — such as that biological sex and “gender” are mere ideological constructs imposed by a Eurocentric, heteronormative power structure. Even though skeptical journalists have regularly dived into the murky swamp of academic theory and returned bearing nuggets of impenetrable jargon and even stranger ideas, the public and most politicians have shrugged off such academic abominations, if they have taken note at all. (Senator Marco Rubio’s deplorable jab at “philosophy majors” during his presidential run demonstrated how clueless your typical politician is about the real problems in academia.)"
She's absolutely right, in that '...the public ignores arcane academic theory at its peril', but is simply noting that going to get that same public to look at these 'arcane' theories with any deeper interest? Sure, she notes how disastrous public policies have eventually followed from those who've been indoctrinated with these theories, yyyearsss down the line - as today’s issues stemmed from those theories two decades ago - but is that enough? I mean, seriously, can you imagine anything more worthy of being thought of as irrelevant by and to the public at large, than silly, unrealistic, academic theories about 'heteronormative power structures', and 'patriarchal hegemony's'? Why should they care about them? Yes, we should care, but unless people understand how to get the 'what', 'why' and 'how' of it, no one who's ignored them in the past, is going to take note of them in the future.

Isn't there something about those inane theories that should have stood out then, now and tomorrow, to alert people that they should be noted, refuted, denounced and derided as the clear and present dangers that they are to everyone from the most casual observer, to the parents of, and the students themselves, that are being subjected to them?

I believe that the answer to that is yes, there is a 'Tell' that any observer can easily identify and call them out on.

And the secret Identity Is...
There was, and still are, real, real time consequences, to the pernicious ideas of arcane wacademic theories, but it requires looking past the appearances and spin of things, it requires your not being distracted by those features that are meant to catch your attention and distract you from their real target, and thankfully in this latest issue, they've put that secret target right up front and center in their boilerplate - even though that secret is also their Achilles' heel.

To see it, ask yourself this one question:
  • What do you mean by 'identify'?
At first it would seem puzzling that there is such confusion over these issues, as the words 'Identify', or plain old 'Identity' have some fairly cut & dry definitions. For instance: Identity:
i·den·ti·ty - ˌīˈden(t)ədē/ - noun - 1. the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.
, and Identify:
i·den·ti·fy - īˈden(t)əˌfī/ - verb - 1. establish or indicate who or what (someone or something) is.
synonyms: recognize, single out, pick out, spot, point out, pinpoint, put one's finger on, put a name to, name, know..."
Or IOW, to be able to identify something is to be able to distinguish one thing from another, and so become able to think more clearly about it - it is in fact one of the fundamental features of thinking itself. Now ask yourself, is that what you suppose these professors, activists and politicians are intent on doing, or avoiding doing? Is carefully Identifying what's what, what they are after? Do they themselves seem more able to identify the fundamentals of what they are yammering about - what men and women are - or do they seem astonishingly confused by the question? Look at this video, and forget about the transgender distraction for the moment, and just focus on the spectacle of the students unwillingness to identify the obvious fact that a white man identifying as a Chinese woman is and should be immediately ridiculous, but it isn't until the 5'9" man identifies as being 6'5", that finally causes some of these students to hesitate - what kind of 'education' are they receiving? What sort of education is it, whose ideas demand that you deny what you can clearly identify as being true?

The fact that they can't clearly identify or explain the positions they want you to comply with, has got to have you questioning their commitment to identifying what is real and true - doesn't it? Don't they seem more interested in passionately playing let's pretend that our positions - not reasons, but assertions - make us better than you are? It takes very little to rephrase their own statements, to identify what they intentionally evade, and to show them to be self refuting.

IOW, their "Tell" is that their reams of posturing verbiage is not meant to better reveal what is true, but to obscure the identity of what it is that they are claiming to support, they 'darken council with words without understanding'. Their 'Tell' is that their self important language of 'let’s pretend' and 'lets admire ourselves for our pretense!', consistently obscures your ability to be able to identify what it IS that they are talking about, making wise action unknowable, and unwise results probable.

Their "Tell" is to avoid identifying what they claim to be speaking about, their "Tell" is to make contradictory statements and demand that you let them get away with them, their "Tell" is to demand that, like Orwell's '1984', that we not only nod, but embrace the idea that 2+2=5, which is not simply inane, it is dangerous. And those agitating for norms and laws based upon these "Tells" are uninterested in identifying that obvious fact.

The one thing that they do seem to be interested in doing, is identifying just how much more, at this moment in time, that they can get away with, how much more they can remove from your ability to identify, and so to think clearly about, and to understand and stand up for in the world around you. No, this sudden cultural push is not about men or women 'identifying' as women or men, neither is it about being kind or tolerant towards the mentally ill, or 'fighting back!' against those who'd bully the dysphoric few, those serve as pretexts for, not the purposes of, the transgender agitators. The agitators are not being agitated up in order to help those few men or women who identify as being the opposite sex, but to take advantage of our best and brightest who have been 'educated' to the point of being unable to even identify what a man or a woman is.

And why? How well can a people who are unable or unwilling to identify what a Man or a Woman is, be counted upon to identify what an Individual Right is, or be counted upon to recognize when one is being wronged? Might that not present certain political opportunities for those whose passionate ambition is to use the power of the state to change how we all live (and even use the bathroom), for the greater good? Might that not present opportunities for those who long to live our lives for us... for us?

That, not transgenderism, is the identity of the serious issue facing us, in this and most other popular issues and causes. In much the same way that a 'Memorial Day Sale!' has far less to do with Memorial Day, than with increasing a stores' sales; the Transgender Laws, edicts and popular press, have less to do with 'the plight of the Transgendered', than with transforming and multiplying our laws into ever more versatile tools for imposing power upon the public at large, as justified on the basis of inflamed passions, rather than upon identifiable reasons – because that’s where the Power lies.

If you are unable to identify the essentials of an issue, then you become prey to any convenient pretexts serving not so hidden agendas. Just as identifying undocumented workers’ or 'Dreamers', was not about identifying those who are in the country illegally, just as ObamaCare wasn't about Health care, but about govt gaining massive political power in every aspect of our lives; just as free contraception wasn't about contraception, but a means to distract us from infringing upon individual rights of choice and property; and just as gun laws and registration aren't about reducing gun violence, but as distractions from the aim of eventually eliminating even the expectation of self defense; it is because the ability to identify such fundamental distinctions, are vital to understanding and standing up for your individual rights, that they are being undermined and evaded, and it is why saying what is, and is not true, is frowned upon by those who benefit from that distinction remaining unclear.

The vast majority of the issues trumpeted in our headlines, are but useful pretexts for channeling the passionate grievances of a popular few - or many – so as to enable legislators, bureaucrats, media and educators, to exercise ever more power over the public at large; and how better to revel in that power, than to tell an entire people that the normal expectations and behaviors which they have long held, are no longer to be respected? That what they feel is Right, is Wrong. That their personal opinions and habits are to be forced to give way, not because a clearer understanding and delineation of Right and Wrong has been reached, but to make way for a mostly undefined and indefinable claim of some, against all?

And again, why? How many things are more infuriating, than feeling that you can't speak up, and must accept what is 'politically correct' at work, in a restaurant, at an event, family dinner or when trying to relax?

Contrary to popular belief, and as any bully can tell you, tyranny doesn't really need laws to tyrannize you, it only needs to be feared by you.

In a time such as ours, where ‘Political Correctness’ can result in the ruination of lives, careers and associations, then legally 'toothless' pronouncements such as Obama’s bathroom edict do not need to be enforced everywhere, or even anywhere, at all - it only needs to be asserted, and clamored after by mobs who are visibly ready to shout down or even violently attack, those who gainsay it. Not everywhere, only somewhere, publicly, in order for its threat to be felt everywhere. And so it is that corporations feel pressure to make statements and policies about it, people are afraid to speak out about it, or to be condemned about their own observations and beliefs about it, even though 'it' has no legal leg to stand on. This is the ultimate in spinning executive action ‘under color of authority’, knowing it will be bolstered by the fear of a threat from unseen forces, it is an abuse of Power all its own, that will cloud your ability to identify, to distinguish, to think, inducing anger on all sides of the issue (AKA Community Organizing).

The stupefying power of power
And once again, why? A useful quote to keep in mind, is one from Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
"“Upon closer observation, it becomes apparent that every strong upsurge of power in the public sphere, be it of a political or a religious nature, infects a large part of humankind with stupidity. … The power of the one needs the stupidity of the other...."
What Bonhoeffer (in 1920's-1930's Germany) was observing, and what people like Saul Alinsky are adept at exploiting [see inset], is the stupefying power that power has, when exerted over people. It's not so much that the people are stupid, but that intelligent people find themselves unable to identify or act upon what the actual issue is, and so their actions become indistinguishable from someone acting stupidly. As Power is imposed upon their lives in ways that they are powerless to prevent... unless a person very consciously attends to it, identifies the nature of what is happening to them, then there is going to be slippage between their thought, and that which is thought about, and that slippage expresses itself as both cracks and pressure release valves. People become stupefied as that place where idea and reality should have been firmly connected in their minds, has instead been forced aside, and now anything, usually in the form of meaningless catchwords and popular sentiments, will pass easily through their thoughts and possibly into poorly thought out actions, and more likely than not, leaving a persistent anger in its wake.

Because more power is ever the desire of the powerful, and because heated passions are the time tested means to swaying popular opinion, that is what is repeatedly used to turn We The People to their latest purposes. Whatever momentary mask such causes might wear, from gay marriage, to Christians baking wedding cakes, Seals, Whales, AIDS, Global Warming, Acid Rain, Global Cooling, DDT, etc., it is their emotional appeal and the agitation which they induce, and together with the lack of clear identification which they make difficult, at best, which serves as a means to better gain and impose power upon society 'for the greater good', and for the benefit of those seeking or maintaining power over them.

Given all of that, the issue of the day, which just happens to be Transgenderism today, becomes more clearly identifiable as but a means to an end, and it's the tomorrows of their ends, that we should all be deeply troubled by. Worse, the true identity of the problems facing us, is that every time we let a ridiculous statement go by unchallenged and unchecked, to posture about as if it is a true and meaningful thought, we give those empty words the power of an actual point, and that point will be turned against us - that is its point. To fail to identify these issues as such, is what started us down the path to where we are today - is this where you wanted to be? What will be the tomorrows that follow from this today?

The real trouble with the Transgender issue, is what you and I fear to clearly identify it as, either by inducing an unwillingness in you to identify that which is as being what it actually is, or through requiring you to not say or act on what you know to be true. Such unchecked power is a clear and present danger in all of its forms - not only legislatively, but intellectually, socially and culturally - as it forcibly separates your thoughts from your actions, which effectively flushes the West down the toilet. Who needs an army to invade us, when we'll so willingly eliminate ourselves?

IOW, while you're busy bickering about Hillary/Bernie and Trump, what made their candidacies possible is slipping past you, unidentified, and growing ever more powerful over every aspect of your life.

Is that the America you want to identify as?

Monday, May 27, 2019

Remembering Memorial Day, once more and evermore

American war dead, Flanders Field, Belgium
From eight years ago...
Memorial Day... it is enough to remember today those who have fallen in defence of our nation. But it's not all we can do, for them or for us, and to leave it there, I think, deprives them, and you, of an important part of what they died for. It seems to me that you can remember them even more completely if you will remember what it was that they gave their lives in defence of. If you remember why it was that their lives came to be remembered on this day, then you can in some sense repay them and also deepen your own position in your own life.

Do you remember what Memorial Day was designated for you to remember? It has changed over the years, but it began as 'Decoration Day', back in 1868, on May 30th, a day chosen because it didn't mark the anniversary of any battle - an important point - as a day to officially mark, what people had unofficially been doing across the land on their own for some while, decorating the many, many graves of those who had 'died in the late rebellion'. After WWI, when many more graves were dug, the day was changed to Memorial Day to remember all of those who have died in service of their country, in all of its wars.

But what does it mean to remember? What can it do? Remember... the members of our lives who were lost can never be re-membered... those who are gone are gone forever, but in the service of... what? Why did they give their lives? Why decorate the graves of soldiers, those who have gone before their time, lives which were violently lost... why? Family and friends will remember their fallen family and friends, they have no need of a national holiday to do that, there is no use for you who they do not know to pretend to remember those you never knew - but that is not what we pause this day to remember.

What did their untimely deaths have to do with your life here and now?

Does their death have any relevance to your life? Asking another question might put us closer to the trail, what relevance can your life have to your nation without remembering why they lost theirs?

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who gave their lives, the 'last full measure of devotion' in the service of the United States of America, but not just to their homeland - any country can do that, and they do - nothing exceptional there.

But we are an exceptional nation, and simple remembrance will not do, because simply defending their homeland is not what they did or why they did it.

Why did they do it? What did it mean?

Maybe it'll help by looking at it from the perspective of the Oath which led them into the military life which put their own lives at risk for yours,
"I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."
That is what they risked and lost their lives for, was it worth it? Do you grant their lost lives a value in yours? And that is the heart of it isn't it? Does the life they lost have value in yours?

Well, if you can say the words "your life", as something you live, something which you value and have some measure of control over, then yes, their lives were lost in service of your being able to think of your life as yours, and that - that is something which should cause you a spasmed breath, one abruptly caught in your chest in reverence and awe... that another's last breath was let go as 'darkness veiled his eyes' not just so that you could draw your previous, current and next breath as you wish, but so you could do so in a state of liberty.

Now I think we're getting closer to re-membering them and memorializing their life, through yours. Let's chase that a little further.

What does it take to say 'your life'? What does it take to live your life? What must you do, absent simply having others take care of you, what must you do to live? First off, you must use your head, you must think... but just thinking isn't enough to continue living, after all, you could very well choose to think that by imagining very clearly and distinctly that your shoe would become a salmon if you declare it so, but such thinking would do nothing to advance your life. For your thinking to benefit your life, it must be productive, and to do that it must reflect reality... your life will continue on only if at least some of your ideas help you to transform the reality you face on a daily basis into those materials and conditions which benefit your life... food, shelter, etc, IOW 'nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed'.

For your life, to be lived, you must be free to think, for your thoughts to benefit your life you must see to it that they respect reality - cherish truth -  for your freedom of thought to be anything other than a mockery, you must be free to put them into action, and again, for your thoughts and your actions to be a benefit to you, rather than a mockery, you must be free to retain and use that which your thoughts and actions have produced, and what they produce is called property.

Today, for the lives we remember having been lost, to have meaning and value to us, your life must be able to be lived in the spirit which they gave their own lives up for, that of liberty; the liberty to live your life in the pursuit of happiness in your life.

Those we memorialize today gave their last full measure of devotion in service of the document which makes that possible, the Constitution of the United States of America, a document which outlines the ideas necessary for ensuring your ability to live your life, in liberty and pursuing happiness. They gave their life for the ideas which best reflect the reality of life and the requirements of man living in liberty so that in his life, if he applies his thoughts to actions which serve to produce the materials he needs, that will enable you to live your life and pursue the happiness you seek in life, secure in that property which you expend the actions of your life in producing.

The Constitution was designed to do just that. It was worth fighting and risking death for, because it was seen as the means to securing a life worth living for, for themselves, their families, and their posterity - you.

The Constitution, was designed with a profound understanding of human nature in mind, and was structured in such a way as to give voice to the major perspectives of life so that:
  • - the people at large, concerned in the issues of the moment, shall have a voice in the House of Representatives
  • - the states shall have a voice through those people who have lived successful will have a perspective favorable for preserving everyones property through their voice in the Senate
  • - these two perspectives shall be combined to use create legislation operating for the benefit of the people, within certain enumerated powers
  • - when both houses agree upon laws, the nation has a voice in the President as chief executive, to reject or sign legislation into law and see to it that the laws of the land are faithfully executed
  • - the law itself has a voice in the Judicial branch which is concerned that laws are applied justly to the people in whose name they were written
These branches are structured in such a way, utilizing the famous checks and balances, so as to have just enough interest in the other branches as to wish to see them function well, as well as to wish to preserve their own branches from becoming slighted and unbalanced.

The founders knew well that most states fall into ruin not under promises of harm but under promises to better the conditions of one group or another for the betterment of all. And so our system is designed to keep each branches desires to 'do good' in check, by the other branches benefit as well, and that none gains power over the others - each must see 'their point' of the other and work together, securing a state that enables you to live your life in pursuit of happiness.

But the people who ratified the constitution didn't think that the original document, which united government into balanced cooperation, was enough to secure the liberty and freedom of the governed, and so they insisted that it also specifically uphold and defend a few key rights, Rights which long experience as Englishmen... and then as Americans deprived of those rights, knew would be required to prevent a new tyrant from turning their government against their liberty 'for their own good'. They demanded the Constitution be amended to secure the peoples liberty to live their own lives, secure in their property and associations and activities which seemed to them to best hold the promise of pursuing happiness through, and that produced the Bill of Rights.

This foundation of government was and is an ordering of ideas, designed to enable each persons actions the liberty to act and secure their property without violating others rights in pursuit of the same, so that each person can have the incredible gift of being able to live their own lives as they see fit.

This is the Constitution which was, and still is, worth fighting for, and risking dying for, because it makes possible the kind of life worth living, lives in which each person might choose to pursue; and the idea of living in service to that, of making not only your own, but others lives livable... is a glorious pursuit, and those in the military who offered up their life in service of it... they are truly worth our pausing on at least one day a year, in solemn remembrance of the life they offered up to make your life a possibility.

Remember them, thank them, and with them in mind demand the liberty to live your life secured under, and securing, those laws which they gave up their life defending, do that, and you will truly be memorializing their lives and making their sacrifice worthwhile.

In 1915, inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields, Moina Michael replied with her own poem for Memorial Day:
We cherish too, the Poppy red
 That grows on fields where valor led,
 It seems to signal to the skies
 That blood of heroes never dies.


In Flanders Fields John McCrae, 1915.
 In Flanders fields the poppies blow
 Between the crosses, row on row
 That mark our place; and in the sky
 The larks, still bravely singing, fly
 Scarce heard amid the guns below.
 We are the Dead. Short days ago
 We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
 Loved and were loved, and now we lie
 In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw
 The torch; be yours to hold it high.
 If ye break faith with us who die
 We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
 In Flanders fields.

Friday, May 10, 2019

MONA - Defending Your Rights Away

The Kansas City Star has done a good job of smearing Missouri activist Ron Calzone over his opposition to a proposed bill 'that would add protections for LGBTQ Missourians'. But whatever you might think of Ron or his reasoning on this, what you really should consider is that laws such as these do not add to anyone's rights, they take away from everyone's rights and add to government's power over us all.
I oppose this Missouri Nondiscrimination Act (MONA) for the same reasons that I've opposed all of the various RFRA's (Religious Freedom Restoration Act), because they infringe upon the liberty of everyone. Each of these 'protections' implicitly presume that you and I lack the right and power to make our own decisions unless we have 'legitimate', govt approved reasons, for doing so, despite what the the 1st Amendment, and the 9th Amendment, and the 10th Amendment and the Contract clause of Article 1, Section 10, Clause 1, have to say on the matter.

The law, properly, defines the boundaries of our actions, not what they should be or how pleasing they have to be to popular sensibilities, moral or otherwise - that is the very meaning of the 1st Amendment! When we err and violate that hard rule 'for the greater good', we then put govt in the position of defining the morality which we then all Must adhere to - which has the affect of eliminating the moral quality from it. Worse, because we've given Govt the Power to make that choice, having made it, it can then change its mind as it sees "legitimately" fit, whichever way the popularity needle happens to point to in the shifting demographics of the day.

Whatever good intentions a bill like this might ride into law on the backs of today, you can be sure that there will be those in power tomorrow who, caring not one whit about the 'good intentions' which put that power into their hands, will wring every drop of power from it to serve their own purposes tomorrow.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

'There's a spectre haunting America, the spectre of Constitutionalism' - The Road Not Taken to Making Americans American Again

I shared a post last week that I found hopeful, concerning a small but successful program at a sizable Ivy League University that's pursuing 'Wisdom First, Job Skills Second' (which is both surprising and new for today), through studying key works in the development of Western Civilization, and the foundations of a free society. At about the same time, a friend of mine shared a post about a 'name' Republican considering a move to the Libertarian party to run for President in 2020, which seems neither new, surprising, nor hopeful to me. The paths that these two posts propose, diverge into a future which we all hope will be better and brighter, and while they aren't mutually exclusive roads, I suspect that once we take one path, we won't get a chance for a do-over. So my question is, which road do you think is better suited to make all the difference for us, and why? Which road do you think we will have to make excuses for somewhere in the future, when we tell our grandchildren about the one we traveled by?


This is the post my friend Lloyd, a small 'L' libertarian [see my update to this, from Lloyd, below] who identifies as a Whig (you'd have to ask him), shared on the continuing struggle between Republicans & Libertarians over those who self-identify as fans of "Liberty!",
"...Libertarian Party leadership is now urging Justin Amash to run for President and make a third party challenge to the sitting President, Trump. According to Roll Call, the Michigan Republican told h…"
To which he commented with a mixture of sense and something else:
"Republicans will NEVER shrink this government AND they CANNOT be reformed from within. (Trump was the party's last chance.)
It does NOT prove the LP is the answer. It DOES prove it's gonna take a different party than donkeys or elephants, or the nation is lost.
A word to the wise-- however few of us remain."
As long as I've known him, one of Lloyd's fondest ambitions has seemed to be to see our current two party system upended or ended - particularly in regards to the GOP - and with each passing year I see even less wisdom in the prospect of such 'News!' as that. Not, as my friend persistently presumes, because I somehow 'support' the GOP (I have not been a supporter since George 'Read my lips: No new taxes" Bush 41), but for at least two other reasons:
First, because I think that it is truly hopeless to look to political parties or politicians for meaningful solutions, which presume (and require) ideas and positions which the majority of the electorate are neither knowledgeable about, nor have they shown any signs of interest in, or of even being open to considering - politics is the natural end result of that process, where an idea has bubbled up from the grass roots into a political hot-button, but politics is not the starting point of that process, and behaving as if it is, is getting it all wrong.
Second, given our current situation where We The People as an electorate are facing an unprecedented threat to liberty under limited government, by a Democrat Party which is now largely and openly identifying as being 'Democratic Socialists', it seems self-evidently foolish to pursue a path that must mean dividing the ability of 'The Right' to provide political resistance to the opposing party's efforts to gain power over our lives.
No matter how enthusiastic the libertarians are, there is no evidence of massive popular support for some alternative set of political ideas that have people champing at the bit to rush into the voting booth in support of them. Instead of popular bottom up demands for a new party, these are the top down calls of the soph-infatuated who want to shove their political influence down into the power of popular opinion, and I'm sorry, but it just doesn't work that way.

And although the second of those reasons is the more urgent, the first is the more important. As bad as I fear the electoral repercussions of a 3rd or 4th party would be, I think the inevitable failure that would result from the success of such a political agenda, would be even worse. The citizenry have to, at the very least, be already inclined towards, and open to, the new ideas and solutions being peddled to them, before they can be led in supporting them - but to succeed at doing the reverse of that, would require the mass use of force animating mass action through emotional zeal, rather than sober resolve, and that must end in disaster. That's not just my oh so humble opinion, but that of History's as well, which you can get a fair grasp of by looking at two contrasting sets of such revolutions: England's 'Glorious Revolution' and the American Revolution, both of which were successfully carried forward upon the strength of the people's support for their ideas; as against the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution, which sloganeered a largely ignorant and riled up people, into embracing tyranny and genocide. This snippet from Alexander Solzhenitsyn's short address on the subject gives a hint at the issue, and the full address is well worth reading,
"...It is now better and better understood that the social improvements which we all so passionately desire can be achieved through normal evolutionary development--with immeasurably fewer losses and without all-encompassing decay. We must be able to improve, patiently, that which we have in any given "today."
It would be vain to hope that revolution can improve human nature, yet your revolution, and especially our Russian Revolution, hoped for this very effect. The French Revolution unfolded under the banner of a self-contradictory and unrealizable slogan, "liberty, equality, fraternity." But in the life of society, liberty, and equality are mutually exclusive, even hostile concepts. Liberty, by its very nature, undermines social equality, and equality suppresses liberty--for how else could it be attained? Fraternity, meanwhile, is of entirely different stock; in this instance it is merely a catchy addition to the slogan. True fraternity is achieved by means not social but spiritual. Furthermore, the ominous words "or death!" were added to the threefold slogan, effectively destroying its meaning...."
[bold in original]
Now, am I saying that if Libertarians succeeded in unseating the GOP, without the public wanting and understanding their positions, that they'd devolve into a bloody revolution? Well of course not! How ridiculous to suggest that freedom loving people could do such things. In fact, like Jefferson, I'd say the prospects of that were an outrageous suggestion, as obviously such a liberty oriented movement would never cost a single life! Of course... Thomas Jefferson said that very same thing... just a month before the riots began that kicked off the French Revolution's downward spiral, eventually devolving into tyrannical bloodshed and genocide (the Vendee is what Alexander Solzhenitsyn was referring to

Sunday, March 17, 2019

College Education: The road not chosen

Much is being said about the rich and famous buying their kids way into college. It is shocking. Sad. But what seems more shocking to me, is what these parents and students were clearly not seeking from the colleges they sought to buy their way into, and it is shocking how little that lack has figured into the discussions I've seen about the issue so far.
Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman college scam

Of course what all of these parents and students are seeking to gain from their entrance into these exclusive colleges - whether through honest or dishonest means - is, as Ben Shapiro describes, status, connections, and the favorable appearances that come from having attended such schools.
"...The question is why. Both these families are wealthy. The children of these families weren’t going to lack for opportunity in life. Furthermore, isn’t college designed to train people for the real world? Wouldn’t admission under false pretenses result in the kids flunking out? Wouldn’t their lack of merit be revealed by the simple pressure of the schooling?

The answer is obvious: no, it wouldn’t. Colleges aren’t about training kids for the real world, or teaching them significant modes of thinking, or examining timeless truths. Universities aren’t about skill sets, either – at least in the humanities. They’re about two things: credentialism and social connections...."
But I disagree, the question is not 'Why did they do this?', just as the question isn't what they were seeking to get from college, the real question is what these parents and students were not seeking from college, and what other's aren't seeking from our colleges, either. The less advantaged parents and students which so many people are concerned have been unfairly deprived of positions due to these scams, have the very same expectations - and lack of them - even as they complain bitterly about not being able to enjoy the same diploma/golden-ticket to 'success' which graduates of the exclusive colleges are most likely to enjoy.

What these parents, students, friends and faculty, were most definitely not seeking to gain from these exclusive colleges, can partly be seen in how they sought to gain admittance to them. For instance, by arranging for others to take their tests for them, or by posing for pictures that photo-shopping would make them appear to have mad sports skilz (which they would have to lie about for the rest of their college careers), they clearly were not seeking a deeper reverence for what is True; they obviously weren't interested in learning how to live their lives with character and integrity; they certainly weren't seeking after a clearer understanding of honesty and justice; and they most definitely were not seeking to shake the habit of judging a book by its cover.
The Picture of Dorian Grey

In fact, judging themselves and others on appearances alone is what they are most clearly all about, and any deeper regard these prospective students might somehow gain for integrity and morality, would in fact have been a serious threat to what they saw as being in their best interests - they could go to jail over taking such thoughts seriously. What they are most of all not seeking in their elite college 'education', is a deeper understanding of themselves; they do not seek to develop the habit of reflecting upon and questioning what they hold to be true (not doubting, mind you, but questioning, which is a very different thing), nor do they seek a vision of what sort of life is truly worth living, and the courage to attempt the living of it. One thing we can be pretty confident that these parents, students, friends and faculty do not seek from these exclusive colleges, is a Liberal education - they do not seek to be led out of the cave of shallow appearances, illusions and the pretenses of those in thrall to power - if anything they seek to move deeper into the comforting darkness of those caves. They think they already know what success is, and only seek more of the same.

And apparently there is nothing in the reputations of these oh so exclusive colleges, that in any way causes any of them to worry overly much about the possibility of their being exposed to any such dangerous ideas and beliefs as honesty, self awareness, or any of the other traditional crown jewels of Western Civilization.

Our most exclusive colleges have excelled for well over a century now, in teaching students either a complete lack of familiarity with the stories, history, thoughts and achievements of Western Civilization, or else they instill in them a carefully parsed narrative of trivialized factoids about them, carefully sterilized with doubt and cynicism, so as to ensure that the real value and meaning of their birthright will never make it past the false fronts of their formal education. They will receive lesson after lesson in an enduring lack of regard for honor and respect, instructional booby traps that will be continuously triggered throughout their lives, dislodging and shattering any virtues that experience might accidentally instill in them.

It's bad enough that the mass of students in our culture today have these absences fostered in them by what passes for education among us, but these students, our 'best and brightest' who succeed in getting their prized diplomas, risk having entire areas of their souls  barred from them by the cherubim of modernity, to their accidental entrance. When the purpose of Education ceases to be truth and wisdom, and becomes facts and power instead ("Knowledge is Power!" don't ya know), does the fact that the educated care more about increasing the power of those in power, than in educating their students, really surprise anyone? Think of the messages we repeat to ourselves today, which I summed up in an earlier post:
"Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, knowledge is power, so get an education to get the knowledge needed get a job and make lots of money, and never forget that Having lots of money is bad, and pay attention in school so you can earn more of it."
Who here really expects things to turn out differently than they do? Successful graduates are not seeking to live lives worth living, and so they will be driven by little more than the utility of appearances, because that is what our entire culture, let alone the elite schools, teach them is important. And when the inevitable storms come and wreck whatever social and material gains they've amassed, they will be rocked by those losses, as a miser is by the loss of his coin. They will know of no depths to which they can repair to and ride the storms out from. They will have no inner sanctums that will remain untouched by the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Instead, these ideal graduates, as with the parents who've taught them, when deprived of the persistent distractions that wealth and privilege afford them, will find themselves faced with nothing more than what they no longer possess. And should they somehow manage to take an honest look at themselves in the mirror, it will be like unveiling their inner Picture of Dorian Grey.

What worthlessness we seek after. What wealth we shun. And what multitudes of company we have in the world today, in Modernity's graduating class.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Conservatives Continue to Hammer Themselves in the Left's 'Long Game'

A friend of mine brought an article to my attention, with the catchy title of "Roberts And Kavanaugh’s Death Penalty Betrayal Again Shows Why Conservatives Never Win The Long Game On Judges". Attention getting, eh? With a title like that, of death, betrayal and long games, you might expect to learn something about the story behind the case, presumably starting with what it's all about. What we learn about it, is that the SCOTUS recently:
"...summarily reversed the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals' determination that Mr. Moore "did not have intellectual disability and consequently was eligible for the death penalty...."
, and that is all, repeat all, of the information mentioned about the actual case itself. Curious. If what's happening with a case in the Supreme Court is important enough to post on to the general public, shouldn't there at least be some mention of the nature of original case made, such as what crime was committed, which rights and laws were originally violated in it? Even just a quick aside, on the way to making another point, as the AP did here:
"...The justices ruled 5-3 on Wednesday in favor of inmate Vernon Madison, who killed a police officer in 1985. His lawyers say he has suffered strokes that have left him with severe dementia...."
I can't help but wonder what sort of view of The Law a person has, that when communicating the importance of a case to those who are unfamiliar with it, that they find the original crime and punishment of that case to be of little importance, even irrelevant to the story? The author of that post, Josh Hammer (the latest in a long line of 'Conservative!'s to sport the bow-tie look), surely knows far more about the particulars & processes of the law than I ever will, as  his blurb notes that he's clerked for a Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, and for the Senate Judiciary committee, and much more... including this:
"Josh graduated from Duke University, where he majored in Economics, and from the University of Chicago Law School"
Law School and Economics. Huh. That caught at my attention a bit... snagging on a fragment of a useless memory, where Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. once wrote in the Harvard Law Review, envisioning a future of lawyers as "...the man of the future is the man of statistics and master of economics..." - of course Holmes was not only not a conservative, he was one of the original Pro-Regressive anti-conservatives to sit on the Supreme Court. Huh. Well, be that as it may, you might still think that having graduated from two prestigious colleges would've helped Hammer to clarify the nature of the case he's posting about. Nope, that skill seems to have been left out of his education. From Josh, we learn nothing of what crimes were committed, nothing about who was wronged, what individual rights were violated, or what injustices were perpetrated, or otherwise claimed before the SCOTUS. What sort of 'intellectual disability' was it that Mr. Moore was claiming, and why? Nope. And nothing substantive about what the issues in question were and are, not even what the death penalty is for (murder? kidnapping?), or what the circumstances or extenuating circumstances, if any, were. That seems like a lot to find irrelevant.

Hammer does however have lots to say about the technical and political aspects of this case. Of the technicalities, he tells the reader of its movement through the courts: when it was originally tried, and retried; of fealty to stare decisis norms; that precedents were set, and precedents were ignored; a 'per curiam' opinion was given (not what that is, or what opinion was given in it, just that something was improperly handled); he tells us who dissented, concurred or reversed their opinions, or gave none at all; he notes that binding and non-binding stuff happened, and so on and so forth. On the political aspects of the case, he focuses upon viewing it through a particularly partisan lens to the point that he even expresses his disgust with Republicans failing to "...work to end sycophantic judge-worship...". Seriously? The Right is often accused of many things, but 'sycophantic judge-worship' isn't one I often hear - and what does it mean? He doesn't say. If you drill into and through a few layers of his links, you might begin to get some sense of what he means by that (using federal and state legislation to reduce the scope of judicial rulings, together with a POTUS taking an Andrew Jackson approach to the judiciaries rulings: "John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it"), but the casual reader of this post is given no clue about what he meant by any of that, other than, obviously, the 'badness' of Republican Nominated Judges failing us.

In short, he tells us loads and loads about the particulars and processes and operational technicalities of the law that were, or perhaps weren't, followed, but nothing at all about the original details of the case, the arguments for, or against it, or how those many technicalities led it to being raised at the Supreme Court, and serve the cause of Justice being done, and all of that lack of information is packaged here to hype an agenda which largely remains unclear. This post isn't a one-off for him; while there are exceptions, it's common for him to take this approach in his posts, and he is not the only conservative today to be taking it, and it's that wider norm, more than Hammer himself, that my comments are being directed towards here. Focusing on the technicalities of law might be appropriate for a journal for law nerds, but the fact that this was posted on the Daily Wire for the general public's consumption, means that those unexplained technicalities of law are going to be driven forward under the power of the post's partisan political sizzle alone, which I think tells us something about how a successful conservative lawyer views the law today, and how they think the public should view the law: keenly focused upon particulars, processes and points scored, rather than on the principles and purposes which those processes were (originally) supposed to serve.

That, IMHO, is a symptom of the very problem that Hammer is ranting about (and is exacerbating), and points towards just what sort of long game he's playing -  whether or not he's aware of whose game it is that he's playing in (I have my doubts), is another and deeper issue.

He hammers on through his lens:
"...what is not particularly enjoyable is to watch the legal conservative movement beclown itself time and time again by nominating — and placing institutional and political capital behind — judges who more often than not deeply disappoint conservatives."
How conservative of a legal perspective is it, to show little or no concern for communicating the substance of a case (again: Murder? Kidnapping? Causes? Pleas?) to an audience, or even what meaning the SCOTUS decision had for this and other similar cases, but instead concerns itself only with the technical processes and aspects of the SCOTUS decision that ran afoul of his partisan expectations of the judges involved? That approach seems far less concerned with making an argument from first principles, than with making a utilitarian case for a 'greater good' that tilts right. Is it now a conservative legal perspective to

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

This MLK Jr. Day: Does Toxic Sanctimony Signal that Virtue is beyond us?

This weekend leading up to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, was one where our societal norms skipped right by the old 'slippery slope', and made a dash for the downward escalator of moral decay, where the earlier shock value over 'punch a nazi!', was left behind by the new virtue signaling of 'punch a teen!', and much, much, worse. I wish I could say that this was 'Unbelievable!', but... I can't, because it's not. At all.

The media, perhaps still stinging over the failure of their Trumpophobic BuzzFeed article, and eager for a viral story to put that behind them, found what their next media frenzy in the spectacle of adults deliberately using schoolkids as pawns and fodder to drive a politically correct narrative - one which had no more veracity than their own desire for it to be true. One grievance after another was brought to bear upon a group of Catholic high school students who dared to be happy, Christian and (mostly, not all, but mostly apparently means all don't need to be considered) white, while taking in the sights of their nations capital, following their participation in the March for Life demonstration.

Apparently unable to accept the 'horror' of all of that imagery, a highly edited video (and the raw full length video is linked to below, which shows how contrived this was) twisted and misrepresented a narrative in pictures and video, with a garnish of outright lies, in order to present a NeverTrump'r fantasy of 'racist... dusty crackers' (aka: high school students), as if it was they who were abusing a lone idealistic American Indian & Vietnam veteran trying to get himself some peace and understanding. Sadly, the facts clearly show that it was the groups of despicable adult activists, who were taunting and intimidating school kids on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial, deliberately provoking them in an effort to trigger an outburst from them, which thankfully never came, so they instead edited the video to push a lie they never expected to be caught in, so as to fuel a social media firestorm of political correctness, to attack the teenagers that they couldn't themselves push out of line - consumed as they were, by a fine example of what Michelle Malkin has so ably described elsewhere this week, as Toxic Sanctimony.

It is very much a legitimate question to ask ourselves, if this is a signal that Virtue is beyond the grasp of our society today? Have we really fallen from the level of a people willing to bravely confront and overcome our failures and shortcomings, and to renew our effort to live up to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence, as Martin Luther King Jr. urged us to do from that same location a half century ago, to one that prefers the easy road of masking vice as Virtue? For a while that certainly seemed to be the case as the posturing 'adults', talking heads, and the famous for being famous of the left and right, who all eagerly shoved their way to the front of the too hurried to fact-check line, in order to denounce these kids with righteous sanctimony, without doing any due diligence of investigation or fact checking.

It's not a pleasant sight to see, but there are plenty of examples of it to see, such as this one from former CNN contributor:
"Reza Aslan @rezaaslan Honest question. Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s?"
, and a producer of family friendly flicks from Disney Studios, Jack Morrisey, who tweeted wistfully of MagaKids being tossed to their gory deaths in a wood chipper:

There's also the charming offer of a comedy writer for 'Saturday Night Live', offering a blowjob to whoever punched one of these teenagers in the face. There's much worse, but that sets the tone for the Left... but of course the eager condemnations weren't coming only from the Left, as many eager virtue signalers on the Right, stepped right up, such as the erstwhile Charlie Kirk and of course 'neo-con' neverTrump'rs joined in as well, such as Bill Kristol (who later deleted it):
"The contrast between the calm dignity and quiet strength of Mr. Phillips and the behavior of #MAGA brats who have absorbed the spirit of Trumpism–this spectacle is a lesson which all Americans can learn. https://t.co/EbXMa6Bbel — Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) January 19, 2019"
Unfortunately for Kristol, there was no 'calm dignity and quiet strength' being displayed for the frequent liar and activist Mr. Phillips to be proud of, only momentarily appealing lies to be peddled from a sympathetic face, dripping with toxic sanctimony, spreading a thick glaze of lies and spin, in order to be seen as being so seemly on social media. He and they seemed to be getting away with it, until... the facts began to trickle through, and soon after gushed out in unedited streaming videos, and the tide began to turn, led, fortunately, by a number of 'Oops' heads from the Right, and from the Left, who realized that they shoulda known better.

For those people who simply 'condemned' the students out of credulous ignorance, ok, maybe their apologies might be appropriate, but for those who doxed them (made the home, school and business addresses, etc public), and called for violence to be visited upon KIDS, for the horrendous crime of wearing a hat and making a face? These kids, their families, their lives, safety, employment, were and are still being subjected to serious threats of violence - their High School closed down, shut down their website until further notice - How is that in any way forgivable with only a 'Oh. Sorry.'? Hopefully that won't be the case for long.

Tragically, it turns out, the kids in this incident are among the few involved who behaved as adults and maintained their dignity, while the majority of the adults, both onsite and online, behaved little better than a pack of schoolyard bullies. This post in Reason has been updated at the end, to include the full statement of the teen who was confronted by the 'adult' Mr. Phillips, who for several minutes beat his drum with a mallet two inches from the face of a seventeen year old boy, and the boy, Eric Sandman's statement, is well worth reading, prompting the question that Dana Loesch asked in her Facebook post, that:
"...Lastly, why are kids being treated as responsible adults and the adults being excused as kids here? Ideology gives no adult an excuse to abandon their responsibility to lead by modeling good behavior for the next generation...."
Yet even as the facts emerged via unedited video, some dug in and amped up the spin to misrepresent the facts even further, and others sought to spread them as well, hoping perhaps for the cover of relativity to shield them with 'the truth can't be known, and must fall lost into a dark space in the middle of the Left and Right.'.

Yeh, sorry, no, I call B.S. on that.Even with that, there are those, such as Phillips, doubling down on his claims of being harassed and insulted even though the video shows differently. There are also

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Mitt Romney blows a sour note on his Trumpet

Some people, especially NeverTrumpr’s, are wondering why people haven't been especially welcoming to Mitt Romney’s ‘op-ed’ attacking Trump’s character flaws.

Personally, I'm more surprised about how those NeverTrump'rs who identify as being 'conservatives', and especially those veterans of the Tea Party, who see themselves as being level headed, reasonable, people, somehow find credibility and justification for the actions of a self described 'progressive conservative' who never met a political principle he wouldn't bend or break, a political machinist who often belittled and undermined the Tea Party movement, a voter defined 3+ time loser of the POTUS races, who has now decided to make his entrance into the legislative body as a Junior Senator from Utah (again, conveniently), by penning an attack piece in the hostile pages of the Washington Post, upon the successfully elected President of the United States and leader of his political party.

This is really someone you want to hear from?

His op-ed purports to be making an important statement, yet states only banal baselines and personal beliefs (often at odds with his own history) that amounts to little more than a slew of three year old warmed over obviousness (at best), providing no new or courageous insights, nor anything else that is new to anyone in the English speaking world (and beyond). On top of that, he's doing this in the midst of negotiations over a 'govt shutdown' concerning border policies that have been central to his party's politics (and his own recent senatorial campaign), which can only serve to undercut both the POTUS and the political aims of his entire party.

Who's interests, besides his own, did this op-ed serve? What is there in this that is admirable? Anyone? Bueller?

For those NeverTrump'rs who do somehow wonder at the response to Romney's op-ed, I wonder if they've considered the possibility that people’s displeasure with the very moral Mitt's musings, might have something to do with their own very clear memories of how his idea of showing 'character' in politics, in practice, has repeatedly meant his demonstrating a spineless RINO'ism and affinity for appealing to media favor by making politically correct statements and gestures, often in support of policies that the 'conservative' wing of his party has traditionally been in deep opposition to, rather than by demonstrating the character and effectiveness required for taking actual principled stands? SoOo... maybe they simply have less than zero interest in hearing yet another ration of Mitt's self-serving 'Cap'n Obvious' preachings to them, about anything whatsoever at all?

One former Tea Party NeverTrumpr friend of mine, deploying all of his famously persuasive skills, actually expressed his surprise over the op-ed's reception, in this manner,
"... It’s fascinating to see the trump apologists and cultists not address a single point Romney made, but rather go 110% ad hominem on him. It’s almost like they can’t bear to admit he’s right about their infantile and malicious Idol....."
That particular rhetorical flair, which NeverTrump'rs in general take great delight in applying to those who either support Trump, or who don't knock him enough, demonstrates a skill which I personally blame as being at least partly responsible for Trump winning the GOP nomination to begin with. When I noted some of the above as possible reasons for their dislike of Romney's opinion, my friend replied that Romney’s
"... a stand up family man with good character."
And ...? And so? Just in case anyone takes that as a relevant point, I'll point out that the character which one displays towards family and friends is of course very important, and laudable, but a political candidate is not running to be your family or friend, and if the character in question fails to effectively extend his positive character traits into the field which he is busily preaching to everyone else about... he really shouldn't be preaching about others  not having the full package of admirable character traits, when he himself is lacking more than a few (much more relevant) character traits himself.

My position on Romney is not a new one. Although I’ve had a general dislike for Trump since the 1980’s, I’ve been much more pointedly opposed to Romney's lack of political principles and political character since I first caught wind of his 'Massachussettes Miracle' and of course RomneyCare. I opposed him in the 2008 election, and in the primaries of 2012, when there were rumors that Romney was again working the establishment machine to become the GOP's nominee, I said:
"...Pardon my shocked look of surprise, but seriously, during a time when Mitt Romney can be considered a conservative... do you really expect actual conservative candidates and issues to come to the fore?

Sorry, but I don't, and I'm not shocked by how this campaign is shaping up...."
, he famously slung underhanded and 'unmannerly' political shenanigans in that, and every one of his other failed efforts to become President of the United States - what character is he now demonstrating in trying to present himself as some sort of conservative conscience? Too bad we can't call John McCain for a comment.

But for those who do want to have a point-by-point response to Romney's op-ed, I’m more than happy to oblige, I picked these points out on my first skim of his op-ed:
"...and the president’s thoughtless claim that America has long been a “sucker” in world affairs all defined his presidency down..."
This, from a man who's often and nearly always enthused about international treaties that limit and prescribe restrictive 'trade' rules upon America, while giving advantages and benefits to its 'allies', under the name of promoting the 'free market', is one of the reasons why Trump won.
"...To a great degree, a presidency shapes the public character of the nation...."
That has the rancid odor of pro-regressive conceit & the 'nudge' of political correctness about it of the typical Pro-Regressive republican who believes that govt can 'help you' by making better decisions for you - which is also one of the reasons why Trump won. Preferably, of course, an American President should be of solid and admirable character, as well as experienced in demonstrating a solid understanding of, and willingness to defend, the concepts and principles that America was founded upon. Lacking that though (and pretending you don't lack that, because you don't want to admit it, is not an acceptable option), a candidate's unapologetic lack of that stature while demonstrating effectiveness in some relevant practical matters, is a far more preferable option, than a posturing and ineffective candidate who's prone to sucking up to the corrosive political correctness (Hello RomneyCare (which was not just a foolish ‘seems fair’ remedy option, ala Trump, but a vile legislative effort that reflected Romney's concerted thought and effort to devise – IOW there is no excuse for his assault upon basic American concepts and principles of govt), his nearly every public comment, etc) that a RINO fraud such as Romney exudes from his every inauthentic pore.
"...In a 2016 Pew Research Center poll, 84 percent of people in Germany, Britain, France, Canada and Sweden believed the American president would “do the right thing in world affairs.” One year later, that number had fallen to 16 percent...."
Those who after 8 years of the Obama administration, held an 84% confidence in the U.S.'s willingness and intention to 'do the right thing', are not the ones that I'm going to look to for an assessment of the U.S.'s intentions and ability to 'do the right thing'. Neither am I going to put much stock in those who do look to them for an opinion on the same.
"...we must repair failings in our politics at home. That project begins, of course, with the highest office ..."
I'm sorry, but anyone who thinks that our current problems and failings can begin to be repaired from the top-down by starting with the office of the POTUS, rather than by starting from the bottom-up with the American people, is, on that account, a fool.
"......America is strongest when our arms are linked with other nations. We want a unified and strong Europe, not a disintegrating union..."
As long as those nations we are to be linked with are aligned with supporting and enhancing America's best interests, rather than serving as a means of continuing their decades long demonstrated intention of pulling us down and climbing up onto our backs. That Romney, and other establishment types of the Left and Right, think that the E.U. is more aligned with American interests and values, than are those of those supporting Britain's Brexit, is yet another reason why Trump won.
"...I do not intend to comment on every tweet or fault...."
Except, no doubt, when it's useful to him, as he’s demonstrated again and again since his failed interview to be hired into Trump’s administration.
"...But I will speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions..."
Or otherwise at odds with the media loving Politically Correct vision of being a 'statesmen-like' 'maverick!' - another reason why Trump won.
"...More importantly, noble instincts live in the hearts of Americans. The people of this great land will..."
The American people demonstrated in the 2012 election, that they would rather rebel over the expectations of those (such as Romney) who posture as being Pro-American, while in practice prefer groveling and kissing up to those ideals that are perniciously anti-American at their heart and core (again, RomneyCare demonstrated not only unprincipled political expediences, but directly reflected his pointed assessments and intentions), than be lectured to by them. Another reason why Trump won.

If we want a president that is better than Trump – and I do - we'd do well to stop making such opportunistic shows of giving regard and political respect, to those who've embodied the very failings that are at the root of the reasons for why Trump won. Maybe we should put more effort into promoting an understanding of those ideals, than with pumping up those who’ve repeatedly shown a lack of regard for and understanding of those ideals, just so they can try to deliver a public slap to Trump.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Of the 2nd Amendment, bumpstocks, and philosophic step-brothers.

Trump's bump-stock ban is, to the extent that I know the details of it (still minimal), IMHO, unacceptable. Bad news. Unsupportable. A dangerous wedge. However, it's hardly an indication of Trump's hostility to what the 2nd Amdt defends and preserves, it's just more of the typical poorly thought out attempts at being 'reasonable', which the Right is so painfully afflicted with (Bill O'Reilly is another example). But poor decisions such as this, dangerous though they are, aren't evidence of Trump being opposed to the 2nd Amendment, but only that he doesn't fully grasp what it's meaning and purpose is.

There is no credible, supportable, argument, IMHO, that the ATF's banning of the bump-stock accessory, can be compared with Hillary's praise of Australia's methods of gun confiscation, or of Obama, Feinstein, Swalwell and all of the rest of the Pro-Regressive Left & Right's persistent efforts at banning 'assault rifles', demonizing gun owners, attempting to deprive returned veterans or elderly of such rights via medical 'concerns', and other and various efforts to directly, or indirectly, limit our right to keep and bear arms (not just firearms), and to make that claim is little short of buffoonery. 
The outlandish claims and memes that I've seen this week, primarily coming from my Leftist and Libertarian friends, does much to hint at their common parentage and status as philosophic step-brothers.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Happy 227th Birthday to our Bill of Rights!

227 years ago today, December 15th, 1791, our states were united in ratifying the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America! Strange, that these same individual rights which we once understood to be so essential to living in liberty,  are what we seem to be the most divided over, and by, today.

With that last in mind, maybe we should all pay especially close attention to the preamble that I've put in bold for you... just in case your eyes are getting as bad as mine (IOW They didn't trust govt with the Founding Fathers themselves... are you really going to trust the bunch we've got today? Pay Attention!).

And although it wasn't planned, I'm very pleased that the first two amendments that were originally proposed, weren't ratified at the time (though one of them was ratified in the 1990's... do you know which one?), because those individual rights, including Freedom of Speech, should be protected in the 1st Amendment!



Proposed Amendments and Ratification
1789 Elliot 1:338--40

Congress of the United States;
Begun and held at the City of New York, on Wednesday, the 4th of March, 1789.

The conventions of a number of the states having, at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added; and as extending the ground of public confidence in the government will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution;--

Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both houses concurring, that the following articles be proposed to the legislatures of the several states, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all or any of which articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said legislatures, to be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution, namely,--


Articles in Addition to, and Amendment of, the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the Fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Art. I. [Not Ratified] After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than one hundred representatives, nor less than one representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of representatives shall amount to two hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred representatives, nor more than one representative for every fifty thousand.

Art. II. [Not ratified... for two centuries] No law varying the compensation for services of the senators and representatives shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.

Art. III. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Art. IV. A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Art. V. No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner prescribed by law.

Art. VI. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no warrants shall issue, but upon principal cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Art. VII. No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia when in actual service, in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject, for the same offence, to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled, in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

Art. VIII. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right of a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law; and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence.

Art. IX. In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reëxamined, in any court of the United States, than according to the rules in common law.

Art. X. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Art. XI. The enumeration, in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Art. XII. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states, respectively, or to the people.

FREDERICK AUGUSTUS MUHLENBERG,
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
JOHN ADAMS, Vice-President of the United States,

and President of the Senate. 
Attest. John Beckley
Clerk of the House of Representatives.
Samuel A. Otis, Secretary of the Senate.
Which, being transmitted to the several state legislatures, were decided upon by them, according to the following returns:--

By the State of New Hampshire.--Agreed to the whole of the said amendments, except the 2d article.
By the State of New York.--Agreed to the whole of the said amendments, except the 2d article.
By the State of Pennsylvania.--Agreed to the 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th articles of the said amendments.
By the State of Delaware.--Agreed to the whole of the said amendments, except the 1st article.
By the State of Maryland.--Agreed to the whole of the said twelve amendments.
By the State of South Carolina.--Agreed to the whole said twelve amendments.
By the State of North Carolina.--Agreed to the whole of the said twelve amendments.
By the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.--Agreed to the whole of the said twelve articles.
By the State of New Jersey.--Agreed to the whole of the said amendments, except the second article.
By the State of Virginia.--Agreed to the whole of the said twelve articles.
No returns were made by the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Georgia, and Kentucky.

The amendments thus proposed became a part of the Constitution, the first and second of them excepted, which were not ratified by a sufficient number of the state legislatures.


The Founders' Constitution
Volume 5, Bill of Rights, Document 12
http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/bill_of_rightss12.html
The University of Chicago Press
Elliot, Jonathan, ed. The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution as Recommended by the General Convention at Philadelphia in 1787. . . . 5 vols. 2d ed. 1888. Reprint. New York: Burt Franklin, n.d.