Thursday, December 31, 2015

Snapping snap judgments, lest auld acquaintance be forgot - The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress pt-6a

Give me three steps...
As the old year slips out and the New Year opens up, it's a particularly good time to ask questions that have to do with what is timeless... lest auld acquaintance with them should be forgot. And while it might not seem so, on the surface, these questions we've been asking most definitely involve issues that are timeless - see if you can see how. For instance: Where do you think you fit in, in today's world, are you Pro-Progress, or Pro-Regress? Are you for the Rule of Law, or the Rule of Rules? Are the 'Big Ideas' of Western Civilization something you think much about, or do you mostly shrug them off and just kinda make a snap judgment on various news stories that happen to flit into your view, now and then... and then forget about 'em? Or are you one of the many of us who don't see the point of considering such questions at all, especially not in the midst of the current events raging around us today - ''I'm not getting sucked into THAT mess!'? I hate to cast a pall upon the coming New Year, but I have a sad suspicion that what most people think doesn't matter, isn't going to matter much longer.

Can anyone really think that the precious snowflakes on our college campuses, or the SJW (Social Justice Warriors) brigades in our streets who are openly advocating to eliminate the Freedom of Speech, or 'unbiased' newscasters talking openly of how those they violently disagree with are 'enemies of the state', can anyone really think that these types are going to be tolerant towards those who say 'Oh, I don't pay attention to that stuff' for much longer? How much longer? And when that vocal 'majority' refuses to allow others the choice to either disagree or evade deciding, what do you suppose is going to be the reaction of those who do disagree with them, and what options will they have to do so?

Will the one side have any option left open to them, but to take the other side at their own words, as being their enemies?

No, the time is coming where all will have to decide, one way or the other, where they stand on these issues, because they are what is driving our current events, and your place within them, and brushing them off cannot remain an option much longer. Each person is going to have to choose what they support, and what they will reject. But for those who haven't been paying attention, those - Left, Right, Libertarian and the target rich Moderate center - who've been coasting along on the strength of their snap judgments on this and that - what are they going to base those decisions upon?

A snap judgment? Based upon popular memes? Or a headline? Written by who?

For those who haven't been paying attention, or have, but haven't given much thought to the ideas driving our current events, or even worse than that, those who have been paying attention but have simply assumed that they understood what was best because of what they've familiar with, or comfortable with, or someone dear to them had said was so and so they assumed it was so - however it is that you are coming at these questions, what I hope to do in this post is to prod you to make some of those snap judgments on one of three key positions that, from my own experience in studying and engaging in discussions, disagreements, debates and out and out freak outs with people, I've found to be solid indicators of where their inclinations and assumptions lie, and then I'll toss a little contrast into the mix to hopefully snap your snap judgments open to a perspective you'll find worth considering further.

Especially as the New Year we are entering into, is an election year that will set the course for so many years to come, whether you pursue Progress or Pro-Regress is no light or laughing matter, what you are deciding is whether you will lend moral and physical support to living under the Rule of Law, or to being Ruled by Rules - politically, yes, but intellectually, psychologically and spiritually as well - and your own Progress or Regress will follow as surely as one moment will tick you into the next.

Humming the right tune
Beginning at the beginning, what's your snap judgment on the idea of The West's Big Ideas being somehow important and involved in your everyday life? Far fetched? Pedantic? Outlandish? Duh?

Contrast that question with

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Thoughtful Images - Turning to the Rule of Law without turning away - The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress pt-5

Navigating the turns in the fog
How do you bring the clouds down to the ground, without bringing a thick fog along with it? Those higher principles and maxims of law that I sketched in the last post, they've helped define the nature and trajectory of Western thought on law, and the next post is going to have to touch on broader, higher ideals than those... but what do they have to do with our daily lives? How could they have anything to do with your daily struggles to pay the bills, raise the kids right, plan vacations and college, and so on... and on and on and on? Well... not all that much... other than having everything to do with every single bit of every one of those daily concerns.

But who could, would, or will, believe that? Do you?

I'll betcha that when you read "higher principles and maxims of law" a certain mental image came into your mind just at the thought of it. Hold that thought. Hold it, and be aware that many peoples thoughts are full of it. The image I mean. An image, some image, sometimes several images, rather than the thoughts themselves. That's where the fog comes rolling in.
I'd intended to finish this series of posts on the Rule of Law vs its Doppelganger in the Rule of Rules, before Thanksgiving, but I could see that in trying to distinguish between the things as they actually are, and how they are popularly made to appear to be, I couldn't get around taking note of another factor that I'd hoped to leave for later, and that's the mental images which we picture such ideas with, often keep us from actually considering such ideas at all.

For instance, when I say Philosopher, or Roman, Law, John Locke, Founding Fathers...Republic, Democracy, Socialism... there are images that come to mind for you. Such mental images are  normal, useful tools of thought, they serve as the icons or captions in our mental Wikipedia, linking to the judgments we've arrived at as a result of thinking things through, making it possible to mention such topics in conversation and proceed on to further thoughts without having to rehash all of the facts and arguments behind them every time a subject comes up; they guide and speed our thinking.

But if you're not careful about what types of mental images you associate with which ideas, or where those images came from, or even whether there is any of your own thinking behind them, the thinking they are useful for, might not be your own.
What's an image selling you?

Mental images are useful as links or even placeholders, but they are no substitute for information, let alone thinking, yet that is exactly what they are sometimes used in place of. Francis Bacon isn't one of my favorites, but despite differences with the details, I think he would have gotten the difficulty here, particularly with his 'Idols of the Cave', and even moreso with the frustratingly little there is that we can do about it, that is, there's nothing that "We" can do about it, only "I" can.

What you can do about it, begins with noticing the types of mental images you associate with topics - if they take the form of conclusions or ridicule, they tend to divert further thought, rather than encourage it. For instance, the mental image you associate with Socialism might be that of 'Fool!', or 'a threat to a life worth living', or on the other hand 'Ideal!' or 'Making society more fair!'. The first on either hand tends to hurry your thinking along, the second can as well, but they also leave an opening for further thought - 'What makes a life worth living, and how is that a threat?' or 'What is meant by fair, and how does it make society fair?' Either question is useful for further thinking whether you are in favor of or opposed to it, but 'Fool!' and 'Ideal!' guard against any such openings for further thought.

As Bacon said, there's not a lot you can do, but that little bit, drawing your attention to the problem, the failure to question, can help a lot.

Just don't get your hopes up.

For it turns out that when forming their mental images, many people do accept that a picture is worth a thousand words, not realizing that in doing so they accept all of those words meaning without ever really considering or understanding them, all of which helps us to convey much less than words can say, and then conversation and thought can make no further progress, as your go-to mental image steps in to do your thinking for you.

This is less a matter of Left and Right, than of being human.

The mental images you associate with Socialism, for instance,

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

President Obama finally stands up... to the Oval Office.

So President Obama gave a speech from the Oval Office, while standing at a podium, instead of sitting at his desk. Whatever image or sensitivity that was suppose to display... I don't much care. What I do care about is what he actually said, and so, I'm going to reply to it with about as much care as he seems to have given to writing it. IOW: Here comes yet another rant. Damn this is getting tiring.

The speech's transcription is here if you'd like to read along, but either way there are a few sentences, from the opening, and one from the close, that I'd like you to keep fixed in mind - these from the opening:
"So far, we have no evidence that the killers were directed by a terrorist organization overseas, or that they were part of a broader conspiracy here at home. But it is clear that the two of them had gone down the dark path of radicalization, embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam that calls for war against America and the West. They had stockpiled assault weapons, ammunition, and pipe bombs. So this was an act of terrorism, designed to kill innocent people."
, and this from the ending:
"...Finally, if Congress believes, as I do, that we are at war with ISIL..."
What President Obama is acknowledging, is that there is no evidence that these terrorists were directed by terrorist organizations, that they were motivated by islamist radicalization, that they are at war with America and the West, and that we are at war with ISIS. While I'm amazed that he got that much right, it is nearly the only thing he got right in his speech, and even so he fails to give it any meaning.

Let's go through it, and then you can let me know if you think I've missed something - just be prepared to explain why.

Moving on.
"As we’ve become better at preventing complex, multifaceted attacks like 9/11, terrorists turned to less complicated acts of violence like the mass shootings that are all too common in our society. It is this type of attack that we saw at Fort Hood in 2009; in Chattanooga earlier this year; and now in San Bernardino."[emphasis mine]
When did President Obama first realize this? Why was he so reluctant to state it openly? Why did it take an act of Congress for those wounded in the attacks at Fort Hood to be recognized as being the result of 'terrorists... less complicated attacks', rather than the lesser designation of 'workplace violence' fought for five years to label them as, depriving them of the status and benefits of war related actions?
"As Commander-in-Chief, I have no greater responsibility than the security of the American people."
Damn right. BTW, upholding our Laws is first on that list. But if President Obama does realize that that's the case, then please explain this:
"Well, here’s what I want you to know: The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it. We will destroy ISIL and any other organization that tries to harm us."
I refer you back to the quote above. In that President Obama said that San Bernardino wasn't the result of an organized attack, and that we are at war with ISIS. Is he unaware that ISIS's chief strategy, stated openly since their inception, and demonstrated again and again (Paris, etc.), is to incite and call for 'lone wolf' attacks? If not, he should resign. But if so, why is he now proposing a strategy designed entirely around organized attacks coming from established organizations? Has he never heard the folly of fighting the new war by the rules of the last war?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

We hold these truths to be self evident - The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress pt-4

"We hold these truths to be self evident..."
As with the question of 'Who will watch the watchers', one of the driving quests of Western Civilization has been how to have a government of laws and not of men, when it is men who must write the laws? We touched upon a couple of the fundamental maxims of Western Law in the preceding post, and one in particular, which puts us on the right path for that - so long as we follow it. They do so by bringing the concept of external limitations to the law, through reasons that are accessible and comprehensible to all men who have a respectful consideration for reality and to the reality of human nature, yet at the same time are not written by men. The maxim I'm referring to is "No one should be a judge in his own cause" - a truth of human nature which takes only imagining whether a bully should be asked to judge whether he was justified in punching your child, to be grasped - the obviousness of which an English jurist, in a case from the year 1620, noted:
case of Day v. Savadge,5 2, where Chief Justice Hobart declared that
"even an Act of Parliament, made against natural equity, as to make a man Judge in his own case, is void in it self;"
IOW, there are principles and concepts available to us from outside of the Law, which are eminently suitable for applying reasonable limits upon all of the laws that men may desire to write for the 'benefit' of other men. And should those in power ignore those limits and write their hearts desire into law in spite of them, and even succeed in having their entire society voting upon and passing them, even with all of that, such laws will in truth be no law at all, they are empty of substance, they are void.

It is open to any man who dares to look at the emperors nakedness with his own two eyes and honest mind, will readily see that that emperor is wearing no clothes at all, that his so-called laws are nothing of the sort, merely the Rule of Law's Doppelganger, the Rule of Rules, made by those seeking to rule over others, and which should be struck down at the very first opportunity to do so.

In other, other words, the Laws of men, are not exempt from complying with the laws of logic, or of math... or as Jefferson put it '...the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God...', and while such a thought might very well cause the modern Pro-Regressive leftist's head to explode, it was once a common understanding, an understanding that our nation (upon which every comfort and technological delight you possess resulted from) was founded through, and is an understanding that successfully kept the Doppelganger at bay for well over a century.

You can even see an example of this, much to my surprise, in the movie "Lincoln". There's a fine scene (though not without some tarnish, which we'll look at in a moment) where President Lincoln explains to a couple of aids, what he means by Principle, and he quickly demonstrates the great steps that are readily able to be taken by all honest men through their observations of nature, which, for those willing to see them, will lead a man from the geometric principles of Euclid, to Self Evident truths for all men:
“Abraham Lincoln: You're an engineer. You must know Euclid's axioms and common notions. I never had much of schooling but I read Euclid in an old book I borrowed. Little ever found in its way in here, but once learnt it stayed learnt.

Euclid's first common notion is this: Things which are equal to the same things are equal to each other. That's a rule of mathematical reasoning and its true because it works - has done and always will do. In his book Euclid says this is self evident. You see there it is even in that 2000 year old book of mechanical law it is the self evident truth that things which are equal to the same things are equal to each other."
The looming shadows
But even here, we have the modernist skew creeping in, and much as I enjoyed this scene when I first watched it, something about it dragged at my attention. The wording used seemed less like that of Lincoln, than of the modern screenwriter; philosophically it doesn't belong to the Realist school that Lincoln would have been familiar with. Few in Lincoln's day would say that something is true simply because it works, that is a far more modern notion, the darkly pragmatic approach which was still being formulated at that time, and I doubt it would have sat well with him. To be sure, we do confirm that things are true through verifying them, but philosophically, epistemologically, it is only because the reality IS true, that we are able to verify it - verification, logically, has to come after the thing being verified (that is Self-Evident, is it not?) - our experimentation , like the anthropologist's broom, only brushes the dirt from the bones - it doesn't create the skeleton, it only serves as a means to our discovering it. The self evident fact is that it works because it's True, and because it's true, we are able to observe and verify it.

While Hollywood added their spin to the scene, they didn't spin the substance of it from nothing, and minus the pragmatism, that was just the sort of comment that Lincoln often used to make a larger point. In fact, if you do some googling on Lincoln's speech in the movie

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Who Benefits from transforming Rules into Laws - The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress pt-3

Is having laws to rule by the same thing as having the Rule of Law?
So a couple key points noted in the preceding post, was that judging the laws by their outward appearances alone led to confusing the Rule of Law, with its Doppelganger, the Rule of Rules, as well as the importance of having laws that are universal in nature, laws that apply to all, rather than to only a favored, or frowned upon, few. That lack of universality, the adding of exceptions and loopholes to the laws, is partly what Ben Franklin had in mind when he declared himself to be a "mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power". Arbitrary, here, means:
"adjective - based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system."
When government acts arbitrarily, it takes on the assumption of power unrestrained by proper limits, which is the raw status of savagery at the societal baseline, where a ruler (one man or many) exerts power over others by their word alone, and may change form one moment to the next with the desires of that ruler. The chief distinction between whether that power flows directly from the mouth of a single leader, or through a process of extended discussion through councils and representatives to be written down for public display, is the placement of some deliberation and delay upon their execution, but neither puts real limitations upon the scope and reach of that power. Finding what can properly supply those limits, has been the holy grail of Western government since the establishment of the first democracy in Athens.

What can properly limit the powers over those who are living under them?

Other laws?

There are many who do believe that it is enough to have one law that limits the extent of another. Proponents of this, which include most of the law school faculty of the last one hundred plus years, might say (and many do),
"Having an interconnected set of agreed upon laws, publicly available, 'transparent', and written down is sufficient to qualify as Law, eliminates the 'arbitrary' and establishes a Rule of Law."
I disagree.

And so did those revolutionaries who, unimpressed with the fancy red coats and gold braid which that primitive ideal had been dressed up in by the British crown, banished it from our shores, in order to establish a revitalized body of laws in their place on these shores.

But was that all they did? Were the 13 new state's laws, and the later Federal Constitution, limited by nothing more than their own laws? Before asking what those limits might be and where they might come from, lets look a bit closer at what is, or isn't accomplished, when a law is agreed to and written down - and does that act alone make it proper 'Law'?

What is it that writing a law down accomplishes, does it somehow add depth and respectability to them? Certainly not in the act of

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Why a Govt of Laws, and not of men? - The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress pt-2

So we left off in the previous post with pointing out that two very different creatures, the Rule of Law, and its Doppelganger, the Rule of Rules, are being mistaken for, and appealed to as being, one and the same thing. Because most people do not distinguish between the two, the resulting confusion spills out well beyond the courtroom and into our daily lives - evidenced by the Mizzou journalism student asserting his rights as protected by the 1st Amendment, and his fellow journalism students and professors asserting their right to 'bring muscle' to silence and banish him - and all will seek to justify their positions through the 'Rule of Law!'.

We're in this situation, because too many of us look no further than surface appearances to support their own passionately held and self justifying beliefs, and if you go no deeper than appearances, then the two do seem to be nearly indistinguishable - both are written in law books, both may be presided over by judges, both embody what people feel to be right, and both will result in a response of force should you violate them - but the fact is that they are in truth as different as night is from day, and our mistaking them for each other is serving as the means for dividing We The People into We The Peoples.

So... how do you distinguish between the Rule of Law and its Doppelganger, the Rule of Rules? If opposing points are given as answers to the same question, then maybe the problem lies less in the answers being given, than with the questions being asked? What is it that even prompts the question which the 'Rule of Law!' is so often given as the answer to? And is it in fact the answer? What's the point of having a Rule of Law? And having chosen to seek such a thing, is 'a nation of laws' a sufficient answer to the question of "What type of nation are we?".

Is the sort of answer that students are typically expected to give in our classrooms - ticking off multiple choice questions, or completing a fill in the blank answer - are they enough to stir an interest in getting beneath the deadly shallows of appearances?

It requires a bit more than that, doesn't it?

Put it this way: We have people offering opposing answers to define the same term, because we accept appearances as being sufficient, and the more shallow the appearances are that we are willing to settle for - multiple choice, fill in the blank - the less likely it is that people will look past the surface, and the more likely it is that the answer we will wind up with will be the Doppelganger, instead of the reality we were seeking.

Our answers are much less of a problem than the questions that we customarily do, and do not, ask of ourselves. Maybe a better approach would be, before asking why the Rule of Law is desirable, we first noodle a bit on why Laws are thought to be desirable at all.

If your answers aren't the answer, ask different questions
It was John Adams who famously stated that we were a ' government of laws, and not of men' - do you accept that as a 'fill in the blank' answer and move on with no further thought, or have you, or do you want to, ask 'Why?' What was the point of that statement? How are the two different? What does it mean to understand that they ARE and SHOULD BE different? The answers are tied up with what we've been looking

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Don't stand with victims - Wage pitiless war against their murderers

 To those who've suggested that I change my profile picture to display the colors of France's flag, while I understand the sentiment, I must respectfully refuse, and for the same reasons that I refused, after the last terrorist attack in Paris, to 'Stand with Charlie!', or to 'Stand with Garland' after the attempted terrorist attack in Garland, TX. What I said in my post then, applies just as much today:
"...We do not need to stand with Charlie, or even with Pamella for that matter, instead we need to stand up for, and defend against any such attack, upon anybody, because all of the numerous particulars point to a vital principle which every aspect of Western Civilization depends upon being vigorously defended, and that is far more important than the particular wrongs that have been done in Garland TX, Paris, FR, or any where else in the world. What we should clearly see, now, especially after these latest events, is that it needs to be made very clear, that standing 'with' Charlie, is something that should not be done, instead we must all stand united against those who would silence any amongst us, and especially against those who would excuse their doing it!

Standing with those who were killed, rather than against those who killed them, is less than worthless, it is counter-productive. If you understand that a wrong was committed which must be addressed, and if you understand the nature of what that wrong was, then the civilized response, and the responsibility of a civil society, is first and foremost to eliminate the ability of the perpetrators to commit such barbaric acts towards your people, it means to take the words never again to heart.

The notion that there could be some reasonable 'cause' for the attacks, which the victims should have expected, is, technically speaking: Bullshit...."
At the Battle of Tours near Poitiers, France,Frankish leader 
Charles Martel, a Christian,defeats a large army of Spanish Moors, 
halting the Muslim advance into Western Europe.
And you better believe that the Salon scum are already blaming the victims for the latest attack in Paris, and blaming the West in general. The only sentiment I'll stand with is - and I'm absolutely amazed at my saying this - what the President of France said:
"We are going to lead a war which will be pitiless,"
That I can get behind, I think even Charles Martel would approve, but, if it's all the same to you, I'll do it while standing with our own flag of the Red, White and Blue.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Lawful scares of October... and beyond - The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress

The Lawful scares of October... and beyond....
“It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.” - Edmund Burke
From our vantage point here in mid November, I've got to ask, is the last night of the month really the scariest, spookiest part of October? I don't think so. Halloween's Trick or Treating is ghoulish fun for children but it's typically done and gone by midnight, or at least by the end of the next day (your mileage may vary as per the neighbor's decorations). What else is there, you ask? I realize that this might sound silly, at first, but stick around and you just might be surprised into realizing that while children get their gleeful scares from Halloween, the adults, those who are awake, are in for much spookier fare than they are, beginning at the other end of the month, when on the first Monday in October, the Supreme Court comes back into session. The frights raised up on this day are more tangible and linger on well after that day, last on through the month, and they will haunt those who're paying attention throughout most of the coming year as well.

And of course it's not as if these lawful scares are confined to the SCOTUS alone, no, no, no... that's just the glowing head of the horsemen, frightful spin-offs abound from the Federal courts and agencies, and on down to the State and local levels in often unexpected ways, our educational system for instance - all in the name of the 'Rule of Law' they're sprung on us without benefit of candy, delightful spooks or jack-o-lanterns - Tricks a plenty, but very few Treats.


What, not scared yet? Ok, sure, you might scoff, lawful SCOTUS stories are a very different sort of thing than children's ghost stories, and no one after all is ever going to go curl up in the gloom telling SCOTUS stories on All Hallows Eve... but... if they tried to... they just might be surprised at how easily it could be done; and we wouldn't have to dress up the language either, no need for:
"In the land of D.C. where the congress lies, Nine judges robed in black sit upon the highest court - One court to find them, One court to rule them all and in the darkness bind them, in the land of D.C., where the congress lies..."
, nah, that's not necessary, not when there are better, more realistic ways to build suspense and fear - through real fears of:
"...will the lawful ones permit this...? Will they outlaw that...? Will we still be allowed to do...?'
No need for Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King or R.L. Stine, the NEWS alone will make you want to turn the lights on while listening to its spine tingling tales of those who oppose the Rule of Law, and of those who defend it, and how, like changelings, they are oftentimes one and the same people.
No? Still not feeling it yet, ok...I get it, but...there's a more significant problem with the thought of turning SCOTUS stories into ghost stories, in that with children, if the story gets too scary, they can turn on the lights. But for the adults... turning on the lights isn't so easy or even all that pleasant to do, after all, while a gloomy SCOTUS story is scary, it isn't make believe.

Turning the lights back on will not only not make the scary things go away, it's likely to bring you face to face with a dilemma that has been standing before you all along, unseen or ignored: the twisted twin images of the body of the Rule of Law, and its Doppelganger, the Rule of Rules. Both possess the same appearances, both are written in law books, both are presided over by judges, both will result in a response of govt force should you violate them, but they are as different as night and day - and which one is actually which? Can you tell? Which one's the body of the good Law and which that of the ghoul of the West whose tale we'd sought to escape from?

I wonder how many would resist the urge as the lights come on, to turn them back off again?

You might wonder if I'm being too dramatic. If so, I wonder if you've been paying close enough attention to the reality around you. For instance, if you were to ask your fellow Americans to help you tell which one is which on any number of recent news stories

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

For Veterans Day - The Harder Right (revisited)

[For Veterans Day this year, I'm going with a re-post from four years ago, which isn't - for me or others - the typical Veterans Day post, but for me it really goes to the heart of the occasion. This post came back into mind a couple days ago when a 'Memories' app popped up some pictures from the 2011 Veterans Day parade in St. Louis that I took part in with Chris & Dana Loesch, "Patch" Po/ed Patriot and our kids [Patch just confirmed my sketchy pictureless memory, Stacy Washington was with us too). The memories were a nice tug - I mostly only see Patch online now, and the Loesch's have since moved to Dallas (catch "Dana" on the BlazeTV), but more than the sentimental value, was the point of this post, well illustrated in the movie clip, of the importance of choosing the Harder Right - not only in the sense of putting your life on the line for it, but the importance of choosing the harder right to a life worth living, and that is what I associate most with our Veterans.

Our Veterans volunteer their lives onto the line, and in pledging their lives to support and defend our Constitution, they serve to secure to us the ability to live a life worth living, should we also take the harder right, and choose to.

To our Veterans - Thank You.

And now, back to 2011:]

For Veterans Day, a clip that doesn't at first appear to have anything to do with Veterans or Veterans Day. It's the climactic scene of a movie that's really grown on me over the years, The Emperor's Club. In this, the point of not only an Education, but of a life well lived - or squandered - is conveyed in just a few moments.

The now aging Mr. Hundert, a Classics Professor, is found in the restroom after a debate competition, by his former student, Sedgewick Bell, who is now grown and launching a campaign for the Senate. Bell was a student he'd tried far more than he should have to help, and Hundert has realized that Sedgewick has yet again cheated in the "Mr. Julius Caesar" debate, which Mr. Hundert was moderating.

He lets his former student know that he knows he tried to cheat, again...
Mr. Hundert:"I'm a teacher Sedgwick, and I failed you. But I'll give you one last lecture, if I may. All of us, at some point, are forced to look at ourselves in the mirror, and see who we really are, and when that day comes for Sedgewick, you'll be confronted with a life lived without virtue, without principle - for that I pity you. End of lesson."

Sedgewick Bell:"What can I say Mr. Hundert? Who gives a shit. Honestly, who out there gives a shit about your principles and your virtues. I mean, look at you, what do you have to show for yourself? I live in the real world, where people do what they need to do to get what they want, and if that means lying, and cheating... then so be it.
So I am going to go out there, and I am going to win that election Mr. Hundert, and you will see me EVERYwhere! And I'll worry about my 'contribution' later.
(Sound of a toilet flushing, stall opens, Sedgewick's little boy comes out, stares at his dad in disgust)
Sedgewick Bell:"Robert? Robert...."
(Robert turns and leaves)
Sedgewick stares after him, stares down, glances at Mr. Hundert, and leaves.
What Mr. Hundert has, he has without need of power, position or wealth... what Cedric threw away, he can't replace through any amount of power, position or wealth.

The best things in life are free... but you've got to earn them, and sometimes fight for them; and some worthy few even choose to risk their lives for your chance to enjoy them.

Thank you to all those who chose the harder right, and especially the Veterans who agreed to risk their lives for it, if need be.

UPDATE - Pictures from the St. Louis Veterans Day Parade
Special thanks to Dana Loesh for inviting us to march with her crew in the parade, my daughter & I were honored to show our support.

Dana Loesh (in a strep throat burqa), Me, Patch Adams and Chris Loesch , ready to roll

... coming around the corner... (pic swiped from Patch Adams)
Parading past Soldiers Memorial
The best message of all!

Patch posted a video that should be an alarming shame in contrasts to all. For those who did turn out for the parade yesterday, thank you, your quality isn't questioned, but for the quantities of others who couldn't be bothered, shame on you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Ferguson goes to college: What did you expect? A rant

So, the University of Missouri 'Mizzou's President, and its Chancellor have resigned due to the demands of the outraged. What do you want me to say? What more needs to be said than what #BlackLivesMatter says? What is happening in Mizzou, is nothing less than the spirit of the Ferguson riots going to college and applying the same persuasion of force ('cause... why would you go to college to learn to form a persuasive argument, instead of using force?) towards deciding further social and political issues by demands issued with still more threats of force.

What did you expect? 

Were you, like Gov. Jay Nixon, surprised that pulling back the police resulted in the town of Ferguson being burned downIf so, then what can I possibly say to you today, that will make any more sense than what you were unable to make sense of, back then? The only thing I can think of to say, is:

What did you expect? 

And of course it's not just Mizzou,  but all around the nation - in Yale a sociology professor is surrounding by truly hysterical students because of his 'failure' to speak out against Halloween costumes! While I'm sure it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy... what did you expect?

At Mizzou we've got students making a public, PUBLIC mind you, protest, who are freaking out over being photographed during their public protest, and a assistant professor of mass mediaof mass media- calling for students to 'bring more muscle' to prevent their protest from being captured in the media - and another faculty member actually shoving a photographer! 

What did you expect?!

We've even got Conservatives saying excusing their behavior, with comments such as this one:
"On one hand, we as conservatives rail on about how the media is unfair and biased, but when the black students at Mizzou didn't want the "biased" media at the celebration of their victory all of a sudden we have sympathy for the media? Seriously?"
You'll never guess what college he went to.

What did you expect?

Some folks are all atwitter now because it seems that Leftist leaders no longer care about freedom of speech. Are you serious? The pro-regressive leftist never cared about 'Free Speech'. Actual concern for freedom of speech would require an acknowledgment and understanding and concern for Individual Rights as derived from the realities of human nature, laws designed to uphold them and all that entails. No pro-regressive leftist has ever, or will ever, acknowledge (except in the most vacuous bromides), understand, endorse or defend any of that. They never cared for freedom of speech, what they cared about was having an up-armored verbal sniper position from which to attack their opponents (those who acknowledged, understood and showed concern for Individual Rights) in the schools, media and govt administrations. Having now gotten significant numbers of 'Boots on the ground' in all of those institutions, they now, logically, want to ensure that those safe positions are not used against them, and there should be absolutely zero surprise that they'll viciously shoot down any who attempt to stand up, occupy or in any manner, turn those snipers nest (as they view them) against their own positions. 

What did you expect?

And large numbers of those same 'Conservatives', having only a passing interest or sympathy with principles in general (mostly consisting of little more than reciting the taglines of traditionalist's marketing materials) will inadvertently lend their assistance to them, even chuckling over the professors or media who are experiencing difficulties at the hands of their monstrous creations. Why? Because most of them swallowed some form of that same Mizzou mindlessness, through the K-12 schools, topped off with 4-6 years of daily drilling in those same college classrooms, and testing throughout on those same anti-conceptual, anti-principled, highly pragmatic, teachings.

What did you expect?

You're not saying anything. Tell you what, I'll tell you what to expect: When a person has positions he has simply accepted without thought, without reasoning, without knowing how or whether or not their ideas are rooted in reality (without which no real reasoning can take place), without ever even having attempted to connect their ideas to reality, students, who are taught, not to ask what is True, but instead to ask 'What's the right answer?', then have no means available for defending those positions they've accepted as 'the right answer', other than by making further assertions, evasions, expressions of outrage and ultimately the threat of violence or actual violence itself.  

What did you expect? What possible alternative could you expect them to have?

When a person does not understand how their ideas were developed or how those ideas and positions relate to what is real and true, then those positions they are given to choose (Hah!) from, will be evaluated not on the basis of their truth, but upon the feelings they evoke in them, and those will be highly influenced by what is popular with those they identify with - fellows, celebrities, 'leaders' - and once those positions are accepted by them, they will doggedly cling to those positions, without reasons (and certainly without considering opposing reasons),  without understanding and without anything resembling a reasonable attitude.

What did you expect?

Having been drilled for 12 - 18 years in accepting answers rather than learning to reason their way to them, they cannot help but exhibit their professors ideal of a Stimulus/Response creature, and having sunk to that level, then anything smacking of the higher human conceptions of Reason, Truth, Reality, are transformed into Trigger words... 'Free Speech' for instance... well and good for approved positions, but opposing ideas are strictly verboten.

What did you expect?

One last question, especially for you 'education reformers' out there who've never questioned the form of education that those who've created this horror have 'educated' us all with, once upon a time there did actually did used to be an alternative form of education (the last gasps of which can be seen here), one that was developed across two thousand years of intellectual effort, trial and error... and if you want to know why you've never heard of it, or if you have heard of it, why you've likely only heard it, 'Scholasticism', as being derided and discredited (ever asked what discredited it? Beyond the slanderous 'how many angels can fit upon a pin' insult/attack made up by those who sought to overthrow it, I mean?), you only need to understand that it was a form of learning (which our Founder's era was taught through, BTW) based upon requiring students to ask and answer questions about what they were being taught, requiring them to explain and understand and be able to defend, from the highest to the lowest, all of their knowledge. Calmly and reasonably.

Having discarded that, what did you expect would follow?

You only need to look to Mizzou for an answer, as that is the very, very, logical result of Ferguson. 

To start with.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Missouri HB 1490 Work Group wrap-up

I made a few comments at the final hearing for the HB1490 Curriculum Work Groups. There were enough cameras there that I'm surprised that no video has surfaced yet, but best as I can remember, this is what I'd said off the top of my head:

"Fortunately for you all I didn't come prepared to make a statement, so I really will be brief.

If a State Curriculum is actually needed, and seeing as we're all here it looks like it has been decided it is, then it's a matter of self governance. The standards should be developed by people from across the state who are representative of their communities, who have children and actual interests in the standards, rather than simply a financial stake in their use. It would be entirely inappropriate for a state's curriculum standards to be formed by external groups, whether Common Core or any other, and imposed upon our communities as answers received from external authorities.

But worst of all is the implied assumption that We The People of Missouri would be somehow unwilling or unable to develop quality curriculum standards ourselves. That is not only an insult to the people of this, or any state, but it presumes a level of technical difficulty and mystery to the subject that is inappropriate and untrue.

Our group, History 6-12, was formed from intelligent and capable parents, teachers, principals and professors from around the state, with widely varying views. Our group was one of the few successful groups where everyone of its members is in full support of the standards we created.

Our success might have been helped by the fact that we had no external standards or agenda to compete with, and no agency facilitators were participating in our meetings. But far more importantly, our Chair, Brian Schultz, did an excellent job in leading the group and in seeing to it that all issues were given a good and fair hearing. All of the members of our group were intent upon creating quality standards for our students education, and that enabled us to work together without our particular differences getting in the way. Everyone saw to it that all views were respectfully listened to, questioned, debated and voted upon. Over the course of the year, there were many good discussions and debates, some of which I lost, but none unfairly - which is how it should be - and Missouri's students will be the winners from it.

I'm proud of the standards we created and am proud to have my name attached to it.

And that I think that about covers it."

Monday, October 12, 2015

Happy Columbus Day!

Happy Columbus Day!
"In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue..."

If you don't know the rest, or refuse to repeat it, your ignorance is too deep for me to fix in so little time and space. I won't bother a protest, qualification, any hint of apology or take any other sort of a defensive stand on what is and should be recognized and celebrated on this day.

What we like to think of Captain Kirk doing, Christopher Columbus actually did, and he did it without electronic wizardry, without science officers or communication specialists or even replaceable extras in red shirts, but with only wooden boats, a compass and a number of guesses about how the extent of the world might be shaped.

He and some ninety crew, set out on an uncharted ocean with the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, and it was incredibly brave and bold, and resulted in Western Civilization expanding westward around the globe, and even entertaining the notion that we today need to defend or justify that, is not only stupidity on stilts, but a repudiation of all that is good.

If that isn't laudable and self-evident bad-assery to you, begone and darken my door no more.

In fourteen hundred ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

He had three ships and left from Spain; He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.

He sailed by night; he sailed by day; He used the stars to find his way.

A compass also helped him know How to find the way to go....

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Grateful for the 228th anniversary of the Constitution, and hopeful for many more

[From last year, and especially after last night]
This Constitution Day, marking the 227th 228th anniversary of the signing, September 17, 1787 - September 17, 2014 2015, I'll keep it short. I was given a 'challenge' to post for five days, three things that I was grateful for. Rather than follow in the example of the challenge, praising inexpressible wisdom and love for friends, family and furry animals, I chose to be grateful for what secures the ability of each of us to pursue our own conception of what we are, and hope to be, grateful for.

And there's no need to repeat it for five days - I'm grateful for it every day.

Here ya go:
 1) For this day in particular, September 17th, I'm grateful for the wisdom expressed in the words of our Constitution which define the making of laws and their limits, harnessing our best intentions and worst inclinations, towards securing the lives liberty, and ability of our people to pursue happiness.
 2) Grateful for the ability to reflect on what is valuable in life, and the liberty to make the decisions necessary to pursuing it.
 3) Grateful that those who disagree with my choices are still not, quite, able to force me to live in accordance with theirs. 
BTW WaPo, your ability to answer 13, or 1,300 trivia questions about the Constitution, is no indication of whether or not you understand it well enough to be grateful for it.

Try reading it, reading the arguments for, and against it, and considering what would happen if we should lose the last vestiges of it. Or if you're not quite up to that, one of the best tools I've ever found for considering and reflecting particular parts of the Constitution, is the site "The Founders Constitution". Scroll down on the contents page and you'll find it goes through the Constitution clause by clause, and each is supplied with a list of links to relevant portions of not only the Federalist Papers, but to documents which the Founders had in mind when writing the Constitution, what the Anti-Federalists objected to (this is particularly helpful in understanding the arguments For the Constitution which the Federalist Papers make), as well as early Supreme Court opinions and judgments relevant to that clause, and commentaries by early Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story (which are fantastic).

Constitution of the United States and the First Twelve Amendments 1787--1804

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Right To Work veto override!

We've been down this road before. Do you think that it's unfair to save workers from being forced to join, or pay dues, to an organization, that they don't want to belong to?

Here's the relevant text of Missouri's RTW bill that's seeking to override Gov. Nixon's veto:
5 2. No person shall be required as a condition or continuation of employment to:
6 (1) Become or refrain from becoming a member of a labor organization;
7 (2) Pay any dues, fees, assessments, or other similar charges however denominated
8 of any kind or amount to a labor organization; or
9 (3) In lieu of the payments listed under subdivision (2) of this subsection, pay to any
10 charity or other third party any amount equivalent to, or on a pro rata basis, any dues,
11 fees, assessments, or other charges required of members of a labor organization.
12 3. Any agreement, understanding, or practice, written or oral, implied or
13 expressed, between any labor organization and employer that violates the rights of
14 employees as guaranteed under this section is declared to be unlawful, null and void, and
15 of no legal effect.
Does that seem to you to be a violation of liberty, or a defense of it? 

Is there something in there that your understanding of Conservative ideas could oppose?

If that seems like something you think every Missouri worker should be able to count on, then let your State Representative and State Senator know - especially if your State Rep., like mine, is Kathie Conway.

Better yet, get yourself down to the capital in Jefferson City on Wednesday, and let them know personally. From AFP:


Below you will find important information regarding the upcoming "RIGHT TO WORK" rally in Jefferson City, including updated "ACTION ITEMS".

It is important to note that override of Gov. Nixon's veto of the Right to Work bill would...
  • give employees the freedom to choose whether they wish to join a union 
  • "right to work" states attract more businesses which results in more jobs 
  • more jobs and more businesses means a stronger economy for "right to work" states

Rally for Right to Work
Veto Override

Missouri Capitol
201 w. capitol Ave
Jefferson City, MO

September 16


Lieutenant Gov Peter Kinder
Former Speaker Tim Jones
State Rep Eric Burlison
Senator Bob Onder
Former Speaker Catherine Hanaway
(Other to be added) 

In the beautiful 3rd Floor Speakers House lounge  Located right next to the Speakers office (room 302) in the Missouri Capitol 
Sept 16-10:15 AM

Need Transportation?
Americans for Prosperity has offered to provide transportation to the
rally and override if needed.
Please, please forward and share!! 
We need to pack the Capitol and the House Lounge, Unions will be there in force!


Below you will find a message from the rally organizer, Mary Hill, that includes the names and contact information of the legislators that need to be convinced to vote "YES" for the override....

It's coming down to the wire....and some of these still support compulsion and I have heard every excuse and distortion in the book.  What Obama's National Labor Relations Board has cooked up for employers nationwide is bad enough and these reps and senators should take that that into is our GOLDEN opportunity in Missouri.   We need this law PERIOD!!  For JObs for freedom .
These are NO VOTERS on Right to Work.... Please email them. The unions are emailing them from all over the country.  And of course the unions/democrats will have paid protesters at the Capitol on the day of override that is why we have to be there in huge numbers.

This is an Historic legislature in this country has tried to override on Right to Work.  

These Reps and Senators need to vote YES for Right to Work. Workers need freedom, not forced union dues.   
Who of these is going to continue to stand with Jay Nixon?

Would you please email these reps/senators?  Thanks if you do.   
 Please "like" our Worker Freedom page it has all the latest happenings regarding Right to Work in Missouri!!
Right to Work for Missouri!!!


Below you will find the details for the Rally....including the schedule of guest speakers...please attend if at all possible as a show of support for the passage of Right to Work in the State of Missouri....

 "We need to pack the Capitol and the House Lounge, Unions will be there in force!"

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Americans for Prosperity/Missouri is providing bus transportation to the Rally from the these locations...
Kansas City
St. Louis

Go to this link to sign up: