Thursday, October 9, 2014

Confessions of an (Almost) Hopeless Reactionary

During my morning workout I was thinking about what a reactionary I'd become. Why I still sometimes smile when I think about the success of the American Revolution. Can you imagine? Worse yet, I actually fly an American flag at my home.
No! I am past it. I have to come to admit that and be willing to change. Indeed, if I were starting over in family life I'd no longer call my son a "boy," or if I had a daughter, a "girl." Think how hurtful that is to the gender confused! Better by far to confuse my own children so those others don't feel ostracized. I realize that now.
The American flag would have to go. Seeing it must be far too troubling to a passing Mexican immigrant. He or she has enough troubles already having to hide the fact that he snuck into the country. I have been thoughtless. No more!
I'd never again speak of things like "bacon" or "pork chops." Such might offend the folks at the Mosque built up the street on land donated by the city.  I'd also buy some black burlap for Jan. (Although I'm not sure she'd agree to wear it. She may not have come to grips yet with the error of her ways.)
And most important of all I'd not teach my son or daughter to read properly. How unfair to the dyslexic kid who can't!
Nope. I'd do none of those things! And I'd most certainly vote Democrat to make sure no one else did either!
See! A behind the times reactionary can change! I feel so much better now that I need no longer think.

Slightly edited version published on American Thinker Blog
Oct. 10, 2014
"Confessions of an (Almost) Hopeless Reactionary"

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Coming of the Morlock

Earlier this morning I got a PM from a valued and respected friend living in Europe that included the comment "I see the flag flying from your wood pile and it disturbs me."  He equated my flying the US flag on my home with "nationalism" which, in his eyes, along with religion, is the source and cause of much of the world's sorrow.

After several back and forths I shared this thought: If things 'go south' with ISIS and their breed you and your more 'advanced thinking' European friends will likely be looking to 'backward-thinking' American southerners bearing the US flag to (once again) come and save you.

Why might this be?  The answer can be found in history, both ancient and modern, but also in works of thoughtful fiction.

H.G. Wells is known, today, mostly as a writer of "science fiction."  And indeed that he was. But underlying most of his works is the voice of a concerned student of history.  One who saw the ideas trending in the Europe of his day, and who, via his "fiction," tried to warn us of the future he saw coming our way.

In one of his most famous, interesting and thoughtful books, "The Time Machine," he spoke of a future where mankind had come to be split into two separate races. An effete group, living lives focused on daily pleasures, totally dependent on others for their food, shelter and the literal cloths on their back, and a barbaric offshoot of humanity -- violent and depraved, living off the flesh of others

The effete group -- called the Eloi -- lived in total acceptance of whatever came their way, hoping, simply, to be allowed their days of simple pleasure and taking as little note as possible of the quickly encroaching ugliness. And as they did, the Morlocks -- their barbaric 'cousins' -- daily expanded both the scope of their barbarity and the depth of their depravity -- that until it came to completely threaten the Eloi's seemingly paradisaic world.

In the end it was the Time Traveler -- the hero of the book -- who had to save the day. He did that (with what success Wells left unanswered) by attempting to reawaken within the Eloi any old-fashioned  manly virtues that might remain -- the (even in his day -- and far more so today) seemingly archaic values of Victorian England.

Wells book was amazingly prescient. But as even he realized, its message was possibly coming too late.

Today, if we are saved from the all too present "Morlock" -- they who comprise ISIS and their ilk, that salvation will come I think, not from England, nor from New England, but, from the old-school thinkers and doers that (Thank God!) still exist in such places as the American rural south.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Why What Obama is Doing is Bad, Bad, Bad

Progressives aren't pissed by what Obama is doing. That, itself, shows what is important to them as a group: Getting their programs in place no matter what the Constitution says and no matter what other citizens want and think.

But the damage being done to our Republic goes far beyond whether these "programs" are good or not. Programs, after all, can always be changed.  But destruction of the very foundation of our Republic-- its laws, its governing principles, its taking power from any one man or group of men and accepting as bedrock that it belongs to us all -- "We The People" -- cannot be so easily undone.

As James Madison wrote: “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

What Madison is saying is this: If you, or any person or group, favors what Obama is doing just because you/they think "it's good," or because you/they love to be able to say "hurray for our side!" --  than you/they don't love our Republic. No, nor do you love democracy. What you do love is tyranny.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Courts, Gnats and Camels

Today the country is all astir with arguments about the Supreme Court's decision on the 'Hobby Lobby' case. And, of course, the sky is again falling.

When I look at this the problem that I see has little to do with contraception, or even, for that matter, with abortion. The real issue is that very phrase "the Court decided."

Why should they need to? Why should we want them to? 

At Mount Sinai the sons of Israel were given 10 commandments. Leviticus upped it to thousands. Rabbis later added what became the Talmud and Mishnah as people looked to them to rule on finer and finer points of law. Worship over time became the study and debate of their rulings.

Then came Jesus saying "You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!" and went on to reduce the laws to two: Love God and your neighbor.

Then came the churchmen and it started all over again.

We have our Constitution. We have (or had) free will. Why debate what the robed ones say? I, for one, prefer discussing foundation principles, not their chosen gnats.

The more rules we make the more rules we'll need. And that'll leave us no closer to having a just, free, caring society. No, just a more litigious one with yet more gnats and more camels.

Gulp. Gulp.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Some Thoughts on the Obama Administration's "Temporary" Refugee Camps

So, the Obama Administration is now setting up "temporary" refugee camps on domestic military bases, these to house the thousands and thousands of youths crossing our southern border. They say this is "compassionate." Is it?
Something similar was done for Palestinians in 1948. Those "temporary" refugee camps are still there.
Here is how one visitor recently described what he saw...
"Entering the refugee camp, I feel I am entering some medieval ghetto. I walk along a narrow alleyway, skirting an open sewage ditch. I pass tens of dozens of one- and two-room houses, each leaning on the other for support. I am in a ghetto without streets, sidewalks, gardens, patios, trees, flowers, plazas, or shops—among an uprooted, stateless, scattered people ... in a tragic diaspora. I pass scores of small children, the third generation of Palestinians born in the ghetto."
How can this possibly end well? It will not. But Obama and his cronies can't face making a difficult (read: "manly") decision. Their "compassion" won't allow it.

How will it end? Most likely the way all such irresponsible actions end. Months, or, more likely, years from now, the American people will once again be called on to be "compassionate" and a political debate will start on how to deal with the unfortunate position of these innocent "dreamers."  Until then they will sit and rot -- forgotten by the media and ignored by a government who wants no reminders on where their lack of vision and unwise management has taken us.

If that is "compassion" -- if that is "caring" -- then those words have taken on an entirely new meaning.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Does Cliven Bundy 'Matter'?

Many Americans are watching the Cliven Bundy story unfold with sadness and consternation.

Is it just human nature, or Pavlovian training, that makes people confuse personalities with principle? "How can you back a man like Bundy who expresses such backward thinking?" they ask, no doubt at least for some, with great sincerity.

The fact that what Mr. Bundy is commonly understood to have said differs greatly from what he, when heard in full context, actually said, is a rather separate point, worthy, perhaps, of a blog piece of its own. -One using this case to demonstrate the everyday distortions readers, watchers and listener's experience due our highly partisan, and thoroughly manipulative, media.

But today's blog is about something different. It is about the even more fundamental concept that one's supporting Mr. Bundy's in his fight against the Bureau of Land Managment
 should not be dependant upon whether we "like" Bundy as a person or share his general world view. No, no more than fighting for someone's freedom of speech should be about "liking" the speaker or agreeing with what he or she has to say. 

To love liberty is to support every person's right to free speech and free thinking because such right is, and must remain, universal -- inalienable -- i.e., a right that cannot be taken away, denied, or transferred -- if liberty is to exist at all.

It is, and must remain, fundamental in a society based on liberty and human rights that those who have power be held to higher standards than even the general populous. Thus we expect the police to use force in only the most measured way -- unlike an assailant who might use it freely and totaly for his own ends. Too, we rightfully expect greater restraint from a judge speaking from the bench than we do from a person standing before that bench.

It increasingly seems to many onlookers, including this writer, that these fundamental principles are being forgotten and ignored by our society. People are being allowed to transgress freely, or not at all, depending on their likability, popularity and whether or not we agree with them on issues that may be important to us personally, but that are not germane to the subject at hand.

These are the qualities of clannish societies. Of so-called "banana republics," not of free, liberty-loving, people.

Shouting "hurray for our side!" is both fun and acceptable on the football field. But it has no place in the administration of public policy or justice. Support for Cliven Bundy remaining free, both as regards his livelihood and his standing before the law, unthreatened by those with power, is thus fundamental to the liberty of all.

In the end, misrepresented ot not, what Mr. Bundy personally thinks and feels about this or that has no relevance at all.

This blog posting has been adapted from one originally written for, and posted by,  American Thinker

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"The People against So and So"

What enabled civil societies in general, and American frontier societies in particular, to put aside the concept of “six-gun justice” and turn over responsibility for their protection to the police and the courts? The one word answer is trust.

Those later words represent a beautiful concept: That you and I -- our families and communities -- need not be concerned about the protection of our lives and property because we as a people look out for one-another. That you and I need not carry a firearm on our person, or even be trained in the use of such, because there is someone we trust to care for that for us. To protect our persons, our property and our rights.

In frontier towns of the old west this occurring was a marvelous thing. It freed up the farmer, the rancher, the store keeper, the teacher, the doctor, the homemaker -- everyone -- to concentrate on their own affairs. If anyone came into town with harmful intent an appointed Marshall was there to stop them. If there was a question of intent or a disagreement under law, then there was a trusted judge, and a body of citizens making up a jury, to hear the facts of the case and see to it that justice was done, that the innocent were protected, that the guilty were punished. And that being the case the "six gun" -- the "great equalizer" as it was called -- could be set aside and consigned to a drawer. Citizens going about their daily affairs simply would no longer feel the need to carry one. They were safe. Their interests were secured by others that they knew they could trust.

If one sees the existence of police and courts in this light -- not just as something that "is," and that for some unspecified reason deserves our obedience and respect -- then the reasons for the slow turning back towards “frontier justice” in America becomes understandable. 

As police become increasingly seen as the "other" -- as ones to be feared, as heavily armed agents for those whose interests are not necessarily our interests – we simply no longer feel safe.  And if the courts, too, are seen, not as being there to protect us -- if the charges brought in court do not in reality reflect "The People against So an So” -- then where is the "great equalizer,” the thing that protects our rights and property, the safety of our families, our interests?  Might we not, then, see the need to reclaim that six-shooter -- that "great equalizer" -- from the draw and again strap it, if not literally, than figuratively, on our hip?

That is exactly what we see happening in America today. And this root cause -- the realization (for that is what it is) that in many cases the police and courts are not there to protect us, but to protect the interests of others (indeed, often the interests of the government itself) that is leading people to again see the need to start ‘strapping on their six-shooters.’ They are doing this, individually and as groups, not for some nefarious reason, but simply to assure their own protection and the protection of all that they love.

Who, then, is responsible for this change? Those who make the police the armed "other." Those who make the courts the tool of special interests -- especially the interests of the government itself.

People like Mayor Bloomberg can pay others to create advertisements designed to make people afraid of guns. But in truth legitimate fear is what makes people want to carry a gun in the first place. 

You cannot carry a policeman, a lawyer or a judge in your pocket or strapped to your hip. But in effect the government can and does. Well-funded special interests can and do. You can, though, carry a pistol.

If we again want the farmer, the rancher, the store keeper, the teacher, the doctor, the homemaker -- everyone -- to be able go through their lives concentrating solely on their own affairs and without concern for their own safety, then the police and the courts have to once again truly be able to say, on their -- on our -- behalf, that their case is "the people against so and so,” not so and so against the people.

Sadly, we as a nation currently seem to be going in the very opposite direction.

This blog post was originally written for, and published by, American Thinker

Monday, January 20, 2014

On Running From Reality

It seems to be almost universally true that people who cannot comfortably deal with reality run from it, and often at a gallop. This is nothing new; mankind has been doing so likely since the beginning of time. And the methods used to do so now are really nothing new either. least not if we look below the surface.

Young children often have an aversion to reality. Their ways of running from it are often amusing: the pretend friend, the one that takes their side when things are difficult, and the pretend enemy, the one who takes the blame for their errors and misdeeds.

Parents traditionally have strived to help their children cope with reality through instruction, emotional support, and abundant love. But today it is increasingly common for parents instead to protect their children from reality as to teach them to effectively deal with it. And such parents typically have come to expect, and receive, support in these efforts from society's institutions -- especially the public schools.

Adult's methods of running from reality are less pretty, and less amusing, than those used by children. Some, indeed, are terribly self-destructive.

What is commonly today called "chemical dependency" is one such method. This is nothing new -- entire societies have been built around the bottle. Pubs and taverns have long been the places where working-class men, especially, have fled to avoid the realities of their lives. The so-called "upper classes,' while looking down on such common places, have done likewise -- just with finer sounding names, be they the "five-martini lunch," the after-office "happy hour" or evenings spend in finery at a "nightclub."

Today chemicals other than alcohol are often used to aid in the run from reality, be they the prescribed "mother's little helper" made famous in a sixties-era Rolling Stones song, or non-prescribed drugs such as cannabis and cocaine. What is new is Western society's coming to see this as "normal" and acceptable adult behavior.

There are other means of running from reality that can be equally destructive -- to the individual and society as a whole. One of these is the misuse of what should be a positive aid in dealing with reality -- religion. To look to God for support in facing up to and dealing with life's challenges lies at the heart of Christian and Jewish religious belief. But even those faiths, today, have, in the eyes of some believers, become mere excuses for not facing unpleasant realities. And other religions, by encouraging total acceptance and acquiescence to whatever is perceived as "God's will" ("Insha'Allah"), have kept entire peoples from finding productive ways of improving their situation in life.

Today's Western societies are increasingly secular. That may prevent them from looking to God for the strength they need to face realities -- be they personal or societal. But it does not, and has not, prevented them from falling into the "Insha'Allah" trap of total acceptance to the equivalent of "God's will" -- of complete acquiescence and abdication of personal responsibility when facing the realities of life. Their need to "run" has simply forced them to find new gods for themselves. These are often in found in the form of political leaders, celebrities, and the "I'm alright, you're alright" school of self-help teachers and writers.

Does any of this matter? Yes, a great deal. Said Patrick Henry "No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles." All of these things -- adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue -- require men and women -- an entire citizenry -- who are willing to face reality, to wrestle with it, to deal with it. Men and women who are willing and able to take responsibility for their own lives.

Progressivism encourages the very opposite of this. It makes -- indeed requires -- adults to remain or again become dependent children. To look to the State for even their most basic needs. To that end it invents for them imaginary friends -- political leaders who supposedly have their interests at heart. And even more so to invent for them imaginary enemies -- basically anyone who encourages personal responsibility -- be it on a personal level (such as parents who wish to teach their children at home), on a local community level (such as church groups that do not share and support any and all of the popularly accepted values, prejudices, and irresponsibilities) and especially on the State and Federal level (such as the accursed "Tea Party").

It is so-called "Progressives" who encourage us to distrust our own values and experiences -- especially those passed down to us by American and Judeo-Christian traditions. Instead they encourage us to look to "experts" to tell us how to act, how to think, and yes, even how to feel.

The many ways that this is threatening American society -- indeed the nation itself -- are almost uncountable. And the momentum towards such destruction is, if anything, increasing.

As personal responsibility fades more and more people start to look to the state instead of themselves for even their most basic needs. Thus anything that diminishes people's ability to face and effectively deal with realities on their own is being encouraged. And thus the push for the legalization of such things as pot -- for few things are as effective at making a person ineffective, irresponsible, and childish as regular cannabis use.

Too, we see the family structure -- once the great bulwark of protection for society's traditions, and the place where children were taught to face reality as free, independent, adults -- under attack. To support "marriage" as it has been customarily understood for all the Christian era is to be a "hater." For a boy to see himself as just that -- a boy -- and likewise for a girl -- even this is seen as a threat to those with a Progressive vision and agenda. Thus the emphasis on the so-called "transgendered." Thus the elimination of even Boys rooms just for boys and Girls rooms just for girls even on the grade school level. People who know and acknowledge who and what they are, are people who can face reality. They are thus seen as a threat to the Progressive vision -- to state dependency.

And thus not only the breakdown of traditional societal values, but the elevation of what was once called base, criminal, and sinful is seen as the new "good."

In Frank Capra's beloved 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life the central character, George Bailey, comes to see himself as someone crushed by reality. All through his life he has faced issues outside his control with strength and unselfish devotion to others. He finds himself -- as most every human will at one time or another -- discouraged and without the confidence to go on. If there was a devil in this film it would have been he who encouraged George Bailey to give up -- to throw himself into the river in despair. But instead an angel comes to his aid and reminds him how his willingness to face sometimes unpleasant realities, and to strive with all his great heart to overcome them for the sake of others, has given him a life of until then unappreciated goodness.

It tells us how much our nation has already been corrupted by the agenda of the Progressives when we look at the world George Bailey sees in the movie, first with, and then without, his existence. With it, by means of his personal efforts, responsibility, and sacrifice, there is a world of goodness and heart. Without those sacrifices -- a world without the George Bailey the town of Bedford Falls has come to know and love -- there is instead a "Pottersville." A town filled with hatefulness, selfishness, hopelessness, and vice.

Back in the 1940s America understood which the better vision for a town was, and what it took to create such a place: people willing to face difficult realities. People willing to and able to demonstrate personal responsibility. People willing to make sacrifices based on the Judeo-Christian value of unselfish love.
But today? What sort of "town" are the so-called "Progressives" striving for? Towns filled with healthy, happy, hard-working people living lives of faith and purpose? No -- what Progressives want -- what they are building in place after place -- are villages of vice. Places with casinos, porn parlors, pot shops, and needle exchange programs; towns where young girls laugh at chastity and men scorn such things as family responsibility.

Yes, the tendency to run from reality is real. The temptations to do so can be found everywhere. Entire societies have been built on the premise that escapes into the equivalent of youthful fantasies is better than the taking on of adult responsibility. But such is not what built America. And such childishness will not preserve what traditional Americans have come to value.

Only strength -- full adulthood -- will. It is for that we must strive.

On Running From Reality was originally written for and posted on American Thinker. It is used here with permission.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Two Times. Two Places. Two Worlds.

Going through my normal morning routine I have come to realize how much my vacation was a change of time as well as a change of place -- that Jan and I live a life that is in some ways closer to the 19th century than the 21st.

When we were away we enjoyed much of the best of the 21st. (And yes, we did enjoy it!) A world where (when?) what was once called "creature comforts" -- from such things as the keeping of perfect room temperature and humidity to inter-room communication -- are all controlled with one's finger tips or (as often) totally automated. A world were even the fireplaces are turned on by remote control producing, within seconds, the warmth of blazing logs sitting on a bed of glowing embers.

A world where automobiles run silently, without gasoline, and respond to voice commands.

A world where world-class world cuisine is minutes away. Shall we dine tonight in Mexico? France? India? Laos? - and then with a few touches of the smart phone reservations have been made. ("Want to see the menu and decide before we leave the house?")

On and on I could go, waxing lyrical, about this new, strange but wonderful world.

And then a jet plane whisked us back to... the 19th century. A place where getting the fire going requires not a touch on a remote, but the lugging in of wood and the careful nurturing of a little flame into the desired blaze.

A time and place where fresh espresso requires first the grinding of beans, then careful hand tamping so as to pull the perfect cup.

Where inter-room connectivity means walking to the foot of the stairs and calling out "Jan, are you up there?"

Where rooms are cool (some would, and have, said "cold") unless one chooses to warm them. Indeed where "creature comfort" comes from a sweater or a down-filled comforter.

Is one place or time "better?" No, I think not. Although one could certainly be more desirable to this person or that. And certainly the 21st century always-on-the-go life style is better achieved by staying in that century full time.

Me? I appreciate them both. But my life style matches my loves in the arts. Flemish and Dutch paintings. Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.

Fires that crackle seem to go with this. As does freshly-ground coffee, layered garments, labors that accompany even basic creature comforts.

And I'll argue this strongly as I enter this on my hand-held computing marvel, as the still perfectly fresh cooking from two weeks ago thaws then heats to a perfect temperature in the microwave and the electric-start snowblower awaits activity when the falling snow ceases to fall.

Fun stuff, this living in two worlds and two times.

Yes, life is good.