“Expertise”: Ideology’s Contemporary Battering Ram

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As I recall now with an effort, my very first attempt at submitting a scholarly article involved an interpretation of a few words in Book 2 of Virgil’s Aeneid (line 749).  The hero is narrating his frantic return to the flaming ruins of Troy in search of his wife Creusa.  He uses the phrase, cingor fulgentibus armis, to describe… what, exactly?  A scholarly tradition has evolved which holds that the poet simply whiffed on this one.  Aeneas, so runs the wisdom, has already “girded myself with bright arms” several verses earlier.  My objections to the collective wisdom were multiple.  I argued that a) it’s too late in the narration for Aeneas to arm himself—he has left the rendezvous of refugees well behind, as the verse’s first half declares in the present-tense words, “I return to the city”; b) the style of the full verse (ipse urbem repeto et cingor fulgentibus armis) would be perfectly Virgilian if the latter half were reiterating the former (i.e., “I myself return to the city and am hemmed about by glistening arms”); c) Aeneas is indeed being figuratively “girded” by arms as he creeps among the pillaging Greeks—the scoffers are missing the drama; and d) the verb cingere is used both of girding oneself, as when buckling a belt, and of encircling a city with defensive walls.  There’s a bit of a connotative strain created, perhaps, by having a human figure girded with the contents of a city.  But we’re talking about poetry, right?  About a poetic genius, in fact… right?

Wrong.  We’re talking about “scholarly consensus”.  It’s more acceptable to condemn Rome’s Shakespeare of not describing his scenes with pettifogging precision or of not purging his scribbles of daringly figurative language than it is to call into question the collaborative nods of a hundred academic jackdaws on a clothes-line.  If the poet (as I was informed by the rejection letter) had employed the verb cingere in this novel fashion, it would be the only instance of its being used with such intent in the entire epic (what classicists call a hapax legomenon—a “once read”).  Actually, that’s not true.  “Gird or surround” remains the verb’s meaning, here as elsewhere.  The collective result is called a figure—as in poetry!

But since something done once is a suspicious oddity to the pettifogger (even if a glorious discovery to the poet), any unique instance is likely a mistake.  Therefore… therefore, nothing unique is ever plausibly said or written, and consigning the “apparently unique” to the much larger body of things already said and written is the “sensible” course.  Naturally, that bit of high-handedness makes the body things already said and written grow yet larger, and… and tendency becomes inflexible rule.  Creativity becomes impossible.

That was my professional introduction to “expert opinion”.

Now, it also happened that I came of age in a time when all conventional wisdom was being trashed as irrelevant or hopelessly corrupted by special interest; and there’s no question in my mind that literary studies proceeded to collapse during the Seventies and Eighties under the toxic influence of various slovenly, self-serving “reader response” approaches.  My own loyalties, then, were torn between my almost religious regard for artistic inspiration (a truly religious regard: read my Literary Decline and the Death of the Soul) and a profound disgust with the politicization of art to serve trendy crusades.  I say “between”, yet what I’ve just written doesn’t support those polarities.  The Old Guard was not my ally at the spiritual end of the tug-of-war.  The ”scholarly consensus” had rigidified our literary heritage to “gird in shining armor” its patented theories and its long, long baggage train of publications; the New Guard had dumped that heritage (along with the baggage parasitically attached to it) in the nearest bin and was now celebrating Simone de Beauvoir and Rigoberta Menchu as the superiors of Sappho and Marie de France—just to keep it female.  Different politics… same politicized motivation.  Careers, egos, authority: the Tower of Babel.

And so it is, alas, in the sciences—or so it has become.  I and the very few of my colleagues who somehow smuggled an appreciation for the spiritual into closely guarded ivory corridors would occasionally look with longing across the quadrant at Chemistry or Engineering and dream about what it must be like to work in an objective discipline.  Pipe-dreams… mere pipe-dreams.  For as scientific research became funded more and more by grant money, the assumptions of that research acquired more and more of a parti pris.  Why would a pharmaceutical company underwrite a study of a new cure for insomnia if a dozen harmful side-effects were to be unearthed and published?  Oh, but surely government grants wouldn’t import such sordid pressures into the lab… surely not!  No one in government has an agenda that requires a particular worldview to be validated!

I’m trying to tread warily and tastefully into a subject that bears an incalculable amount of significance for our future as a society: the reliability of “expert opinion” in the medical field.  In all of the sciences, as life grows ever more riddled with high-tech, strict integrity becomes more important; for we laymen must be able to rely on recognized experts as critical facts drift farther and farther from the reach of our intellectual competency.  How do we know, drawing purely from our own resources, whether a huge solar flare will toast the continental power grid or not?  How do we know whether GMO’s are safe, or whether a light coating of Roundup threatens the health of Third World nations more than an unimpeded swarm of locusts?  How do we know whether Extremely Low-Frequency Waves are still being directed into the stratosphere, whether their activity might cause the Earth’s magnetosphere to reverse its polarities, or whether the effects of such reversal might settle down harmlessly in an instant or end all terrestrial life over a period of months?

In the particular case of medicine, the stakes rise (or appear to).  Somehow, solar flares and locust swarms and the magnetosphere seem awfully distant to us.  They’re not distant at all, and maybe, indeed, they’re seeming less so every day.  The susceptibility of many average Americans to outright panic about the weather should prove that the paranoia stirred in us by our own cluelessness sits very near the surface, ready to erupt (like the supervolcano under Yellowstone that may or may not kill us all) at the slightest provocation.  Still, when you can’t even breathe the air with confidence… when you dare not even leave the house without a mask, and when you’re reluctant even to leave the house… then a face perching on a white coat and stethoscope becomes the Voice of God.  That’s understandable.

But it’s also understandable—only too much so—that those who want minute control over our behavior would enlist (or dragoon) the support of the medical community in their authoritarian project.  And, as with all other academic disciplines, the more government has become involved in medicine, the better it’s been able to enlist (or dragoon) support.  Grant money, yes; also board reviews and licensures, federal mandates, control over the means of payment, awards of access to resources funded by the “inexhaustible” flow of tax revenue… policy-makers can finesse intimate decisions reached between doctor and patient in dozens of ways.  You may remember the controversy Obamacare kindled about a medical exam’s resulting, perhaps, in the confiscation of the patient’s personal firearms.

Such concerns have diminished only to the degree that we’ve now surrendered the principles underlying them.  Peter Helmes published a piece at his Die Deutschen Konservativen site a few weeks ago about an interview between Gert Scobel and psychologist Thomas Metzinger.  Primarily, the exchange concerned the future use of hallucinogens like LSD to treat depression.  The “medical man” expressed eagerness and optimism about the potential of mind-altering drugs to promote a “universal consciousness” highly amenable to the Green Movement’s radical political objectives.  The scenario is more Orwellian than Orwell: a populace fed delusion-inducing substances to sway it toward the vision of a world that doesn’t exist and can’t exist.

Okay, yes: that’s Europe, this is America.  But our supreme medical expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, publicly foresees the day—without the least indication of personal alarm—when citizens will be required to have a battery of injections and to produce on demand documented proof of compliance.  On the bankrolling side of this “expertise”, Bill Gates proposes further that the “document” might take the form of a microchip injected (with or without the citizen’s knowledge) during the mandatory inoculation.  That an astroturf initiative to “debunk” Gates’s connection to such authoritarian fantasies is raging on Twitter and Facebook should not soothe inquiring minds.  (Diana West informed Frank Gaffney on Secure Freedom Radio [4/15/20] that explicitly incriminating comments had been scrubbed from a Gates TED Talk.)

I don’t like Anthony Fauci.  I don’t like Bill Gates, either.  I don’t like either one of them at all, at all.  I wouldn’t break bread with them; and, were hand-shaking still permitted by the Faucian hygienic protocol, I wouldn’t shake his hand or his one-time patron’s.  Not either hand of either one of them.  I intensely dislike them, as American citizens and as human beings.

Their level of expertise has nothing to do with my dislike.  It is the traitorous American and the corrupt human in them that I loathe.  Anyone who would seriously consider, even for a moment, tagging you and me the way Marlon Perkins used to tag zebra from a Jeep has renounced his membership in the family of decent, responsible adults.  No one gets to tag me.  No one gets to stamp your profile on (or in) your forehead.  People who have notions like this are monsters.  I don’t care how well they understand viruses—and Mr. Gates, for that matter, understands them no better than I do.  I personally am not a virus in a vial, or a white rat in a cage.  I’m a man.  I am your equal under God, Dr. Fauci; and if you were my age (I’d even give you ten years), I think I might bust you in the chops—after which I would carefully sterilize my knuckles.

Let us please clarify the nature of expertise.  The expert on Virgil is restrained by a humble veneration for poetic genius and artistic mystery: he isn’t a mandarin on a throne who gets to gird up a classic text tightly within verbal statistical analysis and historical minutiae.  The expert on human health respects the spiritual mystery of the human being: he isn’t a master technician for whom the behavior of viruses in a sack of guts is no different from their behavior in a Petri Dish.  To hear such a supposed expert descanting about how future societies should be organized is equivalent to hearing the New Age scholar interpret the Aeneid as a mere work of militaristic propaganda.  That is, a “literary scholar” who can do no better than say, “The people’s Will was held in check by these creaky old epics that exhorted them to die for the patriarchy”… that person is no better than a “medical expert” who says, “We could avoid pandemics in the future if people would just move in designated zones, eat designated foods, and touch each other in designated ways at designated times.”  Damn.

Yes, the scholar who knows the history of the Augustan age inside-out is certainly superior in some manner to the quasi-literate Ph.D. who rates every art work ever created by how well women and minorities make out in it.  The researcher who has actually logged decades of experience before a microscope is also superior to a Bill Gates who fantasizes about vaccinating all humanity with whatever he deems good for the race.  But a genuine expert is neither of these.  A genuine expert would say, “This is odd with respect to available linguistic data… but it’s also poetry”; or, “This risk could be reduced if people would do less of thus-and-so… but life is complex, and the choice among possible behaviors isn’t mine to make except for me personally.”

One could say that playing God is above the expert’s pay grade; but when New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy volunteered this flippant excuse for ignoring the Constitution, he was de facto putting himself in the position of God Almighty.  Part of being an expert is understanding the limitations of your expertise.  To claim authority over the destiny of humanity because you have a rare knowledge of human diseases is like labeling a hundred deaths a calamity without identifying the number of lives that survived the specific threat.  Knowledge without context is magnified ignorance.

To the “Healers” Among Us: I Know Ye Not

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My second full year of attempting to farm has begun.  One infant walnut tree has been permanently laid to rest, and the fate of a cherry tree hangs in doubt: both were savaged by deer last year whose watery eyes and flickering tails I soon ceased to find “cute”.  Plant assassins: guts on hooves with razoring teeth and very small brains at one end.  They gnawed right through the netting I had oh-so-confidently draped around my nurslings.  This year, wire fences reinforced with stakes will greet their nipping incisors.  A particularly small garden shark managed somehow to duck under one fence last week.  My wife spotted her just in time, and I scared her off (the deer, not my wife).  Then I ran a strand of barbed wire around the exposed lower region.  Shees… you raise the barrier to keep them from jumping over, and then one sneaks under through a space that you would have thought too skimpy for a slithering hound dog.  It never ends.  As Emilio Romero wrote of creeping communism half a century ago, la paz empieza nunca.

The peanut patch was another casualty from last summer.  I managed to reap perhaps a pound of nuts when all was said and done.  Grasshoppers were the prime suspect, but to this day I’m not sure of that diagnosis.  Just when the plants appeared to be taking off, their leaves would be gnawed away to the stalk the next morning.  This happened several times—and deer, much as I love to pin every crime on them, just didn’t check out as the culprits.  Now, at least, we’ve coaxed in families of bluebirds which—I hope—will feed hungrily on insects during the summer.  As long as the cardinals don’t chase them off… for, with mating season at full throttle, we’ve observed an emerging problem.  The bull redbirds are attacking everything else wearing feathers in their bid to attract females.  Toxic masculinity at its very worst.

Potatoes didn’t grow in the clay that the builders compacted around our house: trying to loosen that mass into productivity was wasted time.  On the other hand, the extensive raised garden I constructed offered the plushest possible bed for vegetables… but I foolishly magnified its walls with white Styrofoam; and this, once the summer sun started beating down in earnest, fried everything within its borders.

If you live, you learn.  Not everything was a disaster.  My pecan trees are doing well; and the two oldest almonds, despite having been ravaged themselves by the dear deer, came back so strong that I’ve planted several more.  Apple trees, pear trees, peaches, apricots, persimmons, pomegranates… the new cherry trees have already flowered… I have almost fifty plants in the ground.  We’ll see if they’re bearing in five years—always assuming that I’m here to see.

For you get no guarantees in life; and once you reach three score years, you’re guaranteed an exit of one sort or another in the not-too-distant future.  I’ll probably survive my little crisis with an enlarged prostate.  The medical/pharmaceutical industry has lavished enough catheters upon me that I could lay a tiny plastic tunnel to Saskatchewan; and anyway, I have at last found some homeopathic remedies that have put my trouble somewhat into remission.  Speaking of industries… homeopathy and ruthless exploitation of the vulnerable are of two houses, you should know. To be sure, the snake-oil salesmen quickly nose out your complaint thanks to shared information in our wired society. My mailbox—my literal, in-the-ground mailbox—has been steadily bombarded with news of “the breakthrough formula that really works”.  Entire booklets appear featuring a leering charlatan in white coat and stethoscope on one page and a couple making steamy love on the next.  I want to reach in, grab White Coat by the lapels, smack him a few times, and explain, “I’m not contemplating a career as a porn star, moron—I can’t pee!”

It’s all the exploitation around the edges that gets me down. I love my 25 acres.  Even, in a way, I love the damn deer.  They at least don’t represent themselves as anything other than what they are.  And maybe society’s varied collection of scalawags and profiteers… maybe there’s a kind of Darwinian defense to be made for them, too.  I spend a lot of time hacking away wild blackberry and polk sallet, nuisances unfit for the table that run off all the other vegetation; but such is nature, with ravenous parasites always ready to gnaw a pound of flesh from prosperity.  Our human analogues are no less busy.  My indignation concentrates upon those whose calling is supposed to be of a higher sort.  The Teacher says, “From those to whom much is given, much is expected.”  Precisely.  Where is the “high” in “higher” these days?

Yes, I’ve avoided doctors most of my life.  I did so partly because I don’t believe we should run to someone for relief from every little pain—and partly, too, because my father’s and grandfather’s lives were needlessly shortened in the hands of the medical establishment (and my father-in-law’s made much worse during its short remnant). My own problem would have been diagnosed and treated sooner if I had been less pig-headed, true enough. But then, what treatment have I actually received?  Of the three medications I’ve been prescribed, two made me instantly, severely ill.  The third (a muscle relaxant) I never had filled.  I chose meditative techniques in its place; and meditation, like homeopathy is rarely a permanent solution—but at least, like hydroxychloroquine, it does no harm.  (Wasn’t there someone named Hippocrates, once upon a time?)

Even my miraculous catheters, for which I’m most genuinely grateful, came with conflicting instructions when I received any instruction at all.  “Wash carefully after every use, and don’t reuse for more than a week… no, not that: Who told you that? Always throw away after one use!  Oh, and the type of catheter that’s eviscerating you?  Keep the blue line pointed upward.  No, there are no directions included… but someone was supposed to tell you.”

They send you off to try out poisons manufactured in China the way a Vegas hooker tells her drunken high-roller to put his stack on Seven. They load you with expensive but ill-explained gear and gizmos that your insurance (not to worry) will pay for. And then….

And then they push the appointment you’ve awaited for two months another two months down the road for your own good, because CV-19 targets senior citizens.  I’ve cleared and planted three acres of orchard with nothing I couldn’t hold in my two hands… and they’re telling me that the one physical complaint ever to slow me down has to stay with me like a ball and chain due to the possibility of a week’s sniffles and fever—a virus that they, the White Coat Fraternity, have decided to elevate to bubonic-plague gravity with virtually no objective data.

My brother, recently a stroke victim, now has to put his rehab in low gear; a friend’s pre-adolescent son suffering from strange fainting spells now has to wear some kind of monitor at home because “professionals” dare not give him a precious hospital bed.  Meanwhile, half of the medical profession—the really “expert” half—refuses to endorse hydroxychloroquine because other white coats haven’t spent enough years observing its possible side-effects (the kind of effects that don’t seem to concern them greatly, however, in the case of Flomax).  And meanwhile—or during the same while—their Peerless Leader stalls for time as his puppeteer Bill Gates rushes after an “antidote” we’ll all be required to take.

Notice that I haven’t mentioned a single politician.  Anyone who places trust in that tribe deserves to be scalped in his sleep.  But the medical community… et tu, Brute?

The evening news treats us regularly (I’ve seen two renditions of this script in the past week) to scenes of “COVID survivors” being wheelchaired to the hospital exit through a gauntlet of applauding doctors and nurses, all dutifully masked; and I ask myself, “Why are they clapping as they stand elbow to elbow?  Why are they sending micro-deposits from their hands into the eyes and hair, quite possibly, of their neighbors?  How can people with any medical training whatever engage in such needlessly, stupidly risky behavior?  Or do they know that the whole thing’s a hoax?  Is it all being staged, and the masks are just costumes?  Then again, are they genuine but massively incompetent?  What third alternative could there be?”

Those questions… I have a lot of them.  Far too many—and I can’t answer a single one.  I don’t claim the right to medical attention.  Our ancestors didn’t enjoy such a right.  On the contrary, death in the body is our common inheritance, our common destiny; and though, as I say, I shall probably not die of an enlarged prostate’s complications, the experience strikes me as a dress rehearsal for the big show (one where there will be no TV cameras).  A stroke, maybe, as I’m grubbing out another post hole and cussing at deer… maybe it will knock me clean dead, and not simply nudge me as it did my brother.  I hope so.  I’d like a quick exit.  Me with my boots on, and confused cardinals cocking their heads.

I’m okay with that.  Just please don’t tell me that you’re helping me—that when you prescribe noxious garbage, when you issue contradictory directions, when you bill the insurance company at every turn, when you schedule extra tests and then move them all back a few months… don’t tell me you’re doing all this for my own good!  You’re not.  I don’t believe you.  I don’t trust you.  I’ll show up for my appointments, whenever they finally fall and if I happen to remain among the living… but it won’t be because I’ve trusted you.  It’ll be because I have no other card to draw—because I have only one roll of the dice left.

That’s exactly the feeling I get nowadays at election time. Could it be, Dr. Fauci—Mr. Gates—because the line even between politics and medicine has dissolved?

I love my 25 acres.  I wish I could be buried here, but they don’t allow that… and I don’t suppose I’ll really care, at any rate.  I’m ready to step through the door.  I only wish I could do so in peace, without the toxic miasma of half-truths and undisclosed interests and noisome mock-altruism that hangs heavily over every aspect of our public life these days.  All you “professionals” and “experts” out there… why don’t you just peddle your porn, and stop with the line about how good it is for us?

The Comforts of Midnight: Peace in a Dying Republic

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In New Jersey, police go door to door searching for New Yorkers who may have fled their state’s quarantine.  In Vermont, grocery chains are forbidden to sell gardening items.  In Walmart’s across the nation, customers are being held to a trickle at points of entry.

In Fort Worth, a judge suspends private property rights.  In Laredo, citizens are fined up to $1,000 for not wearing masks.  His Excellency Dr. Fauci proclaims on national media that everybody everywhere should be required to wear a surgical mask.

In Florida, a minister is arrested for holding worship service; in the Greensboro area, four ministers are cuffed for violating a stay-at-home order as they peacefully protest outside an open-for-business abortion clinic.  In New York City, the mayor exhorts citizens to report any active worship service to law enforcement (though New Yorkers continue to patronize their less-than-sanitary—but fully operative—subway system).

Stories of employees being stopped and questioned by cops as they drive to their “essential” jobs are everywhere.  Meanwhile, criminals are quickly processed back into “healthy” communities from the “unwholesome” quarantine of their jail cells without a second look from authorities—while gun stores are shut down because their service, though now more imperative than ever, is deemed “non-essential” by many a local tinpot dictator.

I really need some sort of meditative excursion if I am to hold myself together.  Perhaps this column’s exercise Is my version of the saccharine “My Favorite Things” ditty from The Sound of Music.  Ugh, how I hated those musicals whose records my sister would play daily back in the days of… of the Vietnam War on TV, and of us young teenagers wondering if we would live to see twenty.  But there you go: CoronaVirus isn’t the first television-borne panic in our history.  Furthermore, the Vietnam terror (unlike this one) was all too real for thirteen-year-olds around the nation.  Body bags were traveling at much more than flu-season rate, and they were filled with the remains of many who were scarcely old enough to shave.

Hence one “favorite thing” that a father might remember in these days of a collapsing republic is that his boys, at least, are relatively safe.  My son hasn’t grown up with the draft and slaughter in a faraway rice paddy looming over his horizon.  Thank God for that.

There’s no doubt that the United States of America is rotting, rotting even as it clings to life.  The President is readying the way for yet a fourth “relief” bill (as opposed to letting us get back to our lives, and to the inevitable deaths associated with normal living).  As a republic, we’re now moribund for sure—worse than if CV-19 were in fact bubonic plague.  Our economy is DOA.  Even without the legal alien work force that Mr. Trump wants to multiply (as citizen unemployment skyrockets)—a diaspora that sends billions of American dollars “home” every year—we have no chance of ever paying off our debt.

Our constitutional freedoms are all lying in the morgue.  This very column may be banned from the Internet as “uncooperative”: news about the round-the-clock labors of Wuhan’s crematoria has certainly been nixed.  We dare not even mention that COVID-19 began in China, let alone that the bats in which it incubated were not, in fact, sold in Wuhan’s “wet markets”.  Our media simply parrot the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda like feather-brained pets, while also churning out hysteria-on-steroids “exclusives” and streaming contextless figures across the screen.  This past week, for instance, a local broadcast offered a nurse’s self-interview before her iPhone, the gist of which was that she preferred staying home with her kids to risking the most lethal infection she’d ever seen in her young career.  Terrifying, indeed… and also fully within the bounds of subjectified, disoriented panic-baiting.  A free republic without objective sources of information cannot stand.

Yes, but… but moonlight sometimes filters through the clouds even at midnight.  At least on our present course, the Chinese won’t be releasing a truly deadly virus on us—maybe another of the 1,500 species of CoronaVirus reported (or not reported) to exist within their treaty-violating biochemical labs: one whose mortality rate is 90 percent rather than something like .067 (assuming with the ever-speculative Dr. Fauci that more than 200 thousand of us die by September).  Given our present panic, the Chinese have seen all they needed to see.  Xi Jinping won’t be allowing Little Rocket Man to microwave our power grid with an EMP.  Our future is assured as a Chinese colony—a consumer of Chinese goods and supplier of sensitive technology to China’s colonization of the solar system and beyond.  (As of this moment, our spendthrift Congress as done nothing to wrest the manufacture of penicillin and other vital drugs from the PRC.)  Just as we’ve surrendered all our constitutional rights to be safe from a death that almost certainly won’t come from CV-19 (and certainly will come from some direction, one day or another), so the same spirit of surrender ensures that the Xi’s China won’t waste any nukes on us.  Thanks for that, Lady Moon.

Or why should we have to fear a showdown with Russia now, whose state-of-the-art nuclear arsenal could strategically vaporize our nerve centers while we’re still trying to launch missiles that haven’t been tested in forty years?  The Russians, like the Chinese, have to be entirely cool with what they’re witnessing on our panicked shores.  Solzhenitsyn’s generation was stacked into boxcars like sardines, shipped to Siberia with only compressed bodies for heat, debarked in snow drifts, and marched barefoot to tent cities where they were served a piece of frozen fish once a day.  These Americans… you tell them they could die of a cold, and they dismantle their free society before your eyes.  Why launch a war against them?  What’s to fight?

We have no real enemies any longer.  We have bundled ourselves into a gift package and stuck a bow on it: our enemies may simply wait for delivery.  Peace, brother.

I am actually thankful for Putin, in a way, because I know that he sees Russia’s future as it appears in Xi’s tea leaves.  I know he must understand that the Chinese dragon is slavering to devour Manchuria… and then on from there.  Putin will need all the allies he can get.  Obviously, the West Coast of our mighty nation is poised to become Xi’s whore, the latest addition to his harem.  The drug cartels that have already taken over Mexico are conduits for Chinese poisons throughout the Southwest.  I can well imagine them doing double duty as a sort of freelancing beachhead against emasculated border-security forces.  Haven’t they already won D-Day?  Didn’t Mr. Obama, in unguarded moments, speak longingly and lovingly of an armed national police force—and did his “Justice Department” not arm MS-13 and the Zetas?  All that remains is for the Chinese paymasters of today’s anarchic “resistance” to rumble in and mop up, at least among the Pacific states.

But the South?  But Middle America?  As we fragment into virtually impotent pieces, perhaps some of us will be wooed by Vlad.  I feel sure of it: he’s already making nice to Israel—and we Southerners trust Israel more than we do Washington.   I’m confident that we would choose Russian bestialization over Chinese insectification.  I devoutly hope we would.  I’d rather deal with Denisovan Man than with the Fire Ants.  Putin at least makes favorable noises in the direction of Christianity (unlike, say, the mayors of New York and academic ant colonies like Athens, Georgia).  Aleksandr Dugin has advised him that human beings are incapable of ruling themselves… and, well, what did the history of the late, great United States do to disprove that theory?

Yet if Christianity is true—and I would sooner die in the illusion that it is so than live in the “reality” that it is not—then all of them, Xi and Putin and the Kim clan… the Trumps and the Obamas, the Pelosis and the Clintons and the McConnells and even His Excellency Dr. Fauci… all of them must come to naught in their worldly empire-building, their progressive vision of a wholly safe, wholly organized, wholly gilded future.  I made a video a few months back wherein I said that if a home invader hauled me out onto the lawn at midnight, had his lieutenant keep a gun to my head as he ransacked my house, and then gave the order to hit my off-switch as he packed up, my last sight of this world as I bled out might be the stars of Orion and his Dog.  Betelgeuse, Altair, Deneb… Sirius… they would be beautiful, as beautiful as ever they were on those evenings of my teenage years when I’d crouch behind a telescope and dream of the life before me (a life without Vietnam).  And now true life would yawn majestically before me, and the constellations would frame its gate.  Not only that… but from my new life, my real and eternal life, I would cast a quick glance back at the punk who’d just executed me and his master—and I would see the pitiable agony of their souls shriveling away to nothing, to trash blowing in the wind, as time opened out into its eternal present.

Thanks for that, Lord of All.

Somewhere between here and there, Xi Jinping may get a tiny taste of his just comeuppance while his paltry flesh yet draws this world’s foul, disease-laden air.  His own people, tired of being reduced to ants, may rise up and smother him in their machine-gunned bodies.  For the corpses of Solzhenitsyn’s comrades in torment, Putin has expressed compassion once or twice; but he and his confessor Dugin may find that such expressions are inadequate—that the corpses won’t stay buried.  The puppet-masters pulling the strings of Middle Earth’s Faucis and Comeys and Brennans and Barrs… the Soroses, the Gateses, the Davos crowd, the Club of Rome (and yes, they’re all plural, all legion and ever-renewing in Earth time)… will find no real peace: certainly not in the next world, but not really even in this one.  Indeed, all of them will turn forever on the racks where they have cleverly bound themselves: turn in torture for a time here and now, and then forever more on that “throne of God” which they fashioned for themselves.

In the meantime… in “mean time”, middle time… there’s no point in deploring my fellow citizens’ cowardice, incuriosity, subjection, and infantilism.  We are merely what we are, if we refuse to become what we might have been in our Creator.  One fights awhile among comrades who don’t care against a foe who won’t come into the open… and then one lies down, bleeds out, and takes the gate through Orion.

Thanks for that.  Midnight is beautiful.

Lies, Hysteria, and Utter Confusion: A Dying Society’s Danse Macabre

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My mind is scarcely any less cluttered and confused than anyone else’s at present.  Pardon me, then, if I open with several desultory observations.

Item: The “People’s Republic” of China purchased plant and equipment in northern Italy and then proceeded to transport 100,000 workers to the region from… Wuhan!  My single source for this stunning and acutely relevant (ergo deliberately suppressed) information was Daniel Horowitz’s Conservative Review podcast of March 13.  The modus operandi implied in the report, by the way, is indeed distinctly Red Chinese.  The PRC mafia has used it throughout Africa: bribing corrupt officials with lavish “public works” projects in return for the rape of Africa’s natural resources—then constructing said projects with imported Chinese who move on when the job is done (done as cheaply as possible: a new soccer stadium will fall apart in ten years) and leave the locals without any knowledge of how to make repairs or operate technology.  Read Howard French’s China’s Second Continent.

It’s anyone’s guess as to how many contagions such imperialist rapine has spread to Africa or transported from Africa to other parts of the world.  Of course, these exploitative tactics have also brought thousands and thousands of temporary Chinese laborers and “advisors” to China’s new BFF, Iran—another nation hit very hard by COVID-19.

Item: Chinese cities have the most polluted air on earth.  This is a generalization, to be sure; and as a generalization, it is unassailable.  One may confirm it by consulting any undoctored satellite photo and observing the yellow haze permanently gathered around China’s coasts.  Cars were banned from the streets of Beijing briefly before the start of the 2008 Olympics, and additional efforts were made to mop up the filthy skies just above the Olympic stadium for opening ceremonies.  It’s a safe further generalization, therefore, that every Chinese living in an urban area has respiratory problems, or a tendency thereto.  Not that we will ever know an accurate tally of the total deaths in China due to COVID-19… but any genuine figure would inevitably be skewed by the severe propensity of this oppressed and abused people to contract lung disease.

Gordon Chang communicated reports on Frank Gaffney’s Secure Freedom Radio broadcast (March 18) that Chinese police are now cracking open small apartments to find piles of corpses.  These are the remnants of families brutally quarantined in a small space with a single infected member.  Were such mortality figures ever to be tabulated honestly and objectively, we of course would emerge with no useful analogue to the disease’s effects upon a free society observing modern, humane health standards.  China’s experience of the virus teaches us little, and the mythical experience published by the Chinese Communist Party teaches us less than nothing.

Once again, almost no one has mentioned these general—and extremely relevant—facts within my hearing.  On the contrary, most media outlets are buying Chinese propaganda lock, stock, and barrel, as if only Italians and Japanese (whose cities are also far from unpolluted) have died.

Item: For the single most significant variable in discussing mortality rates is preexisting respiratory conditions.  Not age.  Naturally, there is a considerable overlap between respiratory problems and age: older people tend to find breathing a little more difficult.  My wife and I are both over 65, however, and neither of us finds our half-mile path (one way) from doorstep to mailbox a major challenge, even though it drops fifty feet and then rises by as much at one juncture.  We take this walk daily, as well as getting other exercise around our rural property—and, in my case, working out for an hour each afternoon.  (Feel free to verify my physical status further by viewing my baseball videos on SmallBallSuccess.com, where I frequently take a dozen swings off a rapid-fire pitching machine before turning to the camera for narration.)  We’re certainly not obese, Juanita and I, and we don’t drink or smoke.  We’re in better shape, cardio-vascularly, than many a wage-slave in his mid-thirties.

I’m starting to take deep umbrage, then, at the chattering media grackles—many of them posing as conservatives—who suggest that the over-65 demographic be quarantined.  No thank you.  How about we go three rounds, Steve Hilton, and the man left standing gets to quarantine the other to a chair with paracord?  (I’ve developed a BPH condition, as I shared last week; but as long as I don’t have to run to the bathroom, I like my odds against Cue Ball.)  How about, in other words, we have a massive review of the nation’s medical database and quarantine everyone with a history of respiratory problems?

Unfortunately, that purely facetious remark has real-world resonance: the Trump Administration has already been feeling out the possibility of an alliance with Google to identify “at risk” populations.  William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration (ALIPAC) polled his members last week and found near-hundred-percent resistance to the proposal that citizens expose their medical records to Google in seeking diagnosis of their cold-like symptoms.  (Resistance plummeted, however, when respondents were informed of Trump’s interest in the strategy.) Denmark has proceeded so far as to impose universal mandatory inoculations—with precisely what serum, I know not, since there is no antidote to COVID-19 or, strictly speaking, to any viral infection.  In the reigning lunacy of the times, however, is it far-fetched to imagine our own CDC Gestapo descending upon our homes with hypodermics or crime-scene yellow tape (or maybe yellow stars)?

Since the broadcast media, at least, seem uninterested in fine distinctions (age vs. respiratory health, Chinese vs. local contamination, Western European vs. Third World hygiene), what path is the panicked, hysterical lynch mob likely to take, and to which households?  Who knows?  Will young people be incarcerated for Friday-night excursions due to the risks that their behavior poses “the collective”?  Will the elderly (as defined in some manner no less ad hominem than my “cue ball” slur) have a cop monitoring their front door “for their own good” or “for the good of the many”?

When we’re already being fed so many raw half-truths and unthawed factoids, which of us would be comfortable tendering an arm to soak up whatever Super Nanny has decided to pack into her syringe?  Will it contain a cure for Climate Change—a euthanasia agent, perhaps, expertly designed to diminish the amount of human CO2 exhalation?

Item: Speaking of factoids… may I point out that the numerator of a ratio is meaningless with a free-floating denominator?  Twenty fatalities out of a group of one hundred is a slaughterhouse; twenty out of a hundred thousand is business as usual in a society that embraces constant high-speed driving and recreational drug use.  Inasmuch as most people who contract COVID-19 will register mere cold-like symptoms or no symptoms at all, how do we know what proportion of the whole is represented by the few dozen deaths logged so far?  Is this virus ten times more deadly than H1N1… or a thousand times less so?  When FOX scrolls updated death tallies across the bottom of your screen or local newscasters read the figure from their teleprompter, how are we to interpret “68” or “151”?  Out of how many infections—not “confirmed cases”, but the real number of cases (i.e., confirmations multiplied by some exponent)?   A thousand infections?  A hundred thousand?  Nobody knows… that’s the point.

Item: Speaking of the worthless (at best) broadcast media, may one ask what’s going on there?  Has everything else—Boko Haram, Maduro’s dictatorship, smoking volcanoes and earthquakes—shut down?  While the mainstream media are monomaniacally devoted to proving that Trump is steering the ship of state into shoal waters, FOX is equally committed to magnifying the crisis so as to recast Captain Ahab as Lord Nelson.  Meanwhile, maverick voices like Michael Savage (the world-renowned epidemiologist) are castigating both sides in favor of a bipartisan Armageddon message.  And as words collide with words in our swirling electronic black hole of hyper-condensed rhetoric, one man transmitting one humble podcast releases the useful information in ten seconds with which I began this long query.  After those ten seconds, it vanishes.  Sic semper veritas.

Item: And speaking of Third World hygiene and major news stories that have disappeared over night… may one inquire as to whether our porous southern border has now been secured against the flood of unvetted invaders from all over the world?  No.  The answer is “no” to inquiry, and “no” to security.  Even legally applying immigrants continue to be admitted and resettled without hesitation.  According to Representative Chip Roy, we haven’t (as of March 17) stopped accepting “asylum-seekers” from across the Bravo.  (Such adventurers, I suggest, must clearly hope for handouts or opportunities in illegal trafficking, now that all business has essentially been shut down on the Fruited Plain.) The President, fresh back from a cheery trip to India, is meanwhile shoveling more B1 visas in that direction as Americans are forced to stay home from work.

At a time when we’re told that we need a) to secure our population against unnecessary contact with people from distant lands and b) to prepare our hospitals for a sudden influx of patients, and when we are c) likely to suffer shortages in certain drugs because of our dependency upon Chinese manufacturers, our border with Mexico remains wide open, and our programs to resettle refugees from locales like the Congo and Iraq continue apace.  All of the Democratic presidential candidates (though we’re now down to one and a half) have invited in the whole world to consume what beds and medicines we have left; and President Trump himself is apparently poised to sign an emergency bill that reiterates our need for more immigrants!  If our being forcibly quarantined, and maybe even inoculated, is seriously under consideration because of the situation’s gravity, then why, at the same time, do we continue to see this mechanism for spreading infection far and wide operating at full strength?

***

Look, I’m not trying to be an uncooperative, antinomian cul de cheval… but just because the nation’s running short of toilet paper doesn’t mean that I’m going to volunteer my head for service in those nether regions, either.  Some of what we’re being told is patent falsehood: no surprise there.  Some of it is imbecilically incoherent or contradictory—more so than usual, as if a crowded theater were in flames.  Some of it is characterized by the conspicuously absent—the large quantity of “not told” stirred into the “told”.  And all of it is being flung at us in the recent context of a fraudulent coup attempt, the fraudulent conviction of Mike Flynn, the fraudulent exoneration of Comey & Co., a fraudulent impeachment, a fraudulent promotion of constitutional values by “I’m with Trump” crypto-statist Republicans, the ongoing fraud of Climate Change now endorsed by Kevin McCarthy… fraud, fraud, fraud, fraud, fraud.  A steady diet of it from both sides of the aisle, going at least as far back as Bush Minor’s “weapons of mass destruction” casus belli (and maybe as far back as the details of the 9/11 narrative).  Now “they” are shutting down our businesses and chasing us indoors.  Who are “they”?

Personally, the shutdown works out well for me.  In retirement, I go to town once a week for groceries; and as I await Their Lordships of the Medical Establishment’s pleasure to attend to my prostate surgery in a few months, my case can scarcely help but be advanced if my fellow citizens are stitched up in a cocoon and not allowed to go glutting hospitals with their coughs and sniffles.  Yes, this works out well for me.

But does it work out well for our republic?  For whom, I wonder, is it working out politically?  The Chinese are obviously doing their disinformational best to leave us holding the CV-19 bag; the Democrats and their lackeys in classrooms and newsrooms see a new chance to discredit Donald Trump; the President himself, I’m guessing, is going full Jimmy Carter—nay, full Franklin Roosevelt—in an effort to avoid being defamed as the hands-off George Bush of Katrina; the One World Order ultra-rich who patronize Davos every year see a chance to crash every individual economy around the globe; and the Climate Change Nazis (pardon me for repeating this, but it should weigh on the mind of any sexagenarian) are likely relishing the excuse to thin out the planet’s human burden in some highly bureaucratic, pseudo-hygienic fashion.  “Eco-hygiene” has a much more sanitary, public-spirited sound to it than “euthanasia”.

On the other hand, I don’t seriously believe (pace Steve Deace) that the Chinese deliberately launched a pandemic in order to distract attention from their other problems.  I see the calamity as the sort of monumental gaffe, à la Chernobyl, that besets totalitarian regimes intent upon suppressing bothersome realities in favor of their fantastical perfection.  And the net effect of this particular gaffe, I think (I devoutly hope), will redound to the ultimate discredit of the PRC.  The Chinese people cannot be happy about the ruthless handling they have suffered from their government during the crisis (which, despite the party line, is probably far from over).  More relevant to our own politics, Americans seem ready at last to accept that we need to produce certain essentials here at home, whatever price we may have to pay for them at Wal-Mart.  I suspect (or is this another devout hope?) that we may even be prepared, at long last, to accept the folly of throwing open our national gates to every comer.  Actually, we were already so prepared: a majority of us, old and young, Democrat and Republican, rich man poor man, legal Hispanic citizen and redneck hillbilly.  Polls have indicated for years that we, the people want real borders that really function.  What I mean to say, then, is that—just maybe—we’re getting mad enough now to insist that our government representatives either step out of their locked conference rooms and do our will or go home.

If that sounds optimistic… well, I wish it were.  President Trump continues to allow the likes of Steve Mnuchin, Lindsey Graham, and Kevin McCarthy to warble in his ear; and a very plausible outcome of such political tone-deafness may just be that his “vast base” dwindles to a puddle in November.  “President Biden” has never appeared more of a possibility to me, in the same way that the dead limb fallen from the sky into the pond made a very satisfactory king for the frogs in Aesop’s fable.  If Mr. Trump emulates Republican “strategists” in showing no more sense than a hunk of deadwood, we could end up with no national sovereignty at all in a year or two just because those unfulfilled promises of a secure border—coupled with renewed pious assurances that “we need more immigrants”—drove voters to self-quarantine on election day.

Postmodernity: Luxuriating in Half-Truths as It Suffocates on Them

The so-called world map of Piri Reis (a Turkish admiral who was executed for his alarming competence: that’s how politics works) was created in about 1512.  It not only features an Antarctica whose existence no human being yet suspected—so we’re told—but it details rivers and mountain ranges with a precision whose truth could only be verified a few years ago and with the help of LIDAR.  The map shouldn’t exist.  Mainstream science and history can offer no explanation of why it does.

The Egyptian Pyramids have long been said by mainstream historians to be the tombs of Pharaohs, yet not a single corpse has ever been recovered from one.  Intricate shafts, too narrow for a human to pass through, have lately been identified in some of these structures.  The history books continue to insist that human labor piled block upon multi-ton block in the construction process by methods which would have been wholly impracticable.  For that matter, no one can explain how the massive stone blocks were moved dozens of miles from their quarry, any more than the same question can be answered of the megaliths at Stonehenge.

There is substantial, nearly incontrovertible evidence that the Egyptians visited Australia… and that the Maya had a presence in southeastern states like Georgia, and that the Cherokee and other tribes are descended from peoples originating in the Spanish peninsula who island-hopped to the Western Hemisphere during the last Ice Age.  Yet college textbooks and professional conferences ban such viewpoints from presentation.

The Moon is an entirely unique sort of satellite in our solar system.  No other so nearly approaches the size of its parent planet nor holds such a precisely circular orbit so happily coordinated with the planet’s own plain of orbit around the Sun.  Geological evidence contradicts the theory that the two bodies split apart and recondensed after a catastrophic meteoric event, and no computer model can reproduce the supposed path of evolution; yet this is the “story” confidently purveyed by PBS, the History Channel, and every other approved mouthpiece of the science establishment.

I had an early insight into how academe worked when I attempted to publish an article explaining a passage in Virgil’s Aeneid wherein the poet supposedly forgets the strand of his narrative.  I pointed out that if a certain word is translated in a certain fairly orthodox way, then all the trouble disappears.  The article was rejected: the reason offered was that Virgil himself doesn’t use this word in this way in any other passage.  So… because exceptional choices must not take place in a creative mind, according to the “scholars”, the poet remains a clumsy hack whose instances of ineptitude they have cleverly ferreted out.

I haven’t trusted “scholarship” or “science” fully for a long time, and I trust it less and less as I age.  I won’t bore my readers with another recitation of the events surrounding the “Phoenix Lights” incident of March 13, 1997.  Enough to say that an object or objects was or were videotaped by dozens and seen by hundreds in the air space of northern Arizona describing maneuvers of which no manmade craft is supposed to be remotely capable.  Governor Fife Symington himself saw some of the spectacle, vowed to research it, tastelessly disparaged it a few days later, and recently admitted that he was pressured by authorities (whom he did not identify) to make the uproar “go away”.  For its part, the military labeled the events a product of “signal flares”—an explanation patently contradicted by the video evidence of ordinary citizens.  The timing of whatever flares were dropped that night in fact suggests that jets were scrambled to scatter flares in response to the mysterious lights: i.e., our designated protectors almost at once focused their attention of plausible cover-up.

People in positions of authority and prestige lie to us all the time.  It has always been so, no doubt; but the consequence of being lied to have never been so dire.  We no longer live under a monarchy—though, at this rate, we shall soon have something of that species lording it over us.  We cannot make wise or even adequate choices about our high-tech, progressive culture’s future when the evidence supplied to us is not only too arcane for our understanding, but deliberately twisted to manipulate us toward a certain conclusion.  The intellectual inertia and self-serving “review process” inherent in the pompous academic world are bad enough; but when we are required to cast a vote on issues not involving where ancient Egyptian ships traveled, but where our taxes and our children will travel, misinformation is criminal, and may be lethal.

Yet I despair of our adequacy to the task.  A couple of weeks ago, I watched an admittedly somewhat sensationalized hour documentary about the Yeti (a.k.a. the Abominable Snowman).   I didn’t dismiss the opening claims out of hand.  Why should I?  Is an Asian Bigfoot so very hard to imagine?  The vast majority of Americans who chortle and rail at Sasquatch reports inhabit cities where they might see a squirrel twice a week and a raccoon once a month (hopefully not a rat once a day).  Their eagerness not to fall out of step with the “scientific consensus” trumps any faint awareness they may have of their own practical limitations in judging what kind of life a dense, remote forest could support.  Ninety-five percent of Sasquatch reports, to be sure, may readily be classed as misidentifications or hoaxes.  The reminding five percent… well, that’s about the same proportion of times that a poet might use a trite word in a slightly daring sense.

I hate living in a world where the five percent is airbrushed away, on grounds of statistical irrelevance.  The ability to recognize an aberration and then to account for it without dismissing it in veiled mockery could be a possible definition of intelligence.

It could also, alas, define incipient lunacy.  Back to the Yeti “documentary”.  Despite an initial regard for objective methodology, the presentation seemed to worry over its “entertainment value”.  The ante in the hour-long game of marvels kept rising.  Yeti doesn’t just inhabit the Himalayas: no, he’s here, in Northern California (like everything else weird).  Has anyone seen him?  Why, yes: a man garbed in a dress with waist-length hair in a bun and go-everywhere tattoos who has “written a book”.  Could the “investigative team” find any evidence corroborating his claim?  No, none; so… so, you know, this might be telling us that the Yeti is a “spirit being” who can travel through time portals!  Why not?  Native Americans tell tales of just such a being….

I find myself circling back to last week’s post—to the dismal conclusion that we’re constantly being forced into one of two camps.  Either you accept that the World Trade Center was destroyed exactly as given out… or you’re an Al Qaeda sympathizer.  Either you accept that the Second Amendment is outdated… or you’re a child-killer.  Either you acknowledge that manmade climate change will render the planet lifeless in about a decade… or you’re a mass murderer; or either you agree that our chemically saturated, EMR-immersed living environment is perfectly safe and really quite pleasant… or else you’re a green wacko who thinks that trees deserve the right to vote.

Perhaps the next step beyond our inability to sort through all the lies we’re told is a resignation to the “good lies” that support “our side”.  But do you really believe that there’s any dividing line other than that separating truth from untruth?  If so, welcome to the future.

Does the New Polar Express Make a Stop at Auschwitz?

In some quarters, my most recent comments—concerning the importance of focusing on duty at Christmas time rather than roasting chestnuts in an open fire—were perceived as an ill-humored burst of “survivalist” extremism, or maybe just a “Scrooge attack”.  Allow me to clarify my case (which, I must warn, may simply enhance the Scrooge effect).

The substantive side of my argument is this: that we who care about the realm of human spirituality should give a sense of urgency to our religious holidays, not party ourselves into a state yet more oblivious than usual.  To dramatize the point, I offer for your examination a coin of two sides.  On one is a fraudulent disaster’s chimaeric, entirely imaginary leer:  climate change.  On the other is the blank surface of a calamity not only genuine in its contours, but utterly inevitable in some form: an Electro-Magnetic Pulse’s incineration of unprotected power grids.  When considered together, the sides of this Janus Dime show us just what a grim future we’re buying—just what a betrayal of our humanitarian culture we’re being sold.  The fantasy’s portrait, riveting but a mere daydream, distracts us; the blank surface easily escapes notice, especially when the other side’s lurid entertainment induces eyes to wander.

Climate change: I have objected for years, including many moments during my final semesters in the classroom, that the “98 percent of scientists” canard is a patent absurdity.  An entomologist is a scientist; so is an anatomist, and so is a speech pathologist.  The only science of any relevance in this plebiscite would be climatology—even meteorology would rest somewhat on the periphery of competence.  Now, responsible climatologists would refuse to reach any verdict based on data covering less than a century; yet we are constantly exhorted, on the Weather Channel and elsewhere, to heed the “climate warning” in today’s rate of tornadoes or late freezes or wildfires versus the statistics from ten years ago.  Those of us who protest, “Wait a minute,” are instantly shouted down—even, and especially, in academic settings—and are thereafter maligned with rabble-rousing phrases like “climate fascist”.

What’s going on here?  Don’t pretend that you see nothing amiss.

Carbon dioxide composes somewhere between .037 and .042 percent of the earth’s atmosphere.  A probable mild increase in CO2 over recent years has stimulated a robust growth in terrestrial vegetation—which means that water is not only being conserved at higher levels in the atmosphere (i.e., that humidity is greater) but also that vast amounts of it are being stored in plants.  Yet alarmist “climate change” models simply channel the melt from polar icecaps (which, perversely, do not seem to be melting at the projected rates) straight into Earth’s oceans.

Why are “scientists” creating such slipshod models?  What’s going on?

The typical West Coast American (God help us) appears to believe that a sustained rise in temperature produces terrain like the Mojave Desert or Death Valley.  In fact, since higher temperatures put more moisture in the atmosphere, tropical rainforest is the more likely result.  Sometimes geology interferes.  Our own desert regions, and those around the world like the Sahara, were once ocean bottom that was lifted above sea level.  The increasing salinity of areas watered by such vast inland seas caused vegetation to die off around their margin, which in turn left more water in the atmosphere (the clouds that eternally drift through deserts while never brining rain) and induced further evaporation.  Eventually, only sand and salt flats remained.  Yet to call the Sahara typical of the super-heated tropics is to be unforgivably superficial and slapdash in one’s analysis.  (Speaking of superficial… an immense subterranean sea now appears to undergird much of North Africa, further demonstrating that we don’t know exactly where our water resources end up.)

Why are “scientists”, then, presuming to tell us that California’s wildfires are a window upon our common future if some One World Government doesn’t take control of our energy resources?

Why do said “scientists” not share with us the dirty little secrets about solar and wind power: that both have been linked to spiking cancer rates among those who mine the necessary Rare Earth Elements incorporated in their manufacture and even (in the case of windmills) among those who live near the completed dynamo; that both are fabulously expensive when analyzed start-to-finish; that neither is a reliable source of steady energy, since wind doesn’t always blow and sun doesn’t always shine; that both therefore require conventional back-up sources of energy; and that immense physical areas devoted to nothing else are needed to churn out effective energy levels from both (for, it turns out, windmill productivity plummets if rigs are placed close together)?

Why do “scientists” consider it beneath their whistle-blowing expertise to highlight the royal profit in tax breaks that energy companies are harvesting by collaborating in these boondoggles?

Why are “scientists” always promoting ever more big-brotherly political intrusion as the sole answer rather than endorsing more  insular, traditionalist, multi-functional, self-sustaining communities (where existence can be largely pedestrian)?

How many dogs do “scientists” have in this hunt—and what, exactly, is being hunted?

I’ve scarcely grazed the surface of an issue whose obvious and cynical marketing for public consumption is inextricably linked to a tongue-hanging lust for a highly centralized (read “totalitarian”) political machine.  Let us now flip the coin and contemplate how “scientists” and politicos respond to a looming extinction event not dramatized in one of Al Gore’s comic books.  And we find… a smooth, blank surface.

A solar storm of the severity of the 1859 Carrington Event is both inevitable and overdue.  It will happen; and when it does, we shall lose much more than telegraph communications (the only electrical system operative a century and a half ago).  Our lights will go out.  Our computers and cell phones won’t function.  Our cars, unless they are at least forty years old, will refuse to run—and even your classic ‘68 Mustang will need gas that can no longer be delivered or pumped.  Planes will instantly fall out of the sky.  The injured will bleed out because all emergency systems will be offline… and in any case, hospitals will have no electricity.  Your freezer will stand silent: your food will run out whenever you eat the last can of brown beans in your pantry or the last potato in your garden.

Absolute, utter, unspeakable, indescribable chaos.  And it will continue for months, because replacement generators are produced only in Germany, South Korea, and the PRC (our bosom pal)—not in the tariff-hostile, globalist U.S. of A.  Every informed estimate has nine out of ten of us dying within a year… which does not include the predations that might be inflicted upon us by cutthroat invaders.  For China and Russia, by the way, have secured their power grids.

I emphasize that this scenario does not require the malign activity of a terrorist: Mother Nature can bring it to pass all by herself.  But from a terrorist’s perspective, initiating an EMP turns out to be a rather low-level undertaking.  A small nuke exploded in the stratosphere from, say, one of North Korea’s two current orbiting satellites would do the trick.

Do you hear the outcry of those 98 of every hundred scientists?  I don’t, either.  And what alarm are the Democrats sounding when not riding jets to global conferences on climate change?  Where is the Republican rush to fill this breach in our essential defenses that no border wall can address?

We are told that the evil power companies have persuaded Congress to relax as they, behind the scenes, do nothing but pocket the money not spent on security.  Even if this were so, why does Congress accept such mendacity when dozens of its members will absolutely not be turned aside from their crusade to ban plastic straws and gendered pronouns?

Why would this intolerable situation be tolerated, unless… unless certain people in high places have found the option of lightening our population load by 90 percent to be not unattractive?

My intended “Christmas present” is a package which wraps these two responses together: the hysterical panic over an imminent catastrophe that cannot happen, and the utter indifference to one that hasn’t happened already only because the daily flip of our solar coin hasn’t landed on “tails”.

I know that most climate-change warriors are not evil conspirators: they’re kids who want to appear hip and engagé over a cup of Java at Starbuck’s or Barnes & Noble.  I don’t even suppose that many elected representatives who flog this tired nag have any real awareness of where she’s carrying us—they’re simply piling onto yet another opportunity to make government more intrusive in our lives (which, according to their philosophy, can only lead to happy destinations).

What I see behind all of them is the kind of mind that reasons thus: “Our species could travel the stars.  We could eliminate disease, and even death, with the help of Artificial Intelligence.  We could make war, and the risk of war, a bad dream in our cultural memory.  But we need more control!  We need ignorant masses of voters to settle us in the seat of power—and then we need a means, a pretext, both to suspend further elections and to thin out the volume of those masses.  Their collective activity is already consuming more resources than we can continually, reliably access… and their number just keeps growing!  They contribute nothing, they demand everything… and Mars appears to draw farther and farther away—not to mention Barnard’s Star.  We need to shed layers and layers of fat.  We need a purge.”

You can sing your Christmas carols on the train to Auschwitz if you like.  My preference for you—for us—would be this.  As you roast your chestnuts on an open fire, ask yourself where chestnuts come from, and how fire for heating and cooking may be made.  Could you harvest nuts, if you had to?  Could you build a fire?  God gave us Earth, and everything we need to survive is—or was once—within easy reach before us.  We need only fear for our parents, our children, and ourselves if we squeeze our lives neatly into train cars and trust in the engineer’s superior and benign planning.

Get off the train.  Collect some wood.  See what’s happening.  The “scientists” aren’t going to tell you.  They’re too busy trying to place another publication or win another grant.  Get off.  The manger has all you need.

The Emperor’s New Clothes Have Now Been Scientifically Verified

I’m extremely preoccupied this morning, so the occasion may be right for me to make a post that “speaks for itself” and requires minimal commentary.

Those who can put up with my rambles have long been aware that the collapse of three World Trade Towers on 9/11 leaves me baffled.  Even if we stipulate that the two iconic structures could settle neatly, floor by floor, all the way down to their foundations like a squeezed accordion, WTC 7 was a much broader and less lofty building.  How could it have been sucked tidily down into its base, hours later, in the same fashion—and not because it was uniformly bathed in hyper-heated jet fuel, but because some embers entered through a few open windows?

In seeking out the famous (or infamous) Popular Mechanics study said to have laid all suspicions to rest, I began my research with the latest in what turns out to be a series of articles.  This piece purports to give the lie to all lingering “conspiracy theories” (a disparaging term commonly applied nowadays to any suspicion of foul play in high places).  The paper may be accessed here.

What I noticed immediately upon a cursory reading is that the PM staff doesn’t actually conduct any investigation of its own: it merely passes along—with no thought of calling conclusions into question—research done by other entities of the very government that has invited mistrust.  I quote:

The long-awaited report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) conclusively rebuts those claims [of planted explosives being involved in WTC 7’s demolition].  Fire alone brought down the building, the report concludes, pointing to thermal expansion of key structural members as the culprit.

PM then proceeds to cite a spokesman for the investigative project:

“Our take-home message today is that the reason for the collapse of World Trade Center 7 is no longer a mystery,” NIST lead investigator Shyam Sunder told journalists at this morning’s press conference in Gaithersburg, Md. “WTC 7 collapsed because of fires fueled by office furnishings. It did not collapse from explosives or from diesel fuel fires.”

Now, I find this “nothing to see here” reassurance less than reassuring.  The “take-home message” above certainly does nothing to explain the “accordion effect”.  Office furnishings?  Were the cushions impregnated with nitro-glycerin?  In all seriousness, although certain synthetic fabrics are highly flammable, are we to believe that they can ratchet a fire up to temperatures obtainable with jet fuel?  And the fuel was liquid; as incredulous as I remain about the proposition that fuel spread uniformly throughout the upper floors of the Twin Towers, one may at least picture (with deep squinting) a broad puddle of collecting accelerant.  Were polyester chairs and couches, then, set back to back from one side of WTC 7 to the other?  Perhaps the carpet was the culprit; but Mr. Sunder does not name carpet in his indictment… and in any case, what carpet has been manufactured over the past half-century which is not fire-resistant rather than highly inflammable?

More:

The final report describes how debris from the collapse of WTC 1 ignited fires on at least 10 floors of WTC 7 at the western half of the south face. Fires on Floors 7 through 9 and 11 through 13 burned out of control, because the water supply to the automatic sprinkler system had failed. The primary and backup water supply to the sprinkler systems for the lower floors relied on the city’s water supply. Those water lines were damaged by the collapse of WTC 1 and 2. These uncontrolled fires in WTC 7 eventually spread to the northeast part of the building, where the collapse began.

Sprinkler systems out: got it.  That makes perfect sense.  But the same paragraph explicitly describes the fire as started in a confined area and then spreading “eventually” throughout certain of WTC 7’s floors.  What we need is metal fatigue and structural collapse occurring with a freakish simultaneity.  This scenario does nothing to bring us to that event.

After 7 hours of uncontrolled fires, a steel girder on Floor 13 lost its connection to one of the 81 columns supporting the building. Floor 13 collapsed, beginning a cascade of floor failures to Floor 5. Column 79, no longer supported by a girder, buckled, triggering a rapid succession of structural failures that moved from east to west. All 23 central columns, followed by the exterior columns, failed in what’s known as a “progressive collapse”—that is, local damage that spreads from one structural element to another, eventually resulting in the collapse of the entire structure.

The quoting of “progressive collapse” seems intended rhetorically to make us back off from the cordon of the physics experiment, as if the flames might singe our low simian brows.  But, excuse me… I know what “progressive” means, and I can also sufficiently understand the detailed description preceding the phrase to picture a succession of collapsing columns, moving laterally “from east to west”.  Such a picture would yield a Leaning Tower of Pisa that decides, at last, to topple on its side—not a shrinking accordion disappearing into its base.

The report determines that the actual culprit in the collapse was the combustion of ordinary building furnishings: “These uncontrolled fires had characteristics similar to those that have occurred previously in tall buildings.” If the sprinkler system in WTC 7 had been working, it is likely that “the fires in WTC 7 would have been controlled and the collapse prevented.” The report also suggests that current engineering standards for coping with fire-induced thermal expansion need to be re-examined, particularly for buildings like WTC 7 that have long, unsupported floor spans. A key factor in the collapse, NIST concluded, was the failure of structural “connections that were designed to resist gravity loads, but not thermally induced lateral loads.” According to Sunder: “For the first time we have shown that fire can induce a progressive collapse.”

I love the “thermally induced lateral loads”: more than any other passage, it makes me want to pack my skepticism away and nod to my neighbor, “Yep… the Emperor’s new clothes look mighty sharp!”  But the paragraph itself is a catastrophic structural failure, throwing furniture and sprinklers and columns at us all at once in a disconnected, incoherent summary.  My verdict: case not proved.  File still open.

I suppose I could crown myself with the moniker of some impressively polysyllabic LLC like, “Society of Concerned Citizens for the Textual Analysis of Official Documents”.  Then I could write, “SOCC-TOAD has concluded that the government’s case remains unsubstantiated.”  My acronym would require that the public be mildly afflicted with dyslexia, or just not paying attention… but we’re talking about the American public!  Was any bet ever more secure?

That, at any rate, is how our keepers think of us—and we seem fully to justify their low estimate.  They throw some figures, some graphs, and some jargon at us… and the part of their discussion that actually reads like discursive prose confronts us with bald-faced contradiction.  Do they not read their own copy… or do they simply assume that no child among us will dare pipe up and warble, “But the Emperor’s naked!”

They’re probably right on both counts.

 

The Propagandistic Caricature of Slave-Day History: Part One

In my soon-to-be renounced city of residence, efforts are ongoing to rename Robert E. Lee High School.  One proposal is simply to designate it Lee High School.  That seems a very appropriate solution to me.  All parties concerned represent elements of the community too incurious to ask, “Which Lee?  Lee who?” in the future, and also too intellectually inept to do any historical research.  As for the honorable burghers who will likely reach this non-decision resulting in a wrap-around smoke screen, they will effectively initiate themselves into Dante’s outer circle of Inferno’s Indecisive, who would cry neither “fair” nor “foul” during the War in Heaven.  Welcome to Hell.  Pass on through—your place is waiting.

I also don’t think it does justice to the memory of Robert E. Lee to assign his name to the largest zoo of adolescents in our county.

The self-righteous pile-on launched against Confederate veterans was only one stop in a whirlwind tour last year.  Taking a knee at football games, the “#metoo movement”, post-atrocity gun grabs, a “culturally appropriated” prom dress, more gun-grabbing, more outed Hollywood predators…  now the cry and hue is about whether you can ever designate human beings as animals.  I personally think this Trumpian epithet does an injustice to real animals, inasmuch as our furry friends have no natural endowment of free will which they may renounce in deciding to “go ape”… but I don’t believe my disagreement deserves two-weeks-and-counting of air time.

No casus belli appears to be too harebrained (sorry, rabbits!) for our society to get worked up about.  I’ll limit myself today, however, to the Confederacy.

I’ve floated these figures before, for anyone who cares: 95 percent of the boys in gray came from families that owned no slave at all, and about 95 percent of the slaveholding families had five or fewer.  Let’s see… five percent of five percent is… a quarter of one percent of one percent, or even less than the amount of “deadly carbon dioxide” in our atmosphere.  Yet no less a conservative luminary and self-styled guardian of historical veracity than Glenn Beck grows audibly irate when one of his humble audience dares to challenge his assertion that the Civil War was fought entirely and exclusively over slavery.  You can imagine what the poor dumb kid who just likes to shoot hoops or play video games must know about the subject after our schools put their stamp of approval on his shrunken cranium.

If I give my horse the rein, there will be no stopping him; so let me just toss out a few remarks drawn directly from the memoirs of two men who were “on the ground” as the war was being fought.  Amazon’s Kindle program has made the rather brief and direct works of Sam Watkins and John S. Mosby available for practically nothing—so you can buy and read these testimonials yourself without great expense either of money or of time.

Watkins never mentions any slaves in his family references.  His first mention of the subject is a bitter commentary upon the privileged few who were allowed to return home once their year of enlistment had expired: members of families that owned twenty or more slaves.  They who remained under duress, he writes, felt that they were now fighting against the very principle of self-determination on whose behalf they had volunteered their lives.

Much later, in the war’s final months and as their dwindling numbers sought to obstruct Sherman’s scorched-earth frenzy of pillaging Georgia, Watkins observed entire companies of black soldiers led by white officers.  These were freed slaves who were immediately presented with the option of enlistment: a “no-brainer” for many of them, since they would otherwise have faced starvation in a war-ravaged landscape.  (It’s beyond the scope of Watkins’s recollective undertaking… but one may speculate that the Emancipation Proclamation was at least partly engineered to refurbish depleted Union ranks as the South’s heartland was penetrated and populations in states like New York and Illinois violently resisted conscription.)  The recently freed slaves in blue uniforms surrendered a position to Watkins and his comrades without a shot on at least one occasion.  It was evident to him that they were caught almost literally in a crossfire.

The Mosby family’s circumstances were such that they very likely had slave girls in the kitchen and a “boy” or two in the stables—but these were not plantation folk, who authored the horrendous corporal punishments dramatized in Roots and were roundly loathed by most other Southerners.  I’ll confine myself to two incidents late in the Mosby memoir.  One concerns the guerrilla leader’s nearly fatal shooting by intoxicated Union troops as he dined with sympathizers behind enemy lines.  The Federals left him for dead after searching the premises carelessly; but Mosby’s hosts feared that, after a little sobering up, the Yanks might return to give their victim a second look.  The wounded colonel was therefore loaded into a buckboard and consigned to “two negro boys” for conveyance to a neighboring farm.  These young slaves were unsupervised.  They might have delivered the most wanted man in Virginia to any Union outpost and won, not only their freedom, but probably a rich reward.  Yet they considered themselves part of the family and did their part to confound the invaders.  The Becks of the world can cite Stockholm Syndrome all day long—but this was an isolated rural family headed by two old white folks (their sons having gone to war), not a Mansonesque cult conditioned by drugs and sexual deviance.

After the war, an extraordinary friendship evolved between the one-time mounted guerrillero who had animated so many Yankee nightmares and the victorious General Grant.  The latter showed himself an advocate of clemency and amnesty on numerous occasions when his titular superior, the drunken sot Andrew Johnson, treated Southern petitioners with complete contempt.  Mosby actually helped to secure Grant’s election to the presidency, arguing to his fellow Virginians that the inequities of Reconstruction could only be resolved by working with reasonable men of the Republican persuasion.  On one occasion late in their acquaintance, Mosby asked Grant whether he would have worn gray if he had been a born Southerner.  Grant answered, “Of course!” noting his admiration for the Virginians with whom he had attended West Point.

Similarly, General Lee’s remark to a third party in strong disapproval of secession on the eve of war is reported by Mosby.  Lee’s final choice was dictated utterly by the allegiance he felt to his “homeland”: i.e., his state—Virginia.  His slaves were set free as hostilities began precisely so that his motives would not stand in doubt. (General Grant, in contrast, held on to all the many slaves he had acquired through marriage until Lincoln’s Proclamation made retaining them impolitic. Their release by a Northerner such as he was not legally required.)

But… yes, tear Lee’s statues down, by all means! Rename all the streets and schools, and continue to teach that Southerners were American Nazis and their black slaves American Jews.  Keep encouraging idiot white boys to associate the Stars and Bars with the KKK and the Swastika. Turn up the flame on both burners of the stove, making Holocaust survivors out of political pawns and “rebel fringe” bad boys out of semi-literate couch potatoes. Thank you, Glenn Beck, for promoting all that shameless and indefensible claptrap; and please, Tyler, Texas, remove Robert E. Lee’s name from your sprawling house of pedagogic malpractice.

Cultural Disappearance Is Contagious

The following article began as a review of Thilo Sarrazin’s L’Allemagne Disparait (Germany Is Disappearing) for Amazon… but it grew to such proportions that I thought I’d post it here, as well, with slight adjustments.

I read this book in French because I feared that my German might not suffice to guide me through the learned Sarrazin’s highly abstract discussion.  Alas, French was little better—and my native English would scarcely have closed the comprehension gap.  For the real difficulty lies not in vocabulary per se, but in the densely terminological, thoroughly arcane idiom of the social sciences, where trails of nouns often end up forming a single noun-adjective group referenced to some airy statistical reality.  And of statistics, too, there is an abundance.  These are often the more vague as they grow more clear—by which I mean that a patent dependency of one factor on another has a way of shutting down what should be a deeper probe into a complex issue.

Now, all of that said, I’m very sympathetic with regard to the Sarrazin case.  Western nations on both sides of the Atlantic are currently engaged in shouting down critics of uncontrolled immigration with the “Nazi racist” slur.  Sarrazin has been pilloried before for speaking in cold facts.  Those facts are as follows: Germany (and, by extension, other prosperous Western societies) cannot absorb a steady deluge of unskilled Third World laborers who have large families requiring ample public subsidy and who are so comfortable with dependency that they attempt not even the degree of assimilation implied in learning their adoptive home’s language.  Sarrazin has repeatedly and predictably run into trouble by insisting that Islamic culture, especially, nourishes this retrograde attitude.  Of course, he is right, inasmuch as the harmful Muslim tendencies at issue are not religious but cultural: the large families of the Near East and North Africa, the inferior role of women, the “unmanliness” of long study, and so forth.  To claim that Germany’s population must inevitably grow less intelligent as its proportion of weak student-material escalates thanks to open immigration—and that the German way of life itself must disappear as future generations become more inept with advanced technology—is not really racist at all.  It’s certainly not the same thing as saying, “Syrian Muslims are dumb.”  It is a commentary, rather, on the cultural friction between an atavistic society and a progressive high-tech society.  East Indian, Chinese, and Vietnamese immigrants do not pose the same problem to the Western educational system, Sarrazin notes.  They are also far less attracted by the advantages of a de facto guaranteed minimum income provided by the German system.

It is painful, as an American, to read Saarazin’s applauding our more sensible handling of the issues in this work, most of whose research belongs to the previous decade.  We have not kept to the wiser path during the intervening years.

The single point that nags me about Thilo Sarrazin’s analysis is its philosophical materialism.  Christianity appears to be lamented in these pages as a body of helpful illusions that once made life happier, just as (one might say) the innocent deceptions practiced on children make Christmas happier.  To me, this is indeed the great flaw behind the book’s reliance on sociology and statistics: not their complexity, but their reduction of the central issue to a very practical one of economic sustainability.  If the West dies, I think it will be because she has terminally misplaced the purpose of individualism, of liberalism: to liberate the soul from bestial servitude in order to pursue things that have no “market value”.  Because of our contemporary spiritual malaise, we have exchanged the degrading drudgery of intense manual labor for the degrading addictions of an anemic will.  Our moral decline, after all, is intricately involved in the plummeting birthrates that cause such alarm to Sarrazin. Our steady, centuries-long desertion of largely self-sustaining agrarianism to have the affluence and convenience of city life has likewise exposed our pastimes to suicidal frivolity and snared our physical surroundings in a vicious cycle of unwholesome artifice.  We are courting depression through hedonism, poisoning ourselves with pollution, and turning chronically neurotic thanks to our mechanized pace of living: all of these factors leave us in no mood to produce a new generation, and sometimes physiologically incapable of doing so. Such issues cannot adequately be diagnosed without a spiritual reference… and the Christian Church in Europe, all across the denominational spectrum, seems incapable nowadays of providing this.

Germany Is Disappearing is a powerful work and a “must read”, in any language, for those who want to project the future of Western civilization with some mature degree of probability.  But it also seems to me to be missing a vital element.

The Point of No Return Lands Us Right Back Where We Started

The History Channel began airing a special titled Two Degrees: The Point of No Return on Friday night, September 15. I survived about five minutes before my own temperature started to rise alarmingly. Here are some reactions based upon that minimal exposure.

The documentary appears to be somewhat more credible than Mermaids.

The two fatal degrees actually refer to the Celsius system, meaning that they equate to nearly four degrees in the Fahrenheit system more familiar to us laymen. No attempt to dramatize there, I’m sure.

The footage of Arctic icebergs releasing sheets of ice into the ocean has been so widely circulated among the documentary community that I quite literally saw it fifteen minutes later on another station where the Ice Age was being discussed.

Juxtaposing footage of melting icebergs, ambulances on a tear, hurricane-flooded streets, and high-rises in conflagration is a very sorry substitute for rational argument.

Similarly, footage of smokestacks belching out pillars of fumes is evidence of nothing whatever. Most of the billowing effluvient may be water vapor (i.e., steam); and the videos themselves may have been taken in 1968 or 1975, or at any point over the past fifty years when pollution controls were lax to non-existent. The documentary’s argument, of course, would not be served by acknowledging that we’ve gotten much, much better—not in China, but in the West—about filtering out toxic particles.

Is it entirely arch, by the way, to observe in passing how much this kind of fear-mongering serves the imperialist ends of Communist China, its objective being to curb our own industrial production rather than to point the finger at immensely more zealous offenders? Might full disclosure reveal some modest involvement of the PRC in this production, I wonder… wonder… wonder?

The opening assertion that, in the century and a half since weather records have been kept, eight of the hottest ten years have occurred in the last decade is a prima facie absurdity. You cannot take the planet’s temperature the way you take a sick child’s. In 1880, a great many reaches of the planet were not even fully explored. Today as then, furthermore, many areas where temperature readings may be harvested in abundance are, naturally, urbanized—and we can indeed say confidently that urbanization has both increased over the past century and that urban construction heats things up. But…

But the manmade activity in the crosshairs isn’t hyper-reflective, headache-inducing steel and concrete, all of which god-awful mess I detest as much as anyone on earth; the culprit is supposed to be CO2, which alone (for some reason) must take the rap for nudging up the mercury. But…

But plants love CO2. They eat the stuff up. I’ve never seen the desert Southwest so green as it was this past summer. Is that bad? Does that spell the end for us all?

Well, yes… because mosquitoes will descend upon New York and Boston just as they currently do upon, say, Brazil. Bet you didn’t know that there actually aren’t any human beings still alive in Brazil. The mosquitoes got ’em all.

I could go on. I could question, for instance, why the same people who want to shut down our industries (but not the PRC’s) also want our southern border flung wide open so that millions of blue-collar workers driving uninspected, high-emission smoke-bombs can take their place in our twice-a-day rush-hour traffic. But…

But my temperature is starting to rise again. Yeah, I hate car culture and the contemporary American city. Hate it more than the ambassadors of Green who fly innumerable jets to endless conferences in Seattle. But kindly stop insulting my intelligence with the Halloween panoply of skeletons and ghouls held together by paperclips and Elmer’s glue. Come back after you’ve done your homework, and try to talk like an adult.