The Nine of the Eight: A Study in Constitutional Revivalism

The situation stands thus.  The office of the US presidency has been hijacked in the most cynical, undisguised, arrogant, unprincipled, often dilettante, and sometimes thuggish manner imaginable.  And it has been thus hijacked in broad daylight, so to speak.  Ballot-counting in several locales was shut down for hours—and when it resumed, the candidates’ relative numbers had been turned topsy-turvy.  Software was employed in the process which had been specially developed to steal elections in foreign “banana republic” settings.  Paper ballots appeared by the truckload from nowhere long after midnight had rung out November 3.  Signatures, dates, and other basic information, when patently inconsistent, were nevertheless passed over—and checking crews often featured bullies who kept their opponent-arbiters from participating, even during formal recounts.  Vital data that would have documented the corrupt process were wiped clean or otherwise permanently destroyed, in flagrant violation of the law.  Governors and other state officials either ordered much of this criminal subterfuge or looked the other way as it happened.  Whistleblower witnesses to cases of fraud have been physically threatened and, occasionally, sent to the hospital by a round of “persuasion”.

Mathematically, the proffered “results” parade one absurdity after another past us.  More people voted in some areas than were registered to vote.  More people voted across the nation for the most lackluster, invisible, and gaffe-ridden (when briefly visible) candidate in history than voted for the charismatic Barack Obama in either of his victories.  Candidate Strawman scored dominant triumphs over the President in key counties where down-ballot Democrat candidates nevertheless plunged to defeat.  Counties whose tally wasn’t crucial to the overall outcome, one way or the other, never appeared to feature such anomalies.

And to this day—to this moment—none of the abominable outrages just described rises to the standard of a newsworthy event in mainstream media coverage.  The blind among us remain blind.  Members of the President’s party meanwhile rush toward the other sideline to shake hands, although the clock shows several crucial seconds yet to play.  Supposed rightwing journalists abandon ship and beg to be hauled aboard by their adversaries.  Agencies entrusted with investigating high crimes on the order of electoral fraud, subversion, and treason sit on their hands.  The leader of the Justice Department irresponsibly and inanely announces to the press that his crack troops have found no evidence of fraud.  The invincibly corrupt Supreme Court bows out of any obligation to let a possibly horrendous attempt at subversion receive a full and fair public review.  Captained by the irredeemably compromised John Roberts, egomaniacal prima donna and frequent traveler on Jeffrey Epstein’s Lolita Express, the high court—off the record—seems to give primary consideration to such overriding constitutional issues as whether Antifa and BLM may riot if the “right” ruling isn’t handed down.

Let it stand, then, that our “nation” (to confer a verbal reality on a non-entity) will have a non-president at her helm (and not the same one for long: Strawman’s Alzheimer’s will force him to an exit by July 4) who was elevated to that position in open defiance of the people’s will.  The propaganda-cycling media, the conspiratorial bureaucracies of the Deep State, the globalist nihilists of the Republican Party itself… all have collaborated with socialist ideologues and Chinese Communist operatives to tell the American public, “You didn’t just see that.  There was no murder.  There is no body.  There are no tapes of the incident—they’ve just come back from a routine weekly scrubbing.  You saw nothing.  You see what we tell you to see.”

Very well.  What do pockets of constitutional republicans do as anarchy slouches toward totalitarianism?  My suggestion: reassert the Constitution.  In these few paragraphs, I will promote one idea which I have no particular reason to suppose feasible… other than that it makes complete and perfect sense to me.  I realize that such a criterion is shaky ground for proposing a legal or political remedy.  Consider this an exercise in thinking out loud.

Say that the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and… and we’ll throw in the fickle Tennessee… say that their legislatures collectively decided to be ruled by the Constitution.  Scarcely a rebellion, is it?  To that end, say that they create a supreme judicial body consisting of nine jurors, each of whom must be approved by the legislatures of all eight states, with staggered terms ending after nine years.  No panel of political hacks, ideological beauty queens, and depraved royal lackeys would be acknowledged as holding sway over this court, and no subordinate system of careerist buccaneers assigned to the bench from far-off Washington as a pay-off would overrule the Nine of the Eight.

Am I floating the notion of secession?  Not at all.  In taking this measure, the South would not have seceded in any formal or militantly consequential sense: she would simply have opted to reconstruct from the ground up what could not be reassembled from useless fragments.  Inasmuch as the Beltway band of anarcho-tyrants has already advertised its eagerness to pack the existing Supreme Court, no reasonable observer could maintain that the Nine of the Eight had brutally raped legal convention.  Conventions—legal, political, social, moral—are precisely what the 2020 Election Pantomime has just brushed aside, and what our eight conservative states will wish to revive.

Imagine, then, that our regionally appointed Supreme Court reaches a decision distinctly at odds with decrees emanating from the emerging totalitarian state’s parody of a high court.  Let’s say that the justices presiding over the eight states rule that no governor or mayor or even a president of the republic may confine citizens to their homes indefinitely without their having been convicted—or, indeed, charged—with any crime.  Let us further say that the Nine of the Eight invalidate any effort to force gear onto the faces of citizens that impedes healthy breathing.  Basic human rights clearly expressed in the Constitution are herein defended: there’s really no room for dispute.  Yet the totalitarians have their own “constitution”, which is written by their whimsy upon each day’s contingencies.  They don’t like the “rebel court’s” defense of rights and intend to put a stop to it.

How, we must ask?  By calling out the National Guard?  But manhandling citizens at gunpoint over such fundamental freedoms would be so grotesquely brutal a response that it would surely ignite outrage among other, more “loyal” states.  It would also require for the totalitarians to be confident that local Georgia or Alabama police would take their side (and to ensure that this is not the case would be a critical early obligation of the eight legislatures and all the municipalities arranged beneath their authority’s aegis).  More likely, the dictatorial center would try to bring the rebellious fringe to heel by withholding tax moneys.  Federal grants to research universities, public works projects, health and educational infrastructure, facilities for the arts… the number of enterprises on which the free-flowing federal spigot could be turned off would certainly grab any recalcitrant state’s attention.  And the states could hardly respond, I think, by refusing to channel their revenues to the federal reservoir.  The dynamics of doing so would be infinitely complicated, and would also expose individuals to punishment by the IRS.  (It’s always hard to keep communal spirit at a fighting pitch when the prospect of single collaborators here and there, allowed to keep their freedom and retain their possessions, so generously feeds the sentiment, “Why should I go to jail if they’re not going to jail?”)

A far better counter-measure, I believe, would be to recoup lost revenues by inviting foreign companies to American shores, where they would to do business with us, employ our residents, and pay our state and local taxes.  Not a dime of tax would necessarily trickle into federal coffers: state bureaucracies, at any rate, wouldn’t lend a helping hand.  The arrangement would include only the two parties, and the feds would have to pry their way in somehow.  Faced with such intrusions, federal authorities could hardly protest that potentially hostile influences were being allowed to participate in the US economy—not when their own manifest policy is to hand over the American marketplace lock, stock, and barrel to China.  I recall that, a few years ago, Germany opened up a BMW plant somewhere between Tuscaloosa and Birmingham.  Mississippi could invite India to develop computer software in Jackson; Arkansas could invite Israel to manufacture next-generation drones in Little Rock.  No, the centralizing totalitarians wouldn’t like this kind of thing one bit… but how could they carve their pound of flesh out of such enterprises when the avenues physically to obstruct or blockade state-to-nation collaborations would be so high-maintenance?  And how could they grumble with a trace of righteous indignation when their own policies had thrown open many states to unwanted deluges of foreign labor and influence for decades?

Frankly, I think a community of states that enforced constitutional government with its own revived institutions would create such a prosperous, optimistic, and vibrant atmosphere (as in the case of outlawing mask mandates) that productive citizens would pour in, bringing their talents, energy, and resources.  Big Brother’s efforts to stifle this prosperity would be bound to fail.  For instance, if Major League Baseball (its bureaucracy as subservient to PC objectives as all the other multi-billion-dollar sporting industries) agreed to ban the Atlanta Braves and the two Florida franchises from their elite circle of play due to their location among the notorious Eight, a new and effectively rival league would simply form, enlisting teams from Nashville, Winston-Salem, and so on.  The amusement would be more thrilling and the quality of competition more spirited.  Human beings respond favorably to freedom.  Force them to innovate by sealing up well-worn corridors, and you will soon find that they have generated a product far superior to the previous stale standard.

I’ve written frequently before now about how the breakup of our society and political system might proceed.  In this post, I’ve tried to avoid the dramatic and emphasize that the revival of freedom could prosper down numerous corridors that don’t involve rioting in the streets.  The totalitarians are not really very smart.  Their overweening arrogance, at any rate, tends to deprive them of whatever shrewd forethought and keen perceptiveness they might possess.  They don’t anticipate microcosmic developments because they’re preoccupied with their own macrocosmic designs for the universe.  They’re not intellectually well equipped to become the ruthless dictators they are so inclined to be by temperament.  We can give them more than they bargained for if we stay focused on detail.

I don’t know when I’ll be posting again after today.  Next week I begin an intensive program of studying and bringing under control my somewhat rebellious prostate cancer.  Maybe I’ll have time to put a few ideas together, and maybe I’ll welcome the opportunity to distract myself from treatments and therapies.  We’ll see.  Wish me luck.

“Dream Faith”: The False Christianity That Feeds Our Society’s Sickness

There should be substantial irony in my posting on Christmas Eve an essay lamenting organized Christianity’s abandonment of its solemn duties.  I didn’t plan to have the day and the theme run head-on into each other.  In fact, I wasn’t fully aware that Christmas week was approaching when, in closing my last post, I wrote of…

a theme which deeply preoccupies me, and to which I would like to return soon: the betrayal of organized Christianity.  Our betrayal by organized Christianity.  “Humanitarian grounds”… : how many of us have heard from pulpits that Christ compels us to relinquish our earthly boundaries and welcome every wanderer to our hearth?  “Brotherly love”: how many have heard that Christ preached a religion of peace and would deplore the presence of self-defensive weapons on our person or in our home?  “Love-affirming, life-affirming”: how often have churches responded to a dictatorial command that they shut down while COVID rages with the meek acquiescence of, “Oh, yes!  Whatever we can do to save lives!”  Some phrase worthy of gracing a marquee in Podunk Baptist’s weekly message is wrapped around stupidly ineffectual, morally tainted, and physically destructive behavior… and we’re sent home with our painless lobotomy to marvel and drool at the collapse around us.

Why not just leave the subject alone for another week?  People don’t read blogs over “the holidays”, anyway; and I, like most of you, have family gathered around the hearth today in an abundance that rarely occurs any longer.  Just let it ride for now: laugh, hug, sing, eat… can’t we do that just for a bit, when it’s almost never done throughout the rest of our sad year?

And yet… well, here’s why I see no irony in the timing of my protest against the Church: because the celebration of Christmas should be about the birth of Christ, of all implied therein—and warm embrace of family during a wintry gathering of the clan is really not anywhere among those implications.  On the contrary, the Festival of the Sun’s Return after the Winter Solstice is a major celebration on the pagan calendar (so major that Christian missionaries decided to adopt it as Christ’s birthday, too, rather than try to explain to their crude proselytes that the earth’s rhythms are not the highest expression of God’s will).  It seems to me, rather, that the irony lies in our trying, year after year after year, to pretend that all is not lost in formal Western Christendom if only we can continue to bring Aunt Gussie to the table annually, to get Liam and Caroline out of their rooms and off their iPhones while presents are unwrapped, and to record (on the latest device) Laurie’s fitting a sweater on her dazed grandmother for a posterity that couldn’t care less.  We’ll trudge through such personal rituals once more, because we desperately need them.  We’ve never needed them more.  But in revisiting them, we are very mistaken to suppose that we remain, after all—after still another year of giving vital ground—Christians at heart.  We remain humans… but not every human is a Christian.  That’s the irony: the dwindling evidence of our humanity impresses us more and more as incontrovertible evidence of our faith.  It’s not, you know.  It’s just not.

I invite you to join me in a simple exercise.  Think of any ridiculously naïve hope or “vision”—one so absurd that a child who should cling to it beyond fourth or fifth grade might be thought a little behind the developmental curve.  Let’s try, “I want peace everywhere, and forever.  No more wars!  We have to stop fighting.”  Now look for some resonance of this childish platitude in the contemporary Christian church.  Not very hard to find an echo, is it?  “Christ enjoined us to live in peace.  If we are the people of faith we claim to be, then we should not be deterred in seeking that peace by taking apparent existential risks.”  Do we need to secure the power grid?  Why, no!  Why should we assume that other societies in the world want to harm us?  Do we need to update our pitifully decrepit nuclear arsenal?  Heavens, no!  Let it rust away!  The only reason other nations build such Doomsday weapons is because they see us doing so.  It’s time to lead the way, to offer a Christian example.

And so the day comes when we have a choice between having all our children injected with computer chips to serve some secular overlord day and night or, in the event of non-cooperation, being annihilated.  Yes, all of us owe God a death, sooner or later.  But the “visionary” Christian leaves innumerable masses of innocents with no alternative to denying their spiritual identity other than Auschwitz.  Is that really how faith works?

When our southern border was being inundated by unvetted immigrants (as it will soon be in exponentially greater volume), the “good Christian” raised the cry in public opinion polls closely followed by political hacks, “The children come first.  These are children in need.  Christ said, ‘Suffer the little ones to come unto me.’  We dare not turn these children away.”  No… so a child-abuse trap was created, stupidly connived at by the “good Christian”, wherein criminal thugs bought or stole youngsters from their parents, tutored them to say Este hombre es mi papacita, sí, often shuttled them back across the border to run the same scam again, and along the way beat or raped them to secure abject obedience.  And this humanitarian nightmare, as I say, was aided and abetted by good little suburban Christians who gave themselves a big virtue-hug at night before dozing off to sweet dreams.

Again, no awareness of the depth of human depravity: not much awareness, indeed, that depravity is embedded in the nature of the human animal.  The concept of original sin was warped to cover all the curmudgeons and sourpusses who resisted the “vision”, who declined to take the “leap of faith”.  It was never allowed to cast a shadow over the creatures of envy and lust at society’s fringe who had always waylaid utopian visions before.

Speaking of implanted computer chips… a friend sent me a link about a month ago to a video that spliced together a series of candid utterances, made by “visionaries” as recognizable as Bill Gates, in favor of extracting and inserting information directly into the world’s human masses.  An attractive young woman struck me, especially, with her fervent insistence that “we need to take this step if we are to create the world we want.”  I wouldn’t necessarily suspect any of these people of being Christian.  The shame of it all is that I wouldn’t necessarily suppose that a mainstream Christian today would roar in protest.  He should observe that such as we are do not create worlds—that the job has already been filled, and that our puny efforts to encroach upon it must always send infinite ripples of greed, arrogance, lust for power, and all the rest through the evolutionary brew.  Instead, I can well imagine our casual Christian appropriating the language of “a better tomorrow” the way the early missionaries appropriated the Return of the Sun for Christ’s birthday.  “Hey, that’s my gig—a better tomorrow!  Yeah, we can do that!  Eradicate poverty, extend health care to everyone, see that no child is left behind… we can all get to a better place if we suppress our egotism and serve Christ.”

And on and on.  May I assume that this very brief characterization (which, alas, is no caricature) has brought two points to the surface?  One is that late Western Christianity endorses a categorical suspicion, if not rejection, of limits.  Our faith (sayeth the New Age preacher) exhorts us to admit no traditional restriction to the possibilities.  If we only dream bravely enough, we can create the world of our dreams—a perfect world, without war or poverty or disease; for this is what Christ called us to do.  Halleluiah, halleluiah!

The second point is that no effort is invested among such “faithful” in pondering the failures generated by “dream faith”.  A particular peace hasn’t lasted because elements among us have too little faith; perfect health hasn’t been restored because elements among us have refused to join in an unprecedented initiative (e.g., universal masking, vaccinating, and locking down).  The dream is always insulated from scrutiny.  Why, Christ walked on water!  Do you suppose He could have done that if the least thought about sinking had entered His mind?

The seamless fusion of “dream faith” with the secular-progressive political mentality should be evident to anyone with ears to hear.  Is it any wonder that the formal, organized Christian church has reliably worked against the Christian worldview over the past four or five decades (with accelerating commitment)?  “Social justice” is what matters, not the struggle of each human individual to hear God’s call through the cacophony of unfair circumstances around him.  “Love” is what matters in marriage, not the acceptance of several strictures (duty to children, abstinence from other partners, embrace of self-sacrifice, etc.) which severely reduce our future options in our fourscore years on earth.

Every inspiration of “dream faith” is open-ended, and hence impossible to restrain from collateral damage or assess for deficient responsibility.  The “believer” is caught in an orgy of star-gazing that spins him into delirium but advances him toward his higher identity not a single step.  True faith, by accepting that Creation has thrown up barriers here, here, and here, humbles us as we conform our progress to those barriers and impresses us, ultimately, with the immutable truth that the destination for all our inklings of perfection must be a world beyond this one.  He of “dream faith” will not accept—on principle—that perfection cannot reign here and now.  He of true faith accepts daily shortcoming and imperfection as the inevitable cost of not yet having arrived in heaven.

Yes, our social regeneration would profit immensely from organized institutions of faith.  The latter may even be necessary to accomplish the former.  Right now, however, our religious institutions reflect an unbounded faith only in the decadent world for which they were organized.  As the old Italian saying goes, we won’t find figs growing on a thistle bush.

My Friend Vlad (Part Two)

You won’t like what I’m about to write.  I don’t like it myself—not one bit.  I wish things were otherwise.  I wish we could strap on our magic masks and be transported back in time to the days when our layers of government were virtually invisible except in the matter of protecting us from criminals and invaders: when we would take our kids to the park and throw a Frisbee, plan a Thanksgiving trip to Grandma’s where the height of all the little ones was penciled on a door frame, worry over no greater crisis at work than how to deal with a congested parking lot.  But…

but no.  Only in our dreams now.  In this, our waking Hell, the concern—the one resonant, irrepressible concern—is government, government, government.  No malingering in the park after curfew, and no presence on any sidewalk without a mask.  (Absolutely no concealed weapon, either, to protect your family in case a released rapist takes advantage of “stand down” police protocol.)  No assembly in Grandma’s house to exceed X warm bodies… and, very soon, no travel in vehicles that burn carbon fuel.  No going in to work physically, or at least no opening of the doors to more than three people at a time.  No refusal of the restroom to homeless wanderers.  No new hire for less than twenty bucks an hour.

You’re a slave, a helot.  So am I.  This is our new world.  Let’s be clear: it’s not our revised world, our old America amended constitutionally to create a kinder, gentler republic.  It’s the new totalitarian regime against which most of us voted, and whose ascendancy was nonetheless ordained by our thought-controlling class: the broadcast media, the entertainment media, the journalistic propaganda-mill, the academic brainwash-tank, the high bench of judicial mandarins, the globalist banking industry, and the careerist guns-for-hire teeming in our bureaucracy (including our elite security forces).  The 2020 presidential “election” served formal notice that our votes no longer count.  We have arrived.  The next train you climb aboard will pull nothing but cattle cars.

Assuming that 2021 opens as most pundits now predict, I do not have a president.  I do not have a country.  I serve my own formal notice here and now: this state under the plunder of a vast band of Huns is not my nation, and the band’s teetering, morose, incoherent, through-and-through corrupt Attila is not in any wise my leader.  He is my enemy unto death, the murderer of due process, accountability, rule of law, individual rights, freedom of assembly, freedom of dissent, open exchange of ideas… he and his flock of circling, mask-draped vultures (masked like highwaymen—how appropriate!) are the antithesis of everything I have devoted my life to preserving, everything our forebears devoted and sometimes sacrificed their lives to sustaining.  This squalid, diabolical assassin of humane society is now in possession of our home turf.

So… what to do about it?  I’ll attempt to restrain myself from further flights of indignation, and to complete this essay with something like icy objectivity.  Otherwise, I’ll never be done.

I offer three recommendations.  All three respond to the necessity of redefining “we”.  The Vandal has defeated us by dividing us.  Let us therefore accept the divisions which we were too dull to resist when we might have saved ourselves.  Let us instead play the hand which the Vandal has dealt us.

Race: the race card.  Let us play it—but not in the manner scripted for us by the Vandal.  For decades, I have read commentators like Pat Buchanan and Ann Coulter with interest, but also with a deep spiritual dyspepsia every time the theme, “demography is destiny,” emerged.  (And it emerged frequently.)  We were supposed to dread the dissolution of “white European” society in the rising tide of Third World peoples.  They would ruin everything: they would vote for the Nanny State until we all had Orwellian surveillance devices in our kitchens and bedrooms.  Non-Caucasian people… for some reason, they just couldn’t understand that they were being led to the slaughterhouse.  And, by popular vote, they would take us all there.

At this instant, it’s unclear in my state of Georgia whether or not the kind of election fraud reported verbally over and over and caught on tape by Project Veritas—state employees deliberately tallying a “Trump” as a “Biden” in the recount and harassing observers who point out the error—it’s uncertain, I say, whether these shenanigans will have surrendered our nation’s future into the hands of Beijing’s lackey.  Many of my acquaintances sermonize in hushed tones, “It’s those Atlanta blacks.  The Democrat Party offers them anything and everything, and they keep selling their souls for an empty promise.  Look at all the unprincipled party hacks caught cooking the books: black, every one.”

Well, not every one.  And if you want to assign the Georgia debacle to a particular racial influence, I should think the “white, college-educated, upwardly mobile professional” demographic would be a much better choice.  It’s primarily white people who have created all the engines of moral squalor enumerated a few paragraphs above: the media, Hollywood, journalism, academe, the judiciary, the banking industry, elite bureaucracies like the FBI and NSA… white people, overwhelmingly.  White people who patronize—and, to be sure, often promote—black people in ostentatious flourishes of high mission (and in the implicit, largely unconscious presumption that people of color can’t make it on their own merits).  In the vanguard of virtually every “social justice” initiative decrying racial inequity is a band of “superior to thee” Caucasian crusaders.

Sorry, Pat and Ann… but your race of choice has in fact authored our gravest miseries.  One of the few hopeful developments I see in the tea leaves left behind 2020’s bitter draught is the emergence of outspoken resistance from the likes of Col. Allen West, Candace Owens, Kimberly Klacik, John James… from black athletes of high recognition-value like Burgess Owens and Hershel Walker… from entertainers, even, like Kanye West and “Ice Tea”.  The leadership supplied by the socially pampered, morally supercilious Caucasian anomists who pullulate in our universities has proved lethal to our free society.  People of African descent are beginning to tire of serving as their “pity pets”.  A slave upon whom you lavish gifts just for scowling sullenly—and oh-so-cutely—from your couch’s cushions all day long is no less a slave than the wretch who sows fields under the whip’s lash.

People of Latin descent, Buchanan et al. notwithstanding, are also showing a new propensity for preferring individual freedom to government patronage.  What has historically driven the Hispanic vote to the Democrat Party is stuff, much of it free: more and better jobs than anything “back home” (even though, by American standards, the pay is poor and the benefits negligible), free schooling for the kids, free health care for the extended family (illegal aliens regularly receive Medicaid in many states, contrary to federal law), relatively uncorrupt police services, hands-off tolerance of petty infractions in sanctuary cities, and a host of quota-driven head-starts into white-collar careers.  Who wouldn’t grab that deal?  But the shelf-life of the pantry’s more extravagant goodies is mere months—perhaps mere weeks—from expiring.  The national debt is careering toward thirty trillion, the Chinese are busily laboring to supplant the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, and the Vandal has promised more lockdowns and the strangulation of our domestic energy industry.  Tens of millions of Hispanics, legal and otherwise—and the Democrats have now endowed the latter with the right to vote in many locales—may soon be without work and without government subsidy.  The party that engineered such misery will not inspire patient devotion.

If conservative America has given little thought to constituencies of this composition, my next suggestion will be vastly more shocking: the Muslim community.  Like black Americans and Hispanics—rather more than they, in fact—traditional Muslims deplore the core values of the new Democrat Party.  They’re dismayed by the extent of sexual liberation in the Western world.  They have no doubt about the number of genders Mother Nature has assigned to human beings.  Their family units are extremely tight-knit.  They weigh the individual male’s dignity to some considerable extent upon his ability to make his way by the sweat of his own brow.  They believe in a higher power whose authority must not be eclipsed by the whimsy of human institutions.  They intensely dislike public obscenity aimed at deriding or vilifying figures and symbols held in honor by their culture.  Culturally, they could not be more antithetical to the New Left.

In the unsorted rubble which is all that remains of the United States, friends of the Constitution would do well to strike up a common cause with the Muslim community.  Of course, in Europe and in many Canadian cities, Muslim “no-go zones” enforce Sharia law and defy civil authorities to set foot in their streets.  A constitutional conservative would naturally prefer to have another sort of Muslim at his side.  I don’t propose that the friends of individual freedom stockpile explosives for a cultic religion’s lockstep-marching suicide-bombers: that would be a bridge too far.  Yet during the ongoing ruination of our republic, counter-revolutionaries need not collaborate in the neutralization of radical Islam’s homicidal “scare value”.  The energy of violent jihadism will steer itself by nature in the direction of the Constitution’s nihilist destroyers, even though it tramples upon constitutional principles in doing so.  If nothing else, the totalitarian state’s zeal for collecting all defensive weapons from its citizenry might be blunted when a subset of that citizenry proves to be too hot to handle.

I understand the ghastly undertones of what I’ve just written.  I wonder if everyone reading my words understands equally the horrors of the progressive totalitarian state now descending upon us, whose proponents (e.g., AOC, the Lincoln Project) have already boasted publicly about rounding up dissidents and dissuading them with all the finesse that Xi Jinping has employed with Xinxiang’s Uighur population.  We are not now in a position to choose friends fastidiously: we can only survive by matching potent enemies against our enemies.

And I hasten to add that I’m not among those who view all Muslims as closet-jihadists.  As a retired educator, I remember many chaste, gentle, humble souls among my students whose simple decency put many of their ostensibly Christian classmates to shame.  In fact, I’ll say candidly of the Muslim community what I said above of black Americans: if we white Christians sincerely want to pinpoint the rot that has gnawed away our free republic’s sinew, we might as well start with a session in front of the mirror.  Too many imams, yes, incite fanatical violence among their abject faithful… but the Catholic faith is led by an overt socialist who considers all traditional teachings negotiable in the light progressive revisionism.  The Muslim community, true, is scarred by the presence among its members of such barbarities as “honor killings” and female genital mutilation… but the Christian (and especially Protestant) community finds itself, in its “blanket tolerance” caricature of Christ’s example, unable to condemn any trespass or atrocity of any kind—except, of course, intolerance.  “Fake Christianity” has played no minor role in our surrender to the Vandal: it has, indeed, repeatedly unbolted gates for him.  Can you confidently affirm that your priest or pastor does not regard the faith as a) an ideological framework for redistributing worldly possessions rather than for combating worldliness, b) a vehicle for ushering in a “better” society rather than for saving individual souls, and c) and inherited body of quaint tropes effectively modernized by Marxist formulas rather than a metaphysical fortress raised against the measurements of manmade value systems?

If your spiritual guide is not of this toxic sort… good for you.  God be praised!  Yet it remains a raw statistical truth that institutions posing as the Christian Church have hazed us into the slaughterhouse of Xi’s Maoist worldview.  In our sick society—in our defunct United States—the Muslim is sometimes a better Christian than the Christian, and the black or Hispanic American is beginning to resent the Herd more than does the white pillar of virtue who has designed privileged pens for all “dark people”.

I abhor the tactic known to advertisers as “teasing”, and it was certainly not my intent to skirt a full explanation of my “friendship” with “Vlad” a second time.  Yet I’ve once again more than filled up my allotted space.  Just as well.  I will need a full post just to present my case for why the freedom-loving fragments of our shattered union would be very wise to court a closer relationship with… Vladimir Putin.  I’ll end with this very condensed, slightly melodramatic observation, then: we can be insects on Xi Jinping’s ant farm, or we can offer strategic advantages to Russia’s nationalist leadership.  We have no other play on the board.  Under the Vandal’s administration, we are useful idiots serving the needs of Communist China.  That’s all we are.  We’re not the children of the Greatest Generation, and all that.  No, we shoveled our “Americanism” into the bonfire of the vanities.  If some of us are to preserve life on this earth under the United States Constitution, we shall need the help of an earthly power not traditionally friendly to constitutional values.  We shall have to dine with one devil or be eaten by the other.

Or, of course, we can all just consent to die, like a massive holocaust of Christian martyrs.  A respondent to my video, Must a Christian Be a Doormat?, wrote me, “Christ made a doormat of himself, and we are called to do the same.”  Yes, we can do that: the millenarian Doormat Cult, that stands by and sings hymns while children are abused and innocents are butchered.  Yes, we can do that.  Just spare yourself any further visits to my column, would you, if that’s the nature of your conviction?

My Friend Vlad (Part One)

These aren’t pleasant words to write—and I didn’t even get done with writing them, for I find that I must continue along this corridor of thought for at least one more week. I want to be unburdened of all such words: I want to go back to playing around in my baseball blog, where I can distract myself for hours. But first, I have a duty to fulfill.

Say that you heard a strange screeching noise in the distance… something like a large metallic door rasping on a concrete block.  You smile.  It reminds you of an elephant’s trumpeting that you’ve heard on TV.  The very idea!  An elephant, in this place and in the year 2020!

I grew up just a few blocks from the Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth.  After a mass-shooting that left seven congregants dead in 1999, several survivors remarked that they had thought the shots belonged to the staging of a movie.  This response and the “backfiring car” supposition appear often in the statements of trembling witnesses just after such incidents.

I wonder how the festive travelers aboard the RMS Titanic reacted when the news was first borne to them in all seriousness that the deck beneath their feet would soon vanish under icy waves.

When an air-raid siren howls like a banshee up the street and you look out your window to find a gray funnel descending from the clouds, what’s your likely response?  Many go for a camera.  I think it’s akin to the “Wedgwood Baptist movie”: the camera magically makes the event recoil into the realm of the staged, if not the fictional.  It goes away.  It’s happening, but it vanishes as an existential threat that requires immediate and energetic counter-measures.  It will blow over.  This, too, will pass.

I can’t do better than reproduce a paragraph from Rachel Alexander’s column of November 9:

There is too much fraud here — concentrated in the swing states — to list in one column. Voting machine irregularities that coincidentally tipped the vote to Biden. Dead people voting. Almost as many people over 90 registered to vote this year than that age group did in all of 2008-2019 combined. A Pennsylvania mailman who said he was ordered to collect late ballots, and four postal workers who said they were told to change the date on ballots. Election workers counting ballots without verifying signatures. Videos of election officials filling out ballots. More people voting than registered voters in some areas. Wide discrepancies between Trump and down-ticket votes; former Justice Department prosecutor Sidney Powell said bout swing states, “We’ve identified 450,000 ballots that Miraculously ONLY have a Vote for Joe Biden.” Biden underperformed in big cities in blue states compared to Hillary Clinton in 2016, yet Biden had record turnout in big cities in swing states.  

Another columnist–Rick Tiseo–witnessed in person high-handed abuse of the electoral process on November 3:

This past week, Detroiters and Michiganders alike were denied their right to a free and fair election. I know because I saw it firsthand. 

I was a poll challenger at the TCF Center in Detroit from dawn to dusk on November 4. The many bungled protocols and perceived bias against Republican poll workers were as eye-opening as they were concerning.

Oftentimes, a ballot must be duplicated because smudges, frays, or the use of a checkmark (in lieu of filling in the bubble) prevent it from being properly tabulated. During the duplication process, election inspectors are typically charged with drawing a blank ballot and transferring the voter’s choices from the original ballot to the new one. From there, one election inspector will verbally call off the voter’s choices while another poll worker marks them in. The poll workers then reverse roles to double-check the accuracy of the selections. 

According to the Michigan Department of Elections, this cross-check process “must be [done] by two election inspectors who have expressed a preference for different political parties.”

Unfortunately, this was not the process I witnessed. In fact, one poll supervisor said that cross-checking with one Republican and one Democrat was not necessary if a third party (another poll worker) was present. I challenged this attempt to sidestep the rules, but it fell on deaf ears. 

I also noticed Republicans were often excluded—literally shoved aside in some cases—from observing the handling of original ballots. This made it difficult to verify that the original ballot was properly discarded, as opposed to counted alongside its duplicate. Original ballots should be labeled with a number and the duplicate labeled with the same number preceded by “Dup.” Yet, in my observation, this practice was largely ignored. 

Apologies for being somewhat prolix in documenting a simple claim—but some people apparently must be hit over the head.  Here’s the hard fact of the matter.  This year’s presidential election was a multilateral blitz, using dozens and dozens of weapons at once, upon the public trust, upon local and federal law, upon common decency, and upon standards of truth comprehensible to any but a sociopath or an idiot.  It was a bald-faced, jeering adventure in criminality that seems to have been “high-fived” behind locked doors all around the nation.  It was an effusion of hideous moral arrogance and indisgestible self-righteousness.  It has no analogue in our history.  What separates it from, say, the My-Lai Massacre or the Massacre at Wounded Knee is a) that its perpetrators shredded an entire system that makes civilized life possible instead of letting the blood of a few dozen, b) that they did so with the contemptible cowardice of white-collar assassins who do all their work at midnight after bribing janitors, and c) that there was no fog of war to excuse buck-privates for losing their moral compass.

The engineering of Joe Biden’s “victory” was an atrocity.  It was a series of treasonous acts.  Collectively, it was an act of war against the United States.

And yet… and yet, that couldn’t be an elephant, could it?  Not here… not in 2020!  Not the Titanic.  Haven’t you heard?  She’s unsinkable!

As many of us linger in our post-gundown daze, we’re lectured by the aiders-and-abettors of the conspiracy—the mainstream news media—to turn the calendar and scrub from our eyes what we just saw.  Yours truly, as well, saw things that shouldn’t have appeared, that have never appeared before.  My wife and I both received multiple postcards urging us to submit our mail-in ballots, which had “not yet been received”, long after we’d handed them over in person to the clerk downtown.  (I spend much of every Tuesday at a clinic receiving an IV to fortify my body against prostate cancer.)  Upon calling the clerk for an explanation, we were encouraged just to “throw away” the cards—that multiple questions were rolling in about the matter, but that our votes had been duly logged.

So how did the unidentified organization in question a) know that I had cast a mail-in ballot, and b) know that I had voted for a particular candidate?  It knew both.  To whom would this knowledge have been available six weeks before November 3?  Was the gambit not to induce me—and untold dozens or hundreds like me—to vote illegally in person later on, thus disqualifying our vote entirely?

A friend in North Carolina writes that their early votes at the polling station—hers, her husband’s, those of numerous acquaintances—were recorded as mail-ins.  Innocent, inconsequential gaffe… or clever overture to disenfranchisement in case mail-ins were invalidated?

As I wrote above, all weapons were deployed on all fronts.  Everywhere.  An almost inconceivably massive undertaking in fraud and subversion was executed.

And the people who did this are… are what?  Just the other political party?  Just fellow Americans who happen to see things a little differently?

A little differently, yes.  They’ve been very vocal about their ideological objectives—their “vision”—both before and after the election, so there’s really no mystery about who they are.  For instance, they want and seek total suppression of views not their own (on Twitter, on Facebook, on Wikipedia, on mainstream news broadcasts, in metropolitan dailies).  We’ve seen that elsewhere, haven’t we?  Isn’t it a snapshot of Xi’s China?  What’s the difference between this new “Americanism” that supports rigid control of public discussion and the old Maoist totalitarianism that our forefathers fought to resist?

They—our “neighbors”—want dissidents identified, shamed, “doxxed”, harassed by mob, punished by law, “re-educated” (with capital penalties for uttering a peep of protest)… so tell me, what’s the difference between this red-white-and-blue “return to decency” and the Chinese “cultural revolution”?

Even as they throw our borders wide open, empty our prisons of violent felons, fund homicidal riots in our streets, and defund our police except as hit-squads to hound us into compliance, they want us to surrender any effective means we possess of self-defense.  How is this new America any different from the new Hong Kong lately beaten, bullied, and poisoned (with CV-19) into submission by Chinese Communist imperialism?

And as for COVID, that Pavlovian app spliced into the “obey” directory… they want us to live without individual humanity, our faces perpetually draped like the women of fundamentalist Islam, as we seek permission to walk a dog at night or take a stroll on an empty beach or attend a church of our choice.  What, I ask you, has Xi’s China to offer—has Mao’s China at its worst to offer—that equates with the limitless, arbitrary, whimsical control over ordinary people demanded by the elite of the new administration?

And as for imperialism… haven’t they taught our children for generations now—didn’t they teach us when we were children—that our nation was racist and imperialist to its core; and do they not maintain now with no further trace of diplomatic reserve, from the blackboards of kindergarten to the lecterns graduate school, that Communist China, Castroite Cuba, Iran of the mullahs, Erdogan’s Turkey—that all are more humane, moral, egalitarian, and healthy states than the corrupt USA?  Does such fulminous loathing of American individualism, industry, and self-determination not infuse its sulfur into every single utterance of this “alternative political party”?

Play “Hail to the Chief” and limber up an arm in the Whitehouse to inaugurate the 2021 baseball season.  That’s not an elephant: it’s just a rusty door.  Those aren’t gunshots: it’s just a backfire.  That’s not ice water creeping up your leg: you’ve just had too much champagne.  That’s not a tornado: it’s just a video being screened on the Weather Channel.

Let’s have a peaceful transfer of power, please.  Let’s just get on with our lives….

Yes, let’s.  Now that we have no right to free expression, no right of assembly, no right to due process, no right to self-defense… no right to breathe freely or to use a public sidewalk, and certainly no right to demand legal accountability of “protected” classes or to have our votes counted fairly one-per-person… yes, by all means, let’s just get back to our lives.

You have been invaded.  The invading enemy is composed of your “fellow citizens”.  There are no more “united” states in this America.  When Nikita Khrushchev thumped a podium and cried, “We will bury you!” he was being generously candid.  Now elite bands of thugs, hooligans, arsonists, rabble-rousers, propagandists, number-crunchers, revisionists-for-hire, shysters, con men, barrators, pathological subversives, incurable megalomaniacs, and self-made godlings are trying to slip a neighborly hand around your shoulder and whisper, “Calm down.  Let’s get back to normal.”  Translation: “We are burying you.”

Rid yourself of the suicidal notion that the United States of America exists as it did half a century ago.  That groan you hear is the ship listing fatally.  That burst of fireworks isn’t the Fourth of July, but a twister snapping your power lines.  Your enemy is right here: he’s “your neighbor”.  He’s just occupied your cities, towns, and hamlets.  At least stop sending him Christmas cards.  He’s burying your children, fool.  You believe in Christmas, in Christ? You believe in peace, in non-violence?  Then emulate the Crucifixion.  At least go out and die: at least make your new neighbors murder you for all to see, as they did to “tank man” in Tiananman Square.

I’ll preserve my cryptic title at the head of this piece, although I never neared a proper explanation of it.  You’ll have to let me pick up here in a week if you want that explanation, should God give me a few more days to write it.

Politics Hasn’t Created This Division: It Rose From the Soul’s Abyss

With the political and social coherence our nation dissolving before our eyes, I naturally feel drawn to comment on the meaning of the dissolution.  Yet I’m going to reserve that chore for another day.  I think a further week of watching events unfold can’t help but leaven my observations.  I need to settle myself down.

Frankly, my nerves have lately been shattered far more by a very personal confrontation than by the very public collapse of our nation’s rule of law… though the two, it turns out, are not completely unrelated.  I received a call last Saturday night from a very close relative of mine.  I will identify her simply as S, though none of my readers is likely to know her—and it’s even less likely that she would ever read this or any other of my columns.  S was the closest person to me on earth when we were growing up.  Somewhere along the line, a lot of things changed.  Now that we’ve both passed well beyond our sixtieth birthday and are also separated by a thousand miles, we seldom speak to each other.  The gaps in time and space appear to mar transmissions.  Neither of us seems readily to understand what spiritual wavelength the other operates on.

Of course, S knows all about my round with prostate cancer this summer.  If for no other reason than that, she tries to check in with me at least once a month.  Our exchange of last Saturday night went along amicably for a while… and then, for some reason that I can’t seem to reconstruct in retrospect, the subject of the Corona Virus floated malodorously to the surface.  I believe the first mention was hers, and that my response was simply to try to soothe her—to convince her that she needn’t worry about an illness whose infection-to-fatality rate was equal to that of a bad seasonal flu.

Shots fired.  I was at once assured that I was completely wrong—that I had in no wise done research equal to S’s, whose dogged pursuit of the truth (I was told) could be matched by no one else in our family.  She knew for a fact that children were dying of COVID-19: this was a five-alarm warning to our society.  Everyone needed to be taking it with the utmost seriousness.

Fallen son of Adam that I am, I pushed back at the charge of being an ignoramus—and a bigot, to boot, who only processed information from a single source.  (Don’t know where that came from: S never bothered to ask about my sources and never volunteered any of her own.)  

I didn’t get really heated up, however, until a third person’s came into the discussion: someone who is as important to me as anyone on earth, and who I’d supposed was almost as important to S.  This young man had checked himself into the emergency room last month in an incipient suicidal state which deeply alarmed him.  The cause was, of course, the lockdown in which he and all his peers were living—are still living—day in and day out, week in and week out, in a vast Midwestern metropolis.  I observed to S that older people like us should be prepared to run a two-or-three-chances-in-a-thousand risk of death if doing so might flatten the fearful spike in young suicides.  Despair, in my opinion, was a much more formidable adversary than the flu.

Then came the response that touched a match to my powder keg.  It was the baked-in-hell blarney about how kids shouldn’t be preoccupied with their amusement when their social activity jeopardizes the lives of others.  This is what I propose to write at about some length today (perhaps because my attempts to dissect the claim in live conversation only met with being shouted over—and occasionally f-bombed: offensives which I ended up countering blow for loud, profane blow… God help us).

On the table, then, sits the propositions that you pose a menace to the lives of all around you if you circulate publicly in a normal fashion but do not strain your body almost to suffocation in an extremely abnormal fashion.  If you decline to wear a mask, that is, you are engaged in a murder attempt.

My objections to this preposterous, insane, rabidly totalitarian groupthink are basically of two classes.  To begin with the practical: respecting the claim above would bring us instantly to an absurd standstill—a train wreck of insoluble situations where life would simply have to go into a deep freeze.  Consider the following few cases which spring to mind instantly.

Most contagions are primarily spread by hand: hands are constantly touching our faces and then proceeding to door knobs, paperwork, furniture, light switches, faucets, and so on.  If we’re serious about not spreading SARS-COV2, then all of us should be required to wear gloves.  The gloves themselves, as ersatz hands, must be shucked and replaced at intervals of no more than half an hour.

Infections of most varieties are spread through travel: ergo, we should impose rigorous travel bans.  Trips should be permitted if we’re making an essential run to a nearby destination: e.g., a grocery store. Otherwise, wayfarers must be seized and punished.

We certainly shouldn’t permit people to smoke anything, whether nicotine, marijuana, or vaping compounds. We shouldn’t allow our fellow citizens to strain their lungs, because this would make them more tempting targets for respiratory infection… which, in turn, could be spread to us innocent bystanders. The same reasoning might be extended to obesity. People who are overweight tend to huff and puff, and one cough from their ample lungs… well, there you go. Potential murderers, every one!

And when it comes to jeopardizing the lives of others, why stop at the Corona Virus?  Driving itself claims around 40,000 lives each year in this nation.  We know that operation of cell phones while attempting to drive is risky behavior, and in much of the country it’s now illegal; but we also know that sustaining a conversation with someone in the passenger seat is distracting, as is attempting to manage food.  Therefore, vehicles should not be allowed to move on the road that have an occupant in the passenger seat—unless, perhaps, that person is wearing a gag; and any driver caught behind the wheel with a Big Mac or a Smoothie King should be sent to Reeducation Camp for half a year.

As practically idiotic as any program must be that aims to ensure the “health of the collective”, I’m infinitely more disturbed by the moral assumptions—the immoral presumption, I should say—behind collectivist hygiene.  The very idea that my society has the right to make me impede my airflow out of consideration for others is the most maniacally self-centered inversion of selflessness imaginable.  I exist.  You exist.  Each of us poses certain potential threats to all others around us through the mere fact of our existence.  We might misstep on an escalator with dozens of people below us.  We might swipe an incautious pedestrian starting across an intersection while we’re peering at street signs.  We might drop something that creates a sudden racket in the presence of a cardiac patient.  Human life is a constant stream of such risks.

I’m not threatening your existence because I choose to have an existence.  If I choose to sing, I’m not a threat to your life because I open my mouth and expel air.  If I choose to sit at a table and eat a meal, I’m not a threat to your life because the juices circulating on my teeth may be ejected invisibly and borne away by the wind.  If I hug a child who may go to the same kindergarten as yours, I’m not a threat to your life because an infection may be passed along from me the next school day that could eventually terminate you.

All such considerations are a selfish paranoia of unimaginable proportions.  The spiritual sickness oozing from these equations  is almost as baffling to me as it is disgusting.

Well… the phone conversation degenerated very quickly as its volume rose.  I’m not proud of having lost my control to the extent that I did; and as a matter fact, I paid the price for it this past week.  I won’t claim that I came down with a nice new case of COVID-19… but something flu-like certainly overtook me once my nerves were shattered and my resistance level bottomed out.  Headache, congested lungs, extremely painful aching in the joints, neck pain, chills, weariness, a low-grade fever… I got almost no sleep on Saturday night, and this is the condition which started overshadowing me on Sunday morning.

Just to cinch the argument—not that I’m going to phone S with an update—my duel with this baleful flu-like adversary was treated by… staying quietly at home, nursing myself, taking lots of naps, minimizing my physical activity, and sustaining a good diet.  I’m feeling immensely better as I sit here dictating this article.  I didn’t need to go to the hospital.  I didn’t need to sit in the emergency room.  I didn’t need a physician prescribing Remdesivir or Hydroxychloroquine.  I’ve had the flu before.  I treated my round of plague sensibly, and… what do you know?… within three days it had virtually disappeared.

Am I now supposed to quarantine myself for two weeks?  Why?  I wear a mask in most public settings—and the mask absolutely prevents the Corona Virus from exiting, right?  Besides, all the people around me have masks on, too, so they cannot breathe in my toxic exhalation. And since we’re both masked, everyone is doubly protected, yes?  So the world is absolutely safe from any threat that might come from my direction.  I’m so happy!  Aren’t you happy?

It’s become a bromide that politics is now destroying civility, friendships, and even family relations because we’ve grown so intransigent in our views.  We can no longer agree to differ.  Um… true and not true, I would say.  If you deny to me the freedom to take a few steps on God’s earth, enjoy God’s golden sun, and breathe God’s fresh air—if you even revile me as the author of a moral atrocity because I go down the sidewalk humming a tune—then we’re not disagreeing over whether the jogging trail should be plowed under to make a traffic bypass.  You’re not even just committing an outrage against me personally.  You’re blaspheming against Creation—you’re adoring Moloch.

I miss that little girl in those black-and-white photos, S.  I’m sorry she exists no longer.  I miss her so much!  Who did that to her?  Who kidnapped her and transformed her into what you are?

Nothing Will Change

author’s original oil painting (from 40 years ago)

Trying to write a commentary this weekend while ignoring next week’s events is like staying mum about the proverbial pachyderm on the divan.  Nevertheless, I don’t think the dawn of November 4 will satisfy our human craving for change.  No, not for any of us.  I don’t intend those words entirely in the sublime sense of Ecclesiastes (viz., “What has been is what will be; there’s nothing new under the sun”).  I mean, as well, that our specific ordeal as hapless citizens of the US in 2020 will drag on.  The forces that have plotted political ambushes and assassinations behind the scenes from within the CIA, the Department of Justice (smirk), and Wall Street will not let anything so banal as a national election decide who assumes the reins of power.  We’ll have enough misery in local, state, and federal courts to last us well into the new year.

So don’t look for shelter, at last, from the directionless, spontaneous, insane whirlwinds of 2020 to appear by Thanksgiving, or even by Christmas.  Don’t suppose that the finish line is just around the next turn.  It isn’t.  La paz empieza nunca, as Emilio Romero wrote shortly after World War II of the fight against creeping totalitarianism: “Peace begins… never.”

When I was concluding Why I’m Not Dead, an account of my recovery from Stage 4 cancer by turning away from mainstream American medicine, I confessed that my experience had shaken me loose from a lot of illusion and fond fantasy.  None of my daydreams has been harder to surrender than the belief that we might actually leave the world a better place for our children.  I chafe every night, as I bare my soul to God, against this sobering admission.  But so it is.  We completed the latter half of the twentieth century without inaugurating another world war or igniting another nuclear weapon over a human target… and what have we got to show for so much “progress”, really?  A general populace so subservient in mind and spirit that the Chinese Communist Party may rule our nation soon without having fired a shot.  We’re already scurrying around in search of “virtue points” even without the presence of eavesdropping cameras in every corner and closet.

My sister continues to believe that Putin pulls our president’s strings (as opposed to Ivanka and Jared), that COVID 19 leaves pericardial muscles permanently damaged, and anything else that her one rag of record tells her.  My former minister was practically executing rhetorical high-fives in this week’s circular because one of her parishioners (an octogenarian with previous conditions, as I recall) was admitted to the ICU with COVID—as if to say, “You see?  I told you all that this was deadly!”  The personnel at the “integrative medicine” clinic where I receive weekly transfusions of Vitamin C continue to mask up religiously, despite mounting evidence that obstructing respiratory passages for hours can be severely harmful.  (Ironically, a superstar in the integrative medicine world, Phoenix’s Colleen Huber, has been permanently banned from Twitter and roundly denounced on the Internet simply for highlighting some of these risks.)

Meanwhile, my son and his peers continue to battle with acute depression in their city’s lockdown, where many of them go the entire day without seeing another human being face to face.  The suicide rate in their demographic has skyrocketed; yet the generation that ought to include their parents (and I write “ought” because we are all parents of the forthcoming generation) utters paranoid whines and whimpers because masks and lockdowns do not straitjacket the whole planet roundabout, 24/7.  Think of it: people whose natural lifespan can scarcely now contain more than a mere decade or two of earthly time fume because the despair-inducing isolation of their children isn’t airtight.

Several governors have announced that large family gatherings over Thanksgiving will be banned in their state.  The presidential candidate who has spent the past half-year cringing in his basement from the “pandemic” incoherently promises to open the nation back up while also promulgating a universal mask mandate.  And the incumbent president, though at last lending an ear to Dr. Scott Atlas, also refuses to distance himself from Dr. Anthony Fauci (who now foresees extending mask- and lockdown-protocols until 2022).

Our news media are going full-throttle into bald-faced, gob-smacking propagandist mode.  “Oh, look: he used income-averaging one year to pay virtually no tax!  Hark ye, one and all!  List, ye people!”  And then, the next day… “No, debunked.  Debunked, do you hear?  ‘The Big Guy’ could be any guy… and why wouldn’t Xi’s minions, Putin’s henchmen, and the ruling-class dregs of Afghanistan and Iran want to pay this nice young man a few measly million for his advice?  What’s the matter with you all?  What has so polluted your souls?  Why are you so cynical and wicked?”

Why?  Because of an infectious disease called thinking, which somehow—incredibly—manages to spread even through the Internet and in other public forums.  “This cannot stand!  Stop the circulation of disruptive ideas!  Fact-checkers, to your posts!  Certified experts, hone ye your excising blades!  Black-splashing redactors, let the ink run like the Nile in spate!  We’ll do the rest.  Wolf is at full-cock.  Jim has girt his loins.  Christiane’s cup of words runneth over.  Brooke’s blinders are cinched tight in battle-mode.  Dana has memorized the interview questions passed along via secure email.  Let’s roll!  Dorsey, Zuckerman, Bezos… just keep further breaches from opening.  We’ll do the rest: we’ll make castles of clouds, tropical resorts of death camps, cordon-bleu cuisine of cow’s dung, sweet camomile of sulfur.  We’ve got this.  We’ve trained for this.  It’s what we do.”

Satire is all that’s left to the seeker of truth who’s determined to honor the principle of free speech.  It would be so easy to cry for the guillotine, to volunteer for journalist firing squads… but this, of course, is the very hell-on-earth vision that cultic ideologues hug to their hearts.  We must somehow not become them.  The energy consumed in mere resistance to such ugly impulses—in clinging to the negative virtue of not acting—leaves one exhausted.  We must find that energy, as our better angels pant and faint.

Yet where does it end, if the lithe-tongued lackeys of totalitarian utopia are not to be jailed or gagged?  “Foul deeds will rise, though all the earth o’erwhelm them, to men’s eyes”…. But will they?  Why?  How?  When all men are forced to go masked, and when all speech is passed through filters that catch far more truth than face-diapers catch virons, why should we be confident that the vipers among us will writhe helplessly and wither away once the sun rises? The sun that never sets, yes—the immeasurable truth of eternity, yes… but between now and then? What justice will there be between now and then?

Karl Popper’s Note 27 to the seventeenth chapter of The Open Society and Its Enemies expresses confidence—from the perspective of over half a century ago—that the Press might be made to fulfill its civic duty if elections affected by misinformation were repeated, with the newsrooms and studios responsible for the fraud being made to foot the bill.  How naive that great mind seems now… now that we know just how creative human mendacity can be.  The truth exists.  But does the unnamed “mother of three” interviewed in a high-crime neighborhood represent prevailing opinion?  If it should turn out that she’s the mother of none and has been coached in her views, are those views necessarily wrong?  Or if she’s all that she seems and also accurately projects the neighborhood’s mood, is a mood evidence that the real problem has been grasped?

I don’t see when or how this kind of thing gets better.  The tribes among us will have to wear their masks and feathers until they kill each other off—and perhaps the rest of us with them.  Those entrusted with words so that disputes may be reasonably resolved will continue to overdraw on Reason’s account until its last penny is assumed to be counterfeit.  The wildfire must run its course.  If a few of us find a low, barren place where the flames pass over lightly, then we will indeed have occasion to give thanks.

What a reckoning for the incendiarists, when the stars bend to earth and show them real fire!

Scientific Reasoning: Remedy to Pain or Recipe for Panic?

I haven’t use the Dictaphone on my iPad for two years.  I wouldn’t be using it now except that I can’t type with two hands.  My right arm is about to fall off, and I don’t want to overdose on Tylenol, which has seen me through much of this week. I decided that the ordeal that I’m going through might be instructive in a more general way.  I hope so… at any rate, it’s all I can think about for the moment.

I could adopt the attitude of a certain neurologist that I visited one time (and only one): that is, assume that any pain in my body is my prostate cancer metastasizing again.  The arm seems to have somewhat migratory pain from the top of the shoulder down into the wrist.  Migratory pain: that’s sort of heads up.  And then… well, 2+2 = 4, doesn’t it?  Patient had prostate cancer earlier this summer; now patient has migratory arm pain; ergo, must be the cancer coming back again in a new spot.

That’s the kind of analysis that a cancer patient would embrace naturally enough.  I suppose all of us (or those of us with certain unwholesome personality traits, anyway) immediately lunge to the worst possible scenario.  Something well worth remembering about science, however, is that it yields no absolute truth.  If one is trying to diagnose a pain in the body or any other empirical problem, one looks for evidence to support this or that particular theory over its rivals.  In my case, the “cancer” theory doesn’t have a whole lot of evidence behind it.  It’s about as nuanced as the 2+2 = 4 formula: you had cancer before, you have a pain now, the pain must be cancer.

But I can also, with reflection, link the pain to specific “trigger” events having to do with excessive exercise.  As a kind of would-be hitting instructor in baseball—an excavator of techniques long forgotten by the game—who operates a site at SmallBallSuccess.com, I construct hypothetical versions of century-old swings all the time.  One in particular had me jamming my right elbow quite a bit in the follow-through.  Not that I’ve ever played golf… but I believe golfers rather famously have the same problem.  The severe compression of elbow and shoulder joints seems to have pinched a nerve, or perhaps strained ligament.  When I was too foolish to leave the arm alone completely for several days, the pain quite predictably kept returning.  It would get better for a while… but then I would assume that “a little bit better” meant “recovered”.  Incredibly (I myself am amazed at my stupidity), I repeated the same miscalculation several times.  At last a nagging discomfort became persistent aching of a magnitude greater than anything I’ve experienced for years.

So what should I conclude about over-exercise?  I used to work out quite vigorously and, as one might say, religiously.  Am I just getting old?  Am I looking at incipient arthritis?  Is there any relationship to my cancer adventure at all?  I think the answer to the last of these posers is probably “yes”… but not the facile kind of “yes” that my neurologist wanted to promote.  Rather, I suspect that, because I’m taking so many hormone-suppressants to deny prostate cancer its natural fuel, I am also denying my muscles and joints the fuel they need to recover from routine stress.  If this is so, then perhaps I can find supplements that provide muscle support without hormones and move a long way toward solving my problem.

This is in fact the step that I am currently taking.  (Sincerest thanks to Mr. Sanchez for suggesting Garden of Life FYI Restore Muscle—a 100 percent vegan option).  But, of course, I’m proceeding without having proved my hypothesis: I’ve only rendered it the more likely of two proposals (which is, I would add, precisely the nature of scientific “proof” in practical application).  Could I have overlooked other possibilities in my desire to embrace a less malign one?

I know from my first round with cancer that metastatic cells do tend to move in upon bones when incidental tears and stresses occur to muscle.  What about my present condition would cancel that scenario?

Actually, I have a second pain of note—and it’s in my hip, because my right arm had grown so sore that I decided to throw left-handed in another baseball video.  In doing so (another very predictable result, in hindsight), I strained the inside of my right thigh.  Again, that source of pain is fully explicable as the product of repeated (and bloody foolish) aggravation.  One special point of interest here, though, is that the hip has at last almost entirely recovered.  I’ve gone back-and-forth with both injuries, but the hip is the one I’ve treated better.  Recovery is almost complete.

That’s a positive sign.  The arm has likewise shown improvement over periods when I nurse it along.  That doesn’t sound like cancer.

I might further note that my heel spurs have been acting up even though I have done no jogging or extreme walking lately.  The only explanation for that pain, inasmuch as there are no distressed muscle or bone complexes nearby, would once again be that even minimal exercise is not being handled very well—by any part of my body.  Tissue is simply not rebuilding itself overnight the way it used to do.

Finally I should point out that my shoulder has been hurting me more right after I have a typing session, usually in the morning.  (Hence my dictating to this annoying little iPad.)  That seems pretty conclusive to me.  Lots and lots of tiny muscle groups are used in typing: we all know about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  The recurring pain after an episode of typing very probably points to muscle damage.  What I need to do is a) take my new pills to allow my muscles and joints to recover in the absence of hormones, b) stop exercising with the ferocity that I used to bring to the endeavor, and c) find new exercises that keep me fit but do not put severe strain on my muscles.

This, I submit, is how scientific reasoning works.  You form an hypothesis, you create tests for it, you look for evidence that supports or refutes it, and—in the happy case of discovering supportive evidence—you continue looking for more support… or contradiction.  You consider evidence that is conspicuous by its absence.  What does the theory fail to explain that you want to account for?  Any theory can have a certain amount of support and yet be incorrect if the examiner proceeds no farther.

Too often today, unfortunately, our self-styled scientists exchange professional high-fives after they account for a rather restricted body of evidence, and they go no farther.  Heaven forbid that anybody should turn over another stone!  In fact, people who try to do so in certain celebrated cases lately have been publicly denounced, reviled, blackballed, and refused a place in the public exchange of ideas.  I don’t recognize this as science, yet it’s the body of thought that my ex-minister refers to as the “best science” in a recent circular emailed to the congregation.  The “best science”, according to her, insists that mask-wearing is our surest means of protection against CV-19.  The implication, I guess, is that inferior science reaches a different conclusion; for how else can you rate this science if not by its conclusions?  Do our “best scientists”, then, have any concern about the overwhelming evidence correlating mask mandates and lockdowns with the spread of the virus?  

Apparently not. It is the “best scientists”, rather, who have refused to allow such information into the public forum.  They offer no refutation of the graphs at RationalGround.com rational or similar websites; theirs is the tyranny, indeed, that has prevented the formal publication of a major Danish study on mask efficacy for over two months.  Expected to reach the public eye in August, this research has so far been rejected by The Lancet and JAMA due to the political incorrectness of its outcomes. One contributor answered a query about the paper’s status in these words, more or less: “It will appear as soon as we find a journal brave enough to publish it” (source: Daniel Horowitz, Conservative Review, Episode 743).

One earns an instant ban from Twitter if one seeks to publicize any such inconvenient truth. The “best science” appears to be associated with the position of shutting people off when they question conclusions on the basis of an abundance of contradictory evidence.  I’m glad the evidence in my own case doesn’t indicate that my cancer is spreading.  I have recent lab results, as well, that wave no red flags, and I have the responsiveness of my body to gentle treatment when I decide to use a little common sense in my exercise routine.  I’m not coddling myself.  I’m not allowing myself to believe something that has little support.  I’m choosing the conclusion for now that appears to have more evidence behind it.  I am not panicking, though I easily could; I am looking at what facts are available to me.  I’m also looking for further facts that seem unavailable but may be hiding from me in the shadows.  Meanwhile, I’m taking action on the basis of the most probable explanation.

This is what science is supposed to do.  It’s not good, bad, worse, or better.  It is certainly not “the best”.  It’s simply a struggle for us to make sense of physical reality, the roots of which extend well beyond our possible understanding.

As a person of (I hope) moderate education and intelligence, I deeply resent the attempt of the “best scientists”—as they clearly suppose themselves to be—to shut me up, to keep me from asking questions, to keep me from sharing theories with others, to make me fall in the line and march in one direction.  This trend in our troubled society is the very antithesis of science.  It will prove to be the death of science is if we allow it to thrive.  It is an intellectual—yes, and a moral—cancer that has likely already metastasized and may yet precipitate our us.

People of the Twilight: The Masked World Between Being and Non-Being

They fear life.  In many ways, they hate it.  It hasn’t been kind to them.  Mother Nature may have burdened them with unattractive faces, or the luck of the draw may have given them a single parent who bothered about their childhood needs a quarter of the time—and never on weekends.  Perhaps their temperament (who knows if such things are bestowed more by nature or nurture?) has prevented a comfortable degree of socialization.  They are oddball, alone, and without a cast of supporting characters or even a stock of pleasant memories to offer them refuge.

They’re likely to thrust a tremendous investment of affection upon a dog or a cat—the childhood- or bosom-friend they never had whose big eyes can always be interpreted as limitlessly loving and whose muteness as perfect agreement.  They tend to eat too much.  Whatever care they give to personal appearance often borders on self-mutilation, either to channel the loathing they feel for an unprepossessing body or, perhaps, to ground the argument that they could make a swan of the ugly duckling if they gave a damn.

Males, more often than females, seek escape in the virtual reality of video games.  The feminine taste leans more toward romantic fantasies available ad infinitum in ebook form.  Both sexes exploit social media in search of escape or relief—the male more likely to slash and burn with a lexicon learned from public toilets, pretending to be the buccaneer iconoclast he hasn’t the intellectual depth or moral courage to play in real life; the female more often curling up warmly behind an avatar and a trove of cliches that render her easily “friendable”.

The female is much more likely to have an above-average exposure to formal education.  One may even say that she is magnetically drawn to certain of the “social studies” in college because of the patented rationalizations they offer for her misery—the absolution of any personal guilt and the accusations lavished upon others.  Graduate-degree mills in several fields are indeed nothing short of a “crutch industry”, thanks to an abundance of her kind in the post-grad population.

The male of this species that dwells in twilight, while not so successful academically (and, for that matter, distinguished by his unsuccess in all endeavors), isn’t stupid.  He has a measure of intellect that might have been tapped for more-ambitious-than-average projects if only a means of motivating him existed.  He has dedicated whatever talent he possesses, sadly, to sneering and snarling at the system that walls him in with evidence of his failure and inadequacy.  He might possibly construct a bomb some day, and it might possibly be of the small nuclear variety: he has the acumen necessary for something of the sort.  The question is… does he have the courage, the hellish courage (think of Milton’s Satan), needed actually to make other humans who’ve never done him wrong suffer far more than he ever has?  Probably not.  Mercifully, in most cases, no.

As a footnote, I should add that another kind of male exists: more sociable, much more “female”.  Oddball yet eloquent, alienated yet readily found in company, he plays at the edge of twilight and represents an unstable ally.  His companionable qualities make him risky: he may withdraw in a given crisis from endorsing outright anarchy.  While he may follow whatever crowd forms to overthrow everything, he’s also apt to follow that hard day’s work with an evening at the theater or the cabaret.  He’s not a bomb-thrower; and if you yourself are one, you shouldn’t assume that he has your back.

Whether courtesy of the Ivory Tower or simply through natural attraction, both “pure” sexes of Twilight People are idolaters of the future.  The future is not now.  In Baudelaire’s grand phrase, it’s anywhere out of this world.  The details of that better—that oh-so-very-best—future are yet to be hatched out.  Why bother?  At the moment, the present needs annihilating, for Future Perfection cannot come to dwell among us until a place for it to dwell is swept clean.  A mind even of average intelligence, to be sure, would grasp early in “the struggle” that the Golden Age isn’t going to show up during the lifetime of its footsoldiers.  The Twilight People “get” this.  They embrace it, indeed.  The indefinite delay—the perpetual postponement—is more attraction than obstacle to the true believer.  After all, the future’s real gift is its looming, its approach.  One may devote one’s life to preparing the glorious way with far more zeal than one might bring to actual day-to-day life in any well-defined utopia.

The zeal’s the thing.  Life is hateful, miserable, loathsome… but zeal for tomorrow makes today tolerable—and may tomorrow, always almost here, never complete its disillusioning arrival!

Two further characteristics will likely have struck you about the People of Twilight as I wrote the previous couple of paragraphs: 1) they have no faith in any metaphysical reality, and 2) their zeal for “unreal reality” has been nudged into the gap of that missing faith.  It couldn’t be otherwise; for, as much as they shun daylight, they also fear the night.  They hate life, but they hate death, too.  They flee life, but can’t flee it too far—not beyond its edge; for in that chasm lurks the unthinkable, infinite and permanent oblivion.  Precisely because they’ve made nothing of life, they must cling to it.  It’s all they’ve got.  Maybe it will yet yield something pleasant, something worthwhile.  Probably not.  But at least there’s that chance in a million.  Beyond the pale, in the outer darkness… no chance of anything.  Ever.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of faith is its taking the terror out of death… and perhaps an advantage very nearly as great is its bestowing purpose on life.  Imagine the misery of having neither purpose nor a means of escape from purposelessness.  A difficult spot to find oneself in.  Twilight is the only alternative: a world that isn’t here-and-now but also isn’t the hereafter: a kind of ongoing suspension, a transport in cryogenic immobility from the hated world to the same world no longer hateful.  And you get there by dreaming of a world no longer hateful… on whose behalf you ignore, or actively incinerate, all in the world around you.

I’ve come now to masks.  I might have come to firebombing and Antifa, or to broadcasting made-up dramas in full awareness of their fantasy, or to translating every single human event into the plots and assaults of racists as ingeniously as John Donne transformed a flea into sexual intercourse.  But masks will do.  In fact, they are surely the supreme trope, the most expressive creation, of the People of Twilight.  The masked face breathes, but does not partake of your filthy public air.  That face may speak to you, but “socially distanced” and muffled by a sheet.  Its features are not those of a “death mask”, for the eyes remain open; but without contributing gestures from mouth or nostrils, the intent behind the eyes remains always equivocal.  Are they warm and simpatico… or are they hot and fuming?

The new face is half in the dying daylight and half in the clammy fingers of night.  It’s neither fish nor fowl.  Hands off!  You don’t know it—you have no hermeneutic key to its thoughts.  Wherever you may suppose it to be… it’s elsewhere.  Welcome to the brotherhood of the stay-away-from-me’s.

The rationale undergirding (or hiding behind) the mask is similarly evasive.  We are told that the mask keeps deadly microbes from exiting the wearer, and also that it protects the wearer from deadly microbes.  (Yet mask-cultists never appear to register anxiety about infecting others: their concern is always for their own vulnerability.)  The mask’s weave blocks minute viral particles… but it does not compromise the wearer’s lungs by trapping larger contaminants and bacteria before the mouth for hundreds of inhalation cycles.  The mask is security against a virus traveling everywhere—everywhere—in aerosol form… yet it’s unnecessary outdoors, and its challenge is largely met by social distancing.  Your mask will protect you from me… yet I must wear one, too, because yours may not protect you.  COVID virons are so tiny that two mask-walls scarcely suffice to impede their attack… yet the visible gaps around the chin and the nose bridge are too small to open a passage.  Bare hands are constantly in contact with noxious “naked air”… yet those same hands are forever readjusting the mask, with a thumb or fingertip slipping past the gate every time.  Or if the wearer always “purels” and/or removes gloves before every adjustment… well, didn’t a bare hand grasp the second glove to come off, or didn’t a bare hand hit the pump of the Purel bottle?  And there’s always that potentially lethal three or four feet between the bottle and the face, filled by ever-untrustworthy free air.

Neither dead nor alive.  The People of Twilight are among us, and they are legion: just how many, we’ll soon find out.  But a house divided against itself cannot stand, and a people half of whom flee the daylight cannot grow and prosper.  What the deranged cultists of the fleeing half refuse to understand is that twilight, by definition, is unstable, ephemeral: a flight into night.  To reject life is to run into death’s arms.  To deny God is to affirm fearful oblivion.  There’s no third option.

FREE EBOOK: From Sunday (October 11) to Thursday (October 15), this text that I created for a college class is will be available as a Kindle download at no cost whatever. Mainstream academic publishers, of course, didn’t want to take a chance on my thesis: that medieval scribes had faintly Christianized the ancient Irish legend of Cu Chulainn’s journey to the Other World and the Welsh Owein’s transits through the same interface. They bristled even more when I added Marie de France’s Eliduc to the list, these days treated only as an indictment of toxic masculinity. Yet the redemptive allegory, at least in the last two, is unmistakable… except to the unredeemed.

The Invasion of the Puppets: BLM and the Last Days of Civil Society

Somebody should perhaps write an addendum to The Screwtape Letters.  My suspicion is that somebody already has, either in the “People’s Republic” of China or in the upper echelons of American academe.

The way that mass consciousness—if one can use those two words together—has been manipulated by the BLM movement (shakedown? insurrection?) is pure Satanic genius.  When I read about the conduct of both Kansas City and Houston players as the anthem opened the NFL’s initial game, I realized what a tight little box had been sealed upon our national psyche.  One team’s fifty stalwarts linked arms and bent knees; the other’s simply refused to take the field.  Now, I couldn’t possibly care less about football at any level.  I despise the game.  As a boy, I knew several kids who were crippled for life while playing high school football, and one who actually died after a year on a respirator.  Suits me fine if we just hand the whole sport off to the feminists. It’s about blindsiding or mobbing your adversary, not going mano a mano face-to-face.

But there are much more important issues involved here that we ignore at our peril.  And, of course, the buffoonery is spreading.  We all know about basketball‘s “woke” transformation, even those of us who couldn’t readily name six NBA teams.  (Yeah, I’ve raised my hand.) Now baseball is crowding in for a piece of the idiot action—idiot on the surface, that is; for the genius is in the Puppeteer’s mind and not in the wooden heads of his Pinocchios.  Several Major League clubs refused to perform in their empty stadiums (all stadiums in COVID America being empty nowadays—that’s part of the behind-the-scenes brilliance) after the shooting of Jacob Blake.  None of these blockheads knew the details of the shooting: “cop shoots black dude…” okay, let’s roll.  The ratiocinative chain went no further than that.

But consider the “meta” of these moron-level associative responses.  Their very fuzziness is part of the mire wherein we have all waded and been trapped.  Exactly what are you protesting, Mighty Casey?  How about you, Slag Bronkowsky—and you, D’Shondrick Hayes?  “Well, it’s the cops.  They’re killing young black kids.”  So… your best way of addressing the social disease underlying these fatalities is to squat on the flag or simply refuse to fulfill your player’s contract?  “Gotta draw attention to the abuse, man.”  Attention you have certainly drawn… but to what?  To the police?  To which police?  “All of ’em, man!”  So let’s suppose that all police are racist executioners disguised in blue.  Doesn’t disrespecting the flag send the signal, rather, that you find the whole nation guilty?  Doesn’t walking out on your job send the signal that you think everything’s a contemptible scam?  “It is!  Everything, just like you said.  And yeah, everyone’s guilty.”  Okay, we’re getting real clarity now.  Gimlet precision.  So it’s not about the cops: it’s about mainstream America and her political system.  “Yeah, that’s right.”  Because all of it—because everyone—is racist.  “Yeah, that’s right.”  So why didn’t you take a knee a long time ago to protest the quarter-of-a-million-plus black babies who are aborted every year?  “Come on, man!  You’re just trying to make this political!”

Wow.  There’s a coherent, resonant message for you.  Every passive spectator out there who doesn’t applaud me because I’m calling his eight-to-five world a load of crap is part of said load.  It’s a world, by the way, that supplied him and other spectators with the means to blow a couple of Franklins on a ticket and watch me play.  Yeah, I’ll play—but first you’ll open up for a scoop of this, cracker, and you’ll swallow!

Result: average Americans—hard-working, practical, common-sensical—are repulsed by all the self-righteous arrogance and logic-hostile bullying.  The ordinary adult, being sane and responsible, grows angry.  He turns his back on sports, which actually darkens his mood (because we do genuinely need some sort of frivolous escape-valve in our routine); and before very long, he may even begin to mutter thoughts only to himself, or at most to a very tight circle of familiars, that people of color are a tremendous annoyance.

Brilliant, I say.  This is a huge accomplishment in the Puppeteer’s bid to subvert society.  For we now have significant rifts opening up in our social fabric; and even better, the strain producing the splits isn’t merely economic or cultural—it’s the beginning stage of true racism.  Not the phony kind, but the real thing.  Well done, Master Screwtape!

Furthermore, the rifts are numerous and running in several directions, as opposed to reflecting a simple black/white antagonism.  Whites who cannot bed down at night without mentally checking some box that confirms their moral superiority rush to endorse anything with “BLM” scrawled along its edge.  It seems to me, honestly, as though their voice is much louder than any football team’s—their need of this bizarre bedtime prayer-of-the-Pharisee more urgent than any black athlete’s of publicizing abuses in racial profiling.  The neo-fascist Antifa draws its most committed footsoldiers from the ranks of the “woke white”.  If BLM didn’t exist, Antifa’s white buccaneers would have to invent it (which, you know, some of them—or their bloody-handed captains—actually did: few of the puppeteers are genetically African).

The presence of anti-white racist whites in the melee ensures that no sane discussion of specific cases or of appropriate generalities can occur.  Any sentence that begins, “But did you realize that Jacob Blake… did you know that George Floyd…” draws immediate artillery fire.  Yours not to question.  Do not dare initiate the observation, “But if so many black kids were not raised without fathers…”.  Oh, don’t you dare!  Shut up!  SHUT UP!  SHUT THE F— UP!”

So now we have at least three phalanxes launching missiles at each other, with the Woke White appearing to be one with the black protest but, increasingly, distanced from it by their own zealous excesses.  I really can’t say how numerous a fourth battle line (or, more properly, defensive line) may be, consisting of people with African DNA who claim the right to open, peaceful discussion; for few human beings have the courage of Candace Owens, Kimberly Klacik, or Allen West.  Most of this happy few (or secret many, let us hope) do their claiming in a whisper, since they see how gaudily the outspoken are crucified.  And the grumbling white mainstream, of course, hasn’t much interest in coming to their rescue, and probably would do so very ineptly if it tried. (I took a lot of flak from the White Right when I tried to publicize Kim Klacik’s campaign with my little trumpet last spring.)

Because of unique (and accidental?) circumstances, our ongoing social fragmentation is turbocharged in 2020.  Most of us are already on the verge of suicide or homicide thanks to COVID lockdown.  When you cook up a potful of people who have long since been denied their constitutional right to associate freely with fellow citizens, season it with paranoia about a “pandemic” whose fatalities approximate the curve of a bad flu year, and finally stir in racial hatred and armed bullying (with faces all duly masked)… well, old Screwtape outdid himself this time.  Hell is boiling over into Middle Earth.

For the record, I fully grasp that young black males are profiled by police with excessive readiness.  While it’s true that this demographic is disproportionately involved in certain crimes (such as possession of prohibited substances or of unlicensed firearms), the law requires probable cause to pry into a person’s private space… and “driving while black” is not probable cause.  How many white parents would get the call that their college student has been incarcerated on drug charges if a single stop-and-search protocol were applied with equal rigor across the board?  Yes, I understand.

But—as the words run in some Rap song that I recall from my son’s high school days—“dat ain’t dis, and dis ain’t dat.”  The BLM frenzy is in fact drawing effective attention away from issues which might be ameliorated.  A simple “stop profiling” would have done the trick; and I don’t know if kneeling for the anthem would remain the best delivery system, but at least it would not involve the open disrespect of—say—turning the back.  So kneel, if you like.  People of all creeds, classes, and colors could chime in, as well, without all the virtue-miming.  Attorneys like Kathleen Zellner have made us aware that repeat petty offenders or “poor white trash” can get railroaded all the way to Death Row by detectives who cut corners.  Buddy Woodall is serving life here in Georgia for a double murder because cops exploited his insomnia and despair to wring a confession from him in the absence of solid material evidence.  Buddy is white… but he’s also a “nobody”.  He grew up on a country lane lined with trailer homes.  (And the locals, by the way, still will not discuss the case two decades later: too many figures that once wore badges are implicated in it.)

Patsy Ramsay, in contrast, was definitely somebody.  She was beautiful (Miss Virginia at age 20), married to a wealthy Atlanta businessman, and—yes—Caucasian all the way.  She passed the final twenty years of her life fighting, in court and before the public eye, the perception—shamelessly encouraged by Boulder, Colorado, detectives—that she had a hand in murdering her young daughter, JonBenét.  One can scarcely imagine a more miserable existence: to know that your child died a violent death, to know that the crime occurred in your house as you slept, and to know that the killer is living free as the police push and squeeze to make the evidence point to you… all because your profile fits their boilerplate culprit for a domestic homicide.  Who’s taking a knee for Patsy?

What misery!  In a humane society, we would recognize that injustice is a thread binding us all together; but as subversive puppeteers try to rip our society apart, we are asked—no, required—to believe that only one race suffers.  It’s insulting to the intelligence—and, by the way, demeaning to the race at issue, as if its members were condemned deterministically to slings and arrows and needed special protection.  A black friend of mine once protested, during our discussion of my book Key to a Cold City, “But Dr. Harris… black ballplayers in Jackie Robinson’s day never ceased being black.  Out of uniform, walking into a restaurant or hotel, they were still black.  A white player might get dumped on by the fans or the press—but put him in street clothes, and he can go anywhere he wants.”  That’s true… and so is this.  It’s a remark that Larry Doby made about Yogi Berra, and I wish I’d found it in time for inclusion in the book.  “… I repeated a few of those jokes myself [about Yogi’s being a dope, a caveman, etc.].  And it never once occurred to me in those early years that I was hurting Yogi’s feelings.  The black guys around the league, there weren’t many of us, but when we would get together and talk, we knew we were all going through something together.  That made the abuse a little easier to take.  Now that I’m older, I wonder who helped Yogi take all that abuse” (Allen Barra, Yogi Berra, Eternal Yankee, pp. 62-63 [2009]).

We all have our struggles.  Everyone’s travail is unique in some way, yet all of us are alike in having to bear heavy burdens.  If we forget that, then we will become incapable of true compassion or true justice.  We will be animals that belch words, lots of words, without any regard for or suspicion of their meaning. I believe we’re already there.

P.S. In keeping with my bid to offer certain of my ebooks free at regular intervals, I’ve created a promotion for two of my fictional works about academe in the late twentieth century. Worse By Seven is a psychological novel about a professor who surrenders to despair amid the nihilism and debauchery that swamp him on an elite campus… but who at last finds a truth greater than this world’s. Ivory Gutter Shining Bright is a large collection of short stories, most of them wry or burlesque, some a little fantastical, about the pompous insanity that prevails in our towers of learning. Both ebooks may be downloaded free through this Tuesday (September 22).

If We Love Our Children, We Should Talk to Putin

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I found the following article by a certain Freddy Kühne in the PDF containing all the July publications of Peter Helmes’ Die Deutschen Konservativen: “Von den USA, über Europa, Israel, Iran bis hin zu China und Hong-Kong – Eine geopolitische Analyse über die derzeitig anhaltende Kompasslosigkeit deutscher Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik” (pp. 23-31). In English, the title runs, “From the USA Across Europe, Israel, and Iran and Thence to China and Hong Kong: A Geopolitical Analysis of the Currently Dominant Lack of Objective in German Foreign and Domestic Policy”. Mr. Kühne originally titled the piece somewhat more revealingly on his Christlich liberal konservatives Blog as, “Nordstream 2 und US-Truppen: USA und Polen sollten stärker auf deutsche und russische Interessen eingehen, sonst zerstören sie dauerhaft die traditionell guten Beziehungen – vor allem zu Deutschland” (“Northstream 2 and US Troops: the USA and Poland Should Weigh German and Russian Interests More Carefully or Risk Permanently Damaging Traditionally Good Relationships”).

Sorry about all the German. If you read the language, then you can probably recur to the article itself and fare better than I would in trying to translate it. My purpose in this space, in any case, has seldom been to immerse myself in politics, and I’m going to handle the issues here with the “lang spuin” which—according to a Scots proverb—is needed when eating with the Devil. Just from reproducing the titles above with a hint of sympathy, I’ve probably already ended up on the Devil’s prongs, in the view of any American conservative. Well, for that matter… aren’t Boris and Natasha also supposed to be the favorite villains of the Left nowadays? Everything Russian, to every patriotic American left-wing or right-wing, is despicable. We agree on nothing—except we can all agree to hate the Russians.

And let’s get one thing clear: Putin is no choirboy. He’s likely the richest man in Europe. He’s corrupt, he’s mendacious, and he’s ruthless to the point of being murderous. He strikes up friendships of convenience (which he has no intention of preserving when convenience is no longer served) with the most loathsome regimes on the planet, and he hatches or nourishes subversive plots against his adversaries whose conception is utterly destitute of any moral awareness. He is our era’s Cesare Borgia; and if he continues playing his various dangerous games in the fashion of a gambler who runs bluffs but also packs a .45, then he may just be the tyrant who finally brings human history to a close. A desperate man… yes, you can have that in spades.

But the gist of the article above captures that delightful German virtue (so rare these days, in Germany and elsewhere) of Realpolitik. Russia is what it is. And what, then, is it? A nation of several ill-matched nations, plunged into chaos after the Soviet Union’s collapse and brought into a rugged, mobster kind of coherence by Putin’s rough hand. Putin wants Russia to revive and prosper, almost as much as he wants himself to thrive and prosper. His providing of oil to Germany is essential to both economies, but especially to Germany’s—the few Germans who have retained their sanity know that wind turbines cannot sustain a twenty-first century industrial state and that supplies from across the Atlantic would vanish in an international conflict; so the fracture of East/West relations following the crack-up of the Ukraine leaves Deutschland in a pickle. America is content to back the western Ukrainians (the same outfit, let us remember, that so enriched the Biden family), although the eastern Ukrainians have deep historical and cultural roots that tie them to Russia much more securely than Putin’s “invasion” could ever have done. The Central European nations, recollecting decades of Soviet domination all too well, take America’s side in the quarrel with gusto, and (in states like Hungary) are indeed embracing Western values more vigorously than we seem to do now in the US. Poland is all too eager to host the troops that we will withdraw from German borders.

Where does this leave our conventional alliance with post-war Germany, however—and, indeed, our centuries-older alliance with France? Most importantly of all, where does it leave us in the only game that really matters in the long-term survival of freedom around the world: the chess match with Communist China? The Chinese are successfully wooing small peripheral nations of the EU like Greece as the Franco-German nexus of Brussels’ power brutalizes its little brothers, on the one hand, and falls out of favor with its big blunt uncle from across the Atlantic, on the other. And China, of course, is only too happy to see Russia drawn into the tug-of-war, not just as America’s long-standing and favorite enemy, but now also as a source of energy driving the EU’s fragmentation. The more pawns go drifting loose about the board, the more little pieces the “People’s Republic” can snap up as it occupies unwatched squares.

Mr. Kühne’s article further considers the role of the Middle East in the Great Game… and I will grow prolix in this brief post if I attempt to summarize all of his points. He notes with especial force, however, that German leaders have yet to condemn the brutal and ongoing Chinese suppression of Hong Kong protests, and that the habitual German “kind word” for Israel (mandatory in the wake of the Holocaust) is undermined by a similar tolerance of Israel’s bitterest enemies. It’s all connected; or, in Germany’s case, the disconnect is all part of China’s sweeping strategy, best expressed (without a trace of subterfuge) by its “One Belt One Road” initiative. Dissension everywhere, fragmentation everywhere, poverty and rebellion everywhere… the US fighting with Russia over Bashar al-Assad’s future in Syria, the US fighting ISIS, Iranian Shiites also fighting ISIS and funneling money to Syria in the struggle, US “allies” in Saudi Arabia and Turkey lifting the weakest of fingers (in the former case) and actually attacking the most effective ISIS resistance on the ground—the Kurds (in the latter)… the West drained of resources and starting to boil with internal unrest, Russia increasingly hostile due to the molestation of customers for her oil… China wins. China wins from all of this. Hungry for world domination, a megalomaniac Xi jinping wins every time in this round of back-stabbing from the sidelines.

All nations who have any pretension to a humane, civilized lifestyle need to unite against the Chinese Communist menace. That means patching up fences with Russia. Putin, for all his faults (and is there enough paper on earth to record them?), is no fool. He sufficiently desires the prosperity of Russia that he would never sell her out for a seat on Xi’s galactic board of mandarins; and, for that matter, he is sufficiently bright to know that such a chair would have an oubliette positioned beneath it. He has lakes and lakes of oil, but little beyond that by way of bargaining chips. While he has made an immense investment of this wealth in next-generation weapons technology and poses a serious threat now to our survival in the US, his economy resembles its Soviet antecedents in featuring virtually nothing but guns and oil. His citizens can eat neither.

We can share a table with this devil without having our hand snapped off. I do believe that Donald Trump intended to make progress in that direction before media-driven “Russian scandals” stung his ego and turned him into as virulent a hawk on all things Russian as, say, John Bolton. And who was pulling the strings of the useful idiots in the mainstream media? Not Vladimir Putin. I suggest you research the degree of Chinese ownership in our major news and entertainment outlets. Do the words “Hong Kong” and “NBA” mean anything to you in conjunction?

All roads lead back to Beijing—and the only way to keep our children from having to crawl on their knees to Beijing, kowtowing all the way, is to split Putin from that alliance. Are there enough adults left among us to do it?

I’ve said my piece. I’ll cast my vote later.  Then, whatever the result, I will live whatever of life God has allotted me on this earth and leave my son to make his way, as well, in our cauldron of lunatic ambitions.  Do what you can when you have the chance.  I would ask only that you give these matters a little honest thought.