How We Elect: A Decaying Republic’s Broken System (Part One)

thumbnail-15

On Friday, February 14, I received the following email message from Dr. Lerah Lee’s campaign to seek a House seat in D.C:

When I started this campaign for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District, I was determined to follow through, win or lose—but sometimes things don’t work out the way we plan.
Unfortunately, I have had to suspend my campaign to focus on my health, but I want to assure everyone that has supported me with volunteer work, prayers, and financial generosity that I am still committed to the conservative values we share and Republican victory in 2020.

There was more, but none of it relevant to the reasons for Dr. Lee’s withdrawal.  Having promoted her candidacy in this space and others, I felt that more was needed.  I had been persuaded—and I remain persuaded—that the Republican Party should pay more attention to wooing black voters away from the Democrat puppeteers ruining their lives.  I was reproached by some for playing “identity politics”… but I’m of Anglo-Welsh origin myself, and even I often look at Republican candidates with the thought, “One of those again—one of the doctor/lawyer class whose kids never went to jail for drunk driving, always found their way to a college degree after four or five years of partying, always graduated to find jobs falling into their laps.”  Yeah, I knew a lot of them.  And I’m white.  So you needn’t tell me that the “privileged class” perception is imaginary, especially when white “conservatives” like Doug Collins, Tom Tillis, and Lindsey Graham 2.0 continue to promote the presence of unvetted aliens among us while emptying out our prisons.  There’s something to the “country club/gated community” stereotype, my dears.  It happens not to be a racial “something”, primarily—though it is perhaps so secondarily; and the untrained eye often sees the second layer as the surface one.

Unfortunately, there’s also something to the Raisin in the Sun stereotype.  When I coached baseball for a predominantly black Little League in Tyler, Texas, many years ago, our pleasant experiences came to a skidding halt during a season when three or four of the league’s “organizers” decided to start pocketing cash from the concession stand.  One of them very nearly took a swing at me after I protested how he had scheduled road trips all over East Texas on school nights.  He said (or yelled) a little too much: it became clear to me just then that the whole arrangement was a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” concoction to isolate the boys and their families from any food right at supper time… except, of course, for the concession stand.  None of these men was driving a humble Chevy S-10 and living in a fifty-year-old house, as I was.  All of them also seemed to be far deeper in debt than I’ve ever been.

So… did I just get played in a similar way by Dr. Lerah?  The whole thing has that old savor.  I certainly wouldn’t want to pry… but something a little beyond “focus on my health” (bolded dramatically) would help.  Why not just mention nervous exhaustion, or a newly diagnosed heart condition?  We don’t need to see the file and the X-rays, but… but some of us stuck our neck out for you, Dr. L!  One would also have liked to read something on the order of this: “I have now spent all of the funds raised and am consuming my personal savings on the campaign, which will destroy my family if I do not change course.”  But no.  Nothing in that genre.

The next time a bright young constitutionalist seeking office makes an appeal to me on the basis of African DNA, I’m afraid I won’t be very receptive.  Already, I’ve begun reflexively deleting emails from some new Candace Owens PAC requesting funds for just that objective.  You might think about that part of your legacy, Dr. Lee, if you’re at all inclined to ponder the wake left by your public actions.

And tossing about in the wreckage of that very wake, I started looking at Senator Kelly Loeffler from a new angle.  Appointed to replace the ailing Johnny Isakson by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Loeffler is required by state law to run for formal election next November rather than serve out the entire Isakson term uncontested.  The battle between her and the forementioned Doug Collins has drawn national attention.  As a girl, Kelly would probably not have fit the “one of those again” profile that I memorized so thoroughly in high school.  Her ads, now saturating local TV, represent a Midwestern farm lass who waited tables to put herself through college: someone much more like me than like my quondam classmates in an elite Fort Worth private school.  But that endearing snapshot edits out the critical years of her more recent life when she met and married an Atlanta billionaire.  Wikipedia estimates Kelly’s current net worth at 500 million.  The figure is likely not far off target, and the claim it fuels that Loeffler is among the wealthiest people in Washington seems justified.  Besides raw wealth, other peculiarities make this case a standout.  Here’s how one source represents the rather complicated picture taking shape around the freshman senator:

Kelly Loeffler, former CEO of bitcoin derivatives exchange Bakkt and a newly-appointed U.S. Senator, has joined the committee that oversees the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Loeffler has joined the Senate Agricultural Committee, which has jurisdiction over the CFTC. Loeffler’s appointment to the committee raises concerns about a possible conflict of interest. Her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which is regulated by the CFTC.

“I have worked hard to comply with both the letter and the spirit of the Senate’s ethics rules and will continue to do so every day,” Loeffler told the Wall Street Journal, adding: “I will recuse myself if needed on a case by case basis.”

Loeffler’s appointment reportedly comes at a time when the agriculture committee is working on legislation to reauthorize the CFTC. The committee also oversees approving nominations for CFTC commissioners and chairmen.

Oh, boy.  You know, one of the reasons I took my son to the north side of Tyler to play baseball was that the south side was overrun by the “one of those again” types: the pushy white males with their lucrative insurance gigs and car dealerships.  They would cut shady deals, those “coaches”, before draft night to have the two or three most grotesquely overgrown lads on their team, blow away the competition for the next two months, advance to regional play-offs, and (I’ve no doubt) assume that college or professional scouts would spot their son on the SuperTeam and immediately get on the phone about a scholarship or signing bonus.  They weren’t snitching Jacksons out of the cash drawer: they were fishing for Moby Dick.

And now Kelly Loeffler… is going to self-police on a committee that will determine the future of her husband’s vastly lucrative enterprise.  Well, maybe.  I guess it all depends on whether she has so much already that she doesn’t feel tempted to mark the deck during future shuffles.

Here is my collective response to our train wreck of a political system.  There are perhaps four types of politician.  One is a pitiful, negligible scavenger: the camp-following opportunist poised to snatch up whatever morsels slip off the table.  This person, being poor and void of powerful backing, raises a ruckus among the poor about the Class of the Powerfully Backed.  He or she may gain a bit of local traction but really never intends to go very far.  Going far, after all, isn’t necessary.  There are so many crumbs and morsels—enough to make even the also-rans fat and happy!  Why not just fill your pockets during the election season’s general chaos?  Dr. Lee, I’m not really looking at you… am I?  I wish I knew.  Or maybe I’m glad I don’t.

It is difficult to believe that the Clintons—our nation’s political Bonnie and Clyde—began as anything much other than petty scavengers.  Having watched their ascent over my own lifetime, I can discern no persistent motive in their behavior other than self-enrichment—no clear indication that they sought to subordinate this motive to ideology at any point.  To the extent that Hillary, in particular, grew to be a leftist ideologue, it is likely because she recognized in the sweeping vistas of power suddenly open before her a breathtaking opportunity to amass fortunes upon fortunes.  Sometimes the pet fed on table scraps becomes the Dog Who Has His Day.

Next we have the relatively impoverished but better connected, genuinely ideological populist who manages to get himself (or herself) catapulted into the Big Show.  This person truly intends to fight for the little guy in the beginning… and then sees what limitless fields of abundance have opened before him.  One imagines that European sailors who discovered flightless, succulent Dodo birds waiting to be slaughtered on South Sea islands must have known the temptation.  If one can ascribe any degree of sincerity to AOC in her first hours of fame, she may fit the profile; but then, she let suspiciously few of those hours pass before starting to live high and wide on her electoral success.  Perhaps she simply doesn’t understand money.  The once lovable Joe Lieberman, on the other hand, has come to understand money all too well.  He’s currently an effective lobbyist for a Communist China openly in pursuit of world domination: a nice guy no more, alas.

Now we do a kind of class/racial/economic pivot.  The third and fourth types enter politics already rich by ordinary standards.  Number Three is conservative in that he (or she) just wants to keep the gravy train rolling: form special ties with legislators, pass special laws to secure his venture’s favored position, perhaps open new markets or create new bureaucratic obstacles that will allow the venture to slip even farther ahead.  The “conservation” apparently enters the equation through the idea of providing jobs, jobs, jobs.  The crushing of potentially competitive start-ups through intrusive legislation and imperial bureaucracy… nah, who needs those jobs?  Nothing much is said by these “conservators”, either, about freedom of speech and assembly, or the right to bear arms, or due process, or abortion… nothing except on such public occasions as require checking the proper box.  Hello, Doug Collins, Lindsey Graham, Tom Tillis, John Cornyn, Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell, Lamar Alexander… and will you join this rogue’s gallery, Kelly Loeffler?

Finally, and most ominously, we have the once-capitalist Croesus who has made so much loot in his day that he can never possibly spend a tenth of it, and who has hence lost interest in growing or even preserving it.  He is jaded with pedestrian luxuries like palatial mansions and armies of servants: he craves some new land to conquer.  The free market now bores him: freedoms of all varieties bore him, inasmuch as they encourage others to hamper his whimsical daydreams.  Perhaps if he could assume utter control over a nation and refashion it in a way that strikes his fancy… perhaps that would be amusing.  Perhaps he could become the God that children and fools used to believe in.  Becoming God… that should be amusing, shouldn’t it?

The paradox that someone so fabulously wealthy should seek political power by populist avenues appears to shock most people—yet such is the well-established pattern.  Donald Trump would probably leap to the popular imagination, with a little nudge from CNN (whose nudges are never little); yet Trump is a weak example, in that his program—to the extent that he has one—emphasizes removing centralized authority from the lives of ordinary citizens.  It’s true that his views have not always shown this inclination, do not always show it now, and indeed show a particularly annoying pliancy toward his daughter and her husband’s games of social engineering.  Still, the superior instances of this type may be found in Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, both of whom have far more wealth than Trump and also far more intrusive designs for reassembling the republic as a well-oiled machine of tiny, obedient cogs.

Is there a fifth species of politico—a “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” type who doesn’t sell out his principles within mere weeks or months?  We all dream of that legendary savior… but he truly appears to be no more than a dream.  Even at his best (i.e., as his staunchest supporters imagine him), Donald Trump cannot audition for the role, simply because he lacks the “barefoot and backwoods” origins.  Admit it: the Donald was never really an outsider in the sense of our fathers when they screamed about a hike in property tax.  Democrats no doubt thought that they had found the genuiiiiine proletarian redeemer in Jimmy Carter, and then in Bill Clinton; but the former was a local patrician with a drawl, and the latter closer to what his minions would call “trailer trash” than to anyone who ever paid property tax.

Frankly, Ross Perot would probably have played the desired part better than any of the characters named above—but Perot’s only lasting contribution to the political scene was to clear the way for Clinton’s election.  Still more frankly—brace for devastating frankness!—Richard Nixon rose from humbler roots than any president of the past century, and enriched himself in the office, as well, less than perhaps any of his peers.

Nixon’s example only serves to show how straitjacketed our collective thought has become in such matters by the manipulative media/entertainment/education complex.  Tinkering endlessly with our perception and our memory, it prevents us from staring a stark reality in the face: the fact that we have no good options, now that fear of the Hereafter and a sense of common decency have gone the way of the watch fob.  I think Perot was probably torpedoed by whispered threats that the Public will never be allowed to learn.  (A few of you may recall that he issued cloudy statements about the sabotage of his daughter’s wedding.)  These threats would likely have emanated as much from the Republican establishment (the sanctuary of Number Three politicians) as from Democrats (a rag-tag collection of Numbers One and Two, before our decay birthed Number Four in abundance).  Nixon, too, had a good man in him somewhere… but constant hounding by the media and academe for his role in ferreting out communists during the Fifties grossly warped the man’s moral skeleton.  Good people, in short, don’t survive protracted exposure to our system: they either abandon the ship before she clears the harbor or turn pirate with the rest of the crew.

I don’t know what we do.  There’s almost a kind of tragic inevitability to the downward spiral.  People cannot be happy in this life unless they realize that this life doesn’t—cannot—contain what they need to be fully happy.  As our nation has prospered, its citizens have grown more secular; and as they discover ever more sullenly the absence of real happiness in their abundance, politicians advance ever farther by offering them yet more playthings of this world.  I don’t know what the corrective is for that, other than a plunge off the cliff which doesn’t quite crush everyone at the bottom.  The survivors limp away wiser, and start a new settlement in the chasm… what a hope, as Sir Kenneth Clark would say!

Is it a bad thing for a politician to be wealthy?  Why?  Might not wealth, rather, insulate an office-holder from being corrupted?  Yet how do we ensure that the grandee who can’t even recall the number of zeroes rounding out his net worth will not be corrupted by the far more lethal toxicity of megalomania?

The imposition of term limits wouldn’t hurt.  The one credible path to that end is a Convention of States (and there I find an organization that continues to be worthy of generous donations).  Might we not also be able to require, as part of their licensure, that outlets of news media, both national and local, contribute free time to political candidates?  That, too, is something of a pipe dream, I realize.  In an age when nonstop political advocacy is already masquerading as “straight news”, equality of time would be impossible to determine or enforce.  We’ve already had a glimpse of how that game might be rigged with the Obama era’s “Net neutrality” canard.  And, in any case, how would a candidate reach the stage of qualifying for free time, if not by having previous high visibility in the community?  That means money, unless you’re a high-profile entertainer or athlete.

Which, believe it or not, raises a serious point—and it must be my point of departure for next week, since I’ve run rather long today.

“The Federated States of America”: Looking for Words in the Constitution’s Ashes (Part II)

I was vague, and probably imprecise, in my previous post about what I consider might become one of the most important provisions (perhaps the most important) in the neo-constitutional Federated States of America.  Obviously, I’m still thinking this through—and doing so with infinitely more distress than Nancy Pelosi brought to her impeachment charade, whose “sad and solemn” fruition she commemorated by regaling all signators with gold pens, courtesy of your and my taxes.  Do we need a more graphic illustration of constitutional government’s demise?  If you’re in such need, read Rachel Alexander’s analysis of Steve Stockman’s continued immolation at the hands of Obama-appointed judges this past week.  The legislative branch has turned lynch mob, and the judicial branch ties hangman’s knots while hearing cases.

Anyway… when I wrote last week that individual states should be free to demand ten years of stable residency before allowing citizens to vote in their elections, I was insufficiently clear about the this provision’s being an allowance.  That is, it’s a “take it or leave it” proposition.  Those states preferring to let everyone vote who shows up at the polls (as the city of New York has essentially just done) should be utterly free to build their house on such grainy sand.  My approach has much of the libertarian about it.  Any viable alternative to our present, insistent slouch toward Sodom and Gomorrah must graphically confront a lazy, self-indulgent populace with starkly opposing options.  Both will be harsh, because they must be at this point.  “You want freedom?  Then stitch your own safety net.  You want a master?  Then eat your fill of servitude.”  I believe that people, alone and in aggregate, should be permitted to behave like idiots as long as their neighbors are not placed in jeopardy.  Nothing short of constant cold douses in reality’s waters will salvage fragments of our democratic republic.

I assume, of course—who wouldn’t?—that most people will soon tire of idiocy and choose to grow up a bit.  The mass exodus of taxpayers from the West Coast, its beautiful scenery notwithstanding, suggests as much.  Denying such refugees (if I may use that word in circumstances where it actually applies) the right to vote immediately in their new home state is, in a sense, for their own good.  The contagion which they flee may, after all, be incubating in their veins.  It must have time to germinate, run its feverish course, and at last be repelled by more healthy influences.

In the meantime, “idiot states” must not be allowed automatic access to the resources of their more disciplined neighbors.  Provision of a common defense is indispensable: it is, indeed, the single preemptive function allotted to the federal government by the Constitution (and the single function, as well, which impeachment-frenzied Democrats and fundraising-frenzied Republicans stubbornly neglect).  In the formal fragmentation which I believe must overtake our national polity if we are to preserve its vital pieces, federal tax dollars will go almost entirely to defense.  Huge central bureaucracies whose unelected ideologues issue dictatorial decrees must vanish.

In practical terms, this means that the much-reduced central government of our looser federation will not mandate a national minimum wage.  It will (of course—obviously) not require that everyone have health insurance.  It will not harrow the work environment with OSHA police constantly holding ruinous fines over the heads of small-business owners.  It will not define marriage for the entire nation or enforce punitive measures upon wedding caterers with religious principles.  It will not “create winners and losers” by micro-managing citizens’ lives even after they end (as in promulgating “standards” that enrich unionized undertakers and delight peddlers of life insurance).

The Department of Education, the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services… all gone, all abolished.  The original Constitution provides for no such bureaucratic mega-engineering.  The mushroom-like proliferation careerist autocrats lording it over key areas of ordinary existence has become a primary impediment to our basic freedoms.  A critic is sure to protest, “But how, then, may we rest assured that our trans-continental roads have secure bridges?”  The interstate highway system, it seems to me, in fact provides an excellent example of a costly boondoggle.  For years, my wife and I regularly made the transit from Texas to Georgia and back.  When my son was in college, our adventures would also take us north to Sioux City and (later) northwest to Denver about once every four months.  Although almost all of our mileage was logged on interstate highways, the disparity in road quality was striking.  Evidently, the money delivered to State X for construction and maintenance was not always spent as wisely as it was in State Y.  The moral of the story is this.  Intrusive bureaucracy is inefficient, at best.  At worst (and most often), it is a corruption-generating engine.  It primes local political machines that prosper on feeding special interests.

Let individual states work out their own priorities and find their own resources for addressing them.  It has to be this way: it must and will be this way sooner or later, when the dollar turns into the Weimar Deutschmark.  If Louisiana’s public schools are less like the Taj Mahal than Oregon’s, then perhaps Louisianans have decided—or should decide—to concentrate their sparse funding on teaching basic math rather than building Olympic swimming complexes on select campuses.  I realize that local bond issues usually raise the cash for such lavish flights to Cloudcuckooland; but it’s my impression, as well, that federal grants often enter the mix—and certainly that federal mandates figure in the “necessity” of this or that costly overhaul.

Now, a cluster of three or four contiguous states might certainly share a lively interest in keeping their connective transportation arteries in a high state of repair.  Indeed, there should be no legal impediment to the coalescence of willing individual states into corporate entities.  An area where agriculture is of supreme importance might wish to share educational resources in order to maximize productive, cost-effective farming.  An area unusually exposed to penetration by foreign smugglers might wish to pool its enforcement resources with special intensity.  And, yes, if certain states are bound and determined to meet their energy needs with wind turbines and solar panels, then they might wish to string their carcinogenic, wildlife-slaughtering gear up and down the Cascades while swapping native shamans from various tribes to bless their lunacy.  (Like wasteful spending on highways, however, this particular rip-off engine would break down as soon as federal funds no longer existed to prime its squalid corporatist pump.)

In the final years of the Soviet Union, I recall hearing of an assessment within the Kremlin (I cannot now recover the source) that foresaw the U.S. fragmenting into five distinct national units—which the Russians, no doubt, anticipated exploiting.  Mr. Putin will most surely seek to woo the more brain-cooked regions of our political Chernobyl into an alliance if we do not preserve a defensive unity.  Yet it would be reasonable to suppose that the Northeast, the South, the West Coast, the Great Lakes region, and the flyover “breadbasket” of the central continent would all find advantages in a degree of revenue- and infrastructure-sharing.  We have developed a toxic pattern of top-down, “obey or else” collaboration in these Disunited States since Franklin Roosevelt’s take-over of our system.  Why not return to voluntary associations freely forged and dissolved by citizens pursuing their own best interest?  Again, the one stricture which must be scrupulously maintained is the defensive one—and its preservation, if one may judge from the level of subversion ongoing in our nation’s capital, will almost certainly require a dusting off of such archaic measures as lifetime exile and execution for high treason.

A final messy point lingering from last week’s projections will suffice to turn my stomach against this unpleasant subject for another several days… but our renegade federal judiciary simply has to be dealt with.  Any serious constitutionalist must fear its activity far more than that of Hezbollah.  In recent weeks, Daniel Horowitz has brilliantly explained on Conservative Review why having a critical mass of Constitution-friendly judges on the Supreme Court and throughout the land is no solution to our crisis at all; for the real problem is that we have accepted—we citizens, our legislators, our chief executive—that any federal judge can sideline any initiative from any other branch of government (or, indeed, from a higher court) by going ideologically ballistic.  As a concerned sexagenarian taxpayer who has no formal training in law (and who refuses to watch Law and Order reruns), I quickly wander out of my depth when I consider our legal system.  I have managed to overcome a natural embarrassment at my own shortcomings only because I’ve come to realize that many of our judges have jettisoned everything they ever learned in law school.  Yes, the Constitution provides for a Supreme Court, and my comments of last week vigorously questioned the need of that body in a looser federation, where state (and possibly regional) supreme courts would have the ultimate say.  Yet enforcement merely of the common obligation to provide for and collaborate in national defense would require some august body of arbiters who could hang traitors from a yardarm.  I recognize, then, that a Supreme Court would serve an essential function.  I also recognize, though, that it’s not serving that function very plausibly at present.

For now, let me sign off with this straightforward dichotomy.  Some people in our nation desire us to become the People’s Republic of America.  Several (far, far too many) of our elected representatives have indeed expressed enthusiastic approval of Castro’s Cuba and Mao’s (now Xi’s) China.  These people should be disqualified from positions of influence.  My proposals would clarify the moral foundation of such denial.  Let us present states—and even regions—with the option to become as socialist as they wish while still collaborating in the defense of the broader free republic.  If they prefer to side with China against their neighboring states where self-defensive weapons are legal and where humanity has only two genders, then ban them from public office; and if they grow militant, then banish them from the republic.  Reject their citizenship.  If I’m content to live next door to you although you have two dozen cats running throughout the house, but you keep breaking my windows in order to thrust felines into my living space, then… then you should go to the lock-up for your insanity, not I for my “intolerance”.  I’m confident that, even in our advanced stage of cultural dissolution, most Americans would agree with this verdict.

“The Federated States of America”: Looking for Words in the Constitution’s Ashes (Part I)

thumbnail-3

Lento adiutorio opus est contra mala continua et fecunda, non ut desinant sed ne vincant.

“Steady assistance is needed in the struggle against constant, fertile evils—not that they may be eliminated, but that they may not prevail.”  ~  Seneca

I’ll cut to the chase without reprising all my reasons for addressing this topic.  If you want a brief, specific, and fully convincing motive for regarding the future of our republic as in severe jeopardy, consider Daniel Horowitz’s recent discussions of “judicial supremacy” on his Conservative Review podcast (e.g., on 1/10 and 1/16).  The current game-plan of our society’s best organized subversives is to seed red states forcibly, one by one, with welfare-dependent masses from parts of the world that have no probability of assimilating into mainstream culture.  Soros-funded campaigns put the necessary judges in place to execute this political and cultural sabotage.  When these black-robed “change agents” over-reach by creating new law rather than adjudicating extant law, or when they decree from the bench in cases where the plaintiff has no standing, other branches of government are stricken with a “deer in the headlights” paralysis rather than energized to apply a constitutionally required pushback.  Case in point: a federal judge in Maryland has ex vacuo just declared illegal President Trump’s initiative to give state governors a “nay” over further resettlement of “refugees”.  As Mr. Horowitz says, judges in such instances might as well just turn on the courtroom lights and write up a stay of proceedings on a blank piece of paper.  (Not that any such end-around play seems necessary, as far as the governors are concerned; 19 of 26 Republican govs have already protested that they want more analphabetic non-Anglophones from crucibles of Sharia extremism.)

So… what’s a state to do?  For at least the next couple of weeks, I want to chase after some admittedly vague ideas—suggested to me, however, by what’s happening in real time throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Like many other constitutionalists, I find oddly encouraging the rebellion of law-abiding Virginians against their renegade state legislature’s rapacious assault upon Second Amendment rights.  It’s odd to be cheering for such a rebellion, because Richmond’s volley of imperious commands to surrender privately owned firearms is, after all, issued in superficially legal fashion.  Yet the manner in which long-time Virginia residents had control of their state wrested from them (i.e., through massive transplantation of Third World populations and “election” of Soros-bankrolled judges) is infuriating; and the laws taken as a cluster, if not each of them individually, violate the Second Amendment patently.  In this case, the subversion implicit judicial supremacy has been turned on its ear: legislators are clearly trespassing upon constitutionally guaranteed rights, and judges can take a holiday instead of initiating the trespass, as has become their wont.

Of course, when Virginians declare their counties “Second Amendment sanctuaries”, they’re following the lead of the approximately 600 cities throughout the U.S. whose subversive officials have declared them sanctuaries from the enforcement of immigration laws.  The legal precedent of blatant illegality, one might say, has been set… an unbinding precedent, to be sure.  But the real lesson here is that obedience to the law—to the law of laws, the Constitution—has become optional.  Even for the Left, and even with the assistance of their propagandizing lackeys in the news media, giving a free pass to one kind of “sanctuary” while calling in the troops to torch another will prove a tough sell.

And the Virginia Assembly has already manifested an eagerness to summon the National Guard and begin a gun-down of everyone who dares question the evil of owning a gun.  Its members are already behaving like little Leninists.  (As I write, I have just heard vague accounts of the same band of Bolsheviks attempting to shut down protests: why not go back and shred the First Amendment while incinerating the Second?) As soon as shots are fired in the evolving confrontation and the blood of American citizens flows in American streets, a Pandora’s Box will open which the shoulders of Atlas will never again close.  The nation’s elite—its Soros/Bloomberg/Steyer puppeteers with their Alyssas and Colins and Gretas dancing on strings—will have started a hot civil war.

I am not recommending an angry wave of secessionist proclamations in response.  The Union is necessary.  It’s so for the very reasons for which totalitarian, “one world” subversives seek to overthrow it: the vital functions it serves are the very ones explicitly spelled out in the Constitution, and the very ones ignored persistently by our representatives and sabotaged by our “justices”.  We need shared borders.  We need to provide for a common defense.  Especially as the Chinese oligarchy’s project of reducing humanity to servile automatons proceeds with alarming success (and one must presume that a piece of imperial pie is what motivates many of our puppet-masters), we must mount a united front against global dangers.  Why the usually infallible tactician, Vladimir Putin, has thrown in with Beijing’s megalomaniacs—who are far more certain than we to stick a knife in his back—is something I’ve never figured out.  Yet the hard fact remains that even Putin, with ravenous Han race-supremacists on one side, volatile Islamism on another, and the Orwellian E.U. (far more Soviet in many ways than the new Russia) on yet another, appears willing to collaborate in our destruction, though our survival is perhaps the one thing that keeps the Chinese battleship from swamping his gunboat.

Since it’s us—it’s U.S.—against the world, we must also share trading partners.  One state or group of states cannot be rubbing feet under the table with Israel while another cuddles up to Iran.  Likewise, we must not allow fragmentation to license regional standing armies.  If I were to joke that Gavin Newsom might extend certain perks to MS-13 if its generals would invade Arizona, I wouldn’t be able to smile very broadly.  I can foresee a card like that being played.  As noted above, Virginia’s “lawmakers” are already posed to give the “open fire” order against their own electors.  We can’t have Kansas Jayhawkers sparring with Texas Rangers or Tennessee Volunteers.  Barack Obama used to drool psychically over the prospect of a national police force.  The kind of break-up I have in mind would proceed under strict prohibition of any armed force not organized either as a local constabulary or a guardian of the entire nation from external threat.  Indeed, I would be tempted to make abuse of security forces in the suppression of citizenry a capital crime.

But a break-up… yes.  That’s what I have in mind, to some degree.  That’s what is in fact happening “in real time”, as they say: open your eyes.

In wrapping up today’s discussion (which drains me emotionally to the point that I can’t pursue it for long without exiting for fresh air), I would insist upon three distinct alterations.  The first is that states must be allowed to determine the criteria for legal voting within their borders.  Personally, I’m of the persuasion now (in the dark light which Mr. Soros has shed upon our vulnerabilities) that no one should be permitted to vote in a local or state election who hasn’t been resident in the state for ten years.  Just imagine how pleasant Austin and Denver would be today if such a law had existed in 1970!  California and Oregon, of course, would be free to enfranchise eight-year-olds, death-row inmates, and homeless cats.

National elections would proceed with each state having a single vote to cast: no “popular consensus” garbage that allows box-stuffing with ballots that Democrat psychics have completed for the dead or Democrat translators for weekend visitors from Tijuana.  The “People’s Party”, of course, will scream bloody murder at the prospect of seeing its plans to bloodily murder U.S. citizens thus short-circuited; but the new system wouldn’t allow them such luxury even if a resuscitated Mao ran for and won the presidency (which, come to think of it, is essentially the choice we’re being offered in the forthcoming election).

That’s because matters of common defense and coherence in trade policy would be the only ones where national uniformity could be enforced.  (In other words… yes, we’d return to the spirit of late great Constitution.)  There would be no body of nine unelected Dalai Lamas serving for life (and even afterward, with the aid of medication) in the role of bedroom monitor, head librarian, and super-nanny.  State judiciaries would have their own supreme courts.  Individuals who didn’t like the law of the local land could go find another state (and live there for ten years without voting… or vote three times instantly in California if they committed to the right party).  Non-compliance with properly national concerns, such as border enforcement or refusing trade to a rogue foreign nation, would result in exclusion from the union and possible designation as a hostile alien power.

No damn Supreme Court lording it over supreme courts.  No more Nine Olympians.

Finally (for today), all participating of foreign nationals in our political life through financing or influence-peddling of other varieties must be outlawed throughout the land as a security threat.  Violators should be considered collaborators in treason, it seems to me.  I realize that “influence” can be peddled in innumerable ways that impinge upon—but do not clearly intersect—the political.  In fact, I further realize that no institution of human design is proof against human corruption and folly over the long haul.  For this historical moment, however, let us at least “build a wall” (a phrase that has now lapsed into metaphor) and plug the tunnels later as they appear.  No decent, thoughtful adult wants to replicate the PRC’s tactics of filtering the Internet or inviting dissent-minded editorialists to the police station for “a cup of tea” (from which they stagger home in six months).  We should anticipate dissent: we should accept it, even, as a healthy vital sign.  But the cataracts of raw wealth poured into the entertainment industry, the broadcast media, and “public service” NGO’s by global enemies of freedom must be dammed up.  Personally—and I write this as one who created a 501(c)3 and operated it for two decades—I should recommend the elimination of all tax exemptions.  Every one of them that I’ve ever seen can be played shamelessly by the savvy, with a considerable net loss to the happiness and prosperity of the very people supposedly being served.

But what, you say, of the squid-like reach (think deep-ocean Giant Squid) of vast federal bureaucracies such as the Department of Education?  I’ll post my response next time, if it needs spelling out.

Find a Water Source and Stuff Your Cupboard: Happy 2020!

thumbnail-6

2019 ended with my having discovered Daniel Horowitz’s podcast, Conservative Review (originally a video broadcast on The Blaze network). Once Horowitz and his guest Steve Deace had combined to dissect the omnibus bill, promptly signed by President Trump amid high-fives all around FOX News, I knew that any peace I was to find over the holidays must come from within. That’s not a bad realization. I have spent most of the past two weeks, in fact, enjoying my son’s visit and completing a manuscript about my religious faith. We should remind ourselves once in a while that anyone whose hopes rest upon this world is doomed to disappointment.

Nevertheless, a year that began with my dedicating a futile tome to a poor bloke who will rot away for the rest of his life in a Georgia prison because a jury couldn’t understand “reasonable doubt”, then continued with my unearthing (mostly through Diana West’s labors) how the hundred-million-murder march of Stalinist/Maoist communism was made possible by FDR… well, let’s just say the 2019 nag ran true to form all the way to the finish line. Mr. Trump is vastly preferable to the socialist alternative. On the other hand, he isn’t Washington crossing the Delaware, contrary to memes circulated throughout social media by wishful thinkers. He’s certainly not the return of Christ (another favorite meme). He’s a man who loves attention, receives some very bad advice, and “cuts deals” by entering an absurdly high initial bid and then gulping down the come-back without any dickering. Happy 2020.

My advocacy on behalf of securing the power grid was also plugged into a dead socket. Nobody cares. I’m not sure that I even care any more. Do you want to believe “studies” designed by power companies to conclude a) that an electro-magnetic pulse would be almost impossible to create, and b) that the grid is rock-solid, anyway? Okay. I guess we’ll find out when the next major solar storm flares up (oh… and those studies forgot to mention solar storms, by the way). I’ve probably got 500 gallons of rainwater collected in various tubs around the property, and I have the means to purify it. Our cupboard is full of rice and canned nuts, and I’ve stocked up on shotgun shells. I do wish that my son didn’t live on the fringe of a sanctuary city, where rioting and looting will exceed even Hollywood’s ability to project after all the power has been off for a couple of weeks; but he has water-purification tablets, guns, and a few close friends who know how to shoot.

As for the rest of the nation… let’s just leave it at this. When one of my letters to an elected representative finally drew a response, I was told (and I condense): “Climate change is of great concern to me. That’s why I am working hard to promote clean energy through the construction of the —– nuclear power facility.” A Republican senator in action: keep those campaign contributions from the power companies coming, and also try (weakly and vainly) to outflank the Left by hugging some trees. Umm… EMP and climate change, Senator, are not… oh, forget it.

I subsequently had the bright idea, shared in this space, that the “demography is destiny” prophets of doom might be gainsaid if we could actually encourage some non-Caucasian conservatives in their bid for public office. My efforts drew comments on social media that reminded me of my promotion of Ted Cruz years earlier. Oh my God, Heidi Cruz has worked for Goldman-Sachs! Oh my God, Lerah Lee admits that she admired Barbara Bush as a child because both had attended the same high school! Apparently, a much, much better idea would be to nominate (in one case) a quondam registered Democrat whose daughter and her husband share more than a few ideaas with Liz and Bernie, or to nominate (in the other case) a white woman so wealthy that she can finance her campaign largely from her own bank account. Haven’t I already read this Republican script a few dozen times—didn’t I just read it a few days ago? “Climate change is of great concern to me….”

This week, I had kicked around a similar idea about “outreach”. Since our nation is now so flooded in illegal residents that we can’t accurately number them within ten million, since several states are eagerly issuing driver’s licenses to them, and since we know that many have already voted in past elections… well, would there be any way to peel some of them off of the Nanny State pap? Perhaps by appealing to their dignity, their manhood? Perhaps by circulating fluent Spanish-speakers through their communities warning, “The free stuff will run out! You’re being played—your vote is being bought! Free school, free health care, free road repairs, free police protection… the nation is going bankrupt, and you will be the first to feel the squeeze! You’re being set up! Don’t you want to contribute, to be respected? To be a part of the broader community? Or do you want your sons joining gangs when there’s no more free anything, and your daughters being kidnapped and enslaved when it’s no longer safe to walk out the front door?”

And so forth. Except that I finally got a hold of Michelle Malkin’s Open Borders, Inc. The first chapter was enough to enlighten me. Most of our beloved “refugees” aren’t fleeing cartel violence and a complicit, corrupt police force. Their way is paved by complex international bureaucracies, almost literally, mile after mile. Billionaire subversives and US-hostile nations conniving at our dissolution are bankrolling elaborate networks to keep the spate of migrants flowing. Everybody at the table wins (though you and I don’t get through the door). Mexico and other “donor” nations reap billions annually from wages sent back home, even as they relieve themselves of an indigent population that had posed nothing but problems in the past. The PRC primes the same pump, sits back, and watches our political system collapse. The New World Order oligarch-hopefuls see their empire of innumerable servile minions taking shape. Mainstream churches harvest a little more in the collection plate if they can woo some of the newcomers into their congregation—but the big money is paid by our tax dollars to church organizations that “resettle” the “refugees”. Democrats acquire tens of thousands of new voters in various localities; and Republicans… well, they have another occasion to display their compassion as their constituents watch taxes, culture, order, and rule of law thrown into the bonfire. Republicans are concerned about climate change, you know.

So… no, I don’t think a Spanish-language appeal to dignity and manhood would make a dint on this crowd of money-hungry adventurers who use their children as passports. The real “backbone of Mexico” is back in Mexico, trying to ride out a civil war that didn’t need months of blackout to erupt. Their communities are unraveling because their footloose, opportunistic brethren have taken off for the Yanqui Klondike: the nearly 600 sanctuary cities, where abogados and advocacy groups tell you how to milk the cash cow (Apple has an app, according to Malkin, that puts illegals instantly in touch with such vital information). With so much money filtering back to the old country through such irregular channels, a farmer who wants to grow his melons and peppers is an endangered species. Adiós, America… yes, and Adiós, Mexico.

For good news, I turn to… wait a minute, still looking… ah, yes. The Second-Amendment Sanctuary movement in Virginia, proceeding county by county. The newly elected Virginia duma is already licking its collective chops at the prospect of calling in the National Guard to gun down non-compliant citizens, so we may expect to see something like Janet Reno’s Waco before the year’s end. And then… then, unlike the aftermath of Waco, the shooting will just be starting. Fort Sumter might be a better analogy, once the smoke clears.

And that’s the good news. But remember: Republicans, too, are concerned about climate change.

2020: Will the Awful Horror Be a Silver Lining?

thumbnail-2

My son is gone again, a thousand miles away… safely back in his sanctuary city.  That is to say, safely on the ground, as in no longer airborne on the jetliner of a nation that has allowed hundreds of Al Qaeda and Hezbollah to penetrate its wide-open border.  On the ground of a southwestern city overrun by drug cartels whose coffers have probably already bought off substantial numbers of local politicians and law enforcement personnel….

Happy New Year!  And many, many thanks to our president and our Republican representatives for rubber-stamping a spending bill that will count illegal residents on the next census, thereby awarding perhaps three dozen more seats to Democrats around the country… in return for 700 miles of border wall.  I think I’ve seen this year before, and it wasn’t pretty.

But are there silver linings?  Well, of course!  One just has to know where to look.  The Chinese, for instance, will surely be uninterested in prodding us into outright war, or even in taking advantage of our unprotected power grid, as long as we continue to make such haste toward their own system of government.  They’re already working hand in glove with the cartels; and if ninety percent of us should starve or freeze in a protracted blackout, who would buy their poisoned drugs and trashy electronics to keep their military dictatorship afloat?  Come to think of it, maybe Xi Jinping should secure our grid after the fashion of his own, lest a purely natural solar flare should neutralize the strategic gun held to our heads.  Losing nine customers out of ten isn’t a spot he wants to be in.

And as for the rise of the managerial state, voted into perpetual power by blue-collar drones who can’t speak the language and need massive public assistance to negotiate every aspect of life… bring that on, too.  The sooner we all look like California, the better.  Seriously.  The dollar will collapse, no more money will be pouring from the public spigot, people will stop coming here, those who are stuck here and on the public pap will riot in the streets, our elected gun-grabbers will have no more remotely defensible “mandate” to disarm law-abiding citizens, some of the personnel we pay (now in funny-money) may actually be freed by the courts to defend us….

Or they may do so on their own—forget about the courts.  We’re already seeing the “sanctuary movement” break out of its originally subversive bounds and nose its way in neo-constitutional directions.  The Virginia response to invasion-and-occupation has been genuinely heartening.  I have long puzzled over just how secession might realistically take place.  It hadn’t occurred to me that the Left would point the way by shredding rule of law through the fiats of radical metropolitan city councils.  But that door is now wide open, along with our national border-in-name-only.  It’s Wild West time.

Back to the “People’s Republic” of China… do we really need an aggressive policy to contain the Taliban, now on the rise again, when the Chinese oligarchs have made it so clear in Xinjiang Province that they intend to exterminate Islam?  Iran has buddied up with them for the moment because sadistic totalitarian oligarchs tend to flock together… for a while.  A brief while.  But the mullahs, too, will be “re-educated” by the Chinese in a few short years if they should somehow manage to cling to power.

And that leaves Putin.  I have more respect for this man’s political acumen than for that of any other head of state on the planet (though I wouldn’t like to be sharing his soul when the Death comes a-knocking).  The Russian plutocrat has to know that his ravenously insatiable neighbors will want Manchuria in the not-too-distant future… as well as, oh, any other little pieces lying about the chessboard.  He has to know, as he plays with the other devil for his soul, that this one has designs on all his worldly accomplishments.  Sometimes the best policy is to hunker down and let the killers slaughter each other.  (I wish that had occurred to Churchill eighty years ago… but then, FDR was already deep in Stalin’s pocket.)

I’m sorry to be such a grumpy old man as 2020 slouches toward Hollywood to be born.  My wife and I passed an unforgettable week with our son.  Maybe the thought of what he and his generation will face after I’ve fled this world has left me bitter… or maybe I’m just a bit angry at his insistent self-insulation from all the threats around him, which he denominates “politics” and waves away as silly distraction.  That’s one of the leftist machine’s most brilliant achievements: anesthetizing vast segments of the population to bored indifference as humane society is destroyed for decades to come.  I’m sincerely joyful that my boy has discovered religious faith and is progressing by leaps and bounds in spiritual understanding.  He gets the “salvation” part.  Now he and his peers are steaming full-speed-ahead into the Awful Horror part.

The joy is real, and it doesn’t disappoint… but it’s also not of this world, and we have to get from here to there.  Fasten your vests and limber up the lifeboats.

 

Sometimes the Only Alternative to “Conspiracy Theory” Is Lobotomy

nightmareEB 2

I believe I have found an appropriate synonym for the unwieldy phrase, “engaging in conspiracy theory”. Let’s just call it “thinking”.

Say that a young man’s date for Friday night cancels on Friday afternoon, pleading that an intense migraine has overtaken her. Disconsolate, he wanders into the local watering hole later that evening… where he spies his girlfriend absorbing cocktails and laughing in brave defiance of the famous headache as a tall, dapper stranger whispers in her ear. Our young man thinks… what? That he’s been misled? That he’s been played? Why, he deserves to be jilted if that’s what he’s made of! Conspiracy theorist!

Your high-school-senior son says he’ll be out late on Saturday night—not to wait up, that he and his friends have formed a study group to ace all of next week’s final exams. You take him at his word and go to bed. The next morning, you find his book bag just where he left it upon returning from classes Friday afternoon. Out in the garage, you discover his hand-me-down car wedged in at a very odd angle and notice empty beer cans knocking around in the back seat. And you conclude… what? That he didn’t spend the night studying? I hope they come arrest you, you… you conspiracy theorist!

John Stossel dared to point out last Wednesday that our 23 trillion debt hasn’t faded away, despite what appears to be a rip-roaring economy.  Indeed, the debt continues to mushroom, and Mr. Stossel notes that a day of reckoning must come. These facts can hardly come as a dazzling revelation to elected representatives of either party, yet neither Democrats nor Republicans have the stomach to carve a dime from our entitlement programs. That’s by no means shocking, and the major fault for their paralysis lies with us. Every politico on either side of the aisle knows that fiscal responsibility is the kiss of death, so both wait for the other side to make the fatal move in a game of “chicken”….

Or so one might have said fifteen years ago, when the looming catastrophe was already fully visible. These days, however, Democrats are not simply waiting for Republicans to cave in and show an understanding of elementary arithmetic. No: every Democratic candidate for president is trying to outbid the others in exorbitant offers of “free stuff”—free health care, free college, free annual income. Free citizenship, even—a free right to vote on how much of other people’s money you want to pocket, freedom from prosecution when you break the nation’s laws, freedom to vote (once again) when you’re clumsy enough to get yourself sent away to prison for lawbreaking too spectacular to be ignored.

And… and is there no endgame here, beyond getting elected? Is that what we are to think—that every single Democrat in office or seeking office nowadays is so incredibly stupid as not to understand that we have no cash for such palaces of fantasy? Some, to be sure, are stunningly challenged by basic addition (especially those with economics degrees from Ivy League institutions). But all of them?

Well, yes, that’s precisely what we are to think, what we must think… unless we wish to descend into the vile, malodorous realm of conspiracy theory!

We must assume, furthermore, that no Democrat has a plan for what to do when Social Security and Medicare checks dry up, when rioting breaks out in the streets, when the nation from coast to coast begins to look like San Francisco. For if such a plan exists, counting on a crisis which must not “go to waste”… wouldn’t that be a conspiracy?

Bestowing the right to vote upon felons and foreign nationals begins to look like a plan of some particularly dark design, especially when you factor in the Democratic Party’s zeal for denying legal citizens their Second Amendment rights. Is this merely a matter of adding the criminal vote (and the child vote, if Pelosi had her druthers) to the dead vote in order to ensure permanent Democrat hegemony… or is massive civil unrest being courted to justify calling out the National Guard, transforming it into the National Police Force dreamt of by Barack Obama, suspending elections, and settling into a true socialist oligarchy in the grand old Soviet or Maoist style? The whole thing begins to look like… but, nah! Pull yourself up short and take several steps back! You know where that kind of thinking leads!

Now, Republicans don’t open the border to terrorists while taking defensive weapons at gunpoint from legal citizens. They don’t invite Israelis to vacation by the thousand in Chicago during the first week of November and bestow upon them the right to vote as pro tempore residents. They actually resign if caught having sex with the cleaning lady’s underaged daughter, and they hold the Constitution in highest regard… except that, you know, the President is the Commander in Chief, and waging war in that capacity is sometimes a bit hampered by the need of a formal declaration from the Senate. It’s important to whisk around this small planet like Superman and stay the raised hand of the evil-doer… so important that parliamentary procedure sometimes gets trimmed at the edges. Islamo-fascism has to be nipped in the bud wherever its dark flower breaks the surface; the Religion of Peace has to be given a chance to nourish new democracies and marketplaces.

Although… one would think that, with such a keen interest in defense, the Republicans would address themselves to seeking an alliance with Putin’s Russia instead of driving her closer and closer into the embrace of Red China, the one nation on earth aggressively, openly gobbling up its neighbors or commandeering their resources while conducting campaigns of ethnic cleansing and instituting Orwellian monitoring of ordinary people. One would think that continuing to feed Wall Street by allowing the PRC to take over vast portions of our industrial sector and purloin all of our intellectual property of value would stir Republican indignation.

One would think, most especially, that Republicans would have been clamoring to have the national power grid secured against electro-magnetic pulse attack and solar flares during the Ryan/Boehner years of enjoying substantial power in Congress. After all, if ninety percent of the North American populace would die in the wake of a catastrophic nation-wide power outage, if this has been understood since the late twentieth century, if the cost of hardening the grid is relatively minuscule, and if Republicans are such valiant hawks in the matter of providing our military with tanks (as opposed, say, to modernizing the nuclear arsenal)… well… well, what?

One of my Republican senators responded last week to my letter expressing concern about the unsecured grid with an assurance (and I’ve no doubt that this was an auto-responder’s assurance) that he cared about “climate change” and, to that end, was doing his all to advance the construction of a nuclear power plant. Fine. Thanks for listening.

Perhaps we witness here a mere greasing of conventional pockets in the energy sector, just as we see in Democrats a mere pandering to the “what’s in it for me?” crowd with endless offers of free stuff from other people’s closets. Perhaps there really is nothing to see here, on either side. One doesn’t like to be a… you know: a conspiracy theorist!

But as I mused at the end of my just-published essays collected over a period fifteen years, Nightmare Made of Dreams: A Conservative Scholar Assesses Our Nation’s Declining Taste for Self-Sufficiency, there’s something really odd going on under our noses. The phenomenon now popularly known as the Phoenix Lights occurred over twenty years ago. It was seen by thousands (including Governor Fife Symington of Arizona) and photographed or videoed by dozens, perhaps hundreds. Strange craft were silently executing maneuvers over a major southwestern metropolitan area that any Physics or Engineering professor at any public university would denounce as patently impossible. Somebody did that… and somebody in our government knows who the somebody was. I have a feeling—not an articulated theory, just a feeling—that our off-budget defense programs are vastly more advanced than most of us believe (whether or not the craft over Phoenix were built at Area 51 or on Alpha Centauri b). That hunch consoles me. It would be nice if our defenses were indeed much more sophisticated than they appear to the casual eye. I can also muster little outrage at the utterly covert nature of such projects (though why one of them went overt on March 13, 1997, is a puzzler). If you reckon for a moment how leaky our “security” agencies have been around the Trump Administration, and if you then consider the premier importance of projects like these, you’d want another blanket of secrecy thrown over them rather than more sunlight penetrating to them.

Yet there remains that deadly sunlight—those solar flares against which our grid is not secure. How can a nation whose elite engineers have refined the ability to defy gravity not have built Faraday cages around its power generators? That’s like asking how a nuclear submarine cannot have a protocol to see that someone shuts the hatch before a dive.

What’s the game? As a citizen, I say to my representatives, “I don’t want to know all your secrets. I shouldn’t know them… because if such a one as I knows them, then the Chinese surely will. I don’t even want to write a futuristic novel wherein you happy few retreat to Dr. Strangelove’s bunker, let the rest of us rioting rabble die of starvation and self-slaughter, and then climb out in eight months to repel the Red Guard with flying saucers. But is something like that really the plan? Does the plan really require that we and our children and grandchildren die like rats on the Flying Dutchman? Is something like that in store for us? No? Then why won’t you secure the damn grid?”

Preserving the Principle of Color-Blindness May Destroy Our Republic As a Practical Consequence

thumbnail-6thumbnail-2

A few days back, columnist Scott Morefield posted a piece arguing that all issues of concern to conservatives must be subordinated to imposing some semblance of order upon our wide-open immigration door.  I fully understand Mr. Morefield’s position.  It’s incorrect, in that the insecure power grid is an even more preemptive issue: abortion, gender-engineering, “canceling”, and all the rest go away if ninety percent of us die within a year of an EMP attack or powerful solar flare.  But… put that to one side.  The deliberate and overnight tribalization of electoral decisions is undoubtedly a clever way around the civil marketplace of ideas.  In fact, the detour’s diabolical path has been mapped out clearly by others for years.  Ann Coulter leaps to mind—but I believe Pat Buchanan has been sounding the alert even longer.

The view has a certain “squirm factor” in that it might be said to reflect genuine racism: i.e., it implies that immigrants of non-European origin are incapable of valuing freedom and, instead, bring with them a genetic craving for servitude.  This may be an unfair interpretation of the Coulter/Buchanan hypothesis (I’m more confident that it is in the former than the latter instance). Unfortunately, rank-and-file proponents of restricted immigration rarely take the time to draw fine distinctions.  It’s worth stressing—and is not stressed enough—that comfort with subjugation is a cultural acquisition; it’s not encoded in anyone’s DNA.  I am not a racist if I discover and announce that a certain culture’s preferred food is unhealthy, even though I’m sure to encounter resistance if I try to steer that culture’s members toward a different diet.  In the same way, the proper objection to the ongoing deluge of non-European immigrants (both legal and illegal) is that they import with their other baggage a learned and customary tolerance of paternalistic, top-down governance.  It’s what they’ve always known.

Now, though I have a degree of sympathy with this argument when its emphasis falls in the right place, it always fails to convince me fully.  Many of our immigrants who fled from totalitarian regimes became, quite logically, our strongest promoters of basic freedoms.  They or their immediate families had experienced the abject misery at the spectrum’s other end.  Elia Kazan (pilloried in his lifetime and despised in memory for exposing the thorough communist infiltration of Hollywood) was born to Greek Orthodox parents who fled the oppression of Muslim Turkey.  Sebastian Gorka’s parents similarly fled Soviet-dominated Hungary to find asylum in England.  Gordon Chang’s father had escaped Communist China, into which Chang won further insights after working as a legal counsel for almost two decades in Hong Kong and on the mainland.  Humberto Fontova was brought to America from Castro’s Cuba at the age of seven, his father following after three months of detention and his cousin murdered while in the hands of interrogators.

The reason, therefore, that our present horde of immigrants votes almost to a person for Big Brotherly government (including those hundreds of thousands who vote illegally) isn’t that its masses just can’t say goodbye to the joys of having a patrón peering down upon them from his proud, snorting alazán.  No: the problem is that we pay them to vote for new masters.  They get “free stuff” (a phrase which AOC has declared she will hunt to extinction—but I hope to be dead to this world long before she has the power to act upon her whimsy).  When you get paid by a corrupt system just to breathe air, you probably don’t hold your breath in principled protest.  I’m about to start drawing Social Security.  I would willingly forego every dime of it if I thought the savings to the government would be fully deducted from our national debt (for I’ve known throughout my adult life that Uncle Sam couldn’t be trusted to provide for my retirement, and I invested accordingly).  But why strike that noble pose when the corrupt demagogues who lord it over us would only use my gift to fund further vote-buying schemes?  Oh, they’ll do that, anyway, I know.  Part of the Grand Plan is to spend the nation into ruin—which will then precipitate the coalescence of a one-world government (with an elite oligarchy at the top, after the Chinese fashion).  All the more reason, though, just to grab my own few pennies while I can.

I’m confident that nothing I’ve written so far will have left anyone behind in the dust.  This isn’t climate science (which appears to be infinitely harder to grasp than rocket science).  Yet we make a mistake, I think, to disdain others who will never visit a site like this, and who instead are influenced by “optics”.  It does look bad to be advocating constantly an approach to political and economic life that puts one on the far side from people of color; and when one’s program for political survival amounts to keeping more people of color from entering the country… well, it looks even worse.  We know that the situation is more complicated than that.  From numerous angles, however, we should also be able to see that couching the struggle in Morefield/Coulter/Buchanan terms isn’t the road to victory.  (For instance, even if we stemmed the flow of non-European immigration, we’d have our own self-hating tribe to contend with in colleges and the media—a tribe that also doesn’t reproduce at replacement-rate.)  In the meantime… we’re surrounded by those terrible optics.

May I ask why we cannot strengthen our position by actively recruiting people of color for positions of power?  Yes, that flies in the face of our principled commitment to choosing “the best man for the job”… but isn’t it a little suspicious, after all, that so many men are on the job for us, and all of them (with the retirement of William Hurd from the House) white?  And are they so plainly the best?  I was in the fight to push Brian Kemp across the finish line ahead of rabid socialist Soros-and-Oprah tool Stacey Abrams a year ago.  This past week I was treated to the prospect of our “best man” appointing a career Romneyite to serve out Johnny Isakson’s term—and providing no other explanation to us, his frustrated constituents, other than the Peerless Leader’s, “I know what’s good for you.”  With friends like that….

So I submit that, other things being equal, there’s nothing at all wrong with having a candidate who happens to be black, and female, and—dare I say it?—physically attractive.  I know virtually nothing about the three women running for the House in Georgia-7 beyond what I’ve read on their websites; but one of them, Dr. Lerah Lee, is of African descent.  In addition to that “credential” (if it be such), her site specifies the following objectives: “Secure our borders, defend our Second Amendment rights, support our veterans, hold the line on spending and taxes, help the next generation have better opportunities.” Not a bad list! If Dr. Lee’s competition is similarly inclined, though, should her racial heritage tip the balance in her favor—would I be condoning quotas and identity-politics if I pressed my thumb on her scale?  Perhaps.  But I don’t think standing in inflexible defense of color-blindness is fully worth the sacrifice of the republic. Such a consequence may just be the price of principle.

And again… exactly why are there no black females in Congress with “R” behind their name (President Trump having peevishly declined to support Mia Love in ’16 after her lukewarm reaction to his lifestyle)?  Is that absence just a statistical anomaly?  An ongoing statistical anomaly?  Or is there some Al Campanis variety of explanation?  Yeah… that’s what I’m afraid of.

We’ve seen how courageously Kim Klacik stood up against both the corrupt Baltimore machine and the national news media.  Isn’t that recommendation enough?  She’s running for the House seat in Maryland-7.  I can’t afford to give her much—but she can have some of my first Social Security check when it arrives.

Has this discussion turned offensive to my typical readership?  I can well imagine why it might have.  We wish to judge people only by the content of their character.  But it’s painfully evident that we haven’t done so with great success—or that, more likely, some once-good characters were altered soon after entering the corridors of power.  Maybe, some day, term limits will minimize the almost Satanic transformation of virtuous characters into caricatures of goodness which we observe in Washington, over and over.

In the meantime, why not give optics a chance?  Why concede, in Coulter/Buchanan fashion, that the “hive-advocates” have people of color permanently on their side of the chessboard, and that only some move of inspired brilliance can save our democratic republic from checkmate?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Reparations”: A Tribal Drum Calling Human Beings Away From Responsibility

I tend to write either upon a subject that has fermented in me for a while or upon one that breaks down my psychic door, even though I would as soon concentrate my attention elsewhere.  Today a door has come off its hinges, so… I yield to the necessity of cleaning up the mess.

I have grown irritated at several thoughtful people who write against the propriety of “reparations”—i.e., the monetary indemnification of people with X amount of melanin for the ordeal endured by their slave-ancestors.  The bright but annoying types with whom I’m peeved will protest, “I’m white, but my ancestors had nothing to do with this outrage.  They arrived at Ellis Island in 1890”; or perhaps they tender the version, “My ancestors were German farmers and Italian craftsmen who emigrated in the 1850’s and probably contributed children to wear Union blue.”  The implication is that the demand for “reparations” is itself not unjust or unreasonable, but that the writer in question shouldn’t be liable for paying a dime.

I could shred this argument on its own terms if I wanted to.  I actually have little doubt that slaves lived in the households of my progenitors on both sides—not hundreds of slaves to work vast plantations, though Hollywood would have us believe (and has duped most of us into believing, apparently) that no other kind of slavery existed.  Rather, among my ancestors as among most slaveholders (“most” as in 95 percent), there was a groom, a cook, maybe a girl to wait the table and tend the nursery, maybe another man to oversee heavier chores about the house: three to five adults, in total.  These people were employed in the same work given primarily to indentured white servants before the early nineteenth century.  Why the gradual shift from indenture to slavery?  Because Northern slavers found it profitable.  Arabic raiders plundered villages in northwestern Africa, and Yankee schooners from Long Island or Boston or Baltimore shuttled them across the Atlantic to Southern slave markets.  The North had no great need of slavery—or indenture (though the myth that no Union state practiced legal slavery during the Civil War is an ignorant falsehood).  With its far more industrialized economy, the North favored allowing competition in its populous towns and cities to drive down the daily wage and impose no burden of room and board on the employer.  The South, being far more rural and sparsely populated, was ripe for exploitation by the slave trade.  Slavery was an ugly business, all the way around—but it was a business from which the North drew a handsome profit.

It isn’t the sanctimonious hypocrisy of the, “My ancestors didn’t do it!” argument that most irritates me, however.  No… and it isn’t even the utter absence of historical awareness visible on all sides—but I’ll mention that in passing.  Were some slaves whipped, raped, separated from their families?  Unquestionably.  Slavery was a wicked, horrid institution—as were many institutions of the day.  The British Navy manned its fleet by “impressing” young men wherever it could find them.  The raids of its press gangs upon American merchant vessels, in fact, were one of the causes of the War of 1812.  This practice was essentially enslavement with a fairly high probability of mutilation or death in the aftermath.  Another example: in many parts of New England, drunkards and rioters were pilloried or otherwise brutally punished.  Farther south and west, feuds between families frequently produced a bullet in the back along a lonely road.  Thieves of a relatively petty variety were hanged.  Dueling was not uncommon.  Life was rough.  Women not uncommonly died in childbirth.  (And yet, for all the cruelty of the times, a newborn whose mother had no means of support would leave it at a church’s doorstep rather than, with the doctor’s help, cram its face in salt before shifting it to the dumpster.)

For all that, many slaves were considered part of the family.  The church which my wife attended as a child preserved evidence of a wall down its middle, created to divide slaves and masters.  In the Christian family, there should be no such division, to be sure—but here is solid evidence that the slave attended worship along with the owner (something that would never have happened up North).  My grandparents and their parents grew up playing with children of color.  The photo at the top of this piece was taken in about 1900 by a member of my father’s father’s family.  You can tell that black and white children, squeezed together (with the tiny tots of darker complexion in the middle), are playmates.  Brutality, in other words, was not universal nor even the norm—or perhaps only on large plantations, whose owners (often speculators and profiteers from the North) were typically despised by smaller, much more numerous farmers and had political interests inimical to most of their neighbors.  May I ask, in closing this digression, what Sherman’s ravages of the South did to keep either white or black children from starving, or how a “reconstruction” which abruptly ended in a couple of years left freedmen in a fit state to feed their families and make their way?

All of this aside—and it’s a lot to shove aside, for the willful stupidity of imbibing all one’s knowledge of the mid-nineteenth century from Django infuriates me—but all of it aside, the true outrage of “reparations” is the moral outrage of holding children responsible for their parents’ deeds.  The crazed immigrant who pushed a little boy over a rail to almost certain death in the Mall of America… should his children pay monthly compensation to the victim for the rest of his life, if he survives?  What if the would-be murderer claims that the rabble-rousing “hate speech” of Liz Warren, Kamala Harris, and other unscrupulous flame-throwers of the Left incited him to attempt a killing?  Should the Democratic Party pony up for the bereaved family two or three generations from now?

Should I refuse to let my son marry your daughter because your grandfather wore a Nazi uniform?  I believe Ted Bundy left a son behind; perhaps that child should be monitored for signs of schizophrenia… but should we place him in a classroom all by himself?  Alexander the Great was a marvel to his contemporaries for, among other things, not slaying the sons of his political adversaries when resistance reached open hostility.  Do we, too, now marvel at such restraint?  Does it no longer make any sense to us?

I know the my-ancestors-didn’t-do-this crowd hasn’t fully weighed the implications of its half-hearted objection… but weigh them, please.  Consider what you’re not saying as well as what you’re saying.  The “reparations” canard (and I have refused to use the word outside of quotations to signify my contempt and disgust) is evil.  It’s not a dumb idea or an impractical proposal: it is evil at its foundations.  The basis of any true morality—i.e., any that is not cultural conditioning masked as unquestioned goodness—must be individual conscience.  Each single person must be presumed capable of choosing his or her acts… and held accountable, by the way, for not choosing when he or she just goes with the flow.  Such a presumption is the foundation of our free society.  If we reject it and assume, instead, that people are infinitely programmable robots who do the bidding of their tribes or their demagogic leadership, then why have another free election?  Why accord the individual the right to defend himself from deadly attack?  Program him, rather, to die passively: he can be replaced by another robot, and the malfunctioning robot who slew him can be dismantled back at the factory.  Why allow couples to conceive, bear, and raise their own children—for the real thrust of the “pro-choice” movement is to regulate the production of new humans according to some master-plan of population density and racial composition.

Notice that all three of the preposterous positions just outlined—overhaul of free elections, suppression of the right to self-defense, and state-sponsored eugenics through abortion—are fast becoming leftist orthodoxy. There is no room in the progressive state for troublesome individualists who delay the march of progress. Our individual lives have no meaning: meaning is conferred upon them only by the ascendant vector of tomorrow’s golden dawn.

Megalomaniac leftist ideologues understand that “reparations” are completely consistent with their broader vision of a deterministic, inhuman apehouse whipped into line by their own superior inspiration—they, our insane prophets sent from some inscrutable, blank-and-pitiless heaven.  Most of their allies in our currently sitting Congress, I am convinced, no more embrace this depraved ideology to its last letter than people on my side of the fence oppose “reparations” simply because of a family-tree exemption.  Democrat presidential candidates, rather, are competing in offering bribes to a base that (they hope) can be bought.  Even among that base, few whose palms grow itchy at the thought of a “reparations check” in the mail, I imagine, seriously believe that they have no power over their lives—that the cards determining their destiny were shuffled 150 years ago.  They just want the “free stuff”.

But what will the next generation believe?  Once we raise its members totally immersed in the poisonous vapors of tribalism and determinism, what else will they believe but that you are only and always your DNA signature—that this man must be my enemy because of his skin tone, and that I must pray to this god and love this music because my ancestors did so?  Those who write the checks, and those who accept them, will be responsible in a higher reality for corrupting human society with a sordid scam.  And you, too, my brothers “whose great-grandparents weren’t here at the time”… your hands will not be entirely clean.

For God’s sake, call the Devil by his name.

Garden of Weeds: The Undeclared War Suffocating Our Society

I don’t know the name of this tree.  I call it a Lazy Tree (among other things, most of which aren’t printable) because of the way it spreads.  First it starts sending branches out on one side; then it gradually declines to the other as if to balance the load.  Eventually it hits the dirt, rotting but sending its scion onward and upward by the dozen to become new Lazy Trees.  It can’t just drop seeds or shed spore like a normal tree.  Its theatrical collapse, instead, takes out everything below it for perhaps a couple of hundred square feet, leaving no competitors for its nasty offshoots.

And the offshoots similarly spread… until, within a few years, the forest is an unwholesome litter.  Other trees can’t grow.  Briar and vine proliferate.  The fauna are dominated by vermin, fire ants thrive, and the bird population thins out.  Man didn’t do any of this, except insofar as clearing ground will leave the margins free for the opportunistic lazy assassin; for while most other trees are highly sensitive to invasion, this one will practically grow under your feet.  Nature has an ugly side to her.  She doesn’t necessarily flower into Eden if left alone: she can also produce pestilential jungles capable of exterminating entire species.

Now follow me if you can… and if you dare.  Human society has its species of Lazy Tree.  It’s called the internationally organized gang: the cartel.  Its very dissolution in police raids and gunfights with rivals seems to nourish the growth of its tentacles from one location to another: that is, it spreads and spreads by dying, by giving death. Children are sucked into it and become bestial predators, no longer recognizable as human beings by the time they reach eighteen.  Young girls are kidnapped and forced into prostitution.  Journalists are bullied into silence or murdered.  Politicians and judges are paid off or blackmailed.  The forest becomes overgrown with life-throttling crimes of a vast diversity—but addressing any one of them here or there must prove fruitless as long as the mother-plant continues its suffocating collapse into every cleared area.

Gangs on the scale of Central American drug cartels are not urban crime such as West Side Story romanticized.  These aren’t kids stealing hubcaps.  This is civil war spreading across national boundaries.  In many cases, it has a political (or quasi-political) component—or perhaps I should write that the cartel’s activity clarifies how much politics has to do with wealth and power and how little with the governing of the polis.

In a war, we don’t treat our adversary as a citizen entitled to due process under the law.  He aims to kill us, so our first order of business is to kill him.  If he surrenders his arms, we put him it a cage somewhere and keep him there until the war is over.  He has no legal counsel; he receives no hearing.

This is how we should treat the threat posed to us by invading cartels: like the guerrilla war that it is.  Indeed, because our enemy declines to wear a uniform, he has no right even to the privileges guaranteed under the Geneva Convention.  We should bring our troops home from unending wars against other guerrilla outfits like the Taliban and array them along our southern border.  We should fire upon armed Humvees that trespass across our boundary; and if they fire upon us from the border’s other side, we should return fire, principle with interest.  We should oppose these murdering thugs until they lay down their weapons, or until they lie down and don’t get up.

Indeed, we should link arms with the Mexican government and pursue this rotting vegetation deep into its heartland until it is extirpated… but, of course, that will never happen, because the government of Mexico has long been thoroughly penetrated by the rot of the cartel at every level.  Judges dish out light sentences; prisoners are set free by their guards; villagers who “illegally” acquire self-defensive weapons and resist are disarmed by the police and sent to those cells newly emptied of murderers.

The corrupt Mexican system’s complicity in this social decay is but one reason why nothing I write will ever leave this page.  Obviously, we haven’t the stomach for doing the task at hand.  We prefer to give free medical exams (read “taxpayer-funded”) to border-hopping children, many of whom will be shuttled back south to pose again as the offspring of butchers who violate them or hold their family hostage.  “No, no, no… don’t say that, don’t see that!  La-la-la… we’re not listening, we’re not listening!”

And so we lose the war.  Or perhaps we finally engage at a point when it becomes truly bloody, and when those children about whom we advertise such concern become collateral damage by the tens of thousands.  Read Anabel Hernand’s La Verdadera Noche de Iguala (“The Truth About the Night of Iguala”) if you want a glimpse into the future of the United States.  I haven’t yet finished the introduction, and I’m already seething.  Hernand lost her father to cartel thugs, but she has chosen to continue his work.  In 2014, an extremely well-organized band of Zetas invaded her neighborhood posing as government agents and demanding that everybody stay quietly inside.  These men in black then proceeded to dismantle her own home’s security system and search it through and through for any sign of herself or her family.  Providentially, no one was there.  She adds the chilling detail that they took nothing—not a ring or a coin or a computer: nothing except the hard drives of the security cameras.

This is the expeditionary force of a rebel army—an army from hell.  On September 26 of 2014, forty-three children were kidnapped in a series of buses that were driven from Iguala to a site of execution… by cartel operatives.  The details of the massacre remain unclear—because, as Hernand has already stressed in her book, the Mexican government held its investigation very close to the vest.  That the children were murdered and then incinerated (or perhaps murdered by incineration) is uncontested.  The degree of government involvement in the atrocity, however, is shrouded in obscurity, though Iguala’s mayor was most certainly a participant and his wife, in fact, was the sister of two recently slain cartel officers.

We’re at war, and we don’t even know it.  We’re seeking out wars in Syria and Afghanistan as an already healthy flame spreads throughout our southwestern states.  Like Mexico, we are being betrayed by the very people whom we elected to defend us—and the Mexicans who are illegally fleeing the conflagration to our relative safety are simply a means, witting or unwitting, or carrying embers.

Tall briars, dense vines, sinister rustles in the brush… and no more birdsong.  No more grazing deer.  This is the Eden that our gardeners are fashioning for our children.