Let Each Day’s Worries Suffice Unto Itself

Before you know it, everyone will be casting a nostalgic eye back over 2019.  Thanksgiving, incredibly, looms less than three weeks away.  Then Christmas.  Then… well, you know.

I began my year trying to do some tiny little bit of good for a fellow named Buddy Woodall, whose case was profiled in a Netflix series (The Confession Tapes, Episode 6) and who’s going to spend the rest of his life paying for two murders he didn’t commit because you can’t get a retrial for having a stupid jury.  Sorry, Buddy.

My first spring attempting to nurse along a couple of orchards (mostly pecans and apples at this point) was beset by several problems, such as voracious deer that chewed right through the protective netting I laid out… but that kind of discouragement is Life 101.  To see the republic dissolving around our ears was rather harder to take, especially since I had begun reading Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago for the first time, as I must guiltily confess; but then, how many “newly minted” Ph.D.s in History do you suppose have ever been exposed to a line of it?  Learning about the bureaucratic inferno that follows when God’s most arrogant creatures try to correct all of the “design mistakes” in human society, and—at the same time—watching new waves of college graduates give the thumbs-up to suppressing speech, ruining small businesses, terrorizing families in suburbia, decriminalizing crime, energizing a magnet for chronic human slavery, producing a wildlife holocaust in the quest for “clean” energy… yeah, I’ll take the sharp-toothed deer, please.

At about this time, my son had introduced me to Jordan Peterson on YouTube… and I discovered, as well, that I could only watch Jordan via streaming on clear days, since Internet out here in the boondocks has its drawbacks.  Welcome to the edge of the grid!  That’s where I said I wanted to be in retirement, so… así es.  It was Peterson who nagged me into reading Solzhenitsyn.  Somewhere along the way, I also blundered into Diana West.

Diana West… American Betrayal.  All I learned from this book was that FDR’s insuperably pompous idiocy was undergirded by a thick layer of Soviet operatives (over 500 strong), that Japan would never have bombed Pearl Harbor without the sabotage of skillful diplomacy from D.C. (but I already knew this from Herbert Hoover’s Freedom Betrayed), that Harry Hopkins engineered the passage of heavy water and uranium by the ton to the Soviet Union via Lend-Lease, that our beachhead in Italy established after tremendous loss of life was abandoned because Stalin didn’t want us straying through Eastern Europe, that the carnage of D-Day was indeed owed entirely to FDR’s servile submission to Uncle Joe’s will, that most of the Jews exterminated under Hitler could have been saved had Moscow not dictated our foreign policy, that Hopkins and his fellow Roosevelt-puppeteers ignored the pleas of Admiral Canaris and other high-ranking Germans to assist their overthrow of Hitler, that our government actually left upward of 20,000 American boys (mostly freed from German and Japanese prisons) to rot in Stalin’s gulags without a peep… all of the foregoing—all of it—to court some kind of “convergent” ideological marriage with Stalin’s totalitarian insectification of humanity.  Also know as progressivism.  And West scarcely hints at the Russian role in garbling our Japanese negotiations as the war wound down, such that the dropping of the Bombs was deemed necessary by Truman when it could easily have been averted.  The construction of the Soviet Empire demanded that competitors for territory in the Far East be cleared off the board.

How much truth can one man take at the age of sixty-five?

Meanwhile, as summer morphed into fall (a summer that was supposed to have warned us of “climate change” with its record number of dry days and high temperatures—followed by a fall that has come crashing through with unusually cold, wet vigor), I watched my one-time heroes in Congress leave a slimy collaborative trail straight to the sidelines as the jackals gathered around the President.  Andrew Napolitano, Ben Shapiro, Jonathan Goldberg… Ben Sasse, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz… we’re not talking Mitt Romney here: these are (were) persons of premier intellect and character.  Where are the snows of yesteryear?

In my bid to live within the limitations of HughesNet, I discovered the Podcast; and there, much to my delight, I further discovered Frank Gaffney’s Secure Freedom Radio, along with Tom Fitton’s Freedom Watch and Sarah Carter’s mostly fluff-free broadcast (that’s a compliment: I hate fluff, Mssrs. Crowder and Hunter).  Trouble is, I was once again plumbing the depths of “truth overload”.  How many days in a row can you hear that Communist China is well on its way to preparing an insect farm for us idiot Americans as we supply all the raw material (à la FDR Administration)?  Personally, I am thankful to the Democrat Party for helping me to view my exit from this world with equanimity, and even great joy, as I enter my final laps… but I have a son.  The rest of you have children and grandchildren.  Is Hell big enough, deep enough, to contain as many Judases as busily engineer our ruin?

Sarah Carter opined yesterday (in a days-old broadcast that I played during my workout) that we have lost the ability to make up our differences and be civil to each other.  Bless your gentle heart, Sarah… but the party who always had to clam up at faculty gatherings or family reunions was yours truly, not the legions of virtue-signaling exhibitionists around him.  The incivility sits almost entirely on one side of the table.  It’s the same side that wants to leave unwanted babies to die after a failed abortion, to lavish taxpayer dollars on criminal vagrants, to reward child-molesters and slavers with free entry into the country, to let small entrepreneurs starve if they won’t kneel at the altar of “LGBTQ Pride”.  There’s no middle ground where one can pitch a tent and meet with purveyors of such moral atrocity, whether their service to chaos is deliberate (Harry Hopkins) or arrogantly unwitting (FDR).  We have no coherent society left.  We have California, expelling its toxic influence into neighboring states the way wildfires are eating their way across its own townships.  We’re in nuclear meltdown.

I need to get up now and go unwrap my brave little orange tree: I need to find out if she survived last night’s onslaught of “global warming”.  And then I need to haul my potted bell peppers back out on the porch—for today is clear and sunny.  These howling apes in clothes can go about their business of destroying everything their ancestors created in population centers all over the world.  If HughesNet permits, I’ll publish my not-so-uplifting ramble for a few eyes in a few parts of the world where Internet isn’t yet severely filtered.  Tend to your gardens, brothers and sisters.  They won’t betray you—even the deer won’t undermine you—if you bend your stiff neck and study how they grow.

“Corrupted Mind/World Interface”: The Black Plague of Our Time (Part I)

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When Diana West finally mentions Herbert Hoover’s Freedom Betrayed in her recent expose of FDR’s Soviet-infused administration, American Betrayal, she seems much less impressed by the book than I was.  “Hoover doesn’t explain the shift in thinking” (she writes) that left the Western world—from the Washington press corps to Winston Churchill—scrambling to obfuscate Soviet atrocities like the Katyn Forest massacre of 22,000 Polish officers.  Hitler was the only evil on earth: Stalin’s satanic regime was forever being rehabilitated for public—and personal—consumption.  The number of Ukrainians systematically starved under Stalin (and a lieutenant named Khrushchev) during the Twenties would roughly equal the tally of Jews later gassed by the Reich, and ample news of ongoing slaughter throughout Russia leaked out in the decade before the war. Nevertheless, Soviet communism was being patiently window-dressed long before Stalin’s assistance against Hitler was deemed necessary.

It is in this part of her deeply unsettling tome (about two-thirds through) that West raises the subject of “convergence” in detail: i.e., the theory that Western democracy and Eastern collectivism would harmoniously merge if our side bent to meet their side.  In an arrogant naïveté of stupefying magnitude, Roosevelt seems to have answered William Bullitt’s warnings about the USSR as follows: “Bill, I don’t dispute your facts, they are accurate.  I don’t dispute the logic of your reasoning.  I just have a hunch that Stalin is not that kind of a man.”  Bullitt summarizes FDR’s attitude as “the vice of wishful thinking,” a phrase embraced by West.  And it’s a good phrase, but…

But I nonetheless have the feeling that Diana West herself comes short of providing a full motive for what James Burnham, many decades ago, called the “suicide of the West”.  Infiltration of academe by communist operatives, check; penetration of the news media and the state department by Soviet moles, check; infection of the intelligentsia by the utopian theory of convergence, check; but… but what else?  Nothing deeper?  Manipulation by malevolent external forces, seduction by a beautiful design that looks good on paper… but why is the design seductive?  Were those who so admired it smoking something that had been smuggled to them, once again, by malevolent external forces?  How much of our folly can we blame on master-spies?

It’s still going on, after all.  It’s happening every day.  I don’t think the “vice of wishful thinking” was distilled into my erstwhile minister’s misty brain by a covert operative when she was blaring that the desire for borders is mere “xenophobia”.  (Yes, I’ve changed churches.)  There has to be some other reason why so many of us are so susceptible these days to childish delusions of such dangerous proportions.  Doesn’t there?

My own theory is that something potentially fatal happens when a culture begins to lose touch with basic physical reality.  Marxism views the Industrial Revolution as a watershed stage… and maybe the Marxists, like a broken clock, are right sometimes by accident.  I, too, think the abrupt deracination of long-settled peoples from the land and their all-but-forcible (fully forcible, in Red China) transplantation to urban centers lies somewhere near the cause’s root.  The sun no longer shines upon you throughout the day.  You never again drink rainwater delivered by a clean brook.  You don’t know the calls of various birds, or which call signals danger and which a change in the weather.  You can’t identify a single constellation at night—hell, you can’t see a single constellation from most of these smoking urban crypts.  The exiled millions no longer possess the kind of wisdom embodied in their parents’ proverbs.  They don’t understand that “work is a great teacher” or that “the product of a man’s labor is his praise” (to cite a couple of Irish samples), as simple and earthy as such knowledge is.  Instead, they learn that they must conserve their energy when performing servile chores for a paltry wage, and that only strength in massed numbers can resist the power of wealth and privilege.

The Industrial Revolution made human beings less human.  It shifted our species from the apex of Nature’s pyramid and fixed it firmly within a termite mound, where a few queens were served by thousands of nameless minions.  It crushed individuality while promoting conformity; it suppressed the free enterprise of the village’s clever artisans while spawning a ruthless kind of capitalism that largely predetermined the big winners.

That’s right, I said it (and, for some reason, it remains a highly provocative thing to say): capitalism, far from being a synonym for free enterprise, turns out to be its mortal enemy in the evolved, high-tech economy.  Most of us haven’t come to grips with this; as a society, we certainly have not.  We exhort our children to hurl themselves into mind-numbing, soul-killing careers after college (“Just be glad you found a job!”) and expect their generation to discern generous latitude for freedom and creativity in this arrangement.  We ignore, most likely, the wreck in which our own careers left our higher ambitions.  We seem to think that writing code to keep Amazon from being hacked is something like cutting and stitching good leather saddles or laying chimneys that will last a century.

And it’s not just a change in the spiritual quality of labor (the “despiritualization” of labor) that has fueled our corrupt taste for escapist fantasies—our “vice of wishful thinking”; the very feel of stone in the hand is alien to us, and the very scent of a horse in harness.  We’ll laugh and exclaim, “Well, I’m glad I don’t have to smell that horse’s calling card out in the streets!”  No, we don’t have to smell much of anything that’s unwelcome.  If the woman at the desk next to ours wears too strident a perfume, we’re apt to complain to the boss.  As for those flies that followed horses as mold follows deadwood… Pascal once mocked the philosopher whose airy speculations are ruinously disrupted by a little buzz at his head.  Do we even comprehend his reference any more?  Our air-conditioned spaces have banished noxious insects.  We ourselves have grown as artificial as the indoor climate we have created.

Of course, here I write about the twenty-first century’s white-collar bureaucrat, not about a Joe in overalls carrying a lunch pail.  But we have ever fewer of those Joes: their grandsons… they are us.  The Industrial Revolution has produced so many machines to perform so many purely manual tasks that those who still have jobs tend to be punching keys rather than rivets.  Our grandads were merely denied a view of the stars: we (and especially our children, if you’re my age) don’t understand the intricacies of the manually dialed “land line” phone.  The stars?  They’re those destinations where faintly green humans with pointed ears speak elegant English to Captain Kirk’s boarding party.

We’ve become practical idiots.  Why learn to change a tire when you use Uber most of the time, anyway?  What’s a washer?  All that turning on and off of faucets… Siri or Alexa handles that.  A torn shirt, a worn-out shoe?  Search Amazon under “apparel”.  (Or is it under “clothing”?  The other word might be confused with “app”.)  Hungry and don’t want to go out?  Order pizza.  Health-conscious?  Google Home Chef or Magic Kitchen (or, better yet, download the app for future ease if you’re industrious).

I don’t say that we are idiots.  Obviously, we’re technological whiz kids.  But we are perfect imbeciles where the rubber meets the road (in a cliché I last heard during a Firestone commercial thirty years ago).  We have no significant connection with hard labor—with sweat, bruises, dirty fingernails, gardens smoked by a heat wave, poured concrete ruined by a flash storm… we inhabit a bubble the reinforcement of whose artifice is usually the source of whatever good jobs remain.  Ortega y Gasset wrote almost a century ago that modern man (and he says hombre masa, our ordinary Joe) lives in greater luxury than the Sun King did four hundred years ago.  The emperor of all that he surveyed was still using a chamber pot less than two centuries ago: a kid raised in the Projects today scarcely catches a whiff of his effluent before he flushes it.

What has this to do with embracing Stalinism?  Why, everything.  It explains why we can embrace the “relief” of communism (no more unemployment, job interviews, performance evals, or constant competition) without sniffing its ordure (no more creativity, novelty, individuality, personal success, or free expression).  We don’t understand how reality works—how it really works, off the drawing board and down in the shop (where assembly is now robotic).  Our parents once learned something of human nature early on by reading great novels and plays in high school; now a phalanx of utopian evangelists from Education programs force-feeds us on the “narratives” (i.e., the monochrome, cartoonishly stereotyped struggles) of women fighting the patriarchy or Sioux orphans caught in the White Man’s world.

Once again, when I say “we”, I’m thinking especially of our children. We learned little enough about the great wide world, and now they have learned less than nothing (enough, for instance, to think that every tornado signifies climate change).  I should really devote a second commentary to the pathological consequences of exile from hard reality that I see in their miserable ordeal (and I truly commiserate: they didn’t ask to be dealt this hand).  I’m growing rather long for one morning.

Let me break off this half of my analysis, then, by stressing that we and our fathers—and, indeed, our grandfathers—were already suffering from the progressive disorder of “corrupted mind/world interface”.  (Of course, the pun in “progressive” is intended.)  Is it entirely accidental that Woodrow Wilson was an Ivory Tower eremite?  It may indeed be accidental that he ended his kingly administration almost as a vegetable, with his wife running the bluff of competency for him; but then, just a couple of stops down the road, we have the wheelchair-ridden FDR, prince of all practical idiots.  His anemic puppeteer, Harry Hopkins, was so debilitated by mysterious and chronic ill health that he arranged the rise of the Soviet Union mostly from his bed in the White House.  I’ll leave the state of Barack Obama’s mind/body interface to your imagination.  He apparently could lift a golf club and a basketball; but his “hands off our token half-African treasure” upbringing was certainly no initiation in the school of hard knocks, and his very fuzzy orientation to family and sexuality… no, I won’t go there.

Remember, though, that the real subject of this speculative study is the electorate that advanced such people.  It’s us, and our children.  It’s my (until recently) minister, older than I; and it’s the offense-detecting dynamos who dissolved into ungovernable indignation five years ago when I lightly quipped to a class of college seniors, “I hope the homework doesn’t drive her to suicide.”

No, we don’t behave—collectively—like normal, functional human beings of ages past.  And there has to be some other reason than that Boris and Natasha have laced our drinking water with hemp.

No, Maybe America Wasn’t That Great… Thanks to the Left

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I’ve only finished about half of Diana West’s American Betrayal.   Hardly know what to say, what to write.  I can’t claim to have been taken entirely by surprise: I read the suppressed memoir of Herbert Hoover, Freedom Betrayed, when it finally slipped past the academic security guards of our society’s Temple to FDR (after a mere fifty-year delay).  The single most shocking revelation in that work—largely a compilation of communiqués from inside sources, with Former-President Hoover scarcely doing more than setting the scenes—was that Roosevelt had blurted out his resolve to force Japan into “unconditional surrender” at Casablanca because… because he was tired, and Ulysses S. Grant had popped into his empty head.  Old “Unconditional Surrender” Grant. Yes, that’s documented by a Roosevelt aide.

After reading what West has to say about the tight circle of Soviet agents around FDR, I now have to wonder if the Casablanca gaffe wasn’t planned all along.  That vignette about doing a sleepy waltz with Grant’s initials… could that have been no more than a cover-story for a deliberate misstep that left Churchill aghast? I recall hearing on some PBS documentary years ago that Stalin’s people, just before the Bombs were dropped, deliberately sabotaged an attempt on Truman’s part to arrange Japan’s capitulation.  Obviously, Stalin wanted the Empire of the Rising Sun entirely out of the picture as he contemplated his personal conquest of the world—and, just as obviously, he wouldn’t have minded if we’d lost another million men in an invasion of the islands.  As for the A-Bomb, Uncle Joe may also have known that its deployment was the more likely next move: maybe he just wanted to see if the thing worked.  Thanks to Harry Hopkins, the “brains” behind FDR’s administration, the Soviets already possessed tons and tons of heavy water, Canadian Uranium, and other essential hardware (along with all necessary top-secret plans and manuals) to create their own Armageddon Arsenal.  West reveals that Hopkins had been using Lend-Lease for years to pass Stalin every high-tech instrument of death our war machine could grind out, even when our own troops were in grave need of supplies and materiel.  Roosevelt repeatedly rubber-stamped all such ventures aimed at making the USSR a First World power.

Roosevelt was the premier pompous idiot ever to occupy the White House, Stalin the most ravenously insane mass-murderer ever to get his hands on a weapon, Churchill the most tragically obsessed luminary ever to set loose ten monsters in his pursuit of one… and Harry Hopkins the most lethal spy ever to slip under the radar.  One might add Joe McCarthy as the most dedicated patriot ever to be crucified by his countrymen and their posterity. These are my own conclusions, but a mere half of American Betrayal validates all of them except my judgment of Churchill (whose “appeasement” of Stalin—Winnie’s own word—is adequately chronicled by Hoover).

West notes that Truman seemed to have a particular interest in discrediting McCarthy (just as he actively explored prosecuting Whittaker Chambers): a reflection, she speculates, of his “promote the Democrat Party above all else” ethical system.  As I’ve tried to note along the way, not everything in the previous paragraphs is drawn from her book—a fact which renders her verdict much more credible to me, though I don’t know why she never cites Hoover.  I have no doubt, having seen several of Diana’s talks and interviews on YouTube, that she’s fully, even painfully aware of the impression her work leaves upon people like me: people, that is, who want to believe—who grew up believing—that their nation was the world’s beacon of freedom until the Sixties and the Vietnam debacle toppled the lighthouse.  Now we have to face the horrid truth, not only that our Greatest Generation was exploited to clear the way for the communist takeover of half the planet (a thesis long ago hatched by Pat Buchanan—and shouted down from all directions), but that Stalin’s butchery of somewhere between twenty and forty million of his own people was fueled by Lend-Lease.

FDR, that Peerless Idiot, facilitated the gruesome murders of approximately one hundred million human beings, if we toss in Mao’s carnage as a “ripple effect”.  (And, of course, we know without West’s reminding us how effectively Truman slapped down MacArthur’s bid to snuff out Chairman Mao.)

It all puts the slogan, “Make America great again,” in a whole new light.  It inclines me, even, to agree with the slavering hounds of ideology who bay safely from their ivory-tower kennels that the USA was never so very great.  Instead, we’ve been a constant patsy for the likes of them: those brainless, baying hounds, and especially their billionaire masters hiding at the far end of the leash.  We’ve borne the gonfalon of evil through both hemispheres—not when our ancestors came looking for wood and furs and found native peoples eager to involve them in bitter local rivalries, but… but, you know, those other times: the time we let Stalin steer us into war with Japan, the time we supplied Stalin with tens of thousands of tanks to overrun Eastern Europe, the time we underwrote the railroads that would transport millions of Stalin’s own footsoldiers to Siberia (if they retreated too soon or not soon enough), the time our own CIA let Castro’s thugs nest deeply at our back door rather than crush them at the outset… some beacon we’ve been.  Some hope—thanks to our irrepressible leftwing elite.

Yet I find that this very general, very brooding reflection carries me, in the oddest way, toward… well, yes, toward a kind of hope.  Before now, I had believed that the Sixties undid us, with a little ground-clearing in the Fifties (a preparation West considers in The Death of the Grown-Up).  I had supposed, as well, that our cultural death-spiral had a distinctly accelerating quality, such that the hedonistic Eighties look downright gilded and homely as we watch our lobotomized youth today puzzling over which restroom to enter.  But no, wait: the illness has been incubating for much, much longer.  It’s been around for over a century, if one traces it back to Woodrow Wilson’s rabid progressivism.  It crops up even in the late nineteenth century, in places like the Pledge of Allegiance authored by “Christian socialist minister” (as Wikipedia is pleased to call him) Francis Bellamy—a bit of statist brainwash whose intent was to immunize schoolchildren against the Tenth Amendment.  Some wild man on Parler hurled names at me for days when I volunteered that information: an excellent example of how insidiously this pathogen works its way into our national sinew. Evidence of subversion, sanitized by a complicit Establishment, becomes an occasion for patriotism within a few short decades.

If you were a doctor and you were told that an accident victim had lost a pint of blood in five minutes, you’d figure that death was imminent without immediate action; but if you learned, instead, that the same blood had needed more than an hour to spill out, you’d be much more optimistic.  Our nation, it turns out, has been getting drained by ideological vampires for a good five or six generations now, not just a couple.  It’s a miracle that we still have any vital signs… but maybe we’re stronger than I tend to think.

Our educational institutions, for one thing (as Bellamy’s case shows) have been under assault for a very long time.  As a career educator myself, I have been inclined to believe that classroom propagandists were not, on the whole, carrying out some kind of secret subversion for which teacher colleges or grad school had primed them.  I’m more of the opinion that there’s a self-selecting anti-conservatism in any profession devoted to “training minds”—for why wouldn’t you want to “train” young minds to run a little better (where “better” is never clearly defined) than minds of the past?  In the same way, few people who commit their lives to reporting news, probably, hold the view that there’s nothing very new under the sun.  If the day’s little events matter, it can only be because, once again, reacting to them properly may make the human condition “better”.

Without entirely surrendering my “self-selection” theory, I admit now that such progressivist predispositions can exist side by side with deliberate conspiracies to subvert the social order.  (Yes, I wrote “conspiracy”: the disqualification of the word from having any serious real-world value is itself the successful outcome of a propagandistic conspiracy.)  The good news is that specific groups have indeed been executing a specific plan to turn our free society into a hive.  The news here is good because it offers us the possibility of isolating and criminalizing these destructive influences: we’re not looking at some sort of suicidal impulse hard-wired into our socio-cultural DNA.  The bad news… well, the bad news is that the body politic is very, very sick.

My present ramble isn’t the proper platform for uplifting certain recommendations, but I will finish with a single one.  We must save free speech. Our right to state our view is guaranteed first of all among the Bill of Rights’ original ten.  Those who abuse a teaching position to advocate refusing that right to any individual or group should lose their job.  Those who operate media dedicated to public discussion should be stiffly punished for censoring opinions.  Whether the school or medium is publicly or privately funded should be considered irrelevant: my home was not paid for with taxes, but certain features of it are still required to meet safety codes.  No one whose job is to instruct impressionable minds should seek to impress upon them the permissibility of stifling adversarial views.  No one whose service is to facilitate the free flow of ideas should seek to channel or filter that flow.  Lawbreakers should be identified according to explicit guidelines (it’s not hard to tell when A is trying to shut B up forcibly), and they should pay a stiff penalty for attempting to sabotage one of the primary values upon which American society—or any society that views people as autonomous individuals, not insects—is founded.

We haven’t been as great in the past as we’d thought; and as a nursery for window-smashing stormtroopers who wield “hate speech” restrictions like a nightstick, we have become the very opposite of great.  Let’s forget about “progress” for the moment.  Let’s try to get back to where we were when our general moral outlook was good.