The last peaceful option?

The current polarization in this country is unique in our history.  There is little (if any) common ground between viewpoints, and both “left” and “right” (increasingly nebulous terms) see the other as completely illegitimate and a threat.  Thus the “culture wars” of the 1980s/1990s have become much, much more, and are being played for complete national dominance.  Twitter, like Facebook, Google/YouTube, etc, is clearly putting its technological thumb on the scale of public debate, finding various ways to mute nationalist/conservative voices.  So it was no surprise to see Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, recommend this article extolling the perceived virtue of California’s one-party rule.

The next time you call for bipartisan cooperation in America and long for Republicans and Democrats to work side by side, stop it. Remember the great lesson of California, the harbinger of America’s political future, and realize that today such bipartisan cooperation simply can’t get done.

And as voices including that of a former Supreme Court justice clamor to rescind the 2nd Amendment, those who value freedom are having to consider their options:

South Carolina Republicans have introduced a bill that would give the state capital the power to secede from the United States if the federal government violates the Second Amendment and begins seizing legally purchased guns.

With passions running high on both sides, firearms are just one of many different triggers (pardon the pun) that could turn our current cold civil war into a hot one.  The continuing politicized effort to overturn the 2016 presidential election through a farcical investigation could spark partisan violence at any time.  One side is convinced beyond persuasion that Trump is an illegitimate president, while the other is equally convinced our government has become corrupted to partisan purposes.  Those of us who hope the election of Trump might harbinger a restoration of sorts still have to be concerned that roughly half our fellow citizens would overturn any progress in the very next election if they can.  That’s why it might be better for all concerned if we found a peaceful way to divide the country so that each group can live as they choose (and reap the consequences and benefits thereof):

It is long past time for an amicable divorce of the United States of America. There is simply no common ground with the Left anymore. We are now the couple screaming at each other all night, every night as the kids hide in their room…  ((an apt metaphor… Jemison))

The history of the world is nations breaking up and redrawing their borders. If we want to avoid this political divide turning into a deadly one, we should do likewise.
Stop clinging to the past and acknowledge where we are as a country, not where you want us to be, not where things were when your grandpa was storming the beaches of Normandy. Where we truly are

The GOP has many problems, but the Democratic Party has turned into something completely un-American. The United States was founded on two things: Judeo-Christian values and a limited federal government. The entire platform of modern Democrats stands completely opposite both of those…

This idea of breaking up the country may seem a bit outlandish now, but you won’t think so once real domestic unrest comes to your town. Our political disagreements have become a powder keg, one that already would have blown if conservatives had liberals’ emotional instability.

Nobody is expected to cheer for this split. Cheering is not a normal reaction when couples get a divorce. We cheer for old married people on their fiftieth wedding anniversary.

But life is imperfect. Life is hard. We both now agree that living under the other side’s value system is wholly unacceptable. The most peaceful solution we Americans can hope for now is to go our separate ways. So let us come together one last time and agree on one thing: Irreconcilable differences.

I spent 24 years wearing a uniform on behalf of this nation.  No one would be sadder than me to see it disbanded into successor states.  The diminution of the United States would be a global disaster.  But it is still preferable to the carnage that will result if we have two incompatible worldviews continue to vie for dominance over a divided population.  A substantial portion of our people now neither understands nor desires true freedom.  As Sam Adams said, may history forget they were our countrymen.

It is far better that part of our nation remains free to continue the vision of limited, Constitutional governance in accordance with Christian principles than to see the whole of it subsumed by both alien populations and alien ideas.   

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Anticipating change

One of the primary benefits of studying history is wrestling with the question “how could they not have seen that coming?”  As the saying goes, “hindsight is always 20/20,” but foresight usually falls far short of that.  Most people expect things to continue on as they always have in their experience.  Until suddenly they don’t.

Try to remember that Sarajevo once hosted an Olympics. Remember that Beirut used to be called “The Paris of the Middle East.” Remember that women used to wear lipstick and miniskirts in Tehran.

I believe this inability to visualize the possibility of disastrous change is one of the key vulnerabilities of the United States.  Yes, every generation whines about how things aren’t like they were “in the good old days” — mine included.  But few put these vignettes together into a narrative that might be pointing to a larger journey into disaster.  This blindspot in America is likely caused/enhanced by the fact we haven’t faced disaster as a society in a very, very long time by the world’s standards.  Even though we participated in both World Wars, the chance of either posing an existential threat to the United States was extremely low.  The last time American civilians had to fear soldiers on the march in their homeland was the War Between The States — over 150 years ago.

Any advanced and thriving civilization has large numbers of people – especially at the top of the pile – who are comfortable and safe, and are so for generations. This lack of meaningful threats, from birth onward, causes the amygdalae structures in the brain to not fully develop compared to prior, more stressed, generations because of a lack of stimulation; thus, the ability to recognize actual threats has atrophied. This leads to the society as an aggregate, and the leadership class in particular, taking actions that they do not recognize as dangerous, which result in the collapse of the civilization.

When gun controllers say the 2nd Amendment is outdated, they are reflecting the atrophy described above.  The Holocaust is well-known; the various Communist purges less so, but far too many believe that’s just what happens to “other people.”  It couldn’t happen in America, right?  Some people know better but choose to seek disarmament anyway, the better to advance a political agenda.  But a substantial number simply have no personal frame of reference of an experience where they were in mortal peril, and needed to defend themselves.  Media coverage of the topic emphasizes criminal use of firearms, neglecting the far larger number of cases of defensive use.  This is one reason why veterans and many civilians are separated by a wide gap on the 2nd Amendment.  The handful of veterans who are celebrated for advocating gun control are either those whose work never exposed them to danger, or who know better but desire public acclaim more than common sense.

The same dynamic is at work in the issue of mass migration.  The millions of current Muslim “refugees” (an abused term if there every was one) trigger a much different social memory in Eastern and Central Europe than it does in the West.  The advance of Islam in the Middle Ages was largely stopped at the Battle of Tours, so Western Europe, Scandinavia and England never dealt with the threat on any large scale.  Not so with the East, Islam’s initial momentum culminated in two sieges of Vienna (1529 and 1683), and sectarian violence and discrimination between Muslim, Orthodox and Catholic ensued for generations.  This is the origin of the term “balkanization,” and if you’ve paid attention you’ve heard it applied to modern demographic trends in the U.S.

That is why Polish, Hungarian and Czech attitudes toward the current wave of Muslim migration differ considerably from those of the Germans or French (though the latter two are starting to realize the consequences).

In the United States, immigration has become enshrined as part of the national experience.  The downsides of previous waves of immigrants (ethnic tensions in the cities, cramped living conditions, crime, etc) are rarely examined except to try to place the blame solely at the feet of Anglo-Americans.  That’s why those who oppose mass immigration (especially the illegal variety) today are accused of being “on the wrong side of history.”  Those who know their history, however, realize today’s wave of invaders “immigrants” bear little resemblance to those of Schoolhouse Rock fame.  For starters, immigrants in the late 1800s understood they were leaving most all ties to their homeland to become immersed in a new one, which required adaptation to language and culture.  They were scrutinized carefully by U.S. authorities to screen out political radicals, the diseased and those who would likely become a burden on society.  Today, millions have entered the U.S. without permission or scrutiny (the largest contingent by far being from Mexico and Central America).  In the U.S. they can watch Spanish-language TV, demand translation services for all official business, and largely insulate themselves from adapting to their new home if they so choose.  There is no incentive to assimilate; indeed, many ardently proclaim their greater loyalty to their country of origin.  As one person put it online:

“Too many people are coming to America just to be in America. They aren’t coming here to be Americans. That needs to change.”

In short, immigration today bears only a passing resemblance to the immigration of decades past.  It more closely resembles the settling of the Goths within the Roman Empire.

The point of this post is to emphasize that America is not immune to disaster, despite her long history.  Over the decades, many planks have been removed from the platform our Founders carefully constructed – overturning the prohibition of an income tax, allowing direct election of Senators, and so forth.  Each of these, while debated at the time, were considered incremental in effect.  But decades of such increments eventually add up to something substantial.  Our politics today are not about degrees of policy anymore.  There are irreconcilable differences in the worldviews in play, and a desire to use the machinery of government to enforce an orthodoxy at odds with our traditions.  We are at a tipping point in our history.  Those who would disarm and displace the historical American body politic now hardly disguise their intent.  Those who recognize what is at stake are more energized to resist it than ever before (hence the previously inconceivable election of a man like Donald Trump).

Many Americans assume those who are preparing for possible disaster somehow are looking forward to it.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  They fail to realize the ability to visualize potential futures and make preparations to meet them are the best ways to prevent America from suffering the fate of other nations.

What do YOU see ahead?  What are YOU doing to prepare?  What are YOU willing to do to prevent disaster?

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Molon Labe

 

Failing to protect the future

As I’ve pointed out before, Leftists — who more often rely on emotional appeals than logical analysis — frequently promote their cause du jour by proclaiming “it’s for the children!” Supposedly if a policy saves “just one life” it’s worth whatever tradeoffs (including essential liberties) are required for it.

Very well, then. Let’s look at how our immigration policies are failing our children, on both sides of the Atlantic:

From New York to Virginia to Texas, schools in areas racked by MS-13 violence are now struggling with a sobering question. What to do when the gang isn’t just in your community, but in your classrooms?

For the past year, the Trump administration has waged a nationwide crackdown on MS-13. Nowhere has this effort been more intense than in Suffolk County, where police say the gang has committed 27 murders since a surge of unaccompanied minors began arriving in 2013…

Starting in 2013, thousands of unaccompanied minors — most from Central America — began entering the United States illegally from Mexico each month, many turning themselves in to authorities. More than 200,000 have been detained, screened and then placed with relatives by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Nearly 5,000 have been sent to Suffolk County…

“The last couple of years, when we had the unaccompanied children coming, that’s when we saw the change,” he said. By providing vulnerable newcomers with a sense of belonging, MS-13 “became a powerhouse.” A deadly one.

The Obama administration tacitly encouraged the “children’s crusade” flood of ‘unaccompanied minors’ (who aren’t always telling the truth about their age). In doing so, they provided a large cohort of disconnected young people who were prime recruits for an organization like MS-13, which provides structure and an alternative form of ‘family.’ If just one in 20 of the new arrivals fell prey to the gang, that’s 10,000 new members — the equivalent of more than two Army Infantry Brigade Combat Teams. I make this comparison because MS-13 is more than a gang — it is an insurgent-type organization that provides an alternative to government for security, services and support… and violently competes with others for allegiance.

In the United Kingdom children are also being “recruited” into a different, but equally devastating subculture:

As many as 1,000 children are feared to have been drugged and abused by perverts in Telford, Shrops, since the 1980s — but their hell went on for decades as authorities repeatedly failed to stamp out a network of paedophiles in the town…

It is also claimed that social workers knew of the abuse in the 1990s but the police took a decade to launch an investigation, council staff viewed victims as “prostitutes”, and authorities failed to keep details of abusers from Asian communities for fear of “racism”.

Here it’s necessary to pause and explain that in the British press, “Asian” usually refers to Pakistanis. Tens of thousands of Pakistani Muslims have migrated to Britain, and as has been the case with minorities elsewhere in the West, have imposed their cultural norms on their surroundings rather than be assimilated to their new country. Just as American troops have been shocked to find pederasty rampant among our nominal Afghan ‘allies,’ so too are the cultural practices in Pakistan frequently incompatible with established Western standards.

Lucy Lowe, 16, was killed in 2000 along with her mother and sister after her 26-year-old abuser Azhar Ali Mehmood set fire to their house. Cabbie Mehmood targeted Lucy in 1997 and she was just 14 when she gave birth to his daughter…

Lucy’s death was used as a warning to other girls, according to victims. One, drugged and gang raped by nine men two years later, said the threats drove her to attempt suicide. She said: “I was scared my family would die like Lucy’s. I thought they’d only be safe if I killed myself.”

The latest revelations in Britain continue a trend that indicates this is a serious and widespread problem. Worse, the government seems more concerned about keeping the public pacified than it does about solving the issue. More than one report has indicated a concern among law enforcement that openly addressing the issue could make them appear “racist.” Voices that point out the clash of cultural values are punished and silenced.

And thus, under the flag of multiculturalism, does barbarism take strong root. The open- borders-moral-equivalency crowd refuses to acknowledge that importing large numbers of people from other parts of the world means importing practices antithetical to Western Civilization. This doesn’t mean they all fail to recognize it — in fact, some of their leaders consider this dilution a feature rather than a flaw.

For that crowd, it’s not really “about the children.” It’s about their power. If concern for the children convinces you to gut the 2nd Amendment, then they’re all about the kids. But if it causes you to question the unchecked influx of brigades of foreigners and their attendant abuses of children, well, that’s a different matter.

May there be a special place in Hell for those bureaucrats who, through their inaction, are allowing these crimes against the youngest and most vulnerable in our society. And may Justice return to our countries so that we may speed their way to that special place.

 

Islam is bondage

As Turkey’s current president pushes the formerly secular state toward embracing Islamist tendencies, it’s clear that Islam itself provides fertile ground for aspiring autocrats:

In an interview Haqqani said Erdogan’s approach was reminiscent of Pakistan’s military dictator between 1978 and 1988, Zia ul-Haq. Like Zia, Erdogan has instituted legal and societal reforms to further Islamize society. In January, for example, he instituted a new plan to pour government money into Islamic schools.

“Erdogan has taken the Pakistani formula of mixing hard-line nationalism with religiosity,” Haqqani said. “Zia imposed Islamic laws by decree, amended the constitution, marginalized secular scholars and leaders, and created institutions for Islamization that have outlasted him. Erdogan is trying to do the same in Turkey.”

And to the extend the West refuses to be vigilant, the millions of Muslims pouring into Europe and the United States will gladly try to follow suit.

Whither adulthood?

One of the more ridiculous calls since the school shooting in Florida is to lower the voting age to 16.  As CNN and others continue to exploit grieving classmates and parents on air to make their emotional appeals for more gun control, some are saying the kids are showing enough ‘wisdom’ that it’s a shame they can’t vote.

Give me a break.  Even setting aside for the moment that some of these kids are being coached and controlled on talking points, let’s not forget that others their age were recently consuming laundry detergent as part of an online “challenge.”  And that challenge is only one of several idiotic trends in recent years.  In short, those who are calling for 16-year olds to vote are doing so in the expectation they’d be an easily manipulated voting bloc.  That’s to be expected since statists have always counted on youth to be their vanguard.

It’s easy to forget that as recently as the 1960s, the Federal voting age was 21.  The national agony of the Vietnam War raised the profile of a longstanding question about  young men being old enough (18) to be drafted and possibly die for their country, but not old enough to have a say in its decisions.  This juxtaposition led to the passage of the 26th Amendment in 1971.

Many people may not realize it, but a similar dilemma is presenting itself.  During last night’s CNN “Town Hall” on gun laws, Marco Rubio professed support for “taking away” the right of an 18-year old to buy a rifle.  The alleged gunman in last week’s shooting was 19 and had purchased his weapon legally (in no small part because of failure to act on his past behavior), so this would at first seem a targeted response.

The problem is this: though he has flip-flopped on the issue, Rubio has in the past also expressed support for expanding Selective Service registration to include women as well as men, while never mentioning any change to the draft age.  Taking these positions together, Rubio is saying an 18-year old man or woman is old enough to be handed a rifle in the service of their country, but not old enough to be entrusted with the Constitutional right to own one!

At what age do we become “responsible adults?”  Clearly the mileage varies from person to person.  It’s safe to say, however, that our society increasingly postpones leaving youthfulness behind.  As it says in the linked article, “We expect less maturity from young adults and deny them the responsibility that helps them grow. They live down to our expectations.”  All the better to develop an electorate that desires a Nanny State to facilitate their extended childhood.  In other words, current trends are not conducive to maintaining our individual liberties.

This is the broader discussion we need to have: at what point should people be entrusted with the rights and responsibilities of adulthood — including full accountability for their actions?   In more than half of the States, the age of sexual consent is 16, but in all States one must be at least 18 to get married without parental or court approval.  As a 19-year old, last week’s gunman will stand trial as an adult and is eligible for the death penalty.  But under Rubio’s proposal, others who are legal adults would not have the full privileges of owning a firearm.  As it now stands, 18-year olds are able to serve in the military, but not purchase cigarettes (until 19) or alcohol (until 21).  I can attest first-hand to the discipline issues that creates in the armed forces.

I can also attest to the difference those three years make in developing adults.  Not long ago, I went directly from teaching college freshmen to teaching high school seniors.  It was amazing to me the difference in overall maturity and engagement just that one year made.  (As already stated, the mileage varied.)  With both my older Musketeers, I waited until 16 to let them get a driver’s permit, and 17 for their license — a year behind what the State would have allowed.  There’s a reason, after all, why young men under 25 have the highest car insurance premiums.  When the time came to teach them, both showed a seriousness about the responsibility they were taking on, and neither gave their mother or me reason to worry they’d be reckless with a car.  (Six years on, both are still “wreck-less.”)

Which brings me to a final point: the role of fathers in developing adulthood.

Without dads as role models, boys’ testosterone is not well channeled. The boy experiences a sense of purposelessness, a lack of boundary enforcement, rudderlessness, and often withdraws into video games and video porn. At worst, when boys’ testosterone is not well-channeled by an involved dad, boys become among the world’s most destructive forces. When boys’ testosterone is well channeled by an involved dad, boys become among the world’s most constructive forces.

I believe the erosion of the nuclear family has contributed greatly to the rise of extended adolescence and immaturity.  When I think of the number of times over the years I’ve had to correct my young men when their interactions with their mother or others were less than respectful, it gives me great pause to wonder what would have been were I not in the picture.  I’m by no means a perfect man or father, but I’m engaged in bringing out the man in my Musketeers.

Given the state of today’s culture, we have some decisions to make.  Do we expect more of our young people and hold them to those standards, or do we move the goalposts of adulthood expectations to a higher age?  Should we standardize expectations so that all the rights and privileges apply at the same age, or do we have justification for doling them out a few at a time over several years?  And if a 19-year old can’t be entrusted to have a firearm without adequate consideration of others, do they really need to be in a voting booth helping decide national policies?

I don’t profess to have the definitive answer, though I believe a strong case could be made for making 21 the standard legal age for all purposes — and that includes eligibility for Selective Service.  As I said, though, this needs to be a conversation.  What are your thoughts?

But that’s not how He identifies

We’re constantly told in this insane era that we must refer to another person by their “chosen gender identity.”  But apparently this moral imperative doesn’t extend to the Almighty:

…the Diocese of Washington for the Episcopal Church passed three resolutions over the weekend at a gathering at Washington National Cathedral. Delegates to the 123rd Diocesan Convention moved within one hour to adopt proposals titled “On Becoming a Sanctuary Diocese: Offering Sacred Welcome to Immigrants,” “On Inclusion of Transgender People,” and “On the Gendered Language for God.”

The resolution about language for God emphasized replacing gendered references to God with gender neutral language and pronouns wherever possible…

The understanding of God and of language has evolved over time, drafters of the resolution maintained, and current gender roles inhibit such understanding.

Billy Graham once addressed this question, noting the modern tendency to want to blur this distinction is a dangerous one:

The answer to the question about why God is referred to in masculine terms in the Bible really has only one answer: This is the way God has chosen to reveal Himself to us. God is never described with sexual characteristics in the Scriptures, but He does consistently describe Himself in the masculine gender.

While God contains all the qualities of both male and female genders, He has chosen to present Himself with an emphasis on masculine qualities of fatherhood, protection, direction, strength, etc. Metaphors used to describe Him in the Bible include: King, Father, Judge, Husband, Master, and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

One famous Christian scholar, C. S. Lewis, has suggested that gender is far deeper than our human distinctions reveal. He suggests that God is so masculine that we all are feminine in relation to Him. If this is true, it might explain why the church is referred to as the bride of Christ, though it is composed of both men and women.

As for being ‘inclusive’ of transgenders (one of the other resolutions), it’s worth noting that all are invited to repentance at the foot of the Cross.  But repentance is based on acknowledging God’s authority over ours, and acting accordingly.  In His Word God clearly states:

(Jesus) answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

So in our National Cathedral, Satan is once again reprising his gambit from the garden of Eden: “Did God actually say…”  Then again, it’s worth noting the entire founding of the Episcopal Church was due to an English king splitting the Church in part because the Pope wouldn’t grant him a divorce.  In other words, defiance of Scripture was built into the denomination at the very beginning.

And we wonder why our nation’s in the state it’s in.

Is “diversity” good for America?

At every turn, we are assured by the media, too many politicians, and a whole host of activists that “diversity is our strength.”  Is it?  Some of the Founders would have dismissed such an idea.  John Quincy Adams, son of the second President, had this to say to his father in 1811:

“America is destined to be peopled by one nation, speaking one language, professing one general system of religious and political principles, and accustomed to one general tenor of social usages and customs.”  (emphasis added)

In this he was not falling far from the tree, so to speak.  During and after the American Revolution, the elder Adams strongly advocated English as a common language for the new nation.  George Washington, in his Farewell Address, noted the conditions of the younger Adams’ later observations were already present:

“With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.” (emphasis added)

We’re told that American-style liberty and self-governance is the desire of every human being; that in everyone, there’s an American struggling to break out.  Is that really true?  If so, then why are second-generation immigrants participating in terrorism?  Why are some advocating the adoption of an alien Sharia law system in the U.S.?  Why are there alien enclaves here waving foreign flags (while burning the U.S. one) and looking more like the lands of their ancestors than part of the United States?  Most importantly, who benefits from this conscious policy and why?

Culture is the wellspring from which a nation’s institutions flow.  The culture that created the United States was steeped in the Christian faith, the history of British self-governance and Enlightenment thinking about limited government.  Even today, those are hardly universal foundations for societies.   Around the world there are plenty of examples of what results when any or all of those pillars are missing.  So why would we not demand they continue to predominate here?  

America is now decades into its multicultural fetish.  But there is a tremendous difference between enjoying colorful assortments of dress, dance and cuisine, and acting as if all worldviews produce the same positive results.  They clearly do not.  I couldn’t help but think of the multiculturalists when I recently read about the custom in Madagascar of literally dancing with the corpses of dead family members.  I guarantee there are doctrinaire multiculturalists who would demand we not frown on such a horrific practice; that instead we celebrate what they would emphasize as an expression of love.  The problem is, such things have predictable consequences, such as the spreading of disease.  In most of Latin America (especially Brazil), the annual “Carnival” celebration is a license for utter debauchery.  In much of Islamic Africa, the genitals of young girls are mutilated in an attempt to mute their sexuality, a practice now flourishing in immigrant communities such as Detroit.

So what do we expect to happen when we have “diversity lotteries” for admission to the U.S., resulting in people moving here in large numbers directly from societies with such practices?  Is it not strange we have elected officials more concerned with protecting illegal immigrants than U.S. citizens?  We have forgotten, to our own peril, that the U.S., and more broadly Western Civilization, is unique in human history and that most of the world’s story is a uniform one of various flavors of subservience and misery for the average individual.  Too few Americans have personally experienced how different life outside the “developed world” can be, so they have no idea what’s at stake.

At the rate we’re going, though, many are about to find out.  Western Civilization once had the audacity to proclaim universal truths and standards of right and wrong.  But today it thinks of itself as merely one voice among many, and nothing special worth defending.  I believe the “diversity drive,” coupled with the now-prevalent idea there is no objective truth, will be noted by historians as the fatal acid that ate away the foundations of the United States.  The key question at this point is whether any of the original culture of this country will be preserved in what follows its approaching demise, or whether, as Winston Churchill once warned of the Nazi threat, “the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.”