We were warned

Next April will mark the 50th anniversary of a controversial speech in England.  But while there was much pearl-clutching and vapors at the time it was delivered, yesterday’s events in Manchester prove that it was indeed prophetic and, if anything, understated.  Enoch Powell may have known his words would not be received well, but they are worth reviewing today:

…the discussion of future grave but, with effort now, avoidable evils is the most unpopular and at the same time the most necessary occupation for the politician. Those who knowingly shirk it deserve, and not infrequently receive, the curses of those who come after…

In 15 or 20 years, on present trends, there will be in this country three and a half million Commonwealth immigrants and their descendants. That is not my figure. That is the official figure given to parliament by the spokesman of the Registrar General’s Office.

There is no comparable official figure for the year 2000, but it must be in the region of five to seven million, approximately one-tenth of the whole population, and approaching that of Greater London. Of course, it will not be evenly distributed from Margate to Aberystwyth and from Penzance to Aberdeen. Whole areas, towns and parts of towns across England will be occupied by sections of the immigrant and immigrant-descended population…

But while, to the immigrant, entry to this country was admission to privileges and opportunities eagerly sought, the impact upon the existing population was very different. For reasons which they could not comprehend, and in pursuance of a decision by default, on which they were never consulted, they found themselves made strangers in their own country.

They found their wives unable to obtain hospital beds in childbirth, their children unable to obtain school places, their homes and neighbourhoods changed beyond recognition, their plans and prospects for the future defeated; at work they found that employers hesitated to apply to the immigrant worker the standards of discipline and competence required of the native-born worker; they began to hear, as time went by, more and more voices which told them that they were now the unwanted

As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see “the River Tiber foaming with much blood.”

And all of this was said well before the term “jihad” once again became a household word in the West.  Those who encouraged the idea of utopian multiculturalism will have much blood on their hands before this is over.  It’s said that those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it (see: Roman Empire, barbarian immigrations).  For those of us who do study history, we are condemned to see the folly of those who fail to learn their lessons.  Those lessons, more often than not, are paid for in blood and ought to be valued far more than they are.  But in our human arrogance, each generation says “this time it’ll be different.”

No, it won’t.

Selective historical airbrushing

The City of New Orleans is busy purging itself of Confederate statues, since these offend the tender sensibilities of today’s historically illiterate crybullies.  But if they’re determined to remove all vestiges of monuments to people who ever held racist sentiments, there’s work waiting for them in Washington, D.C.:

Lincoln white copy

It’s true Lincoln desired the limitation and eventual extinction of slavery, but it was not for this reason he went to war on his fellow Americans in 1861.  He made this very clear:

My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.   – Letter to Horace Greeley, 1862

Yes, that previously voluntary Union that was becoming compulsory with no escape during Lincoln’s reign.  “Reign” is too exaggerated, you say?  Look closely again at the monument built to his memory.  Look at the front of the armrests.  They very closely resemble this, the Roman fasces — a symbol of authority in ancient Rome later adopted by Benito Mussolini and his flock of blackshirts… known as the fascists.  All they lack is the axe, but that does not diminish in any way the power unleashed by Lincoln in his War Against the States.  (It’s worth noting the Speaker of the House is flanked by the same imagery — with the axes as well.)  Certainly, today’s America more closely resembles the Imperial Rome of Caligula than the Republic that was swallowed up by Julius Caesar.

So if we’re going to demolish any memory of white supremacy or unConstitutional exercises of power, the Lincoln memorial has to go as well.

Of course, I know better than to hold my breath, waiting for consistency from these little minds that have nothing better to do than tilt at Confederate windmills.

Communism’s record

Although I’m a day late this year, I think the trend of using May 1st as a day to remember the victims of communism is a good development.  Given the annual parades and pageants on the Left to celebrate “workers’ solidarity” every May 1st, the effort to remember where Marxism leads is a useful corrective.

A more full record of communism’s cost can be found here.

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Half-century of hysteria

On this 47th Earth Day (which I prefer to call Creation Day), it’s worth noting the carnage of past predictions of doom and gloom that were made during the first observance in 1970:

  1. “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” — Harvard biologist George Wald
  2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation.” — Washington University biologist Barry Commoner
  3. “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”New York Times editorial
  4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” — Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich
  5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born… [By 1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” — Paul Ehrlich
  6. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” — Denis Hayes, Chief organizer for Earth Day
  7. “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions…. By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” — North Texas State University professor Peter Gunter
  8. “In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half.” — Life magazine
  9. “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt
  10. “Air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” — Paul Ehrlich
  11. “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate… that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’” — Ecologist Kenneth Watt
  12. “[One] theory assumes that the earth’s cloud cover will continue to thicken as more dust, fumes, and water vapor are belched into the atmosphere by industrial smokestacks and jet planes. Screened from the sun’s heat, the planet will cool, the water vapor will fall and freeze, and a new Ice Age will be born.”Newsweek magazine
  13. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years. If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.” — Kenneth Watt

Good thing these would-be prophets aren’t subject to the Old Testament penalty for being wrong (that would be death, by the way).  So this is worth remembering when folks like “The Goreacle” make their thundering pronouncements of catastrophe unless we allow the elite to run everything.

God created us to be stewards.  But not to worship the creation over the creator.

Pearls of wisdom

Thomas Sowell has decided to retire from writing his column, after more providing more than 25 years of insightful observations.

Along with Walter Williams and the late Charlie Reese, Sowell was one of a handful of columnists who I read regularly, looking for their bylines on the editorial pages of any newspaper I picked up.  I learned a lot from each of these men.

Vox has collected 10 memorable quips by Sowell that are worth your time to ponder, which I’m reposting here (with some editorial emphasis by me on a few points).  May Mr. Sowell enjoy his retirement.

1. “It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.”

2. “Socialism in general has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it.”

3. “Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good.”

4. “Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late.”

5. “The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is: he confuses it with feeling.”

6. “The black family survived centuries of slavery and generations of Jim Crow, but it has disintegrated in the wake of the liberals’ expansion of the welfare state.”

7. “The welfare state is not really about the welfare of the masses. It is about the egos of the elites.”

8. “I have never understood why it is ‘greed’ to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money.”

9. “No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems — of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.”

10. “People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything.”

Pathos vs. Logos

The full-throated temper tantrum thrown by so many on the Left since the election smacks a little like the Great and Powerful Oz having the curtain drawn back, showing there’s really no there, there.

Which is true.

Progressivism is a blind faith. Instead of believing in revelation, one believes in . . . progress. In this regard, progressivism resembles communism, fascism, and national socialism — all of which presumed that they were on the right side of history. Such a conviction relieves one of the need to think prudentially. Indeed, it relieves one from the need to think at all: one need only surrender to the Zeitgeist and go with the flow — which is why today’s liberalism is essentially, as both columnists imply, brain dead. Ask a progressive why he or she believes in progress, and you will get in return an astonished stare. Things are, you see, getting better all the time, and that is all there is to it.

This conviction also explains why liberals sneer at their opponents, demonize them, denounce them as “deplorables” and “irredeemables,” and refuse to engage their arguments. They descend to insults because they have no real idea why they stand where they stand. They have attitudes but they are bereft of ideas. In consequence, when they discover that they have been digging themselves into a hole, they respond by digging deeper, as they are doing right now.

Meanwhile…

A small but growing number of young conservatives see themselves not only as engaged citizens, but as guardians of an ancient intellectual tradition…

The Hertog course is one of more than a dozen similar seminars sponsored by conservative and libertarian organizations around the country. Some last for months, others just a few days. Some recruit older participants, but most target college students and 20-somethings.

The syllabuses and faculty range from say, the secular Jewish milieu of Hertog to the libertarian Cato Institute to the Christian traditionalism of the John Jay Institute. But all these programs seek to correct the defects they see in mainstream higher education by stressing principles over pluralism, immersing students in the wisdom of old books and encouraging them to apply that wisdom to contemporary politics.

By now, leftist collectivism should be thoroughly discredited in the eyes of anyone who can discern success from failure.  Deep down, many of them know it, too.  That is why their arguments increasing are “because shut up,” hurling the epithet of the week, or going on the personal attack to destroy an opponent’s livelihood.  They stay moving only by the energy of pent-up emotion, not guided by any logic or rational thinking.  By tossing out the classical works that used to be the bedrock of a truly liberal education, they have lost the ability to be challenged and to respond in a civil manner to such challenge.  Thus, the emphasis on “safe spaces,” where the bedrock foundations of Western Civilization are not allowed to intrude on their fairy tale narrative.

The dangers of unchecked pathos – reliance on emotional motivation rather than reasoned thought – are abundant.  Pathos is what fires up a nation to go to war, or give unlimited authority to a popular demagogue; logos is thinking through the cost-benefit analysis of such endeavors.  Indeed, some have seen pathos as a way to reduce the level of critical thinking in a target audience.  So it should be no surprise that a movement like Progressivism, motivated as it is by the same calls for “liberty, equality, fraternity” that motivated the French Revolution (and resulting Reign of Terror) has little in the way of rationally developed arguments with which to win over opponents.

One cannot maintain a civilization when its members can only argue by saying how they feel, rather than what they believe.  There are exceptions to this trend, as the linked article notes.  The problem is that a 2-year-old’s whose thinking is challenged tends to act out (think tantrum and hitting the other kid whose toy you want).  The adult version of that is to attempt to silence… even with violence, if necessary.

Keep that in mind as you hear the calls to regulate “fake news,” and to ban “hate speech.” Those calling for it have every intention of being the arbiters of what is “fake” or “hate,” and thus have available to them the full force and weight of the State to destroy those who do not comply.

The war on history & a heritage of liberty

The was never any doubt in my mind that the cultural cleansing of Confederate flags and symbols would be expanded into something much broader:

The EEOC has already ruled that coworkers’ wearing Confederate flag T-shirts can be punishable harassment (a decision that I think is incorrect); and, unsurprisingly, this is extending to other political speech as well.

On January 8, 2014, Complainant filed a formal complaint in which he alleged that the Agency subjected him to discrimination on the basis of race (African American) and in reprisal for prior EEO activity when, starting in the fall of 2013, a coworker (C1) repeatedly wore a cap to work with an insignia of the Gadsden Flag, which depicts a coiled rattlesnake and the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me.”

Complainant stated that he found the cap to be racially offensive to African Americans because the flag was designed by Christopher Gadsden, a “slave trader & owner of slaves.”  (emphasis added)

Stop and think about the criteria emphasized above.  If anything associated with a “slave trader” or “owner of slaves” is now tainted and subject to removal from the public square, then we have lost the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and pretty much the entire foundation of our heritage.  It takes discernment to make distinctions between attitudes and actions we now recognize as wrong (i.e. enslavement and racism), and legitimate contributions by human beings every bit as flawed and imperfect as we are today.  Regrettably, discernment is sorely lacking in our society today.

The EEOC acknowledges (then ignores) the context of the creation of the Gadsden flag, which was an early symbol of the rebellion that became known as the American Revolution.  While the Southern Cross or the Stars and Bars (not the same flag!) can be legitimately criticized for their association with a breakaway region explicitly devoted to the preservation of slavery and racial hierarchy during the War Between the States, the Gadsden Flag has NO such historical connotation, despite a few modern groups’ attempts to appropriate it for such causes.

I believe this storied yellow flag is being targeted because of its association with the Tea Party protests of a few years ago against Obamacare and other examples of ineffective, inefficient, wasteful and unresponsive government. It remains a symbol of defiance and independence, which runs contrary to the increasing demands for compliance and conformity in our land.  Thus, symbols that inspire and remind Americans about their heritage must be controlled or eliminated. (Prediction: they’ll go after this symbol next.)

People like myself with genuine concerns about the direction of our country tried a few years ago to demonstrate and appropriately ‘petition for the redress of grievances,’ and the Gadsden Flag quickly became a symbol of that segment of the citizenry — which should have been a warning to any leader with a sense of history.  But at the time the professional punditry and not a few of our national leaders smeared the whole movement as some sort of racist enterprise and ignored them. Then they were surprised at the sudden surge of support for a deeply flawed and disruptive candidate like Trump.

There’s a lesson there: when people believe acting traditionally and respectfully gets their legitimate concerns libeled and dismissed, they stop acting as civilly.  If our national leaders (on both sides of the aisle) don’t start actively addressing these concerns–the very real negative effects of free trade and unfettered immigration, a lack of faith that our nation is secure, bloated, wasteful and ineffective agencies and programs, and a general sense that our whole government is just one great big racket for the well-connected–then the next standard bearer for them is likely to be even less palatable from a civil, traditional perspective.

The clock is ticking, the tinder is drier than it’s been in generations, and we have perhaps the most tone-deaf, insular and arrogant leadership class in our nation’s history.  Absent a miracle, I don’t expect this to play out well.

Based on their frantic cultural cleansing, it appears they don’t, either.

Remember, America.

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