A two-minute warning

It should be apparent by now that absolutely everything in American society has been subordinated to politics and messaging by the Left.  This is not a good development.  It means there is no room for apolitical interactions, no common ground on which both sides can agree “we may disagree, but don’t have to do it here.”  There are no symbols around which everyone can rally and say “at least we have this much in common.”  Thus the pressure in the cooker continues to grow.

Since the topic of NFL players acting childishly during the National Anthem has become the issue du jour, and has now spread to other sports, I thought I’d put in my two sense cents:

  1. “This is about free speech.”  No, it’s not.  The Constitution guarantees an absence of government coercion against speech it doesn’t like.  The public has always been free to measure the actions and speech of those who put themselves in the public eye.  The Left decided years ago to up the stakes in this area by going after the employment of those who said or supported things they didn’t like (for example, search: Brendon Eich, ex-chairman of Mozilla).  So it should follow Americans are not required to keep funding the salaries–much less subsidizing the stadiums–of well-paid players who don’t appreciate what they have.  The issue is the Left simply doesn’t like it when the same rules are applied to them.  Should have read your Alinsky better…
  2. “Only racists and bigots object to this.”  Garbage.  There are literally millions of veterans (including me) disgusted at watching the NFL borrow the valor of the military with flyovers and huge patriotic displays at their events (something the government even paid them to do), then stand behind players who want to make a particular two-and-a-half-minute tune about them rather than their country.  Unfortunately, football’s core demographic is pretty patriotic.  The NFL knows this.  Let’s see how the bait-and-switch works for them.

A process I’ve seen described as “The Great Tune-Out” appears to be under way.  Civic-minded average Americans seem to have decided not to listen any longer to political rants from pampered entertainers, and this is having an effect in multiple markets.  Good.  It’s about time.  We were told after the election that the majority shouldn’t have to live with a candidate who “only” won the electoral college.  Majority rule, and all that.

Maybe we’re discovering the majority in this country still values it, and is tired of feeding parasitical organizations that keep spitting in their face.  One can hope.  In the mean time, enjoy your now-cleared Sunday afternoon schedules!

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Say “no” to unqualified voting

We’ve been indoctrinated to believe voting is a “right,” and that much of progress in America is related to the gradual expansion of the franchise to the point where anyone with a pulse can enter a voting booth.  We’ve even become so “inclusive” that some cities are allowing non-citizens(!!) to vote.

Before I get bombarded with the usual Progressive insults, let me state for the record that I do not believe voting should be limited on the basis of ethnicity or wealth (i.e. landowning requirements).  But on the question of voting, there is one thing of which I am certain: the automatic universal franchise for those born here is the worst idea in the history of republican thought.  Why have I reached this conclusion?  Consider this:

A new survey conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center finds that most Americans are ignorant of many very basic facts about the Constitution.

* More than one in three people (37%) could not name a single right protected by the First Amendment.
* Only one in four (26%) can name all three branches of the government.
* One in three (33%) can’t name any branch of government. None. Not even one.

You can’t do anything in life well without knowing the rules.  Why should voting be any different?  Now, note carefully what the Washington Post (motto: “Democracy Dies In Darkness“) says next:

The protection of constitutional rights is in large part the business of lawyers, judges, government officials, and other experts. But public opinion plays an important role, as well, which it is unlikely to do as effectively if most of the public is ignorant.

No.  Emphatically no.

The informed and invested citizen is the primary protector of our constitutional freedom.  Therein lies a major part of the problem: being informed and taking action requires effort and some level of personal sacrifice (such as leisure time).  For the vast majority of people, this is simply too much work.  It’s well-said that “Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master.”  Voting is not a “right.”  It is a privilege, and carries with it the reverse of the coin: responsibility.  To hand over the responsibility largely to “lawyers, judges, government officials, and other experts” (notice the order in which these are listed?) is to hand over the privilege of having a voice as a citizen.  By not acting to enforce the Constitutional role on our various government functions, the public has allowed them to determine the limits of their own power (hint: none).  A true citizen refuses to accept that, and challenges — physically, if necessary — undermining of the Constitution.

The only way to be able to do that is to know the Constitution.  It’s no surprise to anyone who’s read this blog for long that I believe voting should be restricted to those who have passed a civic exam at least as difficult as the citizenship test (which, frankly, is not a high bar).  Such an arrangement does not preclude participation on the basis of ethnicity, religion, gender, wealth or any of the other categories that have been used historically to deny the franchise.

What it does is require the would-be voter to earn the privilege — something nearly everyone can do (excepting the mentally incompetent, who already are not allowed full privileges in society).  By bestowing citizenship on those who enter our nation illegally, and allowing anyone with a pulse to vote, our nation shows it does not value either.

“What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.”
— Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, 1776

Frankly, studying for an exam is a small price to pay for the franchise.  Others have theorized about requiring much, much more.  (While I don’t subscribe to Heinlein’s exact solution, the requirement to have a “citizen” demonstrate a commitment to something more than their own narrow self-interest would go far to fix what ails us.)

The next time you’re contemplating the sorry state of our nation, just remember it’s likely a good number of the people surveyed were in a polling place last November, and their vote was swayed more by emotions (“I feel like there should be universal health care”) than by knowledge and analysis (“There is no such thing as a free lunch“).

Idiocracy, indeed.

Never forget September 11, 2001

Sixteen years.  That’s how long it’s been since the worst terrorist attack in American history.  A total of 2,996 people dead or never accounted for.  Symbols of American power struck without warning: both World Trade center towers and the Pentagon.  The actions of informed passengers on a fourth plane likely averted a strike on the White House or Congress.

An entire generation had horrifying visions of previously unimaginable events happening in their own nation, with memories firmly etched into their minds.

They say time heals all wounds. And for the families of those lost that day I hope there is some measure of truth in it. But there is a flip side: such events fade in the public consciousness, such that they no longer inform or shape how the nation acts. To quote the opening of the movie “The Fellowship of the Ring,”

“…some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend, legend became myth…” (click “continue reading” below to continue)

Continue reading

Attempting to be an art critic

I’ve been seeing this image pop up here and there across the Internet.  It’s by the same painter who did one of Obama a few years back in response to the passage of Obamacare.  The two form something of a bookend set.

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I think the original Obama painting was spot on, depicting as it did an aloof and arrogant president trampling the Constitution while all his predecessors (except a few to Obama’s right, or the “left” side of the crowd) looked on with expressions of “what the hell, man?”  The message of the original painting was clear.

As for the one above, I can appreciate that it’s not Trump who is center stage.  We don’t need blind hero worship or the man-on-the-white-horse syndrome here.  Trump’s depicted standing on a snake, which may be more Biblical allegory than I’m willing to extend to him.  That said, D.C. Mordor is definitely snake-infested in our day, and much of the hissing against Trump comes from that serpentine choir.  But the center of the action is a young family watering a plant (perhaps the Tree of Liberty?) in what is very parched soil.  The message could well be interpreted as Trump trying to buy time for the next generation to refresh our nation.  Changing who’s in office won’t matter until the culture itself has been changed.  Politics, it is said, flows downstream from culture.

I’m sure in this era of professional grievance-mongering, others will count faces and point out there are only a few non-white characters in the crowd.  But look who they are: Sheriff David Clarke, an outspoken patriot; an unnamed World War II veteran in a wheelchair who clearly gave to his country; an unnamed black lady and a minority man holding folded U.S. flags, signifying loss of loved ones in service to the nation.

The fault lines in this country today are not so much Republican-Democrat than they are traditionalist/progressive.  As the many “RINO” Republicans demonstrate, the parties don’t cleanly align with the other dichotomy (Sheriff Clarke, by the way, is a registered Democrat).  There are simply those who believe the “bourgeoisie” values that made this nation successful are worth preserving (perhaps “restoring” would be more accurate by this point), and the inaptly named “progressives” who would continue to tear down those values in a vague utopian quest that has ended in tragedy time and again throughout human history.

The takeaways?

  • Don’t expect Trump to solve every problem.
  • Those who love this land and the values that made it must be active in restoring them.
  • Teach your children well.  One generation — the Boomers — left a huge wake of cultural destruction.  This shows how a single generation can change a nation.  Make sure those who are our heirs are prepared to change it again by valuing and defending their inheritance.

One final thought about watering the “tree of liberty” — the artist is optimistic in his portrayal.  Thomas Jefferson warned that nourishing that fragile plant sometimes takes more than water (though his quote is often used without context).  Hope/pray for the best; prepare for the worst.

‘Deplorables’ get things done

This observation is worth reading in its entirety:

How many flood victims in South Texas have been rescued by the Antifa navy?

Just asking, because on TV this week I’ve been watching the “Cajun Navy” pull one Dunkirk after another all around the Gulf Coast.

And those good old boys look like they just came off the set of “Duck Dynasty.” They could be wearing MAGA hats. Hell, I’ll bet one or two of them may have even been falsely accused of committing a fake hate crime or two since the election by some unhinged Social Justice Warrior.

They are, to coin a phrase, deplorables.

Hell, a Chick-fil-A franchise in Houston sent out a power boat to rescue a couple of elderly customers. And the old folks didn’t even ask if Chick-fil-A’s CEO is still opposed to gay marriage.

Is Michael Moore hosting an All-U-Can-Eat buffet for first responders in Harris County? If he were, surely MSNBC would be covering it, live.

Where are Elizabeth Warren, Whoopi Goldberg, Steven Colbert, etc. etc.?

Seriously, doesn’t it look like almost all of the heavy lifting in the wake of Harvey is being done by people who belong to what the Southern Poverty Law Center would describe as “hate groups?”

Speaking of which, when does the [Southern Poverty Law Center’s] food drive begin? (((Maybe once they’re done transfering all their donations to offshore accounts — Jemison)))  Are the non-workers of the Socialist Workers Party and the Spartacist League loading any southbound 18-wheelers with relief supplies this weekend?

Maybe everyone in “the Resistance” is worn out from wearing pink hats and black masks and tipping over statues and sucker punching passers-by with bicycle locks in Berkeley and grabbing an old lady’s flag on the Boston Common and burning it — all those wonderful manifestations of how Love Trumps Hate, as they say.

As the Instapundit frequently says, “read the whole thing.”  There are two groups of people in this land: those who build it up and those who tear it down.  The former group is running out of patience with the latter’s yapping and worse, while contributing nothing to society.  If Antifa hates it so badly here, then get the hell out (I hear the socialist paradise of Venezuela has plenty of openings for violent anarchists right about now).  If it’s all just a pose, then you’re welcome to roll up your sleeves and do something more productive than chanting asinine slogans and showing your historical, political and economic ignorance loudly and violently.

It’s getting on the nerves of us busy ‘deplorables’ who believe in helping our neighbors, not ostracizing them over differences of opinion.

Since we’re talking symbolism

Across the nation, Confederate monuments are coming down, and the question on many minds is whether the President was right: will it stop there, or grow to include any figure — including pivotal figures like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson — associated with slavery or other grievances?

So this would be a good time to examine the symbol of one of the more active groups on the Left: Antifa.  Their flag has been seen from Berkeley to Boston at various “protests” and “counter-protests.”  Why the quotations?  Because in nearly every case, it has devolved into violence.

This is Antifa’s flag:

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Note that the full name of the group is “Antifascist Action.”  The photo above is from an event in Oklahoma City.  Now take a careful look at this next photo:

3rd Communist International

This is the debut of that logo, at the first meeting of the “Antifaschistische Aktion” group in Berlin, July 10, 1932.  The organization was created by the Communist Party of Germany as a replacement paramilitary force after their original goon squad –the Rotfrontkämpferbund — was banned due to fighting between Communists and Nazis.

Note that the emblem is centered between two Soviet flags.  The banner on the table reads “Long live the Red Front.”  In essence, Antifa originated as the Communist answer to the Nazi “Brownshirts,” and the nature of the group was inherently violent.

The point has been made repeatedly in recent days that neo-Nazi symbolism has no business in the USA, and I agree.  But what about neo-Communism?  We’re reminded “we fought a war to conquer Nazi Germany.”  True.  We also waged a half century “Cold War” under threat of nuclear Armageddon to defeat the Soviet Union and its communist empire.  So why is Adolph Hitler the lone boogeyman and political epithet?

It’s because Communists and Nazis strongly emphasized their differences rather than their similarities.  This is deliberate deception.  BOTH belong on the “left” end of the spectrum, as both are collectivist totalitarian ideologies.  The opposite of each is not the other, but rather minimalist, individualist government.

But wait, there’s more!  Our society today is so historically ignorant that many people initially can’t understand why I lump Nazis and Communists together.  So here’s some info to chew on: Continue reading

Quote of the day

“Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary. In no case would it have been possible, once the deed was done, to prove that any falsification had taken place.”  – George Orwell, 1984

Whatever you may think about the appropriateness of removing statues of former Confederate figures, one thing is certain: it will not stop there.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are complex characters, not simple cardboard cutout “racists.”  In today’s climate, though, careful consideration of both virtues and vices is frowned upon.  We are pressed to judge historical characters not by the context of their times, but by how they measure up to current political emotionss.  And so we have reached Shakespeare’s observation through Mark Antony in Julius Caesar: 

“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”

Caesar, rather than the wealthy, aristocratic Roman Senate, had populist support.  (Sound familiar?)  So was it out of patriotism or jealousy that the Senate acted?  It’s a fair question to ask those today who see our current President as Caesar, and dream of removing him, violently if necessary.

Whether Caesar should have been killed by the Roman Senate can be debated, but one thing history makes clear: after that milestone and the civil war that followed, the Republic clearly was dead.

What we are watching today is the disavowal and erasure of the historical foundations of the American republic.  It’s been a long process over the last half century, but those who want to see it done sense victory and are accelerating their efforts.  They may need to be more careful what they wish for.