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If Speech Never Offends You, Then There Isn’t Free Speech

Mark Steyn points out some really horrific actions around the Western world of late suppressing free speech.

  • In Galway, at the National University of Ireland, a speaker who attempts to argue against the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) programme against Israel is shouted down with cries of ‘F***ing Zionist, f***ing pricks… Get the f*** off our campus.’

  • In California, Mozilla’s chief executive is forced to resign because he once made a political donation in support of the pre-revisionist definition of marriage.
  • At Westminster, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee declares that the BBC should seek ‘special clearance’ before it interviews climate sceptics, such as fringe wacko extremists like former Chancellor Nigel Lawson.
  • In Massachusetts, Brandeis University withdraws its offer of an honorary degree to a black feminist atheist human rights campaigner from Somalia.
  • In London, a multitude of liberal journalists and artists responsible for everything from Monty Python to Downton Abbey sign an open letter in favour of the first state restraints on the British press in three and a quarter centuries.
  • And in Canberra the government is planning to repeal Section 18C — whoa, don’t worry, not all of it, just three or four adjectives; or maybe only two, or whatever it’s down to by now, after what Gay Alcorn in the Age described as the ongoing debate about ‘where to strike the balance between free speech in a democracy and protection against racial abuse in a multicultural society’.

Here’s the thing, guys and gals, if you want to have not liberty but merely a moderately functional society, you have to allow free speech.  The reason for this is that if people are not free to say whatever they darn well please without threat of official or social retaliation, then the truth will not come out.  It is only by allowing everyone to have their say that we can have any chance of actually discovering what is going on.  While in a place of free speech you will get a large pack of lies being said, you’ll also ensure that the truth is told, as well.  And the truth will eventually be acted upon because it is, in the end, the only thing which will work.

It goes beyond just that, of course.  If you set out to keep everyone polite, then you will eventually allow the most rude to control all debate.  The theory behind politically correct speech is that we need to ensure that we aren’t denigrating anyone, thus allowing all people to have the courage to speak up.  It doesn’t work like that because the sort of people who are most willing to be rude will simply shout down everyone else – and claim they are doing it in the name of enforcing politeness.  Someone has a pet theory and then someone comes along and destroys it with facts – the rude claim that the person destroying the theory with facts is racist/sexist/homophobic/what have you and is exiled from the public square.  The pet theory goes on undisturbed and everyone is now afraid to challenge it…and the rude are in charge.

I’m very sorry to all and sundry, but you simply must allow everyone to have their say and you MUST NOT seek to do anything to them for saying it.  Corporate CEO writes a racist rant in a neo-Nazi website?  Condemn him.  Write an article refuting him. Point out to everyone that said store owner is a racist.  And then leave him alone.  You’ve got no business doing anything else.  Don’t organize a boycott.  Don’t organize a picket line.  Don’t pressure local authorities to investigate his business practices.  Leave him alone.  He did nothing but speak his mind and he must be allowed to do that without let or hindrance from anyone, ever.  You can only interfere when words are transformed into actions or where the words are clearly inciting someone to imminent action which will violate the rights of others.

It goes for both sides, of course – write the worst sort of slanders you wish about my Catholic Church.  You’re a CEO of a major corporation?  Fine.  I’ll write about it.  I’ll condemn it.  I’ll point out that you’re an anti-Catholic bigot.  And that is all I’ll do (well, I’ll also pray for you). It is no business of mine to try and wreck the business the CEO runs.  It is no business of mine to try and get him fired.  It is no business of mine to do anything to him because he has done nothing to me or to anyone else.  He just spoke his mind.

We’re all in this together, my friends.  There are 310-odd million of us and in such a large community there will be every possible sort of opinion.  We will not ever all agree on anything.  And we can’t function unless the truth comes out, and it only comes out if everyone can fearlessly enter the public square and speak their mind.  Drop all attempts to interfere in what people say.  Let them say it; if you think they’re wrong (or even downright evil) for what they say, then you must confine yourself to no more than saying things against them.  If we do this, we will remain free and relatively rational as a people – if we keep going down this route to controlling speech, we are doomed – and I mean “doomed” as in “doomed to death” because we will not survive, as a people, if we seek to control each other.

Hiding the Decline, ObamaCare Style

They just get more dishonest by the day:

The Census Bureau, the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than three decades, is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall, census officials said.

The changes are intended to improve the accuracy of the survey, being conducted this month in interviews with tens of thousands of households around the country. But the new questions are so different that the findings will not be comparable, the officials said.

An internal Census Bureau document said that the new questionnaire included a “total revision to health insurance questions” and, in a test last year, produced lower estimates of the uninsured. Thus, officials said, it will be difficult to say how much of any change is attributable to the Affordable Care Act and how much to the use of a new survey instrument…

Now, you can think that this is just some honest effort by the Obama Administration – or you can be rational and understand that they want a success that Low Info Voters can believe in and so they are just going to fudge the numbers until they get it.  This is much like the way they’ve finagled around with the unemployment and labor force participation numbers – can’t create jobs?  Then just change the way we report the number of jobs!  Have a completely unworkable health care system?  Then just change the way insured and uninsured are counted until you get fewer uninsured!

Just waiting for a report just before election day about how the number of uninsured Americans is at a record low…

But, it won’t work.  The problem with ObamaCare is not in the marketing, it is the fact that people are having to pay more for health insurance than they did before.  The problem is in the millions of people who have had their policies cancelled.  The problem is in the fact that the bloody thing just doesn’t work.  Democrats will pay the ObamaCare price this November no matter how many made-up numbers Team Obama comes up with.

Social Security Hitting Kids for Parents’ Debts

This is just hideous:

A few weeks ago, with no notice, the U.S. government intercepted Mary Grice’s tax refunds from both the IRS and the state of Maryland. Grice had no idea that Uncle Sam had seized her money until some days later, when she got a letter saying that her refund had gone to satisfy an old debt to the government — a very old debt.

When Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them.

Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family — it’s not sure who — in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter. Why the feds chose to take Mary’s money, rather than her surviving siblings’, is a mystery.

Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who are expecting refunds this month are instead getting letters like the one Grice got, informing them that because of a debt they never knew about — often a debt incurred by their parents — the government has confiscated their check.

The Treasury Department has intercepted $1.9 billion in tax refunds already this year — $75 million of that on debts delinquent for more than 10 years, said Jeffrey Schramek, assistant commissioner of the department’s debt management service. The aggressive effort to collect old debts started three years ago — the result of a single sentence tucked into the farm bill lifting the 10-year statute of limitations on old debts to Uncle Sam.

No one seems eager to take credit for reopening all these long-closed cases. A Social Security spokeswoman says the agency didn’t seek the change; ask Treasury. Treasury says it wasn’t us; try Congress. Congressional staffers say the request probably came from the bureaucracy…

This is just a desperate ploy from a government which is greedy for every dollar it can lay its hands on – but it also shows (if ObamaCare didn’t clue you in) that no one in government really knows what is happening…its all done behind the scenes with lobbyists and bureaucrats and staffers inserting things into bills and regulations without anyone accountable to the people really knowing what is going on.

This, of course, needs to be repealed – it is un-American to seek to collect debts owed by one person from another.  If the person who owes the money is dead and there’s no estate to collect it from, then the debt is a write-off.  Whether or not anyone in Congress will step up to fix this particular problem remains to be seen – but the ultimate fix to this is to prohibit Congress from passing laws of more than, say, 10 type-written pages…and to prohibit the bureaucracy from implementing new regulations (which also must not be more than 10 type-written pages long) before Congressional approval of each new regulation.

UPDATE – technically unrelated, but check out what is happening with the Bundy Ranch in Nevada.  True, its a dispute over grazing rights which has been going on for decades…but whatever one wishes to think about the particulars of the case, why did Uncle Sam whistle up an army to round of the man’s cattle?  Why make a “free speech” zone?

Given that this is Nevada and we have Harry Reid and the BLM is involved, I’m immediately suspicious that this is just another corrupt land deal – there are stories that this land is to be set aside for a solar plant with a Reid son involved.  I’m not so sure about that – this has been going on too long for that (since 1993).  I’m more thinking that since it is some really nice countryside (and the Virgin river runs year-round through it as it heads towards Lake Mead) that someone has a mind to build some resorts out there – and ol’ Harry has been more than once involved in screwy land dealings where, hey presto!, BLM land is made available to the “public” and Reid cronies make a killing.

We’re Still Number One. For Now.

Victor Davis Hanson neatly skewers the latest in a line of liberal “studies” which purports to show the United States is behind other major, industrialized nations – these studies often comparing us to small, homogenous nations which lack major numbers of immigrants and who are largely freed from such impedimenta as large defense budgets because we defend them.  He notes some of the handicaps we have, and yet still do pretty well:

…Speaking of social progress, the United States lets in the largest number of legal and illegal immigrants in the world. Currently 45 million or more residents were not born in the U.S. — a number four times larger than any other nation. Ethnic, religious, and cultural homogeneity promotes some of the values (such as Internet access) that social progress indices usually value.

Yet in my hometown, which has been overwhelmed by illegal immigration over the last two decades, I can see why recent arrivals from Oaxaca have some difficulty in getting online free at the local Starbucks. The problem is not that they do not have cell phones with Internet service or that Starbucks and other franchises don’t offer free Internet services, but that the language, past experience, and culture of central Mexico are not quite the same as those in the United States.  Speaking Mixtecan languages and not being able to read Spanish in an English-speaking country makes it hard to surf the net.

One reason why the U.S. is volatile, influential, dynamic, and by far the most culturally influential society in the world are the number and variety of its legal immigrants. No one wants to move to Russia. Switzerland does not want any new immigrants. France and Germany don’t quite know what to do with those already residing in their countries. China and Japan could never consider an African, Swedish, or Mexican immigrant fully Chinese or Japanese. The Arab World would not let in Jews and in many places is driving out Christians. Building a large new Church anywhere in the Islamic world is for all practical purposes now impossible.

In short, people vote with their feet, and by huge margins prefer the greater freedom, economic opportunity, and security of the U.S., not to mention its meritocracy that assesses talent far less than elsewhere on class, racial, tribal, or religious criteria. Because the U.S., also unlike other countries, strangely does not value that much education, capital, or skills in assessing potential immigrants (family ties and the fact of reaching U.S. soil being the more influential criteria), and because it hosts somewhere between 11 and 20 million illegal immigrants, it naturally has ongoing challenges to provide near instant parity to millions who arrive here poor, uneducated, and without money…

While you will certainly find some Americans who will ardently state they prefer Europe to the United States, you’ll also find that they are invariably well off (and thus could afford a higher cost of living) and currently residing in places like San Francisco and New York City.  As most Americans have not visited foreign lands, they don’t know how they live in the great Outside – but most Americans also instinctively know they won’t get better, elsewhere.  Its why they stay – and why 45 million poor foreigners have moved here of late.  And as for those middle class Americans who have traveled overseas, we know first hand just how lousy it is compared to living in the United States.  There’s no place like home and we are thankful that we won the “where to be born” lottery.

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When Fighting the Left, Never Give an Inch

I remember a while back ago when I saw a picture of Cindy and Meghan McCain made up in the “NoH8″ logo and it immediately occurred to me just how absolutely disgusting it was – while “NoH8″ had been around for a while, it suddenly struck me what it really meant – what the liberal fascists, that is, meant by using it:  that anyone who disagrees with them is a hate-filled bigot, unfit for decent company.  It told me, point blank, that by the mere fact of being a Catholic in accord with the Magisterium, I was the modern version of Bull Connor.  Plenty of  Republicans fell for it – after all, it was just about not hating, right?  Perhaps not.  Maybe the whole purpose of “NoH8″ was to get people to hate the “other” – in this case, anyone who disagreed with same-sex marriage?

I bring this up because in the Mozilla case, we can now all see where we are heading – into a world where the left hounds out of public life all of those who disagree.  Many years ago, a Russian girl got something like 10 years in Stalin’s Gulag for writing, “you can pray all you want, but only so God can hear”.  That seems to be what the left wants; a world in which we of the right might be allowed to exist, but only if we in no way, shape or form enter the public square in opposition to leftwing ideology.  A case can be made that hatred and a desire to suppress are the actual motivators of leftwing activity.  Anything else that they do or that results from their actions is pure happenstance.  Take gun control, for instance. If the left was motivated by the desire to reduce crime and reduce violent deaths, then the vast evidence now proving conclusively that more guns equals less crime would move the left to be opposed to gun control.  Given the facts and the left’s alleged concern for liberty, they’d be out there advocating for widespread gun ownership.  And yet, there they are – taking every opportunity they can to try to demonize gun owners and restrict the right to bear arms.  This indicates that the great gun control debate was never anything other than an attempt to generate hatred for gun owners so that they may be suppressed.  In the case of the Mozilla CEO, we have a situation in which the man’s past support for a now overturned law is used to force him out of his job.  This is not a heat of the moment fight – this is a cold-blooded attack on a man over an issue already settled as far as California is concerned.  Doing this does not advance the cause of gay rights – but it does allow free reign for hatred and a golden opportunity to not just get that CEO, but put fear into the hearts of all people in California that if they back anti-leftist causes, they will be exposed and fired from their jobs.

Here’s my warning to my fellow conservatives:  don’t be fooled.  You can’t partner up with any one on the left, ever.  Even if you believe that a particular bit of leftwing ideology is good (for instance, same-sex marriage) if you partner up with them – show your support for their views – then you are merely helping hate-filled people work up a system where everyone they hate will be suppressed.  Just because they are lauding you for being so open-minded and wonderful doesn’t mean there isn’t room for you in the Gulag. Your space is already reserved – and they’ll get you there all the easier once all those troublesome social conservatives are forced into silence because they are, in the public mind, hated as much as the segregationists of yore are hated today.

We are in a battle for the whole of society.  Either the conservative/libertarian side will win 100%, or the left will.  The two sides cannot meet in the middle.  This not because a reasonable conservative can’t be in favor of gay marriage, but because the left never quits in it’s quest for total power over everything.  Conservatives were pushed away from opposing divorce; were pushed away from opposing birth control; were pushed away from fighting political correctness on campus; were pushed away from one thing after another – because the left demanded it, and some conservatives were willing to agree, never thinking the matter all the way through:  that if you give these people an inch, they will take a mile.  Then demand yet another.

Ask yourself this question:  at the end of the day, what sort of society do you wish to live in?  If the price of backing this or that aspect of leftwing ideology is going to be a society where everyone who disagrees with the left is silenced, where will you be?  And, yes, I’m mostly looking at you libertarian, fiscal conservatives who wish the whole social issues thing would go away.  It may well go away – but only because we who back traditional morality will be turned in the LIV, public mind into monsters that no decent person will associate with.  This might work well in terms of making certain that abortion is not an election year issue, but it won’t work so well in the sense of having a 20 million or more hole blown in the anti-Democrat vote.  To put it to you bluntly:  the libertarian/conservative side of the aisle cannot survive with out the support of the tens of millions of people who believe that same-sex marriage is wrong.  True, social conservatives cannot win without you, either; but right now the left is on a campaign to make adherence to Judeo-Christian morality socially unacceptable…to a point where no one will dare defend such ideals in public. Once we’re silenced, you’re doomed – because you won’t be able to win, and then the left will turn the screws on you.

We’re all in this together, my friends.  My right to adhere to Catholic teaching lives and dies with your right to not adhere and just go on and do what you wish.  If I don’t have my rights, then you won’t have yours…and while I’ll be in socio-political Gulag for believing the Church, you’ll be in there with me for not adhering to 100% of whatever the left is on about at the moment.  Pick your side, and stand with it.

UPDATE:  Its not just me – from Richard Fernandez:

Much of the shock following the removal of Brendan Eich from the position of Mozilla CEO came from the realization that, in a manner of speaking, America was now at war. True it’s a culture war, not a physical conflict. But if you were waiting for the moment when the Cold Civil War actually begins, this might be it…

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE II:  Matt Walsh lets ‘em have it:

…You fancy yourselves the ideological descendants of civil rights pioneers, but these tactics put you in the same vein as book burners and Puritan witch hunters. When your story is ultimately told, it’ll read more like The Crucible than the Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

And that’s why you’ll lose.

You might have fooled society forever if you’d just kept singing about love and kindness, and never started bombarding Christians with your bitter hate and hostility. You might have gained some lasting ground if you hoisted your banner of free love, and never used it to diminish free speech.

But the proverbial cat is out of the bag. You’ve been made.

Because of your own behavior, when people like myself tell the world about the vicious death wishes and vulgar hate mail we receive from your kind on a DAILY basis, everyone will believe us. It’s no secret anymore. Without question and without exaggeration, the ‘gay rights movement’ is the angriest, most ruthless, most controlling, most intolerant of all the ideological enterprises in the country. Now, everyone knows it.

So you’ll lose. People are starting to see that you are the pigs on this Animal Farm, and the equality of which you preach is a very unequal equality indeed…

 

Putin Lives in the Real World

By the time Japan ran up the white flag in August of 1945, the United States had produced nearly 61,000 tanks, 285,000 air craft, 147 capital ships, 41,000 cannon and more than 12 million rifles.  Using this material, we had killed or captured more than a million enemy soldiers and dropped well more than two million tons of explosives on Germany and Japan (not counting the atomic bombs) and killed somewhere in the range of two million German and Japanese civilians.  Our enemies were cratered wastelands entirely at our mercy.  Peering up from the rubble, the world drew a very vital lesson:  you don’t want to fight the United States of America.

This lesson was tested, of course.  First in Korea – where potential enemies learned that you could draw the United States into a war and not suffer complete destruction – but you had to be willing to absorb immense casualties at the hands of American forces disposing of more firepower than anyone could possibly imagine (in return for the privilege of killing at bit more than 33,000 Americans, the North Koreans and Chinese exchanged at least 400,000 military deaths and 1.5 million civilian deaths).  It was re-tested in Vietnam and finally confirmed – as long as you were willing to lose your people at a fantastic rate, eventually the Americans will get tired and leave, as long as the United States, itself, wasn’t at risk.  But, still,  those piles of smoking rubble in Germany and Japan kept the world entirely unwilling to tangle with the United States in a fight to the death.  And, so, no general wars since 1945.

But such a state of affairs only lasts as long as the world is convinced that fighting the United States is something to take into consideration.  Small scale = can be done, at enormous cost.  Large scale = national suicide.  But what if it comes to pass that you don’t have to worry either about large scale or small scale war with the United States?  Then you get the invasion of Crimea.

The problem Obama has – and its common throughout the leadership elite  of the Western World – is that they have convinced themselves that it wasn’t American power which kept the peace.  Indeed, they have convinced themselves that more than anything else, American power has been the threat to peace (and they use things like Korea, Vietnam and Iraq as proof – never mind that in none of these cases did the United States just blindly go in for aggressive action…right or wrong, in all of these cases a threat was perceived prior to American action). To an Obama, the world is kept at peace by international law; by the United Nations; by NGO’s; by conferences at swank, European resorts.  Everyone agrees to be nice – and see how well it works!  But, here’s the thing, it only worked because at the back of it all were the smoking piles of rubble in Germany and Japan circa 1945 and a worry that really challenging the post-war settlement would mean a new World War with the United States.  But Obama and his like don’t see it like that.  Putin, however, does.

With the decline of American power and the global perception that the United States simply lacks the grit to carry out a long, grinding fight to a victorious finish we have returned to the world of 1938 – precisely when the world held American power at a discount figuring that we probably wouldn’t fight, to begin with, and that if we did, we wouldn’t stick it out (it really cannot be stressed enough that the leaders of both Germany and Japan figured the American people simply lacked guts…that we were too soft to fight it out like men in desperate battle).  Putin isn’t doing anything but living in the real world – and the real world of 2014 is the international anarchy of 1914, prior to the application of overwhelming American power to the globe 1941-45.  In this real world, you grab what you think you can get away with – you know you won’t have to fight even a small, expensive (but ultimately victorious) war against an America which just gets tired and neither will you risk a World War which would bring all of America’s might to bear until your country is reduced to a pile of smoking rubble.

It is an open question as to whether this will work out badly for the world – we simply don’t know.  Perhaps if we hadn’t intervened in World War One things would have been better in the long run?  Maybe if we had dodged the World War Two bullet then having the Japanese Empire run Asia would not be as bad as China attempting to run Asia?  A revived Russian Empire might put a definite check on Turkish and Iranian ambitions, after all.  But while we don’t know how this will come out, there’s no sense getting mad a Putin or acting like he’s not behaving rationally.  He’s doing what he thinks is best – that we think it wrong is immaterial.  Unless we want to declare war on Russia, there’s not much we can do, after all.

But here is the risk – without fear of America’s overwhelming power (and it still is overwhelming – it still could take on, for instance, Russia and China at the same time and beat them into the ground), things could get a bit dangerous out in the world.  It could be that as nations take the lid off and start competing for territory, resources and prestige that one or more of them decides to challenge us directly, thinking that we can be cowed – or, if not cowed, then easily beaten.  It would be much better, I think, that once having won overwhelming global dominance that we had maintained it – we have let the scepter slip from our hands, however, and there’s no getting it back without war.  The world is now at genuine risk of World War Three.

This is not just Obama’s fault – though he has put the final touches on it.  This stretches back to the immediate post-WWII era, when we didn’t firmly put Russia in her place…and when we failed to pick up the real challenge in Korea and take out China and Russia.  It is the result of thinking that the world is governed by something other than force; that sweet reasonableness and treaties make the world safe.  They don’t.  Power and the willingness to apply it is what makes the world safe – or, as safe as it can be.  Putin is living in the real world.  So is China.  So is Iran.  The sooner we join them there the sooner we can start to rationally think about what we want – and where we’ll draw a line and tell them, “thus far and no further”.

The Death of Civilization

Here’s how they die, at least in the modern, internet era:  pitching romantic vacations in the hopes that someone might wind up pregnant:

Denmark has a lot of things going for it. Last year, the UN’s World Happiness Report crowned it the globe’s happiest country, citing the nation’s commitment to maternity leave, gender equality, biking, and drinking lots of wine when it’s cold outside.

Its economy is also tops, chugging out $211 billion in annual GDP despite its relatively small population of 5.6 million. Economic inequality? Not a problem. Income distributes more evenly there than most places.

But Denmark has a sex problem. (Re-evaluating that happiness ranking already?)

Well, it’s not exactly a sex problem, per se. It’s more like a baby problem. According to government statistics, Denmark posted a birth rate of 10 per 1,000 residents in 2013 — its lowest in decades. The nation’s birthrate was  9.9 in 1983…

And, so, a travel agency has worked a “Do It For Denmark” campaign – at the link you can view the mildly NSFW ad pitch.  Its all very cute and funny, but it also reveals the underlying problem.  For all our wealth and for all our civilizational obsession with sex, we ain’t having kids.  And here’s the problem – if a people doesn’t create new people, it dies.  Funny how that works, huh?

We have no stigma attached to shacking up without marriage.  No one would dare call a child born out of wedlock a bastard.  Our popular culture is saturated with sexual references.  We have a “hook up” culture among our young which appears to hold that sexual activity is just part of a movie/dinner date night.  Everyone is encouraged to have as much sex as possible…and yet birth rates around the world have cratered.  Often to the point where some nations are already losing population year by year.  What gives?

For most people it would all be a great mystery.  It won’t be for some – those of us who either back when already knew or who have discovered the truth: when you separate sex out from its marital and procreative functions (via pre-marital sex and various forms of birth control, plus abortion) you will get lots more sex, but you won’t get sex which has any actual purpose in life…and you’ll also get people who have grown to believe that sex is just a thing of itself, having no purpose beyond the actual sex act.  And then you’ll get cratering birth rates, welfare States in trouble (all welfare States are built upon the requirement of a steadily increasing population) and absurd ad campaigns to convince people to have sex with a purpose.

As I’ve said elsewhere, this is just the end of a civilization – a dying, liberal civilization which proposed to make everything just great for everyone as soon as we cast off all the burdens of the old, Judeo-Christian civilization.  Well, with abortion on demand, same-sex marriage and, now, human bodies being burned for fuel, I think we can say that the very last shreds of the old civilization have been cast off.  This is now the liberal civilization long dreamed of.  Here it is.  Do you like it?  Well, don’t get too used to it – its already dead.  It’ll be replaced – by a Judeo-Christian civilization…where people will not only know how to have sex, but will know what it’s for without having to be prompted by a slick ad campaign.

 

Liberals are, Bottom Line, Idiots

Charles Blow, who writes for the New York Times, pounds out the stupid regarding Paul Ryan’s recent comments about poverty in the inner city:

…But instead of cushioning his comments, Ryan shot back, “There was nothing whatsoever about race in my comments at all — it had nothing to do with race.”

That would have been more believable if Ryan hadn’t prefaced his original comments by citing Charles Murray, who has essentially argued that blacks are genetically inferior to whites and whom the Southern Poverty Law Center labels a “white nationalist.” (The center’s definition: “White nationalist groups espouse white supremacist or white separatist ideologies, often focusing on the alleged inferiority of nonwhites.”)…

Because Blow expects (correctly) that those who provide his paycheck at the Times as well as most of those who bother to read the Times on a regular basis are even bigger idiots than he is, Blow just goes off and says that Ryan – the racist – is proved to be a racist because he, Ryan, quotes a well known racist (Charles Murray).  Blow won’t tell you precisely why Murray is a racist – expecting, in the end, that most of his readers are too lazy and/or stupid to just look Murray up and see who he is (or, alternately, they are simply afraid – fearful that if they look up Murray they’ll find that maybe a liberal is lying and that can lead to all sorts of horrors).  Murray, of course, is tagged by drooling mouth-breathers (ie, liberals) as a racist because 20 years ago he wrote a book (The Bell Curve) which discussed quite a lot of things, but also noted – in passing, really – that differences in intelligence might partially be determined by genetics.  This was deemed racist by liberal dimwits because the only reason any ethnic group can possibly have a different outcome overall from American whites is because American whites are racist (it was also, at this time, forbidden for anyone to ever point out that Japanese and Chinese Americans appear smarter and more successful – on average – than the racist white Americans who work day in and day out to keep all non-white people down).  And, so, Murray is a racist, forever.  Anyone who quote Murray is also a racist – ergo, Ryan is a racist. Its proved, you see?  Heck, its in the New York Times, right?  What more do you want?

Now that Ryan is a racist, forever, it is time to make certain that no one pays the least attention to what Ryan says (boiled down – in some areas of the country, the culture is pretty much against hard work and, so, a lot of people don’t work).  You see, we can’t risk having an idiot start to think.  That starts happening and the Times will be hurt, Blow will be out of a job and Democrats will be defeated at election time.  So, we have to get some stupid in here which sounds like it means something.  On we go:

…His research, he noted, indicates that “40 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 60 will experience at least one year below the official poverty line during that period” and “54 percent will spend a year in poverty or near poverty.” Rank concluded, “Put simply, poverty is a mainstream event experienced by a majority of Americans.”…

Which has, of course, precisely nothing to do with what Ryan said. But your basic liberal, reading the Times, will nod his or her head like the brainless twits they are and never go further.  Ryan is a racist and other people besides inner-city people are poor, so can we just get back to fighting racism so that black people can get ahead?  That, seriously, is how liberals view this.  The fact that plenty of Americans experience poverty is immaterial to what Ryan was saying.  I’m pretty sure that out of every 100 people who read this, 50 will be able to remember a time they lived in poverty (full disclosure: when I was a child, my father had to go on food stamps for a while.  Additionally, there have been times in my life when I didn’t have $20 to my name).  But that doesn’t matter – what matters is that in certain areas of the country, poverty is endemic and goes on for generation after generation.  This is especially true in inner cities where the culture is against work (against education, too – we all know the term “acting white” to describe a certain subset of African-Americans who view being educated and working hard as being “white” and thus some sort of race-traitor).

Blow’s work is now done.  Liberals are now free to ignore Ryan (or, better, hate him and do Twitter flame wars claiming he’s a racist).  The idiocy of liberalism can continue undisturbed.  Its all so nuanced and hard to define.  All we need is more money from government on “poverty programs”.  We don’t need to think.  We don’t need to consider that we’ve had the poverty programs for decades and yet poverty still exists. And just what are “results”, anyways?  Are we sure that a demand for positive results is not a racial code word?  We don’t need to look at pesky things like third and fourth generation poverty among inner-city people…and we’d best not contrast that with non-white immigrants who arrived 20 years ago but are now middle or upper class.  All is well.  Remain calm – and keep reading the Times!

Idiots, all of them.  Preventing thought, preventing reform, preventing people from rising out of poverty.  But, hey, why should Blow worry?  He’s got the sweet gig at the Times…and most of his readers are well off, too…

A Corruption Case in Pennsylvania

This is quite the scandal.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office ran an undercover sting operation over three years that captured leading Philadelphia Democrats, including four members of the city’s state House delegation, on tape accepting money, The Inquirer has learned.

Yet no one was charged with a crime.

Prosecutors began the sting in 2010 when Republican Tom Corbett was attorney general. After Democrat Kathleen G. Kane took office in 2013, she shut it down.

In a statement to The Inquirer on Friday, Kane called the investigation poorly conceived, badly managed, and tainted by racism, saying it had targeted African Americans.

Those who favored the sting believe Kane killed a solid investigation, led by experienced prosecutor Frank G. Fina, that had ensnared several public officials and had the potential to capture more. They said they were outraged at Kane’s allegation that race had played a role in the case…

The real reason for shutting it down wasn’t that it was tainted with racism, of course – it was because that while operatives attempted to bribe both Republicans and Democrats, it appears that only Democrats took the bribes.  Had there been even one Republican involved, they probably would have allowed it to continue – because then it is a bi-partisan scandal.  The investigation was likely shut down because this is precisely the sort of scandal, when it involves only members of one party, which the other party can then use to utterly crush the offending party at the polls.  The Democrat Party wanted this to go away – and go away, it has.  No matter how much pressure is now brought to bear on Kane, she will not re-open the case and you can rest assured that Holder’s Justice Department won’t so much as take a glance at it.

This is also a look in to just how things operate in the heavily blue areas of the country – payoffs and kickbacks are the normal course of business, especially in the deep-blue city.  As it turns out, this scandal was nabbing mostly African-American politicians – but that is just happenstance.  Any heavily Democrat city has the same sort of things going on. It is how things are done in the Democrat party.  You think they’re in this for their health?  Or for the people?  Heck no – Democrats get into politics to help themselves…and even with all the perks they vote themselves in office, it is never quite enough, now is it?

But here’s the real reason I bring this up – as all deep blue areas are like this and in all of them the poor who routinely vote Democrat are getting screwed as their bosses rake it in, it is high time the GOP went into these areas and started to campaign.  Tell the poor folks that they are being screwed; point out who is having a rake-off; ask them, “do you think voting for these people, again, is going to help you?”.  And then present plans to improve their lives.  We can do this – we can make Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit and Los Angeles if not red, then at least purple…and that just hands just Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan and California on a silver platter for Presidential elections.

Hopefully someone at the RNC is starting to think like this.

What is Diplomacy?

There have been several attempts at defining this.  Webster has it as “the work of maintaining good relations between the governments of different countries”, but that is a lot of nonsense.  You don’t need good relations between governments – in fact, good relations can some times hamper diplomacy (ties of sentiment are deadly when dealing with intra-governmental issues).  Will Rogers came closer when he said, “diplomacy is the art of saying ‘nice doggy’ until you can find a rock”.  But that isn’t quite right, either – because the purpose of diplomacy is to not have to use the rock.  But, make no mistake about it, the rock must be part of the equation.

I’ll say that diplomacy is the art of adjusting competing claims between actors of relatively equal power with war as the punishment for diplomatic failure.

It has to be between entities of roughly equal power or it isn’t diplomacy – it is either the stronger imposing its will on the weaker, or the stronger being generous to the weaker for whatever reason.  Only between equals can there be diplomacy – two equals (or two groups who are roughly equal) can sit down at the table and try to adjust their differences, all the while with the knowledge that failure to come to agreement means war – and being as it would be a war between roughly equal powers, no one on either side could be entirely sure of the result, and so the incentive is strongly in favor of coming to a deal.  Unless, that is, one side is determined upon war no matter what.  In such a case, diplomacy also cannot happen – because if one side is determined upon war no matter what and the other side is determined on peace no matter what, then the aggressive side is the stronger and will impose its will on the weaker…and, once again, you don’t have diplomacy.  Let’s look at some examples to illustrate my definition:

1.  It is said that we negotiated a treaty with Panama in 1903 in order to build the canal.  We did nothing of the kind.  We told Panama what we wanted and bade them sign on the dotted line or we wouldn’t build the canal, which is the only reason for Panama to exist.  This was the stronger imposing its will on the weaker.  Not diplomacy.

2.  It is said we negotiated a security treaty with Japan in 1951.  We did nothing of the kind.  Because Japan occupies a strategically vital area in the Asia-Pacific, we promised to protect Japan in return for obtaining certain privileges for our military forces in Japan.  It was a good move by us because Japan is a useful ally to have – but the security of the United States does not in any way depend upon the existence of Japan, and its not like a Japanese army would ever arrive in the United States to help defend us against foreign aggression. This was the stronger being generous to the weaker. Not diplomacy.

3.  When Chamberlain, Hitler, Daladier and Mussolini gathered in Munich in 1938, three of the four were determined to have peace at any price, one of them was determined upon war no matter what.  That it wound up with an agreement rather than war was because of the rather startling amount of surrender that Chamberlain and Daladier agreed to – they eventually decided that Hitler should get the spoils of war without war (keep in mind, that if they hadn’t agreed, Hitler would have gone to war in 1938 rather than waiting until 1939).  This was rather unique in human history (to that point, at least) but it still illustrates the point:  with one side willing war no matter what and the other willing peace no matter what, the warlike side becomes immediately the stronger and imposes its will upon the weaker.  Not diplomacy.

4.  When the USSR challenged the United States by putting nuclear missiles in Cuba, both affected parties were roughly equal in power and both sides were equally determined to avoid war.  Negotiations were tense and many fears were raised, but the fact of the matter is that as both were equally strong and no one was willing war, a deal was bound to happen unless some horrific accident took place.  The basics of the deal eventually agreed to were Russian nukes out of Cuba, American nukes out of Turkey.  That is diplomacy.

Now, why bring all this up?  Because as we have gone through the Ukraine crisis, no one is understanding that among all the varied things going on, diplomacy isn’t one of them.  Diplomacy will never be one of them – it can’t be as there aren’t two equal sides involved her.  Oh, to be sure, the power of the United States, alone, is enough to fight and defeat Russia…and the combined power of just Germany and France could probably make short work of Putin’s burgeoning empire.  But no one who dislikes Putin’s actions is putting on the table anything like the force necessary to give Putin pause and make him want to turn to diplomacy…which would, once again, be an adjustment of interests between equal powers and war as the price of failure.  It is my belief that Putin does not desire war – not with us, not with the European Union, not with anyone.  If there were power to match his power, he would climb down and negotiate a diplomatic settlement.  Such a settlement would, of course, have to grant Russia some of her desires – that is the thing about diplomacy: it is never a matter of anyone getting all they want.  It is a deal between equals and each gives a bit, because they don’t want a war which would be more costly than whatever it is they have to surrender to reach a deal.  But with a complete vacuum of power opposite Russia, there is no need for Russia to fear war, and thus no reason to use diplomacy.  Might as well grab all you can while the getting is good.

All the huffing and puffing of Obama, Kerry and the collective world won’t do anything.  To be sure, Putin might graciously agree to eventually sign something which will be hailed as a diplomatic settlement, but you can rest assured – unless there comes along a credible threat of war against Russia – that whatever settlement is agreed to will be entirely in accordance with Putin’s view of Russia’s interests.  In other words, he’ll merely take what he wants at the moment, leave an option to grab what he hasn’t got and attend an international conference to ratify what he’s done.  It’ll be a nice meal and pictures taken and his own press back home will laud him (or else!) as the greatest Russian in a century, etc.

Now that I’ve said all that, what do I think we should do?  Normally, I would advocate a vigorous American response to this but given our current condition and our current President, I’m saying that surrender isn’t so bad.  To be sure, its bad for the people who will come under Putin’s embrace, but I’m not so sure how a half-hearted and incompetently conducted military campaign leading to eventual American failure would help – and, of course, such a thing would actually harm.  As under Obama we are bound to have nothing but the aforementioned half-hearted, etc, I figure we just cut to the chase and make the best of a bad situation.  We can start to repair this in 2017 – hopefully under leadership which isn’t quite as bad as Obama’s.  It is a sad and distressing position for America to be in, but we have no one to blame but ourselves – we might be able to assign our 2008 vote to well-intentioned folly, but our 2012 vote was a gigantic mistake with sufficient facts clearly known.  Now we just have to pay the price for it.