Open Thread

Quentin Tarantino joins the #BlackLivesMatter movement, makes some anti-police statements; police get angry, Tarantino says:

They want to slander me and imply I’m saying things I didn’t say. The reason is because they want me to shut up… It’s much easier to feign outrage and start arguments with celebrities than deal with the fact that the citizenry has lost trust in them.

Just a little heads up, Quentin: you’ll find that in the general run of things, people want all celebrities to shut up. Mostly because if you’re doing movies, TV and music, you probably only have a hazy idea of how the real world works and thus anything you say is probably divorced from reality. But, that aside, I’m not going to boycott your movies over your statements recently. I won’t be going to see any of them in the future – in spite of the fact that you’re a top-notch movie maker – but that is because I’m coming more and more to the conclusion that movies which kill people in a “cool” manner are not good for the mind and spirit. To be sure, some times a movie has to have some people die – and some times has to have a lot of people die (a war picture, for instance). But there’s a difference between the depiction of the fundamental tragedy of death before one’s time, and death just put out there for our entertainment.

Readers here know that I’ve long called for massive reforms to our police and criminal justice system. But what is wrong with our system has nothing to do with race – there aren’t a host of racist cops out there gunning down people because they are black. It is true, of course, that black people in higher proportions run afoul of our broken justice system, but that is a reflection not of racist police, but of a increasingly failed society – and a failure, it must be noted, created in large part by rich, white liberals. I know how quite a lot of African-Americans feel about it all because I’ve actually listened to them talk about it – but there are also plenty of poor whites, Latinos, etc similarly ground up in the system. There’s a lot which needs to be fixed – people like Tarantino aren’t helping, at all.

Some indications that the Russian jet downed over Sinai was done in by a bomb. We’ll have to see – given that it happened in Egypt and Russians are involved, conspiracy-theories will abound. It would not, of course, surprise me to find that a terrorist did get a bomb on the plane.

Democrats lost badly in Kentucky last night – they are comforting themselves with the old “it was a low-turnout election” thing. They are also making very weird speeches about the defeat. Other than that, it was fun last night to collect some more liberal tears.

As an aside, the polling in Kentucky was downright terrible – a polling lead of five percentage points for the Democrat wound up with a nearly nine percentage point win for the Republican. 2014 polls were pretty terrible, too – you might recall how plenty of GOPers were either behind or neck and neck with their opponents, only to run up smashing victories when the votes were counted. Part of this would be the difficulty in polling in individual States, especially in an off year…but I think that polling is just getting harder and harder to do. Keep that in mind as we head into 2016. That said, latest poll is just hideous for Hillary.

Israeli professor shouted down by student radicals – because free inquiry means not letting alternative views be heard, right?

The city of Houston had a very broad anti-discrimination law up for a vote on Tuesday – Houston is the liberal corner of Texas, by the way. Should have been a slam dunk, but it went down to flaming defeat. Houston is a liberal place – meaning a rather small, rich, white Ruling Class is kept in power by strength of minority votes. Kevin Williamson over at NRO notes some problems for the Democrats in this sort of system. For me, I see the GOP opportunity – and, yes, even an opportunity to do well in places like Chicago and Detroit. It simply can’t be that a working poor African-American has anything in common with those who run the Democrat party. They don’t have much in common with those who run the Republican party, either. But if the GOP were to start offering them some things? And some things that the Democrats simply cannot offer? It could get very interesting.

27 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. Cluster November 5, 2015 / 8:19 pm

    So the State of NY is investigating Exxon Mobil alleging that they lied to the public and their share holders about the risks of climate change. Ironic, isn’t it?

    My advise to Exxon. Slow roll the investigation, delete some emails, give vague generalized statements about your actions and if caught in a lie simply spin, deflect and change the subject. Then after a period of a year or so, claim that the investigation is a partisan witch hunt and that there is no “there there”. May as well learn from the best.

    • M. Noonan November 5, 2015 / 9:32 pm

      The process is the punishment – it is absurd to bring this up, but Exxon will now get some bad press and some hefty legal expenses. The net result will be that Exxon will probably donate some money to some green causes and will mute itself on the climate change issue. That is what the left wants – more money for themselves, more silence from their targets.

      • Retired Spook November 6, 2015 / 8:19 am

        It all ties in with what’s becoming known as reflexive law. Civil disobedience could stop it in its tracks, but it’s going to take some sacrifice on the part of so many patriotic Americans that their resistance overwhelms the system — sort of like Alinsky and Cloward and Piven in reverse.

      • M. Noonan November 7, 2015 / 12:54 am

        The key to successful civil disobedience, however, is a government which is either sympathetic to the disobedient, or downright afraid of taking them on. Ghandi could do what he did because at the end of the day, the Brits were civilized people – Stalin, Hitler or Mao would have just had him shot and be done with it.

        No Republican President is going to go overboard against his or her own base – and a bit of civil disobedience against the enormities of the modern American system would work well, even against the most RINO of Republicans.

      • Amazona November 6, 2015 / 10:51 am

        Spook, I read the article on “reflexive law” and agree, it will take a movement from the rational American public to put a stop to it. Without fixed, objective laws that apply to all, equally, society and civilization crumble.

        Matt Walsh speaks to this, on a different subject, in a recent article on the absurdity of the “transgendered” movement. Among his comments:

        Liberalism has no truth at its foundation, so it can only keep moving. Christians live in a house built on rock, but liberals have no house at all. They are ideological nomads, wandering ever further into the abyss.”


        If we willingly forfeit the definition of “man” and “woman,” right after forfeiting the definition of marriage, and long after forfeiting the definition of human life, then we will have no basis left to oppose anything else liberalism tries to do. We will have given it everything, ceded its every demand, compromised on every single imaginable point, and that will be the end of it. All we’ll be able to do, then, is sit and wait for our civilization to eat itself and collapse into dust.

        We either draw a line here and make a final stand for objective truth — declaring without equivocation that some things, like our sex, are real and absolute — or else we give up and play along and tell ourselves that truth never mattered all that much anyway.

      • M. Noonan November 7, 2015 / 12:51 am

        You’ve probably seen some variation of this – a picture or cartoon of some sort with the caption, “around here, ‘normal’ is just a setting on the drier”. It is cute and there is a grain of truth to it, but really it is just part and parcel with this entire tear-down of civilization that is on going.

        I’d like to find myself a cute picture of some sort and add the caption, “around here, ‘normal’ is just a setting on the drier…and staying married, and holding down a job, and paying the bills, and dressing respectably…you know, the sh** which keeps civilization going”.

      • Amazona November 7, 2015 / 10:41 am

        We have to be focused. Sure, right now we are working to get a Republican elected as president, because we have learned that it is not just a man, Barack Obama, using his office to ignore and undermine the Constitution, it is the entire Democrat Party, and they must be replaced.

        But I think a bigger problem is the judiciary. I was told about a website called Clear The Bench. The stories about the blatant judicial misconduct of Colorado judges are chilling—–I had no idea of the scope of judges abusing their authority, ignoring the law, and ruling to achieve certain outcomes rather than according to the law. And Colorado is a pretty civilized state, compared to some like Illinois or California.

        The 11th Amendment pretty much gives absolute immunity to judges. The idea was good, as so many ideas are, with the intent of giving judges the freedom to rule according to the law without fear of reprisal. But like so many good intentions, this one has ugly Unintended Consequences, in this case making judges almost completely unaccountable for their actions. The ONLY way to hold any judge accountable for his or her rulings,no matter how bad, is to prove in a court of law that the judge acted outside the law and therefore is not protected, and rulings on whether this has happened are in the hands of, you guessed it, judges.

        So we have a judiciary that is not held accountable even for blatant and repeated misdeeds, violations of the law, violations of the Constitution, and abuse of power.

        We have government agencies, with the IRS being the most obvious, which are not held accountable even for blatant and repeated misdeeds, violations of the law, violations of the Constitution, and abuse of power.

        We have a Civil Service system in which government employees, from local to national, are not held accountable even for blatant and repeated misdeeds, violations of the law, violations of the Constitution, and abuse of power.

        We can change the party in charge, but we can’t let ourselves think that is all we need to do to clean up our system. From the presidency on down, we need accountability.

        Burn victims have to undergo a very painful but necessary process called debridement, in which damaged tissue is removed, down to the level of intact tissue, so healing can take place. Our entire system is in dire need of debridement, in need of having all the many accumulated layers of gunk scraped off till we get down to the healthy level of reasonable government, so we can rebuild a system of objective law applied evenly and equally to all, administered by people who will be held accountable for their actions.

      • M. Noonan November 8, 2015 / 12:54 am

        If you haven’t read A Republic No More, I can’t recommend it too highly. The basic thesis of the book is that the system devised by our Founder is jim dandy, but as time went on (and it started in the time of the Founders), people found it difficult and tedious to amend the Constitution and so they just tacked onto government whatever they thought was needed at the moment. Trouble is, the system isn’t designed to just have things tacked on – it takes an amendment to change things properly. If we don’t change by amending, then we get ill-defined systems which are open to varied interpretation and massive corruption. We can very much have a free Republic with welfare – but only if a welfare system was built into the system by amendment…providing some controls and definitions, etc. We didn’t do that, and so now we’ve got a welfare system which is a massive and politically untouchable giveaway for political purposes. Same thing with Social Security, ObamaCare, etc, etc, etc.

        What we need to do at this point is to re-write the Constitution – starting with what we’ve got now, but crafting into it the things people want (and the people, God bless them, do want a welfare system and Social Security) with various controls to prevent corruption and disallowing bureaucratic, judicial and executive fiddling. I’d actually write into the new Constitution a requirement for a Constitutional convention ever 100 years – just so that rational legislating can catch up with the ability of people to game any system.

      • Amazona November 7, 2015 / 11:02 am

        “…dressing respectably…” This may seem like a petty complaint, but I think it is really a microcosm of the erosion of standards in this country.

        I work with a woman who is very competent in what she does in the office. She has a lot of responsibility and she does her job very well. She just turned 40. And she was absolutely STUNNED to learn that not too long ago, it was considered sleazy and tacky and very low-class to have underwear visible.

        We were talking about how pop culture shapes the nation, and I brought up Madonna, who managed to send the message to young women that underwear doesn’t mean what is worn UNDER clothing, and now we see things like a woman wearing a skimpy tank top over a bra, barely covering the underwear, or a strapless top over a bra with straps. It was a complete revelation to her to learn that there are bras made specifically to be worn with certain styles so they will not be visible. She was getting more and more defensive, so I finally said maybe it’s just a generational thing, but she did need to know that there is a sizable part of the population that thinks wearing highly visible underwear is simply low-class and sleazy no matter what the current fads may be.

        Then I accidentally made it worse by going on to say “…like wearing pajamas in public”. Uh-oh…..another treading on toes.

        It’s not really about underwear. It’s about the trend to view any standard as superficial and an attempt to control people, which must of course be rejected. The result is, no standards.

      • M. Noonan November 8, 2015 / 12:57 am

        It has changed a lot! When I got out of the Navy, it was generally expected that if you worked in an office job, you’d at least wear slacks and a shirt…these days, sweats and tank tops are common.

      • Amazona November 8, 2015 / 10:39 am

        “What we need to do at this point is to re-write the Constitution – starting with what we’ve got now, but crafting into it the things people want…”

        OMG, I can’t think of a better recipe for destroying the country! It was hard enough to get the Constitution ratified when we had 13 states—an effort to “rewrite” it now would result in permanent gridlock, while providing an admission that it needs to be “rewritten” in the first place, further undermining it.

        The thing is, when people whine that the current Constitution is an archaic, outdated, dusty old document not relevant to life today, they can never point to any part of it they think needs to be changed. They just want the ability to do whatever they want, no matter what it says. And this will be true of any OTHER Constitution we come up with.

        No, we need to do a couple of things. One is to have a Constitutional Revival movement, in which the Constitution is taught, from its origins in the philosophies of the Founders to the reasons for each element it contains. One is to go through the amendments and tweak or repeal them, as necessary. Two good examples are the 11th and 14th Amendments. I would keep the Bill of Rights sacrosanct. A third thing we need to do is shake up the judiciary, remind judges that they can’t write laws, and WILL be held to their oaths of office. If they are not willing to actually uphold and obey the Constitution they can go back to ambulance chasing.

        If we need to “craft onto it the things people want” we already have the mechanism to do that—-it is called amending the Constitution.

        As for just giving in and making this a socialist utopia (welfare state) then why bother to pretend we are the United States at all? Why discard the very premise upon which this nation was built? That is, state sovereignty? We can have all the welfare programs we want, right this minute. Any state can implement any welfare system it wants, and more power to them if they do. The whole IDEA of the form of government implement by the Founders was to have a Central Authority with limited scope and power, and to have the day to day government of the citizens, BY the citizens, at the state and local levels. Dump that, and you have destroyed the very essence of the United States.

      • M. Noonan November 8, 2015 / 11:28 pm

        Which is why we’d start with what we’ve got – it would work out to a rather robust amendment to our existing constitution.

        Here me out on this – I’ve actually been pondering it for a while. There are certain things the Founders got wrong, other things they never imagined would happen. What we have now is a quasi-legal playground for anyone to do just about whatever they want. And trying to do one amendment would provoke as much a battle as trying to do ten…so, in for a dime, in for a dollar.

        We all want to preserve our religious liberty and for us on the right, the 1st Amendment is pretty rock solid – “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. 100% coverage – except it isn’t, and we’ve seen that since the Supreme Court blithely ruled that the 1st Amendment prohibits prayer in public schools. Clearly, the 1st Amendment needs a few more teeth. We’re now backs against the wall on religious liberty and we may find that the free exercise of religion is de-facto banned if it in any way, shape or form intrudes upon the public square. So, the 1st needs a re-write. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor shall any act of government interfere with the free exercise of religion save were public safety may require it”. 2nd Amendment needs a tuneup as well: we’ve won the battle, but only for the moment and the left will just keep pressing and pressing and pressing until all private firearms are confiscated…and they will hang it all, eventually, on “well-regulated militia”. So, “an armed population being a free population, the right of individual people to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged”. Term limits – Court has ruled we can’t have them at the federal level without an amendment. My preference is “no person holding an office shall be eligible for a different office until two years have passed since leaving the previous office; no Senator shall service for more than 12 years, nor any House member for more than ten years, nor any person serve as President for more than 8 years”.

        On and on it goes – lots of things to fix up.

        Now, as to welfare – it is here to stay. We’re never going to work up a majority in favor of an amendment to ban transfer payments from the public treasury to private individuals in the name of helping the poor. So, we need to amend the constitution to make certain that the money used for the poor is actually used for the poor. In the constitution we need to set up the legal mechanism, with massive checks and balances between executive, legislative and judiciary, which ensures that the money (a) goes to the poor and (b) isn’t used to purchase political power. I’d have a system where Congress votes the amount of money and the President appoints, with the advice and consent of the Senate, a board to distribute the money – with it built in that no President will be able to appoint a majority of the board (their terms of office would be staggered so that in any given 8 year period only, say, 3 of 7 would come up for appointment), that the members of the board are barred from running for office until five years after they leave the board, and that the board has full discretion in how much money any person can get, and under what circumstances.

        Supreme Court needs a look, as well – we need to carefully define what they are allowed to rule on. We also need to make it vastly more difficult to appeal a State law to the federal courts…some set of difficult hoops which makes certain that it is a crucial issue actually relating to the federal constitution.

        Of course, we could do all this one by one – but I think that would be far more difficult than just doing it all at once.

      • Amazona November 8, 2015 / 10:48 am

        “….these days, sweats and tank tops are common.”

        …including at Mass. The Church has done, essentially, what you suggest the United States do, and instead of establishing standards has just done away with them. So instead of taking the time, and showing the respect, of dressing well for Mass, it’s T shirts and jeans. The Church started by stripping away the majesty and specialness of the Latin Mass, and making Mass ordinary and common, and then in yet another effort to make the Church more “accessible” it developed a “come as you are” philosophy.

        Well, salvation is not “come as you are”. Salvation is aspiring to be better, striving for acceptance at a higher plane of spirituality. It requires effort and commitment, and the effort and commitment of showering and putting on nice clothes was a good symbol of that.

      • M. Noonan November 8, 2015 / 11:36 pm

        Yep – though plenty of pastors are getting a little more tight on that. Of course, no one should be barred from the Church for being poorly dressed, but everyone should dress decently. Things are changing for the better in the Church, in my view – both in terms of theological discipline and mercy.

      • Retired Spook November 8, 2015 / 11:27 am

        OMG, I can’t think of a better recipe for destroying the country!

        My reaction too. I don’t disagree with Mark all that often, but I’m 180 degrees away on this one. I also may be the only one here that believes Jefferson’s famous words that “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants”, may yet come to pass in my lifetime. I’m afraid we’ve gone too far down the rabbit hole to salvage things through civil means. And there’s never been anything I’ve believed in my lifetime that I want more desperately to be wrong about.

      • M. Noonan November 8, 2015 / 11:34 pm

        My plan is the last gambit to save us from all that – from either tyranny or civil war. We have to get back to a system of genuine checks and balances. Another thing I’ve thought of is prohibiting the President from issuing any pardons in the last six months in office; also, prohibiting Presidential pardons to anyone who ever worked for the Executive branch, or donated money to the President’s political campaigns. Also, we need a position which the ancient Romans called “censor” – the word going back to its original meaning in that the person so elected kinda rakes over all aspects of government and roots out malfeasance. Every person upon leaving public office should be audited – and audited by someone with the ability to prosecute.

      • Amazona November 9, 2015 / 12:09 pm

        Mark, it may have been your wording —“rewrite the Constitution” and “the new Constitution”—- that bothered me.

        I suggest you read Mark Levin’s book, The Liberty Amendments: Restoring The American Republic. In it he has his own ideas about revising (not rewriting) the current Constitution, via the amendment process. He begins the book with:

        “I undertook this project not because I believe the Constitution, as originally structured, is outdated and outmoded, thereby requiring modernization through amendments, but because of the opposite — that is, the necessity and urgency of restoring constitutional republicanism and preserving the civil society from the growing authoritarianism of a federal Leviathan. This is not doomsaying or fearmongering but an acknowledgment of fact. The Statists have been successful in their century-long march to disfigure and mangle the constitutional order and undo the social compact.”

        He analyzes where he thinks the country has gone off the rails, regarding following the Constitution, and makes some recommendations for amendments:

        • An Amendment to Establish Term Limits for Members of Congress
        • An Amendment to Restore the Senate
        • An Amendment to Establish Term Limits for Supreme Court Justices and Super-Majority Legislative Override
        • Two Amendments to Limit Federal Spending and Taxing
        • An Amendment to Limit the Federal Bureaucracy
        • An Amendment to Promote Free Enterprise
        • An Amendment to Protect Private Property
        • An Amendment to Grant the States the Authority to Directly Amend the Constitution
        • An Amendment to Grant the States the Authority to Check Congress
        • An Amendment to Protect the Vote

        Author Steven Moore says, about the book’s recommendations, (emphasis mine) “I view these proposals less as a set of likely constitutional amendments, given the difficulty of the process, and more as a set of principles by which we must insist our elected representatives live”

  2. Cluster November 7, 2015 / 3:28 pm

    And this is why the wealthy love the Democrats:

    Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway recorded its best ever quarterly profit in the third quarter, as earnings were boosted by a one-off $4.4bn gain from the merger of Kraft and Heinz.

    And of course it needs to be said that Buffet also owns huge interests in rail roads which is one reason why Obama just killed the keystone pipeline. Big government fosters an environment where only big business can succeed, hence the mergers and the wealthy getting wealthier. Bernie Sanders socialist policies will only widen the wealth gap.

    • M. Noonan November 8, 2015 / 12:46 am

      Buffet got his money the old-fashioned way – he worked the system to an unfair advantage for himself. He loves the system – it allows him to rake it in and also gives him the ability to make sure no one he dislikes can do what he did.

  3. Cluster November 8, 2015 / 9:55 am

    There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it is not a train. The Democrats have suffered huge losses at the State level since 2009 due primarily to their undying allegiance to Obama. They have ignored their State constituents and as a result they have put their party on the verge of being the minority party for a long time to come:

    For this, we can thank Obama and his disdain for traditional Americans who cling to their guns and Bibles, and the ever insufferable Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. So once we elect a conservative to the Presidency in 2016, conservatives will control the federal government and the majority of states, and will hopefully enact the reforms needed to repair this country from the damage the progressives have done. BTW, I like what Paul Ryan is doing so far.

  4. Amazona November 8, 2015 / 3:25 pm

    Was just reading about the lunatic Houston mayor, squalling that refusing to let men use women’s restrooms is “transphobia”—-clearly she needs a refresher course in the English language, as she is using a nonsensical word that she probably intends to mean hatred of people who switch genders but really would mean someone who is afraid of, well, afraid of something that crosses from one thing to another.

    The whole thing is just another effort by the RRL to generate anger, hostility, distrust and even hatred by inventing new groups of people which then demand special treatments, setting up inevitable conflicts.

    What I don’t get is why someone who is convinced that he or she is really a she or he then MUST use the bathroom or locker room of the chosen gender. This person has had his or her plumbing for his or her entire life, is familiar with it, knows what it looks like, knows how it works, and knows that others with the same assigned gender are put together pretty much the same way. The only reason I can think of for demanding to be able to go to the bathroom, shower, or change clothes with people with different body bits is to see what those different bits look like, after deciding they are better than the ones assigned at birth. And I think that is just plain creepy.

    This is kind of hard to address without getting crude, but it seems to me that if Bob has been peeing standing up since his first My Little Potty chair, around other guys who have been doing the same thing, there is no reason why he can’t continue to do so even if in his heart he is now Bobbi Sue. The sight of men’s dangly bits in a locker room should not give him the vapors, as this is what he has been seeing ever since he had his first diaper change. He does not have to have the ability to peer at women’s private parts, much less subject them to viewing his own, just because he likes to think of himself as girly.

    And the part about making women view HIS manly parts is what is being ignored. It’s not just that the newly minted Bobbi Sue gets to parade around in his birthday suit in a room full of naked girls, which feeds his fantasy that he is really just one of them, it is that when he does so he is doing it as a male, bringing his male body parts into an area that should be reserved for people who don’t have them and might not want to have to look at them. Again, the only reason I can for insisting on being able to do this is because Bob wants to see what he is missing, and again, that is downright creepy and no girl or woman should be forced to indulge his curiosity.

    • M. Noonan November 9, 2015 / 12:01 am

      About 700,000 people are said to be trans-gender in the United States. I don’t think this issue comes up all that often…but, here it is and we will all be made to care. A few simple rules could accommodate the issue, but that is not what our liberals want…they want it official, national policy for every conceivable institution.

      • Amazona November 9, 2015 / 11:49 am

        Who says? Where does this number come from?

        OK, assuming that more than half a million people in the United States think they should be the gender they are not—then what?

        There is no law against a man dressing like a woman, acting like a woman, thinking of himself as a woman. There is no law against a woman acting like, dressing like, feeling like a man. Unless you undress and have people take a peek at your privates, there is no reason for anyone to know that you are acting out a gender other than that you were born with.

        Women’s restrooms have stalls, and I think most men’s do as well. Who is to know if someone who appears to be a woman and enters a stall in a women’s restroom really has male parts, and vice versa? I’ll bet it has been going on for decades, perhaps centuries. It doesn’t bother me. I know that women, in public women’s restrooms, don’t parade around naked, and I assume that other than standing at urinals men don’t reveal their privates, either. This is a non-issue. I think a man standing at a urinal would not think twice about seeing a man enter a stall in the same room, or demand to know what is in his underwear, or why he is using the stall.

        Yeah, there would have to be accommodations made for the very few times a man is dressed like a woman, appearing to be a woman, and wants to undress in a locker room. The question here would be, who should have to make the accommodation? The single person who wants to undress in the middle of the room and shower with everyone else there, or the others in the room who don’t want to shower with someone with male genitalia?

        Life is not perfect, and it is socialist foolishness to think it can be made perfect. For every effort to make life perfect for some, it is made less perfect for others, and there has to be some common sense and respect for others in there somewhere.

        I still come back to the conviction that the leaders of the Leftist movement couldn’t care less about the sensibilities of the “transgendered” or anyone else for that matter, but simply see this group of confused and unhappy people as yet another demographic that can be manipulated and used as yet another tool to divide the nation into even more conflict.

      • M. Noonan November 10, 2015 / 12:29 am

        True – who does say? That is just the number I found. It could be entirely nonsense.

  5. Amazona November 9, 2015 / 12:41 pm

    An interesting article:

    John Robert Gallagher was a Canadian who volunteered to fight with Kurdish forces, and was killed in a suicide bombing. A Canadian newspaper published a statement by Gallagher, outlining his reasons for risking his life.

    He was a man who obviously rebelled against his “fundamentalist religions” upbringing to the extent of rejecting all religion, and his vision of the evils of theocracy is quite clear. In his mind, religion was a force attempting to “shield (him) from the assaults of reason and conscience”, but even while complaining about this he praised the freedoms we take for granted. “The mechanisms of society, in other words, gave me the tools by which I could make myself free.” I think his statement is pretty powerful, and includes this paragraph:

    “I was raised in a fundamentalist religious environment. If today I have any intellectual or spiritual existence worth fighting for, it is because it was impossible for the religious forces in my life to have their way and shield me from the assaults of reason and conscience. They could teach me that evolution was a lie, but they couldn’t prevent me from reading about it or prohibit the public schools from teaching it. They could tell me blasphemy was a sin, but they couldn’t prevent me from sneaking Monty Python and South Park. The mechanisms of society, in other words, gave me the tools by which I could make myself free. They saved my life. Who safeguards the social machinery now? Only an overbred political elite and intelligentsia who burble about the urgent need to never give offense. This is not only a disgraceful failure; it is a national emergency.”

    I thought it significant that he acknowledged the fact that even though religion plays a large role in Western society and culture, it did not stop him from exploring different ideas, and I think he was fighting for the same rights for everyone, including Muslims. His contempt for the “leadership” in the West is palpable, and to a great extent I share it.

    • M. Noonan November 10, 2015 / 12:41 am

      We can all admire a person who lives his beliefs – even if we think some of those beliefs mistaken.

      The trouble with us in the West is that we don’t really believe anything any more. Oh, I do. You do. But in our societal aggregate, we believe in nothing. I don’t know if we can fight a war right now.

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