Reparations?

The subject bubbles up from time to time. The first time I recall hearing about it was maybe 1988 or 1989. When I first heard about it, I rejected it in anger: the whole concept was ridiculous. How could people living today be held in any way responsible for actions of those long dead? For a long while, that is where my opinion rested. But, things change.

In 1776 we adopted as part of our founding document the assertion that “all men are created equal”. If we were to write that today, we would say “all persons are created equal” but the meaning doesn’t change in the least. When Jefferson penned those words and when the representatives of the States in Congress assembled adopted them, they probably didn’t fully grasp what they had just did. It was an astounding thing to say but even more astounding to make it part of a government document.

It is good to keep in mind that the concept wasn’t tied to a Republic or to Democracy. In 1776, most of the world was under monarchy but there were Republics in Holland and Venice and other places – but none of them had any assertion of human equality as their foundation. And, indeed, these Republics were very restrictive on who could be a citizen and who was allowed to be in charge. Outside of a religious concept of a brotherhood of man, inequality between people was taken as a given – and those at the top of society expected – and almost invariably received – deference from the lower orders. This really was something new: we were asserting that all human beings are created equal and, as equals, are all endowed with certain rights (that is also crucial: “certain rights” is a very forthright statement that there is no doubt that the rights exist and all people are endowed with them). My main point here is that it didn’t have to be a Republic making the assertion: any system of government could assert it. The form of government is irrelevant to the statement – but the statement, once adopted, compels a certain manner of government.

Once you make that assertion then it is required that the system of government, as far as practical, act in a manner which treats all persons as equals. You could, in theory, still have a king; still have a hierarchy. But you must treat everyone as equals under the law. Meaning: that nobody is allowed to be under legal disability for reasons other than their personal actions. You can’t, that is, say “you can’t do this because you are that”. That is inadmissible; can’t happen. We’re all equals and we are all allowed to do every legal thing anyone else is permitted to do. And one of the very specific things which immediately became morally and legally impossible in a system founded on “all men are created equal” is slavery. No argument can be made – all men being equal – that one person shall be compelled to labor for the benefit of another.

As I said, I don’t think Jefferson or the Founders fully grasped this – they were thinking of their peers when they wrote it. Men of the 18th century, their world was a world of higher and lower orders and an expectation that those below would serve those above. Some men already saw that slavery was incompatible with any just system, but by far almost everyone simply accepted things as they were and never figured they would change or, indeed, that there would ever be a need to change them. Keep in mind that even free labor was expected to be subordinate and respectful. The franchise wasn’t universal even among white males. In 1776 in no place on Earth was there a system where anyone thought that everyone could rise as high as they wanted: certain avenues of advancement were permanently closed off to this or that group of people for this or that reason. But, still, the Founders went ahead and wrote it down and then adopted it. The Declaration isn’t a law like a part of the US Code is law, but it is the founding document – the legal justification for the existence of a thing called The United States of America. Without it, there is no legal basis for the existence of our nation. And we went ahead and declared all men are created equal. At the very instant we adopted it, slavery was legally and morally defunct in the United States. From that moment on, every person held to slavery in the United States was having his labor stolen under the color of law.

That we did not immediately abolish slavery doesn’t change the fact that we said “all men are created equal”. We still said it. We still asserted it. It was still a dogma we claimed was essential to the justification of our existence as a nation. You can try to slice and dice this any way you like, but you can’t get away from it – starting on July 4th, 1776, the labor of black Americans was unjustly stolen from them (it had been before, as well, but the United States, as an entity, only became responsible on 7/4/1776). And it went on like that for 90 years. And when we finally got around to abolishing the slavery which existed in unjust law, we then spent the next century placing legal disabilities on black Americans. Doesn’t matter why we did that – it was wrong; they were created equal and so had the right to do everything everyone else was allowed to do. But by law and custom black Americans were hamstrung a thousand different ways from exercising the rights we said were theirs – inherent to their humanity – on July 4th, 1776.

Good for us that in 1965 we finally put an end to the injustice under the color of law. With the passage of the Civil Rights Act, we finally said “in law, all people are created equal and we will ensure that”. For most people – including me until recently – that was the end of it. The Law was now, at long last, equal for all. But, there’s a problem: during the time when black Americans were having their labor stolen (1776-1865) and the time they were legally hampered in enjoying the fruits of their labor (1865-1965), a gigantic wealth gap opened up. In other words, by fake laws which were unjust the moment they were placed on the books, we had prevented black Americans – who were just as much American citizens as George Washington on July 4th, 1776 – from gaining what every other American was permitted to gain: wealth.

So, now what? I’m not entirely sure. Well, that’s not entirely correct: I am sure about two things

  1. In some manner, this injustice visited upon our fellow Americans has to be rectified.
  2. In no way can we allow the rectification to end up pouring money into leftwing race-hustlers.

Most of those who argue for reparations are merely con artists hoping for a gigantic, taxpayer-funded payday. If you look at the proposals, what you don’t find is money going to actual descendants of American slaves. It is all for “programs” and such…gigantic piles of money to be placed under the control of mountebanks who will then dole it out, mostly to themselves. I don’t want that – and I’ll fight against that.

But, still, something needs to be done. Some means of helping balance the books. And the books are unbalanced. Howard University’s endowment is about $700 million. Harvard’s is about $53 billion. The difference is how much wealth each community was able to generate and thus provide for higher education. Nobody who went to Harvard ever had their earning opportunities curtailed. The people who graduated Howard before 1965, regardless of how brilliant or hard working, had their earnings curtailed as a matter of course.

I admit that I don’t know how this is to be done. I’m descended from a 1776 American, but as far as I can tell no ancestor of mine ever owned a slave. And given they were from New England, there is a high probability they were Abolitionists early on. But the other strain of my ancestry arrived much later; very near the end of slavery. How is my liability to be calculated? And what of the guy who’s ancestors got here in 1910? And 1970? We know that most black Americans are descended from slaves, but a very large portion aren’t. At least, not American slaves. A black guy who’s great-grandfather emigrated from Jamaica in 1890 doesn’t really have any claim, does he? He was never an American slave and he volunteered to come to a society where legal and social disabilities had been placed on black people. But I do believe we need to square accounts.

As a Distributist, my preference is, of course, that individuals and families obtain property. Heck; it isn’t a preference: it is more of a demand. It is the only point of working: obtaining property. The national patrimony is, also, quite large. Uncle Sam owns about 640 million acres of land, after all. Land is property and if we transferred, say, ten thousand acres of land in Southern Nevada to a trust for verified descendants of American slaves and allowed them to develop or sell the property as they saw fit, where’s the skin off anyone’s nose?

It is just an idea: one of probably many people can think of where at least in some measure, we can make up for the fact that black Americans were prevented from building up wealth. The most fun idea I have is confiscating half the Ivy League endowments and transferring them to the endowments of HBCU. Kind of a two-fer there: helps right a wrong and drains money away from upper class far left nitwits. I think it is something we can and, in the end, must do. We must, that is, demonstrate by actions that we, the American majority, really want full participation by black Americans in the life of America. And, yes, I know that the race-hustlers will never stop. I don’t care about them. But I do care that my fellow Americans who are black know that I’m on their side. That I really do know my nation’s history. That I want all of us to go forward, together, and make a more perfect union.

Open Thread

I’d like to say I don’t know where the time went – but, I do: still writing! Kings and Queen (Book V) will be out soon so I was doing some last touches on that…but, honestly, I’m already deep into Book IX. Not only that, but my granddaughter said my stories needed a dragon, so I took Celeste’s daughter Aleste and with assist from the granddaughter, I’m writing Aleste and the Icecrystal Dragons. So, hey guys! How ya been?

Anyways – so, Smollett is guilty, as we all knew he was as soon as the story broke. I’m sure if someone did some digging they could find something that almost amounts to an actual hate crime by a GOPer, but even then, not really. The trouble the Left has here is that we’re not racists. I pointed out on Twitter that if Smollett had actually gone to MAGA country he would have learned that we’re very nice people who don’t give a darn what you do as long as you don’t adversely affect housing prices. Keep your act together and we’re cool.

There’s a poll out for youngsters about their willingness to be friends with people who have different political views and for Democrat kiddies, they are overwhelmingly against being friends with Republicans. Part of this, I’m sure, is peer pressure: they don’t want to be known as someone who is friends with Republicans because all the cool kids don’t have any Republican friends. But it is also of the nature of the Left: hate is what motivates them. It is why they do what they do.

Some people are pointing out how horrible the crime is in Democrat cities and are asking when the DA’s in those towns will finally say, “enough”. I tell them: don’t hold your breath. It is the Left’s opinion that the prosperity and safety of middle class America is a false front on an intrinsically evil society. The Left is letting the criminals out to prey because they believe that it will help generate an acute social crisis which will turn people away from the American system. It is Lenin’s old dictum: the worse, the better. There is a fly in the ointment, however: the Left is the Ruling Class. So, when the people do turn against the system, these junior league Bolsheviks will find all of the hatred directed their way.

Team Pudding Brain has their solution to the inflation problem: order the MSM to talk about how it isn’t a problem. And like proper lapdogs, the MSM is going right along with this order. I’m not sure how well telling us to disbelieve our lying eyes will work. I suspect it won’t. One smart guy did point out that Biden hasn’t remotely hit bottom: apparently, he shoveled out some money for parents and didn’t broadcast too widely that the money is their child tax deduction for 2021…which means that when people go to do their taxes in April of 2022, they’ll find that they already spent their child deduction. I’m sure that’ll go over real well.

Lots of people are noting that Latino voters are dropping the Dems. For males the Latino vote is almost mirroring the vote for white males. If you really drill down to it, the only really strong demographics for the Democrats are African-Americans and white, college educated women. And even the black vote is starting to get a few cracks in it. I don’t think that the Democrats can win much with that. As for the Latinos – don’t expect them to be Buckley-ite Conservatives. They just want law and order, good schools and a vibrant economy. In other words, what the Democrats would at least try to get for them before they were taken over by the aforementioned Bolsheviks. It is, though, our opening…and the GOP should push hard for Latino votes. A vote in 2022 for a good economy can be turned by, say, 2028 into a vote for limited government.

Russia is making waves in Ukraine and it looks like Pudding Brain will roll over for them. In this, probably for the best: can you imagine how catastrophic our defeat would be if we got into a shooting war with the current crew in charge? Also, we don’t have a strategic interest in who governs the Donbas. OTOH, the case can be made that we should stand against military aggression, as such. Not so sure I’m on board with that. Used to be. Maybe not any longer. Some things have to be worked out and war is just politics by other means. Putin – correctly – sees control of the Donbas as vital to his national security: the resources there are vital. Our largest strategic interest is to contain China. Sending an army to Kiev doesn’t serve that interest. Meanwhile, our useless allies won’t send an army…mostly because they haven’t got one. And, finally, the reason Putin is moving is because he knows he’s only got a short time – the miracle of having such a useless American President might never happen again. He kept quiet for Trump because he knew – from Trump’s actions – that Trump wouldn’t put up with it. Putin knows that he can walk all over Biden.

Open Thread

They had the oral arguments for the challenge to Mississippi’s 15 week abortion ban. I read a lot of very smart takes on it, and some raving lunacy from the Left as well. Bottom line is that no one can say for certain how the Court will rule. Strike down? Narrowly uphold? Revoke Roe? Until the ruling comes down, we’re all guessing. Justice Thomas asked what is, to me, the key question: where is this in the Constitution? It isn’t, of course, and the Court’s decision to invent a right to abortion out of thin air was horrible…and it is a very key cause to the hatred in American politics these days. I do hope the Justices lance this boil. And some smart people think they might – that the lines of questioning have some thinking it will be 6-3 to strike Roe down…with Roberts merely going along with the majority. If it is struck down, I hope Thomas is the decision author. It will be his legacy to the United States.

Bank of America execs advise their staffers to “dress down” when they come into the office in NYC…to avoid being targeted by violent crime. This won’t, of course, stop BofA from being a reliable defender of the Ruling Class. The younger people don’t remember the crime wave of the 60’s to the 90’s…and this one is going to be vastly worse than the first because at least during the earlier crime wave, cops were trying to stop it. Now? A cop would be a fool to try and stop it…make the slightest mistake in making an arrest, and you’re life is ruined. The criminals know this. Criminals are cowards and they aren’t very bright – but they also know when it is open season.

Dr Oz announced he is running for Senate in Pennsylvania as a Conservative Republican…which is quite a surprise for a guy who got his start with Oprah. The bottom line is that he’s taken a large number of far Left positions over the years, most notably on gun control. This, naturally, caused the right to drop on him like a ton of bricks. Except for me: we’ve all had an education this past five years. All of us, no matter how knowledgeable or perceptive, have found that things we used to believe were false in whole or in part. Perhaps Dr Oz has had a bit of an awakening? I put it like this: I don’t care if you were wearing a Che shirt at an Antifa rally yesterday – if today you are saying the Left has to go: welcome to the party. I think we should listen to what Oz has to say and make the call on that…not hang him out to dry because of positions he took in the past.

Hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio likened China disappearing people to being “a strict parent”. The video is nauseating – and if you still wonder why I stopped being a supporter of Capitalism, here it is. For every Elon Musk – who seems a decent enough fellow – there are a score of Dalios: amoral, money-mad creeps who don’t give a damn what happens to people as long as they can make money. The only way to stop them – the only way – is to confiscate their money. People like this warp our debate and prevent a clean, clear view of the world. They keep us shackled to China as we slip ever further down into a deindustrialized, drug-addled dependency. In the end, they go or we do.

Will the GOP Exercise Power?

I don’t have any idea how this is going to go. Absent a miracle, the GOP is set for a pretty big victory next year – and if the chips fall the right way, perhaps an historic victory. The GOP could sweep into DC in 2023 with 260+ House members and 53+ Senators. And then, what? What does the GOP do?

We know that Team Pudding doesn’t give a damn what the law says and we also know that the bureaucracy is controlled by the DNC and so will carry out any Democrat executive order. The Congress is really reduced to its primordial function here: the Executive can’t tax or spend without Congressional approval. But, will the GOP go to the mat? I’m not talking about a shutdown leading to another continuing resolution…I’m talking about, say, zeroing out all DOJ funds for domestic surveillance of American citizens? Where it would illegal for the FBI to spend even a red cent checking up on us. They still might, of course. They are, after all, the DNC’s Stasi…but any such action would be manifestly illegal and any future GOP Executive could have the agents who engaged in it prosecuted.

But that is the kind of battles we’d have to engage it. Genuine Charles I vs Parliament stuff. It must be kept in mind that the real power in the United States is in Congress. President’s can order all sorts of thing, judges can rule any way they like but if the money isn’t there, it doesn’t really happen. We’ve got this mental attitude that the President, being elected by the whole country, represents the United States. That isn’t the case: Congress does. People and States are represented in Congress, not the Executive or Judiciary. The President is the instrument whereby Congressional action is carried out. Since we first got our Imperial Presidency under TR, people have lost sight of that. But it is the reality. The law is actually there and nowhere else.

Do they have the courage? Do they even have the knowledge of what they can do? Congress set up a joint committee during the Civil War to monitor the Executive. And Lincoln had to pay heed to it…because if he didn’t, he’d have trouble getting money out of Congress. When was the last time an American Executive actually went, hat in hand, to a Congressional committee? The Executive is supposed to…but for the past decades, it has all been a charade where what gets into a law is worked out in secret and then handed to a stupefied Congress a couple hours before the vote is scheduled. My bet is that most Congresspersons don’t even know the legislative rules (though a few, like MTG, are learning them).

But the GOP will be granted massive power next year – and if they refuse to use it, then it will all be retained by the Executive, run by a senile man’s people. We’re spinning towards national catastrophe and it may be up to the Congressional Republicans to save us.

And, yes: God help us!

Only Super Trump Can Beat Trump

There is much talk about Trump. This is in itself astonishing – never has the guy who allegedly lost a Presidential election commanded this much attention a year later. That he’s still a massive topic of discussion shows the historic nature of his Presidency.

A lot of the talk is a bit of whistling past the graveyard. Especially a lot of Never Trump who didn’t go Full Democrat are certain that Trump is a fading commodity and we can all just move on from him. For the moment, their eyes are fixed firmly on Ron DeSantis…whom I think we all agree would be a fine President, but we also have our doubts about him. Not on basic policy, but on attitude. And that, I think, is why Trump stubbornly won’t fade away.

We on the right do want a good policy President. And we’d like a President who is much better at picking staff than Trump proved. And we don’t need daily drama. OTOH, we also know that more than ever, we need a fighter. Someone who will, day in and day out, go toe to toe with our opponents and never let up for a minute. Is DeSantis that guy? He does fight pretty well…but are we sure that when push comes to shove he’ll choose us rather than the Ruling Class? I think for DeSantis, or anyone other than Trump, they are going to have to really prove it to us.

Now, if Trump decides not to run – he will be 78, after all – then all bets are off. The race will be anyone’s for the taking. But even there, the person who gets the nod will be the person who most firmly convinces us that they are unafraid of a four year long slog of fighting. Because we have to have a fight. We can’t afford to compromise even a bit. We win, they lose: that has to be our goal.

The best and easiest way for any putative standard-bearer to make their mark is to simply defend the 1/6 defendants. Even Trump hasn’t been out front on that – and if he runs, the only way anyone will be able to attack Trump successfully will be from the right. As I said in 2016 when Trump was the front runner, the only way to beat Trump is to out-Trump him. Cruz tried, but I think he tried too late. But if you want to be the man, you have to beat the man…and nobody is going to beat Trump by going softer than Trump.

The crucial thing to know is that the old rules don’t apply. They really haven’t applied since the Democrats cooked up Watergate into a Presidency-destroying scandal. I mean, what is Watergate compared to Gore taking sacks of cash from monks pledged to poverty? You get the picture: whatever was wrong about Watergate, it wasn’t anything to get too worked up about. But that is when the Democrats, using their cat’s paws in the MSM, started making all political battles scorched Earth battles. But from Watergate to Trump, the GOP never engaged. We worked on the assumption that Democrats, like us, want what is best for America. Uh, no: what Democrats want is what is best for Democrats. All other considerations come in a distant second. They do this because they sincerely believe that basic human decency requires Democrats to be in charge. That we see it differently doesn’t matter – and is irrelevant. What we must do in response is what we’ve always had to do but refused: sincerely believe that basic human decency requires the GOP to be in charge.

It isn’t a very large mental shift, but it is a necessary one – because it builds into the mind the need to always thwart the Democrats and always advance the GOP. Never compromise. Never give anything and if you really are forced to give them something, make certain that you get ten times as much for yourself. Never attack your own side; abandon those found to be corrupt, but don’t attack them. Ignore them. If asked about one of ours who goes wrong, immediately launch into an attack on a Democrat who did similar. Always cast Democrat programs in the darkest possible terms – it is easy to do because all their supposed social programs are mere grift to payoff donors. What is being done against CRT is the template – the old GOP might have merely quibbled around the edges while essentially conceding the main point. But the people battling CRT started with the assertion that CRT is evil…and they’ve forced the Democrats into the untenable position of defending the worst aspects of CRT…and it is working for us. It played a huge role in winning Virginia.

It is all a very long way to 2024, but I think I can be safe in saying that how it will come out won’t be in anyone’s predictive model. We’re in flux. We’re in danger of civil war, actually. None of the old political certainties are holding up. Liberals in San Francisco are buying guns while working class Latino voters are for the first time casting GOP votes. Meanwhile, upper class white people with a college degree become even stronger for the Democrats. Victory and disaster stare us in the face: we’ll get one or the other. And only a fighter – backed by fighters – can prevail.

Open Thread

Not guilty is good. The liberal tears were delicious. But as I read the comments on social media – pro and con – I noticed that people were really missing the crux of the matter.

The reason those rioters were out there attacking Rittenhouse and he was forced to shoot them to defend himself is that various political and corporate media leaders decided we had to have an acute, race-tinged crisis in America to assist them in removing Donald Trump from office. Every bit of loss in 2020 is the fault of those who deliberately and maliciously pumped up George Floyd’s death into a racial issue. The rest of it flowed from that – and even as we rightly condemn the actual rioters and the lower-level people who organized and paid them, never lose sight of the fact that on top of it all were some very rich, very powerful people who burned down poor and working class neighborhoods simply to craft an anti-Trump Narrative.

Such callousness shouldn’t surprise any of us – remember, these people are in favor of such things as abortion on demand to the moment of birth. They cover up pigs abusing young men and women. They sell America out for Chinese money. They are not, in short, people with a sense of morality. They just want what they want and there is nothing they won’t stoop to. And our task is to get rid of them.

In the various things bubbling up today were people reminding everyone that Go Fund Me banned Rittenhouse from fundraising but allowed one of his rioter/attackers to raise money. To me, that encapsulated it nicely – and also told me, once again, that until we despoil these people, they’ll just keep doing it. As long as they have money and control over the levers of public discourse, they’ll continue to spread lies in service of themselves. One thing I hadn’t noticed until just today was the huge number of people who believe – in all sincerity believe – that the three people Rittenhouse shot were black. How did they get that idea? Because the media didn’t describe them as rioters – it described them as BLM activists or racial justice activists. People – and a lot of them are black – just assumed that they were black.

But that is just what our media does, and on command from the Ruling Class. They deliberately obfuscated the issue to keep hate alive. Another theme that came up on the Left was the assertion that if a black man did what Rittenhouse had done, he’d be dead or in jail for life…meanwhile, on this very same day a black man was acquitted of shooting 5 in self defense. Not only was it ruled by the jury to be self defense, but it was a gun fight with the cops and the defendant is a convicted felon. In other words, the jury set aside assumptions, looked at the evidence and said that in this case, the guy was justified in shooting to save himself. But, that doesn’t fit the Narrative…of course, nothing but lies do fit the Narrative, and so that is all we get.

Pudding Brain had a routine colonoscopy – so routine that the White House failed to notify the public about it until the day it happened. And those of us of a certain age know what you have to do to get ready for it…which means that Joe must have spent all day Thursday occupied, shall we say? And we also know that once you’re done with it, the combination of hunger, lack of sleep and medication makes you next to useless for the 24 hours after the procedure. And yet Joe only tossed over power to Harris for a couple hours.

Sorry, something is up – and it wasn’t a colonoscopy. They’re covering up some aspect of Joe’s health…and now we think those rumors of Team Pudding Brain trying to ditch Harris might have something to them.

Austria, as well as other nations, are reimposing lockdowns…which is so very strange in that you tried it, it obviously didn’t work…so now you’ll do it all over again? The problem with the Global Ruling Class isn’t that it is corrupt, it is that it’s stupid.

Open Thread

As I write it is late Tuesday so we still don’t know the Rittenhouse verdict – I am nervous about it as the self defense was so patently obvious that not guilty should have taken an hour. Is it hung up on one or two holding out for innocent, or one or two holding out for guilty? I guess we’ll find out when we find out.

The bottom line, though, is that where there is a Democrat DA, you don’t have a right to defend yourself. If you do against those allied politically with the DA, you will be prosecuted and if nothing else, the process will be the punishment. I urge anyone living under a DA where there is risk of Leftist violence to move to a place which has a Republican DA. But even then, watch out: if the federal government under a Democrat decides to charge you with civil rights violations because you defended yourself, you’ll be in the same predicament.

What this trial has done is shown that we need specific laws on the books securing the right to self defense. We have to make it clear that if you start violence, anyone can pretty much do anything they like to you if they feel that you are a threat to persons or property. We obviously will not be able to get these things enacted in Blue States, but in every State we can, do it. So that if a local Blue DA decides to mess around, won’t be able to.

“I Did That” Biden stickers are showing up everywhere as Republicans learn political street fighting. They are heavily effective – and things like high gas prices are set to sink the Democrats quite a lot.

It looks like we finally have a whistleblower at the FBI who is on our side – revealing that the FBI has conducted counter-terrorism investigations against parents attending school board meetings. This is terrifying stuff – the FBI is becoming the Demcorats Stasi. The next GOP President will have to largely dismantle the FBI and start all over.

Glenn Reynolds notes that we’re hampered in our space program because we worry too much about safety. Sure, we do have to take care – but the bottom line is that if humans really want to live in space and on other planets, then humans are going to have to die in space and on other planets. We should already have a permanent presence on the Moon and be scouting sites for a permanent presence on Mars by now. If we’re going to go, go. Don’t fuss too much about it.

Madison Avenue (You Know: Bullsh**) Governs America

There are persistent rumors that the Beatles didn’t play their own instruments. I recall first hearing such in the 1980’s. Probably no way to every fully prove or disprove the rumors. One thing has always struck me about the Beatles – they stopped touring in 1965. The official reason was that it was a hassle and the stage equipment couldn’t reproduce the studio sound. I can understand the hassle part of it, but in 1967 Monterey Pop happened with Hendrix giving one of his best live performances. If Hendrix could do it, so could the Beatles. But they didn’t. Gigantic amounts of money were left on the table as any Beatles tour especially in the wake of Sgt Pepper’s would have been a monster of attendance.

And that gets me to thinking that maybe they weren’t all that good…and so the rumors of session musicians re-recording Beatles tracks after the boys went home for the day sound credible.

Don’t get me wrong: they had some very good things going on there. Some of the lyrics that they wrote are sublime. McCartney by accounts of other musicians is a top flight bass player. But everyone agrees that Ringo is a merely competent drummer while neither John nor George were very good guitar players. It could be that the difficulty of what was being produced from 1966 on simply stymied the Beatles‘ in any desire to tour and so expose their limited range of musical talent. Back then, a live performance required band members who could hit the notes precisely – they didn’t have the electronic tricks that allow modern live performances to go ahead even on the thinnest talent. And even very talented musicians like those in Rush used such tricks because, hey, there’s only three of them and if you wrote a song using six instruments at once, kinda hard to pull that off with just the three of you on stage.

I bring this up because it doesn’t matter and it also illustrates how a public face is manufactured in the modern world. We of a certain age all have a mental image of the Beatles…and some of it is probably true. But a lot of it is marketing. Lots and lots of marketing. Lots and lots, that is, of people spinning things for a certain effect.

And that brings me to my real point: they don’t just go it for rock stars. They do it for anyone they please. I was trolling through Netflix the other day looking for something that wouldn’t be actually bad to watch and up pops an ad for Mayor Pete. A bio-pic on Buttigieg. It looked nauseating because even from the few clips in the ad you could tell it was hagiography: what a wonderful guy! I bet in there are bits about his “struggle” growing up gay in Indiana (as if anyone cared) and his vision for America…which is cloudy as he was recently talking up racist roads while supplies piled up in ports. What are they doing? They are prepping him for 2028. Not 2024: that is Kamala’s. There’s a chance she gets so horribly unpopular that the Democrats opt for someone else, but absent a complete Team Pudding Brain meltdown, she’ll be the standard bearer in 2024. And they know she’s gonna lose. So, here’s Pete – the future! But, what a complete zero! From a well off family, he from infancy has been on The Track – the set of schools and accomplishments which are designed to provide credentials. He’s got his Kennedy prize, his degree and his Rhodes Scholarship. He’s been a product all along – and now they are trying to sell him to all of us.

But this is what we get, right? It is what we’ve gotten for a long time. It is how we got Bill Clinton and Barack Obama…and the Bushes. If you are favored by birth or the luck of who likes you, you get the process – you get to check off all the boxes and you get to rise ever higher. As long as you don’t upset the people guiding you along the path, your life is set. Only a very few of such will get to be President simply for space and time limitations…but all of them, rely on it, have that ambition. It is fed to them. They are called brilliant (they get awards that prove it!) and kind…and the MSM only speaks well of them. And they get to have absurd bio-pics made about their lives and they’ll get those cutesy interviews on daytime TV (Side note: in The Man in the High Castle – one of the few things worth watching on TV the past ten years, though it ended a little lame – the writers beautifully captured this in a scene where the wife of the Bad Guy gets such a TV spot and it is horrid cringe, on purpose…).

And it doesn’t matter how badly you screw up! Just like the packaged rock star will have things smoothed over, so, too, will you! David Bowie could go on a year long drug fueled bender where hundreds of people see him acting like a complete lunatic…and, hey, not a peep in the press about it while it was ongoing and only years later in some sort of retrospective is it brought up. Bowie was the product and the people who packaged him weren’t going to let something like massive drug use wreck the program. You’ll notice that the rock stars don’t often die of OD’s any longer…because they’ve got minders who make sure they don’t. Nobody is going to invest massive resources in another Hendrix, Joplin or Morrison again only to have it end with the product drowning in their own vomit. Someone like Buttigieg can louse things up six ways to Sunday (as, you know, he currently is with transportation) and that won’t matter. It’ll be smoothed over. He won’t be asked the difficult question which would expose the fact that Rhodes Scholarships are passed out on connections not smarts. The marketing program will continue…and if Buttigieg winds up as President and we then get to experience his complete incapacity on a nationwide scale, he’ll still be protected. After all, after he’s done destroying the nation in the White House he’s still useful for grifting book deals and providing a bit of star power.

Sure, every now and again someone on The Track has to be sacrificed for the greater good (ie, so the reality can continue be covered up as the proles are given a pre-selected victim to hate). Weinstein is the most recent example of this and he got it really bad in the form of a criminal prosecution. Former Governor Cuomo seems to be set to get that axe, as well: but you and I know how rare that is. Toobin is the more usual course: gets caught spanking the monkey on a Zoom call and in a couple months he’s back at it on CNN saying Trump is stupid (perhaps he is – but he wasn’t yanking the crank in a meeting, sport). Right now, former Senator Franken is rehabilitating his career. Doubt he’ll go for elective office again…but you can already see the future in that he’ll be back intoning solemnly how lousy we all are pretty quick.

Different careers have some slight differences in them for those on The Track, but its really all the same. For an Army officer hoping to be a general one day, getting the ticket punched as a combat vet is a crucial as the guy on the Tenure track to get published…that the combat might well have been a lost battle and the published article sub-literate drivel doesn’t matter. The Credential is “combat vet” or “published author”. The box has been checked…they are now absolutely better than everyone who hasn’t been in combat or published and they are just as good as the successful commander and the brilliant author. But, even better than that – if you’re on The Track, your credential is worth more than someone not on it. Your fellow Lt Colonel with his pesky ideas about combat readiness will be removed from the promotions list by those helping you along…and so his victory over the enemy will mean absolutely nothing while your bronze star for not getting more than 20 of your own soldiers killed will shine brightly.

Here’s the really bad news: we’re on the third or fourth generation of people selected for advancement based on wealth and/or connections. It has been happening since the 1950’s. Dolt A begat Dolt B who begat Dolt C…who really likes the cut of the jib of that intern who got the gig because his Mom is friends with the person passing them out. It is a huge negative feedback loop and each generation is worse than the previous because the one thing the incompetent can’t stand to have around them is someone competent. These people don’t look for someone better than themselves…they’re forever on the look out for the most mindlessly pliable person available. This is why things progressively suck…why even very basic things are being done badly. Why, you know, cargo is piling up in ports when we’ve were moving cargo easily just a few months ago and the guys in charge haven’t the foggiest notion of what to do.

We make our jokes about burning it all down – but in a real sense we must do it. Any random 100 people pulled in off the streets and placed in charge of, say, the FBI will better ensure criminals are caught and justice is done than the people currently in there. They can’t possibly do worse…and as they would go in with the mindset of catching bad guys and protecting the innocent, you’d actually get at least some of that…unlike now, when we get none of it. If we win in 2024, we have to top to bottom start getting rid of the credentialed incompetents. We have to: if we don’t, these idiots will destroy the country and then insist that China give them a medal for it.

Open Thread

Prices are rising and real wages are falling and the alleged President’s approval rating officially is in the low-40s. This is the sort of thing which causes political meltdowns. At this moment in time, any Democrat in a district or State D+10 or less should be running as if they’re losing.

Real problem for them: if the economic situation doesn’t change, then it won’t matter how they run: they’re going to lose. And even D+15 might not be enough.

The kicker: the only way to fix this is to kill inflation…but doing that causes a recession.

Looks like we won’t return to the Moon before 2025. I’m actually ok with that – I don’t want Pudding Brain’s name on the plaque.

Masked up California is having much more Covid than unmasked Florida. Meanwhile, Sweden which never masked is done with it. The initial “15 days to slow the spread” was, in the event, a mistake – but, an understandable one. Everything we’ve done since then – every last effort – has been useless or counterproductive. But the Democrats won’t let this go: they just extended the mask mandate here in Vegas. No reason. There’s no science behind it. It is just because. Saw a recent poll where Democrats believe that the hospitalization rate for unvaccinated Covid is 50%. It is less than 1%. But if you watch the MSM, that is what you believe because that is what they imply with their fear mongering.

Kyle Rittenhouse is, as we all know, completely innocent. But we’ll have to see what the jury says – from what I can glean from the trial, the prosecutor has no case. Remember: Rittenhouse is charged, among other things, with first degree murder – meaning the State is arguing that Rittenhouse had malice aforethought: that he went there intending to kill. Even the most negative reading of Rittenhouse’s actions don’t allow such an absurd view. But that is what they’re going for. But the reality is that rioters went after him and he merely defended himself. There is zero indication that he sought the situation where shooting might occur. The only thing they might have him on is a misdemeanor gun possession charge. So, we’ll see what happens. But even if convicted, expect that he’ll be released on appeal.

The usual weak sisters on the Right are arguing variously that Rittenhouse did wrong and/or that he shouldn’t have been there. My question on that is: why shouldn’t he have been there? Are we all supposed to just clear out when the DNC is paying Antifa to riot? Is that the rule? That when they are working up their riots we just have to let it all happen? Not even be on the streets we have a perfect right to be on? This is what, I think, irritates us most about the Right – their assumption that we have a responsibility to make life easy for the Left…that they are allowed to do whatever they damn well please, and we just have to let it happen.

Mayor Pete was out there grappling with our transportation crisis the other day by…complaining about racist bridges. Yes. You read that correctly. Seems that the Left claims that certain bridges around New York City were made deliberately low so that buses filled with blacks and Puerto Ricans couldn’t get to the beach. Of course that is all drivel – the bridges were built that way because back in those days that is how you did that particular sort of design. But it was interesting to see. The hook the Left had was that the designer was, indeed, a racist. No doubt about that. Plenty of contemporary documentary evidence that he disparaged non-white people on a regular basis. With that, a whole theory was crafted. But what the theory always lacked was any evidence that the designer – and everyone else involved in a massive highway project – was making design decisions based on race.

And that is how the Left always does it. They create a theory and then find some nugget of fact to hang the whole thing on. The idea, for instance, that the conquest of North America was a deliberate attempt at genocide is based upon a letter written by a British general in which he suggests delivering the blankets of smallpox victims to the Natives. That it was a frustrated general at his wits end on trying to defeat wily Native warriors is left entirely out of the fact. He wasn’t trying to kill all Natives – he was trying to win a war. And the kicker is that it wouldn’t have worked – because that isn’t how smallpox spreads. The idea was based upon the very flawed idea of disease transmission back in those days. And that then gets you to understand the crucial aspect of the European conquest: it was European diseases, carried unknowingly by Europeans, which did the most damage. Most Natives who died of European disease never even laid eyes on an European. And this massive die-off caused gigantic social disruption among the survivors. They started to question their own ancestral ways – and swiftly started to adopt European ways to the maximum amount possible. By the time Lewis and Clark carried out the first American expedition to the west, the Native tribes way of life was massively and irretrievably changed from pre-Columbian times. But there is goes – and now it is pretty much being taught as fact in America’s schools: we came here to kill. Because we’re just rat bastards. Because we’re white.

Is Evil Banal, or Fun?

A Twitter friend of mine put up the famous Hannah Arendt quote about evil:

Evil comes from a failure to think. It defies thought for as soon as thought tries to engage itself with evil and examine the premises and principles from which it originates, it is frustrated because it finds nothing there. That is the banality of evil.

That is the quote written in relation to the trial of Eichmann. To Arendt, Eichmann seemed such a zero. Just this nobody of a man who, using first-rate bureaucratic methods, sent millions to their deaths. I’ve never fully accepted that view. I think that Arendt – and many others – wanted a simple explanation which also denigrated the evildoers. So, Eichmann wasn’t thinking – had he paused for a moment to think about what he was doing, he would have stopped. So the theory goes. And it might have been true, to a certain extent. It all depends on what the person thinks about.

I don’t believe in the mindless human being. Even the simplest among us are still capable of thought. Absent some serious physical malfunction in the brain, every human being can figure things out. Some obviously better than others, but everyone can. It is how we survive given how incapable we are of surviving on sheer physical strength. At some point in his life, Eichmann thought about things – perhaps he was stupid, but he still thought about them and came to the conclusion that having Jews and other “subhumans” around was bad for people. Real people, in his mind, being only Germans. His actions then flowed from that as did all of the Nazis.

While in Hitler’s mind massacre may have always been in the cards, for most Nazis it wasn’t. Hans Frank spoke of the innocence he and his fellow Nazis had when the rose to power – claiming that had you told them in 1933 about 1945, they wouldn’t have believed it. For most of them, this was perhaps true.

But even in those supposed days of Frank’s innocence in 1933, he was ordering people arrested and putting his well trained legal mind to work providing quasi-legal justification for the actions. And that gets me to my view of why evil happens. It is fun. I take Chesterton’s view of evil:

If it be true (as it certainly is) that a man can feel exquisite happiness in skinning a cat, then the religious philosopher can only draw one of two deductions. He must either deny the existence of God, as all atheists do; or he must deny the present union between God and man, as all Christians do. The new theologians seem to think it a highly rationalistic solution to deny the cat.

I think Ms. Arednt was denying the cat. And I think this denial is because people who don’t believe in any real God still want to believe that there is objective right and wrong. That anyone who thinks will, you see, end up thinking as they do. Arednt, of course, was a secular, Socialist German Jew. Not much room for God in that worldview. But she had to figure out how the Nazis could happen. On the other hand, I doubt she spent a lot of time trying to figure out how the Communists could happen. But that isn’t what detains us here. I think Chesterton had it right. So right, in fact, that I used his insight in the upcoming Book VII of the Mirrors series. Set about twelve years after Book V: Kings and Queen (which I’ll be releasing next month), two of the main characters discuss how one of them used to be one of the bad guys (I’ve blanked out the names so there isn’t any spoiler here):

As they rode along, **** found himself right next to ****. For the first time, he didn’t feel angry about that.

“Thanks, again, for helping me,” **** said.

“You’re welcome, once again,” **** replied.They rode along again for a few minutes.

“You were with them, ****. What was it like?”

“Them?”

“The enemy. What was it like?”

“It was glorious,” **** said to ****’ surprise. **** noticed the look on ****’ face.

“You won’t have read him here, but there was a very wise man who wrote poetry and books back in my home world: he pointed out that there is an exquisite pleasure to be had in skinning a cat.”

“Cat?”

“Small animal. But, mainly, he wasn’t trying to horrify people: he was pointing out that in doing evil, there is great pleasure to be had. It is false pleasure and it leads to genuine death, but it is pleasure. If it wasn’t there, people would be evil far less often, if at all. It is in all of us, ****. Me. You. Even your mother. The capacity to do evil is there.”

“This I know from the priests,” **** said. “But what was it like while you were in it?”

“As I said, glorious. I had power and no limits and I could do as I wished and no one would ever call me to account. I took what I wanted and anyone who even looked crossways at me got the axe. It was fun, ****. It is like the most heady wine you’ve ever had and the more you have, the more you want. And the further you go down, the harder it is to come back.

That, I think, is the best explanation for evil. Not bad; evil. There’s a difference. A man who kills another because he caught him with his wife has done bad, but not evil. But the action of shoving a Jew into a gas chamber is no different in kind (though massively different in degree) than robbing a man of his wallet or forcing a woman into sex: it is the fun of being able to do something to someone who either cannot or dares not resist. Solzhenitsyn noted this as well: how it was clear that some interrogators, faced with a determined prisoner, just let themselves go and felt like real men when they had beaten a defenseless person to a pulp.

And as my character notes, the more you do it, the worse you get and the harder it is to crawl back. A Nazi scharfuhrer who beat up a Jew in Nuremberg in 1933 was probably just the sturmbannfuhrer to command an Einsatzcommando in 1941. And though there are plenty of stories of Nazi executioners having psychological problems, its not like they stopped killing…nor are there many recorded cases of Nazis even going easy on the people they had at their mercy. Indeed, it just seemed to get worse as time went on.

And I think it became almost a competition to see how utterly rotten you could be. A sort of game: “what if I did this to them?”. And then the fun of really going to town on those who finally had enough. Plenty of cases like this in Nazi Germany, and in Stalin’s camps. But, also, in our run of the mill criminals. They don’t start off being the most horrific things they did. Usually started small and then got hideous as time went on. And the key to that is to understand that the “rush” as it were gets harder to achieve. You forced the Jewish lawyer to clean the latrine with a toothbrush and that was a kick…but, once you’ve done that a few times, the rush fades. What else can we do to him? What else can you do to the man you’re robbing? What else can you do to the woman who’s house you broke into? On and on like that – and as noted, the further you go the worse and the harder to stop.

But it isn’t just the evil of physical brutality: there is also emotional evil. The ability to get people to lie on command. To make them say things which sh** all over their own beliefs. This is where our Social Justice Warriors get their fix. The mental torment they put people through is the point. You’ve seen it – like when some impeccably Liberal person is dragged through the mud because they have one opinion which is now decreed to be outside the Party Line. The author of the Harry Potter books is a prime example of this – good for her that she’s rich enough to survive it, but the bottom line is that because she refused to subscribe 100% to the Trans agenda (her objection was that it erased biological women), she was subjected to massive invective…and even though it didn’t get her, it still was very pleasant for those doing it…because it scared everyone on the Left who didn’t have her resources to toe the line. Imagine that – you’re a complete nobody of a purple haired xir…and now people are afraid to cross you because they’ll face social ruin if they do. That is a massive boost to the ego.

And I think this is why punishments used to be so savage. Or, at least, part of the reason. It was a mix of trying to beat civilization into people and to let evil people know that while there is a great pleasure to be had in evil, the end result is to be hung, drawn and quartered. If you’re not entirely familiar with that process, look it up: it was quite grisly. And these days we read about how the people cheered when it happened and we’re all supposed to feel that those cheering were more evil than the condemned. But, it wasn’t so: what the people were cheering was a complete rat-bastard who thought it was fun to do evil getting what he deserved.

Anyways, that is how I view the matter. That in order to stop evil, you have to take away the pleasure those who engage in it feel. That you have, in your turn, to make things so miserable for them that they’ll, possibly, at last understand why what they did was bad.