9/11 Plus 17 Years

It doesn’t seem that long ago, does it? On the other hand, one of the youngsters I work with is 23…and, so, was 6 when it happened. At most, there is some vague memories in there, but no real remembrance of what it was.

Such is the course of human life – most things are forgotten. Simply overtaken by later events. And think of all that has gone on since then. It has been a crowded bunch of years.

What is sad is how the patriotism and determination of 9/12 is now gone, completely. That was rather cynically destroyed by the Democrats starting in 2003 when they realized that their only chance of beating Bush in 2004 was to make the post-9/11 fight politically unpopular. They managed the trick, but not in time to prevent Bush’s re-election. But make no mistake about it, the reason we got Obama is because of years of relentless hatred directed against Bush until he, and the whole GOP, seemed odious. Democrats are trying this trick, again, and this time from a higher pitch of toxicity than the post-9/11 baseline. But there is one, gigantic difference: Trump is punching back. Hard.

But, that aside, there is still the unfinished business of 9/11 – namely, how to make certain that no Islamists will ever want to attack us like that, again? We’ve hit the Islamist enemy very hard in the past 17 years. Make no mistake about it: openly and in secret, US forces have made life rather a living hell for the Jihadists. But as long as they aren’t destroyed – and their prime sponsors remain relatively untouched – this war will go on, and, eventually, they’ll try something even more spectacular than 9/11. As I said way back then, unless we go to the source of the problem (you know, like in Iran and such), we’ll never finish the fight. It is the old story written again and again: if you give your enemy a sanctuary which you won’t attack, then you are handing him eventual victory.

Still, say a prayer for those who died, and for those who still hurt from the loss – and, of course, for our military members who still have to fight the war. It is good to remember, for as long as we can, after all.

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Smart and Dumb

Lots of discussion of late about smart and dumb – mostly Progs and Never Trumpers saying they are smart while Trump and we Deplorables are dumb. Let’s examine that a bit.

Real genius is rare. So rare, in fact, that it hardly ever shows up. Plenty of people are given the title these days, but that is merely a reflection of our Participation Trophy society. For instance, various pop stars have been called geniuses…which is absurd when you compare them to Mozart, who really was a genius (he started composing at five years old, guys). Now, this isn’t to say that some people aren’t very talented – many are. Some of them even approach genius…but genius has this thing about it: it isn’t bound by what has come before. That is the mark of it – when you see someone striking off in a new direction that no one suspected was there before, there’s your genius.

You can’t force genius to be – it seems to be innate in some people. They just have a mental ability (probably a combination of genetics and environment) which simply moved their mind into a new groove which we non-geniuses can’t see (but the most perceptive of us can perceive..and thus allow genius to go its way, only occasionally tapping on the breaks so the genius, in exuberance, doesn’t drive us mere mortals off a cliff). This doesn’t stop people from trying – “gifted” courses in school are a symptom of this; a genius doesn’t need a gifted course. The genius is going to go someplace new long before you even know where he’s going. Quite often, a genius is going to be a flop in school, as it turns out…not for lack of understanding, but because they understand it too well almost intuitively and are bored with it and want to move on to whatever it is that is interesting them.

How many geniuses have we had? Well, in Western Civilization (which I am most familiar with) I count maybe seven or eight in the last 300 years. Mozart, already mentioned…but also MacArthur, Einstein, Lincoln, Bismarck, Napoleon, Churchill, Van Gogh…maybe a few others. And it is a debatable subject. One man’s genius might be another man’s merely talented person. You’ll note that I didn’t include Edison…because I view him as a product of his time who took a systematic view of how to get things done; but there wasn’t a lot of “flash of genius” in his work…just a lot of hard work and persistence (which is invaluable, by the way). The bottom line is that even if you add a few more to my list (and take a few away from it), you’re not talking a lot of people. Three political geniuses in 300 years: Bismarck, Churchill and Lincoln (all three charted a course no one could see; all three were despised not merely by their opponents, but by most of their allies, most of the time). And keep in mind that Bismarck, for all his genius, was the ruin of a civilization. We’re on our 45th President, and we’ve only had one genius (as an aside, I think the only other President who might be considered a genius is Teddy Roosevelt…nearly as much of a disaster as Bismarck, but clearly a man of gigantic intellect and talent).

Most of us are not geniuses, of course. And even geniuses can be quite stupid at times. A story I once read said that Newton got himself a pet cat and cut a hole through his door so the cat could go in and out at will. In the fullness of time, this cat had three kittens. The great genius pondered this event and after profound reflection, cut three, smaller holes in the door. Most of us are average, or at least our intellect clusters around the human average (which is why its called the average). Some few are very stupid, and some equally few are very smart. We can’t rely on either supreme stupidity or supreme intelligence: it is too rare to take into account in our day to day actions. Most of the time, we just have to go forward as best we can and assume that everyone else is pretty much just like us – smart, but not that smart and thus capable of astonishing error.

The problem we have with our Progressives and Never Trumpers is that they really do believe that they are all extra smart. In the quiet of their hearts, they probably (most of them) account themselves geniuses. They assume their superior intellect and thus expect us to obey – after all, if we were smart like they are, we’d be just like them. It is nonsense – most of them are no smarter than any of us. It is almost certain that none of them are geniuses, just as it is almost certain that none of us are. That there might be a genius on their side (just as there might be one on ours) is a chance so small as to not be worth considering. And, main thing, if there is a genius, then that person (whatever side he or she might be on) is likely despised by everyone else…that is another problem geniuses have; being so intelligent and able to see things that others can’t, most people mistrust them and think they are doing something wrong (as in morally wrong). And if there is a genius on either side, that person is going to take (drag, really) there side in a direction they never wanted to go and award them astonishing victory they kicked furiously against.

Last thing on this: another thing about genius is you can’t always tell its there until after it has completed it’s task. So many people are carping and complaining, and public doubts are so stirred up, that the sheer brilliance of the course isn’t recognized until the destination is reached and everyone starts going, “wow; this is cool!” after the fact.

They Hate America

I wasn’t going to write about politics on Easter, but this came up in my Twitter feed today:

No other city has taken down a monument to a president for his misdeeds. But Arcata is poised to do just that. The target is an 8½-foot bronze likeness of William McKinley, who was president at the turn of the last century and stands accused of directing the slaughter of Native peoples in the U.S. and abroad.

“Put a rope around its neck and pull it down,” Chris Peters shouted at a recent rally held at the statue, which has adorned the central square for more than a century.

Peters, who heads the Arcata-based Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous People, called McKinley a proponent of “settler colonialism” that “savaged, raped and killed.”…

These people don’t hate America’s sins, they hate America. It is really just as simple as that. Was McKinley perfect? No. Why does he have a statue in Arcata, CA? Because his death was such a complete shock that a mediocre President was elevated in the public mind to incredible heights in spite of a lackluster record (sort of like what happened to JFK after he was killed). Today, McKinley is mostly forgotten – so I could definitely see a city deciding to take down his statue for that reason…but to take it down like you’re removing the statue of a criminal is just absurd. And indicates a great deal of hatred not for McKinley (who probably not 1 in a 100 citizens of the city are even aware of), but for the nation he lead.

The left has always been at war with the very idea of the United States. They can’t stand our persistent religious faith; our desire to make it on our own; our unwillingness to see ourselves as mere blocks of wood for social experimentation. The left also knows that they can’t triumph in the world if the United States continues to exist as the United States. And so they attack everything that went to make up the United States. Nothing we have done has been good in their view – everything we’ve done must be condemned and renounced and we, the people just fit ourselves (or be fitted) into a new way of thinking.

As for me, I’m heartily sick of it. I’m supposed to feel bad that my ancestors came to a mostly empty land and made it something more than a game preserve for nomads. Sorry, but I’m not sorry that it happened, at all. I’m sorry there was murder and rapine and I wish that hadn’t happened…but it happened on both sides (my father, as a young boy, knew an old man who had been scalped and left for dead in a raid back in the day; the rest of his family was killed or taken…why did it happen? For no other reason than they were there, and could be taken and killed; the man, by the way, held no bitterness about it…it was just the way things went at times, in those days). And the Natives here when exposed to advanced, Western civilization immediately wanted the goods of that civilization…beaver weren’t nearly hunted to extinction east of the Mississippi by white guys, but by Natives who wanted to trade the pelts for iron tools, cotton clothing and other things. For crying out loud, does anyone think that a human being really wants to spend 50 hours of labor making a stone knife which will be dull after a few uses when you can get an iron knife that will be keen for a lifetime? What the heck are these Native activists saying? In the end, that their ancestors weren’t stupid enough to reject all contact with Western civilization.

I’m glad Nebraska and Kansas are there – filled with cities and with farms which produce food for millions upon millions of people. It would be a crime against humanity if it had remained the abode of a few million buffalo and a few score thousand nomads living off them. The whole process of settlement could have been better done and the Natives certainly deserved better treatment than was meted out, but that the settlement had to happen is obvious, and obviously good that it happened.

The end result of all this is that we have to fight tooth and nail – we have to defend every last inch of everything we have. Because we’ve now learned that it isn’t just that this or that person was bad and thus his statue has to come down, but that the left is trying to destroy the entirety of the United States and erect some new, anti-American nation in its place.

Winning and Losing Wars

Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won. – Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

Got into a little bit of a Twitter scrape with Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom). I’m afraid he took exception to a comment I made. The start of it was Nichols condemning Trump for his “we’ve lost our wars” comment. I put in that as a matter of fact, we haven’t won a war since World War Two.

I know, I know; I probably took that too far. I must repeat to myself again and again: never get into a Twitter argument as it is impossible to have an argument when you’re limited to 140 characters. And it can get a bit sticky if you say anything which can be construed as other than critical of Trump. Trump = bad. I dig that – and am in favor of that sentiment. I feel bad that I apparently angered Mr. Nichols as I hold him in high regard for his knowledge. But, still, a busted clock is right twice a day. To be fair to those who took exception to my comment, Grenada, Panama, the First Gulf War and Kosovo were victories. And the Iraq campaign until 2009 was also a victory. But Grenada, Panama and Kosovo are not the same scale of actions as, say, a Spanish-American War – even though that war was quite short and the loss of life was mercifully low. The First Gulf War was, in my view, an unfinished war – we did eject Iraqi forces from Kuwait (a worthwhile activity), but as long as Saddam was in power in Baghdad, a resumption of the war either in Kuwait or elsewhere was always in prospect. We could have compelled a complete surrender by Saddam, and we didn’t – we didn’t impose our political will on his regime in a permanent manner. As for the Iraq campaign – well, it was won, but then it was lost…it doesn’t matter that it was Obama who lost what Bush had won, it was still the United States losing.

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May 10th, 1940

I’m bringing this up for two reasons. First off, because I saw this – click the link and you’ll see a series of “person in the street” interviews where they ask some basic questions about World War Two and people just don’t know the answers. Secondly, because this date is the 76th anniversary of the German invasion of France and the Low Countries – so, might as well try and help out with this historical ignorance.

This Wikipedia article is actually a pretty good run-down of the event – someone who cares (or some people who care) apparently put a bit of effort in there to get an informative and useful description. Naturally, it doesn’t tell the whole tale, but if you read it you’ll generally understand what happened. Another good source you can get is William Shirer’s The Collapse of the Third Republic: An Inquiry into the Fall of France in 1940. Shirer carries the story back to the birth of the Third Republic in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and describes in good detail the various political cross-currents which contributed greatly to the collapse of 1940. Shirer was an excellent historian, though he was also an old-school Liberal of the mid-Twentieth Century type, and so he emphasizes some things I think less important and glosses over (just a bit – he was immensely fair-minded) the two crucial things in the moral collapse which preceded the military downfall: the relentless anti-Catholic actions of the French government and the gigantic amount of very absurd pacifist propaganda in the State-run schools between World War One and World War Two. If nothing is absolutely true and nothing is worth fighting for, you might find it difficult to get men to fight and, if need be, die for truth in war, you know?

Another thing which played a huge role in the collapse was the astonishing amount of corruption in the France all through the Third Republic. There are always people on the take, but in the Third Republic it became a way of life for French politicians, and by extension French business and French journalists. The Panama Scandal was, perhaps, the worst of them all, but over and over again French leaders were found to be taking bribes and various interests in France were found to be for sale to the highest bidder. The Dreyfus Affair is probably still fairly well known, but in the end the crux of that matter was that the French government and military spent a huge amount of money, time and energy defending what was known to be a lie pretty early in the process…because people were invested in the lie and money was to be had for those who would keep it up.

The bottom line was that by 1940, the French government, business, media and military leaders were all highly compromised and suspect in the eyes of the French people, and the destruction of Christianity and Patriotism in France had robbed the French people of the very desire to fight hard against a foreign aggressor. This is not to say that no French fought – some did. In fact, about 85,000 French soldiers died in the six week campaign. But, for the most part, it was just a general collapse – and it started at the top, especially among France’s military leadership.

Little realized by most casual observers is the fact that the Anglo-French armies in 1940 were very much more powerful in manpower and material than the German army (half the German troop strength was low-grade, untrained, badly armed reserve forces). The Germans did have a tactical advantage in their armored and motorized divisions (which made up only a fraction of the German force), but the French Army had more trucks and tanks than the Germans…and French tanks were better armed and armored than German tanks (though generally slower in speed and, crucially, lacking effective radio communication, thus hampering tactical deployment). Shirer notes in his book that the French Air Force ended the campaign with more planes than it started with – and yet it is seen that the Luftwaffe was always able to provide air cover when it was needed by the advancing German armies.

The French and British also greatly assisted the Germans by putting their best armies into Belgium when they were needed in the Sedan area of France. But, even then, the Germans ran a gigantic risk in their invasion plan. Guderian made his reputation in his breakthrough at Sedan and his race to the Channel, but had the French leadership had just a little more desire to fight, Guderian would be remembered at the fool who stuck his neck out too far, too fast and got crushed by an easy counter-attack by French forces. When he lunged for the Channel after his breakthrough, for a couple days he had a mere regiment or so of motorized troops guarding his flank…the French had in the area two armored divisions (in addition to a substantial amount of infantry) which could easily have crushed that flank guard, cut off Guderian and changed the whole course of the war…but, the French leaders lacked the will (and any sense of how short time was to act) and the French troops also showed a complete lack of desire to get at grips with the enemy (this lack of desire, I think, flowed from the top – when then-Colonel de Gaulle was given command of a scratch force of armored troops, his attack knocked the Germans about quite a bit…it was too late to change things and his small force was insufficient, at any rate, to do much…but he showed what French troops could still do when led in to battle by a warrior).

Learning about this campaign is very important for any citizen of a democratic republic – it shows, definitely, Napoleon’s dictum that “the morale is to the material as three is to one”. To be sure, someone with absolutely overwhelming force can crush an enemy no matter how spirited they are (as was seen in Stalin’s attack on Finland in 1939)…but in forces roughly equal (and Anglo-French superiority in manpower and material made up for German superiority in tactical doctrine – provided that leadership was available to react properly to events), who has the fighting spirit is probably going to carry the day. The French State was rotten to the core – both in government and military. Corruption, immorality, nihilist philosophy of varied stripes, various conspiracy-theory-mongering (often centering on Jews as a scapegoat) all led to a France which lacked the desire to defend itself. Only a few clear-eyed patriots saw that no matter what was wrong with France, fighting the Germans was the first duty of all French.

And if all that sounds familiar to American ears, then that should be a bit of a wake-up call. We, too, are buried under corruption, immorality, nihilist philosophy…and, of course, anti-Semitism is also gaining purchase in the United States as various conspiracy theories are tried out (by people on both left and right – but, actually, more on the left than on the right in this area), and all of them tend to gravitate towards Jews as the scapegoat. We still have an immensely powerful armed force at our disposal – but is there still the overall spirit, especially in our leadership, to actually fight a war? Meaning – to fight it with the ruthlessness necessary to secure victory in spite of all problems? That is an unknown – and unknowable – thing right now. Sure, there are plenty of patriots in America…and plenty of hard-working, decent people, as well. But who rules the roost? The patriots and hard-working people, or people who have lost all sense of morality and honor? Remember, we recently found out that a carefully orchestrated series of lies was used to advance government policy…and we know that corruption is endemic in our nation. We can see it in the fact that the leading contender for the Democrat nomination not only hasn’t been indicted, but almost certainly will never be indicted.

It is to be hoped that we aren’t too far gone – but the lessons of France, 1940, are valuable for us to learn if we want to make sure we aren’t too far gone.

Best of Enemies

Nearly 50 years ago William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal squared off in a series of debates that cemented the divide between conservatives and progressives, a divide that continues today. There is a very interesting documentary on Netflix called Best of Enemies that covers those 10 very contentious debates and the political environment of the time. Here is an excerpt of one of those debates:

Ironically, many of the issues covered in these debates are many of the same issues the left continues to fight over to this day – equality, the police state, and American Imperialism abroad. One would think that the intellectual might of the left would have resolved these pressing issues by now had they have been of paramount concern, but much like today, I believe these are issues the left needs to promulgate throughout the generations in order to create the societal divide their electoral victories depend on.

In one debate Buckley had a brilliant line on equality that invoked dismay and outrage from the progressive Vidal. Buckley stated that “freedom breeds inequality”, a simple truth about human nature that the left cannot comprehend, or simply does not want to admit. In fact there is much about human nature that the left does not want to admit, and unfortunately spends an inordinate amount of legislative time trying to deny. The ACA is a good example. What could possibly lead one to believe that a perfectly healthy 20 year old would purchase health insurance with high deductibles in order to off set the health care expenses of their less healthy and older citizens? Granted it would be noble of them but it defies their financial self-interests and the reality is that they are not complying, and Buckley defined this ideological disconnect dynamic very well in the video above.

In re: to the police state, is this not reminiscent of the black lives matter movement? Are the accusations leveled at the police then, the same accusations we hear today? And re: American imperialism, Vidal laid down the progressive foundation of moral equivalency that continues today by equating American military interactions with that of the Soviets, a paradigm the left uses at every opportunity to this day. Gore Vidal is unquestionably the father of today’s progressive movement, while Buckley is unquestionably the standard bearer for today’s conservative movement. Many of these debates are found on YouTube and the documentary on Netflix is a must see. I found these debates to be extremely interesting and look forward to reading others opinions.

Finished? I Don’t Think So.

As Rush Limbaugh asserted on his radio show Wednesday, the Obama presidency is far from over.

The events to which we are witness presently– world unrest, trampling on personal property rights and State sovereigntyassault on affordable energy–continuous assaults on our ability to grow our economy– is all part of Obama’s original campaign promise to “..fundamentally transform the United States of America.”

I know I’ve said this before, but it’s an important phrase to ponder. “FUNDAMENTALLY” TRANSFORM THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.” Think about that. Let that short, simple, yet all-encompassing phrase sink in. First focus on the word “TRANSFORM” and then the root word of “FUNDAMENTALLY.”

To “transform” something, by definition, is to make something evolve into something radically different from what it has traditionally been. “Fundamental” by definition is a defining, basic characteristic. A building block–something foundational to its being.

Now, to “FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORM” means to radically transform the United States from what it has traditionally been– the “shining city on a hill”- the land of opportunity–based on the premise of individual liberty and the affordance of self-determination–yes–to transform that– into something *fundamentally different* and thus diametrically opposed to that foundation.

The Third World Despots, the Kruschevs, the Fidel Castros, the Kim Jong Ils and Uns of the world, have given hours-long speeches about their hopes for the destruction of the Free World, but never have they been able to put it so succinctly and eloquently as has Obama in that one simple, yet profound phrase. “..We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

Many people chalked that phrase to meaningless boilerplate rhetoric, as so much rhetorical fluff. But of all the promises Obama made that were broken, whether it was closing Guantanamo Bay, allowing people to ‘keep their doctors or their health plans–period,” or to decrease health insurance costs by $2500 per year, this– this seminal promise–(along with bankrupting the coal industry)–was the one he meant from the bottom of his joyless, cavernous heart.

No people. The Presidency of Barack Hussein Obama is not ended. He still has a lot of ‘fundamental transformations’ to perform.

Barack Obama’s “scorched earth” policy against America and its people has only just begun.