What Do We Really Know?

A Twitter friend went into the way back machine and reminded me of the Nuclear Freeze movement of the 1980s. I guess you’d have to be at least 50 to have any memory of it at all: so, a lot of the youngsters in the world wouldn’t know what it was about. Of course, you could Google it – but if you did that, you almost certainly won’t find out about it.

Oh, you’d read a lot about it. And what you read would be almost invariably praising it to the skies. But what you probably won’t read about it is that it was nothing more than a Soviet front organization. We were about to build and deploy a type of nuclear weapon the USSR (a) couldn’t build and (b) couldn’t defend against. Our having these weapons while the USSR didn’t would put us in the driver’s seat – the USSR would essentially be forced to throw in the towel on Cold War competition. So, the USSR did the one thing it was actually good at: call forth the Useful Idiots of the West to ensure the USA shot itself in the foot.

I remember it, now, very well. Especially one of the leading voices of it: Dr Helen Caldicott. She was just about everywhere during the time. Highly in demand for your Soviet inspired peace march and conferences around the world. And she was an Authority on it! She knew was she was talking about! After all, she’s a doctor.

Well, a pediatrician…who never had any experience dealing with either nuclear power or weapons…but she fit the bill: someone who seemed oh, so nice and had Smart credentials and how can you argue against her? You can’t hug your kid with nuclear arms!

The drivel almost worked – huge pressure was placed on Reagan and Thatcher to ditch the new weapons. But, they didn’t…and then the weapons (along with other Reagan tactics) did precisely what they were supposed to do: force the Soviets to the table at a disadvantage and eventually unravel their Empire in Europe (the fall of the USSR was really just a bonus that nobody could foresee).

But that isn’t our issue for the moment – the real issue is that a pack of ridiculous lies nearly sunk Reagan’s USSR policy and even though the lies failed at that, they still managed to implant into the public mind that nuclear power is somehow extra dangerous and that the only safe thing to do with nuclear power is have nothing to do with it. By this time in our history, almost all our electricity production should come from nuclear power. A whole series of plants all across America should be humming with cheap, clean nuclear energy providing far more than our greatest need. We’re not because of people like Caldicott got themselves fooled and then managed to fool enough other people.

And, heck, I have to admit – back there in the late 80s and early 90s, I was wary of nuclear power. I still figured we should go for it, but I had this mental image of it being extra dangerous and we had to take extra care around it…and this was after I got out of the Navy, when I had literally stood next to an operating nuclear power plant aboard a submarine. How could I have been so stupid?

Of course it had to be operated properly – but so does any device. Operate a solar plant incorrectly and you’ll cause a lot of problems. We got into our minds, though, that nuke was Super Dangerous! Thousands of years must pass before it is clean! For goodness sake, at no point did people stop living in Hiroshima. A few days after the bomb went off and all the bodies were cleared away, the people were already starting to rebuild. It is a city of nearly 1.2 million people: far larger than it was when bombed in 1945. Here’s the photo of the iconic dome of Hiroshima. Tell me, what immediately leaps out here?

That is doesn’t quite look like the wasteland of 1945…the trees really take away from the whole End of the World vibe we’re supposed to get here.

Obviously, nuclear weapons are very destructive and nuclear power is something that you have to be careful with…but there is clearly a bit of a mental psychosis in the popular imagination about it which is not supported by things we can easily observe. Things we can know just by knowing them. I doesn’t take special knowledge or insight to know that Hiroshima is a thriving city…but we, in a sense, don’t know it…and so we fear nuclear power and think that using a nuclear weapon is unthinkable.

And then you start to ponder: what else are we refusing to know? How much of what we “know” are lies?

You can do this yourself: just take some subject and think about it. Think about what you know but then take the crucial step: pretend you don’t know it and think about it for a bit. Does what you “know” match up with what you think? Like this:

One of the things you’ll find asserted – in books, movies, documentaries, everywhere – is that the Anglo-American alliance could not have defeated Nazi Germany without the USSR. This is an article of faith. It is true and may not be questioned. If you do, you’re an idiot. I mean, think about it – at least 5 million German and Axis soldiers fell against the USSR. If the USSR hadn’t killed them, then they would have all been turned against us and we never could have won!

Makes sense, right? I mean, that is a lot of dead Krauts and it would have taken us a powerful long time to off them, ourselves. But when examined, it simply falls apart.

At the end of the war, more than 21 million Americans and Brits were in the armed forces. This does not count British Empire forces: even excluding Britain’s Indian Army, this probably worked out to two or three million more. But lets just go with the Yanks and the Limeys.

By 1945, the Brits were at maximum strength: 5 million was about what their population could sustain in the field. The USA could still call up three or four million more than we had, though that would be pushing it. The Germans, if they strained every nerve to the breaking point, could maybe get 10 million into uniform. Starting to see something here? Just the Anglo-Americans, alone, vastly outnumbered the Germans. Throw in the Italians and minor Axis allies and you still have a big advantage for the Anglo-Americans. When you add in that the UK/USA had vastly more economic capacity than the entire Axis (including Japan) and had open access to all the resources in the world what you conclude is that regardless of how any particular engagement went, the only question on defeating Germany was how long it was going to take? Having the USSR in got the job done in 1945, rather than 1946 or 1947. That’s it. Good thing, of course; but certainly far different from “we must be thankful because without the USSR we couldn’t have won the war.”

And who likely floated the idea that we had to have the USSR? The USSR – and their useful idiots in the United States. Starting with those who gave away the store at Yalta in order to get Russia into a war against Japan we had already won.

That is just one mental exercise which, once concluded, lays to rest a myth which is believed really for no other reason than it has been repeated over and over again. But I think we all have to start doing this – start thinking entirely fresh. Roll it around in your. They say this happened: well, does it make sense that it would happen, or happen that way? They say we must do this: why? They say we have retain this policy or alliance: are we sure?

Last night I posted a Tweet where I asserted that the US government must keep no secrets. That a Republic must do her business in the open for all the citizens to see as it is done. Very smart people said we can’t have that – even George Washington believed in keeping diplomatic secrets! Well, sure: if Washington was President today, I’d probably trust him to keep some things confidential. But we’ve got Pudding Brain and his merry band of morons running the show: you really want them to be able to keep what they’re doing secret from you?

But I came to this conclusion by a bit of a winding intellectual road and it just flashed in my mind that secrets are for con artists You don’t keep secret honest dealings – you keep a con secret because if your con gets out into the open, enough people will see it in time to warn your mark off. Heck, even God doesn’t really keep secrets from us – He’s got some Mysteries, but He has shown them to us: we just can’t fully understand God. Go figure. But secrets are just not good – and in government, they are downright bad. And so, the whole FBI/CIA/NSA “National Security” apparatus, in my view, has to be ditched. It is keeping secrets mostly to hide its incompetence. But I only got to this view by thinking anew about everything – by taking nothing for granted. I got here by thinking – and we really do have only two ways to live:

  1. By thought that has been thought out.
  2. By thought that hasn’t been thought out.

For nigh to a century, we’ve been going on “not thought out”. I think we need to change that. We need to find out what we really know.

Hey, Conservatives: Stop Believing MSM Lies, Ok?

Some people on the right, foolishly accepting MSM framing, are horrified by a proposed anti-abortion law in South Carolina. The MSM is framing it as a ban on so much as talking about abortion – but I read the bill and while it does ban someone from, say, maintaining a website which instructs you on how to perform an abortion, I don’t see anything in there that I object to. After all, abortion is to be illegal, right? And as an illegal act, shouldn’t it be illegal to tell someone how to do the illegal act? I’m a pretty strong 1A guy here but if there was a website telling people how to set IED’s for the police, I think I’d have an objection to it being allowed to continue.

Of course, I’m no lawyer – so maybe there are aspects of this I’m missing. If so, then those in the know should be telling us their objections on that level…not just accepting MSM framing and running with it. I mean, for crying out loud, we all know the MSM lies all the time about everything. And on the abortion issue they are currently working overtime to spread fear among urban and suburban white women on the subject of abortion. If you click the linked article, you’ll see a series of links within it with frightening headlines about women losing their right to privacy – so, you know, the whole point here is fear-mongering. The MSM wants the reader to be afraid that those inbred, hill-ape, Christo-fascist morons are trying to impose theocracy. The bill doesn’t do that. What is does do, aside from making abortion illegal and defining an abortion, is make it illegal to prosecute the mother for obtaining an abortion, illegal to coerce a woman into an abortion, illegal to transport a minor across State lines to obtain an abortion, makes abortion legal to save the life of the mother and codifies the legality of contraception.

Not exactly Theocracy stuff.

But people on our side ran with it. Why? Can’t look into souls, of course, but I suspect that many are actually pro-choice but don’t want to come out and say it lest they lose Conservative audience share. Also, of course, quite a few of these people have liberal friends and they want to be sure such friends know they’re not like “those people”. You know – not like you and me.

And this is just one of many examples – couple days ago I saw that Hugh Hewitt was saying we had to codify same sex marriage and legalized birth control on the Federal level to prove we’re not going to ban SSM and birth control. So, we’re to play into DNC fear-mongering because…why? To stop something that isn’t happening? Or does Hugh and those like him just want something to separate from “those people”? Look, you inbred hicks, you got your abortion ban in some States, now you’d better sign on to a federal law imposing SSM even though the Constitution gives no warrant to the Federal government on the issue.

No. No, no, no and f*** no. Please, stop it: stop ratifying liberalism. We’re Conservatives, dammit. No, we don’t have a particular interest in banning SSM but this doesn’t mean we’re suddenly ok with it, nor that we’ve come around to approving the idea of the judicial activism which created it. SSM was (we hope) the last fling of leftwing judicial activism. Don’t put our stamp of approval on it.

And in the name of all that is decent in the world, stop believing the MSM. At all. Best if you simply stop consuming it – even if this costs you a gig or two. No amount of money is worth being associated with liars. But if you feel you must consume and participate, then at least have the common sense to know they’re lying and go to the original source to see what is happening before you comment. Yes, this might upset your liberal friends and some people might think you’re an inbred redneck…but that’s ok: the people who hate you for being actually Conservative are stupid and not worth caring about.

The Triumph of Life

Rather says it all in one picture.

And it was posted today on Twitter and it is the perfect response to the Leftist shrieks since Friday.

For goodness sake, just a little bit of common sense and some self control and your chances of having an unwanted pregnancy drop to near zero. And yet 63 million abortions have been performed in the United States…which shows that in our modern society responsibility is rejected. A pro-choice Righty I know on Twitter posted an article from a British newspaper about a woman with a 50 year old Down’s Syndrome child who states she wishes she had aborted: the comment on it was, “why don’t you pro-lifers think about this?”. As if we don’t. As if we hadn’t already worked that into the calculation. We are none of us promised an easy trip from the cradle to the grave – life, at times, can be very painful. And at the end of it, you die. Even those of us with strong faith don’t like that thing coming down the pike – because for all our faith, we don’t know. We’re not allowed certainty. But in doubt or in faith, we’re going to die. It is a bit of suffering we all must endure – so why do people think they can opt out of suffering? It is part of life. It is how you deal with it that reveals what sort of person you are. My parents could have institutionalized my autistic brother – that was the recommendation of the medical professionals. But, they couldn’t – as flawed as my parents were, they just couldn’t see consigning their child to a faceless, uncaring institution just so life would be a little easier for them at home. This is what humans are supposed to do – to reach out in pity and mercy when things are bad…not run and hide.

And, so, the picture – the smug, wealthy Westerner who holds all the right positions and is always in favor of The Current Thing…demanding not a moment of suffering. Zero sacrifice…all the while literally sitting on the backs of a horde of suffering people who provide the comforts the Westerner believes are a birthright. It really is sickening.

There’s another part of it, too: the people, allegedly on the Right, most of them, warning us that now we’ve won, we’re doomed! Doomed, they say! We’ve awakened the Sleeping Giant! Now instead of a Red Wave in November it will turn Blue as a surge of people rush to the polls to affirm their support for abortion, which is wildly popular and only opposed by a few inbred, hick morons. Never saw such amazing stupidity.

First of all, it is the gas prices, stupid. Yesterday, the lady in front of me at the grocery checkout put back several items after she was rung up because it ended up being more than she could afford. She wasn’t buying steak and lobster – her cart was nothing but common staples. And she had to make a hard and fast choice of which common items she would do without for a week. That is the reality – that is the working and middle classes being crushed and that is what will be on the mind in November.

But, absent that, was anyone paying attention? Over a 50 year period the Pro-Life movement worked for this moment – with massive social and political opposition from the most powerful people and institutions in America. And with their own supposedly pro-life leaders in politics stabbing them in the back every time they could (we still haven’t defunded Planned Parenthood, after all). They triumphed over it all because, at the end of the day, they were the more powerful political coalition. Make no mistake about it, if America really was a majority Pro-Choice nation, Roe would never go down…because there wouldn’t have been the GOP votes to put into the Supreme Court the necessary Justices to do so. Meanwhile, what of the Pro-Choice movement? Didn’t they fight? No, they didn’t – they coasted, coddled by a Ruling Class and MSM which never challenged them…so the point where most Americans still don’t know that the abortion laws of France and Sweden are vastly more restrictive than Roe…in fact, more restrictive than the Alabama law which was the instrument of Roe’s downfall.

Now the fight shifts to the States and Democrats are going to be asked if there are any legitimate restrictions on abortion – and they’ll have to dodge, because instead of fighting for 50 years like the Pro-Life movement, they coasted on Roe and their ability to say they were just defending “a woman’s right to choose”. Now they’re going to have to defend slaughtering a child in the birth canal…and they (and the world) will find out that while there probably isn’t a majority in favor of a nationwide ban on abortion, there is even a small number willing to fight for abortion on demand to the moment of birth.

We’re going to win, my friends. We were always going to win. It was never going to be easy. It might take even another century before we have a Culture of Life codified into American law – but we’re going to win. We’ll have setbacks and will suffer a lot on the way, but we’re used to that and are ok with it. We’re just going to keep rolling along, standing firm on the ideal that a human life is precious, regardless of condition.

The End of Roe

Seriously: God be praised, I never thought I’d live to see this.

We will get some extra insanity now that Roe is gone, but I do believe that, long-term, ending Roe will lance the abscess – the poison in American politics, which stems from defending the indefensible: Roe.

There is no honest way to defend Roe, after all. You can’t tell the truth and be in favor of it – and you can’t find a merciful or just reason for defending abortion to birth. But Democrats went on an defended it, and poisoned American politics, possibly fatally. There is no way to say that abortion is covered under the US Constitution. It just isn’t in there, not even by implication. It is an elective medical procedure; its like saying breast implants are a Constitutional right, leaving aside any moral question.

For the past 50 years, Democrats have mounted a desperate, rear-guard defense of Roe which has caused them to become egregious liars as well as becoming cruel and stupid. I don’t know what made them die on the Roe hill, but it wrecked American politics. There is no honest way to defend Roe, after all. You can’t tell the truth and be in favor of it – and you can’t find a merciful or just reason for defending abortion to birth. But Democrats went on and defended it, and poisoned American politics, possibly fatally.

But, maybe not. Now that it is over and reasonable people can work at the State level for the abortion laws they think best, just perhaps Democrats will feel unbound to lies and so able to speak truth…and to cease being cruel, because they no longer have to defend barbarism.

It Is the Moral Collapse, Stupid

This one has some staying power. The most recent massacre, I mean. We might be talking about this all the way to, you know, like next Monday.

And I know that sounds dismissive of tragedy but it isn’t really: it is dismissive of the official response to tragedy. A little earlier today I saw that the Yankees and Rays will forgo their game broadcast and will, instead, broadcast several hours of DNC gun control propaganda. They didn’t call it that, but that doesn’t change what it is. As I read the Yankee’s statement is just became blazingly clear what they could actually do to bring an end to this:

Fire the next top flight player who gets a girl pregnant and doesn’t marry her.

Because that is what this all is: what is wrong with our society is entirely the result of society deciding not to enforce standards. Sure, one ball player not doing the right thing didn’t cause this all to happen, but thousands of professional sports stars over decades acting like pigs in the off season played a huge role. They taught the young men of America – and especially poor, young men – that it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you can deliver the goods. That only your ability to make money matters…everything else will be covered up, paid off and forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Years ago I wrote about Mick Jagger and his life and I pointed out that his persona, especially as young, was an act. He was a middle class kid. Nice, respectable life. His mother was a Tory. He did very well in school and had he not become a rock star, probably would have had a long and successful career in some square employment. But the persona, crafted to sell records, was of a wild, party man. A street tough telling it like it is via his music. Sex, drugs and rock n’ roll! But it was, indeed, all an act. A very successful act: Jagger is worth about $500 million. And I considered Mick Jagger, and many like him, and wondered how many people took it at face value and decided to live that life – live the act, that is. But by actually doing it and not having an army of people to keep things squared away and hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up all mistakes?

Given the popularity and endurance of the Rolling Stones, it was probably several million people around the world who wanted to be like Mick. Or like any one of scores of other famous rock acts…which were (and are) acts. Make believe. Those few in the business who really lived that life – Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Keith Moon, etc – ended up dead at very young ages. Because living that life is suicidal. Neil Young sang about it being better to burn out than fade away – but he sang that in 1979 and he’s 76 now and very much fading away rather than burning out.

Let me quickly think of the people I know – friends and family – who are six feet under because they went along with all that: George, Todd, Rob, Pat, Jeff, Alex…that’s just top of the head. How many people can think of that many in a few seconds? Then we can add those who are simply a mess: a good dozen that I can easily think of. And then there’s their kids! Also a mess – though some of them have managed to rise above.

Certainly the sudden massacre of 19 kids in school is a shock – but in the grand scheme of things, in this War Against Decency we’ve been waging for 70 years, it hardly counts as a skirmish. More than 100,000 people died of drug overdose in the United States last year. That about 5,200 school shootings. And they passed almost unnoticed. Not dramatic enough. Can’t make a good DNC political point about it. And, heck, I actually saw pictures of NYC billboards which are telling drug addicts not to feel shame, but just use the drugs properly. But dead is dead – whether from a bullet or drugs. Or any other of the social ills which are causing people to die (I think I read that 28 people were murdered in Chicago last weekend…and not too long ago an adorable little girl was gunned down in a McDonald’s drive through…but, hey, she was black and so was the shooter and it was over gangland crap so nobody gonna do a major news story about that).

We can change and we will change. This cannot endure. Bad as it is – and looks to get worse – the strength to cure this will be summoned. The longer we wait, the more brutal the reaction. But it has to be. Civilization is necessary in order for 90% of us to live. When our backs are really against the wall, you’ll be surprised what people are capable of. But until then, I’m going to keep pointing out what is wrong and who contributed to it.

So that when retribution comes, the right targets will feel the heat.

We Wanted This Culture of Death

In the aftermath of the latest school massacre, the Democrats have brought up what they always bring up – gun control. You know the usual: universal background checks, things like that. Nobody, as far as I can tell, has even asked whether the shooter would have passed the background check (my bet: he would have). It is all so patently ridiculous – performative theater, though Democrats are looking here to goose their base for November. Don’t know if it will work – they tried it with Roe but the bottom line is that people care far more about what it costs to fill the tank than a theoretical end to abortion.

But people were killed, does that make a difference? Perhaps, but probably not. I think that we’ve become rather numb to this, and that is sad in itself. But it is what we asked for.

Earlier today, I came across a Tweet which said that it may be that the cops didn’t charge into the building but instead isolated it before moving. I don’t know if that is 100% accurate but I think that would be in keeping with normal police procedure. You don’t know what’s out there and until you’ve got some intel, any move you make might make things worse. But the point of the Tweet was that the cops should have just charged in supreme disregard for their own lives. To which, you answer: yeah. But.

And the “but” is that by what standard should a cop selflessly sacrifice himself? I mean, I know the standard. John 15:13, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” But there’s a problem here – that’s a Christian standard. It is, to be sure, shared to some extent by other faiths, but the highest expression of it is Christian. To go to certain death for the benefit of others is something Christ did, and all Christians are supposed to follow the example of Christ as far as they are able. But this standard isn’t shared by people with no faith – and keep in mind that “no faith” runs from the most irritating atheist you’ve ever met all the way up to the weekly Church-goer who lives the other six days of the week as a practical pagan. The chances that any particular person – let alone any particular cop – will be a Christian hero are rather small these days. I’d guess that its about one in four Americans who actually take a stab at living a Christian life these days.

And as I said, this is what we wanted. Not like we specifically voted on it, but we passed in silence as it happened. I mean that as a people, of course: some of us objected vigorously and we were told to shut up. But a school shooting is a bum defecating on the street is a child being sex trafficked is a starlet being used as a sex toy is an activist getting rich off tragedy is a corporation turning a blind eye to his Chinese supplier’s slave laborers is a twelve year old being told he’s genderfluid by his teacher and so on. You get the picture. The shootings gather more notice because they are dramatic (and the Democrats hope to wring political advantage out of each corpse), but the rest of it is just going on right in front of us…and in the course of a year causes vastly more deaths than all the gun violence combined.

As I’ve said before, there is a cure for this. It is the same cure used the last time barbarians inundated the West: extreme violence. What we call cruelty these days because, not being Christian (or any sort of faith, really), we have lost sight of what real cruelty is. Civilization is not innate to humanity. The normal course of humanity is to grab whatever it can with no thought to others or the future. To be a person who cares about others and takes a thought for the morrow is a learned quality. We, as a people, learned it over a thousand year period and via the lash, the branding iron, the headsman’s axe and the gallows. We were forced, by those who wanted civilization, to knuckle under to required norms of behavior. And we became so used to this that we forgot that our custom of being decent was force reduced to routine and hiding it’s claws. We began to believe that decency was the norm and that we could release our instincts and everything would work out not just as well as we had it, but much better.

We believed this because people can be very, very stupid.

So, we’re now getting to the point where we’ll have to choose and I believe we will choose incorrectly. That is, we will refuse to apply the violence necessary to restore decent behavior. And because we make this choice, we’ll then find a small group of people who will make it for us and so we’ll get the same result. Civilization will not completely die – it can’t. People will want to eat in safety. Right now, they don’t see how large the threat is but a day will come when they do, and then those who threaten the safety will find things starting to go very badly for them.

But, meanwhile, we’ll just keep going on – stepping around the sh** on the sidewalk as we walk from one mass shooting to another.

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.

The Abortion Lie Crumbles

So, the Supreme Court refused to block the implementation of Texas’ mild restriction on abortion and the Left is having a meltdown over it. It really is their sacrament – and, truth be told, they have to treat it as one. If there is a lie which underpins all other lies on the Left, it is “abortion on demand”. Reasonable people can disagree over whether or not abortion should be legal and under what circumstances, but “abortion on demand” (and the US is only one of about six nations which has it) is an absurdity on its face. To say that no other consideration should enter into the question of aborting a child other than the mother’s desire is ridiculous.

For one thing, there is a father involved – and abortion on demand cuts him out while leaving him 100% on the hook if the woman decides not to have an abortion. This is something which bothered me even in the days of my pro-choice youth: why should a guy be on the hook if the girl, on her own, can decide to kill the child? I always looked at it in that sense and it was what eventually led me to the pro-life position: a question of simple fairness. If abortion is legal – if it is a right – then it is a human right and the male can decide to abort as well as the female. But, none of that, right? Woman aborts and she’s a hero…guy decides he doesn’t want to have a child and he’s a dead beat dad.

But let’s leave that aside and get to the crux of the matter. The reason abortion must be unrestricted is because if it isn’t then an element of personal responsibility is injected. If under some circumstances the child cannot be disposed of at whim then the entire picture changes and people have to start thinking again.

Now, the Left would tell you that until they graciously came along and liberated women with divorce, birth control and abortion, it was a nightmare time of women being mere breeders for arrogant and cruel men. That women had no rights and could never refuse a man sexual activity. This is all made up drivel, of course. And it was made up very early on by the first crusaders for divorce and birth control and they made the stories up because they needed a hook to get the Ruling Class to go along with it…and there is nothing which will please a Ruling Class more than someone telling them that the peasants are stupid and need to be protected and guided by the Ruling Class.

The story put out was that the poor population was out of control and breeding too much and in order to fix this, they needed to be instructed about sex and given birth control otherwise they would just breed, breed, breed their way to disaster. They seriously held to the view that poor people didn’t know where babies come from. That they couldn’t put two and two together after a while and figure out that shortly after a bit of sweaty action, the woman would often come up pregnant. Like poor people were sitting in their slum with 14 kids roaming around and dad and mom just flabbergasted about how she got pregnant for the 15th time.

This is seriously the underlying intellectual level we’re talking here. This sort of intellect is what supports abortion on demand.

But it is what they held and what they hold today – and it is a lie. It is a lie that human beings are mere animals who have no way to control their sexual appetite and no means of thinking about whom to have sex with and when. And that is what they are afraid of losing, at bottom. They desperately cling to abortion on demand because if it goes, then a whole series of lies goes with it. There isn’t much difference, after all, in telling a woman to just have an abortion and telling a person that they can’t get ahead because they are the victims of racism or what have you. No abortion and no CRT (as it were) and all of a sudden whether or not you’ll have kids and a successful life is entirely up to you. And if people start rising to the challenge of personal responsibility and finding that they can defer children without abortion and succeed in life in spite of the odd jerk, then the entire Leftist project is over.

The Application of Mercy

In Humbolt Park, Chicago, last night a couple was dragged from their car and shot. The man is dead and the woman is injured. It is entirely irrelevant why this particular event happened. The punishment of the criminals, if it happens, will also be entirely pointless because they won’t be punished properly.

I got into a good natured argument yesterday and today on Twitter about the post-Civil War Reconstruction period. I took the position that the main American mistake – our mistake of all mistakes – was that we allowed the Confederate leadership to live after the war. Not only allowed them to live, but allowed them to prosper and resume their power in the South. This is why we got Jim Crow. It wasn’t imposed by poor white farmers, but by the Ruling Class. The Ex-Confederates that we let off formed the KKK and used the most horrific violence imaginable against black Southerners as well as any white Southerners who wanted to take a stab at living in peace and justice with the freed slaves. And make no mistake about it, there were plenty of white Southerners who were willing to live in peace – I’m not saying they were ready, in 1865, to intermarry (though some did, in spite of huge pressure against it), but they were willing to live and let live. That was all very deliberately and maliciously suppressed by the Klan, under the control of people who had been Confederate generals, governors and other officials.

We have had the sense that Grant’s policy of letting them up easy was the correct way to go and in a certain sense, this can’t be argued against. As the historian Will Durant pointed out, the greatest military captains of history have shown that clemency is a mighty engine of war. But when we think about some of those past captains, we see it wasn’t exactly like it was after our Civil War.

Caesar was famously magnanimous with the defeated Gauls. He treated the defeated so well that during the ensuing Roman Civil War the Gauls didn’t rise in revolt when they could have easily thrown off Roman rule. Its not like the Gauls didn’t have people who could fight. They did: Caesar had let quite a lot of them off to return to their homes. But they didn’t rise. Why not? Probably had something to do with Caesar having their main leader strangled in Rome after his defeat. In other words, Caesar was merciful, but he wasn’t stupid enough to leave a strong, intelligent and clearly brave enemy alive.

Another example of this sort of thing was what the Austrians under Prince Schwarzenberg did to the Hungarians after their revolt was crushed in the 1840’s. Once the Hungarians were down, the operatives of the Austrian Monarchy went to work hunting down the leaders of the Hungarian revolt and hanging them in large numbers. The Prince was urged to mercy by a friend who, like many in Austria and around the world, was horrified at the operation of vengeance. Schwarzenberg said that he quite agreed that mercy was necessary – but, first, they had to have some hangings. Did this make him a hypocrite? Not at all. Cruel? Nope. He was merely being wise and ultimately merciful. Another observer of the same events, the still young Bismarck still more than a decade away from fame, responded to a friend complaining about the repression in Hungary by asking why no tears were shed for all the people who had been made widows and orphans by the rebels? People were acting as if the rebels must certainly have been in the right and that their actions were immaculate. This, to Bismarck (and to any fair observer) was drivel. The Hungarians had their complaints about the Austrian Monarchy, but so did everyone – but the Hungarians had no particular justification for going into revolt…especially as for each Austrian act of repression against Hungarians, there had been Hungarian acts of repression against non-Magyars in Hungary. Very rare will there be the person who is totally in the right!

Now, how did this work out? Well, once the hangman’s noose was put away (and it was, fairly quickly), order and justice were restored and some years after it was all over, Gyula Andrássy – a Hungarian rebel who had been condemned to death in absentia and actually hung in effigy – was appointed Prime Minister of Hungary and Foreign Minister of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Funny how things can work out? But it likely would not have worked out had the Austrians simply allowed the rebels to resume their position in the Hungarian Ruling Class as if nothing had happened. What we did in 1865 was allow the defeated enemy to resume his position. This got us a century of Jim Crow and, ultimately, played a huge role in the subordination of State governments to the Feds. Think about it – a modicum of justice in the South and there never would have been a Plessy vs Ferguson leading to a Brown vs Board of Education. No consent decrees. No gerrymandering minority-majority house districts. No “one man, one vote” destruction of the State Senates, which was a body blow to the very concept of Republican government. A few more hangings and we wouldn’t have had Jefferson Davis spinning his Lost Cause drivel while Forrest created the KKK to be a mafia-like muscle to re-impose Confederate rule in the South (and, yes, I realize that Forrest seems to have had a change of heart years later, but by then the damage was done – he’d have been far more useful to peace and justice dying at the end of a rope in 1865 than dying with lots of black friends in 1877).

Mercy must always triumph over Justice. But Justice must have her due. It can’t be otherwise. To get back to the start of this piece, the reason savages dragged two people out of a car and shot them is because we developed an entirely mistaken idea of what mercy is. We have it in our minds that Mercy means you skate. It can’t. If you do wrong, you must pay. A price is demanded for everything. Even God’s mercy had a price, after all. What will be done wrong about the people in Chicago is that they won’t be forced to the real atonement necessary. Even if they spend some time in jail, it still can’t possibly balance the books. For goodness sake, they dragged people out of their car and shot them! How is 20 years in jail going to make up for that? How will that deter the next barbarian? But before you go “death penalty” I’ll also ask: what will killing the shooters accomplish? To their fellow barbarians, they are still heroes who showed The Man. Dying from lethal injection won’t balance the books.

No, there has to be more – it isn’t enough to jail or kill: the perpetrators must be revealed for what they are: very stupid barbarians who will find out that Civilization can be one real son of a bitch when necessary. The reason our civilization used to hang, draw and quarter people wasn’t to be cruel. No, it had a very specific purpose: it was to show everyone, especially the barbarians, that Civilization wasn’t to be trifled with. That if you’ll live in peace with your neighbors, you’ll be fine: but if you won’t, then you’ll be made to curse your mother for giving you birth.

And it works, guys. The reason that we used to live in a world where even in big cities we didn’t have to lock our doors at night is because for centuries before, the most harsh punishments had been meted out to those who broke the rules. In the long run, it was a mercy to do it – because it eventually deterred people from being savages. Yes, provide mercy – and I mean in the sense of letting someone eventually off. But first, to put it bluntly, there must be a little hanging. We don’t have to do it to everyone who drags a person out of their car – just a few. The rest will get the message. And then we’ll have the crowning mercy of nobody being dragged from their cars and shot requiring us then to brutally punish the perpetrators. Because that is what you’re doing – you’re not trying to be cruel: you’re trying to get to a point where you don’t have to punish very much because there’s hardly anyone to punish. That is real Mercy.

You Bet Your Life

Saw this post on Twitter which referenced Texas HB196 – which was an act introduced by Rep. Thresa Meza to amend Texas’ “castle doctrine”. The long and short of it seems to be to restrict the ability of a property owner to use deadly force to defend said property. As you can see from the Twitter link, the explanation offered is that a person shouldn’t get a death sentence for robbery. I’ve seen this before and I find it an interesting idea.

You see, it is Stalinist jurisprudence.

Now, Stalin likely didn’t work this out on his own; for sure things in Marx and done by Lenin closely informed Stalin’s criminal code, but as Solzhenitsyn pointed out Gulag Archipelago, the criminal code of the Soviet Union both disarmed the populace and required it to give every benefit of the doubt to the criminal. The ultimate result of this was that crime was rampant in the USSR. It wasn’t reported on and, of course, it didn’t affect the very closely guarded elite, but the average Soviet citizen was plagued by crime his or her whole life. This being based on the general Marxist idea (refined by Lenin) that crime is only the result of injustice: essentially, if you have more than the criminal, then you are the thief. I can’t say the quote linked above is definitely Meza’s: I haven’t been to track down certain proof. But, it is in line with her bill about the castle doctrine…and her bill is an attempt to bring Soviet jurisprudence to the United States. She was, by the way, a teacher and a lawyer before entering office. So, she was teaching kids and carrying out legal actions with her mind certain that crime is never the fault of the criminal.

This brought to mind the George Floyd case. Once it became clear that he was a petty criminal and was resisting arrest (and also was, apparently, high as a kite) the word went out, before the MSM completely memory-holed this stuff, that whatever Floyd did before that knee got on his neck, it didn’t warrant a death sentence. And, that is true: it didn’t. But here’s the real deal: George Floyd bet his life.

And then he lost the bet.

Floyd’s wager was that he could be a petty criminal and drug addict and then, when arrested, he could resist arrest and he would get through it with no serious consequences. Given his arrest record, he won this bet many times. On May 25th, 2020, he lost the bet.

The reality is that we all bet our lives all the time. When you hop into your car, you are betting that a fatal accident won’t happen to you before you get to your destination. This is almost always a safe bet but 102 people lose that bet every day. Still, low risk bet. Higher risk bets are things like skydiving or climbing Mt Everest. Another is being a criminal. Essentially, a criminal is betting his life that he can get what he wants without paying for it and nothing bad will happen to him. As in driving a car, this is mostly a safe bet – less safe than the car, but still pretty safe. If you decide to take this bet and rob your local liquor store tomorrow, you almost certainly will not die as a result of it. But you would be betting you life, and you might lose. You might have picked the liquor store where the guy has a gun under the counter and has a keen appreciation for his property. Of course, the more bets you place, the more you can lose. Place $5 on roulette and your possible losses are $5. Place $50 in five dollar increments on ten different spots, you could lose all $50.

Floyd made the following bets with his life.

  1. Be a criminal.
  2. Be high.
  3. Resist arrest.

Any one of them can lead to disaster. Doing three bets at once simply increased the odds that disaster would strike. It did for Floyd in the form of a policeman who didn’t take his knee off Floyd’s neck in time. To be sure, Floyd making the bets doesn’t excuse everyone else involved – the officers involved are under indictment and we’ll see how those cases come out (almost certain acquittal in my view: but, we’ll see). But the bottom line is that the police didn’t place Floyd’s bets for him. Floyd did. Had he not placed the three bets – or even decided against betting one of the three wagers – he’d likely be alive today.

As for me, I have little sympathy for folly. I watched not too long ago a documentary about an expedition to Mt Everest which was pitched in sad tones about some people who died trying to climb that mountain. All the tear-jerking narrative and somber music, you know? I felt nothing for the deceased. It was foolish of them to make the attempt. There was no upside to even a successful climb. There is nothing at the top of Mt Everest that any human being will ever need. I can barely understand why Edmund Hillary did it; but after someone had done it, what the heck possible justification can one muster to risk their lives merely to stand on a particular spot of ground? You bet your life to climb up to a place which has nothing of use and where human beings can’t live without life support? That’s not adventurous or brave: that’s just stupid.

And, hey, I understand striving for the grand achievement. This is why I can say that Hillary’s achievement was something – but, even then, not much. It wasn’t even in the same league as useful risks like Yeager breaking the sound barrier or Armstrong going to the Moon. Useful things flowed from both of those acts of sublime courage. What flowed from Hillary’s effort? Well, a picture in National Geographic…and about 300 corpses of people betting their lives that they could climb to a completely useless point on the map.

Congrats. I guess.

But at least the mountain climbers get some exercise out of it and search and rescue teams are kept in top form looking for them. Betting your life on being a drug addicted petty criminal? Yeah, not so much good going on there. Floyd’s death was decreed many years before he died. He could have prevented it by the simple expedient of not being a thief or not being an addict or not resisting arrest. He chose not to. He apparently liked his life as it was – and in that, I won’t judge. Everyone is to live as they please.

And everyone is to suffer the consequences of their actions.

And that, I think, is really what is missing in us these days: we don’t want to take responsibility for ourselves. Everyone has an excuse and it’s always that other guy, who played zero role in our decisions, who is the source of the trouble. That has to stop.

No, it isn’t a balanced thing if someone breaks into a home to get a TV that he gets shot. But it was the bet made: I bet my life against a free TV. This is not a wise bet, but it is a bet many make…and some of them lose their bet.