Is What You Believe True?

So, what is it that you believe? People believe all sorts of things – absolutely convinced that they are right. And I’m not just talking about ignorant belief, but well-informed belief.

Just as an example, Douglas Haig was commander of the British forces in France from December 1915 until the end of World War One. During Haig’s tenure of command, Britain engaged in massive and completely fruitless battles, most notably the Somme and Passchendaele. There’s no doubt about some basic facts here – Haig was in command when vast numbers of British soldiers were killed during offensives which simply failed to win the war. On the first day of the Somme, nearly 20,000 British soldiers were killed. Still, it was Haig who in 1918 worked out the military moves which broke the back of German resistance in France and forced the Germans to capitulate. In the immediate aftermath of the war, a grateful Britain awarded Haig an earldom and 100,000 pounds (about five million US dollars, adjusted for inflation). But the days of Haig’s positive press were short-lived. Even before he died in 1928, he had come in for severe criticism from Winston Churchill in his history of the First World War. Churchill, however, didn’t attack the man, as such – later historians did, and ripped into Haig quite severely. By the time everyone had got done with him, Haig was a callous, stupid commander who has pointlessly sacrificed British lives to no purpose. Ask anyone with familiarity with World War One history, and that person is probably not going to have kind words to say about Haig. We all just know he was a bad commander – and probably a bad person, into the bargain.

But, on the other hand, Haig was one of the founding members of the British Legion – a group akin to our Veteran’s of Foreign Wars and/or American Legion. At a time when some powerful voices in Britain were figuring that former soldiers could shift for themselves or survive on private charity, Haig worked diligently to get the British government providing for veterans in a manner fitting of their service and sacrifice. This is not exactly the sort of action that a callous man would engage in. It is, in fact, the action of a man who cared very deeply for the men who had served under his command and wanted to ensure they got all the help they needed in the difficult transition to civil life. Most people who know of Haig know nothing of this – it, after all, doesn’t quite fit the Narrative which has been imposed upon History.

I bring this up because it shows how a certain set of beliefs can grow and become downright impervious to actual facts…and that people then learning about things can just be flat wrong, because what they learned simply wasn’t true. As Reagan said, it isn’t what they know that is worrisome, it is what they know that isn’t so.

We know that our Progressives believe a lot of twaddle – but there is some twaddle that we on the right just as stoutly adhere to. I won’t bring up specifics in this post, because I’m trying to provoke thought, not battle. It is good to roll over in the mind, from time to time, what we think is correct. Maybe we latched on to an idea years ago and have just left it un-examined for years. Perhaps that view has been challenged, but rather than thinking it over we just stuck to our position with fanatical determination. But, what if we are wrong? We might be, on this or that point.

Always be willing to take a fresh look at things. Always be willing to accept new facts, and adjust your views in light of the new facts. Do not dig in your heels! A willingness to accept correction is a vital requirement of life. We don’t know everything – we can’t know everything. The person who is going to win the battle is going to be the person who is willing to see what is happening and listen to criticism. We’ve got a bizarre opportunity coming up starting on Friday – none of us can know what will happen. But if we on the Conservative side want to a Conservative America to emerge – and we do, right? – then we have to be willing to think anew and act anew. We can’t be sure that the particular ways and means we’ve used in the past will bring us to victory now and in the future. This isn’t a call to jettison belief, but a call to seek new ways to apply those beliefs to current circumstances.

The Last Weekend of Obama Open Thread

I have to say, the sycophancy I’ve seen on the left regarding Obama’s exit has been nauseating – someone once called the MSMers protecting Obama “throne sniffers”…that is what, apparently, most Obama backers are these days. My goodness, I remember when Reagan left office – I was a little sad to see him go, but I didn’t get maudlin about it, nor write hagiographies about him…these Obama-bots are just being pathetic.

There is now a 12-Step program which will de-racist you – preventing you from thinking Ungood thoughts and allow yourself to easily slip into the mental world the Progressive leadership has planned for you. Totalitarians gotta Totalitarian, I guess.

The DOJ says that Chicago’s police force – run entirely by Democrats for decades – uses excessive force. Clearly, reforms are needed – just as clearly, the people of Chicago will re-elect the same Democrats who created this problem.

Representative John Lewis (D-GA) says he doesn’t consider Trump to be a legitimate President. Lewis, in the heyday of the Civil Rights Movement was an American hero – these days, he’s just a partisan hack.

Gay Patriot provides an example of the tolerant left.

I’ve long felt that the underlying reason for the left being the left is a desire to rationalize refusal to do one’s duty by others. This, to be sure, is a bit differentiated from your standard liberal out there – I’m talking about the real far out leftists: the sort of people who, say, clearly and definitively state their opposition to such things as the traditional family. These are people who, for a variety of reasons just don’t dig doing that boring stuff which happens to preserve civilization. People who become leftists just don’t want to do such things, and so they cook up theories about how their refusal to do the job makes them more worthy than those who do. This post by Robert Stacy McCain tends to confirm my view.

A German court has ruled that any Jew or Jewish structure wandering around Germany is an Israeli agent and may be attacked on the pretext of opposing Israeli policy in the West Bank. This isn’t law; this isn’t justice – this is just a refusal to accept facts. In their rush to not be judgemental, the Europeans are turning their nations into Orwellian nightmares.

RELATED: Secretary of State (until noon on Friday, that is) John Kerry is going to Paris to defend Israel. If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you…

Kellyanne Conway will speak at the March for Life. Another reason to be glad you voted for Trump…

10 Days Left Open Thread

Protesters are setting out to wreck Trump’s inauguration. I don’t think these guys realize just how badly outnumbered they will be by the Trumpsters. It could be that they simply (a) don’t know anyone who voted Trump and (b) actually believe that DNC garbage about how Hillary actually won save for Russian hacking.

Just to give a flavor of what we’re up against – regarding Jeff Session’s nomination for Attorney General, the Democrat leadership has pretty much convinced their base voters that Sessions is a Klansman. Think about that – the man who once worked diligently to put the head of the Klan to death is being accused of Klan loyalty. This is what we’re up against, folks – people who will lie brazenly, and people who will eagerly swallow whatever lie is presented to them. As an aside, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ, But Really Lives in NY) is using the Sessions confirmation hearing to launch his 2020 Presidential bid.

Why smart people were never, #NeverTrump – Congress to take up national reciprocity bill for concealed carry. Had Hilly won, this would never even get started.

We’ve had this as a subject recently – Trump may be consulting anti-vaxxers. My bit of Libertarianism does allow me to support parental opt-out in some cases. Personally, I think the anti-vaccine crusade is about as valid as the anti-GMO crusade…based upon anecdote rather than evidence. But people must have the right to live as they wish – and parents are ultimately responsible to God, not the State, for the raising of their children. However, diseases with high mortality rates which can be vaccinated against must be vaccinated against…and even for low mortality rate diseases, there might be a necessity, at times, for large-scale vaccinations. Clearly, a lot of issues will be tackled from a different angle over the next four to eight years…and as long as the people are regularly consulted on what is done, there should be no long-term harm in it.

The anti-Israel (and, often, flat out anti-Semitic) Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) movement just had a major failure – it is to be hoped that we’ll soon inter the whole idea, for good.

Our Progressive friends are arguing about who is Most Oppressed – pass the popcorn as this goes on. It was thought by some that after the 2016 disaster, the Progressives would at least mute their identity politics program…they haven’t, and looks like they won’t.

Gay Patriot unearths this cry of despair from a Prog:

A vote cast for Trump is kind of like a murder; there may be context to consider — a disadvantaged background, extenuating circumstances, understandable motives — but the choice itself is binary and final, irrevocable. There’s a case to be made that it’s indefensible; that his supporters have forfeited any right to be respected or taken seriously.

Turns out, now that Obama is leaving office, there isn’t a lot of demand for Progressive liberal arts grads and they’ve got the sads about it. Please try not to laugh too much when you read that link – we have a duty to be kind to our Progressive friends.

This guy allegedly committed a murder:

Gomez has worked at the Alliance for Climate Education, a climate alarmist activist group. In 2014, he spoke at a climate event with Governor Jerry Brown, billionaire climate change activist Tom Steyer, and University of California system President Janet Napolitano, former governor of Arizona and Homeland Security secretary under President Obama.

Getting into a fight at recess could send a kid to jail. I got in a fight at recess. Twice. Once I ended it by punching the other kid in the stomach. The other time, the other guy ended it by clocking me in the eye (I had quite a shiner for a few days). In neither case was anyone sent to jail and we all grew up and lived our lives as if nothing had happened.

As long as we’re on the subject of just who is the Putin Puppet, there is a good chance that the anti-Frackers are in that group. The last thing Russia and OPEC want is for the United States to fully exploit it’s energy resources…same reason the rest of the world doesn’t want us fully exploiting our manufacturing, mining and agricultural potential…if we did, we’d crush the global competition. We really do live in the Land of Plenty, folks – we’re slopping over with resources human and material and if we ever decide to go flat out, everyone will be buying from us. The rest of the world doesn’t want that because it affects their bottom line (temporarily, of course…they’d soon get the benefit of American production bringing prices down for all manner of goods)…our domestic Progressives don’t like us because rich America is an America which doesn’t need Progressives.

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds notes a rather large problem we’ve got:

So the problem here is that you can call for an investigation, but who do you trust to investigate? The news media? The national security bureaucracy? Congress? All of them have gone out of their way to prove themselves untrustworthy. That’s not a good thing, but it’s reality.

The first major news outfit which will declare and enforce a policy of only reporting what can be verified as true, will win this battle. No more anonymous sources; no more writing the articles to put a spin on the information; no more burying the lede – back in World War Two, General Stillwell, in command of the China-Burma-India theater, was asked what he would allow in the Army newspaper; he said, “if you can prove it, print it”. That’s all there is about it – if it isn’t proven, it isn’t news. Speculation belongs in the editorial pages, as do polemics. The news is what happened that can be verified, nothing more and nothing less.

The juicy story is the life-blood of the news media – we understand that; if it bleeds, it leads. At bottom, the MSM is always waiting for the next Watergate or Profumo scandal. Click on that link about Profumo – that was just wonderful stuff for news…it had illicit sex, possible espionage and a senior member of government lying about it in Parliament. That is the sort of thing MSMers live to uncover…but the thing about the Profumo scandal is that it was all true, and could be verified as true. It wasn’t a report from anonymous sources saying that they heard Profumo was doing wrong…sure, it probably started with such things, but then the MSMers went out and confirmed it…viola! Great story, resignations from government, the party involved defeated at the next election. For an MSMer, what more can you want? And the kicker was that by reporting on it, the MSM of the day did a public service…it was bad what Profumo was doing, possibly risking the safety of the people of Britain. But if all you got is a guy who won’t even attach his name to the story, then all you’ve got is rumor-mongering…and if you report on that as if it were news, rather than rumor, then your credibility will be shot when it is revealed you’ve got nothing. And so it has gone…and not just gone with the MSM, but also the bureaucracy and Congress. In the urge to harm an opponent, all three have destroyed their own credibility by reporting rumors, most of which later turned out to be false.

Get your credibility back, MSM – only report the verified truth.

Some Thoughts

I was thinking about Winston Churchill a bit lately – it is said that towards the end of his life he said, “I have achieved much to achieve nothing, in the end”, or words to that effect. Those who know the story of Churchill might be a bit shocked about such a statement but it must be kept in mind that Churchill was the defender of the British Empire…and as he headed into the end of his life, the last shreds of the British Empire were being undone. What he believed in and worked for was no more – and never to return.

The bottom line is that by the time Churchill was called to save Britain – and freedom in general – in 1940, it was already too late to save the British Empire. If it was to be saved, it had to be saved in the First World War, and Churchill could well have done it. But he was First Lord of the Admiralty at the start of the war, and various events while he was First Lord forced him out of office before the war was a year old…and he just had to sort of sit there, on the side lines (even when brought back into the government to be Minister of Munitions), watching lesser men run the Empire up on the rocks so that, in Churchill’s words, “victory was bought so dear as to be indistinguishable from defeat”. The loss of life, the loss of wealth and the loss of prestige that Britain suffered in the First World War were irreparable. But why, really, did Churchill fail to rise to Prime Minister during the First World War? Because his blinding ambition in the years leading up to the war had made him enemies numerous and vindictive – and when they had their chance, they went after him…and kept him down and out essentially until it was nearly too late.

The lesson here is that ability when not married to humility is a terrible thing. Ability loses the capability of doing really great and enduring things if humility is lacking. Reagan had humility. So did Lincoln. Washington, too. We’ll see if Trump has it. If he does, then he may go on to great things…if he doesn’t, then even if he does some spectacular things, they are very likely to turn to ashes, in the long run.

Social Justice Warriors are going on a rampage over the fact that Simon & Schuster are paying big bucks for a Milo Yiannopoulos’ upcoming book, Dangerous. I don’t think our SJW’s are really getting the current situation, at all. First off, all they are really doing is making sure that Simon & Schuster (and Milo) massively cash in…the target audience of the book are going to go out and buy the thing in droves, just to stick it to the SJW’s. In fact, Milo could probably just put out 300 blank pages at the moment and it’d wind up on the best seller list. But more than that, our SJW’s are just doing everything they can to ensure that Trump goes for 8 years…and that it is, perhaps, a very long time before anyone on the liberal/progressive side of the aisle obtains real power. This is fine and dandy for us Conservatives, but for the SJW’s, they might want to re-think this. The vote for Trump was largely a reaction – against a stultifying, PC culture which, in Peggy Noonan’s exquisite phrasing, amounts to regular folks “being condescended to by their inferiors”. Sorry, SJW, but you ain’t all that big a deal. While Obama was in office, you had a government which would run to hold your hand when you had a tantrum…but that was never how the overall American people viewed it. We were (and remain) nauseated by this special pleading and demands for un-earned privilege.

Ed Morrisey has some excellent advice for Republicans. One of the reasons I’ve kept reading Morrisey is that, unlike a lot of other Conservative writers, he kept an even keel all through 2016. It is clear from Morrisey’s writings that he has vast reservations about Donald Trump – as any thinking person should have. But Morrisey never went “Never Trump” and, also, kept things in perspective – if Trump, then what? This allowed Morrisey to actually offer some wise commentary and some good advice. This is in stark contrast to many Conservative writers who not only drip with contempt for Trump, but also for anyone who would even consider voting for him. You know the type, I’m sure – people who completely abandoned the GOP, and then wrote an insulting article about GOP voters on their way out the door. And even now, after Trump has made some moves that any Conservative can love (as well as some which Conservatives can have large reservations about), they are still out there, proclaiming how glad they are they got out. How does it feel to be out? How does it feel, that is, to have essentially no say in what is going to happen? Pride is the real explanation for it – because the GOP didn’t do what they want, they washed their hands of it…we’re not good enough for them. Perhaps because I’ve developed a more realistic appraisal of myself over the past 10 years (being Catholic does that), I’m not about to get on any high horse. Sure, it’s a clown show – but I’m a clown, too; at least at times. We all are. None of us are perfect – and if we’re to wait around for the perfect party or the perfect candidate, we’re done for. Suck it up, sunshine – work with what you’ve got.

Thinking about Russia – they are the great, schismatic Power of the West. Not quite with us, not quite against us. We think of the sheer size of the nation and are amazed – but Russians look at is as an endless, vulnerable frontier through which enemies can march at any time. Russians, you see, aren’t like us. I know this will shock some. I read somewhere – in my rather large amount of reading Russian history (it is a fascinating nation) – that the Russians have a whole etiquette about lying, which outsiders are never able to fully understand. Some times they lie for serious reasons, some times just for the fun of it. During the Congress of Berlin called to iron out the post Russo-Turkish War situation, the gathered Powers had agreed upon a map of how the Balkans would look – the Russian delegate tried to slip in a different map showing revised borders. Why? Did he not think he’d get caught? Did he think that if he hadn’t got caught that everyone would then just accept borders different from agreed upon? Who – other than a Russian – can know? Russia is not our friend, but, also, not necessarily our enemy. It is best to try and put yourself into Russian shoes and see how they might see it – and then figure out if you’ve got to go to war with them, or work a deal. I think a lot of people are inclining towards hysterics regarding Russia (this isn’t remotely the first time Western statesmen and regular folks have done this, by the way) – and I think a lot of it right now is based upon, “if Trump doesn’t hate Putin, then I must hate Putin”. Give it a rest, folks – first off, we’ve got bigger fish to fry and, after 8 years of Obama, I doubt the readiness of our military for a confrontation with a major power…and while we might not be aware of our real capabilities, I bet the Russians are fully aware.

That horrible event posted on Facebook – bottom line it is what I’ve been saying about all these terrible, senseless events: it’s the morality. Or lack thereof. You and I would never dream of doing such a thing to a fellow human being – but we don’t just “have” that. We were taught that decent people don’t do things like that…and, further, that being a decent is better than being lousy. It might seem that good behavior is intuitive to you, but only because you don’t remember learning it. People who do what was done to that poor man either never learned it, or forgot it. In order to make sure such things never happen – or happen very rarely – our only course of action is a moral revival. Until we start being decent and insisting on decency, we’re just spinning our wheels.

No, I Can’t Believe It, Either Open Thread

As regards that horrible attack posted to Facebook: first off, let’s not be like our Progressive friends and immediately leap to the worst possibly conclusion on this. Secondly, don’t engage in overheated rhetoric about it. From what we can tell so far, it is a horror and what we don’t need is everyone adding more fuel to the fire. I’m serious about this – we’re an ace away from someone starting to shoot. In a few weeks, we’ll have a new attorney general and my hope is that this – as well as so many other things – will be investigated.

That said – the whitewashing of this event by the same MSM which made “hands up, don’t shoot” a national phrase is disgusting.

Robert Stacy McCain has a lot to say about why we get terrible things like this:

In her recent book The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe, Heather Mac Donald described how false narratives promoted by the Black Lives Matter movement were “amplified by the media, college presidents, and the left-wing political class.” Despite clear evidence that the group’s protests were jeopardizing public safety and inciting crimes against police, President Obama, Hillary Clinton and other prominent Democrats expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement. In their book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama, authors Matt Margolis and Mark Noonan describe how the president’s public rhetoric has shown “a tendency to use race as a wedge to divide Americans,” politically exploiting the death of Trayvon Martin and the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson.

Read the whole thing. Start a fire, pour gas on it – don’t be surprised if things go up in flames.

So, Hillary is reportedly thinking of running for Mayor of New York City. The new AG simply must indict her – for her own sake. This is an unhealthy obsession with being in politics…

This subject came up in discussion recently here – Statins may have a lot of problems.

Obama’s version of draining the swamp seems to involve letting terrorists out of Gitmo.

US House votes overwhelmingly for a resolution condemning the UN resolution on Israel. That’s nice – but get back to me when we vote overwhelmingly to defund the UN. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be overwhelming – 218 in the House and 51 in the Senate will be fine – as long as we eventually cut our ties to that corrupt, useless, anti-American, anti-Israel organization.

Ace on the subject of experts – and a lot of other things, do read the whole thing.

Suppose you want an architect to draw up plans for a house. You want a dining room because you never had one as a kid, and always associated it — from old magazine pictures, from old movies, whatever — with a stable and happy home.

Suppose your architect comes back with no dining room — just one big great room combining living room, kitchen, and dining area.

“Where’s the dining room I asked for?” you want to know.

“No one has dining rooms any more,” the expert tells you. “It’s all Open Concept now, one room sweeping into the other, bringing together the family in one big room at all times.”

“That may well be, but I want a dining room.”

“Walls are passe,” the experts smugly tells you. “They interrupt the sight-lines.”

“I don’t care about sight-lines. And honestly, I love my kids, but I’m not so crazy about them so much I want to be locked in a giant room with them 24/7. I want walls and I want a dining room,” you say again.

“No one eats in a dining room and anyway dining rooms are too formal.”

“I’d like to be formal on occasion.”

“Well,” the architect tells you, “I’ve decided that dining rooms are in bad taste and I’m the expert and you can’t have one. You’re getting Open Concept whether you like it or not, Trump Voter.”

At this point, you begin beating the architect about the face and neck and eject him forcibly from your home.

That Russian hacking is beginning to look like Fake News.

Don Surber’s sequel to Trump the Press has been sent to the editor. I think we’re all going to want to read this one.

Let’s Start This Year Off Right Open Thread

Former Obama aide figures that Trump is akin to cross burning…keep it up, Progs…not only will you get Trump for 8 years, but Pence for 8 years after that.

The Democrats plan to convince at least their own base that the election was stolen from Hillary is proving a great success – 52% of Democrats believe that Russia altered the vote in favor of Trump. Remember, the election wasn’t hacked – Podesta’s e mails were hacked (and not one person has disputed the information in those e mails). But the MSM – which I believe must have been instructed on these lines – morphed “hacked DNC e mails” into “the election was hacked”. And a lot of Democrats believe this. The bad news is that this will make a good portion of the Democrats relentless in their opposition to Trump…the good news is that the Democrats who don’t believe this nonsense are, in my view, already getting primed to vote Trump in 2020. As long as Trump doesn’t have a monumental screw up on his watch, I don’t see much risk of him losing…and if he gets some genuine success to his credit, 2020 may be a replay of 1984.

The experts did, indeed, get it wrong in 2016. A reminder from Lord Salisbury:

No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of common sense.

The experts will be wrong, again – and again and again. The reason is, in my view, is that there are no real experts outside the hard sciences and mechanic arts. You can be an expert plumber – you can’t be an expert politician. When dealing with human activities, you just can’t be sure – things just don’t work the way you think they should. A wise person just tries to do what is right and is always ready for the entirely unexpected.

Start second-guessing every police action and the natural result will be the police being ever more cautious before acting. Remember, police officers are people – they’ve got bills to pay and a life to live. Being an officer is a job (a noble job, just still a job) and if there’s a dicey situation which is unclear but could cost you your job, you might shy away from it…or just not patrol often in neighborhoods which have a high propensity for tricky, protest-generating situations. The result of all the over-heated rhetoric about the police is a spike in violent crime as police back off. I’ve been an advocate for criminal justice reform for a while; I dislike the over-militarization of the police; I think most big city police forces are badly organized for the job of crime prevention, which is 99.9% of what the police are actually for…but I also know we need our police and that almost all of them are splendid people. One thing Trump must do over this term is restore respect for the police – and we, the people, have to make sure that our police are given their proper due, and that our justice system is reformed.