Of Bigotry and the Left/Right Divide

For three to five decades the left has been hammering the right on racism and sexism. And for the great majority it is clear that this programme of theirs have been successful. After all, if it wasn’t successful then we wouldn’t be seeing the goal posts shift so violently in the last decade adding numerous other “isms” as well as adding such thought crimes like “micro-aggression”. Clearly, if macro-aggression was a thing that was a big issue micro- wouldn’t be discussed. However, unnoticed certainly by the left, the left has become as bigoted as the right ever was. It’s just that the left isn’t bigoted and horrifically biased against a particular race or gender. Their target of hatred is the GOP and conservative Christianity. Don’t believe me. Take the following thought experiment.

  1. Scan the headlines today, tomorrow, or over the past week. Look at a dozen articles (can’t find one? here’s a humdinger … note absolutely no evidence is given for the outrageous claim) making over the top claims against Trump or the right. (How about the person who claimed Mrs Trump was a prostitute? as another example)
  2. Now .. replace Mr Trump with Mr Obama and modify the insult to match (with as much basis in fact) and pretend a conservative said that new statement.
  3. Is your immediate reaction that the speaker must be racist?
  4. Guess what. You’d be right.
  5. And if you found yourself not being outraged by the original article or perhaps agreeing with it.
  6. Then guess what? You are just big a bigot as the mythical conservative (who you might note, most of whom never ever said things that outrageous about Mr Obama)

Midnight terror raids have been replaced by beatings and violence at rallies, burning and rioting at speeches, and paid thugs disrupting political rallies (a side note, while the Dem right now have been quick to equate our President with Hitler … paid thugs to disrupt rallies, beatings at rallies, riots to disrupt and so on … where the tactics used by actual, not pretend Nazi party members). This is however just a symptom of the bigotry noted above.

Question then is, how best to show to liberals their own growing bigotry? Here’s one small suggestion. Many times you’ll hear statements made by liberals to the effect “Conservatives say/believe/think XYZ” and the XYZ statement is one that you as a conservative is ridiculous (for example, conservatives want the poor to have no access to healthcare). You might try pointing out that you’ve heard that if one would say,

I’ve heard that if one was to say ‘Black women just have babies without marrying their husbands for the welfare checks’ that the liberal response to this is that that this statement is both untrue and racist. Many have those children for a variety of reasons, they have numerous different ways of approaching the opposite sex in their communities and making derogatory generalizations like that is racist.

And you know what, you’d be right. Statements like that are evidence of bigotry.  So … why do you think it OK to generalize about conservatives in the same manner? Why do you pretend that it isn’t just as an egregiously bigoted statement that you just made?

Academic Insanity

Noted. Seriously, how dumb can you be. Although perhaps he was just repeating a common left wing meme.

Now, in the last two terms Mr Obama was secure from the threat of impeachment largely for two reasons. The first being that the GOP learned after impeaching Mr Clinton if that tact fails, it strengthens the impeached and doesn’t weaken him. The second reason is … after impeachment Mr Biden would have been President … and nobody in their right mind would want that. However, apparently the left has forgotten exactly how impeachment works. While any House member may suggest proceedings, you need a majority in the House to start impeachment. Hello liberals? The GOP has a strong majority in the House … and then … if impeached he’d be tried in the Senate, which is also has a GOP majority.

The left is also blind to the notion that their strident and, frankly, horrible and unjustified reactions against Mr Trump are pushing people exactly in the opposite the direction that they desire. Worked for me. I was lukewarm at best over the notion of a Mr Trump presidency. The left is every day convincing me more and more to support him more and more. Go figger.

Mr Trump and the Wiretap

So, several things were proven by the latest round of “Obama wiretapped me”. One of the main takeaways is that left wing reporters can’t use google. See this “8 point” review. Point 2 quoted although I think “diving deep” is an exaggeration:

Diving deep into Roget’s Thesaurus, media outlets were quick to call the President’s charges “baseless,” “unfounded,” and “without evidence.” What they seem to mean is that he didn’t footnote his tweets. But any halfway decent reporter could have found the source of the President’s charge—a Breitbart article that built on earlier reports by the BBC and Heatstreet. These articles make quite specific claims that the Obama administration used the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to investigate alleged Russian ties to the Trump campaign.

“Any decent reported” aka one who’s heard of google … kinda a low bar, eh?

The final point is the real salient takeaway, btw.

Monday: Swim Log 3-6-17

Recovery from yesterday’s LSD. Shorter set.

Total Yardage: 2250

After warmup (600 yards 2 x (100 free + 2 x 100 breast)) and drills (400 yards). Did 100 repeats (5) at tempo (sub 1:40 breast) and 4×50 trying for speed. Tired today best was :43. The kicking and cool down.

Sunday Swim 3-5-17

LSD (Long steady distance) workout was intended. I didn’t make my goal … but legs are tired so that’s good.

Total distance 5050 yards

Came in thinking I’d do 100 repeats of 75 yards on the 1:40. Did 44 and was feeling a little soreness in knees and elbow. Finished with kicks and easy 100s. 95% breaststroke today. Probably should have persisted to do 6 more to make it 50 repeats. Oh, well.

Not Shostakovitch’s 7th Exactly … But

So, Shostakovitch’s 7th Symphony was written in Leningrad during the horrific siege of the same city in WWII, first movement. After the introduction there is a quiet pizzicato in the violin section with a Mozart-like melody accompanied almost inaudible snare drum. The melody is meant to evoke an (allegedly) favored Mozart piece that Hitler liked. The melody and drum represent the far off Nazi war machine and the threat of the violence of war. By the time the movement ends, this melody has been repeated louder and louder and louder with more and more sections and instruments joining in to a terrific climax. See this … 5:50 starts the crescendo. Listen to the whole movement though, it is worth your while.

This post then is to presage the weekend, when blogging will resume here on a regular basis.

Say What?

Links found around and about those interwebby things.

  1. Of Mr Obama and Mr Trump.
  2. Social or geographical structures and people living in them.
  3. Cute and effective, which probably means Roger Goddell wasn’t involved, heh.
  4. Not held back by Star Trek (bad) doctrine.
  5. Yah think?
  6. So the clerk arrest is “bad optics” … speaking of which
  7. A drone meets its match.
  8. A subtitle for the “Black Lives Matter” crowd.
  9. Or your dating methodology suffers a systematic error (like you got the age of the parchment not the text).
  10. Ms Clinton’s email problem.
  11. Cruz gets it wrong. Look if you call one side hypocritical, don’t turn around and do the “other sides” version of the same hypocritical nonsense.
  12. On the county clerk … seems to me if she wanted to do what she is doing and avoid the legal problems, she should have read more Kafka. Bureaucratic runarounds have been around a long time. In some place they are probably an art form (see Havel).

Kentucky Cloaking, err, Clerking Devices

So, the lone Kentucky clerk is now in jail. On charges? Of contempt. Well, h*ll, I’ve bushels contempt for a whole lot of jurists, elected officials, and public scalawags pretending to serve the people while most assuredly not doing so. I hadn’t realized holding in contempt those well deserving of same is actionable.

Her jailing is apparently (“bad optics”) is a meme going around. Ya think?

But aside from that, this jailing is done by the feds. This is a state (actually county) clerk enforcing state laws. Her failure to do so doesn’t violate federal statutes, but state ones. Apparently the state hasn’t decided to censure her or prosecute. What is odd that … those who think this sort of thing is wrong, fully supported those who decide that the biased non-supporting of federal immigration statutes by just deciding not to is in the purview of the federal law enforcement and prosecutors is just peachy.

Either supporting the law (all of them) is the job of the President, the Attorney General, and every public official on regards to immigration and every other statute on the books … as well as by county clerks or disobeying such statutes because they are inconvenient or against some personal principles is ok. Both are wrong nor neither. You cannot and maintain any principles declare that these statutes can be disobeyed by those you like and those you don’t like can’t.

Which reminds us, why exactly is Ms Clinton not being arraigned on security related charges? Hmm. Could it be politics. See above. If the clerk goes to jail, so should Hilary. They could share a cell. Last thing I read about Ms Clinton’s “emails not marked confidential” included an email detailing all the known locations of North Korean nukes. On what planet does anyone pretend that isn’t confidential or higher in security clearance (answer apparently: Democrats with inactive grey cells).

An Observation

Those who are outraged by a single county clerk in Kentucky might be reminded that those who put so much everyday power in the unelected governmental agencies and agents that are basically unstoppable and unchecked … should be feeling a little abashed right now.

Consequences of the fulfillment of your desires. You’ve got ’em in spades.

Links and Suchlike

Around and about (from North Las Vegas this week)

  1. Trump and verse in the context of the Stasi.
  2. “Science” figures out repentence and forgiveness are useful. How clever.
  3. But, don’t dismiss science, they give you 6 foot scorpions to dream about.
  4. Of word vs deed. Gosh, I hope there is a place to spit when I actually hear someone use a term like “xe” or “zir”.
  5. Sometimes I wonder if it is the error of Star Trek and their “Prime Directive” crap that keeps us from actively opposing ISIS with little more than harsh words.
  6. This post, reminds me of an anecdote set in British colonial India. A Brit military chap is arresting some blokes for burning a woman after the death of her husband. He is informed by the outraged locals that “we have an ancient custom of doing so”. He replies his people too have an ancient custom of arresting people who burn women. Multicultural-ism is all well and good. It’s useful to understand the ways of thinking of the other guy. Doesn’t mean however, that your way of thinking isn’t actually wrong or even not better.
  7. Micro-aggressions noted. Those who promote a “theory” of micro-aggression may want claim that saying “affirmative action is racist” and/or “I believe that the most qualified person should get the job” are racist, wrong and “micro-aggresions”. They’d be 100% completely wrong. If you want to claim something true is false, go right ahead. But you’d still be wrong.
  8. Speaking racism of a more obvious sort, one of the main organs of the left gives a good one example of that.
  9. I remain confused about the Senate vote/non-vote for the Obama/Iran “deal”. If it isn’t ratified by 67 Senators, it’s not a treaty and isn’t binding. It’s not law and it’s not going to survive a President who doesn’t support it.
  10. On the basis of this, I’ve started reading this. Coincidentally I’d also picked up and started reading another book by the same author, Rob Roy.
  11. Your President’s (likely racist) legal eagles in action.
  12. An “ethical” question. My answer is no. And that the only person you can ethically suggest to sacrifice for her sake is your own.

I’m No Expert But … This Isn’t Passing the Scratch/Sniff Test

Mr Rowe writes:

Drawn in part from the writings of Christian Reconstructionists, that narrative recasts modern-day Republicans as the racially inclusive party, and modern-day Democrats as the racists supportive of slavery and postemancipation racist policies.

Here’s the problem with casting Democrat’s as the drivers behind confronting racism in the 50s and 60s in the South. Look at these two lists, here and here. Note the dates and party affiliations of those Governors of those two very very Southern (and presumably at one time, quite racist) Southern states. Recall also Mr George Wallace. Democrat? Yes. Hmm.

It may very well be that in the north of Mason Dixon line Democrats (union + intellectual elite driven) parties opposed racism and that is what the Democrats perceive as their legacy of opposing racism. But to deny that in the South the dominant party during the racial turmoil in the South was not both opposing racial integration and rights and was in fact part of the Democrat party is revisionist.

If accurate this wiki article supports the “it’s more complicated” than claiming one party or the other was complicit/non-complicit in enforcing racism and racially unfair policies.


A “moderate” posts some view on patriotism and between her attempts to poke those with whom she apparently disagrees also thinks patriotism is synonymous with progressive and that the notions of liberty and freedom are fixed things. Apparently “flag” does not equate with patriotism. This book is an exhaustive and interesting review of how our different definitions of liberty and freedom and the symbols we’ve used to represent them have changed (changed!) throughout last 200 years and that book’s very existence demonstrates that her simplistic rejection of caricatured representations of the ideas of patriotism, freedom, and liberty mean and how they are symbolized by people who are not her.

Those who want a return to small government (e.g.,  a lot of those in the Tea Party) don’t necessarily want a return to some mythic past. Saying that is their view is a caricature, a straw man. Honoring a symbol of your nation as representing honor to the thing represented isn’t wrong or even hard to understand (really it isn’t). She writes:

The definition of patriotism is love for or devotion to one’s country. To love or be devoted to someone or something usually means to want what is best for that someone or something, to be willing to make the effort, do what must be done to protect that something or someone. Conservatives seem to want the opposite. They seem to want to destroy the very thing they claim to love.

No. Conservatives don’t “want to destroy” the nation. They want to save it from the destruction that they see “progressives” are steering us toward. If you love a ship which is sailing toward ice flows and you see progressives as “fixing” the problem not by steering away from the ice, but by adding pressure to the boiler. The policy differences in left and right is a vision of what is wrong and what needs to be done to fix it, not that conservatives want to break it and liberals want the reverse. Thinking that is naive (or perhaps a result of not actually having any contact with actual conservatives).

If you want to go along with her definition of patriotism, loving someone means also rising to defend the object of your love from attacks, verbal and otherwise. Conservatives see liberals as unwilling to do this, in fact so much as to offer agreement with those attackers. If you are at a dinner party with your beloved wife, and some at the table point out her flaws in insulting ways, whether or not you (and she) are working on said flaws in private, at that dinner her flaws are not admitted but defended. To not do so is a betrayal. This is something the left can’t seem to fathom.


Back from the Woods (BWCA specifically)

So. We came back out a little early. One thought we had was that although we had 7 nights/8 days food, discretion as better part of valor had us planning after a day or so for a 6 night/7 days trip in case things didn’t go as planned. In part that was because of the rugged nature of the terrain we were navigating. If you start here and scroll around you can follow the descriptions below. This is a rough description of the loop we traversed, but we did the loop in one more day/night and didn’t stay exactly where the loop suggests. For the first time, for me, we had for the three of us, two packs (a day pack) and one canoe and thus managed go through our portages in just one trip.

  1. We started at Sawbill on Saturday (15th) at 9:30. We traveled to Phoebe lake for the first night’s stay. It was quite warm. We swam in the lake right from our campsite. We saw nobody all day after passing two groups in canoes exiting on Alton Lake in the morning.
  2. The second day we were planning to make it to Koma Lake, but were getting broken in and decided to take an early break and stayed at Lake Polly, which was quite full with other campers but we found a campsite and spent the night. We didn’t swim.
  3. Monday we traveled to Boze Lake (through Koma and Malberg lakes … following on the map, Boze is directly east from Malberg). We had a little difficulty finding the portage to the river toward Boze. The river itself had lots of semi-artificial obstructions which he had to haul the canoe over (beaver constructions). We saw several beaver on the way. One was very close to the canoe, but looked us over and decided we weren’t worth a tail slap and dive. On the portage from the river in to Boze lake, we took a slight (there was a path) wrong turn and came to the lake through the campsite which worked out just fine. We had some nice swimming on Boze.
  4. The portages to Trail lake (were we stayed the next night) were very very rugged. Rocks. trees, obstructions, difficulty in following the trail at all each managed to surface as difficulties from here to Wine lake after which the portages became more navigable. Our first portage out of Trail going East in fact when we finished it there was a small lake/beaver marsh there but it took us almost 2 hours to find the correct portage. Clearly we were not the only ones to get it wrong, as there were some pretty well worn clearly worn trails that didn’t go anywhere useful. Our campsite on Trail was very nice on a high outcropping. After dinner high winds picked up and it rained all night … and through the next day.
  5. Temps never got quite to 60 all day. It was raining off and on all day. By the time we got to Wine lake it was pouring very hard, like being in a shower (a shower at 55 degrees). We were all wet and shivering. I’d fell down in a stream and was soaked. Because of the time lost finding the second portage we didn’t get to camp until 4:30pm. We erected camp (putting up our tent and a rain tarp over the eating area in record time, probably about 10 minutes. Quickly we changed into what dry clothes we had left (if we had any) and steamed up some hot chocolate. That helped immensely. We ate and retired to our tent at 7 pm that night. Our sleeping bags were all wet but they mostly dried up when we got in them within the hour. We decided if it was not raining the next day we’d set up lines and dry out and stay where we were. But if it was raining we’d push out with my daughter’s repeated mantra of “but … hot showers!”. And during the next day it didn’t clear up until after 4pm. So …
  6. After a long (mile and a half+) portage we left Wine, went to Zenith via Frederick and on to the Kelso River and on out to the outfitter (and those showers).

So … Backwoods?

Tomorrow my daughter’s and I drive north to Tofte, MN, and Saturday we enter the boundary waters for eight days, seven nights of canoeing in untamed wilderness. If you ever want to do something like that, here is an excellent place to start. We start early Saturday morning, and hope to camp at Grace or Phoebe on Saturday night. After that … we will plan day to day … but end up back at Sawbill lake Saturday … late morning or early afternoon.

Sometimes You Can’t Complain

Oracle is suing because Google “ruined” Java for mobile devices. Uhm, Google created their own version of Java because Oracle (having bought it from Sun) wouldn’t open it up enough that they could afford another companies controlling the development language for their devices. You can’t complain that others took a concept that you wouldn’t open up to others that they went and played in their own playground instead of your tightly controlled one.

It’s akin to the people living by the O’Hare airport who complain about noise abatement because of jets. When you a buy a house that’s a steal because of noise, then when you own it … trying to press for noise abatement isn’t something about which you can justly complain.

The principle is clear. When you make a choice which has advantages and drawbacks at the time you make your choice. Complaints about drawbacks should be ignored.


Around About This Interwebby Thing

My excuse these last weeks is my schedule, work about 11 hours, drive (60 minutes round trip) to swim, swim (about 90 minutes total), eat, sleep and so on leaves, will no time for much. Anyhow, I’ve been reading (audio tapes driving to/from Illinois to Ohio has included a Vaclav Havel biography, a Dan Simmons Sherlock Holmes story, and the Zombie book “Warm Bodies” which made for a fun film and an ok book). As for Mr Havel, I might have to read a play or two, but I thought his observation regarding foreign policy apropos for the recent Iran “treaty” (scare quotes required, oddly enough). Mr Havel pointed out that if a government lies consistently to its own people you can’t trust it not to lie to foreign powers, in fact it is less likely to be honest with foreigners. Oh, and Katie Ledecky is completely amazing.


  1. Some guy killed a lion. I think I overheard that lawmakers were suggesting new laws. Wonder if they realize prize hunting in much (most/all?) of Africa normally goes to supporting their habitats, so making that illegal will be less good, not better for lions and such.
  2. Convenience is not always your friend … as long as you really trust everyone you come in contact with the unimportant things like continued living.
  3. Saving money or not … A question asked and another answered.
  4. And our government remains clueless about so so much.
  5. Why exercise is necessary.
  6. Public schools do indeed waste stupendous amounts of money.
  7. Ok. Fine. He wasn’t a “hero” but he was the most interesting character in the story.
  8. If this statement “Does the fact that every US ally in the Middle East, Arab and Jew, opposes this deal mean anything ?” is true, the deal should die. (more here)
  9. What makes an author great?
  10. Ms Clinton and her bad investment advice.
  11. Displaced humans, not just in abundance in Syria.

Question? Why do people think this Iran deal is going to be part of Obama’s legacy if, because it is not a treaty, it will only survive on the forbearance of his predecessor (as it is sustained only by Presidential executive order). To be a treaty which would in fact bind future Presidents it would require ratification by two thirds of the Senate.

Regarding Inside/Out

My wife and I had a “date night” cinema viewing Saturday. We saw the Pixar Inside/Out at the dollar theater.

I thought the notion that the “joy”-self was identified as the primary ego/self driver for the pre-teen child an interesting notion that might be plausible for most healthy happy kids. Also plausible is that emotional maturation consists in part (mostly?) with bringing a more complex emotional group to drive “self” image.

I’m less certain that emotional selves get lost in the inner mind in times of emotional crises.

Of Heresy and Marital Ontology

Well, Doug just posted some excellent thoughts on marriage and the recent High Court ruling. Here’s my 2 cents (the going rate I might add, a bargain? You decide)

Over and over and over from the Christian opposition to SSM we hear that they (we) oppose same sex marriage (and indeed relationships) because homosexual sex is sinful. This is the wrong reason, I think. Yah yah, that’s a sin. But … look at it this way. If you have one individual, in one universe he gets married to another dude. In another he doesn’t. It’s not unlikely that he has a similar quantity of sex in both universes, but in the first … its less random, less disconnected, with fare fewer people, and possibly ultimately less sinful. That homosexual sex is sinful isn’t what is wrong with same sex marriage. It’s not like you and I don’t breed sin in our lives like Fibonacci’s rabbits ourselves (don’t look at me like that). What is wrong with it is that it promotes and continues to solidify a wrong conception of what marriage is about (this post says more about this point better than I could, so go read it, then come back).

If you study church history, you will discover that every historical Christological heresy (the nature of Christ, human, divine and such) was and often is still being recapitulated as an ecclesiastical heresy (That is to say, what is the Church?). There is a good reason for this. The reason for that is pretty obvious when it comes down to it. The body of Christ on earth (after Ascension) is in fact, the Church. So there should be no surprise that heresies (wrong notions) of “what is this called Christ” copy over to heresies of what is this same thing (Christ) here still on earth. What does this have to do with marriage? Well, for the current marital discussions we recall Paul teaches us, in marriage after some subtle instructions on how to treat with each other, that the husband is to the wife as Christ is to the Church. Furthermore that this relationship is a mystery. Now, first off, don’t get too worked up about the term “mystery”. Remember the best definition of mystery is a thing that you can’t explain very well, or at all, in words but must experience to understand. But the connection to Christology is the same. We are discovering that these Christological hersesies? Well, they are recapitulating as “What is marriage” heresies for exactly the same reason. Fortunately, as in the prior paragraph, another author at the site linked above explains that point from the Orthodox perspective far better than I can.

Ultimately this is the reason Christians, cannot back down on the marriage question (for there is little question about balancing the small good of perhaps less sin, if the consequence and mechanism for that is promulgating heresy). This thing the state and for that matter the left elite and many others calls marriage. How they define it. How they understand it. Well, it’s a is indeed a”thing”. But that “thing” isn’t the same as what we understand the word marriage to mean. It might have been better if the Supreme court had nationalized a legal structure called fleem. In which two persons, the glissord and the fleeger are contractually (until they choose to dissolve the fleem) bound together and enjoy the following state privileges (and it will be up to the legislature now to go to their chambers and define for us what privileges are granted to those joined in fleemhood.) Well, actually they did exactly that. But instead they chose to confuse all of us and not use a new word. They didn’t call it fleem or even iglifu. They used a word that used to and for many still does mean something completely different. Keep that in mind in the discussions that follow.

Going Round and Round

Links seen round about.

  1. So. What constitutes “brilliant”. It is indeed difficult often to notice brilliance in an endeavor with which you don’t have expertise. For example, although Mr Obama is touted by the left as very smart, like dentistry, I for one have no clue what “brilliant” or even “smart” means with respect to law. Do we judge him by results, in which case, “meh”. Do we judge by rhetoric, which is unusually dishonest … and certainly pedestrian. Do we just depend on the testimony of other experts in that same field. In which case, partisanship likely over-rules honesty.
  2. This is an unusual observation of suburban vs urban demographics. Not very compelling future it paints as well. This quote “Suburbia is the slave quarters of the postmodern plantation, where most of the people that create wealth live.” Really? I deem actual slaves (which we are told by those watching such things) are more numerous than 200 years ago would dispute the notion that those in suburbia are slaves.
  3. So, is this an viewpoint that is a point of commonality between left and right, or right only? I wonder if any survey has been done comparing the views of what defines abstractions like dignity, rights, good, evil and so on between those prototypical of left and right.
  4. An epitaph.
  5. Apparently young white liberals are measurably racist. Who knew?
  6. Mr Trump’s candidacy. I suspect that the reason he’s #2 is cricket race contamination by the other team. But perhaps that is just because I want to think of voters in a charitable way.
  7. A result from fake data and science gone wrong (in the shootin’s too good for him category, I deem)
  8. Apparently the PC (translation: stupid) backlash against the battle flag of Virginia did indeed have consequences for trashy comedy. Here are some outsider’s thoughts on the matter.
  9. Grist for the slipping marriage slope discussions.
  10. Tech gets down and dirty … and big.


So. I’ve been busy (yet again). Now I’m on a job, which is fairly big, in Ohio (outside/southeast of Dayton). I found a place to swim (woo. Did 2.5 km today! … huff puff). It’s a bit of a drive (less next week as I’ve sorted the hotel/pool/jobsite triangle better). We start early on the job … but I promise. Links with each with a short paragraph remark tomorrow.

Oh. John Wright has a new novel. That has been sucking time as well. It’s an excellent start btw. (if this is your first Wright novel, I’d still suggest starting with Golden Age)

Riddle Me This Mr Lynch

So, public tar and feathering was proper and righteous when a baker refused to bake a cake for a wedding ….

Would a Black owned bakery be similarly treated for refusing a family baking a cake in memory of their ancestors bearing the Battle Flag of the Army of North Virginia? Hmm?

Hypocrisy runs rampant in the public square, eh?

Of Sign, Symbol, and Culture

In 1977 I was passing through Chicago with my family (I was just finished my first year of High School), we’d gotten off the train and were wandering around downtown Chicago prior to renting a car and driving up to Wisconsin to visit grandparents (both my mother and father’s family lived south of Madison in a small town and a farm … for kids, the farm was way way more fun). There was something of a kerfuffle near city hall. Seems some KKK boys were having a parade. Do you think that parade would be allowed today? I’m doubtful.

A decade or so later, PBS had a hour long program that I recall about four small sub-cultures in retreat. French speaking Quebec and their separatist movements, the Basque, and two others which escape my memory. At the end, they had an editorial verbal essay about how cultures often go to separatism and similar gestures to maintain a cultural identity in the large wash and mix of our modern Babylon.

Seems pretty obvious that events and symbols which evoke pride in accomplishments past are one of the obvious means of doing that. Sometimes these symbols are not quite untarnished, but it seems uncharitable in the extreme that those who hold to those symbols are not remembering the good, but the bad instead. That some evil and some insane men cling to those same symbols on account of the tarnish does not change that we should remain charitable.

Hitler was not a good man. In fact, in the 20th century he was one of the top ten in the “most evil” category. However, during WWII the Wehrmacht (literally Defense Force) especially the Heer )(army) were unparalleled as a fighting force. If you consider the quality of armed services from officers to privates of any of the services in WWII that the Wehrmacht was unquestionable by a large margin far far better than the rest. It is a sign of how ashamed of Hitler’s regimes great crimes that this is not remembered positively at all in the modern era. In part that is because Germany is not, like some other cultures, in danger of losing their identity. We Westerners are somewhat puzzled when Russians want to bring back their memories of Josef Stalin, who joins Hitler in that top evil ten list; but who while he brought them so so much pain and suffering with his endless purges, mass executions, imprisonment and enslavement of his own people also lead them through a time of testing. For those who want to remember and honor him do so, in spite of his evil, but because of the great things that they in his time accomplished by modernizing their nation and surviving and overcoming by dint of pure stubbornness that superior Wehrmacht noted previously.

Similarly many in the South remember the Civil War and their brief fight for independence in the same manner. All but a few of those who would fly that flag are not concentrating on the evils of slavery but on the valor and bravery on the battlefield. They recall that they were few against many and they stood. They recall they were greatly outnumbered, had far less industry, and little commerce when compared with the Union and yet their armies fought far far better man for man, and their quality of leadership/generalship far exceeded that of the Union. Being proud of such as that is not a bad thing. It is in fact, good. Seems to me we should be charitable to those who would fly that flag are doing it for those reasons and not assume instead that they are evil or insane.

Today’s repudiation of the flag of the Confederacy is uncharitable. It is a sign that Americans, at least those in the opinion generating elite, have lost our typically enthusiasm for the stubborn underdog. It is a sign that that the liberal cultural elite no longer believe in the multi-cultural values that they used to profess.

But this is a failed essay. John Adams derided Thomas Paine as a wrecker and not a builder. He (Paine) could point out the flaws in a government and raise people to insurrection, but he was not a builder. He had no interest in suggesting a better path, of building a new better place. Like Mr Paine, this essay fails, because I don’t know how to reverse this, admittedly, horrific trend on the left, our tendency these days to exclude from conversation those ideas found wanting. How are we to return to people to can at the same time, know that slavery is wrong, but at the same time welcome men and women who want to honor their brave honorable predecessors who wore the Gray.

Global Climate Confusion

So. Global climate change alarmists are … well alarmed. But gosh, if CO2 levels increase that encourages greater plant growth. Seems to me that is a good, not a bad thing.

Fresh water is predicted to be a shortage problem in many areas in the globe. But higher tropospheric and ocean water temperatures will lead to increased evaporation into the atmosphere, which in turn will lead to increased rainfall, which is fresh water. Again. Good thing.

Now, some bad things might result. Some people might have to move. But people aren’t trees. We are mobile. We can construct dikes (see the Netherlands or New Orleans and other reasons inhabited regions close to oceans and below sea level).

So. Question: why do climate alarmist never ever mention the positive aspects of warming? Seems to me most of the changes would be good, not bad.

But if we want to warm things up, we have to work a lot harder people? This CO2 thing isn’t going to help much.

Baseball Silliness

So Max Scherzer almost pitched a perfect game (stymied apparently by a guy leaning into a pitch to get a hit-by-pitch call). Now a perfect games is all good (9 innings 27 batters). You could of course improve on that.

  • Impossibly perfect game of the first degree, nine innings 27 strikeouts.
  • Impossibly perfect game 2nd degree, nine innings 27 pitches … all hit in play for an out on the first pitch.
  • Impossibly perfect game third degree. Pitchcount exactly 81 pitches. All strikes, three pitches per batter, with no foul balls on the third pitch, just strikes.
  • Impossible virginal perfect game, Pitch count exactly 81, all strikes no batter makes contact with a thrown pitch.

Any more suggestions for improvements?

Manfred and the SSM Debate or Riddle Me This Mr Liberal

Recently at Symphony I was privileged to hear Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony, which is  loosely based on a Lord Byron poem of the same name. And while I am unfamiliar with the poem, I did in fact read the program notes. And what I read there spurred a question to which I have no answer with respect to the modern liberal position vis a vis marriage and who is allowed to partner in such arrangements.

The liberal position with respect to homosexual partnerships is that they should be allowed to marry even though the relative numbers of such partnerships is very small and the there is no possibility to have children. These are not dis-qualifiers for the state to sanction marriage in their view.

So here’s my problem. Manfred by Lord Byron is (we are told) is an expression of his forbidden sexual desire for his sister though the eponymous hero as proxy.  So to put a point on it, in the context of reasons the liberal arguments why can two men or women may marry but a man cannot marry his sister? Or let’s put it concretely. In a state where gay marriage is allowed, what argument could you muster for me not to marry my sister? What reasons for gay marriage are there that do not apply equally well to my marriage with my sister (or for that matter, my brother, my mother, my father, or grandmother/father …. if they are currently not married to anyone else)? It might be added that I have had a vasectomy, so no progeny are possible so the “genetically damaged offspring” argument does not apply and cannot be used. Also, the numbers of people desiring such relationships are not relevant (apparently). (side note: I have no sister so no siblings have been harmed by the this test case).

The non-religious conservative case, that marriage should privilege heterosexual marriage because children are both hard to raise and required to continue society forbids all these newfangled relationships. The exclusion of religious arguments depends both on the insistence that the Declaration of Independence separates law from morals/ethics and that the Habermas/Ratzinger debate is a clear Habermas win. I’ll concede the first half of this “both/and” but not the second, but note that most American’s although they should concede the first half, typically don’t.

So. Riddle me this Mr Liberal? What reasons for two men to marry don’t apply to me and my sisters’ desired nuptials? Or should we be planning seating charts and ordering a cake from a Islamic bakery (and will you condemn and attack said bakery for bigotry because they won’t deliver said cake because they object to our being wed in admittedly not-holy matrimony)?

Links and Remarks

  1. Your feel good story for the day. (HT)
  2. Mr Schraub shows is partisan bent … in that it was very partisan of him that he twigged on that and not, say, birth citizenship queries aimed at Mr Cruz (or the somewhat silly NYTimes “expose” pieces demonstrating Rubio had (gasp) some parking tickets a few decades ago).
  3. A freaking felony? Truly!! Stupidity squared.
  4. I think what underlies this post is one of the things separating the left from right. The left thinks our civilization is robust and strong. The right knows it is not … tell me what caused the decline and fall of Rome? How do you know that won’t happen to us too? Read too the Dominic Flandry novels by Poul Anderson for a vision of life during the decades and centuries of the decline. As goes the predominance of the our Protestant work ethic and our can-do attitude about what is possible so goes our future.
  5. Pointing out the problem with we’re not charging you with a crime, but your response to our investigation … that was criminal.
  6. Squid farmers on Mars, “so who should have won the Hugo?” Hmm. The Martian never won. That was in the top 3 best sci-fiction novel of the last decade or two. How’d that get missed?
  7. To cheer up the conservatives, a reminder … the failure and fall don’t happen over night.
  8. Freedom of speech on campus … and a confused girl.
  9. The Urkainian conflict as war as UFO.
  10. Big data and the government. The author the linked letter has trust in the government. Look, Google and lots of big retailers know lots more than you’d expect about you and so does the government. But for myself, I’d trust Google further with that then the state. I know why Google (as proxy for commerce) wants that data. They want to sell me stuff, but not randomly, they want to be able to sell me stuff that I actually want when I actually need or want it. Just recall the recent IRS partisan attack on conservative groups and ask yourself if you really think our state can be trusted not to abuse their data, haven’t abused that trust already.
  11. Considerations of Pacific conflict and geographical implications on the same.

A Wrong (but very common) Notion

Take two sets of actions and deeds, in the first set we have “things which are moral” in the second “things which are legal”. There may be overlap. Observing the fights about various things in our (mostly urban/rural cultural divide for which party serves as proxy) like marriage, divorce, abortion and so on .. many if not most people confuse the two and figure what overlap there is (most killing for example) is intentional and what is moral and what is legal in a “good” society would be a very close if not exact match. This. Is. Wrong. Very wrong. It is an unconstitutional and un-American idea.

Here’s the thing. The purpose of the law is to structure our society to promote life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (and happiness != pleasure but the meaning Aristotle and the like intended).  This structuring of law as constructed in our country leaves morality out of the metaphysical framework underpinning it. “Life, liberty and the pursuit …” is not the 10 commandments. It isn’t a call to act rightly. It isn’t a prescription of how to act or think. Our law is not encoded so that we will be righteous by what ever meta-ethic you or I live by. But free, alive, and able to pursue excellence.

This isn’t precisely true however. You notice our founders made particular exceptions for freedom of religion and the law subsequently has made a point to encourage religious practice. Many, especially of the academic left and press think religion and it’s place in our society is a relic and it’s time has passed. It might be worth noting a really good start in this discussion which shouldn’t be ignored is first to read through this discussion. Then argue from there.

This realization that law and morals (personal ethics) are independent has consequences. For example,

  1. For most, what is moral should take precedence. If you must do something because it is right, you must do it even if it is illegal.
  2. Take abortion as an example. If you think abortion is immoral, don’t do it and don’t advise those around you to do it. If you want to argue that it should be illegal those arguments shouldn’t center on how it is immoral but how it doesn’t exactly give a chance at, erm, life, liberty and pursuits to those who are among the weakest and smallest in our midst (there’s a Rawlsian argument to be made there). You could point out that excluding people from personhood based on particulars of their existence and not the ontology of their being has a very poor history of human rights vis a vis the 20th century. There may be good arguments on the other side of this question, but they are not known to me so I won’t attempt that. Similar “life &c” argument can be made with respect to most, if not all, of those things over with the rural/urban cultural divide quarrels.
  3. Moral instruction for children, an essential responsibility of parents, is quintessential. This is the most important thing a parent can impart to their child. Why? Because the civil environment (law) does not do that. But you can’t be happy (see link above) without ethics. After all ethics can be succinctly coined as a study in what is good (and doing that). Without know what excellence is, how can you be happy?

Money In A Mattress

Is apparently illegal. I never knew that. Mr Hastert is obviously being defended vigorously by the Bill Clinton defenders who seem to think lying to government official in order hide embarrassing  events in ones’ past is a thing that is permitted (note, that they never seem to remember that attempting to tamper with witnesses is not that). Oh, wait. that’s not happening.

But actually, the only things Mr Hastert has been charged with so far .. are hiding money in a mattress (which is as noted illegal, … but who knew? I certainly did not) … and lying to the FBI about being blackmailed.

I do have another question about that. Look. You are being blackmailed. It is almost certain that when the authorities approach you some sensitivity is required by the authorities if they want to stop the crime of blackmail. Well. That failed utterly.

Some Books Recently Read

So, I like a few others read Mr Stephenson’s Seveneves. Unlike Mr Beale I was not as taken aback by the social themes for their own sake, but unlike Mr Likko while I agree Mr Stephenson has full control of his craft, I found much of the major plot elements unlikely. The whole Lord of Flies destruction of thousands for the sole purpose of the title of the book seemed, to strain my credulity (as well as the transparent venality of the former President, which oddly enough few seem to notice). So, when I finished the book, I was on the verge of recommending to many of my acquaintances … but as the hours (not days) passed, the “but …” kept coming up about things I found unlikely or unreasonable. So, for my 2 cents, if you’re going to grab some science fiction for your summer reading, I’d instead recommend Mr Wright’s two series (start with The Golden Age or Count to a Trillion). Of those two series my thought’s keep returning to themes and phrases drawn from those two. That of course is if you haven’t read The Martian already.

I did finish Prit Buttar’s Collision of Empires, covering World War I focusing on the Eastern front, the blog post which pointed me to this work, of which I don’t recall the provenance, noted that this was one, if not the only, historical English work covering that part of the war. It was striking how all of the actors in this affair while mostly (to greater or lesser degree) understood that defense in this time (due to technology) far outstripped the capabilities of offense at the same time. Yet almost everyone of them (Conrad especially) insisted that vigorous offense was required of their troops (to the obvious horrific consequences).