Justplainbill's Weblog

October 4, 2008

The Polar Ice-Cap is having its most volatile year on record.

Filed under: Climatology, Energy Talk, Media Check — Tags: — justplainbill @ 7:14 pm

The Polar Ice-Cap is having its most volatile year on record.



Yupper, a record that we’ve been keeping for almost one hundred and fifty years. Let’s see, now, the ice cap’s been around for a few million years, but the last 150 are the important ones.


Oddly enough, The New York Times and various environmentalists, most of whom live in high rise apartments far from either pole, have deemed this important enough to point to as further evidence of man’s malevolent impact upon the global habitat. Hmm, I do believe that, since 1900, The New York Times has cried Wolf more times that we’re headed for the next massive ice age than hot house, and that they’ve had more than one Jason Blair scandal, Blair being the “Time’s reporter” who with the approval of the Editor-in-Chief, for over two years filed fantasy as fact, The New York Times is no longer a credible source for print news. This leaves, for serious daily print news, only The Wall Street Journal and her sister, Barron’s, (and, sorry for my faulty memory, and thanks for reminding me, The Christian Science Monitor); and the web, thanks to Google and Ask.com, and some of the other, manageable search engines, for daily print news, but I digress.


There are numerous reasons why the measuring of snow and ice for climatological purposes isn’t done at the North Pole; it is done in Antarctica, near the South Pole.


One of the many interesting aspects of this rotating ball of molten iron upon which we so precariously abide, is that the land masses form plates, called tectons, which make up the crust of the planet. These tectonic plates float along and bounce off of each other. At the interstices they either subsume each other or separate allowing the molten core to surface to form new crust. One aspect of this is that sea level is not the same around the world when measured by atmospheric pressure. In fact, the Pacific Ocean is about six inches higher than the Atlantic Ocean. This is because the plates consisting of Asia-Minor and South America are moving towards each other, and Africa is both closing the Mediterranean and opening the South Atlantic. The violent turbulence in the Straits of Magellan and the flow of the warm ocean current, starting in the Indian Ocean that ends up in the North Atlantic melting the polar ice cap as it passes Iceland, are proofs of this. Anther attribute of this tectonic movement is that, the water is always moving!


Another proof is that the last ice age was, with other factors, caused by the closing of the gap between the North American Plate and the South American Plate at Panama, thereby allowing the polar cap to dramatically expand and upset the then current balance, because the warm current instead of being able to move through what is now the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, had to take the much longer route around South America allowing for additional cooling as it flowed past Antarctica and up through the South Atlantic.


As the temperature of water varies, so does its ability to solute chemicals. As an example of this, as the temperature drops, it will retain more CO2, as it rises, it will hold more salt and less Carbon Dioxide, your quick proofs are in the soda cans in your hands. Soda warm, when opened, fizzes as the CO2, no longer in solution, escapes; when the soda is cold when opened, you barely hear a pop; notice how salty you can make your pasta water when boiling, as compared to when it’s cool and the salt crystals simply drop to the bottom to await the heating of the water so that they can then dissolve, and if you do your water in this fashion, please note how the corrosive properties of the salt pits and destroys your pot.


As any U.S. Navy Submariner will tell you, if you’re fortunate enough to have such a vet in your social circle, at about the depth of 1,000 feet in the open ocean, is a thermal layer, above which is comparatively warm water, and below which is actually very cold water. Part of the cause of this layer is the ability of the sun to heat water. This layer is about where the sun’s impact stops. The chemical solution content above and below this layer is significantly different, partially due to the temperature difference.

You may also wish to note that temperature change in water, whether higher or lower, always causes kinetic activity, meaning, that it moves. And, moving water is always abrasive.


Another problem with ice formation is kinetic energy. Ice forms readily at 32o F in still water, but in moving water, the temperature must drop significantly below that, as determined by the velocity of the water and its mineral content. Pure water freezes at that 32o F whereas soluted water requires lower temperatures to freeze. The quick proof is evident for anyone who lives near a river or creek in the higher latitudes. At the edge of the flow, where the water is immobile, ice forms, whereas in the center of the river, where the current is strongest, the ice does not form, yet the temperature of both the water and the ambient air is the same in both locations.


So, the polar ice cap, subject to all of the above variables, is not the place to measure snow and ice. In the alternative, the South Pole has none of these problems. Beneath the South Pole ice layer, lies frozen tundra, not subject to current flow, saline content, nor tectonic activity.


Dr. David Bromwich, head of the Polar Meteorology Group of the Byrd Polar Research Center and professor in the Atmospheric Sciences Program at the Department of Geography of Ohio State University, president of the International Commission on Polar Meteorology, chair of the Polar DAAC Advisory Group, member of the Arctic Climate System Study Working Group on Reanalysis and past member of the National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Geophysical and Environmental Data, Ph.D., says, “The best we can say right now is that the climate models are somewhat inconsistent with the evidence that we have for the last 50 years from the continental Antarctic.”  and, “it’s hard to see a global warming signal from the mainland of Antarctica right now.”


BTW, as of today, 16 October 2008, the reports from the Acrtic Circle show that the glacial masses are increasing. Increasing means that there’s more snow than melt on them. More snow than melt means that we are headed for a cooling period. Hmm, now does Gore’s $100,000,000 profit make sense to you?


The Polar Ice-Cap is having its most volatile year on record.

So what?


[OK, today is March 1, 2009 and there’s an important update to this post: it seems that the original report that the polar ice cap is having a volatile years was wildly, and purportedly innocently, innaccurate. It seems that the people who did the original reporting failed to report a significant number of sensors, thus, seriously understating the actual amount of ice in the cap. After some responsbile people went and rechecked, they found that, in fact, the Polar Ice Cap is EXPANDING. So much for global warming Your Thighness Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Ignorant State.]

Better yet, for those of you who want to know what’s happening first hand, Discovery Channel runs “The Deadliest Catch” which is about crab fishermen in the Bering Sea. Sig Hansen, Phil Harris, The Colburns & Hilstrands, have all said during this last season that the Ice is coming farther and farther south and they have the radar & sounding records to prove it. So, who’ya gonna listen to? Al “never been there” Gore, or the crab fishermen who’re in it months at a time every year?

Well, someone must be doing some research. Today, 12 Dec 13, the lowest temperature ever recorded, was recorded! Guess where. That’s right, in Antarctica, where all legitimate climate study is being done. Sigh, where’s the IPCC now?

And, now, January 2014, a group of Russian climatologists has been frozen in the Antarctic Ice. They were going to Antarctica to prove “Global Warming”. Ok, so I guess that I was correct with all of that stuff about the Polar Ice Cap not being the place to go for scientific data, eh? Do I really need to say more? BTW, today, the high in Kansas City has been 3 degrees Fahrenheit. Hey, Al, send some of that global warming here to Kansas & Missouri so the winter wheat will grow and we won’t starve in 2014!!!

And, during a recent broadcast of the FOX NEWS Business Block, broadcast on Saturday mornings, Eric Bolling, host of Cashin’ In, posted two NASA photos of the polar ice cap. The first from 2013, the second from exactly one year later, ie 2014. Contrast of the two NASA photos show that the polar ice cap is in fact, EXPANDING, by hundreds of thousands of acres. So much for the idiots pushing climate change. BTW, considering that, in addition to the above essay, the continents are on floating plates that move around, in a jerky style of movement as denoted by earth quakes, no matter what man does, as the continents move, weather will change!!!

Update 31 May 2014
The Weekend edition of The Wall Street Journal has an article “Climate Clues”, p C-3, which explains a lot. It seems that this German climatologist actually goes to places and looks for facts to explain things. ‘Tipping’, according to his facts, takes place over millions of years. The IPCC (Dear Prez Obama, the IPCC is the Inter-GOVERNMENTAL Panel, not International, and the ‘p’ IS pronounced here), and those others who use computer models (gosh, doesn’t anyone understand GIGO? Garbage In = Garbage Out???), might want to get out of their air conditioned academic sanctuaries, and search for actual FACTS upon which to base their theories!

Update 3 July 2014

1. For the 2nd time in the last 2 weeks, scientists have measured and recorded the largest amount of Antarctic ice in history. And “yes”, you read correctly, the record has been achieved/broken 2 times in the last 2 weeks!

2. Last year NOAA, one of the “scientific” groups that expounds the “man made climate change” and “CO2” myths, went on record as saying July 2012 was the hottest July on record (if you recall MO was in a drought). This replaced July 1936 as the hottest July on record (July 1936 being smack dab in the middle if the dust bowl). Well over the last 2 weeks NOAA has very “quietly adjusted” the findings and surprise, July 1936 is once again the hottest July on record. Apparently NOAA’s pronouncement in 2013 that July 2012 was the hottest July was based completely on computer modeling and not real data. I gathered from the story that I heard that really the only reason they went back and “re-modeled” the data and “adjusted” the findings is due to a couple of very serious and vigilant watch dog groups. These groups are dedicated to ensuring there is accuracy and transparency w/ respect to the data, findings and stated causation impacts when it comes to the “man made climate change” debate. So they called NOAA out in several articles w/ respect to how they reached their conclusion and NOAA “quietly” “adjusted” the findings.

Update 29 July 14, Famous Meteorologist on Climate Change:

Weather Channel Founder Debunks Global Warming Hoax


An award-winning meteorologist with 60 years of experience and founder of the Weather Channel has produced a video explaining the history of the man-made global warming hoax.

John Coleman was also a former broadcast meteorologist of the year of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). However, after being a member for several years, he quit the AMS after it became very clear to him that “the politics had gotten in the way of the science.” Coleman explains in the video that there is no man-made global warming, and why he’s sure about this.

The well-respected weatherman says that if there were evidence of man-made global warming, he would have dedicated his life to stopping it. “I love our wonderful planet Earth. If I thought it was threatened by global warming, I would devote my life to stopping the warming!”

Environmental activists now call it “climate change” instead of global warming because the warming has stopped, Coleman added, and $4.7 billion in taxpayer money is funding “bogus reports” and “bogus research.”

Coleman explains that any so-called “climate change” is extremely negligible from a long-term perspective and nothing unusual or alarming. He points out that Antarctic sea ice is close to an all-time high, and the polar bear population is as high as it’s been in recorded history.

In regard to rising sea levels, Coleman says:

“It’s rising at about the rate of about six inches per hundred years, as part of this inter-glacial period. When North America was covered in a 400 foot thick ice core at the end of the last ice age, the oceans were low, and then as that ice melted, of course the oceans have risen. That rise has been gentle and is not important.”

Coleman says in the video there are 9,000 PhDs and 31,000 scientists who have signed a petition saying that the CO2 global warming theory is a hoax. These climate change “non-believers” aren’t heard by most Americans because they don’t receive government funding. And they aren’t covered by the mainstream media because it almost always promotes the climate change theory.

This damning indictment by an experienced and well-respected meteorologist proves that the “climate change” movement is primarily (if not all) politically based. Its ultimate goal is to make Americans the enemy of the planet (so they’ll agree to greater government control over their behavior) — and to reduce America’s use of oil, gas and coal-based energy sources.

If you hear someone talk about “climate change” and that America should do something, show them this video as proof that it’s nothing more than left-wing, “Chicken Little” politics.

7 October 14

Article below, with references, shows global cooling even though many are still talking “climate change is caused by man”, well, hell, OF COURSE THERE’S CLIMATE CHANGE, JUST LOOK AT THE SEASONS AND CONSIDER THAT DURING ROMAN TIMES THE MEDIAN TEMPERATURE IS ESTIMATED TO HAVE BEEN 82 F !!! 30 years of cooling means at least 10 years of potential crop failures in the middle, and famine and disease, so, let’s REALLY keep those borders open and let all of those “dreamers” in without medical checks and quarantines.
BTW, how can they be wondering why the ocean levels are rising? Don’t these people even know basic chemistry? As pointed out above, the polar ice cap is expanding/growing, meaning the sea water is being displaced, just like when water is being frozen, the ice rises up and displaces the water below? Let’s get out of the U.N. and stop financing stupidity like the IPCC.

NASA Scientists Puzzled by Global Cooling on Land and Sea
Image: NASA Scientists Puzzled by Global Cooling on Land and Sea (iStock)

Monday, 06 Oct 2014 12:36 PM

Get Short Link |
Email Article |
Comment |
Contact Us |
| A A
Copy Shortlink


The deep ocean may not be hiding heat after all, raising new questions about why global warming appears to have slowed in recent years, said the US space agency Monday.

Scientists have noticed that while greenhouse gases have continued to mount in the first part of the 21st century, global average surface air temperatures have stopped rising along with them, said NASA.

Some studies have suggested that heat is being absorbed temporarily by the deep seas, and that this so-called global warming hiatus is a temporary trend.
Editor’s Note: Dark Winter: Book Exposes Fraud of Man Made Global Warming

But latest data from satellite and direct ocean temperature measurements from 2005 to 2013 “found the ocean abyss below 1.24 miles (1,995 meters) has not warmed measurably,” NASA said in a statement.

The findings present a new puzzle to scientists, but co-author Josh Willis of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said the reality of climate change is not being thrown into doubt.

“The sea level is still rising,” said Willis.

“We’re just trying to understand the nitty-gritty details.”

A separate study in August in the journal Science said the apparent slowdown in the Earth’s surface warming in the last 15 years could be due to that heat being trapped in the deep Atlantic and Southern Ocean.

But the NASA researchers said their approach, described in the journal Nature Climate Change, is the first to test the idea using satellite observations, as well as direct temperature measurements of the upper ocean.
Editor’s Note: NASA Expert: Sun Cycles To Cause 30 Year Cold Spell

“The deep parts of the ocean are harder to measure,” said researcher William Llovel of NASA JPL.

“The combination of satellite and direct temperature data gives us a glimpse of how much sea level rise is due to deep warming. The answer is — not much.”

12 Dec 2014, another update, completely ripping Al ‘jabba the hut’ Gore’s hoax of a movie, http://nws.mx/1IGXEwd .

29 Dec 2014, another update:
Capital Hill

Political & Economic Analysis

Polar Ice Not Melting, But Global Warming Story Is


Posted 11:41 AM ET


Feeling low about the incessant screeching that the ice is catastrophically melting at the poles? A lot of us are, so it’s good to see a researcher buck the narrative.

Ted Maksym, an oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, has drawn a conclusion that will surely bring him grief from the global-warming believers and cold shoulder from most of the mainstream media, which is heavily invested in the idea that man is heating his planet by burning fossil fuels.

“The North and South Poles are ‘not melting,'” the British Express reported on Christmas.

“In fact,” the Express said in its coverage of Maksym’s finding, “the poles are ‘much more stable’ than climate scientists once predicted and could even be much thicker than previously thought.”

Remember those words “previously thought.” In the future we will be seeing them a lot more in reference to the continued unraveling of the global warming fable. In the meantime, kudos to the Express for publishing what the mainstream American media refuse to report.

Read More At Investor’s Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/blogs-capital-hill/122914-732367-polar-ice-not-melting-oceanographer-says.htm#ixzz3NKQChTdo
Follow us: @IBDinvestors on Twitter | InvestorsBusinessDaily on Facebook

15 Jan 15 See Chris Horner’s book, “Red Hot Lies”.

12 February 2015, Interesting update: Yesterday, in Oslo Norway, the Norwegian Central Bank and a group of Norwegian scientists, announced that the climate change hoax had nearly destroyed the Norwegian Economy.
It seems that over the last 5 years, IPCC, U.N., NOAO, and the “global climate science community”, have been fiddling with the numbers to get their computer models to agree with their predictions. However, Norway, a Socialist Country, has been planning its economy for the last five years on the climate change assumptions. This means that they have been spending their entire national economic resources on the false assumptions that the Polar Ice Cap is melting, that their shorelines will shrink, that they will have tons more fresh water, acres and acres of more farm and pastureland, milder winters, and longer summers.
Only, since the global scientific community has been fiddling with the figures, the reverse has happened, thus bringing the Norwegian National Economy to the brink of collapse.
So, it seems that the fishermen of “The Deadliest Catch”, NASA satellite photography, scientists like Lawrence Solomon, and simple pundits such as Eric Bolling, have been proven correct, once again.

25 Feb 15, ;TWSJ and The Economist 4th quarter reports on Real Estate were recently released. I decided to look at a couple of other RE stats, simply because HGTV has posted its 2015 Showplace House/ Giveaway. The 3+MILLION $$$ house is located on Cape Cod, MA. Hmmmmm. So I looked a little farther into this.

RE prices are up in Big Sur CA, Cape Cod MA, Miami FL, throughout the Caribbean, all along both coasts of North AND South America, HI, and along the Indian Ocean. Hmmm.

Don’t get it yet??? It means that all of the greenies screaming about climate change, have NOT sold any of their big estates along the coasts! It means that the people who sell mortgages, do NOT believe in Climate Change! It means that the Kennedys, who have estates in MA and FL as well as CA and NY, do NOT believe in Climate Change! None of the limousine liberals have sold any of their coastal properties!!!

Gee, how much more needs to be said about this fraud????

Update 7 Dec 15 (Pearl Harbor Remembrance, BTW) TWSJ p A 14, letter to the editor by Terry W. Donze, Geophysicist, ‘Warming’ Science Is Anything but Settled’. A must read for anyone interested in the climate change controversy. Mr. Donze cites several real scientists who refute every aspect of climate change catastrophe from sea levels rising, false according to sea level expert, Nils-Axel Moerner “the greatest lie ever told”, through Arctic ice is melting despite it 5% increase. Every aspect of the climate change claim is refuted by actual climatologists, and not politicians like Al Gore.

Update 8 Sep 16   Was looking at the newest Voyager photos and slipped over to the Polar Ice cap current photos. Al Gore stated categorically that the Polar Ice cap would be gone by 2014. According to today’s satellite passing shots, it is bigger than ever since we started taking photos, and this for the end of summer condition.


February 21, 2018

Kill Chic, by Victor Davis Hanson [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 2:59 pm

Kill Chic
February 20, 2018 4:45 pm / Leave a Comment / Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

In movies, novels, music, and art, progressives murder their enemies, including presidents, in myriad ways.

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom.

We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping flesh, as if it is some sort of macabre ballet. Rap music has institutionalized violence against women and the police — to the tune of billions in profits, largely as a way for suburban kids to find vicarious street authenticity. And this idea of metaphorically cutting, bleeding, or shooting those whom you don’t like without real consequences has seeped into the national political dialogue.

For example, why does popular culture wink and nod at the widespread metaphorical killing of Republican presidents? Liberals used to believe that words mattered and images had consequences; the casual glorification of carnage trivialized violence and only made it more acceptable — and likely.

In 2017, the obsessive hatred of Trump led, for instance, to many obscenities: Madonna told us she dreamed of blowing up the White House, comedian Kathy Griffin posed with a bloody facsimile of Trump’s head, Snoop Dog shot a Trump likeliness in a video, a Shakespearean company ritually stabbed Trump-Caesar every night on stage, Johnny Depp joked, “When was the last time an actor assassinated a president? … It has been a while, and maybe it is time.”

But such kill chic is hardly new — and hardly a result of Trump’s sometimes reckless tweets or undisciplined outbursts.

In 2012, a model of the head of former president George W. Bush turned up on a pike in HBO’s Game of Thrones, “by accident” of course. But by then kill-Bush chic was already a tired genre. In the heat of the 2004 election, Alfred A. Knopf had published Nicholson Baker’s novel Checkpoint. It was little more than a boring dialogue of characters dreaming about how to assassinate President Bush. (It’s now “updated” by To Kill the President, by British writer Jonathan Freedland (aka Sam Bourne), a thriller about assassinating a Trump-like president.) In October 2004, long before Johnny Depp’s John Wilkes Booth rant, Guardian guest columnist Charles Brooker lamented that there would be no presidential assassin to kill Bush: “John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr. — where are you now that we need you?”

The list of “assassinate Bush” public expressions could be expanded — they appeared in a variety of genres, such as Gabriel Range 2006 “docudrama,” Death of a President, which portrayed the successful killing in 2007 of George W. Bush (replete with a president funeral scene).

Between the kill-Bush and kill-Trump chic was the welcomed, calmer hiatus of the eight-year tenure of Barack Obama. True, his critics were often crude, questioning his birth certificate and dredging up stories of his supposedly dissolute youth. But there was, thank God, never an assassination chic among celebrities and in the popular culture associated with Obama, despite the strong passions he often incited. Had there been anything between 2009 and 2017 like Checkpoint or Death of a President, the edgy artist in question would have been ruined if not brought into court and jailed in the manner of the scapegoated Benghazi video-maker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula or perhaps at least surveilled like the journalists Sharyl Attkisson and James Rosen.

More often, Nobel laureate Obama earned hagiography, as journalists hyperbolically compared him to a God or enthused that he was capable of making one’s leg tingle. That piety was often encouraged by Obama himself, who had announced his intention to cool the planet and lower the seas (given recent frigid winters in the American heartland and the near-dry canals of Venice, he may have partially succeeded).

In fact, there was a sort of kill chic that occasionally surrounded Obama — but of a completely different sort.

In January 2016, Obama hosted rapper Kendrick Lamar at the White House. (Lamar’s hit “How Much a Dollar Cost” was said to be Obama’s favorite song of 2015). Another Lamar song “BLOOD” (with the lyrics “and we hate the popo”) took on the police at a time when police shootings were in the news. The cover of Lamar’s just-released album at that time, “To Pimp a Butterfly,” depicted a dozen or so African-American young men on the lawn in the front of the White House, celebrating with champagne bottles and hundred-dollar bills over the corpse of a white judge at their feet, who sort of resembled Ronald Reagan, with his eyes x-ed out.

Reverse the roles and imagine an invitation to the White House for a country-western singer who had produced such a racialized cover, and one could expect another impeachment resolution. I suppose the Kendrick cover art was meant to imply that the revolution had succeeded — the old white guard was not just gone but, happily, dead, and the time was upon us to bring on the cash and drinks to celebrate the new guard in the White House.

Ignoring Lamar’s racist art and anti-police lyrics is like having your picture taken in 2005 with Louis Farrakhan (“The Jews talk about ‘never again.’… You cannot say ‘never again’ to God because when he puts you in the oven, you’re in one indeed!…‘Never again’ don’t mean a damn thing when God get ready for you!”). Embracing Lamar gave Obama street cred, but with plausible deniability: After all, a public figure cannot be responsible for all the cry of-the-heart expressions of an artist or social activist.

More recently, Obama unveiled his official presidential portrait by the hip artistic sensation Kehinde Wiley. Wiley is an identity-politics conceptual artist who emphasizes his own black and gay identity as essential to his work. He previously had courted controversy on two occasions for recalibrating well-known paintings from the past — reworking the scenes of violence in interracial fashion. In these two paintings, a black woman, sword in one hand, is holding up the severed head of a white women she has just decapitated. Or as Kehinda Wiley once described his black-on-white severances to New York magazine, “It’s sort of a play on the ‘kill whitey’ thing.”

What explains the rules of a rather disgusting genre of assassination, decapitation, or kill chic? Most obviously, presidential conservatives are targeted, while Obama flirts with those who artistically indulge in fantasy interracial killings. And the rules over the last two decades seem pretty clear:

1) By their supposedly immoral natures, conservatives have deserved such obscene fantasy invective (Trump with fatal bloody knife wounds and Bush’s head on a pike are almost natural).

In contrast, liberal leaders are moral people. Even to fantasize that their leaders might suffer the same fate is repugnant. The means are different because the ends are, too: equality and social justice versus white privilege and exploitation. Simply put: To achieve progressive agendas, one can explore all the violent avenues of the imagination.

2) Given the long history of racial oppression in the United States, there can be no resort to “what if the roles were reversed?” contextualization (e.g. a talentless pop artist as Trump’s official painter, with a past of substituting blacks for white victims in famous paintings of decapitation, explaining that the reversals were a sort of play on the “kill blacks thing”). Imagining or depicting white decapitation or the murder of a GOP president is an anguished, warranted cry of the oppressed, whereas reversing the racial roles would be proof that racism endures. The art world by nature poses as antithetical to the powers that be; to imagine that it would turn on the establishment forces of social justice is not just unrealistic but absurd.

3) Metaphorically assassinating a Bush or Trump has no real-life ramifications. Lowering the bar of what is culturally acceptable has nothing to do with violence such as a Bernie Sanders supporter shooting Representative Steven Scalise and fellow Republican congressmen. But in the case of progressive targets, lowering the bar just might have real consequences, given the Right’s innate propensity for hate and violence.

Translated, that means that the sober and mellifluous Obama can engage his culturally explorative side — and in his usual judicious tones — while not being especially bothered by the killing chic of Kendrick Lamar or Kehinde Wiley whom he patronizes. All that is a welcomed edgy expression of authenticity and presidential versatility.

And perhaps in the same warped manner, so is the art of ritually killing Bush or Trump in film, art, and literature, through knife, bullet, and bomb: artistically pushing the envelope — and all for a noble cause.

February 8, 2018

Swamp Things, by Victor Hanson [c]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 10:34 pm

Swamp Things?
February 8, 2018 12:46 pm / Leave a Comment / Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

No doubt people talk indiscreetly when they believe their communications are private; perhaps those in an illicit affair may posture and brag about their self-importance and exaggerate. All that said, when reading through the latest release of the Page-Strzok archive, one is struck not just that the two who eventually were to investigate Donald Trump did not like Trump, but rather that they utterly loathed him, given their banter back and forth included: “God trump is a loathsome human.” Or “And wow, Donald Trump is an enormous d**che.” Or “And Trump should go f himself.” Or “I am riled up. Trump is a f***ing idiot.”

It is hard to imagine how the Mueller investigation was not tainted by such venom — or perhaps the hate is better understood as proof that both were uniquely qualified to serve on the Mueller team doing the holy work deemed necessary to save the progressive project.

And perhaps the two had even more disdain for the supposed white working class who supported this “loathsome human”: e.g., cf., “from buttf*** Texas . . . ” Or “Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support . . . ” Or “Loudon is being gentrified, but it’s still largely ignorant hillbillys [sic].”

Anyone trying to chronicle the supposed pretensions and arrogance of a deep-state, deplorables/irredeemables/clingers/dairy-farmer–hating elite could not make all this up, especially the idea that a Trump supporter gives off a unique odor, real or metaphorical.

Of course, if two FBI amorous agents/attorneys in 2008 were investigating candidate or president-elect Obama and their correspondence was later revealed to be anything like the above about him or his constituents, they would have long ago been fired, no questions asked.

[Right or Left is irrelevant in this matter. These two should be fired, their compensation clawed back, and her bar license permanently revoked. No public servant sworn to uphold the constitution should have such feelings while in office.]

February 7, 2018

The FISA-Gate Boomerang, by Victor Hanson [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 4:24 pm

The FISA-Gate Boomerangs
February 6, 2018 2:45 pm / Leave a Comment / Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

Some things still do not add up about the so-called Steele dossier, FISA warrants, the Nunes memo, and the hysterical Democratic reaction to it.

A Big Deal or a Nothing Deal?

1) Progressives and Democrats warned on the eve of the memo’s release that it would cause havoc throughout the intelligence agencies, by exposing classified means and processes.

When no serious intelligence expert claimed that the released memo had done such damage, the official response to the memo was suddenly recalibrated by progressives. It went from being radioactive to a “nothingburger.”

The obvious conclusion is cynical: Cry Armageddon to prevent its release, then, after the release, resort to yawns to downplay its significance. An even more cynical interpretation is that Rod Rosenstein, James Comey, and other officials stridently objected to the release of the memo because they are named in it. Comey incoherently mocked the memo’s purported unimportance even while listing all its deleterious effects and the crises that would ensue.

Congressional, DOJ, and FBI resistance to the release of most documents connected to FISA-gate apparently originates with fears that information will either reveal Obama-administration efforts to surveille Trump officials during a campaign or will suggest that the impetus for the Mueller investigation came as a result of illegal activities and a concocted dossier — or both.

2) Critics scream, “Carter Page is no big deal.” Aside from the easy retort that neither, initially, was a petty break-in at the Watergate complex, or rumors of supplying arms to distant guerillas in Central America, Page is a big deal for a variety of reasons.

Democrats allege that, given Carter Page’s familiarity with Russians, it was logical for the Obama administration to use the dossier’s references to him to substantiate FISA warrants.

But is not the opposite more likely true?

He was apparently known to intelligence agencies for years (supposedly under investigation variously by the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network), and he may have been the object of a 2014 FISA warrant. But such intelligence agents were never able to bring charges against him, and it appears he even cooperated with American intelligence in gathering info against the Russians. So why would the FBI and DOJ, suddenly in 2016, believe that mention of Page’s name in an unverified opposition-research dossier warranted four FISA warrants to find wrongdoing?

After all, if he was so well known to the FBI for so many years, during which they never charged him with being a Russian agent, and if the FBI nonetheless still regarded him as suspicious in 2016, why not simply go to a regular court to obtain a warrant to wiretap him? Such a court, of course, would be less secretive, not known for a 99 percent approval rate, subject to far more deliberation, and less useful for surveilling Trump associates.

A more likely supposition is that it was not Page’s past flirtations with the Russians (who supposedly dubbed him an “idiot”) that abruptly brought him back into the sights of the DOJ and FBI in 2016. Instead, it was his brief and minor relationship with Trump, and his appearance in a bogus dossier, that offered useful pretexts for court-ordered surveillance sweeps and indirect targeting of possible Trump associates.

Page was simply a tool, to be surveilled in hopes of also sweeping up other names and information that might corroborate some shred of the dubious Steele dossier. In that narrow sense, his name might as well have been Jones or Smith.

So far, all Carter Page has been found guilty of is momentarily working for the Trump campaign. His likely future lawsuits against Steele, Fusion GPS, the Clinton campaign, the FBI, and the DOJ will probably follow a number of avenues.

3) The New York Times and others strangely have claimed that the dossier-based FISA warrants were not the real basis of the Russian-collusion allegations, given, as the memo implies, that the FISA warrants were issued after FBI agent Peter Strzok had investigated George Papadopoulos, another minor Trump-campaign official of brief tenure.

But there has never been much connection between Page and Papadopoulos, as the Nunes memo also made clear. It is far more likely that Papadopoulos was written off as a dead-end functionary by Strzok, who also claimed to his paramour that there was likely nothing to be found at all in the Russian-collusion investigation. (And indeed Papadopoulos eventually pled guilty to making false statements, not collusion).

More likely, the collusion narrative gained ground only when the Steele dossier energized subsequent FISA requests in October and after the election, resulting in surveillance sweeps.

Moreover, given the admissions by Strzok that he detested Trump and pondered ways of stopping him, and given that he and the FBI were never able to find Papadopoulos indictable on intended collusion charges, it is entirely unlikely that Papadopoulos prompted much of anything.

If he was not a dead end, then the argument could just as well be that an admittedly biased FBI agent hounded a minor, former Trump aide to find collusion, failed to find it, tried to turn him by the usual “false statements” perjury traps, and then Strzok or others around him leaked information about collusion investigations to damage the Trump campaign.

4) Other than Andrew McCarthy of National Review, few have written about the FISA-court application(s) for surveillance of Trump-campaign officials that the FISA court rejected in June 2016, shortly before Trump was nominated as the Republican candidate.

Given that 99.97 percent of FISA requests are eventually granted, why exactly did a federal judge quite extraordinarily reject an Obama-administration FBI-DOJ request? Was it too “broad” or insufficiently sourced in June? And what (or who) had changed by October, when a subsequent request was apparently granted? Was Strzok’s July investigation of Papadopoulos better grounds to surveille Trump associates? Was the dossier (which apparently became known to the FBI as early as June or July 2016) initially used to obtain a warrant, to no avail? Or was the dossier instead used first in October, on a subsequent attempt, and in this case the FISA court granted the warrant?

5) The talented, Trump-hating Peter Strzok was a sort of ubiquitous Zelig of FISA-gate and the most interesting of all the players named so far in the case. He probably convinced Comey to change the wording of his report on Hillary Clinton to prevent criminal liability. He may have started the whole shebang off by investigating George Papadopoulos. He texted away to his mistress and fellow FBI investigator Lisa Page the court secrets of the FBI and Mueller investigations, saying his gut sense was that there was “no big there there” to the entire effort. He interviewed Mike Flynn without Flynn’s lawyer being present, and he probably compared Flynn’s responses in that interview to FISA intercepts. He also met with Andrew McCabe to ponder ways to nullify the Trump ascendency. And unlike his far less talented superiors, he may have been careful to avoid strictly breaking the law.

6) Even less has been written about the Obama administration’s public attitude to the ongoing efforts of its own DOJ and FBI to seek FISA warrants to surveille Trump associates.

Trump (apparently tipped off to prior FISA surveillance of his campaign associates) presciently tweeted on March 4:

Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017

Most of the establishment media insisted that Trump’s tweet proved he was unhinged and paranoid. Former Obama White House officials issued haughty denials. Yet it is increasingly likely that Trump received good counter-intelligence on Obama-administration efforts that were either improper or illegal, and likely both.

An Obama communiqué that replied to Trump’s accusation had the inadvertent effect of leaving even more doubt:

A cardinal rule of the Obama Administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice. As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.

Some have noted that the disavowal was carefully worded. First, it claims that no “White House official” interfered with any independent investigation. Fine, but does that mean other administration officials may have, or that a White House official may have interfered with investigations not deemed “independent”? And does “interfered with” include unmasked? Second, if neither President Obama nor a White House official ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen, does that mean that Obama-appointed DOJ and FBI officials might well have?

The problem may not be that the Obama White House itself had ordered surveillance of Trump associates, but rather than it sat back and enjoyed the wide berth granted to its DOJ and FBI investigators.

In support of the Obama denial, the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler, to take one example, at the time issued an embarrassing second denial in a “fact check” that was soon made inoperative by leaks about ongoing FISA-warranted surveillance of Trump officials:

The Washington Post for months has sought to confirm this report of a FISA warrant related to the Trump campaign but has been unable to do so. Presumably other U.S. news organizations have tried to do so as well. So one has to take this claim with a huge dose of skepticism.

The Wrongdoer in Chief: Obama?

In this context, one of the final executive orders of the Obama administration takes on new significance. Shortly before leaving office, Obama abruptly issued yet another expansion of the Reagan-era Executive Order 12333, dramatically enlarging some 17 government agencies’ legal authority to surveille U.S. citizens — an order that had followed even earlier expansions of the number of officials privy to surveilled information. Why such a radical move in the last days in office?

The practical intent of that order might have been inadvertently contextualized by Evelyn Farkas, a former assistant deputy secretary of defense. On MSNBC’s Morning Joeshow, she blurted out:

I was urging my former colleagues and — and frankly speaking, the people on the Hill, it was more actually aimed — aimed at telling the Hill people, “Get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can before President Obama leaves the administration.” Because, I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior people who left. So it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy that the Trump folks, the Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about their, the staff, the Trump staff’s dealing with Russians, that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we would no longer have access to that intelligence. So I became very worried, because not enough was coming out into the open, and I knew that there was more. We have very good intelligence on Russia. So then I had talked to some of my former colleagues, and I knew that they were trying to also help get information to the Hill.

What exactly did she mean by “how we knew what we knew about their, the staff, the Trump staff’s dealing with Russians”? Was the DOD also privy to FISA-ordered surveillances, or did DOD staffers simply read the passed-around Steele dossier and other memos?

What Farkas was probably outlining was an eleventh-hour attempt to leak, perhaps improperly and illegally, surveillance and classified gossip to as many government agencies as possible as well as sympathetic congressional leaders, in hopes that the information would flood out (as it did) before the incoming Trump administration could stop such illicit dissemination of improper government surveillance.

At some distant point, investigators and the media will conclude that the nexus of wrongdoing was likely Barack Obama himself. Aside from the massaged investigations of Hillary Clinton’s wrongdoing, during the election of 2016 and the Trump transition of November 2016 to January 2017, Obama allowed his DOJ and the FBI to manipulate the FISA courts to surveille an American citizen and indirectly target others. He then made sure such data were disseminated among as many administration hands as possible. And he further allowed his subordinates to unmask surveilled citizens, whose identities and (in some cases conversations) were ultimately leaked to news organizations.

That was a process of leaking and sensationalism that sought first to damage the Trump campaign. Ultimately, it succeeded in creating overwhelming public and official Washington pressure to justify James Comey’s later efforts to angle for the appointment of a special counsel.

The House Intelligence Committee’s “phase one” memo, as Nunes has described it, limits itself to the likely wrongdoing of DOJ and FBI officials.

One would expect that phase two and beyond would examine the nature of the surveillance itself, the number of Obama intelligence and political officials who had access to such information, the exact requests of named officials to unmask Trump associates, and the correlations of such unmasking with the roughly simultaneous appearance of such names in the media.

Both Watergate and Iran-Contra were multiyear affairs. FISA-gate may last longer, given that the media this time around are not a watchdog, but an enabler, of government misconduct. We are at the very beginning of the exposure of wronging by Obama-era DOJ and FBI officials — and their superiors — and have not begun to learn exactly why and how American citizens were improperly monitored, and by whom. In one of the strangest moments in the history of American journalism, Washington reporters and agencies, known for their loud interests in protecting civil liberties, are either silent or working to suppress news of these scandals, and they may well soon rue their own complacency.

Nor have we learned the full nature of why and how Obama-era investigative agencies departed from normal protocol in exonerating Hillary Clinton from criminal liability during a number of 2015–16 controversies. Presumably there are records, official and otherwise, of these matters; they should come to light as soon as possible.

What seems clear is that the present hysteria about the Trump administration was already deeply seeded in the federal government throughout the 2016 campaign and the 2016–17 transition. A number of powerful Obama officials thought they had both moral right and the administrative means to nullify Trump. And they were not shy in breaking the law to exercise them.

January 29, 2018

Are We Free to Discuss America’s Real Problems? by Amy Wax, M.D., J.D.

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 6:13 pm

Are We Free to Discuss America’s Real Problems?
January 2018 • Volume 47, Number 1 • Amy Wax

Amy Wax
University of Pennsylvania Law School

Amy WaxAmy L. Wax is the Robert Mundheim Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where she has received the Harvey Levin Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence. She has a B.S. from Yale College, an M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. She is a former assistant to the United States Solicitor General, and her most recent book is Race, Wrongs, and Remedies: Group Justice in the 21st Century.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Print E-mail

Download Issue

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on December 12, 2017, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C., as part of the AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series.

There is a lot of abstract talk these days on American college campuses about free speech and the values of free inquiry, with plenty of lip service being paid to expansive notions of free expression and the marketplace of ideas. What I’ve learned through my recent experience of writing a controversial op-ed is that most of this talk is not worth much. It is only when people are confronted with speech they don’t like that we see whether these abstractions are real to them.

The op-ed, which I co-authored with Larry Alexander of the University of San Diego Law School, appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on August 9 under the title, “Paying the Price for the Breakdown of the Country’s Bourgeois Culture.” It began by listing some of the ills afflicting American society:

Too few Americans are qualified for the jobs available. Male working-age labor-force participation is at Depression-era lows. Opioid abuse is widespread. Homicidal violence plagues inner cities. Almost half of all children are born out of wedlock, and even more are raised by single mothers. Many college students lack basic skills, and high school students rank below those from two dozen other countries.

We then discussed the “cultural script”—a list of behavioral norms—that was almost universally endorsed between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s:

Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime.

These norms defined a concept of adult responsibility that was, we wrote, “a major contributor to the productivity, educational gains, and social coherence of that period.” The fact that the “bourgeois culture” these norms embodied has broken down since the 1960s, we argued, largely explains today’s social pathologies—and re-embracing that culture would go a long way toward addressing those pathologies.

In what became perhaps the most controversial passage, we pointed out that cultures are not equal in terms of preparing people to be productive citizens in a modern technological society, and we gave some examples of cultures less suited to achieve this:

The culture of the Plains Indians was designed for nomadic hunters, but is not suited to a First World, 21st-century environment. Nor are the single-parent, antisocial habits prevalent among some working-class whites; the anti-‘acting white’ rap culture of inner-city blacks; the anti-assimilation ideas gaining ground among some Hispanic immigrants.

The reactions to this piece raise the question of how unorthodox opinions should be dealt with in academia—and in American society at large.

It is well documented that American universities today, more than ever before, are dominated by academics on the left end of the political spectrum. How should these academics handle opinions that depart, even quite sharply, from their “politically correct” views? The proper response would be to engage in reasoned debate—to attempt to explain, using logic, evidence, facts, and substantive arguments, why those opinions are wrong. This kind of civil discourse is obviously important at law schools like mine, because law schools are dedicated to teaching students how to think about and argue all sides of a question. But academic institutions in general should also be places where people are free to think and reason about important questions that affect our society and our way of life—something not possible in today’s atmosphere of enforced orthodoxy.

What those of us in academia should certainly not do is engage in unreasoned speech: hurling slurs and epithets, name-calling, vilification, and mindless labeling. Likewise we should not reject the views of others without providing reasoned arguments. Yet these once common standards of practice have been violated repeatedly at my own and at other academic institutions in recent years—and we increasingly see this trend in society as well.

One might respond, of course, that unreasoned slurs and outright condemnations are also speech and must be defended. My recent experience has caused me to rethink this position. In debating others, we should have higher standards. Of course one has the right to hurl labels like “racist,” “sexist,” and “xenophobic” without good reason—but that doesn’t make it the right thing to do. Hurling such labels doesn’t enlighten, inform, edify, or educate. Indeed, it undermines these goals by discouraging or stifling dissent.

So what happened after our op-ed was published last August? A raft of letters, statements, and petitions from students and professors at my university and elsewhere condemned the piece as racist, white supremacist, hate speech, heteropatriarchial, xenophobic, etc. There were demands that I be removed from the classroom and from academic committees. None of these demands even purported to address our arguments in any serious or systematic way.

A response published in the Daily Pennsylvanian, our school newspaper, and signed by five of my Penn Law School colleagues, charged us with the sin of praising the 1950s—a decade when racial discrimination was openly practiced and opportunities for women were limited. I do not agree with the contention that because a past era is marked by benighted attitudes and practices—attitudes and practices we had acknowledged in our op-ed!—it has nothing to teach us. But at least this response attempted to make an argument.

Not so an open letter published in the Daily Pennsylvanian and signed by 33 of my colleagues. This letter quoted random passages from the op-ed and from a subsequent interview I gave to the school newspaper, condemned both, and categorically rejected all of my views. It then invited students, in effect, to monitor me and to report any “stereotyping and bias” they might experience or perceive. This letter contained no argument, no substance, no reasoning, no explanation whatsoever as to how our op-ed was in error.

We hear a lot of talk about role models—people to be emulated, who set a positive example for students and others. In my view, the 33 professors who signed this letter are anti-role models. To students and citizens alike I say: don’t emulate them in condemning people for their views without providing a reasoned argument. Reject their example. Not only are they failing to teach you the practice of civil discourse—the sine qua non of liberal education and of democracy—they are sending the message that civil discourse is unnecessary. As Jonathan Haidt of NYU wrote on September 2 on his website Heterodox Academy: “Every open letter you sign to condemn a colleague for his or her words brings us closer to a world in which academic disagreements are resolved by social force and political power, not by argumentation and persuasion.”

It is gratifying to note that the reader comments on the open letter were overwhelmingly critical. The letter has “no counterevidence,” one reader wrote, “no rebuttal to [Wax’s] arguments, just an assertion that she’s wrong. . . . This is embarrassing.” Another wrote: “This letter is an exercise in self-righteous virtue-signaling that utterly fails to deal with the argument so cogently presented by Wax and Alexander. . . . Note to parents, if you want your daughter or son to learn to address an argument, do not send them to Penn Law.”

Shortly after the op-ed appeared, I ran into a colleague I hadn’t seen for a while and asked how his summer was going. He said he’d had a terrible summer, and in saying it he looked so serious I thought someone had died. He then explained that the reason his summer had been ruined was my op-ed, and he accused me of attacking and causing damage to the university, the students, and the faculty. One of my left-leaning friends at Yale Law School found this story funny—who would have guessed an op-ed could ruin someone’s summer? But beyond the absurdity, note the choice of words: “attack” and “damage” are words one uses with one’s enemies, not colleagues or fellow citizens. At the very least, they are not words that encourage the expression of unpopular ideas. They reflect a spirit hostile to such ideas—indeed, a spirit that might seek to punish the expression of such ideas.

I had a similar conversation with a deputy dean. She had been unable to sign the open letter because of her official position, but she defended it as having been necessary. It needed to be written to get my attention, she told me, so that I would rethink what I had written and understand the hurt I had inflicted and the damage I had done, so that I wouldn’t do it again. The message was clear: cease the heresy.

Only half of my colleagues in the law school signed the open letter. One who didn’t sent me a thoughtful and lawyerly email explaining how and why she disagreed with particular points in the op-ed. We had an amicable email exchange, from which I learned a lot—some of her points stick with me—and we remain cordial colleagues. That is how things should work.

Of the 33 who signed the letter, only one came to talk to me about it—and I am grateful for that. About three minutes into our conversation, he admitted that he didn’t categorically reject everything in the op-ed. Bourgeois values aren’t really so bad, he conceded, nor are all cultures equally worthy. Given that those were the main points of the op-ed, I asked him why he had signed the letter. His answer was that he didn’t like my saying, in my interview with the Daily Pennsylvanian, that the tendency of global migrants to flock to white European countries indicates the superiority of some cultures. This struck him as “code,” he said, for Nazism.

Well, let me state for the record that I don’t endorse Nazism!

Furthermore, the charge that a statement is “code” for something else, or a “dog whistle” of some kind—we frequently hear this charge leveled, even against people who are stating demonstrable facts—is unanswerable. It is like accusing a speaker of causing emotional injury or feelings of marginalization. Using this kind of language, which students have learned to do all too well, is intended to bring discussion and debate to a stop—to silence speech deemed unacceptable.

As Humpty Dumpty said to Alice, we can make words mean whatever we want them to mean. And who decides what is code for something else or what qualifies as a dog whistle? Those in power, of course—which in academia means the Left.

My 33 colleagues might have believed they were protecting students from being injured by harmful opinions, but they were doing those students no favors. Students need the opposite of protection from diverse arguments and points of view. They need exposure to them. This exposure will teach them how to think. As John Stuart Mill said, “He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that.”

I have received more than 1,000 emails from around the country in the months since the op-ed was published—mostly supportive, some critical, and for the most part thoughtful and respectful. Many expressed the thought, “You said what we are thinking but are afraid to say”—a sad commentary on the state of civil discourse in our society. Many urged me not to back down, cower, or apologize. And I agree with them that dissenters apologize far too often.

Democracy thrives on talk and debate, and it is not for the faint of heart. I read things every day in the media and hear things every day at my job that I find exasperating and insulting, including falsehoods and half-truths about people who are my friends. Offense and upset go with the territory; they are part and parcel of an open society. We should be teaching our young people to get used to these things, but instead we are teaching them the opposite.

Disliking, avoiding, and shunning people who don’t share our politics is not good for our country. We live together, and we need to solve our problems together. It is also always possible that people we disagree with have something to offer, something to contribute, something to teach us. We ignore this at our peril. As Heather Mac Donald wrote in National Review on August 29: “What if the progressive analysis of inequality is wrong . . . and a cultural analysis is closest to the truth? If confronting the need to change behavior is punishable ‘hate speech,’ then it is hard to see how the country can resolve its social problems.” In other words, we are at risk of being led astray by received opinion.

The American way is to conduct free and open debate in a civil manner. We should return to doing that on our college campuses and in our society at large.

This Civil War, by Daniel Greenfield [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 3:31 pm

This Civil War – My South Carolina Tea Party Convention Speech
Posted by Daniel Greenfield 27 Comments

(The following is the speech that I delivered this Sunday at the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Convention in Myrtle Beach. My appreciation to Joe Dugan and everyone involved in organizing it and making it a reality once again. And to Don Neuen and Donna Fiducia of Cowboy Logic Radio for the introduction. And to anyone and everyone still fighting the good fight.)

This is a civil war.

There aren’t any soldiers marching on Charleston… or Myrtle Beach. Nobody’s getting shot in the streets. Except in Chicago… and Baltimore, Detroit and Washington D.C.

But that’s not a civil war. It’s just what happens when Democrats run a city into the ground. And then they dig a hole in the ground so they can bury it even deeper.

If you look deep enough into that great big Democrat hole, you might even see where Jimmy Hoffa is buried.

But it’s not guns that make a civil war. It’s politics.

Guns are how a civil war ends. Politics is how it begins.

How do civil wars happen?

Two or more sides disagree on who runs the country. And they can’t settle the question through elections because they don’t even agree that elections are how you decide who’s in charge.

That’s the basic issue here. Who decides who runs the country? When you hate each other but accept the election results, you have a country. When you stop accepting election results, you have a countdown to a civil war.

I know you’re all thinking about President Trump.

He won and the establishment, the media, the democrats, rejected the results. They came up with a whole bunch of conspiracy theories to explain why he didn’t really win. It was the Russians. And the FBI. And sexism, Obama, Bernie Sanders and white people.

It’s easier to make a list of the things that Hillary Clinton doesn’t blame for losing the election. It’s going to be a short list.

A really short list. Herself.

The Mueller investigation is about removing President Trump from office and overturning the results of an election. We all know that. But it’s not the first time they’ve done this.

The first time a Republican president was elected this century, they said he didn’t really win. The Supreme Court gave him the election. There’s a pattern here.

Trump didn’t really win the election. Bush didn’t really win the election. Every time a Republican president won an election this century, the Democrats insist he didn’t really win.

Now say a third Republican president wins an election in say, 2024.

What are the odds that they’ll say that he didn’t really win? Right now, it looks like 100 percent.

What do sure odds of the Dems rejecting the next Republican president really mean? It means they don’t accept the results of any election that they don’t win.

It means they don’t believe that transfers of power in this country are determined by elections.

That’s a civil war.

There’s no shooting. At least not unless you count the attempt to kill a bunch of Republicans at a charity baseball game practice. But the Democrats have rejected our system of government.

This isn’t dissent. It’s not disagreement.

You can hate the other party. You can think they’re the worst thing that ever happened to the country. But then you work harder to win the next election. When you consistently reject the results of elections that you don’t win, what you want is a dictatorship.

Your very own dictatorship.

The only legitimate exercise of power in this country, according to the left, is its own. Whenever Republicans exercise power, it’s inherently illegitimate.

The attacks on Trump show that elections don’t matter to the left.

Republicans can win an election, but they have a major flaw. They’re not leftists.

That’s what the leftist dictatorship looks like.

The left lost Congress. They lost the White House. So what did they do? They began trying to run the country through Federal judges and bureaucrats.

Every time that a Federal judge issues an order saying that the President of the United States can’t scratch his own back without his say so, that’s the civil war.

Our system of government is based on the constitution, but that’s not the system that runs this country.

The left’s system is that any part of government that it runs gets total and unlimited power over the country.

If it’s in the White House, then the president can do anything. And I mean anything. He can have his own amnesty for illegal aliens. He can fine you for not having health insurance. His power is unlimited.

He’s a dictator.

But when Republicans get into the White House, suddenly the President can’t do anything. He isn’t even allowed to undo the illegal alien amnesty that his predecessor illegally invented.

A Democrat in the White House has “discretion” to completely decide every aspect of immigration policy. A Republican doesn’t even have the “discretion” to reverse him.

That’s how the game is played. That’s how our country is run.

When Democrats control the Senate, then Harry Reid and his boys and girls are the sane, wise heads that keep the crazy guys in the House in check.

But when Republicans control the Senate, then it’s an outmoded body inspired by racism.

When Democrats run the Supreme Court, then it has the power to decide everything in the country. But when Republicans control the Supreme Court, it’s a dangerous body that no one should pay attention to.

When a Democrat is in the White House, states aren’t even allowed to enforce immigration law. But when a Republican is in the White House, states can create their own immigration laws.

Under Obama, a state wasn’t allowed to go to the bathroom without asking permission. But under Trump, Jerry Brown can go around saying that California is an independent republic and sign treaties with other countries.

The Constitution has something to say about that.

Whether it’s Federal or State, Executive, Legislative or Judiciary, the left moves power around to run the country. If it controls an institution, then that institution is suddenly the supreme power in the land.

This is what I call a moving dictatorship.

There isn’t one guy in a room somewhere issuing the orders. Instead there’s a network of them. And the network moves around.

If the guys and girls in the network win elections, they can do it from the White House. If they lose the White House, they’ll do it from Congress. If they don’t have either one, they’ll use the Supreme Court.

If they don’t have either the White House, Congress or the Supreme Court, they’re screwed. Right?


They just go on issuing them through circuit courts and the bureaucracy. State governments announce that they’re independent republics. Corporations begin threatening and suing the government.

There’s no consistent legal standard. Only a political one.

Under Obama, states weren’t allowed to enforce immigration laws. That was the job of the Federal government. And the states weren’t allowed to interfere with the job that the Feds weren’t doing.


Now Trump comes into office and starts enforcing immigration laws again. And California announces it’s a sanctuary state and passes a law punishing businesses that cooperate with Federal immigration enforcement.

So what do we have here?

It’s illegal for states to enforce immigration law because that’s the province of the Federal government. But it’s legal for states to ban the Federal government from enforcing immigration law.

The only consistent pattern here is that the left decided to make it illegal to enforce immigration law.

It may do that sometimes under the guise of Federal power or states rights. But those are just fronts. The only consistent thing is that leftist policies are mandatory and opposing them is illegal.

Everything else is just a song and dance routine.

That’s how it works. It’s the moving dictatorship. It’s the tyranny of the network.

You can’t pin it down. There’s no one office or one guy. It’s a network of them. It’s an ideological dictatorship. Some people call it the deep state. But that doesn’t even begin to capture what it is.

To understand it, you have to think about things like the Cold War and Communist infiltration.

A better term than Deep State is Shadow Government.

Parts of the Shadow Government aren’t even in the government. They are wherever the left holds power. It can be in the non-profit sector and among major corporations. Power gets moved around like a New York City shell game. Where’s the quarter? Nope, it’s not there anymore.

The shadow government is an ideological network. These days it calls itself by a hashtag #Resistance. Under any name, it runs the country. Most of the time we don’t realize that. When things are normal, when there’s a Democrat in the White House or a bunch of Democrats in Congress, it’s business as usual.

Even with most Republican presidents, you didn’t notice anything too out of the ordinary. Sure, the Democrats got their way most of the time. But that’s how the game is usually played.

It’s only when someone came on the scene who didn’t play the game by the same rules, that the network exposed itself. The shadow government emerged out of hiding and came for Trump.

And that’s the civil war.

This is a war over who runs the country. Do the people who vote run the country or does this network that can lose an election, but still get its agenda through, run the country?

We’ve been having this fight for a while. But this century things have escalated.

They escalated a whole lot after Trump’s win because the network isn’t pretending anymore. It sees the opportunity to delegitimize the whole idea of elections.

Now the network isn’t running the country from cover. It’s actually out here trying to overturn the results of an election and remove the president from office.

It’s rejected the victories of two Republican presidents this century.

And if we don’t stand up and confront it, and expose it for what it is, it’s going to go on doing it in every election. And eventually Federal judges are going to gain enough power that they really will overturn elections.

It happens in other countries. If you think it can’t happen here, you haven’t been paying attention to the left.

Right now, Federal judges are declaring that President Trump isn’t allowed to govern because his Tweets show he’s a racist. How long until they say that a president isn’t even allowed to take office because they don’t like his views?

That’s where we’re headed.

Civil wars swing around a very basic question. The most basic question of them all. Who runs the country?

Is it me? Is it you? Is it Grandma? Or is it bunch of people who made running the government into their career?

America was founded on getting away from professional government. The British monarchy was a professional government. Like all professional governments, it was hereditary. Professional classes eventually decide to pass down their privileges to their kids.

America was different. We had a volunteer government. That’s what the Founding Fathers built.

This is a civil war between volunteer governments elected by the people and professional governments elected by… well… uh… themselves.

Of the establishment, by the establishment and for the establishment.

You know, the people who always say they know better, no matter how many times they screw up, because they’re the professionals. They’ve been in Washington D.C. politics since they were in diapers.

Freedom can only exist under a volunteer government. Because everyone is in charge. Power belongs to the people.

A professional government is going to have to stamp out freedom sooner or later. Freedom under a professional government can only be a fiction. Whenever the people disagree with the professionals, they’re going to have to get put down. That’s just how it is. No matter how it’s disguised, a professional government is tyranny.

Ours is really well disguised, but if it walks like a duck and locks you up like a duck, it’s a tyranny.

Now what’s the left.

Forget all the deep answers. The left is a professional government.

It’s whole idea is that everything needs to be controlled by a big central government to make society just. That means everything from your soda sizes to whether you can mow your lawn needs to be decided in Washington D.C.

Volunteer governments are unjust. Professional governments are fair. That’s the credo of the left.

Its network, the one we were just discussing, it takes over professional governments because it shares their basic ideas. Professional governments, no matter who runs them, are convinced that everything should run through the professionals. And the professionals are usually lefties. If they aren’t, they will be.

Just ask Mueller and establishment guys like him.

What infuriates professional government more than anything else? An amateur, someone like President Trump who didn’t spend his entire adult life practicing to be president, taking over the job.

President Trump is what volunteer government is all about.

When you’re a government professional, you’re invested in keeping the system going. But when you’re a volunteer, you can do all the things that the experts tell you can’t be done. You can look at the mess we’re in with fresh eyes and do the common sense things that President Trump is doing.

And common sense is the enemy of government professionals. It’s why Trump is such a threat.

A Republican government professional would be bad enough. But a Republican government volunteer does that thing you’re not supposed to do in government… think differently.

Professional government is a guild. Like medieval guilds. You can’t serve in if you’re not a member. If you haven’t been indoctrinated into its arcane rituals. If you aren’t in the club.

And Trump isn’t in the club. He brought in a bunch of people who aren’t in the club with him.

Now we’re seeing what the pros do when amateurs try to walk in on them. They spy on them, they investigate them and they send them to jail. They use the tools of power to bring them down.

That’s not a free country.

It’s not a free country when FBI agents who support Hillary take out an “insurance policy” against Trump winning the election. It’s not a free country when Obama officials engage in massive unmasking of the opposition. It’s not a free country when the media responds to the other guy winning by trying to ban the conservative media that supported him from social media. It’s not a free country when all of the above collude together to overturn an election because the guy who wasn’t supposed to win, won.

We’re in a civil war between conservative volunteer government and leftist professional government.

The pros have made it clear that they’re not going to accept election results anymore. They’re just going to make us do whatever they want. They’re in charge and we better do what they say.

That’s the war we’re in. And it’s important that we understand that.

Because this isn’t a shooting war yet. And I don’t want to see it become one.

And before the shooting starts, civil wars are fought with arguments. To win, you have to understand what the big picture argument is. It’s easy to get bogged down in arguments that don’t matter or won’t really change anything.

This is the argument that changes everything.

Do we have a government of the people and by the people? Or do we have a tyranny of the professionals?

The Democrats try to dress up this argument in leftist social justice babble. Those fights are worth having. But sometimes we need to pull back the curtain on what this is really about.

They’ve tried to rig the system. They’ve done it by gerrymandering, by changing the demographics of entire states through immigration, by abusing the judiciary and by a thousand different tricks.

But civil wars come down to an easy question. Who runs the country?

They’ve given us their answer and we need to give them our answer.

Both sides talk about taking back the country. But who are they taking it back for?

The left uses identity politics. It puts supposed representatives of entire identity groups up front. We’re taking the country back for women and for black people, and so on and so forth…

But nobody elected their representatives.

Identity groups don’t vote for leaders. All the black people in the country never voted to make Shaun King al Al Sharpton their representative. And women sure as hell didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton.

What we have in America is a representative government. A representative government makes freedom possible because it actually represents people, instead of representing ideas.

The left’s identity politics only represents ideas. Nobody gets to vote on them.

Instead the left puts out representatives from different identity politics groups, there’s your gay guy, there’s three women, there’s a black man, as fronts for their professional government system.

When they’re taking back the country, it’s always for professional government. It’s never for the people.

When conservatives fight to take back the country, it’s for the people. It’s for volunteer government the way that the Founding Fathers wanted it to be.

This is a civil war over whether the American people are going to govern themselves. Or are they going to be governed.

Are we going to have a government of the people, by the people and for the people… or are we going to have a government.

The kind of government that most countries have where a few special people decide what’s best for everyone.

We tried that kind of government under the British monarchy. And we had a revolution because we didn’t like it.

But that revolution was met with a counterrevolution by the left. The left wants a monarchy. It wants King Obama or Queen Oprah.

It wants to end government of the people, by the people and for the people. That’s what they’re fighting for. That’s what we’re fighting against. The stakes are as big as they’re ever going to get. Do elections matter anymore?

I live in the state of Ronald Reagan. I can go visit the Ronald Reagan Library any time I want to. But today California has one party elections. There are lots of elections and propositions. There’s all the theater of democracy, but none of the substance. Its political system is as free and open as the Soviet Union.

And that can be America.

The Trump years are going to decide if America survives. When his time in office is done, we’re either going to be California or a free nation once again.

The civil war is out in the open now and we need to fight the good fight. And we must fight to win.

January 24, 2018

Mythologies of Illegal Immigration, by Victor Davis Hanson [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 3:43 pm

Mythologies of Illegal Immigration
January 23, 2018 1:27 pm / Leave a Comment / Victor Davis Hanson
By Victor Davis Hanson| American Greatness

The illegal immigration debate has come to a head once again. Congress remains at an impasse over a temporary spending bill that Senate Democrats refuse to support unless it includes a provision that would allow several hundred thousand illegal aliens to remain in the United States without fear of deportation. It’s a tiresome ploy by the Democrats, abetted by their allies in the media, using deceptive language to paint a false picture that blurs the distinction between legal and illegal, citizen and foreigner, justice and injustice.

Enough obfuscation. Here are some of the most pernicious myths of illegal immigration, debunked.

The System is “Broken”
Broken for whom exactly? Not for Mexico and Latin America. Together they garner $50 billion in annual remittances. The majority of such transfers are likely sent from illegal aliens.

Some of that largess is also subsidized by the entitlements American taxpayers pay that free up this disposable cash for sending abroad. In the eyes of Mexico and Latin America, the only thing that would make our system appear “broken” would be enforcing existing U.S. immigration law.

Or perhaps “broken” would be defined as novel ways of paying for Trump’s wall—by either taxing remittances or so discouraging illegal immigration that a reduction of dollar outflows could be counted (at least rhetorically) as down payments on border construction.

The immigration system is also clearly not broken for the Democratic Party. It has turned California blue. It soon will do the same to Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico, and someday may flip Arizona and Texas.

If the statist, redistributionist, and identity politics principles of the Democrats no longer appeal to 51 percent of the electorate, then why would they give up on the annual investment in nearly hundreds of thousands of new arrivals that by some means, and in the not too distant future, would translate into loyal, politically predictable voters for whom this approach to politics is second nature?

Employers believe the system is anything but broken. Any good news for the country about skyrocketing minority employment numbers is likely to be bad news for them if it means declining numbers of cheaper illegal aliens to hire. Open borders have ensured the hiring of industrious workers at cheap wages while passing on the accruing health, educational, legal, and criminal justice costs to the taxpayer. The present system is “working” well enough for this crowd; its possible replacement instead would be defined as “broken.”

Ethnic tribunes support illegal immigration. If the border were closed and the melting pot allowed to work, the façade of identity politics would vanish in a generation.

Recently added accents would be dropped. Hyphenated names would disappear. Trilled r’s would become rare. La Raza/Chicano/Latino Studies programs would become about as popular as Basque or Portuguese. If immigrants from Mexico came in measured numbers, legally, with high-school diplomas, and along with diverse immigrants from all over the world, then rapid assimilation and integration would soon render them politically individuals, not tribes. Someone like California Senate Leader Kevin de León (born Kevin Alexander Leon) would never have needed a preposition and an accent mark.

Broken? More likely, most welcomed.

Illegal aliens, of course, believe the present system is working well, at least compared to the possible alternatives. Legal applicants, still faithfully believing in a now-nonexistent system, wait in line. Those south of the border simply cross.

The moment Mexican citizens—unlike Poles, Australians, or Koreans—reach American soil they or their children, in theory, will become categorized as a minority eligible for government affirmative action and preferred hiring. It is as if Los Angeles or Reno had something to do with the centuries-long racial oppression by an ethnically Spanish-legacy elite 500 miles south of the border.

American elites welcome illegal immigration, both for the cheap labor and for the opportunity to virtue signal their magnanimity, perhaps as much as they seem rarely to live adjacent to the barrio or keep their children in schools that are impacted by immigrants, and or shop where English is rarely spoken.

In sum, the system is working for everyone. It is broken only for the naïfs who worry over the long-term consequences of rendering the law null and void, and of ceding our culture to arriving populations for the most part not yet accustomed to the habits that sustain personal and political freedom.

But the “Dreamers”!
There are 700,000-800,000 DACA recipients, though no one knows the exact numbers. Nor is there a clear definition of who constitutes the population of the “Dreamers,” other than arriving into the United States illegally as a minor. It is an ossified concept, one frozen in amber, given that the average age of a so-called “Dreamer” around 25. When a Dreamer reaches 40, is he still defined as a Dreamer? Or have his “dreams” already come true?

Naturally, minors should not be penalized for the transgressions of their parents. But a large percentage of the DACA cohort is now six or more years into adulthood. Yet upon turning 18 apparently, most have made little effort to obtain either green cards or citizenship.

College graduation and military service are often referenced as DACA talking points. In truth, some studies suggest that just one in 20 dreamers graduated from college. One in a 1,000 has served in the military. So far, about eight times more Dreamers have not graduated from high school than have graduated from college.

Dreamers represent less than 10 percent of all illegal aliens residing in the United States. They are also a fraction of the ignored millions of foreign students from all over the world who seek, often in vain, to study in the United States or are skilled applicants for green cards. Such depressing statistics about DACA might not matter—if supporters of open borders did not always cite incomplete or misleading data.

Weaponizing the Language
Most of the vocabulary surrounding illegal immigration is both politicized and weaponized—as we have seen with “Dreamers.”

Illegal immigration is conflated with legal immigration in order to smear critics with charges of biases against the “other” rather than of simply expressing concerns over legality and sovereignty. By progressive prepping of the linguistic battlefield, some conservatives feel a continued need to “prove” they are not racists by granting more and more exemptions from immigration laws.

“Sanctuary cities” are not “sanctuaries” in the manner we think of a cathedral in a Victor Hugo novel. They are nullification centers where foreign nationals who have broken laws are not subject to full enforcement of immigration laws, due entirely to political considerations.

“Sanctuary city” is not an abstract philosophical term. None of the current sanctuary cities would agree in principle with other jurisdictions in similar fashion nullifying federal laws that advanced left-wing policy objectives. The sobriquet is a euphemism for 1850s-style proto-Confederate, states-rights chauvinism, dressed up similarly in pseudo-moralistic terms.

“Undocumented immigrant” suggests that the problem is a matter of forgetting to bring legal documents, rather than a decision to ignore the need for legal authorization. To become “un-documented” one might first have had to become “documented.” Yet almost no illegal aliens ever were registered as immigrant applicants.

“Undocumented” replaced the adjective “illegal,” just as “immigrant” (and increasingly just “migrant”) superseded the noun “alien.” That is, when the Democratic Party realized that swelling Latino populations began to vote en masse and could salvage what its failing message could not.

At that point, around 2010 or so, the old Democratic and progressive admonitions about illegal immigration cutting the wages of the poor, impeding unionization, and siphoning away social welfare entitlements from the citizen poor were finally and completely jettisoned (along with the language once used by Jimmy Carter and the Clintons). Euphemisms replaced descriptive vocabulary in efforts to construct a new reality.

“Diversity” is often associated with illegal immigration. In fact, the majority of illegal immigrants come from Latin American and Mexico. They are hardly diverse. Real diversity would be recalibrating immigration to be legal, meritocratic, and aimed at roughly equal representation from Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe—and thus politically unpredictable.

Political Epithets: Racism and Xenophobia
The cargo of illiberal accusations is likewise constructed, given the United States is the most pro-Latino country in the world, Mexico included. Half of all immigrants, both legal and illegal, come either from Mexico or Latin America—a sort of inverse racism that assumes illegal Spanish-speaking immigrants are intrinsically more deserving of U.S. residence than legal immigration applicants from Uganda, South Korea, or Ukraine.

The constitution of Mexico carefully delineates all sorts of offices that are not open to naturalized citizens. It lists a variety of immigration offenses that result in automatic deportation or imprisonment—the constant theme being Mexico wants skilled immigrants who can help Mexico (consistent with its constitutional prohibitions against any immigration that might adversely affect “the equilibrium of the national demographics”).

What is also not diverse is Mexico and Latin America. The vast majorities of the population there share roughly similar ethnic heritages and a common language and religion; small numbers of minorities such as blacks are treated as second-class citizens.

Strange, too, are the outward theatrics and themes of illegal alien activism—the frequent waving of Mexican flags, the often loud criticism of a generous host country, the usual demands made upon a foreign nation—mysteriously coupled with the overwhelming desire of millions to enter or remain in the supposedly demonic United States. Waving a flag of a country that one does not wish to return to while shunning the flag of a country in which one very much wishes to reside is incoherent.

What is humane and progressive is defining people by the content of their character rather than by their superficial appearance or ethnic affinities—a notion contrary to the engine of identity politics. Finally, many ethnic activists are accepting that reality. Why otherwise would the National Council of La Raza belatedly at last drop the nomenclature of “The Race” shortly after the 2016 election to become UnidosUS (“us united”)?

Is America Great or Not?
The entire image of the United States has been smeared in most discussions of illegal immigration.

The thrust of ethnic studies departments, the narratives of open borders activists, the pageantry and symbolism of mass immigration demonstrations, and the chauvinism embedded into popular culture is mostly couched in implicit anti-Americanism. At least we are led to believe that a culpable America has done wrong in the present and the past, and has to restore its morality by allowing open borders and illegal immigration. But who are the arbiters of American ethics? Vicente Fox? MS-13 gang-bangers? Those whose first act in entering America was to break its laws?

Millions are fleeing paradigms that they apparently judged as wanting, either politically, economically, or socially, or all that and more. Why, then, would foreign nationals have ceased romanticizing their new generous hosts upon their arrival and begun idealizing, instead, their rejected birthplace? And if these are their true feelings on the matter, why did they leave?

Second, there rarely is expressed any formal analysis of why one wishes to enter the United States and leave one’s home country.

What, then, exactly makes a naturally rich Mexico rather poor and naturally poor New Mexico rather rich? Why is Venezuela a mess and Colorado is not? Has anyone prohibited Mexico from reformatting its constitution to ensure an independent judiciary, the rule of law, a free-market economy, the protection and free sale of private property, a bill of rights, unfettered free speech, a meritocratic civil service, transparency in law enforcement, and an ethnically blind culture?

The question is not just mindless American boosterism. In the past, immigrants accepted that they had left Ireland, Italy, or Poland because habits, customs, and government in their home countries were deemed wanting and unworkable, and therefore it was necessary to embrace their antitheses in the United States. It would have made no sense to flee from Italy and expect to live life in America on the premises that an Italian lived in Italy. Immigration, again brutally or not, is a complex two-step hard bargain that succeeds only when one accepts his chosen country—and de facto rejects the collective protocols of his birthplace.

Why do these mythologies abound? Largely because Americans, the hosts, either cannot anymore even define their own civilization to would-be immigrants, or are so intimidated that they are terrified to even try.

January 18, 2018

A Few Words About Words, by Col A Latorre USMC (ret)

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 8:07 pm

A Few Words About Words

Don’t know about you, but I have been somewhat amazed & amused by the outpouring of distress regarding the use of the vulgar word” shithole”. (Thanks to John Kerry, who brought the word back from extinction, shall we say kerfuffle?)

Now, as an Officer of Marines, I worked very hard at avoiding obscene verbiage, although admittedly some times without success. The avoidance of profane language was, in truth, a much greater challenge. With regard to vulgar terminology well let’s say I learned at the feet of the most talented and original users and creators of vulgar terminology: Marine Staff Non-Commissioned Officers!

The essential element in the deciphering of any language, be it orthodox or non-orthodox, is identifying to what does the word infer or refer. In the case of the word in question, shithole refers to a PLACE and not a person or a people. For one to refer in a vulgar manner to a person or a people, the appropriate term would be “shithead” or “dickhead” or better yet, the more popular “asshole”.

Typically, the word shithole would be used in two consecutive and highly dependent sentences: Jeez, what a “shithole”! followed immediately by Clean this shithole up!!. In neither sentence does the word shithole refer to its inhabitants, although there may be an asshole or two in the group.

No doubt Marines and our brethren Soldiers clearly comprehend this distinction. Air Force officers surely would not use such language, and besides, they have contract laborers to clean things up. Similarly, the use of the word would be beneath the dignity of a Navy officer; that’s why they have Chiefs and Swabbies.

Like many of you to whom this email is addressed, I have been to a shithole or two in my time. I believe I know of which I speak. Certainly, we have seen our share in SEA, but until you have stood in some wadi shithole in the Sudan or Somalia or Oman, well, you haven’t lived!

So, in the interest of enlightening the over-educated, yet blithely ignorant masses, you have my permission to disseminate the important distinction in the use of vulgar terminology I have attempted to illuminate.

Peace be with you. Semper Fidelis!

Tony Latorre

Col USMC (Ret)

January 17, 2018

What I Learned in the Peace Corps in Africa: Trump is Right, by Karin McQuillan

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 11:30 pm

What I Learned in the Peace Corps in Africa: Trump Is Right

By Karin McQuillan

Three weeks after college, I flew to Senegal, West Africa, to run a community center in a rural town. Life was placid, with no danger, except to your health. That danger was considerable, because it was, in the words of the Peace Corps doctor, “a fecalized environment.”

In plain English: s— is everywhere. People defecate on the open ground, and the feces is blown with the dust – onto you, your clothes, your food, the water. He warned us the first day of training: do not even touch water. Human feces carries parasites that bore through your skin and cause organ failure.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that a few decades later, liberals would be pushing the lie that Western civilization is no better than a third-world country. Or would teach two generations of our kids that loving your own culture and wanting to preserve it are racism.

Last time I was in Paris, I saw a beautiful African woman in a grand boubou have her child defecate on the sidewalk next to Notre Dame Cathedral. The French police officer, ten steps from her, turned his head not to see.

I have seen. I am not turning my head and pretending unpleasant things are not true.

Senegal was not a hellhole. Very poor people can lead happy, meaningful lives in their own cultures’ terms. But they are not our terms. The excrement is the least of it. Our basic ideas of human relations, right and wrong, are incompatible.

As a twenty-one-year-old starting out in the Peace Corps, I loved Senegal. In fact, I was euphoric. I quickly made friends and had an adopted family. I relished the feeling of the brotherhood of man. People were open, willing to share their lives and, after they knew you, their innermost thoughts.

The longer I lived there, the more I understood: it became blindingly obvious that the Senegalese are not the same as us. The truths we hold to be self-evident are not evident to the Senegalese. How could they be? Their reality is totally different. You can’t understand anything in Senegal using American terms.

Take something as basic as family. Family was a few hundred people, extending out to second and third cousins. All the men in one generation were called “father.” Senegalese are Muslim, with up to four wives. Girls had their clitorises cut off at puberty. (I witnessed this, at what I thought was going to be a nice coming-of-age ceremony, like a bat mitzvah or confirmation.) Sex, I was told, did not include kissing. Love and friendship in marriage were Western ideas. Fidelity was not a thing. Married women would have sex for a few cents to have cash for the market.

http://admin.americanthinker.com/images/bucket/2018-01/203589_5_.pngWhat I did witness every day was that women were worked half to death. Wives raised the food and fed their own children, did the heavy labor of walking miles to gather wood for the fire, drew water from the well or public faucet, pounded grain with heavy hand-held pestles, lived in their own huts, and had conjugal visits from their husbands on a rotating basis with their co-wives. Their husbands lazed in the shade of the trees.

Yet family was crucial to people there in a way Americans cannot comprehend.

The Ten Commandments were not disobeyed – they were unknown. The value system was the exact opposite. You were supposed to steal everything you can to give to your own relatives. There are some Westernized Africans who try to rebel against the system. They fail.

We hear a lot about the kleptocratic elites of Africa. The kleptocracy extends through the whole society. My town had a medical clinic donated by international agencies. The medicine was stolen by the medical workers and sold to the local store. If you were sick and didn’t have money, drop dead. That was normal.

So here in the States, when we discovered that my 98-year-old father’s Muslim health aide from Nigeria had stolen his clothes and wasn’t bathing him, I wasn’t surprised. It was familiar.

In Senegal, corruption ruled, from top to bottom. Go to the post office, and the clerk would name an outrageous price for a stamp. After paying the bribe, you still didn’t know it if it would be mailed or thrown out. That was normal.

One of my most vivid memories was from the clinic. One day, as the wait grew hotter in the 110-degree heat, an old woman two feet from the medical aides – who were chatting in the shade of a mango tree instead of working – collapsed to the ground. They turned their heads so as not to see her and kept talking. She lay there in the dirt. Callousness to the sick was normal.

Americans think it is a universal human instinct to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It’s not. It seems natural to us because we live in a Bible-based Judeo-Christian culture.

We think the Protestant work ethic is universal. It’s not. My town was full of young men doing nothing. They were waiting for a government job. There was no private enterprise. Private business was not illegal, just impossible, given the nightmare of a third-world bureaucratic kleptocracy. It is also incompatible with Senegalese insistence on taking care of relatives.

http://admin.americanthinker.com/images/bucket/2018-01/203590_5_.pngAll the little stores in Senegal were owned by Mauritanians. If a Senegalese wanted to run a little store, he’d go to another country. The reason? Your friends and relatives would ask you for stuff for free, and you would have to say yes. End of your business. You are not allowed to be a selfish individual and say no to relatives. The result: Everyone has nothing.

The more I worked there and visited government officials doing absolutely nothing, the more I realized that no one in Senegal had the idea that a job means work. A job is something given to you by a relative. It provides the place where you steal everything to give back to your family.

I couldn’t wait to get home. So why would I want to bring Africa here? Non-Westerners do not magically become American by arriving on our shores with a visa.

For the rest of my life, I enjoyed the greatest gift of the Peace Corps: I love and treasure America more than ever. I take seriously my responsibility to defend our culture and our country and pass on the American heritage to the next generation.

African problems are made worse by our aid efforts. Senegal is full of smart, capable people. They will eventually solve their own country’s problems. They will do it on their terms, not ours. The solution is not to bring Africans here.

We are lectured by Democrats that we must privilege third-world immigration by the hundred million with chain migration. They tell us we must end America as a white, Western, Judeo-Christian, capitalist nation – to prove we are not racist. I don’t need to prove a thing. Leftists want open borders because they resent whites, resent Western achievements, and hate America. They want to destroy America as we know it.

As President Trump asked, why would we do that?

We have the right to choose what kind of country to live in. I was happy to donate a year of my life as a young woman to help the poor Senegalese. I am not willing to donate my country.

January 16, 2018

Crudeness, Double Standard, Political Correctness, and “Truth”, by Capt John USN FBI

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 11:58 pm

Crudeness, Double Standard, Political Correctness, and “Truth”

By Capt Joseph R. John, January 16, 2018: Op Ed # 379

Once again we are exposed to the double standard of the misleading “radical left of center liberal media establishment”; ignoring what Obama said two short years ago in the attachment, what other elected politicians said listed below, and pouncing out of control on the “truth” President Trump may have uttered this week in the “privacy” of a closed White House meeting. The President, two Senators, and the Secretary of Homeland Security that were in the meeting said President Trump did not say what that squirrely, tattle tale, twofaced, weasel, Durbin leaked to the press in violation of what has come to be expected of a closed and private White House meeting—for the purposes of this Op Ed, I will assume President Trump did say what Durbin said, he said.

Elected politicians who used foul language in public, that the left of center liberal media is trying to cover up, so Americans would think that the one word that may have been uttered by President Trump in the privacy of a closed White House meeting, not in public, was so unbelievable for any elected politician to say, and it was not “Politically Correct”:

President Truman called General MacArthur —“a dumb son of a bitch”

President Kennedy called Canada Prime Minister Diefenbaker —“a dumb son of a bitch”

President Johnson said the difference between Senators and Congressmen—”is the difference between chicken salad and chicken s—-”

President Johnson when chiding Canada Prime Minster Pearson—“you pissed on my rug”

President Obama referred to Libya as a —“a Shit Show’

President Obama when referring to the BP Gulf oil spill wanted to know—“whose ass to kick”

President Obama referred to Kanye West as —“a jackass”

Vice President Garner, Roosevelt’s VP, said the job of VP—“was not worth a pitcher of warm piss”

Vice President Biden called Obama care—“a big f_______ deal”

Vice President Cheney shouted to Senator Leahy on the Senate floor—-“go f___ yourself”

Senator John Kerry on Iraq—“did I expect George Bush to f____ it up?”

Gov George W. Bush called NYT Reporter Clymer—“a major league asshole”

Certain countries are dangerous to even walk around in—I have been in many of them. They have corrupt governments, fail to educate their youth, refuse to take care of their sick and dying, fail to properly feed their citizens, have many bad ideas about governing, have false religions, have population involved in criminal activities with little concern about right or wrong, have broken cultures, have young males who don’t respect women & rape them, in some countries young boys are sexual slaves, in some cultures male adults are engage in sexual activities with barn yard animals, some local water system are full of communicable diseases, in some countries roadside ditches are used as community latrines, some countries have populations who support terrorism, some cultures have extremely poor sanitary & personal hygiene standards, some countries support and promote the drug culture, some countries do not inoculate their citizens to prevent diseases, some countries are full of rubbish on the streets and in the water, some countries have diseased flies and mosquitos repeatedly infecting the population, etc.

When refugees and illegal aliens arrive in the US they are not quarantined, which is required by US Federal Immigration Law and US Public Health Regulations, as immigrants once were at Ricker’s Island. Illegal Aliens have been introducing communicable diseases, that were once eliminated, back into the public school systems. Diseases that were once under control are being exposed to public school children, like ring worm, mumps, Scalia, polio, hepatitis, malaria, scarlet fever, typhus, small pox, yellow fever, etc. Illegal immigrants, without vaccinations, have not only infected school children, they have been infecting many US Border Patrolmen.

Law abiding and tax paying Americans would not want their children or grandchildren to spend every day in public school rooms with refugees and Illegal Aliens, who arrived from the above listed types of unprincipled and undiscipled countries, who have not been quarantined to detect and treat communicable diseases? The Progressives, elected members of Congress, the Washington elite, and the well-known TV anchors from the left of center liberal media establishment, send their children to private schools, they don’t have to worry about having their children get infected with communicable diseases, or to be held back in their education in very slow moving public schools classes because the illegal aliens and refugees can’t speak, write, or understand English.

The long term goal of the US Immigration System should be to have immigrants eventually help improving society. When considering and then approving the entry of foreigner immigrants into the USA, as immigrants have done for over 100 years, they should be required to renounce their loyalty to their countries of origin, and Pledge Allegiance to the United States. Those immigrants seeking to become new American citizens should be interviewed in advance to ensure that they have skills to support the economy of the US, would have the ability to learn skills to support themselves and the economy of the US, and have no ties to Radical Islamic Terrorists.

The US Immigration Service must ensure that future immigrants will not immediately go on welfare like the 900,000+ Middle East Muslim Refugees that Obama brought into the USA over an 8 year period, while he prevented the FBI from interviewing them to determine if they had terrorist ties. At the same time hundreds of thousands of Muslim Refugees were being brought into the US, for 8 years, Obama refused to let any of the 600,000 Middle East Christian Refugees, being housed and fed by the Greek Catholic Relief Society, from ever immigrating to the US.

The continued attempt to muzzle “Free Speech” and those who disagree with the radical left and progressive Saul Alinsky disciples, is not working for the first time in 8 years, ever since the election of President Donald Trump. The radical left and progressives Saul Alinsky disciples warnings to the public and students in schools & colleges, that certain “truths” spoken openly are not “Politically Correct”, is breaking down and is no longer working . That is driving the radical left, the progressives and the left of center liberal media establishment “insane”, they are coming apart at the seams and striking wildly at President Trump.

The press is now regularly openly vilifying and labeling the President of the United States with names that have never been used against any US President in 242 year—President Trump is the most vilified and attacked president in US History being called on the air and on TV such names as racist, Nazi, Hitler, insane, evil, mad, white supremist, a liar, a thug, a rapist, a moron, bigoted, dishonest, KKK, and so many more names.

The left of center liberal media establishment, the democratic party, the Hollywood elite, the radical leftists, progressives, Marxists, Communists, and Socialists are trying to force American citizens to be “Politically Correct” when referring to the flawed, broken, and illegal immigration policies of the Obama administration. Those policies were destroying the Patriotic fabric of the nation, permitting millions of foreign nationals to maintaining their loyalty to their nations of origin, raise Mexican flags over American public schools, illegally vote in elections, and degrade the Family Values of the Republic. To put it in that well known Obama goal, that he intoned on the day of his election “To fundamentally change the nation.”

Nothing scandalizes the radical left and progressives like the “truth”—the radical left and progressives Alinsky disciples feints being shocked by the “truth” spoken openly in public!! Just don’t do it!!! The radical left and progressives have tried to bully and force America’s youth in school and college to agree, that “truths” spoken openly are not “Politically Correct”—-the radical left, progressives, and now liberal professors in college have been trying to muzzle “Free Speech”, and by so doing, are opposing the US Constitution and the principles upon which the Republic was founded.

No one on the right tries to silence radical left speech, but the radical left, yet progressives, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube try to black list, “shadow ban”, demonize, ostracize, “fact check”, censor, and criminalize—-conservative speech, freedom of speech, support for Christianity, Patriotism, support for President Trump, support for the US Constitution, support for the US Armed Forces, support for the American Flag, and support for the government of the Republic

America does not want to become what Europe is becoming, because of the unbridled open borders and massive immigration of millions of refugees from predominately Muslim countries—-those refugees are mostly single young males, who have a multi-year track record of gang raping women in Germany, Sweden, England, Belgium, and France, and perpetrating Radical Islamic Terrorist attacks across Europe and have perpetrated the 9/11 attack and 215 Radical Islamic Terrorist attacks and attempted attacks in the US killing over 3109 and wounding many thousands of Americans on US soil, here in the United States.

When it comes to the great “Shithole” or “Shit Show” that both Obama and Trump intoned, Americans who support the President don’t particularly care—the “truth” may be viewed by the radical left and progressives as not being “Politically Correct”, but because Americans have a President who is not “Politically Correct”, and outspoken just like most hard working Americans, athletes, military personnel, and members of law enforcement. President Trump reminds them of Andrew Jackson, Winston Churchill, Admiral “Bull” Halsey, and/or General George Patton, he is unvarnished, straightforward, truthful, loves his country, is determined to support members of the military, and is doing his best to protect the lives of his fellow American citizens.

Americans look at the results of one year of the Trump administration, and despite the massive opposition President Trump has been faced with, on both sides of the aisle, he has created outstanding results—–on the battlefield against ISIS, in rebuilding the hollowed out US Military, in the economy with the stock market at record highs and 1.7 million new jobs, bringing unemployment down to 4.1 %(the lowest rate in 17 years), in reducing taxes for all Americans, with the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice and 73 US Federal Judges, in withdrawal from the job killing Paris Climate Accord, withdrawal from the massive open borders for millions of immigrants from 12 nations Trans-Pacific Partnership, in eliminating thousands of growth killing regulations saving the US $8,1 billion, expanding energy infrastructure and production, eliminating the tax penalty on all poor Americans who could not afford the cost of the failed Obamacare Insurance Plan, and so much more.

When looking at the options of having another 8 years of Obama’s failed policies, or of having the corrupt policies that would have been a Hillary Presidency, the majority of Americans will take President Trump, even with the “Shithole” comment, if he ever did say that. Americans will take the crude “truths” of President Jackson, President Truman, and President Trump, rather than the lies that continue to emanate daily from the Washington swamp, from the RINOs who have fought President Trump every step of the way, from the progressives who are Saul Alinsky disciples, and from the radical left of center liberal media establishment that no longer even know what the “truth” is at all; the radical left of center media establishment is now infected by the proponents of propaganda that the Russian Communist promoted for 70 years with their outright lies published in Pravda and Investya .


Copyright by Capt Joseph R. John. All Rights Reserved. The material can only posted on another Web site or distributed on the Internet by giving full credit to the author. It may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without the permission from the author

Joseph R. John, USNA ‘62

Capt USNR(Ret)/Former FBI

Chairman, Combat Veterans For Congress PAC

2307 Fenton Parkway, Suite 107-184

San Diego, CA 92108



Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

-Isaiah 6:8

January 10, 2018

From Resistance to Nullification to What Next? Victor D Hanson [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 5:01 pm

From Resistance to Nullification to What Next?
January 10, 2018 8:22 am / Leave a Comment / Victor Davis Hanson
By Victor Davis Hanson — National Review

Trump’s critics ratchet up to insurrection, but Trump’s tax reforms and our growing economy could derail their dreams.

George H. W. Bush gave up power quietly and turned to charity work and occasional ceremonial speaking after his reelection defeat in 1992. George W. Bush — like Jerry Ford in 1977 and Ronald Reagan in 1989 — did the same when Barack Obama assumed power in 2009.

Unending Presidencies

Recent Democrats emeriti — Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama — apparently had a different vision of the post-presidency, unlike the quiet retirement of Lyndon Johnson back to his ranch in 1969. The three saw politics in more Manichean terms, as an existential struggle far too important to cease at the end of a presidential tenure.

Carter freelanced abroad for 30 years in successful quest for a Nobel Prize, but he often undercut presidential diplomacy. He regularly weighed in on the shortcomings of his successors — in a way he would have deeply resented had either Ford or Richard Nixon done the same.

No sooner had Bill Clinton left the presidency than he and Hillary Clinton began the grand plan for a return to the White House in 2009, and, after a setback, then again in 2017. Theirs was a two-decade long post-presidency of glad-handing, politicking, and, to use a euphemism, quid pro quo fund raising.

Barack Obama has already weighed in, including while overseas, on the shortcomings of his successor. His aides, led by Ben Rhodes, are at the forefront of the “Resistance” to thwart the Trump administration. Susan Rice and John Kerry comment regularly on supposed Trump foreign-policy blunders, as do James Clapper and John Brennan — usually in proactive fashion to deflect news accounts that may reflect poorly on their own past tenures.


But all that said, we have never quite seen anything like the opposition of the so-called Resistance to the elected presidency that followed the Obama tenure.

There were the initial false charges that pro-Trump Russians had shut down power grids in Vermont. There were frivolous suits claiming that voting machines in three states were rigged. There was an organized, anti-constitutional effort to subvert the Electoral College so that it would not reflect the vote tallies of individual states. On Inauguration Day, there were congressional boycotts of the swearing-in ceremony. There were demonstrations at which, to take one example, Madonna envisioned blowing up the Trump White House.

An entire genre of assassination chic followed. Politicians, celebrities, actors, academics, and wannabees variously reenacted beheading Donald Trump, stabbing him to death, shooting him, torching him, hanging him, or, in the words of Robert DeNiro, dreaming of punching Trump in the face. Few in the media were bothered by the imagery or threats. Yet sometimes the hysteria became real violence — as when Bernie Sanders supporter James Hodgkinson’s shot prominent Republican politicians practicing for a charity baseball game, gravely wounding Republican House whip Steven Scalise, or when libertarian senator Rand Paul (present at the Scalise shooting) was attacked and injured by a disturbed neighbor and proponent of socialized medicine.

Formal efforts followed to impeach Trump in his first months of governance. Some evoked the emoluments clause of the Constitution, claiming that Trump had sought the presidency only to profit. Others sought recourse in the 25th Amendment, hoping that he could be removed because of senility, insanity, or debility. A Yale psychiatrist, who has never met Trump, was brought before Congress to confirm that the president was psychologically unfit to continue his office — and then wondered whether he might be physically restrained and forced to undergo examination (apparently unaware that she was getting quite close to advocating a coup d’état and also channeling the old Soviet remedy to political undesirables).

Deep-state bureaucrats and holdover Obama appointees refused to carry out presidential orders and became causes célèbres for violating their oaths of office. Justices were cherry-picked for stays of presidential directives on the basis on their liberal fides — until higher courts overturned their rulings. The Democratic congressional minority made wholescale effort to slow down confirmation of almost every presidential appointment.

Nonpartisan media research organizations found that 90 percent of all news stories concerning President Trump portrayed him negatively — an unprecedented negative rating. Late-night television morphed into 24/7 anti-Trump diatribes.

Journalists as diverse as the New York Times’ Jim Rutenberg and Univision’s Jorge Ramos insisted that reporters could no longer be professionally disinterested in the age of Trump but must become activists to oppose the president and his agendas.

Indeed, the WikiLeaks trove revealed that marquee journalists such as the New York Times’ Glenn Thrush and the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank had actively colluded with the Clinton campaign to massage their news accounts and commentaries. The genre of “fake news” was born — ranging from the trivial of claiming in racist fashion that Trump had removed a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. from the West Wing to the mythologies of a purported Trump plan to invade Mexico. CNN’s journalists and employees were sometimes fired for inventing anti-Trump narratives, or caught on a hot mic wishing for the president’s jet to crash, or reduced to using scatology to express their hatred. The network achieved a 93 percent negative treatment of all Trump news.

Obama political appointments had sought FISA court orders to surveille Trump associates, then unmasked the names and leaked them to friendly journalists, first, to hamper the Trump campaign, later to subvert the Trump transition. A Clinton opposition dossier, based on paid and unnamed Russian sources, peddled false stories to the FBI and Obama-administration Justice Department officials. It may well have been used to obtain the FISA orders.

Career FBI officers used government communications to express their hatred for the new president. Such bias may have fueled their efforts to warp their investigations. The director of the FBI knowingly leaked confidential notes of his meetings with the president. He probably passed on at least one classified document to a friend, with the instruction that it then be passed to a friendly journalist. James Comey’s hope was to ensure an investigation of the president by a special counsel — a position soon to be filled by his close associate and friend.

The deep-state resistance of bureaucrats ranged from the petty and trivial of refusing to hang the picture of the current president in their offices to the more substantial move of slowing down or refusing outright to carry out presidential directives. America had not seen such opposition to an incoming president since 1861.

If any such resistance had faced an incoming Barack Obama, the cries of outrage, media fury, and legal recourse would have proved overwhelming and been framed as a constitutional crisis. But no such pushback occurred. Instead, in 2009, power was transferred peacefully if not amicably.

Yet, so far, the Resistance, despite helping to drive down presidential approval ratings to the low 40 percent range, has not stopped the Trump agenda. The Mueller investigation will likely settle for face-saving charges against a few Trump officials for crimes not envisioned under its original directives. Its own biases and the FBI’s involvement with the discredited Steele dossier may result in a number of successful appeals of those who confessed or acquittals of those charged.

The frustrated Resistance is starting to morph into a more serious crisis of nullification, if not insurrection.

California has just declared itself, in antebellum South Carolina fashion, a sanctuary state. State law supposedly now transcends both local California municipalities that had chosen not to become sanctuary cities and federal immigration law itself. The law is the logical result of the governor’s and the popular culture’s pushback against Trump. Jerry Brown in the past had evoked God to cast aspersion on Trump’s morality: “I don’t think — President Trump has a fear of the Lord, the fear of the wrath of God, which leads one to more humility.” And Brown toured abroad as state commander in chief, as he assured foreign leaders that California was to be dealt with as a near-autonomous country.

One-third of state residents, according to polls, favor Calexit, or withdrawal from the United States. Central to California’s insurrectionist chic is the idea that it is unique and no other state had the moral courage or right to follow its example. California would probably go ballistic, after all, if during the Obama administration, the governor of West Virginia or Kentucky had visited China to cement coal-export agreements that countered Obama policies, or if Utah had declared the Endangered Species Act null and void within its environs, or if Mississippi had decided that federal gun-registration laws would not fully apply within its Second Amendment–sanctuary state.

California apparently has sensed that its nullification efforts are provoking federal officials, and it now scurries to assure Washington that it does not mean to fully oppose all federal immigration efforts. In theory, state officials who bar federal officials from their mandated duties would be subject to federal criminal charges of obstruction. In a more concrete vein, the quarter-built overpasses of the state’s already ossified high-speed rail project — increasingly dependent on federal funds for reactivation — are beginning to resemble an eerie Stonehenge.

Perhaps not by coincidence, the Congress just passed tax-reform legislation that does not allow local and state taxes above $10,000 to be deducted from federal tax returns. For a state that has among the highest sales taxes, the highest property tax assessments in the nation, and highest state-income-tax brackets (rising above 13 percent on the top brackets), the new law doubles the effective state tax rate.

Given that there are a number of low- or no-tax states in California’s neighborhood, and given that the California Democratic party is incapable of reducing the state income rate, the new law may encourage some affluent retirees to flee the state. It would not take many to undermine a key source of state revenue. Note that of some 40 million residents, only about 150,000 individual or household tax returns account for about half of all California income-tax revenue — itself nearly 40 percent of all state income. Note also that progressive California is understandably worried that its affluent tax-paying golden geese may be sacrificed, even while the vast majority of its population will receive sizable tax cuts from the new federal law.
Damning Salvation

In tit-for-tat fashion, will the state seek more nullification measures to push back against the federal government? Legislators are now dreaming of redefining state income tax as deductible “charitable contributions” in order to reinstate federal tax deductions. That pathetic gambit would land an individual filer in the IRS pokey.

Again, California legislators apparently do not realize that any other state could do the same and thereby nullify the entire federal tax system. If they persist, no doubt the Trump Department of Justice would have good grounds to seek indictments against state officials for conspiracy to commit federal income-tax fraud.

So will large blue states continue their defiance of federal laws, whether they involve immigration nullification or their own legalization of marijuana growing and selling? It depends.

Black and Hispanic unemployment rates are now at record lows. Wealthy California high-tech firms like Apple are eager to take advantage of new tax laws and plan to bring back billions of offshored capital that will enrich state coffers.

Declines in illegal immigration, along with an economy running at 3 percent GDP growth, are pushing up the compensation of low-skilled workers in a way that clumsy state-mandated raises in the minimum wage could not.

Ironically, mega-states such as California, Illinois, and New York were close to the brink of insolvency under the calcified Obama economy. But they may enjoy record growth in 2018 that for now mitigates their own regrettable financial decisions. In other words, an expanding economy could turn resistance and nullification into a mostly boutique symbolic enterprise, as thousands of blue-state officials ceremonially damn the policies that may alone offer them salvation.

November 26, 2017

The End of the Yankee Imperium, the Z Blog [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 11:11 pm

The End Of The Yankee Imperium
Posted on November 26, 2017

At the very beginning of the 19th century, the New England states were increasingly at odds with the the Southern states. One cause of the discontent was the sense that the slave states had too much power over the Federal government. Another was the decline in trade with Europe during the Napoleonic Wars. The Embargo Act of 1807 and the Non-Intercourse Act of 1809 sharply reduced trade with Britain and France. There was also the rivalry between the North and South, which dated to the founding the colonies.

Discontent with the War of 1812 brought things to a head. The Federalist Party in New England had been agitating for changes in the Constitution, like eliminating the three-fifths compromise. New England newspapers openly discussed secession. The Hartford Convention was a series of meetings among representatives from the New England states to discuss their grievances. The whole project collapsed with the wave of patriotism that resulted from Jackson’s victory over the British at the Battle of New Orleans.

This episode in American history has largely been forgotten, mostly because the North won the Civil War fifty years later. The winners write the history books and this bit of history has never fit the narrative. It’s also why the The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina has been erased from the history books. Northern conservatives have made John Locke and the Scottish Enlightenment their base. The fact that Locke and Shaftesbury hoped to impose feudalism on the American South is inconvenient.

The point here is that Americans have been raised up on a history of the nation written by Yankeedom. The North won the Civil War so they became the dominant region both legally and economically. Through the 20th century, the North also came to dominate the nation culturally, writing the history books and defining the national narrative. That’s how we get nonsense about the Puritans seeking religious freedom and carving a nation out of the wilderness. Jamestown has been all but erased from the nation’s memory.

The dominance of the North over the rest of the country probably would have petered out in the 20th century, but world events changed the direction of America. Teddy Roosevelt badgered Woodrow Wilson into breaking with American tradition, with regards to getting involved in European affairs. The Yankee desire to dominate North America became a quest to dominate the world. Once the US chose to get into the Great War, the old traditional American conservatism was killed off forever. The Yankee Empire was born.

The aftermath of the Great War, the Depression, World War II and then the Cold War prevented any change in America’s domestic arrangements. These were great unifying events, in that they justified the suppression of anything challenging the established cultural order. The upheavals of the 60’s and 70’s were based in New England, the Upper Midwest and Northern California for a reason. American Conservatism was born at Yale and run out of Connecticut for the same reason. That where the ruling class lived.

All empires end eventually. Often it is from exhaustion, the cost of maintaining the empire having long ago exceeded the benefits. Other times the culture that built the empire runs its course. The empire remains as a brittle outer husk that eventually shatters. Other times, it is a slow, ad hoc retreat back to something resembling normalcy. The Soviet Empire is a good example of this. It’s not been an organized retreat, but it has been a fairly bloodless one. Russia is now back to something close to its historic norm.

America was never built to a be great crusading empire. Even after generations of cultural cleansing, Alabama is still a vastly different place than Vermont. Regionalism is still the defining feature of America. Having one region dominate the others was the fear of the Founders, which is why they struggled to craft a government after independence from the British. The solution was a small federal government that handled a narrow set of things, like war and trade, that could only be done by a central government.

America’s ruling class, especially over the last few decades, have gone to great lengths to explain why providence has ordained America as the world’s peace keeper. The usual suspect have twisted this into a foreign policy of keeping the world safe for the Jewish diaspora. The truth is, the American Empire was always built on serendipity. The total destruction of Europe and the technological backwardness of East Asia left a huge vacuum. The atom bomb locked in the gains of the victors, by locking out all challengers.

The world that birthed the American Empire is long gone. China is now taking up her historic role as the hegemonic power of Asia. Europe is fully recovered, in the material sense, from the 20th century. It is time for Europe to recover culturally and that can only happen when the Yankee Empire recedes. Whether or not the European people have the will to defend themselves from the barbarian hordes to their south, that’s not something that can be decided for them. Europe must live or die on its own.

Domestically, it is long past time for a return to normalcy. The Cold War has been over for 25 years. The rest of the country is economically and demographically in better shape than Yankeedom. The oldest and most sclerotic states in the nation are located in the Northeast and Upper Midwest. The election of Trump and the resulting chaos in Washington strongly suggest the rest of the nation is ready to step outside the shadow of Yankeedom. CalExit and similar rumblings from Progressives are another sign of change.

The fact is, America was never a singular nation. It was a hodgepodge of nations, thrown together with degrees of overlap. The regions of the country share a language and share some history, but they are significant different too. America, maybe even all of North America, is better run as a federation, like a continent sized version of Switzerland. The areas where there can be no agreement are delegated to the regions. The areas where the interests are shared are delegated to a Federal state.

That can only come with the end of the Yankee Imperium.

This post has already been linked to 1966 times!

This entry was posted in Culture, Politics by thezman. Bookmark the permalink.

November 16, 2017

Song of the Open Road, by Walt Whitman [thank you, Volvo]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 1:48 am

Song of the Open Road
By Walt Whitman
Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose,

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune – I myself am good fortune;
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Strong and content, I travel the open road . . .

. . . From this hour, freedom!
From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines,
Going where I list, my own master, total and absolute,
Listening to others, and considering well what they say,
Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating,
Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me . . .

. . . I inhale great draughts of space;
The East and the West and mine, and the North and the South are mine.

I am larger, better than I thought;
I did not know I held so much goodness.

All seems beautiful to me;
I can repeat over to men and women, You have done such good to me,
I would do the same to you.

I will recruit for myself and you as I go;
I will scatter myself among men and women as I go;
I will toss the new gladness and roughness among them;
Whoever denies me, it shall not trouble me;
Whoever accepts me, he or she shall be blessed, and shall bless me.

November 15, 2017

Six boys, 13 Hands, thanks to JohnF for sending [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 3:03 pm


Each year I am hired to go to Washington, DC, with the eighth grade class from Clinton, WI where I grew up, to videotape their trip. I greatly enjoy visiting our nation’s capital, and each year I take some special memories back with me. This fall’s trip was especially memorable.

On the last night of our trip, we stopped at the Iwo Jima memorial. This memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of the most famous photographs in history — that of the six brave soldiers raising the American Flag at the top of a rocky hill on the island of Iwo Jima, Japan, during WW II.

Over one hundred students and chaperones piled off the buses and headed towards the memorial. I noticed a solitary figure at the base of the statue, and as I got closer he asked, ‘Where are you guys from?’

I told him that we were from Wisconsin. ‘Hey, I’m a cheese head, too! Come gather around, Cheese heads, and I will tell you a story.’

(It was James Bradley) who just happened to be in Washington, DC, to speak at the memorial the following day. He was there that night to say good night to his dad, who had passed away. He was just about to leave when he saw the buses pull up. I videotaped him as he spoke to us, and received his permission to share what he said from my videotape. It is one thing to tour the incredible monuments filled with history in Washington, DC, but it is quite another to get the kind of insight we received that night.)

When all had gathered around, he reverently began to speak. (Here are his words that night.)

‘My name is James Bradley and I’m from Antigo, Wisconsin. My dad is on that statue, and I wrote a book called ‘Flags of Our Fathers’. It is the story of the six boys you see behind me.

‘Six boys raised the flag. The first guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block. Harlon was an all-state football player. He enlisted in the Marine Corps with all the senior members of his football team. They were off to play another type of game. A game called ‘War.’ But it didn’t turn out to be a game. Harlon, at the age of 21, died with his intestines in his hands. I don’t say that to gross you out, I say that because there are people who stand in front of this statue and talk about the glory of war. You guys need to know that most of the boys in Iwo Jima were 17, 18, and 19 years old – and it was so hard that the ones who did make it home never even would talk to their families about it.

(He pointed to the statue) ‘You see this next guy? That’s Rene Gagnon from New Hampshire. If you took Rene’s helmet off at the moment this photo was taken and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a photograph…a photograph of his girlfriend Rene put that in there for protection because he was scared. He was 18 years old. It was just boys who won the battle of Iwo Jima. Boys. Not old men.

‘The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sergeant Mike Strank… (from Johnstown, PA). Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these guys. They called him the ‘old man’ because he was so old. He was already 24. When Mike would motivate his boys in training camp, he didn’t say, ‘Let’s go kill some Japanese’ or ‘Let’s die for our country’ He knew he was talking to little boys. Instead he would say, ‘You do what I say, and I’ll get you home to your mothers.’

‘The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona. Ira Hayes was one of them who lived to walk off Iwo Jima. He went into the White House with my dad President Truman told him, ‘You’re a hero’ He told reporters, ‘How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the island with me and only 27 of us walked off alive?’

So you take your class at school, 250 of you spending a year together having fun, doing everything together. Then all 250 of you hit the beach, but only 27 of your classmates walk off alive. That was Ira Hayes. He had images of horror in his mind. Ira Hayes carried the pain home with him and eventually died dead drunk, face down, drowned in a very shallow puddle, at the age of 32 (ten years after this picture was taken).

‘The next guy, going around the statue, is Franklin Sousley from Hilltop, Kentucky. A fun-lovin’ hillbilly boy. His best friend, who is now 70, told me, ‘Yeah, you know, we took two cows up on the porch of the Hilltop General Store. Then we strung wire across the stairs so the cows couldn’t get down. Then we fed them Epsom salts. Those cows crapped all night.’ Yes, he was a fun-lovin’ hillbilly boy. Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the age of 19. When the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it went to the Hilltop General Store. A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to his mother’s farm. The neighbors could hear her scream all night and into the morning. Those neighbors lived a quarter of a mile away.

‘The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue, is my dad, John Bradley, from Antigo, Wisconsin, where I was raised. My dad lived until 1994, but he would never give interviews.

When Walter Cronkite’s producers or the New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say ‘No, I’m sorry, sir, my dad’s not here. He is in Canada fishing. No, there is no phone there, sir. No, we don’t know when he is coming back.’ My dad never fished or even went to Canada. Usually, he was sitting there right at the table eating his Campbell’s soup. But we had to tell the press that he was out fishing. He didn’t want to talk to the press.

‘You see, like Ira Hayes, my dad didn’t see himself as a hero. Everyone thinks these guys are heroes, ’cause they are in a photo and on a monument. My dad knew better. He was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin was a combat caregiver. On Iwo Jima he probably held over 200 boys as they died. And when boys died on Iwo Jima, they writhed and screamed, without any medication or help with the pain.

‘When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was a hero When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me and said, ‘I want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who did not come back. Did NOT come back.’

‘So that’s the story about six nice young boys. Three died on Iwo Jima, and three came back as national heroes. Overall, 7,000 boys died on Iwo Jima in the worst battle in the history of the Marine Corps. My voice is giving out, so I will end here. Thank you for your time.’

Suddenly, the monument wasn’t just a big old piece of metal with a flag sticking out of the top. It came to life before our eyes with the heartfelt words of a son who did indeed have a father who was a hero. Maybe not a hero for the reasons most people would believe, but a hero nonetheless.

One thing I learned while on tour with my 8th grade students in DC that is not mentioned here is, that if you look at the statue very closely and count the number of ‘hands’ raising the flag, there are 13.. When the man who made the statue was asked why there were 13, he simply said the 13th hand was the hand of God.

Great story – worth your time – worth every American’s time. Please pass it on.

November 9, 2017

Donations, from John Fasb [c]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 1:48 pm


Suits in shining armour..and who pays

You can and should check these statements with the charities mentioned before you give or withdraw giving.

A timely reminder before the Holidays and our generous spirits open up our wallets…

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT BEFORE YOU MAKE CONTRIBUTIONS: As you open your pockets to do a good thing and make yourself feel good, please keep the following facts in mind:

The American Red Cross
President and CEO Marsha J. Evans’

salary for the year was $651,957 plus expenses

It is called the March of Dimes because

Only a dime for every 1 dollar is given to the needy.

The United Way
President Brian Gallagher

receives a $375,000 base salary along with numerous expense benefits

CEO Caryl M. Stern receives

$1,200,000 per year (100k per month) plus all expenses including a ROLLS ROYCE.

Less than 5 cents of your donated dollar goes to the cause.

GOODWILL CEOand owner Mark Curran profits $2.3 million a year.
Goodwill is a very catchy name for his business.

You donate to his business and then he sells the items for PROFIT.
He pays nothing for his products and pays his workers minimum wage! Nice Guy.
$0.00 goes to help anyone!
Stop giving to this man.

Instead, give it to ANY OF THE FOLLOWING


The Salvation Army
Commissioner, Todd Bassett receives a small salary of only

$13,000 per year (plus housing) for managing this $2 billion dollar organization.

96 percent of donated dollars go to the cause.

The American Legion
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!

The Veterans of Foreign Wars
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.

Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!

The Disabled American Veterans
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!

The Military Order of PurpleHearts
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.
Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!

The Vietnam Veterans Association
National Commander receives a $0.00 zero salary.

Your donations go to help Veterans and their families and youth!

Make a Wish: For children’s last wishes.

100% goes to funding trips or special wishes for a dying child.

St. Jude Research Hospital

100% goes towards funding and helping Children with Cancer who have no insurance and cannot afford to pay.

Ronald McDonald Houses

All monies go to running the houses for parents who have critically ill Children in the hospital.

100% goes to housing, and feeding the families.

Lions Club International



Please share this with everyone you can.

[Re: The Red Cross

Most veterans do not give to The Red Cross because they charged us for coffee & donuts while in the field.

As far as Disaster relief is concerned, if you give to The Red Cross, money or blood, for a Declared National Emergency or Disaster, $0.00 goes to the disaster. Under The Stafford Act, that which authorizes FEMA, during a Declared National Emergency or Disaster, The Red Cross presents a bill to FEMA for ALL of its expenses and expenditures, and WE THE TAXPAYER pay The Red Cross 100% of the costs and expenditures!]

November 8, 2017

The Rhetoric of Illegal Immigration, by Dr. Hanson [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 4:25 pm

California, the Rhetoric of Illegal Immigration, and the Perils of Ignoring Thucydides’s Warning
November 7, 2017 3:41 pm / Leave a Comment / Victor Davis Hanson
By Victor Davis Hanson // Eureka

Vocabulary changes always reflect the agendas of a political debate.

The fight over illegal immigration plays out by altering words and their meanings. Take the traditional rubric “illegal alien.” The English has been clear and exact for nearly a century: illegal alien (cf. Latin alienus) was a descriptive term for any foreigner who crossed the US border without coming through customs to obtain proper legal sanction.

Illegal alien, then, was a politically neutral, exact, and descriptive term: one used by both the Supreme Court and Internal Revenue Service.

But open-borders advocates did not like the adjective and noun because they accurately emphasized both illegality and the foreignness of those arriving into the United States from another country.

What followed was a slow Orwellian devolution. Illegal alien initially was reinvented as “undocumented alien,” as if the violation became one of simply forgetting (rather than never having) one’s supposed legal documents at home. But the noun “alien” still implied arrivals were somehow separate from US citizens by virtue of their illegal resident status. So next the noun changed to immigrant, as if undocumented immigrant gave the impression that forgetful visitors had just strayed innocently across the border.

But why need a discriminating adjective at all?

So a mere immigrant has sometimes replaced an undocumented immigrant, as if there were now no real difference between coming into the United States legally or illegally. Being against illegal immigration was now seen as being against lawful immigration itself.

Finally, why prejudice the immigrant by suggesting that he or she came from another place into the United States–as if this individual were some sort of intruder who thought America was somehow preferable to Yucatan or Guatemala?

As a result, migrant is now used without any -in or -ex prefix denoting direction: 11–15 million illegal immigrants were perhaps just migrants who often came and went in both nonjudgmental directions in the manner of other travelers.

The deliberate inference is that the impediments of laws, borders, and walls were unnatural and illegal, not the travelers themselves who passed to and fro between. The fault then belongs to the host, who wrongly felt that his home was his own and guests subject to his invitation.

The vocabulary of illegal immigration has made other adjustments to suggest that it has little to do with supposedly outdated federal immigration law.

What does “sanctuary city” really imply other than a place where advocates of illegal immigration ignore and override federal law to allow illegal aliens to reside, often in violation of the local, state, and federal law?

Such no-go sanctuary zones are supposed to channel the idea of religious and political sanctuaries in time of civil war. Sanctuary suggests that bad people chase good people into safe places like churches or monasteries, where even overzealous law enforcement cannot force their noble guardians to seize them. The intent is to invoke something sympathetic and romantic, like Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame and the sanctuary provided to the hounded Esmeralda by the famous Gothic cathedral, as agents of the state close in on her.

Yet a more honest description of sanctuary cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles would be “secessionist cities.” They are, after all, defiant state-rights enclaves that argue, in Confederate fashion, that the federal government and our Constitution ultimately have no power over their states’rights pushback. They recall the insurrectionary manner in which South Carolina in 1861 defiantly declared that federal laws within its borders were null and void and so helped set off the Civil War.

An equally accurate description would be “amnesty cities,” places where the consequences of breaking federal immigration law—as well as other criminal statues—were ignored (but only in the case of illegal immigrants).

A sanctuary city like San Francisco or a sanctuary state like California does not believe that the principles of exemption should be extended to any other federal laws or to local or state jurisdictions other than their own.

Certainly Bay Area liberals would have a fit if Oklahoma City residents declared that federal gun registration rules did not apply inside their city and thus one could buy and carry a .45 pistol off the shelf. Californians would go ballistic should the entire state of Utah declare dozens of Byzantine workplace statutes to be null and void within its state borders.

“Dreamers” is another linguistic contortion that increasingly and by design does not reflect reality.

Originally the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) act was an executive order— most likely unconstitutional and illegal—issued by former president Barack Obama to exempt foreign national minors who were brought by their parents illegally into the United States from federal immigration law enforcement.

Previously Obama, at least until his reelection bid in 2012, on several occasions had reemphasized that he had no such executive power to override federal law. Indeed, he reminded Latino activist groups that tragically he could not by fiat (“I am not a king”) nullify a federal law.

Note that in 2009, when Obama enjoyed a supermajority in the Senate and a Democratic House, he also had chosen not to ram through legislative amnesties in the manner that he successfully would do with the Affordable Care Act.

Yet four years later, when Obama wished to galvanize his base of minority voters, he did what he previously said he could not legally and therefore issued amnesties for what were now called “Dreamers.”

The term was meant to be limited to children and preteens brought by their parents unknowingly and illegally, in most cases from Latin America and Mexico, and who had subsequently grown up not knowing any other country than the United States. Yet Dreamers soon became an ethical rather than legal term, implying that all such minors were on their way to becoming successful Americans and thus had worked hard, gone to college, and would become exemplary Americans. Some of the Dreamers have done just that and, in any proposed immigration grand bargain, could, with conditions, be issued green cards to achieve legal residence.

But most Dreamers are now believed to be somewhere in their mid- or late-twenties (the average age of a DACA recipient is twenty-five, the starting age for serving in Congress). They are hardly any longer unknowing children without access to legal counsel or knowledge of their ongoing illegal status.

Nor does anyone know the exact status of the estimated one to two million Dreamers who were included in the Obama DACA amnesty: How many have committed crimes, dropped out of school, gone onto public assistance, or simply just recently crossed the border in hopes of retroactively being classified as exempt Dreamers?

Apparently no federal agency wishes to find out. So in lieu of such data, we instead just utter the collective Dreamers and condemn anyone who would dare suggest that a particular Dreamer might have a criminal record or no work history.

The current overarching immigration enforcement agency, ICE (Immigration and Custom Enforcement), has linguistically superseded the old rubric Border Patrol and further diluted it with a division of US Customs and Border Protection—as if stopping illegal crossings is not necessarily connected to vigilant watching and constant patrolling along a clearly defined border but rather more a matter of monitoring commerce and vaguely protecting a border.

Apparently illegal immigration is no longer a simple question of breaking the law to cross the sovereign boundary of a foreign country but rather a technicality of not going through all the necessary and, apparently, discriminatory and mostly unnecessary documentary hoops. If there is a porous border, how could one literally patrol it? Thus the need for new terms arose for new hoped-for realities.

Anytime an idea or political agenda cannot achieve majority political support, its sponsors turn to euphemisms and linguistic gymnastics.

The historian Thucydides warned us 2,400 years ago during the horrific civil war on Corcyra how “words had to change their meanings” to mask the ill intent of particular unpopular political agendas. In George Orwell’s two chilling novels Animal Farm and 1984, the totalitarian state erodes the law by changing constantly the names of things as if language can remake reality.

In our age, we have witnessed how the Obama administration went to great lengths to downplay the threats of radical Islamic terrorism. Apparently he preferred new words that would not capture the reality that thousands of radical Muslims had terrorized innocent civilians. In fact terrorism during the Obama years became a man-caused disaster or workplace violence, as if there was either no human agency in the Tsarnaev brothers’ bombings during the Boston Marathon or that Major Hasan yelled out “allakbar,” as he mowed down thirteen of his fellow soldiers had little, if anything, to do with Hasan’s Wahhabi extremism.

Under Obama the effort to combat radical Islamic terrorism became the bland overseas contingencies operation, as if Russians or Chinese were blowing up civilians with equal frequency. The point to such obfuscation was to deny that global terrorism was commonplace, that it was in our age largely committed by young male Muslims often living in or originally from the Middle East, that it was aimed largely at Western targets and their allies, and that it spread not because of Western culpability but due to grievances in the Islamic world against modernism in general and Westernization and globalization in particular.

Similar is the Orwellian effort to recalibrate through language illegal immigration.

The public does not approve of open borders. It wants immigration law enforced. It believes there is at least a minority of those who crossed the border illegally that have either at some time broken more laws and have criminal records, relied on public assistance, or did not find a job and thus should be deported.

Most people further believe that illegal immigration erodes the cherished idea of legal immigration, given that illegal immigration ignores the law, is non-meritocratic, and is becoming less and less diverse. In part open borders reflect a political desire to recalibrate the demography of the American Southwest and thereby empower the Democratic Party and its progressive operatives in government, universities, and the media.

In sum the apparent agenda is to keep the border open when the vast majority wishes it closed to illegal immigration. That disconnect requires that language makes the necessary adjustments so that migrants and Dreamers, not illegal aliens, just wandered or were mysteriously brought en masse into America without real borders, certainly not illegally and certainly not at the expense of legal applicants from dozens of foreign countries who wait for years for legal permission to enter the United States.

October 8, 2017

Re-Transmittal of Op-Ed 371, by Joseph John [pls view links]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 2:05 pm

The Re-transmittal of Op Ed 371:

To ensure accuracy in reporting, we are modifying the original transmission of Op Ed 371 as originally sent in the below listed link:

“The National Anthem Protests — Do Facts Matter?”


We originally stated: “Out of those 1696 players, 871 professional football players are convicted felons. “, we should have stated:

“Out of those 1696 professional football players in the NFL, 871 were arrested for felonies or misdemeanors (high priced attorneys may have pleaded some of those felonies down to misdemeanors). The arrest of those 871 professional football players did not engender respect toward Police Officers.”

By clicking on the below listed link, and reviewing the arrest record of the 871 professional football players, each recipient of this E-mail can make their own determination of whether the arrests were for felonies or misdemeanors:


To engender the respect of Americans, toward professional football players who take a knee during playing of the National Anthem and their NFL Players Association/Union, we encourage them to click on the two below listed links to read the two articles:

Breaking! The NFL Players Association Was Caught Funneling Money to Nazi Collaborator George Soros


NFL Players’ Union teamed up with Nazi Collaborator George Soros to fund leftist advocacy groups


Most Patriotic Americans do not respect professional football players, who take a knee during the National Anthem, by doing so disrespect the American Flag, and whose actions further disrespects the memory of military personnel, thru the ages, who were returned to the US in flag draped caskets, after losing their lives while supporting the Republic.

Copyright by Capt Joseph R. John. All Rights Reserved. The material can only posted on another Web site or distributed on the Internet by giving full credit to the author. It may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without the permission from the author.

Joseph R. John, USNA ‘62

Capt USNR(Ret)/Former FBI

Chairman, Combat Veterans For Congress PAC

2307 Fenton Parkway, Suite 107-184

San Diego, CA 92108



Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
-Isaiah 6:8

October 5, 2017

Are Wars Caused by Accidents? by Victor Hanson [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 6:37 pm

Are Wars Caused by Accidents?
October 3, 2017 3:58 pm / Leave a Comment / victorhanson
by Victor Davis Hanson// National Review

History shows that a lack of deterrence, not loose rhetoric, spurs aggression.

As tensions mount with North Korea, fears arise that President Trump’s tit-for-tat bellicose rhetoric with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un might lead to miscalculations — and thus an accidental war that could have been prevented.

Is there evidence in history that wars break out largely because of an accident or over a misplaced word? Seldom.

Enemies Fight, but Neutrals, Rivals, and Friends Rarely Do
The precise timing of particular outbreaks of war, of course, can depend on unique factors. A sudden perception of a loss of deterrence can cause an army to mobilize. So can almost anything, from the introduction of a new weapon to a change in government.

Yet the larger events that originally drove two sides to fight are rarely, if ever, accidental in the manner of car wrecks.

Enemies go to war; rivals, neutrals, and friends rarely do. There is little chance that an accidental foreign incursion across the Canadian or even the Mexican border will result in war. The apparently accidental, but quite lethal, 1967 Israeli air attack on the USS Liberty did not result in a U.S. retaliatory strike on Tel Aviv, much less escalate to a general war. Yet a similar Soviet strike might have.

In general, the best deterrent policy in dealing with multiple aggressors is Teddy Roosevelt’s dictum to speak softly and carry a big stick — because loud speech is sometimes misinterpreted as a compensatory effort to disguise military incapability, and thus paradoxically it can lead to a fatal loss of deterrence.

Next best perhaps is speaking loudly while carrying a big stick. Intemperate words are not fatal if ultimately reinforced by overwhelming force.

Most dangerous is speaking loudly (and especially sanctimoniously) while carrying a twig — basically what we have seen in the past eight years with Russia, Iran, and Syria.

Was World War I Really an Accident?
It is often said that accidents and extraneous forces — nearly automatic and mindless mobilization, fumbled diplomacy, greedy arms merchants, archaic alliances on autopilot, confused messaging, or bellicose strutting and rhetoric in August 1914 — triggered World War I, which otherwise might have been prevented.

But a continental war had come close to breaking out earlier in 1911 over Morocco and again in 1912–13 in the Balkans. A war would likely have broken out later, if not in 1914. Berlin by 1914 held views that were incompatible with peaceful resolution:

1) Germany felt cheated that its economic dynamism, population, and military power somehow had not resulted in what Germany thought it deserved: commensurate colonial expansion overseas and dominant influence on the Continent;

2) the German army since 1871 had felt that its size, and organizational and technological excellence, increasingly replicated in a rising and powerful navy, made it nearly unstoppable vis-à-vis other European rivals;

3) any sudden German strike in either the East or West could not be immediately deterred or stopped by the existing forces of Britain, France, or Russia.

The net result of these unchallenged assumptions was a likely German war of aggression sometime in the second or third decade of the 20th century.

Preventing World War I would have required far closer coordination and greater deterrent capability among Germany’s intended targets. Or the Germans would’ve needed to be far less aggressive, perhaps with a Kaiser more like Wilhelm II’s grandfather, Wilhelm I, who under the influence of Otto von Bismarck had realized that long-term German aspirations were achievable without a sudden and destructive European war.

Or a more interventionist United States would have had to intervene on the side of the democracies before, rather than after, the war — somewhat akin to America’s proactive Cold War leadership after 1945.

Just days after the war broke out, German professor and diplomatic analyst Kurt Riezler issued his Septemberprogramm draft of annexing much of Western Europe — a plan of aggression that only summarized long-held German agendas.

Indeed, since 1871, Germans had believed that their empire was destined to do as it wished in Europe, and, more immediately, that another border war would, as in 1870–71, be rather short and earn great dividends that were richly deserved at tolerable costs.

Appeasement, Not Accidents, Start Wars
If rising tensions are not to lead to war, the key factor in confronting aggressors is avoiding accidental impressions that cause a loss of deterrent power.

What will start a war with North Korea is not a bellicose tweet from Trump. Instead, a war will follow if North Korea does a cost-benefit analysis that leads it to conclude that an attack will produce more positive results than setbacks, or if it has the impression that its forces can inflict lots of damage without the regime’s destruction.

Again, mellifluous appeasement is far more dangerous even than sloppy, bellicose rhetoric. Of course, the latter should be avoided if not backed by force, but “fire and fury” words, ipsis factis, will not provoke to action an otherwise stationary aggressor. Rather the danger is that rhetoric alone can project a sense of weakness that invites aggression, on the theory that fiery but empty words are intended to mask military inability.

The last century of so-called accidental wars did not start over an unwise taunt or an accidental bombing. To the degree that there was a miscalculation during rising tensions, the culprit was most often a loss of deterrence, whether real or imagined:

Much of Europe and Britain weakly appeased Hitler’s serial aggressions in the 1930s rather than stopping them, persuading Hitler that his rather meager forces could nonetheless win a continental war against America, Britain, and the Soviet Union.
Japan wrongly surmised that U.S. isolationism in the 1930s and inaction from 1939 to 1941 would not lead to a muscular response after Pearl Harbor — and so Japan tried its luck.
Dean Acheson in 1950 suggested that South Korea was outside the U.S. protective shield; the miscue probably encouraged a North Korean invasion.
A series of unwise British actions in the early 1980s (from a parliamentarian’s occasional naïve reference to the Falklands as the “Malvinas” to the more serious tactic of withdrawing a small Royal Navy ship from the Falklands) suggested to the Argentine dictatorship that London did not see retaining the Falklands as worth a war.
April Glaspie sloppily remarked in 1990 that Arab border disputes were not of paramount interests to the U.S., which may have encouraged Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait.
The dismantling of supposed nuclear programs in Ukraine and Libya signaled that both had no deterrent against future big-power interventions, which eventually followed.

The Terrible Laboratory
War is a horrific laboratory experiment that confirms or rejects vague and inexact prewar guesses about relative strength or weakness.

The way, then, to prevent conflict from breaking out is to assure potential aggressors during peacetime that they are weaker than their targets and would lose catastrophically if they were foolish enough to test the obvious. Only in this way does war appear as a costly redundancy that is avoidable.

World Wars I and II were tragic and unnecessary demonstrations of what should have been obvious in 1914 and in 1939–41. In the former case, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Ottoman Turkey could never match the combined power of the eventual alliance of Britain and its Empire, France, Italy, Russia, and the United States.

In the latter war, Germany, Italy, and Japan had no business dreaming that their combined might could ever defeat the forces of the British Empire, the Soviet Union, and the United States. But for a variety of reasons (in the case of World War II, British appeasement, Russian collaboration, and the isolationism of the United States), that reality from 1939 to 1941 was not made clear. The result was that the Axis started a series of wars on false impressions; the truth would have been obvious if their enemies had adopted wiser prewar deterrent policies and military preparation.

An Accident — or an Accident Waiting to Happen?

So too it is with North Korea. Even the sloppiest outburst from Kim Jong Un or promises of fiery retaliation from Donald Trump are not likely to prompt a second Korean War — at least until the conditions for it are nearly preordained by tragically false perceptions of relative strength.

Still, Trump should be careful what he says, largely because rhetoric at best is a shrinking asset that encourages adventurism when not reinforced by concrete action. At worst, tough talk can be wrongly interpreted as a surrogate for a quiet willingness to use force to deter enemies.

In contrast, a clear and firm statement about what will happen if North Korea attacks either U.S. bases or American soil or its allies, backed by demonstrations of deterrent force, will likely prevent a war.

As far as North Korea, a deterrent policy involves periodic shows of overwhelming force by our alliance, a concerted effort to implement missile defense, and diplomatic efforts to line up big powers such as China, the European Union, India, and Russia to apprise North Korea that it will face only global hostility if it starts a war against the overwhelming strength of the U.S. alliance.

A bombastic outburst may change the date of an inevitable war with North Korea, but it won’t in itself ensure a war. In contrast, an inadvertent or deliberate effort to assure North Korea that the U.S. will not respond in apocalyptic fashion to its aggression is a guarantee that war will follow.

The Fear That We Are Still Reptilian
Why do we ignore this lesson of history?

Pacifism and appeasement in the short term often postpone war and are achieved at little cost. Both win popular and elite acclaim for demonstrating sophisticated moderation and forbearance. In thinking that war is always irrational, only an accident can explain why otherwise sober people would launch such an atrocious enterprise.

In contrast, military preparation, deterrence, and a willingness to use superior force against aggressors is a de facto admission that humans are still Neanderthals — and in their limbic brains fear not so much starting a war as being utterly defeated in a war.

Deterrence is a hard sell for an affluent and leisured society convinced that its supposed success at evolving and improving human nature has made the tough lessons of the past seem prosaic and irrelevant.

Let us pray that we accept the bitter reality that the world is still full of reptiles and not college professors.

September 30, 2017

Angry Reader 29 Sep 17, from Victor Hanson [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 3:27 pm

September 29, 2017 2:52 pm / Leave a Comment / victorhanson
From An Angry Reader:

Dear Professor Hanson,

You are a hypocrite.

You endlessly, in your writings and talks, decry people who say ‘if it ain’t perfect it ain’t good’, and yet you constantly moan about Obama just because he ‘wasn’t perfect’ and did some crooked things. You, sir, are a hypocrite. You could at least admit that both parties stink and that all politicians are liars.

By the way, you need to stop moaning about how ‘the elite’ should do more ‘hands-on’ work (I will soon start calling you Victor ‘Hands-on’ to reflect your obsession). Have you ever thought that maybe nobody wants to do those grueling back-breaking jobs for a dollar an hour, and that maybe some people want to get away from that life? Do you really think Donald J Trump, your hero, ever did a single day of hard basically unpaid work like that? Who would want that life if they could get a decent wage—or better rich—without breaking their back? Do you really expect kids to aspire to be fruit-pickers when they could be lawyers earning 200k a year working 5 days a week? I call BS.

Maybe you’re right in principle, but nobody is as principled as you who could or would want to do that. Also, lots of people in inner cities want to do that kind of manual labor or farm-work, but have no access or ability to do it because unlike you they don’t have a farm of their own. How the h*ll can they do what you want them to do when they don’t even have the social mobility to have access to the countryside? Heck, most people struggle just to pay the rent in the inner cities nowadays; most people are slaves to the state. I would rather be a real slave than have the fake urban ‘freedom’ (i.e. prison) that modern scum politicians have created for us.

Dan Smith,


Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:

Dear Angry Reader Dan Smith,

Calm down; your anger clouds all reason. Most politicians, but not all, are liars. While I agree that both parties lie, at this particular juncture in American history, nevertheless the two parties are not morally equivalent.

nstead they represent vastly different world views: identity politics versus the melting pot; illegal massive immigration vs. legal, measured, diverse, and meritocratic immigration; more taxes and larger government vs. lower taxes and less government; a therapeutic foreign policy vs. deterrence; less defense spending vs. more of it; curbs on expression vs. free speech. The antitheses are really quite endless.

Obama did not grow the economy (sluggish and always less than 3%). His rhetoric divided the nation. The world abroad fell into chaos. The debt doubled. Taxes rose. Health care deductibles, premiums, and copays skyrocketed. Programs like cash for clunkers, “shovel-ready” jobs, or Solyndra-like subsidies were embarrassing. The border was left open. Eric Holder was cited for contempt by Congress. Corruption—at the IRS, Secret Service, GSA, VA, and EPA—was commonplace. Reporters had their communications tapped. Unmasking and leaking were normative. Need I go on? Obama was an iconic president—fine; but there was no record of accomplishment and a great deal of deliberate polarization.

Donald Trump is not my hero; did I write that? He is a corrective to the Obama years. Few others were willing to take up that role.

Stopping illegal immigration and pro-growth policies might give entry-level workers clout with their employers, and allow wages to rise. The proponent of open borders is the proponent of low wages. “Fruit pickers” could once again be summer job seekers and entry level employment that soon led to higher paying and more skilled work, especially if labor is not cheap and accessible through illegal immigration. I think my writings have supported the idea that muscular labor should be more highly rewarded.

Do you not see that the opponent of illegal immigration wishes wages to rise and inner-city youth to be in demand as workers?

In a full-employment economy, employers could not ignore inner city youths, but would work with them to reenter the work force. I don’t see at all the morality of importing a half-million foreign nationals to work when we have millions of Americans who are not employed and have dropped permanently out of the work force.

Finally, no one is a perpetual victim. We all face constant pressures and personal tragedies. Claiming always of a stacked deck and blaming others or cosmic forces in general guarantee personal failure.

I’d like to engage your questions, but there are few coherent inquiries here.

Victor Hanson


Go Navy, from Jasiu [c]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 3:14 pm

This is the best piece of news that I have received in a long time and applaud the Navy.


Article 92 of the U.C.M.J.


Navy Sailor Refuses To Stand For National Anthem – IMMEDIATELY Regrets It.

A former Navy intelligence specialist recently took a page out of Colin Kaepernick’s playbook and refused to stand for the national anthem during morning colors. However, she quickly learned she’d made a huge mistake.

Conservative Tribune reported that Petty Officer 2nd Class Janaye Ervin was stripped of her security clearance and assigned to menial labor for a few days before she was forced to leave the Navy for disrespecting our country so blatantly.

It all started on September 19, when Ervin refused to stand for the anthem when she was on reserve duty at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii. The International BusinessTimes reported that Ervin claimed she was trying to make a statement about blacks being persecuted in the United States by doing this. “I just didn’t want to stand at that moment,” Ervin said “I can’t stand for this song knowing that the song isn’t for me, being black. The song doesn’t represent me at all. To be honest, I never really thought about the flag my entire life, I had no reason to. It’s just a flag.”

The next day, Ervin’s superiors read her her rights and gave her a warning about potentially compromising her security clearance, which she needed for both her military and civilian job. One day after that, she was stripped of her security clearance and escorted out of the secure area where she was working.

Ervin is now claiming that she was never told which order she was violating, but this is clearly a lie since she violated the 10th General Order for Sentries, “…To salute all officers and colors and standards not cased…..” which is taught in Navy boot camp.

All members of the Navy are required to memorize all 11 general orders in bootcamp, and they are aware that violating any one of them is subject to Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and is subject to whatever punishment is decided by court-martial.

On September 21, Ervin took to Facebook to publicly whine about how “unfair” this has been for her. “The Navy has decided to punish me for defending the Constitution and has taken away my equipment I need to do my Naval job,” she wrote, according to PopularMilitary.com.

Hey, Janaye, the Navy did not take ANYTHING from you – you forfeited your own job when you knowingly violated a general order.

[Article I of the Constitution of the United States places the military outside of the protections of the constitution and under strict control of The Congress which passed the Uniform Code of Military Justice {UCMJ}. Thus, she is NOT protected by the First Amendment. Too bad these “activists” haven’t read the constitution.]

September 29, 2017

The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival, by Sir John B. Glubb [c]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 1:58 pm

[Should be read in conjunction with Thomas W. Chittum’s, Civil War 2 if you can get a copy. I looked on Amazon and CW 2 in readable form goes for ~$200.]

Sir John Glubb
John Bagot Glubb was born in 1897, his father being a regular officer in the Royal Engineers.
At the age of four he left England for Mauritius, where his father was posted for a three-year
tour of duty. At the age of ten he was sent to school for a year in Switzerland. These youthful
travels may have opened his mind to the outside world at an early age.
He entered the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich in September 1914, and was
commissioned in the Royal Engineers in April 1915. He served throughout the first World War
in France and Belgium, being wounded three times and awarded the Military Cross. In 1920 he
volunteered for service in Iraq, as a regular officer, but in 1926 resigned his commission and
accepted an administrative post under the Iraq Government.
In 1930, however, he signed a contract to serve the Transjordan Government (now Jordan).
From 1939 to 1956 he commanded the famous Jordan Arab Legion, which was in reality the
Jordan Army. Since his retirement he has published seventeen books, chiefly on the Middle
East, and has lectured widely in Britain, the United States and Europe.
William Blackwood & Sons Ltd
32 Thistle Street
Edinburgh EH1 1HA
© J. B. G. Ltd, 1976, 1977
ISBN 0 85158 127 7
Printed at the Press of the Publisher
As we pass through life, we learn by
experience. We look back on our behaviour
when we were young and think how foolish
we were. In the same way our family, our
community and our town endeavour to avoid
the mistakes made by our predecessors.
The experiences of the human race have
been recorded, in more or less detail, for
some four thousand years. If we attempt to
study such a period of time in as many
countries as possible, we seem to discover
the same patterns constantly repeated under
widely differing conditions of climate,
culture and religion. Surely, we ask
ourselves, if we studied calmly and
impartially the history of human institutions
and development over these four thousand
years, should we not reach conclusions
which would assist to solve our problems
today? For everything that is occurring
around us has happened again and again
No such conception ever appears to have
entered into the minds of our historians. In
general, historical teaching in schools is
limited to this small island. We endlessly
mull over the Tudors and the Stewarts, the
Battle of Crecy, and Guy Fawkes. Perhaps
this narrowness is due to our examination
system, which necessitates the careful
definition of a syllabus which all children
must observe.
I remember once visiting a school for
mentally handicapped children. “Our
children do not have to take examinations,”
the headmaster told me,” and so we are able
to teach them things which will be really
useful to them in life.”
However this may be, the thesis which I
wish to propound is that priceless lessons
could be learned if the history of the past
four thousand years could be thoroughly and
impartially studied. In these two articles,
which first appeared in Blackwood’s
Magazine, I have attempted briefly to sketch
some of the kinds of lessons which I believe
we could learn. My plea is that history
should be the history of the human race, not
of one small country or period.
The Fate of Empires
I Learning from history
‘The only thing we learn from history,’ it
has been said, ‘is that men never learn from
history’, a sweeping generalisation perhaps,
but one which the chaos in the world today
goes far to confirm. What then can be the
reason why, in a society which claims to
probe every problem, the bases of history are
still so completely unknown?
Several reasons for the futility of our
historical studies may be suggested.
First, our historical work is limited to short
periods—the history of our own country, or
that of some past age which, for some
reason, we hold in respect.
Second, even within these short periods,
the slant we give to our narrative is governed
by our own vanity rather than by objectivity.
If we are considering the history of our own
country, we write at length of the periods
when our ancestors were prosperous and
victorious, but we pass quickly over their
shortcomings or their defeats. Our people
are represented as patriotic heroes, their
enemies as grasping imperialists, or
subversive rebels. In other words, our
national histories are propaganda, not wellbalanced
Third, in the sphere of world history, we
study certain short, usually unconnected,
periods, which fashion at certain epochs has
made popular. Greece 500 years before
Christ, and the Roman Republic and early
Roman Empire are cases in point. The
intervals between the ‘great periods’ are
neglected. Recently Greece and Rome have
become largely discredited, and history tends
to become increasingly the parochial history
of our own countries.
To derive any useful instruction from
history, it seems to me essential first of all to
grasp the principle that history, to be
meaningful, must be the history of the
human race. For history is a continuous
process, gradually developing, changing and
turning back, but in general moving forward
in a single mighty stream. Any useful lessons
to be derived must be learned by the study of
the whole flow of human development, not
by the selection of short periods here and
there in one country or another.
Every age and culture is derived from its
predecessors, adds some contribution of its
own, and passes it on to its successors. If we
boycott various periods of history, the
origins of the new cultures which succeeded
them cannot be explained.
Sir John Glubb, better known as Glubb
Pasha, was born in 1897, and served in
France in the First World War from 1915 to
1918. In 1926 he left the regular army to
serve the Iraq Government. From 1939 to
1956, he commanded the famous Jordan
Arab Legion. Since retirement, he has
published sixteen books, chiefly on the
Middle East, and has lectured widely.
The Fate of Empires
Physical science has expanded its knowledge
by building on the work of its predecessors,
and by making millions of careful experiments,
the results of which are meticulously
recorded. Such methods have not yet been
employed in the study of world history. Our
piecemeal historical work is still mainly
dominated by emotion and prejudice.
II The lives of empires
If we desire to ascertain the laws which
govern the rise and fall of empires, the
obvious course is to investigate the imperial
experiments recorded in history, and to
endeavour to deduce from them any lessons
which seem to be applicable to them all.
The word ‘empire’, by association with the
British Empire, is visualised by some people
as an organisation consisting of a homecountry
in Europe and ‘colonies’ in other
continents. In this essay, the term ‘empire’ is
used to signify a great power, often called
today a superpower. Most of the empires in
history have been large landblocks, almost
without overseas possessions.
We possess a considerable amount of
information on many empires recorded in
history, and of their vicissitudes and the
lengths of their lives, for example:
The nation Dates of rise and fall Duration in years
Assyria 859-612 B.C. 247
Persia 538-330 B.C. 208
(Cyrus and his descendants)
Greece 331-100 B.C. 231
(Alexander and his successors)
Roman Republic 260-27 B.C. 233
Roman Empire 27 B.C.-A.D. 180 207
Arab Empire A.D. 634-880 246
Mameluke Empire 1250-1517 267
Ottoman Empire 1320-1570 250
Spain 1500-1750 250
Romanov Russia 1682-1916 234
Britain 1700-1950 250
This list calls for certain comments.
(1) The present writer is exploring the facts,
not trying to prove anything. The dates given
are largely arbitrary. Empires do not usually
begin or end on a certain date. There is
normally a gradual period of expansion and
then a period of decline. The resemblance in
the duration of these great powers may be
queried. Human affairs are subject to many
chances, and it is not to be expected that they
The Fate of Empires
could be calculated with mathematical
(2) Nevertheless, it is suggested that there is
sufficient resemblance between the life
periods of these different empires to justify
further study.
(3) The division of Rome into two periods
may be thought unwarranted. The first, or
republican, period dates from the time when
Rome became the mistress of Italy, and ends
with the accession of Augustus. The imperial
period extends from the accession of
Augustus to the death of Marcus Aurelius. It
is true that the empire survived nominally
for more than a century after this date, but it
did so in constant confusion, rebellions, civil
wars and barbarian invasions.
(4) Not all empires endured for their full lifespan.
The Babylonian Empire of Nebuchadnezzar,
for example, was overthrown by
Cyrus, after a life duration of only some
seventy-four years.
(5) An interesting deduction from the figures
seems to be that the duration of empires
does not depend on the speed of travel or the
nature of weapons. The Assyrians marched
on foot and fought with spears and bow and
arrows. The British used artillery, railways
and ocean-going ships. Yet the two empires
lasted for approximately the same periods.
There is a tendency nowadays to say that
this is the jet-age, and consequently there is
nothing for us to learn from past empires.
Such an attitude seems to be erroneous.
(6) It is tempting to compare the lives of
empires with those of human beings. We
may choose a figure and say that the average
life of a human being is seventy years. Not all
human beings live exactly seventy years.
Some die in infancy, others are killed in
accidents in middle life, some survive to the
age of eighty or ninety. Nevertheless, in spite
of such exceptions, we are justified in saying
that seventy years is a fair estimate of the
average person’s expectation of life.
(7) We may perhaps at this stage be allowed
to draw certain conclusions:
(a) In spite of the accidents of fortune, and
the apparent circumstances of the human
race at different epochs, the periods of
duration of different empires at varied
epochs show a remarkable similarity.
(b) Immense changes in the technology of
transport or in methods of warfare do not
seem to affect the life-expectation of an
(c) The changes in the technology of transport
and of war have, however, affected the
shape of empires. The Assyrians, marching
on foot, could only conquer their neighbours,
who were accessible by land—the
Medes, the Babylonians, the Persians and
the Egyptians.
The British, making use of ocean-going
ships, conquered many countries and subcontinents,
which were accessible to them
by water—North America, India, South
Africa, Australia and New Zealand—but
they never succeeded in conquering their
neighbours, France, Germany and Spain.
But, although the shapes of the Assyrian
and the British Empires were entirely
different, both lasted about the same
length of time.
III The human yardstick
What then, we may ask, can have been the
factor which caused such an extraordinary
similarity in the duration of empires, under
such diverse conditions, and such utterly
different technological achievements?
The Fate of Empires
One of the very few units of measurement
which have not seriously changed since the
Assyrians is the human ‘generation’, a period
of about twenty-five years. Thus a period of
250 years would represent about ten generations
of people. A closer examination of the
characteristics of the rise and fall of great
nations may emphasise the possible significance
of the sequence of generations.
Let us then attempt to examine the stages
in the lives of such powerful nations.
IV Stage one. The outburst
Again and again in history we find a small
nation, treated as insignificant by its
contemporaries, suddenly emerging from its
homeland and overrunning large areas of the
world. Prior to Philip (359-336 B.C.), Macedon
had been an insignificant state to the
north of Greece. Persia was the great power
of the time, completely dominating the area
from Eastern Europe to India. Yet by 323
B.C., thirty-six years after the accession of
Philip, the Persian Empire had ceased to
exist, and the Macedonian Empire extended
from the Danube to India, including Egypt.
This amazing expansion may perhaps he
attributed to the genius of Alexander the
Great, but this cannot have been the sole
reason; for although after his death everything
went wrong—the Macedonian generals
fought one another and established rival
empires—Macedonian pre-eminence survived
for 231 years.
In the year A.D. 600, the world was divided
between two superpower groups as it has
been for the past fifty years between Soviet
Russia and the West. The two powers were
the eastern Roman Empire and the Persian
Empire. The Arabs were then the despised
and backward inhabitants of the Arabian
Peninsula. They consisted chiefly of wandering
tribes, and had no government, no
constitution and no army. Syria, Palestine,
Egypt and North Africa were Roman
provinces, Iraq was part of Persia.
The Prophet Mohammed preached in
Arabia from A.D. 613 to 632, when he died.
In 633, the Arabs burst out of their desert
peninsula, and simultaneously attacked the
two super-powers. Within twenty years, the
Persian Empire had ceased to exist. Seventy
years after the death of the Prophet, the
Arabs had established an empire extending
from the Atlantic to the plains of Northern
India and the frontiers of China.
At the beginning of the thirteenth century,
the Mongols were a group of savage tribes in
the steppes of Mongolia. In 1211, Genghis
Khan invaded China. By 1253, the Mongols
had established an empire extending from
Asia Minor to the China Sea, one of the
largest empires the world has ever known.
The Arabs ruled the greater part of Spain
for 780 years, from 712 A.D. to 1492. (780
years back in British history would take us to
1196 and King Richard Coeur de Lion.)
During these eight centuries, there had been
no Spanish nation, the petty kings of Aragon
and Castile alone holding on in the
The agreement between Ferdinand and
Isabella and Christopher Columbus was
signed immediately after the fall of Granada,
the last Arab kingdom in Spain, in 1492.
Within fifty years, Cortez had conquered
Mexico, and Spain was the world’s greatest
Examples of the sudden outbursts by
which empires are born could be multiplied
indefinitely. These random illustrations must
The Fate of Empires
V Characteristics of the outburst
These sudden outbursts are usually
characterised by an extraordinary display of
energy and courage. The new conquerors are
normally poor, hardy and enterprising and
above all aggressive. The decaying empires
which they overthrow are wealthy but
defensive-minded. In the time of Roman
greatness, the legions used to dig a ditch
round their camps at night to avoid surprise.
But the ditches were mere earthworks, and
between them wide spaces were left through
which the Romans could counter-attack. But
as Rome grew older, the earthworks became
high walls, through which access was given
only by narrow gates. Counterattacks were
no longer possible. The legions were now
passive defenders.
But the new nation is not only distinguished
by victory in battle, but by unresting
enterprise in every field. Men hack their way
through jungles, climb mountains, or brave
the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans in tiny
cockle-shells. The Arabs crossed the Straits
of Gibraltar in A.D. 711 with 12,000 men,
defeated a Gothic army of more than twice
their strength, marched straight over 250
miles of unknown enemy territory and seized
the Gothic capital of Toledo. At the same
stage in British history, Captain Cook discovered
Australia. Fearless initiative characterises
such periods.
Other peculiarities of the period of the
conquering pioneers are their readiness to
improvise and experiment. Untrammelled by
traditions, they will turn anything available
to their purpose. If one method fails, they try
something else. Uninhibited by textbooks or
book learning, action is their solution to
every problem.
Poor, hardy, often half-starved and ill-clad,
they abound in courage, energy and
initiative, overcome every obstacle and
always seem to be in control of the situation.
VI The causes of race outbursts
The modern instinct is to seek a reason for
everything, and to doubt the veracity of a
statement for which a reason cannot be
found. So many examples can be given of the
sudden eruption of an obscure race into a
nation of conquerors that the truth of the
phenomenon cannot be held to be doubtful.
To assign a cause is more difficult. Perhaps
the easiest explanation is to assume that the
poor and obscure race is tempted by the
wealth of the ancient civilisation, and there
would undoubtedly appear to be an element
of greed for loot in barbarian invasions.
Such a motivation may be divided into two
classes. The first is mere loot, plunder and
rape, as, for example, in the case of Attila
and the Huns, who ravaged a great part of
Europe from A.D. 450 to 453. However, when
Attila died in the latter year, his empire fell
apart and his tribes returned to Eastern
Many of the barbarians who founded
dynasties in Western Europe on the ruins of
the Roman Empire, however, did so out of
admiration for Roman civilisation, and
themselves aspired to become Romans.
VII A providential turnover?
Whatever causes may be given for the
overthrow of great civilisations by
barbarians, we can sense certain resulting
benefits. Every race on earth has distinctive
characteristics. Some have been distinguished
in philosophy, some in administration,
some in romance, poetry or religion, some in
The Fate of Empires
their legal system. During the pre-eminence
of each culture, its distinctive characteristics
are carried by it far and wide across the
If the same nation were to retain its
domination indefinitely, its peculiar qualities
would permanently characterise the whole
human race. Under the system of empires
each lasting for 250 years, the sovereign race
has time to spread its particular virtues far
and wide. Then, however, another people,
with entirely different peculiarities, takes its
place, and its virtues and accomplishments
are likewise disseminated. By this system,
each of the innumerable races of the world
enjoys a period of greatness, during which its
peculiar qualities are placed at the service of
To those who believe in the existence of
God, as the Ruler and Director of human
affairs, such a system may appear as a
manifestation of divine wisdom, tending
towards the slow and ultimate perfection of
VIII The course of empire
The first stage of the life of a great nation,
therefore, after its outburst, is a period of
amazing initiative, and almost incredible
enterprise, courage and hardihood. These
qualities, often in a very short time, produce
a new and formidable nation. These early
victories, however, are won chiefly by
reckless bravery and daring initiative.
The ancient civilisation thus attacked will
have defended itself by its sophisticated
weapons, and by its military organisation
and discipline. The barbarians quickly
appreciate the advantages of these military
methods and adopt them. As a result, the
second stage of expansion of the new empire
consists of more organised, disciplined and
professional campaigns.
In other fields, the daring initiative of the
original conquerors is maintained—in
geographical exploration, for example:
pioneering new countries, penetrating new
forests, climbing unexplored mountains, and
sailing uncharted seas. The new nation is
confident, optimistic and perhaps contemptuous
of the ‘decadent’ races which it has
The methods employed tend to be practical
and experimental, both in government and
in warfare, for they are not tied by centuries
of tradition, as happens in ancient empires.
Moreover, the leaders are free to use their
own improvisations, not having studied
politics or tactics in schools or in textbooks.
IX U.S.A. in the stage of the pioneers
In the case of the United States of America,
the pioneering period did not consist of a
barbarian conquest of an effete civilisation,
but of the conquest of barbarian peoples.
Thus, viewed from the outside, every
example seems to be different. But viewed
from the standpoint of the great nation,
every example seems to be similar.
The United States arose suddenly as a new
nation, and its period of pioneering was
spent in the conquest of a vast continent, not
an ancient empire. Yet the subsequent life
history of the United States has followed the
standard pattern which we shall attempt to
trace—the periods of the pioneers, of
commerce, of affluence, of intellectualism
and of decadence.
X Commercial expansion
The conquest of vast areas of land and
their subjection to one government
The Fate of Empires
automatically acts as a stimulant to commerce.
Both merchants and goods can be
exchanged over considerable distances.
Moreover, if the empire be an extensive one,
it will include a great variety of climates,
producing extremely varied products, which
the different areas will wish to exchange with
one another.
The speed of modern methods of transportation
tends to create in us the impresssion
that far-flung commerce is a modern
development, but this is not the case. Objects
made in Ireland, Scandinavia and China
have been found in the graves or the ruins of
the Middle East, dating from 1,000 years
before Christ. The means of transport were
slower, but, when a great empire was in
control, commerce was freed from the
innumerable shackles imposed upon it today
by passports, import permits, customs,
boycotts and political interference.
The Roman Empire extended from Britain
to Syria and Egypt, a distance, in a direct
line, of perhaps 2,700 miles. A Roman
official, transferred from Britain to Syria,
might spend six months on the journey. Yet,
throughout the whole distance, he would be
travelling in the same country, with the same
official language, the same laws, the same
currency and the same administrative
system. Today, some twenty independent
countries separate Britain from Syria, each
with its own government, its own laws,
politics, customs fees, passports and
currencies, making commercial co-operation
almost impossible. And this process of
disintegration is still continuing. Even within
the small areas of the modern European
nations, provincial movements demanding
secession or devolution tend further to
splinter the continent.
The present fashion for ‘independence’ has
produced great numbers of tiny states in the
world, some of them consisting of only one
city or of a small island. This system is an
insuperable obstacle to trade and cooperation.
The present European Economic
Community is an attempt to secure commercial
cooperation among small independent
states over a large area, but the plan meets
with many difficulties, due to the mutual
jealousies of so many nations.
Even savage and militaristic empires
promoted commerce, whether or not they
intended to do so. The Mongols were some of
the most brutal military conquerors in
history, massacring the entire populations of
cities. Yet, in the thirteenth century, when
their empire extended from Peking to
Hungary, the caravan trade between China
and Europe achieved a remarkable degree of
prosperity—the whole journey was in the
territory of one government.
In the eighth and ninth centuries, the
caliphs of Baghdad achieved fabulous wealth
owing to the immense extent of their
territories, which constituted a single trade
bloc. The empire of the caliphs is now
divided into some twenty-five separate
XI The pros and cons of empires
In discussing the life-story of the typical
empire, we have digressed into a discussion
of whether empires are useful or injurious to
mankind. We seem to have discovered that
empires have certain advantages, particularly
in the field of commerce, and in the
establishment of peace and security in vast
areas of the globe. Perhaps we should also
include the spread of varied cultures to many
races. The present infatuation for indepenThe
Fate of Empires
dence for ever smaller and smaller units will
eventually doubtless be succeeded by new
international empires.
The present attempts to create a European
community may be regarded as a practical
endeavour to constitute a new super-power,
in spite of the fragmentation resulting from
the craze for independence. If it succeeds,
some of the local independencies will have to
be sacrificed. If it fails, the same result may
be attained by military conquest, or by the
partition of Europe between rival superpowers.
The inescapable conclusion seems,
however, to be that larger territorial units are
a benefit to commerce and to public stability,
whether the broader territory be achieved by
voluntary association or by military action.
XII Sea power
One of the more benevolent ways in which
a super-power can promote both peace and
commerce is by its command of the sea.
From Waterloo to 1914, the British Navy
commanded the seas of the world. Britain
grew rich, but she also made the Seas safe for
the commerce of all nations, and prevented
major wars for 100 years.
Curiously enough, the question of sea
power was never clearly distinguished, in
British politics during the last fifty years,
from the question of imperial rule over other
countries. In fact, the two subjects are
entirely distinct. Sea power does not offend
small countries, as does military occupation.
If Britain had maintained her navy, with a
few naval bases overseas in isolated islands,
and had given independence to colonies
which asked for it, the world might well be a
more stable place today. In fact, however, the
navy was swept away in the popular outcry
against imperialism.
XIII The Age of Commerce
Let us now, however, return to the lifestory
of our typical empire. We have already
considered the age of outburst, when a littleregarded
people suddenly bursts on to the
world stage with a wild courage and energy.
Let us call it the Age of the Pioneers.
Then we saw that these new conquerors
acquired the sophisticated weapons of the
old empires, and adopted their regular
systems of military organisation and
training. A great period of military expansion
ensued, which we may call the Age of
Conquests. The conquests resulted in the
acquisition of vast territories under one
government, thereby automatically giving
rise to commercial prosperity. We may call
this the Age of Commerce.
The Age of Conquests, of course, overlaps
the Age of Commerce. The proud military
traditions still hold sway and the great
armies guard the frontiers, but gradually the
desire to make money seems to gain hold of
the public. During the military period, glory
and honour were the principal objects of
ambition. To the merchant, such ideas are
but empty words, which add nothing to the
bank balance.
XIV Art and luxury
The wealth which seems, almost without
effort, to pour into the country enables the
commercial classes to grow immensely rich.
How to spend all this money becomes a
problem to the wealthy business community.
Art, architecture and luxury find rich
patrons. Splendid municipal buildings and
wide streets lend dignity and beauty to the
wealthy areas of great cities. The rich
merchants build themselves palaces, and
money is invested in communications,
The Fate of Empires
highways, bridges, railways or hotels,
according to the varied patterns of the ages.
The first half of the Age of Commerce
appears to be peculiarly splendid. The
ancient virtues of courage, patriotism and
devotion to duty are still in evidence. The
nation is proud, united and full of selfconfidence.
Boys are still required, first of all,
to be manly—to ride, to shoot straight and to
tell the truth. (It is remarkable what
emphasis is placed, at this stage, on the
manly virtue of truthfulness, for lying is
cowardice—the fear of facing up to the
Boys’ schools are intentionally rough. Frugal
eating, hard living, breaking the ice to
have a bath and similar customs are aimed at
producing a strong, hardy and fearless breed
of men. Duty is the word constantly drummed
into the heads of young people.
The Age of Commerce is also marked by
great enterprise in the exploration for new
forms of wealth. Daring initiative is shown in
the search for profitable enterprises in far
corners of the earth, perpetuating to some
degree the adventurous courage of the Age of
XV The Age of Affluence
There does not appear to be any doubt that
money is the agent which causes the decline
of this strong, brave and self-confident
people. The decline in courage, enterprise
and a sense of duty is, however, gradual.
The first direction in which wealth injures
the nation is a moral one. Money replaces
honour and adventure as the objective of the
best young men. Moreover, men do not
normally seek to make money for their
country or their community, but for themselves.
Gradually, and almost imperceptibly,
the Age of Affluence silences the voice of
duty. The object of the young and the
ambitious is no longer fame, honour or
service, but cash.
Education undergoes the same gradual
transformation. No longer do schools aim at
producing brave patriots ready to serve their
country. Parents and students alike seek the
educational qualifications which will
command the highest salaries. The Arab
moralist, Ghazali (1058-1111), complains in
these very same words of the lowering of
objectives in the declining Arab world of his
time. Students, he says, no longer attend
college to acquire learning and virtue, but to
obtain those qualifications which will enable
them to grow rich. The same situation is
everywhere evident among us in the West
XVI High Noon
That which we may call the High Noon of
the nation covers the period of transition
from the Age of Conquests to the Age of
Affluence: the age of Augustus in Rome, that
of Harun al-Rashid in Baghdad, of Sulaiman
the Magnificent in the Ottoman Empire, or
of Queen Victoria in Britain. Perhaps we
might add the age of Woodrow Wilson in the
United States.
All these periods reveal the same
characteristics. The immense wealth accumulated
in the nation dazzles the onlookers.
Enough of the ancient virtues of courage,
energy and patriotism survive to enable the
state successfully to defend its frontiers. But,
beneath the surface, greed for money is
gradually replacing duty and public service.
Indeed the change might be summarised as
being from service to selfishness.
The Fate of Empires
XVII Defensiveness
Another outward change which invariably
marks the transition from the Age of
Conquests to the Age of Affluence is the
spread of defensiveness. The nation, immensely
rich, is no longer interested in glory or
duty, but is only anxious to retain its wealth
and its luxury. It is a period of defensiveness,
from the Great Wall of China, to Hadrian’s
Wall on the Scottish Border, to the Maginot
Line in France in 1939.
Money being in better supply than courage,
subsidies instead of weapons are employed
to buy off enemies. To justify this departure
from ancient tradition, the human mind
easily devises its own justification. Military
readiness, or aggressiveness, is denounced as
primitive and immoral. Civilised peoples are
too proud to fight. The conquest of one
nation by another is declared to be immoral.
Empires are wicked. This intellectual device
enables us to suppress our feeling of
inferiority, when we read of the heroism of
our ancestors, and then ruefully contemplate
our position today. ‘It is not that we are
afraid to fight,’ we say, ‘but we should
consider it immoral.’ This even enables us to
assume an attitude of moral superiority.
The weakness of pacifism is that there are
still many peoples in the world who are
aggressive. Nations who proclaim themselves
unwilling to fight are liable to be conquered
by peoples in the stage of militarism—
perhaps even to see themselves incorporated
into some new empire, with the status of
mere provinces or colonies.
When to be prepared to use force and when
to give way is a perpetual human problem,
which can only be solved, as best we can, in
each successive situation as it arises. In fact,
however, history seems to indicate that great
nations do not normally disarm from
motives of conscience, but owing to the
weakening of a sense of duty in the citizens,
and the increase in selfishness and the desire
for wealth and ease.
XVIII The Age of Intellect
We have now, perhaps arbitrarily, divided
the life-story of our great nation into four
ages. The Age of the Pioneers (or the
Outburst), the Age of Conquests, the Age of
Commerce, and the Age of Affluence. The
great wealth of the nation is no longer
needed to supply the mere necessities, or
even the luxuries of life. Ample funds are
available also for the pursuit of knowledge.
The merchant princes of the Age of
Commerce seek fame and praise, not only by
endowing works of art or patronising music
and literature. They also found and endow
colleges and universities. It is remarkable
with what regularity this phase follows on
that of wealth, in empire after empire,
divided by many centuries.
In the eleventh century, the former Arab
Empire, then in complete political decline,
was ruled by the Seljuk sultan, Malik Shah.
The Arabs, no longer soldiers, were still the
intellectual leaders of the world. During the
reign of Malik Shah, the building of
universities and colleges became a passion.
Whereas a small number of universities in
the great cities had sufficed the years of Arab
glory, now a university sprang up in every
In our own lifetime, we have witnessed the
same phenomenon in the U.S.A. and Britain.
When these nations were at the height of
their glory, Harvard, Yale, Oxford and
Cambridge seemed to meet their needs. Now
almost every city has its university.
The Fate of Empires
The ambition of the young, once engaged
in the pursuit of adventure and military
glory, and then in the desire for the
accumulation of wealth, now turns to the
acquisition of academic honours.
It is useful here to take note that almost all
the pursuits followed with such passion
throughout the ages were in themselves
good. The manly cult of hardihood, frankness
and truthfulness, which characterised
the Age of Conquests, produced many really
splendid heroes.
The opening up of natural resources, and
the peaceful accumulation of wealth, which
marked the age of commercialism, appeared
to introduce new triumphs in civilisation, in
culture and in the arts. In the same way, the
vast expansion of the field of knowledge
achieved by the Age of Intellect seemed to
mark a new high-water mark of human
progress. We cannot say that any of these
changes were ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
The striking features in the pageant of
empire are:
(a) the extraordinary exactitude with which
these stages have followed one another, in
empire after empire, over centuries or even
millennia; and
(b) the fact that the successive changes
seem to represent mere changes in popular
fashion—new fads and fancies which sweep
away public opinion without logical reason.
At first, popular enthusiasm is devoted to
military glory, then to the accumulation of
wealth and later to the acquisition of
academic fame.
Why could not all these legitimate, and
indeed beneficent, activities be carried on
simultaneously, each of them in due moderation?
Yet this never seemed to happen.
XIX The effects of intellectualism
There are so many things in human life
which are not dreamt of in our popular
philosophy. The spread of knowledge seems
to be the most beneficial of human activities,
and yet every period of decline is characterrised
by this expansion of intellectual
activity. ‘All the Athenians and strangers
which were there spent their time in nothing
else, but either to tell or to hear some new
thing’ is the description given in the Acts of
the Apostles of the decline of Greek
The Age of Intellect is accompanied by
surprising advances in natural science. In the
ninth century, for example, in the age of
Mamun, the Arabs measured the circumference
of the earth with remarkable
accuracy. Seven centuries were to pass
before Western Europe discovered that the
world was not flat. Less than fifty years after
the amazing scientific discoveries under
Mamun, the Arab Empire collapsed. Wonderful
and beneficent as was the progress of
science, it did not save the empire from
The full flowering of Arab and Persian
intellectualism did not occur until after their
imperial and political collapse. Thereafter
the intellectuals attained fresh triumphs in
the academic field, but politically they
became the abject servants of the often
illiterate rulers. When the Mongols conquered
Persia in the thirteenth century, they
were themselves entirely uneducated and
were obliged to depend wholly on native
Persian officials to administer the country
and to collect the revenue. They retained as
wazeer, or Prime Minister, one Rashid al-
Din, a historian of international repute. Yet
The Fate of Empires
the Prime Minister, when speaking to the
Mongol II Khan, was obliged to remain
throughout the interview on his knees. At
state banquets, the Prime Minister stood
behind the Khan’s seat to wait upon him. If
the Khan were in a good mood, he
occasionally passed his wazeer a piece of
food over his shoulder.
As in the case of the Athenians,
intellectualism leads to discussion, debate
and argument, such as is typical of the
Western nations today. Debates in elected
assemblies or local committees, in articles in
the Press or in interviews on television—
endless and incessant talking.
Men are interminably different, and
intellectual arguments rarely lead to
agreement. Thus public affairs drift from bad
to worse, amid an unceasing cacophony of
argument. But this constant dedication to
discussion seems to destroy the power of
action. Amid a Babel of talk, the ship drifts
on to the rocks.
XX The inadequacy of intellect
Perhaps the most dangerous by-product of
the Age of Intellect is the unconscious
growth of the idea that the human brain can
solve the problems of the world. Even on the
low level of practical affairs this is patently
untrue. Any small human activity, the local
bowls club or the ladies’ luncheon club,
requires for its survival a measure of selfsacrifice
and service on the part of the
members. In a wider national sphere, the
survival of the nation depends basically on
the loyalty and self-sacrifice of the citizens.
The impression that the situation can be
saved by mental cleverness, without unselfishness
or human self-dedication, can only
lead to collapse.
Thus we see that the cultivation of the
human intellect seems to be a magnificent
ideal, but only on condition that it does not
weaken unselfishness and human dedication
to service. Yet this, judging by historical
precedent, seems to be exactly what it does
do. Perhaps it is not the intellectualism
which destroys the spirit of self-sacrifice—the
least we can say is that the two,
intellectualism and the loss of a sense of
duty, appear simultaneously in the life-story
of the nation.
Indeed it often appears in individuals, that
the head and the heart are natural rivals. The
brilliant but cynical intellectual appears at
the opposite end of the spectrum from the
emotional self-sacrifice of the hero or the
martyr. Yet there are times when the perhaps
unsophisticated self-dedication of the hero is
more essential than the sarcasms of the
XXI Civil dissensions
Another remarkable and unexpected
symptom of national decline is the intensification
of internal political hatreds. One
would have expected that, when the survival
of the nation became precarious, political
factions would drop their rivalry and stand
shoulder-to-shoulder to save their country.
In the fourteenth century, the weakening
empire of Byzantium was threatened, and
indeed dominated, by the Ottoman Turks.
The situation was so serious that one would
have expected every subject of Byzantium to
abandon his personal interests and to stand
with his compatriots in a last desperate
attempt to save the country. The reverse
occurred. The Byzantines spent the last fifty
years of their history in fighting one another
in repeated civil wars, until the Ottomans
The Fate of Empires
moved in and administered the coup de
Britain has been governed by an elected
parliament for many centuries. In former
years, however, the rival parties observed
many unwritten laws. Neither party wished
to eliminate the other. All the members
referred to one another as honourable
gentlemen. But such courtesies have now
lapsed. Booing, shouting and loud noises
have undermined the dignity of the House,
and angry exchanges are more frequent. We
are fortunate if these rivalries are fought out
in Parliament, but sometimes such hatreds
are carried into the streets, or into industry
in the form of strikes, demonstrations,
boycotts and similar activities. True to the
normal course followed by nations in
decline, internal differences are not
reconciled in an attempt to save the nation.
On the contrary, internal rivalries become
more acute, as the nation becomes weaker.
XXII The influx of foreigners
One of the oft-repeated phenomena of
great empires is the influx of foreigners to
the capital city. Roman historians often
complain of the number of Asians and
Africans in Rome. Baghdad, in its prime in
the ninth century, was international in its
population—Persians, Turks, Arabs, Armenians,
Egyptians, Africans and Greeks
mingled in its streets.
In London today, Cypriots, Greeks,
Italians, Russians, Africans, Germans and
Indians jostle one another on the buses and
in the underground, so that it sometimes
seems difficult to find any British. The same
applies to New York, perhaps even more so.
This problem does not consist in any
inferiority of one race as compared with
another, but simply in the differences
between them.
In the age of the first outburst and the
subsequent Age of Conquests, the race is
normally ethnically more or less
homogeneous. This state of affairs facilitates
a feeling of solidarity and comradeship. But
in the Ages of Commerce and Affluence,
every type of foreigner floods into the great
city, the streets of which are reputed to be
paved with gold. As, in most cases, this great
city is also the capital of the empire, the
cosmopolitan crowd at the seat of empire
exercises a political influence greatly in
excess of its relative numbers.
Second- or third-generation foreign
immigrants may appear outwardly to be
entirely assimilated, but they often constitute
a weakness in two directions. First, their
basic human nature often differs from that of
the original imperial stock. If the earlier
imperial race was stubborn and slowmoving,
the immigrants might come from
more emotional races, thereby introducing
cracks and schisms into the national policies,
even if all were equally loyal.
Second, while the nation is still affluent, all
the diverse races may appear equally loyal.
But in an acute emergency, the immigrants
will often be less willing to sacrifice their
lives and their property than will be the
original descendants of the founder race.
Third, the immigrants are liable to form
communities of their own, protecting
primarily their own interests, and only in the
second degree that of the nation as a whole.
Fourth, many of the foreign immigrants
will probably belong to races originally
conquered by and absorbed into the empire.
While the empire is enjoying its High Noon
of prosperity, all these people are proud and
The Fate of Empires
glad to be imperial citizens. But when decline
sets in, it is extraordinary how the memory
of ancient wars, perhaps centuries before, is
suddenly revived, and local or provincial
movements appear demanding secession or
independence. Some day this phenomenon
will doubtless appear in the now apparently
monolithic and authoritarian Soviet empire.
It is amazing for how long such provincial
sentiments can survive.
Historical examples of this phenomenon
are scarcely needed. The idle and captious
Roman mob, with its endless appetite for
free distributions of food—bread and
games—is notorious, and utterly different
from that stern Roman spirit which we
associate with the wars of the early republic.
In Baghdad, in the golden days of Harun
al-Rashid, Arabs were a minority in the
imperial capital. Istanbul, in the great days
of Ottoman rule, was peopled by inhabitants
remarkably few of whom were descendants
of Turkish conquerors. In New York,
descendants of the Pilgrim Fathers are few
and far between.
This interesting phenomenon is largely
limited to great cities. The original conquering
race is often to be found in relative
purity in rural districts and on far frontiers.
It is the wealth of the great cities which
draws the immigrants. As, with the growth of
industry, cities nowadays achieve an ever
greater preponderance over the countryside,
so will the influence of foreigners increasingly
dominate old empires.
Once more it may be emphasised that I do
not wish to convey the impression that
immigrants are inferior to older stocks. They
are just different, and they thus tend to
introduce cracks and divisions.
XXIII Frivolity
As the nation declines in power and
wealth, a universal pessimism gradually
pervades the people, and itself hastens the
decline. There is nothing succeeds like
success, and, in the Ages of Conquest and
Commerce, the nation was carried
triumphantly onwards on the wave of its own
self-confidence. Republican Rome was
repeatedly on the verge of extinction—in 390
B.C. when the Gauls sacked the city and in
216 B.C. after the Battle of Cannae. But no
disasters could shake the resolution of the
early Romans. Yet, in the later stages of
Roman decline, the whole empire was deeply
pessimistic, thereby sapping its own
Frivolity is the frequent companion of
pessimism. Let us eat, drink and be merry,
for tomorrow we die. The resemblance
between various declining nations in this
respect is truly surprising. The Roman mob,
we have seen, demanded free meals and
public games. Gladiatorial shows, chariot
races and athletic events were their passion.
In the Byzantine Empire the rivalries of the
Greens and the Blues in the hippodrome
attained the importance of a major crisis.
Judging by the time and space allotted to
them in the Press and television, football and
baseball are the activities which today chiefly
interest the public in Britain and the United
States respectively.
The heroes of declining nations are always
the same—the athlete, the singer or the
actor. The word ‘celebrity’ today is used to
designate a comedian or a football player,
not a statesman, a general, or a literary
The Fate of Empires
XXIV The Arab decline
In the first half of the ninth century,
Baghdad enjoyed its High Noon as the
greatest and the richest city in the world. In
861, however, the reigning Khalif (caliph),
Mutawakkil, was murdered by his Turkish
mercenaries, who set up a military dictatorship,
which lasted for some thirty years.
During this period the empire fell apart, the
various dominions and provinces each
assuming virtual independence and seeking
its own interests. Baghdad, lately the capital
of a vast empire, found its authority limited
to Iraq alone.
The works of the contemporary historians
of Baghdad in the early tenth century are still
available. They deeply deplored the
degeneracy of the times in which they lived,
emphasising particularly the indifference to
religion, the increasing materialism and the
laxity of sexual morals. They lamented also
the corruption of the officials of the
government and the fact that politicians
always seemed to amass large fortunes while
they were in office.
The historians commented bitterly on the
extraordinary influence acquired by popular
singers over young people, resulting in a
decline in sexual morality. The ‘pop’ singers
of Baghdad accompanied their erotic songs
on the lute, an instrument resembling the
modern guitar. In the second half of the
tenth century, as a result, much obscene
sexual language came increasingly into use,
such as would not have been tolerated in an
earlier age. Several khalifs issued orders
banning ‘pop’ singers from the capital, but
within a few years they always returned.
An increase in the influence of women in
public life has often been associated with national
decline. The later Romans complained
that, although Rome ruled the world, women
ruled Rome. In the tenth century, a similar
tendency was observable in the Arab Empire,
the women demanding admission to the
professions hitherto monopolised by men.
‘What,’ wrote the contemporary historian,
Ibn Bessam, ‘have the professions of clerk,
tax-collector or preacher to do with women?
These occupations have always been limited
to men alone.’ Many women practised law,
while others obtained posts as university
professors. There was an agitation for the
appointment of female judges, which,
however, does not appear to have succeeded.
Soon after this period, government and
public order collapsed, and foreign invaders
overran the country. The resulting increase
in confusion and violence made it unsafe for
women to move unescorted in the streets,
with the result that this feminist movement
The disorders following the military takeover
in 861, and the loss of the empire, had
played havoc with the economy. At such a
moment, it might have been expected that
everyone would redouble their efforts to save
the country from bankruptcy, but nothing of
the kind occurred. Instead, at this moment of
declining trade and financial stringency, the
people of Baghdad introduced a five-day
When I first read these contemporary
descriptions of tenth-century Baghdad, I
could scarcely believe my eyes. I told myself
that this must be a joke! The descriptions
might have been taken out of The Times
today. The resemblance of all the details was
especially breathtaking—the break-up of the
empire, the abandonment of sexual morality,
the ‘pop’ singers with their guitars, the entry
of women into the professions, the five-day
The Fate of Empires
week. I would not venture to attempt an
explanation! There are so many mysteries
about human life which are far beyond our
XXV Political ideology
Today we attach immense importance to
the ideology of our internal politics. The
Press and public media in the U.S.A. and
Britain pour incessant scorn on any country
the political institutions of which differ in
any manner from our own idea of
democracy. It is, therefore, interesting to
note that the life-expectation of a great
nation does not appear to be in any way
affected by the nature of its institutions.
Past empires show almost every possible
variation of political system, but all go
through the same procedure from the Age of
Pioneers through Conquest, Commerce,
Affluence to decline and collapse.
XXVI The Mameluke Empire
The empire of the Mamelukes of Egypt
provides a case in point, for it was one of the
most exotic ever to be recorded in history. It
is also exceptional in that it began on one
fixed day and ended on another, leaving no
doubt of its precise duration, which was 267
In the first part of the thirteenth century,
Egypt and Syria were ruled by the Ayoubid
sultans, the descendants of the family of
Saladin. Their army consisted of Mamelukes,
slaves imported as boys from the Steppes
and trained as professional soldiers. On 1st
May 1250, the Mamelukes mutinied,
murdered Turan Shah, the Ayoubid sultan,
and became the rulers of his empire.
The first fifty years of the Mameluke
Empire were marked by desperate fighting
with the hitherto invincible Mongols, the
descendants of Genghis Khan, who invaded
Syria. By defeating the Mongols and driving
them out of Syria, the Mamelukes saved the
Mediterranean from the terrible fate which
had overtaken Persia. In 1291, the Mamelukes
captured Acre, and put an end to the
From 1309 to 1341, the Mameluke Empire
was everywhere victorious and possessed the
finest army in the world. For the ensuing
hundred years the wealth of the Mameluke
Empire was fabulous, slowly leading to
luxury, the relaxation of discipline and to
decline, with ever more bitter internal
political rivalries. Finally the empire collapsed
in 1517, as the result of military defeat
by the Ottomans.
The Mameluke government appears to us
utterly illogical and fantastic. The ruling
class was entirely recruited from young boys,
born in what is now Southern Russia. Every
one of them was enlisted as a private soldier.
Even the sultans had begun life as private
soldiers and had risen from the ranks. Yet
this extraordinary political system resulted
in an empire which passed through all the
normal stages of conquest, commercialism,
affluence and decline and which lasted
approximately the usual period of time.
XXVII The master race
The people of the great nations of the past
seem normally to have imagined that their
pre-eminence would last for ever. Rome
appeared to its citizens to be destined to be
for all time the mistress of the world. The
Abbasid Khalifs of Baghdad declared that
God had appointed them to rule mankind
until the day of judgement. Seventy years
ago, many people in Britain believed that the
The Fate of Empires
empire would endure for ever. Although
Hitler failed to achieve his objective, he
declared that Germany would rule the world
for a thousand years. That sentiments like
these could be publicly expressed without
evoking derision shows that, in all ages, the
regular rise and fall of great nations has
passed unperceived. The simplest statistics
prove the steady rotation of one nation after
another at regular intervals.
The belief that their nation would rule the
world forever, naturally encouraged the
citizens of the leading nation of any period to
attribute their pre-eminence to hereditary
virtues. They carried in their blood, they
believed, qualities which constituted them a
race of supermen, an illusion which inclined
them to the employment of cheap foreign
labour (or slaves) to perform menial tasks
and to engage foreign mercenaries to fight
their battles or to sail their ships.
These poorer peoples were only too happy
to migrate to the wealthy cities of the empire,
and thereby, as we have seen, to adulterate
the close-knit, homogeneous character of the
conquering race. The latter unconsciously
assumed that they would always be the
leaders of mankind, relaxed their energies,
and spent an increasing part of their time in
leisure, amusement or sport.
In recent years, the idea has spread widely
in the West that ‘progress’ will be automatic
without effort, that everyone will continue to
grow richer and richer and that every year
will show a ‘rise in the standard of living’. We
have not drawn from history the obvious
conclusion that material success is the result
of courage, endurance and hard work—a
conclusion nevertheless obvious from the
history of the meteoric rise of our own
ancestors. This self-assurance of its own
superiority seems to go hand-in-hand with
the luxury resulting from wealth, in
undermining the character of the dominant
XXVIII The welfare state
When the welfare state was first introduced
in Britain, it was hailed as a new high-water
mark in the history of human development.
History, however, seems to suggest that the
age of decline of a great nation is often a
period which shows a tendency to
philanthropy and to sympathy for other
races. This phase may not be contradictory
to the feeling described in the previous
paragraph, that the dominant race has the
right to rule the world. For the citizens of the
great nation enjoy the role of Lady Bountiful.
As long as it retains its status of leadership,
the imperial people are glad to be generous,
even if slightly condescending. The rights of
citizenship are generously bestowed on every
race, even those formerly subject, and the
equality of mankind is proclaimed. The
Roman Empire passed through this phase,
when equal citizenship was thrown open to
all peoples, such provincials even becoming
senators and emperors.
The Arab Empire of Baghdad was equally,
perhaps even more, generous. During the
Age of Conquests, pure-bred Arabs had
constituted a ruling class, but in the ninth
century the empire was completely
State assistance to the young and the poor
was equally generous. University students
received government grants to cover their
expenses while they were receiving higher
education. The State likewise offered free
medical treatment to the poor. The first free
public hospital was opened in Baghdad in
The Fate of Empires
the reign of Harun al-Rashid (786-809), and
under his son, Mamun, free public hospitals
sprang up all over the Arab world from Spain
to what is now Pakistan.
The impression that it will always be
automatically rich causes the declining
empire to spend lavishly on its own
benevolence, until such time as the economy
collapses, the universities are closed and the
hospitals fall into ruin.
It may perhaps be incorrect to picture the
welfare state as the high-water mark of
human attainment. It may merely prove to
be one more regular milestone in the lifestory
of an ageing and decrepit empire.
XXIX Religion
Historians of periods of decadence often
refer to a decline in religion, but, if we
extend our investigation over a period
covering the Assyrians (859-612 B.C.) to our
own times, we have to interpret religion in a
very broad sense. Some such definition as
‘the human feeling that there is something,
some invisible Power, apart from material
objects, which controls human life and the
natural world’.
We are probably too narrow and
contemptuous in our interpretation of idol
worship. The people of ancient civilisations
were as sensible as we are, and would
scarcely have been so foolish as to worship
sticks and stones fashioned by their own
hands. The idol was for them merely a
symbol, and represented an unknown,
spiritual reality, which controlled the lives of
men and demanded human obedience to its
moral precepts.
We all know only too well that minor
differences in the human visualisation of this
Spirit frequently became the ostensible
reason for human wars, in which both sides
claimed to be fighting for the true God, but
the absurd narrowness of human
conceptions should not blind us to the fact
that, very often, both sides believed their
campaigns to have a moral background.
Genghis Khan, one of the most brutal of all
conquerors, claimed that God had delegated
him the duty to exterminate the decadent
races of the civilised world. Thus the Age of
Conquests often had some kind of religious
atmosphere, which implied heroic selfsacrifice
for the cause.
But this spirit of dedication was slowly
eroded in the Age of Commerce by the action
of money. People make money for
themselves, not for their country. Thus
periods of affluence gradually dissolved the
spirit of service, which had caused the rise of
the imperial races.
In due course, selfishness permeated the
community, the coherence of which was
weakened until disintegration was
threatened. Then, as we have seen, came the
period of pessimism with the accompanying
spirit of frivolity and sensual indulgence, byproducts
of despair. It was inevitable at such
times that men should look back yearningly
to the days of ‘religion’, when the spirit of
self-sacrifice was still strong enough to make
men ready to give and to serve, rather than
to snatch.
But while despair might permeate the
greater part of the nation, others achieved a
new realisation of the fact that only readiness
for self-sacrifice could enable a community
to survive. Some of the greatest saints in
history lived in times of national decadence,
raising the banner of duty and service
against the flood of depravity and despair.
The Fate of Empires
In this manner, at the height of vice and
frivolity the seeds of religious revival are
quietly sown. After, perhaps, several
generations (or even centuries) of suffering,
the impoverished nation has been purged of
its selfishness and its love of money, religion
regains its sway and a new era sets in. ‘It is
good for me that I have been afflicted,’ said
the psalmist, ‘that I might learn Thy
XXX New combinations
We have traced the rise of an obscure race
to fame, through the stages of conquest,
commercialism, affluence, and intellectualism,
to disintegration, decadence and
despair. We suggested that the dominant
race at any given time imparts its leading
characteristics to the world around, being in
due course succeeded by another empire. By
this means, we speculated, many successive
races succeeded one another as superpowers,
and in turn bequeathed their
peculiar qualities to mankind at large.
But the objection may here be raised that
some day the time will come when all the
races of the world will in turn have enjoyed
their period of domination and have
collapsed again in decadence. When the
whole human race has reached the stage of
decadence, where will new energetic conquering
races be found?
The answer is at first partially obscured by
our modern habit of dividing the human race
into nations, which we seem to regard as
water-tight compartments, an error responsible
for innumerable misunderstandings.
In earlier times, warlike nomadic nations
invaded the territories of decadent peoples
and settled there. In due course, they
intermarried with the local population and a
new race resulted, though it sometimes
retained an old name. The barbarian
invasions of the Roman Empire probably
provide the example best known today in the
West. Others were the Arab conquests of
Spain, North Africa and Persia, the Turkish
conquests of the Ottoman Empire, or even
the Norman Conquest of England.
In all such cases, the conquered countries
were originally fully inhabited and the invaders
were armies, which ultimately settled
down and married, and produced new races.
In our times, there are few nomadic
conquerors left in the world, who could
invade more settled countries bringing their
tents and flocks with them. But ease of travel
has resulted in an equal, or probably an even
greater, intermixture of populations. The
extreme bitterness of modern internal political
struggles produces a constant flow of
migrants from their native countries to
others, where the social institutions suit
them better.
The vicissitudes of trade and business
similarly result in many persons moving to
other countries, at first intending to return,
but ultimately settling down in their new
The population of Britain has been
constantly changing, particularly in the last
sixty years, owing to the influx of immigrants
from Europe, Asia and Africa, and the exit of
British citizens to the Dominions and the
United States. The latter is, of course, the
most obvious example of the constant rise of
new nations, and of the transformation of
the ethnic content of old nations through this
modern nomadism.
The Fate of Empires
XXXI Decadence of a system
It is of interest to note that decadence is
the disintegration of a system, not of its
individual members. The habits of the
members of the community have been
corrupted by the enjoyment of too much
money and too much power for too long a
period. The result has been, in the
framework of their national life, to make
them selfish and idle. A community of selfish
and idle people declines, internal quarrels
develop in the division of its dwindling
wealth, and pessimism follows, which some
of them endeavour to drown in sensuality or
frivolity. In their own surroundings, they are
unable to redirect their thoughts and their
energies into new channels.
But when individual members of such a
society emigrate into entirely new surroundings,
they do not remain conspicuously
decadent, pessimistic or immoral among the
inhabitants of their new homeland. Once
enabled to break away from their old
channels of thought, and after a short period
of readjustment, they become normal
citizens of their adopted countries. Some of
them, in the second and third generations,
may attain pre-eminence and leadership in
their new communities.
This seems to prove that the decline of any
nation does not undermine the energies or
the basic character of its members. Nor does
the decadence of a number of such nations
permanently impoverish the human race.
Decadence is both mental and moral
deterioration, produced by the slow decline
of the community from which its members
cannot escape, as long as they remain in
their old surroundings. But, transported
elsewhere, they soon discard their decadent
ways of thought, and prove themselves equal
to the other citizens of their adopted country.
XXXII Decadence is not physical
Neither is decadence physical. The citizens
of nations in decline are sometimes
described as too physically emasculated to be
able to bear hardship or make great efforts.
This does not seem to be a true picture.
Citizens of great nations in decadence are
normally physically larger and stronger than
those of their barbarian invaders.
Moreover, as was proved in Britain in the
first World War, young men brought up in
luxury and wealth found little difficulty in
accustoming themselves to life in the frontline
trenches. The history of exploration
proves the same point. Men accustomed to
comfortable living in homes in Europe or
America were able to show as much
endurance as the natives in riding camels
across the desert or in hacking their way
through tropical forests.
Decadence is a moral and spiritual disease,
resulting from too long a period of wealth
and power, producing cynicism, decline of
religion, pessimism and frivolity. The
citizens of such a nation will no longer make
an effort to save themselves, because they
are not convinced that anything in life is
worth saving.
XXXII Human diversity
Generalisations are always dangerous.
Human beings are all different. The variety
in human life is endless. If this be the case
with individuals, it is much more so with
nations and cultures. No two societies, no
two peoples, no two cultures are exactly the
same. In these circumstances, it will be easy
The Fate of Empires
for critics to find many objections to what
has been said, and to point out exceptions to
the generalisations.
There is some value in comparing the lives
of nations to those of individuals. No two
persons in the world are identical. Moreover
their lives are often affected by accidents or
by illness, making the divergences even more
obvious. Yet, in fact, we can generalise about
human life from many different aspects. The
characteristics of childhood, adolescence,
youth, middle and old age are well known.
Some adolescents, it is true, are prematurely
wise and serious. Some persons in middle
age still seem to he young. But such
exceptions do not invalidate the general
character of human life from the cradle to
the grave.
I venture to submit that the lives of nations
follow a similar pattern. Superficially, all
seem to be completely different. Some years
ago, a suggestion was submitted to a certain
television corporation that a series of talks
on Arab history would form an interesting
sequence. The proposal was immediately
vetoed by the director of programmes with
the remark, “What earthly interest could the
history of medieval Arabs have for the
general public today?”
Yet, in fact, the history of the Arab imperial
age—from conquest through commercialism,
to affluence, intellectualism, science and
decadence—is an exact precursor of British
imperial history and lasted almost exactly
the same time.
If British historians, a century ago, had
devoted serious study to the Arab Empire,
they could have foreseen almost everything
that has happened in Britain down to 1976.
XXXIV A variety of falls
It has been shown that, normally, the rise
and fall of great nations are due to internal
reasons alone. Ten generations of human
beings suffice to transform the hardy and
enterprising pioneer into the captious citizen
of the welfare state. But whereas the life
histories of great nations show an unexpected
uniformity, the nature of their falls
depends largely on outside circumstances
and thus shows a high degree of diversity.
The Roman Republic, as we have seen, was
followed by the empire, which became a
super-state, in which all the natives of the
Mediterranean basin, regardless of race,
possessed equal rights. The name of Rome,
originally a city-state, passed from it to an
equalitarian international empire.
This empire broke in half, the western half
being overrun by northern barbarians, the
eastern half forming the East Roman or
Byzantine Empire.
The vast Arab Empire broke up in the
ninth century into many fragments, of which
one former colony, Moslem Spain, ran its
own 250-year course as an independent
empire. The homelands of Syria and Iraq,
however, were conquered by successive
waves of Turks to whom they remained
subject for 1,000 years.
The Mameluke Empire of Egypt and Syria,
on the other hand, was conquered in one
campaign by the Ottomans, the native
population merely suffering a change of
The Spanish Empire (1500-1750) endured
for the conventional 250 years, terminated
only by the loss of its colonies. The homeland
of Spain fell, indeed, from its high estate of a
The Fate of Empires
super-power, but remained as an independent
nation until today.
Romanov Russia (1682-1916) ran the
normal course, but was succeeded by the
Soviet Union.
It is unnecessary to labour the point, which
we may attempt to summarise briefly. Any
regime which attains great wealth and power
seems with remarkable regularity to decay
and fall apart in some ten generations. The
ultimate fate of its component parts,
however, does not depend on its internal
nature, but on the other organisations which
appear at the time of its collapse and succeed
in devouring its heritage. Thus the lives of
great powers are surprisingly uniform, but
the results of their falls are completely
XXXV Inadequacy of our historical
In fact, the modern nations of the West
have derived only limited value from their
historical studies, because they have never
made them big enough. For history to have
meaning, as we have already stated, it must
be the history of the human race.
Far from achieving such an ideal, our
historical studies are largely limited to the
history of our own country during the
lifetime of the present nation. Thus the timefactor
is too short to allow the longer
rhythms of the rise and fall of nations even to
be noticed. As the television director
indicated, it never even crosses our minds
that longer periods could be of any interest.
When we read the history of our own
nation, we find the actions of our ancestors
described as glorious, while those of other
peoples are depicted as mean, tyrannical or
cowardly. Thus our history is (intentionally)
not based on facts. We are emotionally
unwilling to accept that our forbears might
have been mean or cowardly.
Alternatively, there are ‘political’ schools of
history, slanted to discredit the actions of
our past leaders, in order to support modern
political movements. In all these cases,
history is not an attempt to ascertain the
truth, but a system of propaganda, devoted
to the furtherance of modern projects, or the
gratification of national vanity.
Men can scarcely be blamed for not
learning from the history they are taught.
There is nothing to learn from it, because it
is not true.
XXXVI Small nations
The word ‘empires’ has been used in this
essay to signify nations which achieve the
status of great powers, or super-powers, in
the jargon of today—nations which have
dominated the international scene for two or
three centuries. At any given time, however,
there are also smaller states which are more
or less self-contained. Do these live the same
‘lives’ as the great nations, and pass through
the same phases?
It seems impossible to generalise on this
issue. In general, decadence is the outcome
of too long a period of wealth and power. If
the small country has not shared in the
wealth and power, it will not share in the
XXXVII The emerging pattern
In spite of the endless variety and the
infinite complications of human life, a
general pattern does seem to emerge from
these considerations. It reveals many
successive empires covering some 3,000
years, as having followed similar stages of
The Fate of Empires
development and decline, and as having, to a
surprising degree, ‘lived’ lives of very similar
The life-expectation of a great nation, it
appears, commences with a violent, and
usually unforeseen, outburst of energy, and
ends in a lowering of moral standards,
cynicism, pessimism and frivolity.
If the present writer were a millionaire, he
would try to establish in some university or
other a department dedicated solely to the
study of the rhythm of the rise and fall of
powerful nations throughout the world.
History goes back only some 3,000 years,
because before that period writing was not
sufficiently widespread to allow of the
survival of detailed records. But within that
period, the number of empires available for
study is very great.
At the commencement of this essay, the
names of eleven such empires were listed,
but these included only the Middle East and
the modern nations of the West. India, China
and Southern America were not included,
because the writer knows nothing about
them. A school founded to study the rise and
fall of empires would probably find at least
twenty-four great powers available for
dissection and analysis.
The task would not be an easy one, if
indeed the net were cast so wide as to cover
virtually all the world’s great nations in 3,000
years. The knowledge of language alone, to
enable detailed investigations to be pursued,
would present a formidable obstacle.
XXXVIII Would it help?
It is pleasing to imagine that, from such
studies, a regular life-pattern of nations
would emerge, including an analysis of the
various changes which ultimately lead to
decline, decadence and collapse. It is
tempting to assume that measures could be
adopted to forestall the disastrous effects of
excessive wealth and power, and thence of
subsequent decadence. Perhaps some means
could be devised to prevent the activist Age
of Conquests and Commerce deteriorating
into the Age of Intellect, producing endless
talking but no action.
It is tempting to think so. Perhaps if the
pattern of the rise and fall of nations were
regularly taught in schools, the general
public would come to realise the truth, and
would support policies to maintain the spirit
of duty and self-sacrifice, and to forestall the
accumulation of excessive wealth by one
nation, leading to the demoralisation of that
Could not the sense of duty and the
initiative needed to give rise to action be
retained parallel with intellectual development
and the discoveries of natural science?
The answer is doubtful, though we could
but try. The weaknesses of human nature,
however, are so obvious, that we cannot be
too confident of success. Men bursting with
courage, energy and self-confidence cannot
easily be restrained from subduing their
neighbours, and men who see the prospect of
wealth open to them will not readily be
prevented from pursuing it.
Perhaps it is not in the real interest of
humanity that they should be so prevented,
for it is in periods of wealth that art,
architecture, music, science and literature
make the greatest progress.
Moreover, as we have seen where great
empires are concerned, their establishment
may give rise to wars and tragedies, but their
periods of power often bring peace, security
and prosperity to vast areas of territory. Our
The Fate of Empires
knowledge and our experience (perhaps our
basic human intellects) are inadequate to
pronounce whether or not the rise and fall of
great nations is the best system for the best
of all possible worlds.
These doubts, however, need not prevent
us from attempting to acquire more
knowledge on the rise and fall of great
powers, or from endeavouring, in the light of
such knowledge, to improve the moral
quality of human life.
Perhaps, in fact, we may reach the
conclusion that the successive rise and fall of
great nations is inevitable and, indeed, a
system divinely ordained. But even this
would be an immense gain. For we should
know where we stand in relation to our
human brothers and sisters. In our present
state of mental chaos on the subject, we
divide ourselves into nations, parties or
communities and fight, hate and vilify one
another over developments which may
perhaps be divinely ordained and which
seem to us, if we take a broader view,
completely uncontrollable and inevitable. If
we could accept these great movements as
beyond our control, there would be no
excuse for our hating one another because of
However varied, confusing and contradictory
the religious history of the world may
appear, the noblest and most spiritual of the
devotees of all religions seem to reach the
conclusion that love is the key to human life.
Any expansion of our knowledge which may
lead to a reduction in our unjustified hates is
therefore surely well worth while.
XXXIX Summary
As numerous points of interest have arisen
in the course of this essay, I close with a brief
summary, to refresh the reader’s mind.
(a) We do not learn from history because
our studies are brief and prejudiced.
(b) In a surprising manner, 250 years
emerges as the average length of national
(c) This average has not varied for 3,000
years. Does it represent ten generations?
(d) The stages of the rise and fall of great
nations seem to be:
The Age of Pioneers (outburst)
The Age of Conquests
The Age of Commerce
The Age of Affluence
The Age of Intellect
The Age of Decadence.
(e) Decadence is marked by:
An influx of foreigners
The Welfare State
A weakening of religion.
(f) Decadence is due to:
Too long a period of wealth and power
Love of money
The loss of a sense of duty.
(g) The life histories of great states are
amazingly similar, and are due to internal
(h) Their falls are diverse, because they are
largely the result of external causes.
(i) History should be taught as the history
of the human race, though of course with
emphasis on the history of the student’s own

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.