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October 16, 2018

What Hillsdale Can Teach Harvard, by Wm McGurn TWSJ 10/16/18 [c]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 9:49 pm

What Hillsdale Can Teach Harvard
Give up federal dollars, and you can run your admissions the way you want.
355 Comments
By William McGurn
Oct. 15, 2018 7:14 p.m. ET
Demonstrators protest Harvard’s admission process in Boston, Oct. 14.
Demonstrators protest Harvard’s admission process in Boston, Oct. 14. Photo: Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg News

On Monday in federal court, Harvard denied charges that it discriminates against Asian-Americans in the same way it once discriminated against Jews. Race, its lawyer insisted, was just one of many factors considered, and it could only help an applicant’s chances of admission, not hurt them.

On the substance, this is a dubious proposition. Students for Fair Admissions, which brought the lawsuit, has produced considerable evidence that Harvard uses various means to exclude Asian-Americans even when they are more qualified academically and have better records of extracurricular activities than other accepted students. These means include suspiciously lower ratings given Asian-Americans for personality traits such as “kindness” and “likability.”

The Harvard pretense is that it is possible to favor one race without discriminating against others. A 2009 Princeton study demonstrates otherwise. It found that an Asian-American applicant to an elite university has to score 450 points higher on the SAT to get in than a black applicant, 270 points higher than a Latino one and 140 points higher than a white one.

For all this, Harvard does have an argument here. In a footnote in its motion for summary judgment, the university says “this case involves a private university, which has a weighty academic-freedom interest, protected by the First Amendment, in choosing its students, and in determining how they are educated (including through the judgment about the educational benefits following from a diverse student body).” Translation: we should be free to decide whom we admit and whom we don’t.

Just one teensy problem. It’s called the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and it “prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin in any program or activity that receives Federal funds or other Federal financial assistance.” Harvard receives millions from the feds each year, directly through grants as well as indirectly via federal financial aid.

All of which puts two fundamental principles in conflict. The first is that people should not be discriminated against because of their race. The second is that private institutions should be left to run their own shops without the feds telling them how to do it.

Can these principles be reconciled? Tiny Hillsdale College suggests they can. Back in the 1970s the federal government demanded the Michigan-based college begin counting its students by race and sex as a condition of the federal loans some of its students received.

For an institution whose founding charter made it the first college in the nation to declare itself open to all students “irrespective of nation, color, or sex,” and which boasted a long and noble history of color-blind admissions, this was insulting. In 1956, for example, its undefeated football team refused an invitation to the Tangerine Bowl rather than comply with official demands that the college not field its black players.

Like Harvard, Hillsdale believes it knows best how to run its school. Unlike Harvard, it made a tough decision to stand on this principle. To avoid the regulatory strings that come with federal dollars, in 1985 Hillsdale decided to forgo all federal dollars—including financial aid for its students.

To put this in perspective, Hillsdale today has about 1,500 students, charges roughly $27,000 tuition for a first-rate liberal-arts education, and has a modest endowment of near $600 million. Harvard’s endowment clocks in at $39 billion. If little Hillsdale can give up taxpayer dollars to remain true to its principles, surely big, wealthy Harvard can.

As NYU law professor Richard Epstein points out, one effect of Title VI today is to make liars out of our most elite institutions of higher learning. In an article for the Hoover Institution’s Defining Ideas, Mr. Epstein says Harvard would like to argue that its interest in diversity justifies discriminating in favor of some races and against others. But it fears attacking the Civil Rights Act, and is skittish about making its case forthrightly because the opening words of Title VI state that “no person” should be subject to racial discrimination. Mr. Epstein’s solution would be to repeal Title VI and let schools admit or exclude whomever they want.

“If Harvard wants to sacrifice academic merit for diversity, let it,” he says. The Asian-American students excluded would have many other choices. And the whole process would be more honest.

Of course, the likelihood that Title VI will be scrapped in our lifetimes is almost nil. Which leaves the Hillsdale option as the only practical alternative for colleges and universities that wish to stand on their own values and mission statements. If Harvard truly believes diversity trumps merit, it should say so proudly—and be willing to give up the federal dollars that are the only reason it is now forced to defend itself in federal court.

Hillsdale President Larry Arnn says he’s more than ready to help. “Any time anyone from Harvard would like to see how a college can maintain its autonomy and its values,” he says, “our door is open.”

Write to mcgurn@wsj.com.

Appeared in the October 16, 2018, print edition.

[We have been annual donors to Hillsdale. We repost its Imprimis, a free pamphlet which we routinely recommend, however and more importantly, Hillsdale, http://www.hillsdale.edu , has a fair number of free webinars, and free downloadable articles on government in addition to many, in the original meaning of the word, liberal articles.]

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All Hands – fyi: The Convention of States Project

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 9:27 pm

The following URL explains much about The Convention of States Action project is all about. Please read it. If you agree with it, please contribute to the project, and forward the URL.

 

https://s3.amazonaws.com/cosaction-prod/home/app/webapp/current/public/content/files/57/10-16_COS-Action_Handbook.pdf?1499339263

 

October 12, 2018

A New Era for the China-Russia-U.S. Triangle, by Victor Davis Hanson [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 10:04 pm

A New Era for the China-Russia-U.S. Triangle
By Victor Davis Hanson| October 11th, 2018
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Nearly a half-century ago, President Richard Nixon’s secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, established a successful U.S. strategy for dealing with America’s two most dangerous rivals. He sought closer ties to both the Soviet Union, with its more than 7,000 nuclear weapons, and Communist China, with the world’s largest population.

Kissinger’s approach was sometimes called “triangulation.” But distilled down to its essence, the phrase meant ensuring that China and Russia were not friendlier to each other than each was to the United States
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Given that the Soviet Union was much stronger than China at the time, Kissinger especially courted Beijing.

The idea was similar to British and French policy in the mid-1930s of discouraging Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich from becoming the partner of Josef Stalin’s equally powerful and dangerous Soviet Union. Unfortunately, that effort failed, and Nazi-Soviet cooperation led to their joint invasion of Poland in 1939 and the outbreak of World War II.

We forgot Kissinger’s wisdom during the Obama administration’s coddling of China and the schizophrenic Russian “reset.”

The reset was initially a disastrous appeasement of Russian conventional and cyber aggressions. Its failure soon led to an about-face demonization of Russian President Vladimir Putin as an anti-democratic authoritarian—as if he had been, or would ever be, anything other than a tyrant.

Russia systematically reabsorbed Crimea, leveraged Eastern Europe, caused turmoil in Ukraine, terrified Western Europe, returned to the Middle East after a 40-year hiatus, and hacked into U.S. electoral and political institutions.

From 2009 to 2017, U.S. leadership rationalized that China would soon not just be an Asian and Pacific superpower, but eventually would eclipse America itself—as if its eventual supremacy was destiny rather than being due to U.S. indifference.

What followed was systematic and unchecked Chinese commercial and intellectual-property cheating. Beijing stole U.S. technology, ran up huge trade surpluses and warped the entire world trading system. Such one-sided Chinese mercantilism was excused as “free trade.”

China’s military aggression in the South China Sea was also winked at by Washington. So the Chinese built artificial bases in the Spratly Islands to bully their neighbors and to manipulate Pacific trade routes.

The Obama administration again offered little pushback. As a result, Chinese President Xi Jinping openly bragged that by 2025, China would dominate the global high-tech industry, 10 years later would dominate the Pacific, and by mid-century would run the world.

For years, Putin and Xi have shared a contempt for the U.S. They have sought to use Syria, Iran and North Korea to check U.S. influence while waging cyberwar against U.S. companies and institutions.

America may be the strongest economic and military power in the world, but it had violated every one of Kissinger’s principles. Russia and China both agreed that the willpower of the U.S. was weak, and despite their own existential differences, they found it mutually profitable to collude in reducing American stature.

Our allies noticed. From Scandinavia to the Middle East to Asia, they assumed that America either could not or would not regain its global prestige.

The Trump administration has sought to reverse that descent.

For all the specious charges of Russian “collusion,” Trump has boxed in Putin with economic sanctions and military aid to Ukraine. He has beefed up defense spending, demanded greater NATO readiness and accelerated U.S. oil production—but doing so while also reaching out rhetorically to Putin.

Being friendly with a big stick is far wiser than being obnoxious with a twig.

Now, the U.S is slapping China with tariffs to force it to reduce its nearly $400 billion trade surplus with the U.S., while also sending U.S. warships deeper into the South China Sea to let our allies know that China will no longer bully them.

Trump sought to negotiate directly with North Korea on denuclearization, and to forge new defense partnerships with Australia and Japan. He is also cutting bilateral trade deals with South Korea, Mexico and Canada that will exclude China.

China is worried. Trump’s domestic opponents may write him off as a crude buffoon, but Beijing fears that he is a crafty Machiavelli or Sun Tzu, already downsizing Chinese power.

China’s stock market is way down. Its economy is slowing and its currency declining. Average Chinese citizens wonder why, in tough times, their leaders are lavishing foreign aid on African countries and other Asian nations while China is mired in a trade war with the U.S.

Because Russia is far weaker than China, the U.S. should be reaching out to Moscow to find common interests in checking Chinese power. Russia could be useful in occasionally siding with an emerging common resistance to China that includes Australia, India, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan.

Russia certainly has no interest in seeing in its neighborhood a nuclear Iran or an unhinged nuclear North Korea—or having disputes with a Chinese colossus along its 2,600-mile shared border.

American appeasement, trade concessions and extraordinary Chinese wealth did not make China a better global citizen. Perhaps stronger U.S. pushback, supported by an array of Asian allies and a conniving Russia, might.

(C) 2018 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

I Don’t Believe Her, by Lew Rockwell [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 3:05 pm

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Aftermath as Prologue

By James Howard Kunstler

Kunstler.com

October 10, 2018
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“I believe her!”

Really? Why should anyone believe her?

Senator Collins of Maine said she believed that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford experienced something traumatic, just not at the hands of Mr. Kavanaugh. I believe Senator Collins said that to placate the #Metoo mob, not because she actually believed it. I believe Christine Blasey Ford was lying, through and through, in her injured little girl voice, like a bad imitation of Truman Capote.

I believe that the Christine Blasey Ford gambit was an extension of the sinister activities underway since early 2016 in the Department of Justice and the FBI to un-do the last presidential election, and that the real and truthful story about these seditious monkeyshines is going to blow wide open.

It turns out that the Deep State is a small world. Did you know that the lawyer sitting next to Dr. Ford in the Senate hearings, one Michael Bromwich, is also an attorney for Andrew McCabe, the former FBI Deputy Director fired for lying to investigators from his own agency and currently singing to a grand jury? What a coincidence. Out of all the lawyers in the most lawyer-infested corner of the USA, she just happened to hook up with him.
The Long Emergency: Su… James Howard Kunstler Best Price: $1.00 Buy New $4.40 (as of 11:30 EDT – Details)

It’s a matter of record that Dr. Ford traveled to Rehobeth Beach Delaware on July 26, where her Best Friend Forever and former room-mate, Monica McLean, lives, and that she spent the next four days there before sending a letter July 30 to Senator Diane Feinstein that kicked off the “sexual assault” circus. Did you know that Monica McClean was a retired FBI special agent, and that she worked in the US Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York under Preet Bharara, who had earlier worked for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer?

Could Monica McLean have spent those four days in July helping Christine Blasey Ford compose her letter to Mrs. Feinstein? Did you know that Monica McClean’s lawyer, one David Laufman is a former DOJ top lawyer who assisted former FBI counter-intel chief Peter Strozk on both the Clinton and Russia investigations before resigning in February this year — in fact, he sat in on the notorious “unsworn” interview with Hillary in 2016. Wow! What a really small swamp Washington is!

Did you know that Ms. Leland Keyser, Dr. Ford’s previous BFF from back in the Holton Arms prep school, told the final round of FBI investigators in the Kavanaugh hearing last week — as reported by the The Wall Street Journal — that she “felt pressured” by Monica McLean and her representatives to change her story — that she knew nothing about the alleged sexual assault, or the alleged party where it allegedly happened, or that she ever knew Mr. Kavanaugh. I think that’s called suborning perjury.
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None of this is trivial and the matter can’t possibly rest there. Too much of it has been unraveled by what remains of the news media. And meanwhile, of course, there is at least one grand jury listening to testimony from the whole cast-of-characters behind the botched Hillary investigation and Robert Mueller’s ever more dubious-looking Russian collusion inquiry: the aforementioned Strozk, Lisa Page, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Bill Priestap, et. al. I have a feeling that these matters are now approaching critical mass with the parallel unraveling of the Christine Blasey Ford “story.”

The Democratic Party has its fingerprints all over this, as it does with the shenanigans over the Russia investigation. Not only do I not believe Dr. Ford’s story; I also don’t believe she acted on her own in this shady business. What’s happening with all these FBI and DOJ associated lawyers is an obvious circling of the wagons. They’ve generated too much animus in the process and they’re going to get nailed. These matters are far from over and a major battle is looming in the countdown to the midterm elections. In fact, op-ed writer Charles M. Blow sounded the trumpet Monday morning in his idiotic column titled: Liberals, This is War. Like I’ve been saying: Civil War Two.

Reprinted with permission from Kunstler.com.

The Best of James Howard Kunstler

October 9, 2018

Kavanaugh Casualties, by Victor Davis Hanson [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 6:49 pm

Kavanaugh Casualties
By Victor Davis Hanson

October 9, 2018 6:30 AM

Signs at an anti-Kavanaugh protest in Washington, D.C., September 27, 2018. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
In tatters: The mainstream Left, Never Trumpers, conventional wisdom, #MeToo, the media . . .

When the Christine Ford saga finally ended with the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, a lot of truth had distilled out, along with the evaporation of prior pretensions and misconceptions.

The Left

The hearing confirmed that the traditional JFK/Hubert Humphrey Democrat party, as once envisioned by a Bill Clinton, Gary Hart, or Jim Webb, is long kaput. In its place is being birthed a hard-left progressive movement that absorbs the ideologies and methodologies of its base and that now incorporates all sorts, from Ocasio-Cortez’s socialist hipsters to Black Lives Matters, Antifa, and Occupy Wall Street protestors.

The new progressives recently have come to believe that they gain traction by the theater of disrupting senate hearings, cornering senators in elevators, stalking them on the way to work, doxing their opponents on the Internet, and during the hearings throwing out the concept of due process. Any means is deemed permissible to enact visions of social justice, given legislative and executive power is lost for now — and as if proverbially ordinary Americans who watched the televised circus might applaud the performers.

NOW WATCH: ‘No the Trump Administration did not ban Words at the CDC’

Diane Feinstein, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and the Democratic fossils on the Senate Judiciary Committee may in their golden years try to lumber onto the departing progressive train, but their septuagenarian and octogenarian creaky efforts to get on board grow sad. Joe Biden was reduced to threatening to beat Trump up behind the locker room. Diane Feinstein staged a clumsy eleventh-hour ambush of the hearings that proved pure bathos. Even leftists such as Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren fear that they are suddenly pseudo- revolutionaries, compared with the new, far more radical Jacobins, who in cyclical French Revolutionary style call for massive repeals of all student debt, free tuition, packing the Supreme Court, Medicare for all, a specified end to fossil fuels, quotas based on identity politics, and an abolishment of Immigration and Custom Enforcement. No one quite knows how far this cannibalistic cycle will go.

The emotional powerbase of the new Democrats is now Corey “I am Spartacus” Booker, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and thousands of state and local Ocasio-Cortezes. Barack Obama really did fundamentally transform the old Democratic party. Or rather from 2009 to 2017, he dismantled it at the congressional, state, and local levels while he was elected twice to the presidency. But even the now multimillionaire Obama appears to the new Democrats as a near has-been sellout. And in his fifties, he will have to hit the streets again, in his prior mode of “get in their face, bring a gun to a knife fight, punish our enemies,” to recapture his hard-left fides.

The hatred of Kavanaugh and the left-wing repudiation of due process and of Senate protocol and tradition united the Democrats by moving their party far more to the left rather than to the center. Apparently, Democrats must embrace or at least excuse Antifa-like tactics or they are no longer Democrats. Diane Feinstein’s reprehensible behavior must be seen in this context as seeking to be as radical as the unhinged expressions of Kevin de León, her election rival for the Senate seat.

Yes, both parties are now more united and energized. But one did so by enticing the recalcitrant back into the fold; the other, by warning them to join the revolution or be guillotined.

Never Trump

The character assassination of Brett Kavanaugh by unsubstantiated rumor and gossip put Never Trumpers in a bind, or rather split them in two. Kavanaugh was nominated by the hated Trump, but his record and endorsements by the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society mainstreamed the choice. He was neither a liberal David Souter in conservative sheep’s clothing nor a crony appointment like the failed Harriet Miers nomination.

The preppy Kavanaugh — by class, education, comportment, and prior employment — was about as pure a Bushite as one could imagine. His opinions were doctrinaire conservative and traditionalist, in the sense of interpreting rather than making laws.

To destroy a judge like Kavanaugh reflected that the New Left’s hatred of Trump had always been incidental to its essential loathing of conservatives in general. For a remnant group of Never Trumpers to oppose Kavanaugh, then, reflected the elevation of their own personal hatred for Trump over the critical elevation of a principled jurist to the Supreme Court. Supposedly, Kavanaugh was soiled by a Trump handprint, and therefore it was better to have a more liberal court than see Trump get any credit for taking the court in a direction only previously dreamed of by conservatives.

Never Trumpers had always assured their former conservative colleagues that Trump would either fail or prove liberal. But he has done neither. And as far as his demonstrable crudity and uncouthness, the hearings showed that the Democrats were far crueler and crass in deed than Trump was in word. So perhaps half of the small minority of Republican Never Trumpers, in horror at the Antifa tactics of the Democrats, retreated to the old adage of “hang together or hang separately.” Those who doubled down by joining leftists in opposing the Kavanaugh nomination revealed that they have crossed their Rubicon and now are either orphaned or unabashedly part of the new progressive Democratic party — at least until their useful obsequiousness no longer serves current progressive agendas.

Conventional Political Wisdom

Kavanaugh was not supposed to display too much anger at the Left that sought not just to thwart his confirmation, but destroy his person and his family as just deserts. At noon on the day of his final appearance, Kavanaugh was declared dead after the sympathetic but otherwise not credible testimony of Christine Ford. But by day’s end, Kavanaugh’s freelancing explosive defiance had saved the nomination, showing that conventional wisdom’s “judicial temperament” when smeared was merely a noble way to lose.

Trump was damned at a rally for mocking Ford’s full-of-holes assertions — and for the nth time written off as crude, crass, and uncouth. But Trump haters so often let their venom blind them to Trump’s cunning: 1) He is reactive not provocative. All week Trump was demonized, and so his description of Ford and her enablers was seen as righteous retaliation not a bullying attack; 2) Trump has an uncanny sense of the pulse of public opinion. He waited to apply the coup de grace until Ford’s own narratives, which she changed numerous times, were being picked apart not so much as incomplete but as impossible to reconcile; 3) Trump realizes that it is his defiance as much as his message that wins him fealty. He never publicly flinched from his support for Kavanaugh and by doubling-down told his base that if Kavanaugh was going down, so would he. After eight years of perceived namby-pamby Republican contextualization, even mainstream conservatives seem to appreciate defiance. And they got it in spades with both Kavanaugh and Trump, whose both defied collective conventional wisdom of just letting it be.

The #MeToo Movement

The #MeToo movement is imploding. By its recent McCarthyesque excesses it is undoing a great deal of good that it had once done, in Hollywood and the media especially.

Once #MeToo embraced the generic position of “she must be believed” even when there is no evidence, and even despite overwhelming contradictory evidence, then the movement, willingly or not, had sided with Phaedra over Hippolytus and Mayella Violet Ewell over Tom Robinson. It would render our Western cultural inheritance — from Socrates’s Apology and Alfred Dreyfus to The Ox-Bow Incident to 12 Angry Men — null and void.

A republic cannot survive any revolutionary movement that insist that its moral claims are so exalted that 2,500 years of Western jurisprudence must be jettisoned, as if “sincerity” established “believability” and believability in turn “credibility” — all without evidence, witnesses, or substantiated testimonies. The result of such ideas would be the nightmarish world of either a regimented Ninety Eighty-Four or the chaos of the Lord of the Flies.

The Kavanaugh hearing was the ultimate but logical continuation of the Duke Lacrosse and Rolling Stone travesties. The #MeToo excess was even likely to have pleased the ogre Harvey Weinstein — a sexual predator who for decades was exempted by liberal Hollywood enablers and appeasers either on the theory of “Well, he may be a predator, but he’s our predator” or “He’s bad, but not always bad for me.” Weinstein may now claim that what happened to the hated conservative Kavanaugh earlier had happened to him, the once beloved liberal, or he may say something like “See what happens when you lose liberal warriors like me.”

So #MeToo has transmogrified into a partisan political movement. Once it took down one too many liberal journalists and politicians, it was steered back onto a progressive course. The police report about Keith Ellison and recent testimony from his former girlfriends did not constitute “substantiation” and therefore were not “credible” in a way the incoherent writ against a 17-year-old Bret Kavanaugh, 36 years ago, most certainly was. Once #MeToo became an arm of the progressive political movement, as witnessed by the Kavanaugh debacle, it lost credence as a movement of righteous indignation whose targets were mostly contrite predators. Today, increasingly, the alleged predators targeted by #MeToo are conservative.

The Blue-Chip Media

The New Yorker and Ronan Farrow will likely be more remembered for their abject Ramirez fantasies than the earlier Weinstein realities. They ran with a story that had no substantiation, no coherence, no witnesses.

Such an article, without any evidence, would never have been published about a liberal justice — and the authors and their editors, of course, knew that.

The NBC interview with Julia Swetnick was an unmitigated disaster. When a marquee network warns its own audience that the comments of the interviewee either could not be confirmed or were contrary to her earlier testimonies, then the natural question arises: Would NBC ever have run such an interview with an unhinged conservative critic who, without evidence or testimony, had recently alleged that she had 36 years earlier seen a liberal justice commit gang rape in his teens?

The New York Times had to retract a false allegation that Mark Judge had more or less had changed his story and now had confirmed his presence at the alleged party: “An earlier version of this article misstated what Mark Judge told the Senate Judiciary Committee. He said that he does not remember the episode, not that he does.” “Fake News” is an overused phrase, but it proves a euphemism when describing the recent behavior of The New Yorker, the New York Times, and NBC.

When Donald J. Trump rants at his rallies about “fake news” and claims that the media is not just biased but lies, Americans wince — but now more so at the accuracy of his charges and no longer so much at the crassness with which he delivers them.

The Old-White-Men Slur

The media and Democratic operatives pounded the idea that Senate Republicans were “old white men” and symbols of a has-been old-white-man country that is unfair and cruel. Given that Christine Ford was not exactly young but was clearly white, why did progressives not just say “men”?

The answer, of course, is that the progressive movement sought to use the Kavanaugh hearings to empower a larger race-and-gender identity-politics agenda, in which the perennial targets are old white guys. The operating theory is that women, the nonwhite, and young hipsters by their gender, race, or age — and their collective victimization — are innately preferable and more deserving people.

But once progressives drew up those insane rules, the subsequent spectacle was judged by their own standards. Mitch McConnell proved a far more adroit senatorial manager than Chuck Schumer. Chuck Grassley sounded more judicious and worried about the rules than did Diane Feinstein. Lindsey Graham was far more coherent and focused that Senator Spartacus. Prosecutor Mitchell was to the point, direct, and transparent in a way Christine Ford was not always.

More important, for millions of Americans watching the spectacle, the results did not play out so much as an old-white-guy melodrama as a class-and-gender psychodrama. Most men of all races and classes cannot accept a new reality that they can have their careers destroyed, without appeal to due process, at any moment by an unsubstantiated accusation dating from when they were 17 — all on the pretext that a destructive career inquisition “is not formally a criminal trial” and therefore not subject to the spirit of the U.S. Constitution. And if there was any stereotypical lesson to be had, it was that many on the senatorial panel and the legions of advisers and lawyers on the Ford Team, as well as Ford herself, by their class, education, and comportment, increasingly seem quite different, quite more privileged, and quite more self-absorbed than most average Americans of all backgrounds who have little sympathy for the psychodramas of a pampered and professional class.

October 5, 2018

Christopher Dawson quote:

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 2:50 pm

“As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy.”

October 3, 2018

Justice is Due in the Confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh, by Joseph John, Capt USN, USNA 62 [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 4:28 pm

Justice is Due In The Confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh

By Capt Joseph R. John, October 3, 2018: Op Ed # 404

What the left of center liberal media establishment has coordinated, in their cover up in the background of Christine Blasey-Ford that has been well-known by students at Palo Alto University is that she is as an extremist and Progressive Professor, who has been Never Trump demonstrator ever since Donald Trump ran for office, and that she degraded President Trump in campus discussions.

The question facing the US Justice System and American citizens, is if a person is ever accused of a crime, should they be found guilty, as soon as they are accused? Should the US Justice System and all US Laws that always treated all accused individuals as “innocent until proven guilty” be set aside and allow a simple accusation of an individual, with no proof to back up the accusation, be allowed to find that individual guilty?

In her well-rehearsed testimony before the Senate Panel on September 27th, while being coached by her attorneys, Christine Blasey-Ford came across as a mixed up and troubled woman. Her demeanor and appearance wasn’t normal for a person of her age, education, and standing. As a mature woman, she gave responses to questions in an abnormally weak and high pitched little girl’s voice, which led viewers to wonder whether she was acting, or if she had mental problems. A Body Language Expert analyzed Christine while she testified to the allegation that Judge Kavanaugh sexually abused her 36 years ago; the overall analysis by the Body language Expert was that “Something’s Wrong Mentally” with Christine.

Military and Law Enforcement Interrogators are trained to look into a subject’s eyes of a subject during an interview. If TV viewers had been trained to pay close attention to Christine Blasey-Ford’s eyes during her testimony, they would have had doubts about the veracity of her testimony. There were many gaping holes in Christine’s testimony, and she did not reveal any new or corroborating facts to substantiate her charge that Britt Kavanaugh sexually abused her.

Christine testified that she is a licensed psychiatrist, that was apparently an untruthful representation. Unlike most viewers, I found her testimony, included this first of many false responses, that she lacked credibility, and her follow on testimony was laced with untruths and misleading statement throughout, as explained in the below listed narrative. Two men recently stated Christine may have misidentified them as being Britt Kavanaugh.

Christine said 4 witnesses were at the party, where she was alleged to have been assaulted. All 4 subject witnesses refuted her allegation and said they weren’t at any such party. That was her the second false representation. There were no specific details to corroborate where the alleged sexual assault took place, no evidence to prove the alleged assault actually took place, no witnesses to corroborate the alleged assault, and she could not provide a year or date when the alleged sexual abuse took place.

Since Christine made the unsubstantiated allegation, Judge Kavanaugh has been considered guilty of sexual abuse by the shameless Democrat Senators, Progressive Marxists, Planned Parenthood, Radically Left College Professors, and the left of center liberal media establishment. They state Judge Kavanaugh will be considered guilty by them, until he can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he is innocent. To be pronounced guilty until proven innocent, goes against 242 years of US Laws, and the laws of all western nations.

In violation of her request for anonymity, Christine was exposed to the press as the author of the July 30 letter to Senator Diane Feinstein. Three weeks before Christine sent her letter to Senator Feinstein, in a well-coordinated operation to cover up her true identity, her criminal record with three charges, her salacious high school year book bragging about drunken promiscuity, and her Stanford Bio Page were either scrubbed or altered; it is obvious that this operation was a well-planned and well-coordinated operation to derail the appointment of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and to destroy his reputation.

Christine was reported to have said she was afraid to fly, so she would have delay testimony in DC until she could drive from California to Washington (that was a third untruth, since she flies often, and everywhere to places like the East Coast, Hawaii, Costa Rica, French Polynesia, etc.). Three times, the Senators told her and her attorneys that they were willing to fly anywhere to listen to her testimony, so she wouldn’t have to fly. Those three offers were well covered and reported on all TV Networks, for nearly a week, Christine said in her testimony that she was unaware of any such offer (that was her third lie).

Christine flew to Washington to give an unsettled and confusing testimony in a nationally televised TV session, before the Senate Panel; she appeared to be distressed. There is a very good possibility that Christine’s, 36 year old, repressed memory may have been recovered by memory retrieval hypnosis during her therapy sessions; memory retrieval is so unreliable, that any information retrieved is considered unreliable and would be inadmissible in a court of law.

Since her attorney’s refused to allow her therapy notes to be examined confidentially, to determine if memory retrieval hypnosis was used to get her to accuse Britt Kavanaugh, and to verify if the repeated referrals to what those notes were reported to have revealed publicly was true. A cloud still remains over how her therapy led her to confirm that it was Britt Kavanaugh who sexually abused her. Christine eventually testified that Britt Kavanaugh’s name was not in therapist’s notes.

The various descriptions of the alleged sexual contact were inconsistent. Christine’s publicly revealed therapy notes differed from what was written in the letter to Senator Feinstein (that sloppily written letter, with poor grammar, couldn’t have been drafted by a educated PhD). Both the contents of the therapy notes and the text in the letter to Feinstein were inconsistent with Christine’s testimony to the Senate panel (the years of the alleged attack kept changing, the number of witnesses at the alleged party kept changing, the date of the party was unknown, how she got to and from the party was unclear, etc.).

In a July 6 text to the Washington Post, Christine said the alleged attack occurred in the ‘mid 1980s. In her July 30 letter to Senator Feinstein, she said it happened in the early 80s. Christine’s August 7th statement to the polygrapher said that it happened one high school summer in early 80’s. Then she crossed out the word “early” for some unknown reason. A September 16 Washington Post article reported that Christine said it happened in the summer of 1982. A Washington Post article reported that notes from an individual therapy session in 2013 show her describing the assault as occurring in her late teens. But she also told the Post and the Senate Committee that she was 15 when the allegedly assault occurred. Those multiple statements are her collective list of lies; considered as her fourth lie.

Christine said she went to a therapist in 2012 with her husband, when Britt Kavanaugh name and the alleged party where she was sexually abused suddenly came to mind. She said that 2012 was when she told her husband that she wanted to have a second exit door installed in her house, because she was afraid of small confining areas, and because they only had one exit door from their home. However, according to the county construction records and their applications for a building permit, the second door was installed in 2008, long before she said she sought a therapist’s help in 2012. That is her fifth lie. The second door was installed to a separate room in the house, where a separate business doing research was renting that room, so the renters could enter and exit the residence without going thru the main house.

Christine said she went to the house where the party was being held from her country club, where she regularly practiced swimming and diving. She told the Washington Post that the party took place at more than 7 miles from her childhood home; that it was roughly a 20-minute drive from her childhood home. She now agrees that she was driven somewhere that night, either to the party or from the party or both, but has no memory of who drove her or when.

A house in suburban Chevy Chase, Maryland in 1982 would have had a bathroom on the first floor, why did she have the need to go up the stairs to the second floor to use the bathroom on that level; the second floor would normally have been off limits to high school students, who were having a party in a private home?

Why was the music playing in a closed bedroom on the second floor, when no one else was on that floor? Christine said that two boys who tried to sexually abuse her, pushed her in the closed bedroom, and turned up the music volume, so no one would be able to hear the sexual attack by 2 very drunk boys. She actually told her therapist the attack was perpetrated by 4 boys, not 2.

She said she left the house without warning her very good girlfriend, Leland Keyser, on the first floor about the dangers she would face, if she remained at the house party with two drunken boys who previously sexually abused her. Leland who Christine said was at the same party, said she never met Britt Kavanaugh, and was not at the party.

Christine’s polygraph exam was taken on August 7th right after Senator Feinstein received the July 30th letter (she probably had polygraph conducted because Democrats planned to use her public tetimony to derail Judge Kavanaugh, and needed something to corroborated her allegation, since there was no proof). Polygraphs are never admitted as evidence in trials, because they are unreliable. Polygraph sessions normally take from 30 minutes minute to one hour. The normal procedures followed to conduct an unbiased polygraph is to start with a number of questions to obtain truthful responses, leading up to the primary questions which were the purpose for conducting the polygraph. The veracity of the testimony is determined, by analyzing the polygraph print out.

Christine’s polygraph session consisted of 2 simple questions. She was asked if the paragraph she was reading out loud about the alleged party where she was sexually abused, was written by her, and if she believed that information was true. The person who administered her polygrapher is normally engaged by Attorneys who represent the Democrat Party, and one of Soros’s front organizations. (her attorneys refused to release the video of the polygraph interview, or share the printout of the polygraph printout).

In a written declaration released Tuesday and obtained by Fox News, an ex-boyfriend of Christine Blasey Ford, directly contradicted Christine’s testimony under oath last week that she had never helped anyone prepare themselves for a polygraph examination (that was her 6th lie). He further claimed that Ford never voiced any fear about flying (even while aboard a propeller plane) and had no problem living in a “very small,” 500 sq. ft. apartment with only one door, contradicting Christine’s claims that she could not testify promptly in D.C. because she felt uncomfortable traveling on planes, as well as her suggestion that her memories of Kavanaugh’s alleged assault prompted her to feel unsafe living in a closed space or one without a second front door.

Christine’s attorney, Debra Katz, was referred to her by the extremely Progressive Senator, Diane Feinstein. Debra Katz is one of George Soros’ attorneys who was even referred to Christine before Sen Feinstein told the Senate panel, that she Co-Chairs, of the allegation made by Christine in her July 30th letter. Nearly 50 days after Feinstein received that letter she told the Republican members of the committee. The attorney she was referred to, actually works for, and is being paid by one of George Soros’s front organizations. Christine’s attorney helped her set up 3 Go Fund Me Pages, and Christine has received over $1 million in donations , as a reward for her allegation against Dr. Britt Kavanaugh.

For many years, Christine has held SCI Top Secret Security Clearance with the CIA; she heads The CIA Undergraduate Intern Program at Stanford University. Christine’s father, Ralph Blasey II, has been employed by the CIA for many years, he father Nicolas Deak who worked for former CIA Director William Casey. Christine and her father have been associated with former CIA Director John Brennan, and John Brennan fingerprints are all over the character assassination plot to crucify and destroy Judge Kavanaugh. Christine’s brother, Ralph Blasey III, worked for the International Law Firm of Baker & Hostetler, the firm that created Fusion GPS. Hillary paid Fusion GPS to create the fake Steele Dossier that used to obtain FISA Warrants to wiretap the Trump Tower and spy on members of the Trump Presidential Campaign.

The below listed link discusses Christine’s connection to the CIA, and summarizes information from articles published in The New York Times, Breitbart News, The New Yorker, etc. We have not had the length of time to fully verify the large amount of information that can be viewed by clicking on the link (each recipient will have to do their own independent research, there is much more information for review and analysis on the Internet):

http://themillenniumreport.com/2018/09/deep-state-agent-christine-blasey-ford-and-her-familys-deep-relationship-with-the-c-i-a/

Christine testimony was peppered with misleading statement, inconsistencies, misleading half-truths, and the 6 above outright listed lies. Her testimony failed to clear up the many questions that were being asked prior to her testimony. The left of center liberal media establishment stated that Leftist Progressive Professor, Christine Blasey-Ford’s, inconsistencies, her failure to provide corroborating information, her six lies, and her misleading statements. At the same time the Democrats and Planned Parenthood were doing everything they could to smear and destroy a brilliant jurist whose many decisions as a US Appellant Court Justice, were affirmed by the Supreme Court.

Six FBI Background Investigations have been ignored by TV Commentators, Democrat Senators, Progressive Marxists, Planned Parenthood, and the liberal media establishment. Democrat Senators warned Republican Senators not to bully Christine who was alleged to be the victim of sexual abuse, and they put the fear of God in Republican Senators, which led them not to question her; they were bullied into being “Politically Correct”, and allowed sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question her. She should have been asked some very specific questions to clear up the above listed the holes in her testimony, and confront her 6 lies, and question her obvious inconsistencies. Republicans did not dispute Christine’s testimony or her uncorroborated charge that has no credibility.

Judge Kavanaugh testimony before the Senate Confirmation Hearings over a two week period went extremely well, and his qualification to sit on the Supreme Court was considered beyond sterling. His rebuttal of the sexual abuse charge was supported by the evidence he presented. Democrats, Rhinos, Planned Parenthood, and Progressives Marxists insisted that Judge Kavanaugh must go thru a 7th FBI Background Investigation. Even when the FBI clears Judge Kavanaugh for a 7th time this week, the Democrats, Progressive Marxists, Planned Parenthood, and the liberal media will continue to try to obstruct him, and derail his appointment to the Supreme Court.

On October 2nd, the family home of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, was attacked by over 200 left-wing protesters, many wearing masks, shouting profane slogans, waving signs, and throwing calendars, bricks, and bottles at his property. Judge Kavanaugh was in Washington, DC. His wife and two beautiful daughters vacated the premises and are currently housed in an unknown location for their own safety. The violent demonstrations are being supported and paid for by George Soros.

After a careful review of all of the evidence presented by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and her 6 lies in her Senate testimony about her accusation of the alleged sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh against her, Sex Crimes Prosecutor Rachel Mitchell released a report which completely exonerated Judge Kavanaugh of the sexual assault. She stated the allegation is so weak, that no criminal charge could ever be brought.

The American citizens have been witnessing the corruption of the US Senate Confirmation process for selection of a Supreme Court Justices, and the destabilization of the US Senate by partisan politics. The US Senate was once recognized as the world’s most famous deliberating body, but the attempt to crucify Judge Kavanaugh and destroy his reputation was perpetrated by the disgraceful actions of the Democrat Party, Leftist, Planned Parenthood, and Progressive Senators.

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

http://www.CombatVeteransForCongress.org

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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 1, 2018

LOL Mark Lowery, Baptist Minister & motorcycle accident

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 9:55 pm

This is one of the funniest videos! In case you do not know him, Mark Lowery is a Baptist preacher from Houston Texas with a bizarre sense of humor. He tells about having a motorcycle wreck (while not wearing a helmet) and what happened to him afterwards.

https://www.youtube.com/embed /46fk02enulQ?rel=0

Epitaph for a Dying Culture, by Victor Davis Hanson [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 7:58 pm

Epitaph for a Dying Culture
By Victor Davis Hanson| September 30th, 2018
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The Kavanaugh confirmation hearings and their endless sequelae have ended up as an epitaph for a spent culture for which its remedies are felt to be worse than its diseases. Think 338 B.C., A.D. 476, 1453, or 1939.

The coordinated effort to destroy Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court required the systematic refutation of the entire notion of Western jurisprudence by senators and much of the American legal establishment. And there was no hesitation in doing just that on the part of Senate Democrats, the #MeToo movement, and the press. And I write this at a moment in which conservatives and Republicans still control the majority of governorships, state legislatures, the U.S. Senate, the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court and the presidency—a reminder that culture so often is far more powerful than politics.
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So, here we were to be left with a new legal and cultural standard in adjudicating future disagreements and disputes, an utterly anti-Western standard quite befitting for our new relativist age:

The veracity of accusations will hinge on the particular identity, emotions, and ideology of the accuser;
Evidence, or lack of it, will be tangential, given the supposed unimpeachable motives of the ideologically correct accuser;
The burden of proof and evidence will rest with the accused to disprove the preordained assumption of guilt;
Hearsay will be a valuable narrative and constitute legitimate evidence;
Truth is not universal, but individualized. Ford’s “truth” is as valid as the “Truth,” given that competing narratives are adjudicated only by access to power. Ford is a victim, therefore her truth trumps “their” truth based on evidence and testimony.
Questionable and inconsistent testimony are proof of trauma and therefore exactitude; recalling an accusation to someone is proof that the action in the accusation took place.
Statutes of limitations do not exist; any allegation of decades prior is as valid as any in the present. All of us are subject at any moment to unsubstantiated accusations from decades past that will destroy lives.
Assertion of an alleged crime is unimpeachable proof. Recall of where, when, why, and how it took place is irrelevant.
Individual accusations will always be subservient to cosmic causes; individuals are irrelevant if they do not serve ideological aims. All accusations fit universal stereotypes whose rules of finding guilt or innocence trump those of individual cases.
The accuser establishes the conditions under which charges are investigated; the accused nods assent.

Our cultural traditions are being insidiously rewritten in this new Dark Age. We know now that Euripides’s Phaedra should have been believed, as a female accuser of rape. Perhaps university presses can either reissue properly corrected editions or ban the Hippolytus entirely. No doubt we will ban Racine’s Phèdre as well. Harper Lee’s Tom Robinson deserved his fate because his female accuser should have been believed—and perhaps To Kill a Mockingbird should be rewritten as well. In our time, we have finally and only now belatedly realized that Tawana Brawley’s voice was stifled.

History as Melodrama
In an iconoclastic age, when statues are toppled, and when street names at Stanford University are renamed (but, mysteriously, not the politically incorrect name Stanford itself), the past is captive to the present. Realities are erased according to current ideological agendas.

Our pastime is to blame those of the technologically backward and impoverished past. In most cases, they accomplished things that our present generation lacks the courage and resilience to do—whether navigating the Atlantic in a leaky boat without accurate navigation, homesteading on the prairie in an age without machines or modern medicine, or flying a B-17 without fighter escort over 1943 Germany. Is it our envy of their courage or own self-hatred for our manifest inferiority that forces us to judge figures of the past in our modern courts on the basis of their purported race, class, and gender crimes?

So, history has become melodrama, not tragedy. Figures of the past who were human and not perfect, and who prove, according to today’s value systems, not good progressives are thus deserving of historical annihilation. The affluence and leisure of the present create the luxury of such pampered intellectual indulgence in a way the existential crises of Civil War, the Great Depression, and World War II did not.
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In our own age, the disproven but still legendary tales of “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” the Duke Lacrosse fantasies, the Rolling Stone folktales, or Lena Dunham’s fictive memoir won out and became fact, inasmuch as such lies were not real lies given their service to progressive aims. And that is where we are now headed—the world of the Athenian popular court, the Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, the Star Chamber, the cycles of the French Revolution—except that in all those cases, reason and sanity eventually returned. Perhaps not now. We are entering a new Dark Ages.

If we to look to the universities for truth and courage we find increasingly medieval darkness, wherein matters of alleged sexual harassment there is no due process for the accused.

Free speech on campus vanishes if minority views are dubbed “hate” speech or declared merely “hurtful.”

There is little diversity of opinion and even less tolerance of any dissent from majority dogma. Obsequiousness so often is redefined as courage; real courage condemned as a crime against the people. Campus segregation becomes desirable, if privileged by “safe spaces.” Censorship is sensitivity and justified by “trigger warnings.” The apparent absence of bias becomes proof of bias if dubbed a “micro-aggression.” Racial discrimination in admissions affirms liberality.

The sensuality, personal indulgence, and even recklessness of the 1960s still continue, but become criminal, if post facto, one party finds his or her immoderation unfulfilling or in retrospect embarrassing. Woodstock is now married to the Victorian parlor, the common denominator for our self-absorbed generation seems to be to enjoy the refuge of shame and honor when gratification proves not gratifying.

Welcome to the Progressive Church
If we look to the media, there is an overarching dogma that governs the veracity of all other “truths.” “Fake News” is a misnomer, given that the general force of prejudicial media coverage is not just falsity, but the effort to substantiate progressive agendas.

The embryo of modern journalism is either progressive graduate schools or past progressive political campaigns and service, and so the media is an extension of the progressive movement. The trivial to the substantial are all invented to advance narratives, whether a greedy U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s supposedly ordering self-indulgent $50,000 drapes or Mark Judge purportedly recalling, and thus de facto corroborating, Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations.

If we look to our brave, new technologies—social media, the Internet, the linked world of instant communication devices—they prove entirely missionary and ideological. Their reason to be is accelerating social and cultural change—albeit with the assumption that their the masters who run these technologies assume that their own privilege and vast wealth have insulated themselves from any unwelcomed ramifications following from their own ideology and advocacy.

So everything from Facebook and Twitter censorship to politically recalibrating the order of Google searches serves the larger collective “good.” Even ancient ideas of wealth and poverty fade before our current ideology. If riches are used for social change, even if cynically and for careerist and self-interested reasons, then how they were obtained or otherwise used is irrelevant; if not, then they are proof of greed in their acquisition. Multibillionaire George Soros might be a wanted felon in France or have attempted to break the Bank of England and thereby ruin small depositors. But his wealth is welcomed because he invests a small percentage of it in progressive causes and thereby purchases his own progressive insurance and protection. As did the Catholic Church in the Dark Ages of yore, the Progressive Church now sells indulgences.

If we look to consensual government for hope, we see instead the courts and the permanent administrative class more often as the new governance. Their directives are to obstruct or overturn residual popular forces of tradition and custom, whether that consists of overriding bothersome federal immigration law, or advancing states’ rights ideas of nullification such as “sanctuary cities.”

Few Escape Routes Left
In this growing Dark Age, nothing is as it was. We have only faint memories of what was normal just decades ago. Professional sports become vehicles for promulgating progressive versions of social justice. Athletic excellence is increasingly adjudicated on the basis of ideology, despite the dark lessons of totalitarian societies that have done just that in the past.

Hollywood has run out of ideas, reduced either to making pale imitations of classic films or flat psychodramas about courageous, perpetually 30-something social justice warriors. Late-night comedy, indeed all comedy, has disappeared and turned into a boring regurgitation of progressive themes or safe situational banality—reminiscent of the decline of Old Comedy of Aristophanes to the psychodramas of Hellenistic New Comedy. Even left-wing comedians such as Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, or George Carlin could not now exist.

In science, we are back to the age of silencing Galileo. Dare suggest that human efforts to address purported man-caused global warming are not cost-effective, and one’s academic career, his funding and status are imperiled. Suggest that research shows not all the accusations of sexual harassment of females are to be believed without corroborating evidence, and one is damned as a retrograde sexist if not a closet assaulter himself. Imply that the greatest health crisis facing black youth is the violence on the streets of a Baltimore or Chicago, and one is a supporter of police misconduct. Hint that our sex is almost always innate and biologically determined and not usually socially constructed, and one becomes a “-phobe” of some sort.

Language is in service to the state and progressive agendas, either by the creation of new words or refining old ones. “Homosexual” and “transvestism” are not any longer clinical vocabulary, but slurs. “White” is not descriptive so much as pejorative. “Liberty” and “freedom” are synonymous with selfishness, if not conspiracy. To join “overseas contingency operations” to thwart “man-caused disasters” and “workplace violence” could mean almost anything and thus, by design, they mean nothing.

The result is that, in lieu of pushback, to escape the new Dark Age, tens of millions of Americans are increasingly dropping out in search of some sort of physical or mental monastery, an escape, a refuge from a vindictive state and from those who crafted and are invested in it.

Millions no longer watch the Emmys or Grammys or any sort of entertainment awards event. They do not go to the movies or even watch new Hollywood releases on their computers or televisions.

Popular music is skipped on the expectation that it is not just vulgar and foul, but incoherently politicalized. They more and more pass on professional sports, neither watching nor attending what has become condemnatory rituals or lectures on social justice from pampered multimillionaire athletes.

At work, they keep their thoughts to themselves and nod assent to received pieties.

Courtship resembles a careful script in which a wrong word, an unartful advance can spell career destruction. To be safe, would-be couples inquire firsthand about their respective politics and traditions. The amoral marketplace, in Brave New World fashion, answers with promises of inanimate and mechanical sex partners.

All scour their past—in fear that something 20, 30, or 50 years prior might resurface, immediately become mythologized and thus weaponized to destroy them, especially should they have achieved status, public recognition, affluence, or influence. One’s personal privacy is kept hidden, not just in disgust with our generation’s therapeutic maladies in which others pour out their emotions and fragilities in lieu of an idea, but because any disclosure is expected later to be used against oneself.

An idea of retirement is not merely a house by the lake or a cottage on the coast to die in peace, but now a mental refuge in which we are at last free from 24/7 sermonizing and worry over thought crimes, both in person and electronically—a world in which a sermonizer on a computer screen or in a television set does not lecture us for perceived shortcomings without acknowledgment that he is more likely than not to also fail to meet his own standards of morality.

In other words, America is resembling the medieval Balkans, where spent traditionalists fled to the mountaintops, abandoned the plains of a dying culture to the new zealots who stormed in under the pretense of civilization.

September 30, 2018

An Impending Shooting Civil War, by Karl Denninger [cF Chittum’s “Civil War: II” nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 2:42 pm

2018-09-26 07:29 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 12603 references
An Impending Shooting Civil War
[Comments enabled]

It is my contention that we are just one bad event away from a shooting civil war in America — and in fact if you ask Steve Scalise it may have already started.
The political process is often fraught with severe language, money and hard-fought contests. But in the end there are winners and losers; a person who loses by one vote still lost, while the person who wins by one vote still gets the office. The margin is immaterial and, in the context of a Presidential Election, the popular vote doesn’t matter; it is the electoral vote that counts and thus all candidates tailor their particular political process toward that outcome.
Twice now in recent history the left has refused to accept the outcome of that process. The first was Bush .v. Gore, which went to the US Supreme Court. Said court wisely refused to intervene in what was a political process, leaving said process intact, and Bush was seated as President. In doing so the issue of refusal to accept the outcome of an election was left for another day, and, for the most part, the left bided their time and then came back with a winner in 2008 in the form of Barack Obama.
But this time no such thing happened. Hillary Clinton lost. She didn’t lose by much, but by the rules of the contest she lost. Unfortunately the left not only refused to accept the outcome at the time two years later it still refuses to accept the outcome.
Let me be clear on this — if you’re bitter that there was no President Pantsuit that’s fine. Losses can be bitter, especially when you really think you should have won. But no matter what you think by the rules of the contest Hillary lost to Trump — period.
But if you go beyond being bitter, start up hashtags like “#Resist” and then put that into action both inside and outside the government to disregard and disrupt the results of a valid electoral process you are not only violating the law you are inciting a shooting civil war.
This sort of activity by people inside the government is treading right to if not over the line of insurrection. The use of government force for unlawful purpose, intentionally, meets the definition; it is an attempt to overthrow the law of the United States by corrupting the monopoly on deadly force that the government has and directing it unlawfully against certain people for political purposes. This is not a “petty offense”; it is a direct assault on and attempt to overthrow the result of a lawful elective process and according to the above link it’s still going on today.
If you’re aggrieved by an election’s results you have every right to print up a sign and go picket on a public street or other public place. You can take out all the political advertisements you wish and make your best effort to get a different result the next time around. But you do not have the right to enter into a restaurant where someone is eating dinner, which is private property, and assault said person because they happen to be a member of that political party. That is a violation of the law in that it constitutes assault and is begging for an immediate outbreak of violence in response.
If your bitterness with the outcome of an election incites you to libel people and attempt to destroy institutions because you didn’t get the result you wanted in the last political contest, such as is going on right now with Brett Kavanaugh, you are also inciting a shooting war. And let’s be clear; while there were plenty of people on the right who didn’t like Kagan or Sotomayer, and still don’t (I’m among them) my issues with them, along with others on the right, begin and end with their refusal to adhere to the boundaries of the written Constitution. That I didn’t like the way they might rule on this issue or that for this reason did not give me license to accuse either or both of them of felony sexual assault for political purposes and to sandbag alleged misdemeanor claims for the nakedly-explicit purpose of trying to delay a vote until after the next election takes place rather than to address an actual grievance.
It’s amusing to watch the daily smarmy-talking-heads on Tout-TV (otherwise known as CNBS around this blog and here’s looking at you, Cramer) shouting with joy as the markets make new highs on the bubble-infused schemes fueled by trillion dollar deficits that are returning less GDP expansion than the monetary expansion as a percentage of the economy. That is, said alleged “expansion” is factually false; the economy in real terms is contracting! This is basic math; if you expand the money supply by 5% ($1 trillion on a $20 trillion economy) and GDP expands by 3% then the actual result is a 2% contraction in economic output measured in the production of goods and services. Put in household terms that you can run up your credit card by an additional $2,000 when you have $40,000 of income does not make you $2,000 richer; you are in fact $2,000 poorer for doing so, plus the cost of interest! Never mind that if the current political situation continues the S&P 500 won’t matter since it won’t be trading anymore and all of those SJW-infused companies that make up the majority of its market cap will be laying in literal ashes. “What is Zero, Alex?”
There are those who think there could be some sort of “peace” in this regard but they’re cracked in the head. We have a schism now, more-or-less, among the states — there are those areas that are deep “red” and those that are deep “blue.” While the “Reds” mostly leave the “Blues” alone the converse is not true. Witness the PA AG who has sought and gained national injunctions issued all the way across the country in Washington State! He’s not content to remain inside Pennsylvania and deal with whatever admixture of political process exists there — no, he wants to exert what he sees as “his power” all the way across the country, everywhere, even though by law he lacks any jurisdictional ability to do so. He makes a direct point of bragging about this all over Twitter too — daily. Indeed his positions are only thinly disguised as part of a formal “#resist” movement.
If you have a train on a track and there is a switch up ahead set to go off a bridge that is out, and the cab of the locomotive has the control for said switch in it, then you have an obvious choice to make and only one correct choice.
Now put two people in that cab who get into a fight; one insists he will only agree to go down the safe track if the other guy is dead or permanently rendered subservient, the other says “over my dead body” since he’s unwilling to die or live as a slave — but he obviously doesn’t want to go off the bridge either.
One of the two antagonists in the cab has to kill the other, or one has to jump. If they simply tussle in the cab both die and the train wrecks killing everyone in the cars behind the locomotive. It’s a similar situation if you and the copilot decide to fight in an airplane that is flying; one of you is dying, one of you is jumping (hopefully with a parachute) or you are both going to die and the plane, along with everyone in it, will be destroyed.
When political animus spills over into action in the real world such as repeated criminal assault, as has been happening now with regularity and is being increasingly documented in video form and in their own voices by the political left there is a major problem. When that sort of activity is intentionally amplified and permitted by major corporate firms such as Facebook and Twitter while suppressing any sort of pushback whatsoever you now add an attempt to con the public into believing this is some sort of “organic” series of events — when nothing of the sort is the case. When Chuck Schumer states on CSPAN that “There is no presumption of innocence” then the Rule of Law and due process are both dead and he is inviting, provoking and in fact inciting civil war. The conduct alleged is criminal; whenever one makes such an allegation due process rights attach. If one cannot find recourse in due process before the law then the only remaining recourse is to the law of the jungle. There are also those (Hirono) who have gone even further and stated that Kavanaugh is presumed guilty because she does not like his written judicial opinions. This is exactly identical to the Salem witch trials where one was presumed a witch because they had a black cat and were unmarried, which certain people found “distasteful.”
The media, specifically but not exclusively CNN, is even worse — they are intentionally lying and when the civil war they are inciting comes they are and should be first on the list of parties held responsible for the outcome. As just one example in the context of Ramirez they have intentionally lied about the fact that her attorneys have ignored and deflected seven separate attempts to obtain some sort of formal statement of facts and allegations made under penalty of perjury; instead her attorneys continue to insist on a trial in the media where there is no penalty for outright lies. Why is this? Might it be related to her being a board member of a far-left organization that has required, non-negotiable positions that constitute a flat-out demand to abrogate the First Amendment?
Throughout time and the history of nations there have been multiple political groups that have refused anything other than complete acquiescence and acceptance of their alleged mandates. Political Islam has been known for this for more than 1,000 years; it has rolled into nations, sometimes by force and sometimes by “migration”; in the latter case the “migrants” then multiply literally as part of their political design and, when they reach a material percentage of the whole they begin segregating society, creating “no-go” zones in which they enforce their own version of law by force and, if not challenged and driven out they eventually take over the entire civil legal authority of the country and replace it. It is this series of actions that led to the first of the Crusades; they were not, as is commonly put forward, a bunch of Christians rising up and deciding to “kill all the non-believers.” In point of fact the First Crusade was initiated as a response to demands from Islamic invaders who had occupied the land now called “Israel”, specifically Jerusalem, and forbid Christian pilgrimages. (Yes, those wars, like so many others, degenerated rather quickly….. war has a way of doing that and no, this is not a blanket claim on the rest of them; there’s a clean argument that many of the other Crusades were more about trade routes than anything else.) Today we are seeing the beginning stages of the same thing in France and other parts of Europe, including the UK — never mind Sweden.
Rome collapsed largely due to the same sort of nonsense within political groups. Venezuela was recently a nation with one of the greatest concentrations of oil wealth in the world, it fell victim to the same sort of “one way politically and we’ll kill anyone who disagrees” game and now the nation is basically bankrupt and disintegrating. Argentina was recently a thriving economy. Today it’s struggling to emerge from its own self-imposed Hell for the exact same reason.
There are plenty of those who say the right wishes to do away with abortion, and that this alleged intent to violate a woman’s right to choose when and by whom to bear children justifies the sort of action we’re seeing now both with Kavanaugh and others. That’s a damnable lie and those engaged in it are going to condemn 100 million Americans to death if they keep that crap up. Even if Roe was overturned, which I have written on as being extraordinarily unlikely, that would only return the issue to the states. There are plenty of “Blue” states in which abortion would remain legal and available even if Roe was gone tomorrow and there is nothing preventing anyone from traveling to same — temporarily for the purpose of medical care or permanently to reside there. The left knows this but they don’t care; to them utterly nothing matters beyond demanding that every single city, state, town and person both behave and believe as they demand and if you don’t consent they will do whatever they need to in order to force you to do so including initiating a shooting civil war inside the US. Is it any wonder the left also wishes to disarm you? If you’re acting to incite a shooting war you most-certainly would desire to disarm those you intend to kill first!
These demands from the left are no different than that of radical, sharia-demanding Islamic nutjobs. There is not one shred of material difference between the two positions when boiled down to their essence and both are equally-capable of destroying a nation from within.
There are many who, I’m sure, will say I’m over-reading this. Nope. You’re wrong. I have studied history for decades, from times long gone to far more-recent examples, and this is an unbroken pattern.
Nor am I calling for a “desired outcome.” Nobody in their right mind takes rocks made out of tens of kilograms of pure U-235 and smashes them together with their bare hands. The outcome of doing that is a known fact and you have to be flat-out nuts to desire or effort toward that happening.
But that’s where we’re headed and it is not just the left that is responsible — it is also those on the right and center including the current Republican Senate members who are tolerating and kowtowing to a strident group of nuts who refuse to respect the political process and accept its results. Never mind those in the House and Senate who have continually refused to bring impeachment or expulsion proceedings immediately against any and all in their bodies that refute a right to due process, a basic foundation of our country’s political and legal system.
This must stop now; there is no way to know what the triggering event will be that will lead to catastrophe but that there are a huge number of politicians (Kamala Harris and Maxine Waters anyone?) and others who egg on and tolerate those such as the so-called “Antifa” running around committing violence in the name of the their favorite political position because they lost at the ballot box in 2016 is fact.
The corner case that sets it off, whether all at once or slowly and then quickly accelerating like a nuclear chain reaction will eventually happen. Indeed, we may already be too far down the road to stop it, but “stopping it” can never mean submission in the face of violent or illegal “resistance” when one loses a political contest. Instead those who engage in such conduct whether inside government or not must be held fully to account under both civil and criminal law, without fear or favor and those who egg on such from within the halls of elected officials must all be expelled instantly.
Piece-by-piece we either claw back the Rule of Law into our society or we lose our entire social structure to a degenerate mob and merely walking down the street in a city means death from nothing more complicated than a nutjob tossing bricks from the roof, say much less all the gang-bangers with guns.
I hope you don’t mind if as long as nutjobs continue to insist on smashing those piece of U-235 together I go find somewhere that might be beyond the blast and fallout radius. Yeah, I know, I’ll probably die anyway (“total war” has a way of laying waste everything) but it certainly beats sitting next to you while you egg on the fruit and nut brigade.

September 28, 2018

The Fate of Empires, by Sir John Glubb,[nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 7:04 pm

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THE FATE OF EMPIRES
and

SEARCH FOR SURVIVAL

Sir JohnGlubb

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 EH 1 IHA
Scotland

© J. B. G. Ltd, 1976, 1977

ISBN 0 85158 127 7

Printed at the Press of the Publisher

Introduction

As we pass through hfe, 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
commimity 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
before.

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 well-
balanced investigations.

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
himian 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 Ghibb, better known as Glubb
Pasha, was bom 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.

2

The Fate of Empires

Physical science has expanded its knowledge
by building on the work of its predecessors,
and by making millions of careful experi-
ments, 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

The nation
Assyria
Persia

(Cyrus and his descendants)
Greece

(Alexander and his successors)
Roman Republic
Roman Empire
Arab Empire
Mameluke Empire
Ottoman Empire
Spain

Romanov Russia
Britain

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

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 home-
country 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:

Duration in years
247
208

231

233
207
246
267
250
250
234
250

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

Dates of rise and fall
859-612 B.C.
538-330 B.C.

331-100 B.C.

260-27 B.C.
27 B.C.-A.D. 180
A.D. 634-880
1250-1517
1320-1570
1500-1750
1682-1916
1700-1950

The Fate of Empires

3

could be calculated with mathematical

accuracy.

(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 life-
span. The Babylonian Empire of Nebucha-
dnezzar, 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
empire.

(c) The changes in the technology of trans-
port and of war have, however, affected the
shape of empires. The Assyrians, marching
on foot, could only conquer their neigh-
bours, 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 sub-
continents, 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 Assjoian
and the British Empires were entirely
different, both lasted about the same
length of time.

Ill 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?

4

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 gene-
rations of people. A closer examination of the
characteristics of the rise and fall of great
nations may emphasise the possible signifi-
cance 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.), Mace-
don 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 every-
thing went wrong— the Macedonian generals
fought one another and established rival
empires— Macedonian pre-eminence survi-
ved 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 wan-
dering 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
mountains.

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
empire.

Examples of the sudden outbursts by
which empires are born could be multiplied
indefinitely. These random illustrations must
suffice.

The Fate of Empires

5

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 distingui-
shed 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 disco-
vered Australia. Fearless initiative characte-
rises 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
Europe.

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 distingui-
shed in philosophy, some in administration,
some in romance, poetry or religion, some in

6

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
world.

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
mankind.

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
humanity.

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, cUmbing unexplored mountains, and
sailing uncharted seas. The new nation is
confident, optimistic and perhaps contemp-
tuous of the ‘decadent’ races which it has
subjugated.

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.SA. 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

7

automatically acts as a stimulant to com-
merce. 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 modem methods of trans-
portation tends to create in us the impress-
sion that far-flung commerce is a modem
development, but this is not the case. Objects
made in Ireland, Scandinavia and China
have been found in the graves or the rains 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 SjTia,
might spend six months on the joumey. 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 Sjria, each
with its own govemment, 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 modem 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 co-
operation. The present European Economic
Community is an attempt to secure commer-
cial 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 bratal 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 joumey 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
‘nations’.

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, particu-
larly 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 indepen-

8

The 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 super-
powers. 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 life-
story of our tj^ical empire. We have already
considered the age of outburst, when a little-
regarded 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

9

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 self-
confidence. 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
situation.)

Boys’ schools are intentionally rough. Fru-
gal 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 drum-
med 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
comers of the earth, perpetuating to some
degree the adventurous courage of the Age of
Conquests.

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 them-
selves. 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
today.

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 accu-
mulated 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.

10

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, immen-
sely 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
town.

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

11

The ambition of the young, once engaged
in the pursuit of adventure and mihtary
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, frank-
ness 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 commerciaUsm, 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 modera-
tion? Yet this never seemed to happen.

XIX The effects ofintellectualism

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 character-
rised 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
intellectuaUsm.

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 circum-
ference 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. Won-
derful and beneficent as was the progress of
science, it did not save the empire from
chaos.

The full flowering of Arab and Persian
intellectuaUsm 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 conqu-
ered Persia in the thirteenth century, they
were themselves entirely uneducated and
were obHged 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

12

The Fate of Empires

the Prime Minister, when speaking to the
Mongol II Khan, was obhged 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 self-
sacrifice and service on the part of the
members. In a vdder 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 unsel-
fishness 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
clever.

XXI Civil dissensions

Another remarkable and unexpected
symptom of national decline is the intensi-
fication 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 Bj^antium 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

13

moved in and administered the coup de
grace.

Britain has been governed by an elected
pariiament 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 ParUament, 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, Arme-
nians, 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 feeUng of soUdarity 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 slow-
moving, 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

14

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 stem 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 conqu-
ering 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 grov^rth of
industry, cities nowadays achieve an ever
greater preponderance over the countryside,
so will the influence of foreigners increa-
singly 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
resolution.

Frivolity is the frequent companion of
pessimism. Let us eat, drink and be merry,
for tomorrow we die. The resemblance
between various decUning 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
genius.

The Fate of Empires

15

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 dictator-
ship, 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
modem 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 na-
tional 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
collapsed.

The disorders following the military take-
over 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
week.

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

16

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
comprehension .

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
years.

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 Mame-
lukes captured Acre, and put an end to the
Crusades.

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 collap-
sed 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 enUsted 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 decUne 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

17

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
race.

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
cosmopolitan.

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

18

The Fate of Empires

the reign of Hanin al-Rashid (786-809), and
under his son, Mamun, free pubhc 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 life-
story 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 self-
sacrifice 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, by-
products 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 readi-
ness for self-sacrifice could enable a commu-
nity 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

19

In this manner, at the height of vice and
frivoUty the seeds of reUgious 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, reUgion
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
Statutes.’

XXX New combinations

We have traced the rise of an obscure race
to fame, through the stages of conquest,
commercialism, affluence, and intellectu-
alism, 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 super-
powers, 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 con-
quering races be found?

The answer is at first partially obscured by
our modem habit of dividing the human race
into nations, which we seem to regard as
water-tight compartments, an error respon-
sible 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 inva-
ders 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 modem internal poli-
tical straggles 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 retum,
but ultimately settUng down in their new
countries.

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
modem nomadism.

20

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 enjojTiient 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 surroun-
dings, 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 decUne
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 front-
line 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 anjrthing 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

21

for critics to find many objections to what
has been said, and to point out exceptions to
the generaUsations.

There is some value in comparing the hves
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 unex-
pected 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
masters.

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

22

The Fate of Empires

super-power, but remained as an indepen-
dent 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
diverse.

XXXV Inadequacy of our historical
studies

In fact, the modem 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 time-
factor 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 modem projects, or the
gratification of national vanity.

Men can scarcely be blamed for not
leaming from the history they are taught.
There is nothing to leam from it, because it
is not tme.

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
decadence.

XXXVII The emerging pattern

In spite of the endless variety and the
infinite complications of human life, a
general pattem 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

23

development and decline, and as having, to a
surprising degree, ‘lived’ lives of very similar
length.

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,
cjmicism, 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 rh3rthm 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 modem 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 poUcies 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
nation.

Could not the sense of duty and the
initiative needed to give rise to action be
retained parallel with intellectual develop-
ment and the discoveries of natural science?

The answer is doubtfiil, 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 fi-om 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

24

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
them.

However varied, confusing and contra-
dictory 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
greatness.

(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:
Defensiveness
Pessimism
Materialism

Frivolity

An influx of foreigners

The Welfare State

A weakening of religion.

(f) Decadence is due to:

Too long a period of wealth and power

Selfishness

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
factors.

(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
country.

September 26, 2018

We Are Living 1984, by Victor Davis Hanson [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 2:00 am

We Are Living Nineteen Eighty-Four
By Victor Davis Hanson

September 25, 2018 6:30 AM

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh listens at his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill, September 4, 2018. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
Truth, due process, evidence, rights of the accused: All are swept aside in pursuit of the progressive agenda.

George Orwell’s 1949 dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four is no longer fiction. We are living it right now.

Google techies planned to massage Internet searches to emphasize correct thinking. A member of the so-called deep state, in an anonymous op-ed, brags that its “resistance” is undermining an elected president. The FBI, CIA, DOJ, and NSC were all weaponized in 2016 to ensure that the proper president would be elected — the choice adjudicated by properly progressive ideology. Wearing a wire is now redefined as simply flipping on an iPhone and recording your boss, boy- or girlfriend, or co-workers.

But never has the reality that we are living in a surreal age been clearer than during the strange cycles of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

In Orwell’s world of 1984 Oceania, there is no longer a sense of due process, free inquiry, rules of evidence and cross examination, much less a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Instead, regimented ideology — the supremacy of state power to control all aspects of one’s life to enforce a fossilized idea of mandated quality — warps everything from the use of language to private life.

Oceania’s Rules

NOW WATCH: ‘6 Reasons Why the Iran Deal Was Bad for America’

Senator Diane Feinstein and the other Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee had long sought to destroy the Brett Kavanaugh nomination. Much of their paradoxical furor over his nomination arises from the boomeranging of their own past political blunders, such as when Democrats ended the filibuster on judicial nominations, in 2013. They also canonized the so-called 1992 Biden Rule, which holds that the Senate should not consider confirming the Supreme Court nomination of a lame-duck president (e.g., George H. W. Bush) in an election year.

Rejecting Kavanaugh proved a hard task given that he had a long record of judicial opinions and writings — and there was nothing much in them that would indicate anything but a sharp mind, much less any ideological, racial, or sexual intolerance. His personal life was impeccable, his family admirable.

Kavanaugh was no combative Robert Bork, but congenial, and he patiently answered all the questions asked of him, despite constant demonstrations and pre-planned street-theater interruptions from the Senate gallery and often obnoxious grandstanding by “I am Spartacus” Democratic senators.

So Kavanaugh was going to be confirmed unless a bombshell revelation derailed the vote. And so we got a bombshell.

Weeks earlier, Senator Diane Feinstein had received a written allegation against Kavanaugh of sexual battery by an accuser who wished to remain anonymous. Feinstein sat on it for nearly two months, probably because she thought the charges were either spurious or unprovable. Until a few days ago, she mysteriously refused to release the full text of the redacted complaint, and she has said she does not know whether the very accusations that she purveyed are believable. Was she reluctant to memorialize the accusations by formally submitting them to the Senate Judiciary Committee, because doing so makes Ford subject to possible criminal liability if the charges prove demonstrably untrue?

The gambit was clearly to use the charges as a last-chance effort to stop the nomination — but only if Kavanaugh survived the cross examinations during the confirmation hearing. Then, in extremis, Feinstein finally referenced the charge, hoping to keep it anonymous, but, at the same time, to hint of its serious nature and thereby to force a delay in the confirmation. Think something McCarthesque, like “I have here in my hand the name . . .”

Delay would mean that the confirmation vote could be put off until after the midterm election, and a few jeopardized Democratic senators in Trump states would not have to go on record voting no on Kavanaugh. Or the insidious innuendos, rumor, and gossip about Kavanaugh would help to bleed him to death by a thousand leaks and, by association, tank Republican chances at retaining the House. (Republicans may or may not lose the House over the confirmation circus, but they most surely will lose their base and, with it, the Congress if they do not confirm Kavanaugh.)

Feinstein’s anonymous trick did not work. So pressure mounted to reveal or leak Ford’s identity and thereby force an Anita-Hill–like inquest that might at least show old white men Republican senators as insensitive to a vulnerable and victimized woman.

The problem, of course, was that, under traditional notions of jurisprudence, Ford’s allegations simply were not provable. But America soon discovered that civic and government norms no longer follow the Western legal tradition. In Orwellian terms, Kavanaugh was now at the mercy of the state. He was tagged with sexual battery at first by an anonymous accuser, and then upon revelation of her identity, by a left-wing, political activist psychology professor and her more left-wing, more politically active lawyer.

Newspeak and Doublethink

Statue of limitations? It does not exist. An incident 36 years ago apparently is as fresh today as it was when Kavanaugh was 17 and Ford 15.

Presumption of Innocence? Not at all. Kavanaugh is accused and thereby guilty. The accuser faces no doubt. In Orwellian America, the accused must first present his defense, even though he does not quite know what he is being charged with. Then the accuser and her legal team pour over his testimony to prepare her accusation.

Evidence? That too is a fossilized concept. Ford could name neither the location of the alleged assault nor the date or time. She had no idea how she arrived or left the scene of the alleged crime. There is no physical evidence of an attack. And such lacunae in her memory mattered no longer at all.

Details? Again, such notions are counterrevolutionary. Ford said to her therapist 6 years ago (30 years after the alleged incident) that there were four would-be attackers, at least as recorded in the therapist’s notes.

But now she has claimed that there were only two assaulters: Kavanaugh and a friend. In truth, all four people — now including a female — named in her accusations as either assaulters or witnesses have insisted that they have no knowledge of the event, much less of wrongdoing wherever and whenever Ford claims the act took place. That they deny knowledge is at times used as proof by Ford’s lawyers that the event 36 years was traumatic.

An incident at 15 is so seared into her lifelong memory that at 52 Ford has no memory of any of the events or details surrounding that unnamed day, except that she is positive that 17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh, along with four? three? two? others, was harassing her. She has no idea where or when she was assaulted but still assures that Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge were drunk, but that she and the others (?) merely had only the proverbial teenage “one beer.” Most people are more likely to know where they were at a party than the exact number of alcoholic beverages they consumed — but not so much about either after 36 years.

Testimony? No longer relevant. It doesn’t matter that Kavanaugh and the other alleged suspect both deny the allegations and have no memory of being in the same locale with Ford 36 years ago. In sum, all the supposed partiers, both male and female, now swear, under penalty of felony, that they have no memory of any of the incidents that Ford claims occurred so long ago. That Ford cannot produce a single witness to confirm her narrative or refute theirs is likewise of no concern. So far, she has singularly not submitted a formal affidavit or given a deposition that would be subject to legal exposure if untrue.

Again, the ideological trumps the empirical. “All women must be believed” is the testament, and individuals bow to the collective. Except, as in Orwell’s Animal Farm, there are ideological exceptions — such as Bill Clinton, Keith Ellison, Sherrod Brown, and Joe Biden. The slogan of Ford’s psychodrama is “All women must be believed, but some women are more believable than others.” That an assertion becomes fact due to the prevailing ideology and gender of the accuser marks the destruction of our entire system of justice.

Rights of the accused? They too do not exist. In the American version of 1984, the accuser, a.k.a. the more ideologically correct party, dictates to authorities the circumstances under which she will be investigated and cross-examined: She will demand all sorts of special considerations of privacy and exemptions; Kavanaugh will be forced to return and face cameras and the public to prove that he was not then, and has never been since, a sexual assaulter.

In our 1984 world, the accused is considered guilty if merely charged, and the accuser is a victim who can ruin a life but must not under any circumstance be made uncomfortable in proving her charges.

Doublespeak abounds. “Victim” solely refers to the accuser, not the accused, who one day was Brett Kavanaugh, a brilliant jurist and model citizen, and the next morning woke up transformed into some sort of Kafkaesque cockroach. The media and political operatives went in a nanosecond from charging that she was groped and “assaulted” to the claim that she was “raped.”

In our 1984, the phrase “must be believed” is doublespeak for “must never face cross-examination.”

Ford should be believed or not believed on the basis of evidence, not her position, gender, or politics. I certainly did not believe Joe Biden, simply because he was a U.S. senator, when, as Neal Kinnock’s doppelganger, he claimed that he came from a long line of coal miners — any more than I believed that Senator Corey Booker really had a gang-banger Socratic confidant named “T-Bone,” or that would-be senator Richard Blumenthal was an anguished Vietnam combat vet or that Senator Elizabeth Warren was a Native American. (Do we need a 25th Amendment for unhinged senators?) Wanting to believe something from someone who is ideologically correct does not translate into confirmation of truth.

Ford supposedly in her originally anonymous accusation had insisted that she had sought “medical treatment” for her assault. The natural assumption is that such a term would mean that, soon after the attack, the victim sought a doctor’s or emergency room’s help to address either her physical or mental injuries — records might therefore be a powerful refutation of Kavanaugh’s denials.

But “medical treatment” now means that 30 years after the alleged assault, Ford sought counseling for some sort of “relationship” or “companion” therapy, or what might legitimately be termed “marriage counseling.” And in the course of her discussions with her therapist about her marriage, she first spoke of her alleged assault three decades earlier. She did not then name Kavanaugh to her therapist, whose notes are at odds with Ford’s current version.

Memory Holes

Then we come to Orwell’s idea of “memory holes,” or mechanisms to wipe clean inconvenient facts that disrupt official ideological narratives. Shortly after Ford was named, suddenly her prior well-publicized and self-referential social-media revelations vanished, as if she’d never held her minor-league but confident pro-Sanders, anti-Trump opinions. And much of her media and social-media accounts were erased as well.

Similarly, one moment the New York Times — just coming off an embarrassing lie in reporting that U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley had ordered new $50,000 office drapes on the government dime — reported that Kavanaugh’s alleged accomplice, Mark Judge, had confirmed Ford’s allegation. Indeed, in a sensational scoop, according to the Times, Judge told the Judiciary Committee that he does remember the episode and has nothing more to say. In fact, Judge told the committee the very opposite: that he does not remember the episode. Forty minutes later, the Times embarrassing narrative vanished down the memory hole.

The online versions of some of the yearbooks of Ford’s high school from the early 1980s vanished as well. At times, they had seemed to take a perverse pride in the reputation of the all-girls school for underage drinking, carousing, and, on rarer occasions, “passing out” at parties. Such activities were supposed to be the monopoly and condemnatory landscape of the “frat boy” and spoiled-white-kid Kavanaugh — and certainly not the environment in which the noble Ford navigated. Seventeen-year-old Kavanaugh was to play the role of a falling-down drunk; Ford, with impressive powers of memory of an event 36 years past, assures us that as a circumspect 15-year-old, she had only “one beer.”

A former teenage friend of Ford’s sent out a flurry of social-media postings, allegedly confirming that Ford’s ordeal was well known to her friends in 1982 and so her assault narrative must therefore be confirmed. Then, when challenged on some of her incoherent details (schools are not in session during summertime, and Ford is on record as not telling anyone of the incident for 30 years), she mysteriously claimed that she no longer could stand by her earlier assertions, which likewise soon vanished from her social-media account. Apparently, she had assumed that in 2018 Oceania ideologically correct citizens merely needed to lodge an accusation and it would be believed, without any obligation on her part to substantiate her charges.

When a second accuser, Deborah Ramirez, followed Ford seven days later to allege another sexual incident with the teenage Kavanaugh, at Yale 35 years ago, it was no surprise that she followed the now normal Orwellian boilerplate: None of those whom she named as witnesses could either confirm her charges or even remember the alleged event. She had altered her narrative after consultations with lawyers and handlers. She too confesses to underage drinking during the alleged event. She too is currently a social and progressive political activist. The only difference from Ford’s narrative is that Ramirez’s accusation was deemed not credible enough to be reported even by the New York Times, which recently retracted false stories about witness Mark Judge in the Ford case, and which falsely reported that U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley had charged the government for $50,000 office drapes.

As in 1984, “truths” in these sorts of allegations do not exist unless they align with the larger “Truth” of the progressive project. In our case, the overarching Truth mandates that, in a supposedly misogynist society, women must always be believed in all their accusations and should be exempt from all counter-examinations.

Little “truths” — such as the right of the accused, the need to produce evidence, insistence on cross-examination, and due process — are counterrevolutionary constructs and the refuge of reactionary hold-outs who are enemies of the people. Or in the words of Hawaii senator Mazie Hirono:

Guess who’s perpetuating all of these kinds of actions? It’s the men in this country. And I just want to say to the men in this country, “Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing, for a change.”

The View’s Joy Behar was more honest about the larger Truth: “These white men, old by the way, are not protecting women,” Behar exclaimed. “They’re protecting a man who is probably guilty.” We thank Behar for the concession “probably.”

According to some polls, about half the country believes that Brett Kavanaugh is now guilty of a crime committed 36 years ago at the age of 17. And that reality reminds us that we are no longer in America. We are already living well into the socialist totalitarian Hell that Orwell warned us about long ago.

September 24, 2018

Obama Won, by Victor Davis Hanson [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 10:28 pm

Obama Won
By Victor Davis Hanson| September 23rd, 2018
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We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.

—Barack Obama, October 30, 2008
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By traditional metrics, Barack Obama’s presidency was mostly a failure. The economy, in a new first, never hit annualized growth of 3 percent. His signature domestic policy—Obamacare—caused chaos. Millions lost their coverage and doctors, and paid far more in deductibles and premiums. The stagnant recovery after the 2008 recession was the worst in 50 years.

Myriads of new regulations, higher taxes, and socialist jawboning vegetated the economy. Scandals at the IRS, Department of Veterans Affairs, FBI, CIA, National Security Agency, Justice Department, General Services Administration, and National Security Council abounded. Obama weaponized the federal government by punishing opponents through the IRS, monitoring suspect reporters, scapegoating and jailing a video maker, and using the deep state to exonerate Hillary Clinton from serial wrongdoing and to sabotage the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.

Abroad, a diplomatic “reset” empowered Vladimir Putin’s Russia from the Crimea to the Middle East. The Iran deal legitimized Iran’s ascendant Middle East hegemony. Chinese trade cheating was of no concern. ISIS was but a “JV” terrorist clique. North Korea freely pointed nuclear missiles at the West Coast. Israel and the Gulf monarchies and Egypt were no longer close allies. Outreach and deference instead were shown to Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. “Lead from behind” bombing of Libya led to a disaster. Nonexistent “red lines” in Syria, flexible nonproliferation “deadlines” issued to Iran, and rhetorical “step-over” lines given Vladimir Putin all eroded U.S. credibility. And on and on.

Yet in terms of culture, Obama clearly won.

“White Privilege” Goes Mainstream
He institutionalized radical cultural shifts by creating entirely new rubrics of privileging race and gender. The old idea of due process and the rule of law were subordinated to identity politics, whether in matters of sanctuary cities and non-enforcement of immigration law or campus charges of sexual assault. The larger culture made the necessary adjustments and followed suit.
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Before the Obama administration, the sloganeering about “white privilege” was confined mostly to shrill and irrelevant university academic departments. Indeed, race prior to 2009 was becoming less important a half-century after the Civil Rights movement. Americans were increasingly multiracial, and welcomed assimilation, given increasing intermarriage and the frequent inability to calibrate race by superficial appearance.

Inasmuch as there were tens of millions of impoverished whites in rural and rust-belt America, the notion that skin color ipso facto any longer denoted privilege was a hard sell. Many ethnic groups enjoyed higher per capita incomes than did those whites. Certainly, no one thought an out-of-work coal miner in Appalachia had an edge on black NFL players, or that the children of the Rust Belt were given preferences in college admissions.

By the same token, even radical feminism still operated within the realm of Western jurisprudence. Charges of sexual assault, like all other allegations of criminal behavior, were to be adjudicated by evidence, testimony, and cross examination. What outraged the nation about the purported victims of Bill Clinton’s sexual assaults was not that Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, and Kathleen Willey were freed from citing evidence in pressing their claims, but rather that the Clintons’ (both Bill and Hillary) power and influence had pruned the likelihood of Bill’s victims ever obtaining a fair hearing.

Yet most everything changed with the Obama election, and we have felt Obama’s legacy on matters of race and gender ever since. From the very beginning of his tenure, Obama sought to fulfill his promise of fundamentally transforming the country. On matters of race, he had easily defended—to media indifference—his racist and Antisemitic personal pastor Jeremiah Wright (“I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother. . . ”).

Obama supporters never objected, even when Obama employed terms like “typical white person” of his own grandmother who had sacrificed to ensure that he could afford attending a tony prep school. In office, Obama quickly injected himself into the Professor Henry Louis Gates psychodrama to brand the police as inherently biased. His commentary on the Trayvon Martin case was reduced to reminding Americans that the president and the late Martin shared an African-American identity. His 2008 “clingers” speech was the model for Hillary Clinton’s later “deplorables” rant; “get in their faces” and “bring a gun to a knife fight” boilerplate were welcomed as progressive challenges to the old order.

Obama invited to the White House rappers whose lyrics were often patently racist and misogynist. His favorite, Kendrick Lamar, had just released an album cover that displayed a dead white judge with his eyes crossed out, as rappers toasted his corpse on the White House lawn. Kendrick’s lyrics often expressed hatred for the police (“And we hate the popo”).

Attorney General Eric Holder referred to African-Americans as “my people” (the sort of a racially chauvinist reference that would have gotten any other Attorney General fired) and intoned: “in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards.” (I supposed Holder was including in his “always been” and “nation of cowards” the 1.5 million who died, were wounded, or were missing in the Civil War, especially the 600,000 Northerners who were casualties of a war to end Confederate slavery.) The racist and Antisemite Al Sharpton was a regular visitor to the White House. And a 2005 photo of Obama posing with the abject racist and Antisemite Louis Farrakhan was suppressed until after the Obama presidency.

“Diversity” and Division
Yet the main racial legacy of the Obama Administration was the institutionalization of a new binary that had transcended past notions of affirmative action aimed at rectifying the historical discrimination of African Americans.

What replaced the construct of affirmative action became known as “diversity.” In reductionist terms, that mean “white” and “non-white,” rather than “white” and “black,” and, more importantly, it made irrelevant all prior notions of class or real historical grievance.

Suddenly, one could cross the border illegally from Oaxaca and instantly become a “minority,” simply by reason of an antithesis to the “white” majority, with all the resulting grievances and reparations that accrued. Immigrants from India, the Arab world, or Latin America, regardless of their wealth, appearance, and status, likewise were lumped together under the doctrine of “diversity.” Immigration itself was weaponized. Notions of legality, meritocracy and diversity in adjudicating immigration gave way to welcoming in as many as possible who might empower the Obama political agenda of ethnic tribalization.

Salad-bowl immigration policies also fueled polarization, as a new bond of being “nonwhite” brought together Asians, Latino, Arabs, blacks, and almost anyone who could claim to be “nonwhite,” again regardless of the circumstances of their birth, their own experiences in America, their actual racial ancestry, or their wealth and class.

Instead, the necessary slogan “white privilege” justified the new divide: a wealthy immigrant from Paraguay “counted” as a minority deserving of special consideration in a way the son of a white Youngstown, Ohio clerk did not. The facts surrounding the individual cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Trayvon Martin in Miami Gardens, or Freddie Gray in Baltimore were irrelevant—given all three deaths were leveraged for wider grievances against the so-called white majority community. (Had the half-Peruvian defendant George Zimmerman just ethnicized his name and adopted his maternal surname, and thus reinvented himself as Jorge Mesa, the case would have incurred little media attention).

Race and, to a lesser extent, gender now replaced class, as the grievance to govern almost everything in America from NFL pregame National Anthems to the speeches at the Emmys and Oscars.

The New Ideal
By 2016 actors, celebrities, and politicians felt no hesitation in using the word “white” in an almost exclusively derogatory fashion, especially given the new recalibration of “demography is destiny” and the increasing alienation, self-destruction, and pathologies of impoverished and lower-middle class whites in the deindustrialized heartland.

Dividing the country by white and nonwhite made sense to the Obama Administration, because the divide promulgated the idea that Obama had been elected by a record non-white bloc voting (in fact, Obama in 2008 would get a higher percentage of the white vote than had John Kerry in 2004). Obama’s model for other Democrats was that, in the future, immigration, tribal voting and demography changes would only accentuate that trend. The Obama paradigm would become the new electoral legacy of the Democratic Party, to be intensified as it was successfully passed down to each new generation of progressives.

Blue-state, and overwhelmingly leftwing, California became the new ideal of what was now possible. California’s non-white population was heralded as the new majority, given both massive illegal and legal immigration, along with the infusion of trillions of dollars of global profits and investment into progressive Silicon Valley, together with punitive taxes on the shrinking and soon departing middle class.

A subtext of the Obama era new dichotomy of white/nonwhite was not necessarily privilege versus lack of privilege, or racists versus victims of racists. Instead the message was of an unspoken and disappearing tribe being replaced by ascending tribes—and therefore everyone for their own careerist advantages should make the necessary adjustments to a society obsessed with identity. And for those without the necessarily correct DNA, racial rebranding could become a construct of self-identification, as in case of Ward Churchill, Elizabeth Warren, or Rachel Dolezal.

Obama’s Only Real Legacy
In matters of sex and gender, the Obama administration also looked to the campus for guidance. The Department of Justice’s new rules on sexual assault, particularly at colleges and universities, seemed to be imported in toto from the Gender Studies department and ignored the Bill of Rights.

New Department of Justice guidelines essentially did away with due process and created a Star Chamber academic court. Here, the accused (if male) was denied the right to face his accuser (if she was female), to producer counter evidence, to exercise the right of cross examination, and to assume the tradition of being presumed innocent until proven guilty. If there had been no Duke lacrosse cases, no Rolling Stone frat boy investigations, and no iconization of “Mattress Girl,” they all would have had to be invented—given the new atmosphere where an accuser, if of the right gender or race, must be believed, and where the accused, if of the wrong gender or race, must be condemned as guilty. The current Kavanaugh confirmation circus is the logical expression of the Obama Administration’s eight-year subversion of due process in matters of accusations of sexual assault.

Finally, another cultural achievement of Obama was to destroy the last vestiges of a Democratic workers’ party of Hubert Humphrey, John F. Kennedy, or even Bill Clinton and to replace it with a pyramidal party of the poor dependent on government entitlements and reparations, and a small, rich, and hip elite at the top.

Obama institutionalized the idea that a Silicon Valley hipster billionaire could and should play act being left-wing, if only he would pledge to use his wealth and power to promote progressive causes, whose consequences he cynically would be able to avoid by virtue of his influence and riches.

Hollywood celebrities, Wall Street schemers, and techie billionaires all entered the public square demonizing “white privilege” that the rich enjoyed by fobbing it off on those poorer who had none of it. The substitution of race and gender for class, then, was Obama’s truly signature achievement.

It was no accident that in the days after he left office, the Obamas cut nearly $60 million in book and film deals, while Obama himself took off to millionaires’ yachts and islands to deplore the Trump Administration, whose policies were beginning to help the unemployed that had been most left behind by his own boutique environmental and regulatory policies so cherished by the affluent.

By 2017, these fundamental transformations were clear. Americans now scrambled to find their proper tribe (and on occasion gender), either for careerist advantage or for perceived protection, from the government. And the very rich had found a way to be the very cool, by virtue signaling their superficial embrace of tribalism, just as in private they continued to live their mostly apartheid existences. Shouting from the rooftops that one “celebrates diversity” meant that behind the enclave wall he didn’t need to.

The agenda of balkanizing America into tribes, and white/nonwhite binaries, and galvanizing the rich and poor against the middle class was Obama’s only real legacy. But it is a legacy that nonetheless fundamentally transformed America.

September 13, 2018

Going Back

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 2:00 pm

Katrina was approximately 400 miles across, Sandy about 1,000 miles across, and Florence about 350 miles across. Various politicians are claiming that President Trump’s climate policies are responsible for Florence.

Go back to the first post on this blog.

Who is voting for these idiots? Poke through the blog, y’all will find various postings proving voting violations. Look back to the post-campaign filing of the Green Candidates insistence that voter fraud was going on in Detroit, and then how when it started to be proved, the subject was dropped. Look back and see the proof of Al Franken’s election fraud, and how that was dropped.

I keep posting the essays of Prof. Victor Davis Hanson. I recommend that y’all “follow” him.

I recommend the following authors: Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, William D. Cohan, David Berlinski, John Steele Gordon, Lawrence Solomon, Bruce Bartlett, Brion McClanahan, Eric Horner, and Thomas Payne. Payne’s works, “Common Sense” and “The Rights of Man” are seminal.

Further, I am recommending that everyone look into The Convention of States, as an agent of positive change.

Is Chaos an Impeachable Offense? by Victor Davis Hanson [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 1:41 pm

Is Chaos an Impeachable Offense?
By Victor Davis Hanson

September 11, 2018 6:30 AM

President Trump with Chief of Staff John Kelly at a White House briefing in October 2017. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)
Trump is destabilizing the status quo, as he promised to do. The keepers of the status quo cry foul.

Until 2017, there were certain political assumptions that most people no longer really believed but also preferred not to question — given the likely animus from the so-called bipartisan establishment, a naked entity which, by convention, we all agreed was splendidly clothed.

China could freely cheat on trade, and the U.S. could take the commercial hit, because one day its misbegotten riches would force liberalization and thereby make China a member in good standing of the family of democratic nations. After 40 years, we are still waiting on the promised democratic transformation — at great cost to the industrial and manufacturing heartland of the United States.

NATO member nations always would promise, indeed swear, that they would meet their military spending commitments, even as they had no intention at all of doing so. Fine, we shrugged, since World War II it has been the duty of the United States to lead and protect the West. What other nation had America’s inexhaustible wealth and power to subsidize rich socialist democracies, and commensurate unconcern with its own insidiously hollowed-out industrial interior? Accordingly, American presidents would lecture NATO nations about their promised obligations and meanwhile expect public nods and private snickers. In the New York and Washington corridor, the gospel was never to question the changing role or funding of NATO but always to utter “NATO is the linchpin of the West.” End of discussion.

The Palestinians will always remain “refugees” in a way that similar contemporaneously displaced people who were also forced out of their homeland — Prussians, Jews of the Middle East, or Volga Germans — no longer have refugee status, after more than 70 years. A chaotic Trump recently accepted reality and quit funding the United Nations relief organization that supposedly attends to “refugees” who in reality are a political construct deemed useful for demonizing Israel around the world.

Jerusalem has long been privately accepted as both the historic and natural capital of Israel, and it’s now far more open and freer than it was prior to 1967. But we were not supposed to say that given fears of Palestinian pique, or terrorist attacks, or inflaming the Middle East. Trump in his supposedly reckless fashion simply moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and other nations strangely are beginning to follow.

No one really believed that the Iran deal would stop Iranian nuclear proliferation, or even prune back Iran-backed terrorism. The deal’s asymmetrical nocturnal ransom-for-hostages payments, its myriad exceptions to spot inspections, and its inability to check ballistic-missile construction were all ignored. The fallback excuse for the deal was that it would take a little longer for Iran to gain nuclear weapons, and would make Iran a little nicer to the United States. Yet few even believed those yarns. And no one had been willing to invoke a crisis with Iran by saying so. So we shrugged that the Iran deal was bad, but it was at least our bad deal — and then Trump dashed our illusions.

Serious people assumed that the Paris climate accord was even more ridiculous than the Kyoto protocol — grandstanding without any real collective enforcement effort to address “climate change.” All agreed that the vast production and utilization of natural gas de facto made America the most effective major nation in reducing carbon emissions, far more effective than supposedly greener Europe. The elite assumed as well that the Paris deal was a blueprint for expropriating Western wealth and redistributing it to the non-West. All publicly praised it; none privately liked it. And now it’s gone with a whimper, not a bang.

Blocking the construction of the Keystone pipeline and the opening of the ANWAR oil fields to energy development had become iconic #Resistance causes. We knew the pipeline would streamline energy transference and likely take the burden off more dangerous rail and truck transportation, and that ANWAR would help to achieve U.S. energy independence or at least increase national wealth. So now both are under construction and development. The nation yawns its assent.

Even the proponents of open borders — Democratic strategists, Latino activists, corporate employers, the Mexican government — privately concede that without a border there is no nation, that walls work (as fences and walls do around their own yards), and that they would not wish to conduct their own lives on the principles of picking and choosing which laws to follow.

We also assumed that liberal grandees do not put their children in schools with large numbers of non-English speakers. Employers know that identity theft and fake social-security numbers are a national epidemic. Realists accept that without massive and illegal influxes of new foreign nationals, assimilation and integration of legal immigrants would eventually put the vested illegal-immigration interests out of business, in the sense that there are no longer German, Scandinavian, or Japanese ethnic czars.

Mexico knew that under the guise of “caring,” it exported human capital and exploited its own, on the theory that Mexican expatriates’ standard of living, often subsidized by American local and state welfare programs, would take a hit by collectively sending $30 million back home in remittances. Then the bull Trump supposedly tore apart the carefully arranged immigration China shop.

The list of status quo absurdities is nearly limitless, from the politically biased monopolies of Silicon Valley high-tech public utilities that are mysteriously exempt from all oversight (including product-liability laws and anti-trust legislation) to the idea that it is apparently either normal or inexplicable that nearly 8,000 African-American youth are murdered each year, but no one knows how to stop, or even dare try to stop, the carnage.

Again, the stance toward all these paradoxes was that it was more of a problem to tell the truth, address reality, and make the necessary difficult adjustments than to shrug, continue on, and maintain the façade of normality. Then a president came along with no prior investment in the economic and foreign-policy establishment, and apparently no desire to create any, or to worry much about his own ignorance of past conventional wisdom. And so in breakneck speed he began cancelling deals, renegotiating asymmetrical agreements, and questioning protocols of decades past — and he did so without adopting the comportment of past presidents and the advice of either the administrative state or the Washington political-media establishment.

The ensuing reaction was that the Trump medicine was said to be worse than the preexisting disease, although no one could really explain why that was so.

So we are left only with “Trump did it,” and therefore he should be impeached, declared insane, sued, forced to resign, or face an intervention from “loyal” patriot aides because of his impulsiveness and lack of “first principles” that had given us the above status quo. Even the recent anonymous New York Times op-ed author offered no real explanations of what exactly Trump has done wrong that would warrant anti-democratic removal other than to concede that Trump has done things that most felt were long overdue. And he made changes in a rude and uncouth manner that the establishment did not like — just as a nude emperor in invisible clothes does not like it when an outsider observes that he is naked.

The Circus of Resistance, by Victor Davis Hanson, [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 1:29 pm

The Circus of Resistance
By Victor Davis Hanson| September 9th, 2018
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The resistance to Donald Trump was warring on all fronts last week.

Democratic senators vied with pop-up protestors in the U.S. Senate gallery to disrupt and, if possible, to derail the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) played Spartacus, but could not even get the script right as he claimed to be bravely releasing classified information that was already declassified. I cannot remember another example of a senator who wanted to break the law but could not figure out how to do it.
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Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), former Harvard Law Professor who still insists she is of Native American heritage, called for the president to be removed by invoking the 25th Amendment. Apparently fabricating an ethnic identity is sane, and getting out of the Iran deal or the Paris Climate Accord is insanity and grounds for removal.

Barack Obama decided that ex-presidents should attack current presidents, and thereby reminded the country why Trump was elected. The author of the Russian “reset” and the hot-mic collusionary offer criticized Trump for being soft on Putin. The president who never achieved annualized 3 percent GDP growth (and is the first president since 1933 who can claim this “distinction”) also claimed Trump’s roaring economy was due to Obama-era policies (e.g., raising taxes, Obamacare, more regulations, and “you didn’t build that” commentaries). Fresh from trashing his successor in a funeral speech, the ever audacious Obama called for more decorum.

Bruce Ohr, once number four at the Department of Justice, and whose wife was working with Christopher Steele on the Fusion GPS file (a fact he has never disclosed willingly), now more or less has made a mockery of the FBI narrative of when, why, and how it began surveilling American citizens and infiltrating the Trump campaign. Ohr apparently has testified that well before the election, and well before the application of FISA warrants, he was working with the FBI, the already discredited Christopher Steele, and a Russian oligarch either to smear candidate Trump, or to facilitate the entry into the United States of a once barred and questionable Russian grandee, or both.

Nike hired NFL renegade Colin Kaepernick to peddle its sports products. For all its billion-dollar market research, it apparently did not know what Donald Trump’s animal cunning had almost immediately surmised: a majority of Americans do not appreciate the pampered multimillionaire Kaepernick sanctioning violence against the police by wearing “pig” socks, or mocking the National Anthem by taking a knee. Nike could just as well have hired Bowe Bergdahl to push its sneakers.

The Deep State Emerges
Then we come to an insurrectionary “resistance” op-ed in the New York Times, an insider scoop about a collective “undercover” effort to nullify the current presidency.
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Contrary to popular opinion, there was nothing “newsworthy” about the recent anonymous op-ed, written by an unnamed “senior official” about the supposed pathologies of President Trump.

Or rather to the extent the op-ed was significant, it confirmed what heretofore had been written off as a “right-wing” conspiracy theory of a “deep state.” The anonymous author confessed to being part of a group that is trying to use subterranean methods to thwart an elected president, not because his record is wanting (indeed, the author admits it is often impressive) but because he finds Trump unorthodox and antithetical to the establishment norms of governance and comportment.

To cut to the quick, the op-ed was published to coincide with the latest Bob Woodward “according-to-an-unnamed-source” exposé, Fear. The intent of anonymous and the New York Times was to create a force multiplying effect of a collapsing presidency—in need of the Times’ sober and judicious handlers, NeverTrump professionals, and “bipartisan” Democrats of the sort we saw during the Kavanaugh hearing to “step in” and apparently stage an intervention to save the country.

Had the Woodward book not been in the news, neither would be the anonymous op-ed. And of course, the Times, in times before 2017, would never have published a insurrectionary letter from an unnamed worried Obama aide that the president was detached and listless—playing spades during the Bin Laden raid, outsourcing to Eric Holder the electronic surveillance of Associated Press journalists, letting Lois Lerner weaponize the IRS, and allowing his FBI, CIA, and Justice Department to conspire to destroy Hillary Clinton’s 2016 opponent.

Woodward’s book is a more refined and establishment version of Michael Wolff’s and Omarosa’s volumes I and II in the ongoing “inside Trump” saga. The game is either to talk off the record to Woodward about one’s own brilliant (but unappreciated) efforts to avoid catastrophe, or else one will get talked about for causing catastrophe by someone else who talked off the record to Woodward to avoid being talked about by someone else. So Woodward is a Washington ventriloquist who keeps straight the strings of the talking puppets.

More Beltway Fantasies
The op-ed is the latest cartoon of Trump, the Road Runner, finally, at last, and for sure driven off the cliff by the Resistance as Wile E. Coyote—infuriated by yet another Road Runner beep-beep. There were earlier and serial Looney Tunes efforts to nullify the Electoral College, to sue about election machines, to boycott the Inauguration, to introduce articles of impeachment, to invoke the 25th Amendment, to try out the Emoluments Clause and the Logan Act, to sue by cherry picking liberal federal judges, to harass officials in public places and restaurants, to warp the FISA courts, to fund a foreign spy to do opposition research, and to weaponize even further the FBI, NSA, and Justice Department—along with the now-boring celebrity assassination chic rhetoric of blowing up, stabbing, shooting, burning, hanging, smashing, and decapitating Donald J. Trump.

After the latest hysteria dies down, this chapter in the ongoing psychodrama will be revealed for what it is: a fantasy of a wannabe coup that is not going to happen. The commentariat’s silly claim that the op-ed was “extraordinary” and “newsworthy” is laughable. There are hundreds of “senior officials” all throughout every presidency, no doubt more so in the outsider Trump’s, who are disgruntled. On any given day, any newspaper could root out a “senior official” to write anonymously anything it wished to fit a preconceived narrative. What is extraordinary is not an op-ed from some sort of a mad David Stockman taken to the woodshed or defrocked Don Regan losing a war with Nancy Reagan, but that the New York Times hunted down someone of #theResistance to create a hysteria that an unhinged Trump must be removed.

By the scale of past White House melodramas, this is no big deal. It is not as if an off-the radar, rogue band in the White House was caught selling arms to Iran and using the profits to fund resistance to Daniel Ortega’s Marxist regime in Nicaragua. The gossip about Trump’s mental processes are no more dramatic than the rumors were about a doddering Reagan in his second term, which later were trafficked by his own son, Ron Jr. (“Father had Alzheimer’s in office”). Trump is not, in Woodrow Wilson fashion, near comatose and locked up in a White House bedroom, while Melania takes over the country. His aides are not covering up the fact that Trump’s blood pressure is peaking at 250 over 150, or that some mornings he cannot get out of bed—as was true of FDR as he campaigned for a fourth term in 1944.

We are not witnessing a sitcom in which the president has serial, and often perverse sex with a White House intern in the Oval Office bathroom. Nor we are being treated to an interview by a senior Ben Rhodes-like official who brags how the Trump Administration deliberately fed a cadre of rookie idiot reporters all sorts of “echo chamber” narratives necessary to pass a dangerous deal with Iran that sidestepped the Senate’s constitutional obligations. Nor is Melania confessing that the presidential calendar of speeches and trips is calibrated to an astrologer’s chart of lucky and unlucky days. No one is suggesting that Ivanka leads séances (“imaginary chats” or “brainstorming exercises”) in the East Room to call down the spirits of Calvin Coolidge and Ayn Rand for imaginary conversations and pep talks.

The writer’s chief complaint is that Trump “is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision.” Flesh that out. That would imply something along the lines that Trump ignores advice from New York Times op-ed writers and instead thrashes about and cancels the Iran deal. Or he dangerously and rashly gets out of the Paris Climate Accord. Or he stupidly insists that the U.S. embassy be moved to Jerusalem in helter-skelter fashion. Or he insanely demands massive deregulation, tax cuts, and new oil exploration without following any overarching principles in achieving 4 percent quarterly GDP growth or a record high stock market. Worst of all, madman Trump screams, yells, and ends the sacred idea that after 70 years the Palestinians are still refugees.

Trump’s One Principle
Certainly, there are principles behind such Trump moves, but they are not always those of the Washington establishment, whose agendas the writer reflects. Trump’s initiatives are often long overdue moves that would never have happened in either a “sober and judicious” Democratic or Republican administration, however much they might have been polled and discussed.

Trump has mostly one principle: he was elected to pursue a conservative populist agenda without too much worry what the Washington establishment said or did, whose record on the economic front since 2008 and in foreign policy was not especially stellar. In that sense, he is far more principled in carrying out his promises than many past presidents whose stump speeches on taxes, illegal immigration, trade, educational reform and a host of other issues were either never reified or flat out broken.

So far, for all the crudity and Twitter antics, we have not had a “read my lips” or “you can keep your doctor” moment in the sense of a deliberate effort to break a campaign promise.

Anonymous huffs: “In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the ‘enemy of the people,’ President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.” Again, Trump has said repeatedly he would prefer no tariffs if trade was just reciprocal. On trade issues, he has made progress with the EU and Mexico and likely soon Canada and China, all of whom enjoy trade surpluses which Trump throughout his campaign claimed were harmful to the United States and would diminish under his presidency.

As for as Trump’s loud anti-media tweets, worry not about what he now says, but when he orders his attorney general to start monitoring on the sly the communications of Associated Press reporters or the private emails of a Fox correspondent, or when his Justice Department and FBI hierarchy deludes a FISA court in order to spy on American citizens.

As far as “anti-democratic” and a Russian-appeasing Trump, he has not yet claimed that Putin was trustworthy and genuine based on a soul-gazing stare into his eyes. Nor has he been caught on a hot mic promising to give up U.S. missile defense programs in Eastern Europe, if Vladimir would just give him “space” during his reelection bid. Trump has said silly things about Putin, but so far his actual record is certainly not of the reset sort that greenlighted Russian entrance into the Middle East, Ukraine, and Crimea.

Somehow it’s “news” that a senior, unnamed official claims all the bad stuff that we don’t know happened, or actually never quite happened, was due to Trump alone. And, of course, all the good stuff that we do know happened was only because of noble, smart, patriotic, and visionary officials like the writer and his friends.

Anonymous finishes with an encomium to John McCain, whose politicized and unfortunate funeral we have just witnessed, and the likes of which we have not seen since the travesty of Paul Wellstone’s own hijacked services 16 years ago. Tragically, the McCain funeral speeches most certainly should not serve as model of how to honor a distinguished U.S. senator in the future.

McCain’s final deification by his erstwhile critics and enemies was mostly a result of his own bitter feud with Donald Trump that in his 11th hour sanctified him to those who had earlier smeared him as a libertine and reckless in 2000—and vilified him in 2008 as a near-demented racist. In sum, in death McCain was transmogrified into angelic status by the very architects who in life were responsible for his demonization.

The recent op-ed is yet another episode in an endless resistance cartoon, another pathetic effort of self-important grandees to undo by fiat what the voters did by voting in 2016.

September 9, 2018

Senior Humor, thanks to FASB for sending

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 2:24 pm

AN OLD WOMAN WALKED UP AND TIED HER OLD MULE TO THE HITCHING POS

AS SHE STOOD THERE, BRUSHING SOME OF THE DUST FROM HER FACE AND CLOTHES, A YOUNG GUNSLINGER STEPPED OUT OF THE SALOON WITH A GUN IN ONE HAND AND A BOTTLE OF WHISKEY IN THE OTHER. THE YOUNG GUNSLINGER LOOKED AT THE OLD WOMAN AND LAUGHED, “HEY OLD WOMAN, HAVE YOU EVER DANCED?”

THE OLD WOMAN LOOKED UP AT THE GUNSLINGER AND SAID, “NO,… I NEVER DID DANCE… NEVER REALLY WANTED TO.”

A CROWD HAD GATHERED AS THE GUNSLINGER GRINNED AND SAID “WELL, YOU OLD BAG, YOU’RE GONNA DANCE NOW,” AND STARTED SHOOTING AT THE OLD WOMAN’S FEET.

THE OLD WOMAN PROSPECTOR — NOT WANTING TO GET HER TOE BLOWN OFF –STARTED HOPPING AROUND. EVERYBODY WAS LAUGHING. WHEN HIS LAST BULLET HAD BEEN FIRED, THE YOUNG GUNSLINGER, STILL LAUGHING, HOLSTERED HIS GUN AND TURNED AROUND TO GO BACK INTO THE SALOON.

THE OLD WOMAN TURNED TO HER PACK MULE, PULLED OUT A DOUBLE-BARRELED SHOTGUN, AND COCKED BOTH HAMMERS.
THE LOUD CLICKS CARRIED CLEARLY THROUGH THE DESERT AIR, AND THE CROWD STOPPED LAUGHING IMMEDIATELY.

THE YOUNG GUNSLINGER HEARD THE SOUNDS, TOO, AND HE TURNED AROUND VERY SLOWLY. THE SILENCE WAS ALMOST DEAFENING. THE CROWD WATCHED AS THE YOUNG GUNMAN STARED AT THE OLD WOMAN AND THE LARGE GAPING HOLES OF THOSE TWIN BARRELS.

THE BARRELS OF THE SHOTGUN NEVER WAVERED IN THE OLD WOMAN’S HANDS, AS SHE QUIETLY SAID, “SON, HAVE YOU EVER KISSED A MULE’S ASS?”

THE GUNSLINGER SWALLOWED HARD AND SAID, “NO M’AM… BUT I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO.

THERE ARE FIVE LESSONS HERE FOR ALL OF US:

1 – Never be arrogant.
2 – Don’t waste ammunition.
3 – Whiskey makes you think you’re smarter than you are.
4 – Always make sure you know who has the power.
5 – Don’t mess with old people; they didn’t get old by being stupid.

A Letter to Nike, by Ms. Taya Kyle, Widow [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 2:12 pm

A LETTER TO NIKE
From Taya Kyle, American Wife, Widow Of Chief Chris Kyle, US Navy SEAL

Nike, I love your gear, but you exhaust my spirit on this one. Your new ad with Colin Kapernick, I get the message, but that sacrificing everything thing….It just doesn’t play out here. Sacrificing what exactly? A career? I’ve done that both times I chose to stay home and be with my kids instead of continuing my business climb… and it wasn’t sacrificing everything. It was sacrificing one career and some money and it was because of what I believe in and more importantly, Who I believe in.

At best, that is all Colin sacrificed… some money and it’s debatable if he really lost his career over it. Maybe he sacrificed the respect of some people while he gained the respect of others. Or maybe he used one career to springboard himself into a different career when the first was waning. I don’t know. What I do know is, he gained popularity and magazine covers he likely wouldn’t have gotten without getting on his knees or as you say, “believing in something.”
I’m also thinking the irony is that while I am not privy to the numbers, it’s likely he gained a lucrative Nike contract. So yeah… that whole “sacrificing everything” is insulting to those who really have sacrificed everything.

You want to talk about someone in the NFL sacrificing everything? Pat Tillman. NFL STARTING, not benched, player who left to join the Army and died for it. THAT is sacrificing everything for something you believe in.

How about other Warriors? Warriors who will not be on magazine covers, who will not get lucrative contracts and millions of followers from their actions and who have truly sacrificed everything. They did it because they believed in something. Take it from me, when I say they sacrificed everything, they also sacrificed the lives of their loved ones who will never be the same. THAT is sacrificing everything for something they believe in.

Did you get us talking? Yeah, you did. But, your brand recognition was strong enough. Did you teach the next generation of consumers about true grit? Not that I can see.

Taking a stand, or rather a knee, against the flag which has covered the caskets of so many who actually did sacrifice everything for something they believe in, that we all believe in? Well, the irony of your ad…it almost leaves me speechless. Were you trying to be insulting?

Maybe you are banking on the fact we won’t take the time to see your lack of judgment in using words that just don’t fit. Maybe you are also banking on us not seeing Nike as kneeling before the flag. Or maybe you want us to see you exactly that way. I don’t know. All I know is, I was actually in the market for some new kicks and at least for now, I’ve never been more grateful for Under Armour.

Senior humor [true, too], with thanks to FASB for sending

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 2:31 am

AN OLD WOMAN WALKED UP AND TIED HER OLD MULE TO THE HITCHING POS

AS SHE STOOD THERE, BRUSHING SOME OF THE DUST FROM HER FACE AND CLOTHES, A YOUNG GUNSLINGER STEPPED OUT OF THE SALOON WITH A GUN IN ONE HAND AND A BOTTLE OF WHISKEY IN THE OTHER. THE YOUNG GUNSLINGER LOOKED AT THE OLD WOMAN AND LAUGHED, “HEY OLD WOMAN, HAVE YOU EVER DANCED?”

THE OLD WOMAN LOOKED UP AT THE GUNSLINGER AND SAID, “NO,… I NEVER DID DANCE… NEVER REALLY WANTED TO.”

A CROWD HAD GATHERED AS THE GUNSLINGER GRINNED AND SAID “WELL, YOU OLD BAG, YOU’RE GONNA DANCE NOW,” AND STARTED SHOOTING AT THE OLD WOMAN’S FEET.

THE OLD WOMAN PROSPECTOR — NOT WANTING TO GET HER TOE BLOWN OFF –STARTED HOPPING AROUND. EVERYBODY WAS LAUGHING. WHEN HIS LAST BULLET HAD BEEN FIRED, THE YOUNG GUNSLINGER, STILL LAUGHING, HOLSTERED HIS GUN AND TURNED AROUND TO GO BACK INTO THE SALOON.

THE OLD WOMAN TURNED TO HER PACK MULE, PULLED OUT A DOUBLE-BARRELED SHOTGUN, AND COCKED BOTH HAMMERS.
THE LOUD CLICKS CARRIED CLEARLY THROUGH THE DESERT AIR, AND THE CROWD STOPPED LAUGHING IMMEDIATELY.

THE YOUNG GUNSLINGER HEARD THE SOUNDS, TOO, AND HE TURNED AROUND VERY SLOWLY. THE SILENCE WAS ALMOST DEAFENING. THE CROWD WATCHED AS THE YOUNG GUNMAN STARED AT THE OLD WOMAN AND THE LARGE GAPING HOLES OF THOSE TWIN BARRELS.

THE BARRELS OF THE SHOTGUN NEVER WAVERED IN THE OLD WOMAN’S HANDS, AS SHE QUIETLY SAID, “SON, HAVE YOU EVER KISSED A MULE’S ASS?”

THE GUNSLINGER SWALLOWED HARD AND SAID, “NO M’AM… BUT I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO.

THERE ARE FIVE LESSONS HERE FOR ALL OF US:

1 – Never be arrogant.
2 – Don’t waste ammunition.
3 – Whiskey makes you think you’re smarter than you are.
4 – Always make sure you know who has the power.
5 – Don’t mess with old people; they didn’t get old by being stupid.

September 5, 2018

Americans won’t vote for socialism once they know what it is, by Paul Gregory PhD [nc]

Filed under: Political Commentary — justplainbill @ 3:33 am

Americans won’t vote for socialism once they know what it is
By Paul Roderick Gregory, opinion contributor — 09/04/18 07:00 AM EDT
482
The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

Americans won’t vote for socialism once they know what it is
© Greg Nash

A series of polls have shown that pluralities of Democrats and millennials prefer socialism to capitalism. These surveys also make clear that respondents do not know what socialism is.

Also Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has shown that Democratic primary voters will cast their ballots for an avowed socialist if he packages his brand properly.

Socialism’s new face, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, upset a major establishment figure in the New York primaries. Like the poll respondents, she was also hard pressed to explain what socialism is. In another development, the primary upset victory of Andrew Gillam gave Florida democrats their first socialist candidate for governor.

Speculation about a socialist renaissance is premature. Americans won’t vote for socialists if they come to understand what socialism is. To win, socialist candidates must conceal their beliefs; to do otherwise would condemn them to the ash heap of history.

Throughout his 2016 presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders assured primary voters that his socialism is nothing more than free medicine and education and a fair distribution of income. He soothingly assured voters that democracy, with a small “d,” and socialism are perfectly compatible.

When challenged to give real-world success stories of socialism, Sanders regularly cites not the Soviet Union, Cuba or Venezuela, but affluent Scandinavian countries.

Indeed, Denmark, Norway and Sweden have generous welfare states, as does most of Europe, but some 90 percent of the Swedish economy is privately owned. Sweden and Denmark outrank the U.S. in economic freedom, and all three Scandinavian countries outperform the U.S. in business freedom.

The Scandinavian countries are wealthy because of more than a century of capitalist growth, not on account of their welfare states. In fact, when their welfare states threatened their affluence, they beat a hasty retreat. Remarkably, the purported rise of socialism in the United States is being accompanied by its collapse in Europe.

In the course of his long career in public office, Sanders has not deviated from this soothing rhetoric and has dodged the fact that socialism calls for public ownership (or state regulation), substitutes government for private choice, decries profits and tends toward an authoritarian state. Socialism is not simply a generous welfare state, as Sanders would have us believe.

Sanders cannot come clean on socialism and be more than a fringe candidate. To the contrary, the “old” socialist party of Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas featured Marxist epithets against capitalist exploitation, immiseration of the working class and capitalist collapse in their publications.

“Old” socialists got a few percentage points of the presidential vote and elected an odd mayor or congressmen now and then. Preempted by the New Deal and discredited by Nikita Khrushchev’s condemnation of communist atrocities, the “old” socialists ran their last presidential candidate in 1956.

If Sanders won’t explain what socialism really is, perhaps we should listen to what America’s largest socialist party, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), has to say. Like the “old” socialists, the DSA unabashedly enunciates its electoral strategy to lead the Democratic Party to electoral victory under a socialist platform.

Like the Democratic Party, the DSA proposes to focus on grievance groups — minorities of all stripes, the LGBT community, immigrants, women, seniors, students, etc. Each group is to be promised free stuff and special benefits — free medicine for all, tuition-free schooling through college, a guaranteed income and a right to housing and food.

With respect to the economic system, the DSA openly propose to do away with capitalism via a number of measures. Municipal authorities or worker collectives will replace private ownership and management of enterprises. These socialized enterprises will produce for the needs of society, not for private profit.

The smaller companies will not be planned from above but will operate in a market setting. Heavy industry, finance, transportation and other large concerns will be planned by a national or even international planning authority. As planned entities, they are also supposed to meet society’s needs, not those of the rich.

With big business accounting for more than half of GDP and run by a national plan, “bureaucratic socialists” will indeed run most of the show. So much for the people calling the economic shots.

The DSA has laid out a fairly typical socialist platform. Bernie Sanders accepted their endorsement and calls himself a Democratic socialist. Sanders may not subscribe to all the points in DSA’s platform, but why call yourself “socialist” if you do not support its most basic tenets? Either he does not know what socialism is or he deliberately conceals what it stands for from voters.

When challenged to differentiate himself from traditional socialism, Sanders claims that he is a Democratic socialist, not just a socialist. Sanders does not want to acknowledge that Democratic socialism is an oxymoron.

Once people have seen what socialism is, they will not vote for it, but by that time, they may have no choice. Just take a look at Venezuela.

Paul Roderick Gregory is a professor of economics at the University of Houston, Texas, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a research fellow at the German Institute for Economic Research.

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