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The Athanatos Apologetics Festival is Coming Up

I probably don’t talk enough about what I’m doing through Athanatos on this blog, but I would be seriously remiss if I didn’t mention our third annual apologetics (and culture) festival.  AthanatosFest is held in Greenwood, WI, where ACM is based out of.  Details:  www.athanatosfest.com

Some high points for this year’s festival includes a debate between a certain Dannyboy who has been known to haunt this blog, and the rare and elusive Sasquatch, who also is occasionally sighted here.  This debate will be transpire over the entire three days of the event.  (Details on the fest website).

We’ll have a number of people involved in Christian writing, Christian apologetics, and both writing and apologetics together.  We’ll screen two movies.  One is called “Fatal Flaws” and is a documentary on euthanasia/assisted suicide, which by the by I learned after getting authorization features one of the books we publish!  Another is produced by Dallas Jenkins, whom some may recognize as the son of a co-author of the Left Behind series.

One panel conversation that I’m interested in is the one we will have with a handful of Wisconsin state legislators and an Egyptian Christian and perhaps another person who has escaped persecution.  The panel conversation will address human trafficking, refugees, our immigration system, etc.

There of course are many other things, including a concert, and a session by yours truly on the Resurrection being a real event and history, but you’re better off just going to the website to check it out.  www.athanatosfest.com

Hope to see you there!

Beyond all that, let me opine a bit about the philosophy behind the event.

The upshot is this:  we need more events like mine where deep, complicated issues are hashed out.  The Christian church certainly needs it.  Most Christian festivals are exercises in entertainment; indeed, most church programming is.  Whether its Sunday School, or VBS, or youth group stuff, or even actual Bible class, if ‘fun’ is not the emphasis, it at least informs the planning.

Unfortunately, ‘fun’ isn’t enough once the challenges of real life present themselves.  You’d think this would be evident to all these days, with so many people falling away from the faith, even with so much ‘fun’ going around, but it seems not.

A Superficial Faith = Substantive Falling Away.

Substantive in what way?

Well, for one thing, it doesn’t help anyone to ignore the hard topics that real life itself presents.  How can a loving God tolerate suffering?  How can we be sure the Bible is a reliable guide for knowledge and practice, especially when the media is mocking you left and right–not to mention what college professors are doing to students.

Many Christians dismiss these kinds of issues as unnecessary ‘intellectual’ exercises.   I once had a Christian I had met at a festival send me a message saying, “How is that being intelligent thing working out for you?”  He meant it playfully, but I didn’t bother replying.  What could I say?  “How did your trust in God work out when your child died in your arms in a car accident?”

Not that that had happened to him, but obviously, if it DID happen, I could NEVER say it then because of how rude it would be (and make him even angrier at Christians and Christ).  The time to address such topics is BEFORE the tragedy strikes, but if those things are waved away as trivial intellectual matters, people set themselves up for a fall.  A hard fall.

There is also something to be said about hearing objections to the faith “from the horse’s mouth.”

That’s why we have an actual atheist as part of our event, instead of a Christian merely talking about atheism.

If you have experience talking with people who have doubts (which is the basic work of the apologist) you will eventually have people say, “I hear what you’re saying but how do I know you’re not just putting words in their mouth?  How do I know the REAL objections aren’t stronger?”

Well, if you hear the objections straight out of the mouths of people who reject Christianity, you are immunized from that rejoinder.  Moreover, when you are able to answer the objection pretty easily, well, then, you’re golden.  🙂

My own crisis of faith occurred in large part not because it seemed Christians had no answers, but that they didn’t even know there were questions.  In retrospect, I was very wrong in that assessment, but it is still easy enough to get that impression.

God willing, that will never be the impression one gets after leaving Athanatos Fest.

Hope to see you there!

 

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The Weaponization of the Media by the American Left, Today’s Case Study: White Nationalists running for office

In a recent argument with a friend, he asserted that I single out examples of left wing nonsense but don’t mention the stuff on the right.  This missed my point completely.  There is, of course, nonsense across the board.  Pick an ideology, and you will be able to find worthy advocates of it mixed in with those that even the ideology’s adherents would like to jettison if only they could, along with a big lump in the middle that is a smorgasbord of anecdotes.  My point–made with a series of illustrations–was that the left has WEAPONIZED the various institutions, picking and choosing which stories they will fixate on, with the express purpose of harming their political foes.  And anyone who dissents is a foe.

I gave some examples of this in my last post.

There is biased reporting on the right as well as on the left, but there is this critical difference:  the bias on the ‘right’ is not just transparent, but admitted.  If you see something on Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, or Breitbart, you know what you’re getting.  But the NYT, CNN, and the WAPO… why, they’re just reporting straight news, ya know?  They’re objective folks!  Not only do they cast themselves this way, but they are received by the masses this way.  This naive acceptance by the American public is what makes reporting by these ‘objective’ sites prone to malicious slanting.

That acceptance has dwindled over the years, and its effectiveness as a weapon weakened somewhat.  If the MSM continues to do stories like the one I’m about to talk about, they will probably all go out of business.  Some of us long for the day.  Still, we’re talking about people who believe its their right and purpose to drive public opinion, and have no shame in using their position to do that.  Nor do they have any shame in lying outright along the way.  They’re called the ‘drive by’ media for a reason.

One of the purposes of these folks is to characterize conservatism and Republicans as racists.  They want conservatives to think there is something horribly amiss with their ideology when it can make racists feel welcome.  They want the big ‘lump in the middle’ to think that the GOP has a ‘racism problem.’  Of course they will say, “Sure, sure.   Not ALL Republicans are racists.  But “There clearly are genuine racists on the Right.”  Uh, well, there are clearly genuine racists on the left, too.  There are racists across the spectrum.  Is there any particular reason to think its more of a problem on the “right” than the left? 

That’s what the elitist libs in the various institutions (school, media, etc) want you to think, and the liberal base, already prepared to pat themselves on their own back for their own moral virtue, are happy to accept it as obvious fact, because they too can’t imagine anyone disagreeing with them unless they were bigoted somehow (because their positions are SO reasonable!).  I have documented elsewhere the fact that, in point of fact, even allowing that all ‘white nationalists’ align with the ‘right’ (a spurious belief, seeing as it was the Democrat party that embraced institutionalized racism OPENLY for almost the entirety of its existence), the numbers are paltry.

In this 2016 blog post titled, Putting Hysterics Into Proportion: The Alleged Threat of the Rise of White Racism I provide some numbers…

Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute had just had their NATIONAL conference.  Attendance? 200.  TWO HUNDRED.  That’s IT.  Oh, by the way, take the media covering the event and the number drops to around 120… ACCORDING TO THE Southern Poverty Law Center.

120 people at a national event for white nationalists.  Why yes, of course, OBVIOUSLY 60,000,000 people who voted for Trump have a ‘racism’ problem!

More numbers.

According to the SPLC, there are only about 8,000 members of the KKK.  Even accepting the fiction that they all vote Republican and all voted for Trump, we’re talking about spectacularly small numbers.

Fast forward to this morning.

So this morning, NBC’s “Today” was on, and I was greeted with a story that perfectly illustrates what I mean by weaponizing the media.

Apparently, it was a rehash of an article that had already run on MSNBC.  Both NBC and MSNBC are known for being total straight shooters, ya know?

Media Matters reports the story with this headline, which of course went viral:

Surge in Candidates Running on an Explicitly White Nationalist Message’ Dominates 2018 Midterms

A surge, you say?  Phew, must be a lot!  The original NBC Nightly News account of the same story offers a different perspective:

At Least 8 White Nationalists Running For State Or Federal Office

8!

But of course if someone does not see the title of the video or segment and only watches the segment, here is what they see:

You see it, right?  The words on the screen, which are there throughout almost the entirety of the segment, are “Record Number of White Nationalists Running for Office.”

Unless someone happened to catch the split second where they reported that there were just 8 candidates, they will be left with the distinct impression:  “OMG, White nationalists are increasing in number!  They are emboldened by Trump!  I’m not a racist!  What am I to do?!?”  Or, if you are a liberal, well, that’s for a different post.

That’s how it is done, friends.  That’s the weaponization of the media.  The total viewership of the NBC programs that broadcast this segment in some form that I’m aware of, MSNBC, NBC Nightly News, and the Today Show, are, respectively:  1 million, 8 million, and 4 million.    So, almost 15 million people are estimated to have seen this segment.

By the way, Fox News has a morning viewership of about 1.4 million another otherwise seems to be around 2 million a night, 3 million max.  So, NBC, by itself, has 5 times the viewership of Fox News.  Now add in the other two networks (nightly news numbers only, from the above link), and its ABC: 4.051M and  CBS: 3.305M.

Fox News taps out at around 3 million viewers.  The total of all the other networks combines comes in (back of the envelop calculation) at around 50 million.

Yea, so you can piss and moan about the influence of FNC and its known, transparent bias, but you are delusional if you think it outmatches the other networks, which have a viewership of more than ten times together what FNC has alone–and FNC is very much alone.

But this is not a defense of Fox News.  I’m just putting the NBC segment into some kind of perspective and proportion.  A very large number of people had set in front of them this line for a solid 2 minutes:  “Record Number of White Nationalists Running for Office.”

Now, first of all, if 8 White Nationalists is a record number, I want you to think about that.  That means that for a hundred years or so, the United States has never put up more than 8 ‘white nationalists.’

That’s pretty damn good, if true.

Although, probably not true.  Not that it matters, since the purpose of the piece is obviously propaganda.  I noticed their carefully couched language, “That’s more than any election in modern history.”

Hmmm.  And on the Today Show, where the segment is titled,   More White Nationalists Are Running For Office, the intro was:

“What we’re seeing right now is something we’ve never seen in recent history.  White Nationalists coming out publicly, espousing their views and then running for national office in historic numbers.

Emphasis added.   In modern history?  In recent history?  And yet its historic?  8 is historic?  And just what is meant by ‘recent’?

Hmmm, the curious listener wants to know what is the catalyst for this ‘surge’!  The very honest and objective reporter has the same question:

But the question this morning is why do they feel emboldened now, why do they think this is their year to win?

Yea, wow.  What happened recently?  Gee, I just can’t figure it out.  Oh yea, now it has come to me.  Donald Trump.  (The rest of the segment makes it perfectly clear this is exactly what you are supposed to conclude.)

So, 8 candidates–HISTORIC!–in recent history.  These qualifiers are meant to protect themselves from criticism, claiming that they were technically accurate in their reporting.  Meanwhile, they title their segment a more generalized and inflammatory way like “More White Nationalists Are Running for Office” and “Record Number of White Nationalists Running for Office” and, on the Media Matters website, “Surge in Candidates Running on an Explicitly White Nationalist Message’ Dominates 2018 Midterms.”

The message of these EIGHT candidates who are going to be completely slaughtered in their respective elections DOMINATES the 2018 Midterms! lol.

Truly, these are either some of the dumbest people on the planet or among the most evil.  With this kind of inflammatory rhetoric, people will inevitably get hurt.  But I digress… or do I?

Anyway, I’m not a tool, so I figured if they are being so careful to couch their language, the actual truth must not be as provocative.

In truly laborious research taking all of five seconds, I managed to turn up this:

White Supremacists Running for Political Office in 2012 in Growing Numbers
A startling number of white-power candidates are running for public office. Eve Conant reports on their under-the-radar strategy.

2012.  For you in Rio Linda, that’s just 6 years ago.  Here we don’t see it cast as “historic’ numbers, but just ‘growing numbers.  And how many might that be?

Mayo and others date the current spike to 2008, and the election of the country’s first African-American president  […]

 What followed in 2010, say extremism watchers, was the biggest electoral push by white supremacists in years. “We’ve seen increasing numbers of white supremacists and others on the radical right running for electoral office for several years now and we likely had more in the last election than in any other in recent memory,” says Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center. “Although extremely few of these people are elected, especially if their views become known during the campaign, the fact that there are so many openly running for public office reflects the growth of white nationalism over the last 10 years.”

Potok’s group tracked 23 candidates in 2010 with radical right-wing views, nine of whom they described as white supremacists or white nationalists.

Emphasis added.

How many?  *squints hard at screen*

23!

TWENTY-THREE.  Of these hundreds of millions of radical right wingers… er, sorry, 23… how many are ‘white nationalists’?

9.

Ok, so help me out here.  Because all I have is a bachelors, a masters, and a PhD, I find simple arithmetic difficult. Is 9 bigger or smaller than 8?

Now, this is a bit interesting, because NBC says that their source (at the 55 second mark or so) for the ‘record surge’ in white nationalist candidates–8– is the SPLC, but in 2016, the SPLC itself said that there were–9–such candidates; not a peep that this might be a ‘record’ amount.

As an aside, if you look at the article,  it singles out David Duke running for office.  I doubt any of the 23 people running for office won, but I know for sure that Duke didn’t. I documented his results in the aforementioned Hysteria piece:

So, it just so happens that David Duke ran for election this year in the ‘deep south,’ that bastion of bigotry.   Consider how horrible we must feel as a nation that as of now, a US Senator from Louisiana is a former leader in the KKK.  We’ve sunk so low as a nation!  Sooooooooooooooo loooooooooooooooooow.

Waitasec.  He didn’t win.   He didn’t win?!?!?!?  But with all this talk about David Duke endorsing Trump as if that meant something, I can only assume that he did exceedingly well in his election?  Funny, the media told me all about Trump’s tenuous relationship with Duke (ie, its non-existent) but failed to mention that Duke not only did not win the election, but he was seventh in the list, pulling just 3% of the votes.  SEVENTH.

Anyway, the idea that there is a ‘surge’ or that there are ‘more’ or ‘record numbers’ or ‘historic’ is a blatant deception.

This is the weaponization of the media.  The whole point of the story is to demonize political opponents.  Nothing more, nothing less. The NBC piece is a non-story when it comes to white nationalism.  But it is a good illustration when it comes to showing what is meant by liberal media propaganda.

I bet that ‘white nationalists’ have been running for political office in tiny numbers for decades, both before Trump, and before Obama.   A research project for another day.

Let’s deal with one last claim they made.  The Today show episode says that the number of murders by white nationalists has “doubled.”  Now, at least with the “surge” language, they tuck in at least SOME context, telling us we’re up to 8.  However, here we get no context at all.

I suppose the reader understands that if there is 1 murder in 2016 due to white nationalism but there are 2 murders in 2017 from it, the number of murders has, truly, ‘doubled.’  In a population  of 300,000,000 with tens of thousands of homicides each year, I can’t imagine any reasonable person would look at a jump from 1 to 2 murders as representing a real trend that justifies mention in a national news broadcast.  So just how many is it?

This appears to be their source for this claim, and thankfully they provide us that context.

So, how many?

18.

How many murders are there in the United States each year?

About 15,000.

The ADL site says,

“We cannot ignore the fact that white supremacists are emboldened, and as a society we need to keep a close watch on recruitment and rallies such as Charlottesville, which have the greatest potential to provoke and inspire violence.”

Oh yea.  Real emboldened.   If there were any doubt, this cinches it! We’ve shot up from 9 to 18.  Clearly, we need to keep a close watch!

Remember, the Today piece told us that the homicides ‘doubled’ and that the ‘numbers’ are rising, but provided no context to understand whether or not that was a non-trivial fact.   This was intentional.  If not, its pure stupidity.  In either case, it should challenge you to consider your sources of information.

Now, someone might say “That’s very well, but there are other reasons to think….”

But you’re not understanding.  What if all the reasons you thought justified your concern about racism on the right were all as contrived as this?  How do you know ANY of it is true?  How do you know that you haven’t just been fed this stuff for decades, and because of your high view of your own concern for the ‘poor,’ you just bought it all, hook, line and sinker?

What if you’ve been lied to THIS WHOLE TIME?  How would you know?

One thing is for sure, if you’ve bought this narrative whole sale, its no wonder that you see a racist behind every tree.  Its no wonder that you cannot understand the real position of people who disagree with you, since you know that deep down that they disagree with you because THEY ARE RACISTS.

(Maybe if you see a racist behind every tree its because you are the racist.)

There are, of course, racists.  We ought to oppose them.  On the other hand, the number of ACTUAL racists is quite small, unless you expand your definition significantly, and perhaps recklessly.   If you keep calling people racists who are not racists, what do you think is going to happen?

Incidentally, if you’ve been lied to about this, who knows what else you’ve been lied to about?  Perhaps everything?

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Tips for Knowing that What you Know is True and Real: The Fake News Edition

In the previous two entries, I have laid out my approach to gaining knowledge.  This one was the preamble (theory and concept), and this one laid out specific approaches.  They are roughly ‘stand alone,’ and this one is more of an application of the aforementioned principles.  I have been wanting to discuss these principles for awhile, but my son asked me how to detect Fake News, so I was prompted to finally sit down and do it.

“Fake News” is a strange animal.  Throughout history, there have been examples of deliberate deceit, propaganda, falsification, etc.  Some of these were of little consequence.  Others left epistemological devastation in their wake.  Sometimes that devastation consisted of only of very wrong ideas that terribly skewed a worldview that nonetheless only impacted the people who accepted the lies.  Sometimes it’s worse, and people die.  Lots of people.

But that old pattern has manifested in bizarre new ways today, thanks largely to the Internet.  It is relatively easy to fabricate credible looking websites that make credible sounding claims.  It is very easy for such websites to spread like wildfire through social media, often by virtue of their headline alone.  The makers of these sites get advertising revenue or other returns on their investment–such as skewing the perception of a person or incident in a way that they favor.

This all sounds like the realm of people we know intuitively as malevolent actors merely out there to make a buck.  And indeed it is.  However, the so-called ‘mainstream media’ is also interested in making a buck, and members of the MSM are also interested in slanting our perceptions of persons and incidents in a way that they favor.  I could go on and on about this, but I think most readers can agree with this much and I don’t need to expand on it further here.  For the purposes of this post, the goal is to detect ‘fake news,’ not explain it.

To begin with, we need to observe that there are different kinds of ‘fake news.’  For example, there are parody sites, such as The Onion or The Babylon Bee.  These are meant to get a laugh, not to trick anyone, but with the real world increasingly as insane as anything we ‘make up,’ it is possible to confuse their articles as actual news.  Then there are intentionally deceitful sites, which sometimes have an agenda, but more often than not, probably are more interested in getting advertising revenue.  They justify themselves as ‘satire’ but since the ‘joke’ is impossible to detect, it is hard to trust them at all.

Finally, there are the ‘mainstream’ news outlets.  We’re going to use them for our analysis in this article because the techniques for recognizing ‘fake news’ in the ‘mainstream’ are roughly the same across the board.

‘Fake News’ of the MSM variety falls into 4 categories, all of which are dangerous specifically because the MSM presents itself as objective repeaters of FACT.  It is precisely because they are taken seriously as ‘objective’ that they are able to get away with nefarious content.

In the first category, we have articles which are ‘fake’ in the sense that we are only enduring them because the journalists themselves are inclined to report on them.  The topic itself might be insignificant, or blown out of proportion, or irrelevant.  Since there is limited air time on television and radio, and print space must be carefully deployed, the consumer’s assumption is that if the article is being published at all, it must be of some importance.  Nope.  The article just scratches the journalist’s itch, and the publisher felt it too.

This describes a huge proportion of the content that we see out of the MSM.  The articles themselves might not have faked content, rather its the content’s importance that is faked.  Now multiply that over 365 days a year times 500 different outlets.  How does one know how much of that content is important or not?  That is the question.

In the second category, we have articles which are presenting (we will assume) actual newsworthy content.  However, in any reporting, decisions have to be made about what to include and exclude.  The journalist’s own judgement about what is important, relevant, and significant, determines what is included and not included.  Again, our natural inclination is to assume that if something is included, it must be important, relevant, and significant.

However, we can actually only know that if we are privy to the same details and able weigh them ourselves.  But the whole point of getting the ‘news’ is to bring to our attention material that is not otherwise available to us.  Thus, if the journalist’s ideology has hopelessly slanted the article–not malevolently, but merely by virtue of the journalist being an ideologue (something that they usually are unaware of, themselves)–the consumer is basically over a barrel.  The individual details in this content might be true, but the manner in which they are constructed and presented might be faked.

Pro tip: many people believe that overtly biased websites are to be distrusted from the get go.  Actually, the overt bias is a big help, because you are aware of it and can factor it in to your analysis.  Its also useful when applying the ‘criterion of embarrassment’ (scroll down).   Its the sites that pass themselves as unbiased and objective and ‘non-partisan’ that are epistemological landmines, since they are not straight forward about their ideology (everyone has one!), its difficult to factor it into your analysis.

In the third category, we have the deliberate alterations of the factual record.  You’d think that reputable organizations would never do that, but I assure you that they do, and more often than not they get away with it.  They get away with it because much of our ‘news’ is consumed by headlines or short blurbs which for some strange reason many people believes counts as knowledge–but the consumer does not pay attention to the full arc of the developing story.  In other words, a media outlet can broadcast an entirely false story, get called out on it, and even eventually issue a full retraction.  But the consumers never knows about the ‘calling out’ and the retraction is not ‘broadcast,’ leaving the ongoing impression in the consumer’s mind that the initial story is correct.

This phenomena falls into the category of what is referred to as the ‘drive by’ media.  Think: ‘drive by shooting’ except with news.  The media comes, shoots to kill, but even if it wounds, it is long gone.  Whether or not its just because they need to move on to the next news story or they were actually being malicious isn’t always possible to detect, but I’m talking about what appear to be actually malicious incidents.

Three examples that come to mind are Dan Rather’s ‘expose’ of Bush’s national guard service, the editing of George Zimmerman’s 9-11 tape, and within the week of this writing, accusing Trump of calling illegal immigrants ‘animals’ when it is a demonstrable fact that he was referring at the time, specifically, to MS-13 gang members.

Realize that if it was not for the Internet, Dan Rather’s ‘expose’ would now be cemented into our history as collectively accepted fact–now ask yourself about all the things you think you know that were reported prior to the Internet.  How many exposes were similarly fabricated?  How many people never learned that Rather’s source documents were likely frauds, and voted accordingly?

The personal consequences to George Zimmerman have been significant, a substantial portion of them due to the altered 9-11 audio.  The abuse came even from the president…  “If I had a son…”  Zimmerman was cleared in the trial, which created its own controversy–controversy that would not have existed if there had not been an edited 9-11 call to begin with.  In short, even though it was known to many that the call had been edited to make it more inflammatory, vast numbers of the American public never heard the news.

I offer the MS-13 story in the (unbiased, objective!) NY Times only as an illustration, not to dwell on, but as it is instructive in its own way, its worth a quick word.   In the original story, MS-13 is mentioned but the impression is left that Trump is talking about illegal immigrants in general.  Someone might argue that it was inadvertent, as the title itself of the article is “Trump Calls Some Unauthorized Immigrants ‘Animals’ in Rant” [my emphasis].   Of course, the article doesn’t say WHICH immigrants are the ‘animals.’  If this seems like an innocent oversight, since the NY Times itself appeared to miss the ‘nuance’, the American public can be forgiven, too.  The NY Times tweeted the piece as follows:

Trump lashed out at undocumented immigrants during a White House meeting, calling those trying to breach the country’s borders “animals”

No nuance there!

And my point here is that any of they NY Time’s 42,000,000 ‘followers’, 42 MILLION, who read only the tweet would be left with a distinct impression–forever.  Even reading the headline of the article and the article itself wouldn’t have altered this impression very much.  It was left to the ‘biased’ White House and alternative media to take the time to review the actual recording and report the full context.  If it had been left to the NYT and the AP, etc, most Americans would be none the wiser.  But most Americans will never learn about the wider context.

Its worth pointing out that a similar smear was made on Trump, with the lasting effect being that many people believe that Trump is racist.  I’m speaking specifically of this portion of his announcement speech when still a candidate:

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

  Granted, this was not artfully put–but no one has ever accused Trump of eloquence–but you would have to be a truly, utterly, stupid person to derive from this the view that Trump believes all Mexicans are rapists.  Just a smidgen of literacy or ability to comprehend the English language would understand what “And some, I assume, are good people” means.

But that didn’t stop Tim Kaine from saying that Trump said that ALL Mexicans are rapists.  The WAPO (the WAPO!) also dispensed with that generalization, but how many Americans have the time to go around following up on every news report or tweet to make sure that what they heard the first time was fairly and truthfully presented?

Both of the ‘fact checking’ sites I just linked to take the trouble to ‘debunk’ Trump’s claims, even as they set the record straight on what Trump actually said.  After what I’ve written so far, you’d be a fool to accept even their fact checking on its face, as if it is relevant or even important for documenting what TRUMP actually said.  They went behind the FACTS they were checking to then insert their opinion about what Trump said.

That’s why in this instance I linked directly to the transcript, and did not just post the fact checkers; however, both fact checkers lean liberal, so on the criterion of embarrassment, if THEY repudiate that characterization, the characterization is almost certainly false.  Funny how large swaths of the American public failed to get the memo.  Many Americans proceeded to interpret later comments and policies in light of this false narrative, manifesting even in this MS-13 incident. Thus, my point.

I have used some instances that expose the ‘left’ because frankly its usually the ‘left’ that engages in such tactics, and usually liberals that fall for it, hook, line, and sinker.  This is primarily because 90% of the mainstream media are leftists, so when I’m trying to show how the MSM pushes fake news, it stands to reason that the cases are going to be oriented towards liberals.  It doesn’t at all mean that you’re not going to find cases where Republicans or conservatives engage in some form or another of ‘fake news’, only that you won’t find it in the MSM.

Can you imagine the NY Times posting a contrived article that makes Trump (or any conservative) look good?  The idea is laughable on its face.

Can you imagine Breitbart contriving an article that makes Obama look bad?  Or falsifying a story to make Trump look good?  For better or worse, I bet many people can.  But then, Breitbart is not ‘main stream media.’  The New York Times is.

A reader would probably be LESS likely to be deceived if they got their news from a site like Breitbart because the bias is transparent.  They are MORE likely to be deceived if they get their news from the NY Times, because its portrayed as ‘objective’ and impartial.  But of course–and here is the problem–you would be hard pressed to KNOW what it is you have been deceived about, unless you took the time and energy to investigate each and everything you read about.

No one can do that.

– – – –

I had wanted to discuss the fourth category and then provide some more specific methods for actually detecting fake news, but now that this essay is more than 2,000 words long, I think I just need to leave it here for now.  If you really can’t wait, I suggest you read the preamble and the first article of application (you’re reading the second), as detecting fake news will just be an extension of those principles.

 

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Baby Alfie as Warning to the Rest of Us

About 12 years ago, a doctor sat across from my wife and I and confirmed from the ultrasound and amnio test that our daughter had spina bifida and then, admittedly with more tact than I’m putting it now, asked us if we wanted to kill her.

I document the devastation we felt about this diagnosis in my book, “We Chose Life.”  But a couple of weeks later, I began thinking hard about that encounter with the doctor.  “How is it the case that in our society a doctor can sit across from parents and openly submit that their child should be aborted?”

This event put me on a research path which has been eye opening, to say the least.  Yet, the fact that even I, a fairly educated pro-life individual, was surprised by this encounter (and the later discovery that 70%-90% of children diagnosed with a birth defect are aborted), might be one of the most important parts of this story.  The fact that the weak and defenseless are being quietly targeted for destruction, even right here in the United States, is something that should definitely be more well known.  Let me use the story of Alfie as a stepping stone to explaining what things we ought to be aware.

Let’s start with my daughter.  We did not get that abortion.  If you spend even a moment with my daughter today, you’ll wonder why on earth anyone would think the world would be a better place without her in it.  You’ll wonder what possible basis someone might have for suggesting she be killed before she even takes her first breath.  That’s a picture of her right there.  Look at her.  That smile you see is the one she has on her face almost all the time.  Her’s is not a life of suffering.

She has spina bifida, but spina bifida does not have her.

But I was being generous in my imagining that it was the welfare and quality of life for my daughter that the doctor had in mind.  As my research deepened, I would encounter arguments like this:

[Children born with Down Syndrome and other severe disabilities are “often reported to be happy.”]  “Nonetheless, to bring up such children might be an unbearable burden on the family and on society as a whole, when the state economically provides for their care.  On these grounds, the fact that a fetus has the potential to become a person who will have an (at least) acceptable life is no reason for prohibiting abortion.  Therefore, we argue that, when circumstances occur after birth, such that they would have justified abortion, what we call after-birth abortion should be permissible.”  (italics theirs, bold, mine)

Read that again, and read it closely.

A.  they acknowledge that not only are these people not suffering, but they are “reported to be happy.”

B. so, obviously, whether or not the child is suffering is not the controlling idea.

C. the rationale provided is not merely about the family but….

D.  SOCIETY AS A WHOLE, when the STATE ECONOMICALLY PROVIDES FOR THEIR CARE, which has an interest in terminating this life.

E. And oh yea, we’re talking about children who are actually born.

F.  And, elsewhere it is clarified that by ‘when circumstances occur’ the fact that the child has a birth defect isn’t relevant either.  You could justifiably kill an infant for all the same reasons one would get an abortion.

G.  The authors of this study were academics who were shocked at the outrage that their article generated.  After all, they were only extending an argument that was already prevailing in the medical ethics community.

Let me repeat:  they were only extending an argument that was already prevailing in the medical ethics community.

And they were quite right about that.  And you could extend the argument further, and point out the obvious:  if the same circumstances that justify abortion can be extended to infant, then the same circumstances that justify killing infants can be used to justify killing ANY of us, at any time, healthy or not healthy, “when the state economically provides for their care.”

Let that sink in.

As should be clear by now, England thinks this is perfectly fine.  Before there was Alfie, there was Charlie Gard.  And before that, there was Ashya King, whose parents were actually arrested for taking her out of the country to receive care (Ashya lives today, free of cancer.)  These are the ones that make the news.  It is almost certainly the case that there are a great many parents who simply acquiesce to the judgement of ‘experts’ in United Kingdom, and allow their children–who may actually be healed, if only they could escape socialized medicine, which the parents might not even be aware of–to die quietly out of the harsh glare of the international press.

And here is the thing.  The arguments put forward for these actions in England are almost exactly the same as the arguments put forward by Nazi doctors.  Same-same.  Not that you would know it today!  After World War 2, you can imagine that even in England it became less than socially palatable to utter anything remotely similar to what the Nazi doctors had proposed and implemented.  But they didn’t go away.  They just refashioned and restated their arguments, and today its just the nature of the English health care system, which most Brits are perfectly content with.  See also the Liverpool Care Pathway.

If you find the Alfie situation surprising, you will probably find my claims to be very radical.  Surely ‘civilized’ Britain cannot be as I’ve described! If you would like to see for yourself the substantiation, you need to get moving down that research path–the one that I myself was unexpectedly thrust upon.  To corroborate these specific claims, I’ll suggest two sources to get you started:

compare and contrast with the Nazi T4 program and its intellectual heirs, such as Karl Binding and Alfred Hoche, discussed at length in:

Because sometimes you just need to see it for yourself.

Just as the fall out of WW2 put cold water on the British euthanasia movement, it put cold water on corresponding advocacy in the United States of America.

In 1915, Helen Keller was calling for panels of physicians to determine when handicapped children ought to die.  (Yes, THAT Helen Keller: “It is the possibilities of happiness, intelligence and power that give life its sanctity, and they are absent in the case of a poor, misshapen, paralyzed, unthinking creature.”)  Binding and Hoche likewise suggested physician panels, and the Nazis took their advice.

In 1941, Foster Kennedy argued:

I believe when the defective child shall have reached the age of five years-and on the application of his guardians-that the case should be considered under law by a competent medical board; then it should be reviewed twice more at four-month intervals; then if the Board, acting, I repeat, on the application of the guardians of the child, and after three examinations of a defective who has reached the age of five or more, should decide that that defective has no future nor hope of one; then I believe it is a merciful and kindly thing to relieve that defective- often tortured and convulsed, grotesque and absurd, useless and foolish, and entirely undesirable-of the agony of living.

As Kennedy was writing, full knowledge of the T4 project was not yet known, let alone what happened under the direction of doctors (link) at the concentration camps, but you can see he may quibble with the method, but not the intent.

But even cold water eventually dries.

Prominent bio-ethicist Joseph Fletcher argued in 1968,

[People] have no reason to feel guilty about putting a Down’s syndrome baby away, whether it’s “put away” in the sense of hidden in a sanitarium or in a more responsible lethal sense. It is sad; yes. Dreadful. But it carries no guilt. True guilt arises only from an offense against a person, and a Down’s is not a person. There is no cause for remorse, even though, certainly, there is for regret. Guilt over a decision to end an idiocy would be a false guilt, and probably unconsciously a form of psychic masochism.

There is far more reason for real guilt in keeping alive a Down’s or other kind of idiot, out of a false idea of obligation or duty, while at the same time feeling no obligation at all to save that money and emotion for a living, learning child. The learning child might be a retarded one with a viable potential, or just an orphan in need of adoption.

In 1972, John Hopkins already had a ‘God Committee.’

“then you logically come to the destruction of extrauterine life.” […]

The touchiness in the medical literature regarding euthanasia is akin to the silence a decade ago on abortion. “Over a drink I could tell you that I would like to see laws allowing active euthanasia,” said one department head, “but for publication I can’t.”

Ironically, one of the most eloquent opponents of laws allowing active euthanasia in infants is the physician who admits to having actively killed six deformed infants over the course of his long career. “The danger of active euthanasia is not to the aged or to the defective child,” this man argues, “but to the person who does it.”

You see it, right?  The doctors themselves see that the arguments justifying abortion justify active euthanasia… even up to and including the aged.

I could go on and on about this, but I think you’re getting the idea.

It is no surprise that during the trials of the Nazis after the war, they offered as their defense that they were only carrying out the principles that were considered acceptable SCIENCE outside their country.  And, well, they had a point.

In this short survey, I have tried to get the reader to understand that what is happening to Alfie right now is a manifestation of a philosophy that has been percolating throughout the world right through to the present moment, and includes the United States.

This philosophy is incompatible with the worldview of many Americans, and yet it is becoming dominant in America’s medical system, right underneath our noses.  America could be the next England; and both could become the next Germany… when the state economically provides for our care.

You cannot get the full measure of it from a few international news stories, some pointed articles, and blog posts like mine.  You need to begin researching all of this right now.  You must be prepared to challenge your own good intentions with the actual logical conclusion of those intentions, and deal frankly with the rationales and worldview which this whole mindset entails.  And if you don’t like it, the time to make a change is NOW.

Your life, or the lives of those you love, or even the lives of hundreds of thousands of fellow Americans you’ll never know personally, may very well hang in the balance.

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What ‘Knife Control’ Says About One ‘Gun Control’ Argument

Most of my American readers are going to know about the London mayor’s recent ‘ban’ on knives, inaugurated in this hilarious–but evidently sincerely put–tweet:

It just doesn’t get funnier than that. Or sadder.

This whole affair reveals the absurdity of the whole mode of thought that undergirds the ‘gun control’ viewpoint.  To tell you the truth, Sadiq Khan has probably single-handedly unraveled the entire propaganda victory of the David Hogg crowd; if we see a resurgence of support for the second amendment, we can lay it at the feet of Khan, who has merely extended “March for our Lives” logic to its inevitable conclusion.

I wanted to touch on just one component of this affair.

If you spend any time talking with gun control proponents, you will witness an exchange like this:  “Guns kill such and such number of people every year!  We must do something (and by something I mean banning all guns, but I’m a bit coy on this point)!  YOU HATE THE CHILDREN!” met with a response, “But here are all the things that kill as many or more people (eg, auto accidents, drownings, knives…) and you don’t think that banning them is appropriate….”  And the answer they give to that is “Oh yea, but those things have other purposes.  Guns only have ONE purpose: killing people!”

Rinse and repeat.

Now, there are a thousand things wrong with this last rebuttal.  It is a pure non sequitur.  They can’t (I’ve never seen them try) explain how having only one purpose (allegedly) somehow puts guns into a different category.  Its one of those things you’re expected to just “see” as if it is “obvious.”

It is not the purpose of this post to rebut this lame argument, although I would take great pleasure in doing so.  Some other day, perhaps. The purpose of this post is to call attention to the fact that in London, they were perfectly happy to ‘ban knives’ (overtly, not coyly) even though is patently obvious that knives have uses other than killing people.

Now, the mayor said, “there is never a reason to carry a knife”, making him leading competitor for “Dumbest Person on the Planet.”  Presumably (!), even the emasculated British people recognizes that there are a myriad number of reasons for carrying a knife besides stabbing one’s fellow man.  (A man can dream.)   And yet, despite there being ‘other reasons,’ this did not stop them from banning knives.

While I did see some language here and there to the effect that they were targeting ‘knives designed only to kill people’ (lol, no really), the proof, as they say, is in the pudding.  In the pic of one of the ‘surrender bins’ you can see here, you can plainly see on the far right a measly pocket knife, Swiss Army-style, perhaps, and next to it, a screwdriver! (they’re killing me, lol), and then next to that a regular steak knife (I think), and what looks like a cleaver.  To the far left is the silhouette of baby Groot.  The horror.

Again, presumably 99.99% of my readers will have at least 2 brain cells to rub together and will know, without me listing them, all the different ways these things not only have uses other than killing, but how they are not specifically designed to kill people at all.  And yet they fall within the scope of the War on Knives.

So, the bottom line here is that this whole idea that guns are singled out for special treatment because they only have ‘one purpose’ is pure horse-excrement.  It is doubtful anyone who makes that argument really believes it.  It is more likely they’re willing to say anything, hoping for the tiniest window of opportunity to win consideration of their ‘common sense’ gun laws.

As I said, in a later post, I might give a more robust thrashing to this line of argument.  What we need to understand from this development in London (and England more generally, since it appears the sentiment is common there), is that ‘alternate utility’ is utterly, 100%, completely irrelevant to them.

Listen to me:  they don’t care ONE LICK about the number of other uses for an item might be.  That’s not actually what is motivating them to do what they do, nor does it inform what they choose to ban (although it is revealing what they choose NOT to ban, but that’s for a different post).

Read my lips: they only care about the ‘alternate utility’ argument as a wedge argument to get YOU to compromise.

If it was up to them, every citizen of every country of the world would be completely disarmed.  (That’s not to say that they are opposed to weapons–governments can have all they want!)  If you needed any evidence that this was the case, the London ‘knife ban’ gives you all you need.

This is not (necessarily) a nefarious goal on their part.  Their error is even more fundamental than all of this.  The reason why they focus on instruments is that they cannot admit the truth of human nature, effectively summarized in the Christian doctrine of ‘original sin.’   But this is no mere ‘doctrine.’  Its an observable part of real life.

But its one of those truths which has implications which are more intolerable than the truth itself.

So they focus on guns.  And knives.  And any other absurd thing that might be next on the list.

This makes them very dangerous.  Not only because of their easy tendency to restrict the liberties of their fellow man, but because failing to recognize the capacity of evil that each human has sets them–and us–up for calamity.

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This Illustrates What I’ve Been Warning About

[This article is 3,500 words long.  If you want to live, you’ll read it to the end.]

Not too long ago, I updated my disclaimer to the right with the note:

Because I believe that people are being manipulated into regularly scheduled outrages, … I will generally abstain from opining on ‘national conversations’ until I am good and ready to do so.  Obviously, I reserve the right comment immediately as I see fit.  …

By this standard, followers of my blog will recognize that the gun debate is one of those places where I exercised my right to comment immediately.  The fallout from the Parkland shooting, like the Sandy Hook shooting, had all the earmarks of the “rule by mob” mentality I’ve been warning about.  I understood how it all works: the goal was to parlay the noise in favor of gun control into action, the relative silence from the other side would be perceived as consent by politicians, etc.  So, I knew that in this case, I had to break my own ‘rule.’

Read on to understand this process and the reasoning behind it.

Now, most of my readers don’t need me to spell out for them how manipulative the whole thing was.  Obvious  to almost all adults, David Hogg and his ilk are tools of the highest caliber.   We know that the Parkland students did not organize the “March for Our Lives.”  We know that tons of third party money and expertise flooded in, and used the Parkland students as their human shields.

We saw how effective those shields were with what happened to Laura Ingraham.  Thanks to the hard work of our self-appointed social engineers, you are not allowed to criticize victims, and certainly not the victim du jour.   You don’t think this is just an accident, do you?  Now that you’ve seen all you’ve seen?  Really now.  It’s right there in Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals“:

The thirteenth rule:  Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

What you need to understand is that it doesn’t matter that the people who lashed out at Ingraham have probably not even heard of Alinsky, and are not thinking they are acting according to a playbook.  In fact, its the fact that they are acting on Alinsky’s methods and don’t know it that make them so dangerous.  This is how they’ve been trained to do ‘democracy.’

Listen to me.  They think “This is what democracy looks like.”

They really do.

They really think that marches, riots, ‘days of rage’, assaulting dissenters, etc, is democracy in action.

That whole thing where you elect people who represent your values, and the very fact that you elected them serves as a mandate for them to advocate for your values–that is not democracy to them.  (Unless its their people, then of course “elections have consequences.”  See how it works?)  No, to them, democracy amounts to whoever shouts the loudest–simply a manifestation of the ‘might makes right’ ideology that is their ultimate position.

For the social engineers of this persuasion, it’s all about the mob, and ‘democracy’ means directing the mob in a manner that the Managers perceive is ‘best for society.’

This is not conjecture or smearing on my part.  People of this persuasion will actually admit it, nay, advocate for these methods, when they are speaking privately or don’t think they will be overheard.  I mentioned the Alinksy book.  This won’t stop them from denouncing me, of course–see rule 13, above.  And remember, they don’t actually have to know Alinsky and his rule 13 to employ it.  Even the Managers have been conditioned without knowing they were conditioned.  (Think: C.S. Lewis and The Abolition of Man.)

Or, perhaps we should call them ‘technocrats.’  Here is how Jacques Ellul put it in his book, “Propaganda“, where the managers are given that term [all emphasis mine]:

In our society, man is being pushed more and more into passivity. He is thrust into vast organizations which function collectively and in which each man has his own small part to play. But he cannot act on his own; he can act only as the result of somebody else’s decision. Man is more and more trained to participate in group movements and to act only on signal and in the way he has been taught. […] The individual becomes less and less capable of acting by himself; he needs the collective signals which integrate his actions into the complete mechanism. Modern life induces us to wait until we are told to act. Here again propaganda comes to the rescue. To the extent that government can no longer function without the mass (as we have demonstrated above), propaganda is the signal to act, the bridge from the individual’s interest in politics to his political action. It serves to overcome collective passivity. It enters into the general current of society, which develops multiple conditioned reflexes, which in turn become signals for man to pay his part in the group.

Then, later in the same:

…propaganda offers release on a grand scale. For example, propaganda will permit what so far was prohibited, such as hatred, which is a dangerous and destructive feeling and fought by society. But man always has a certain need to hate, just as he hides in heart the urge to kill. Propaganda offers him an object of hatred, for all propaganda is aimed at an enemy.[2] And the hatred it offers him is not shameful, evil hatred that he must hide, but a legitimate hatred, which he can justly feel. Moreover, propaganda points out enemies that must be slain, transforming crime into a praise-worthy act. Almost every man feels a desire to kill his neighbor, but this is forbidden, and in most cases the individual will refrain from it for fear of the consequences. But propaganda opens the door and allows him to kill the Jews, the bourgeois, the Communists, and so on, and such murder even becomes an achievement.

Tell me, on your first encounter with David Hogg, are you not left with the impression that if they don’t get their way, you can easily see how they could be the next Weather Underground?  The Revolutionaries always forget that a Counter-Revolution soon follows.  The hippies of the 70s ran aground on the harsh counter-revolution of ‘becoming adults.’  At some point, Ayers realized that to continue his revolution, bombs weren’t going to help; what does it tell you that he decided his best strategy was to become an educator?  But he is not opposed to bombs if it would get the job done.  What will Hogg and his sort turn to if they are thwarted?  Mild-mannered professor?

In another work which encapsulates the methodology of the Democrat party (and almost every liberal progressive, and certainly a fair number of ‘moderate’ Republicans):

This phrase [The engineering of consent] quite simply means the use of an engineering approach—that is, action based only on thorough knowledge of the situation and on the application of scientific principles and tried practices to the task of getting people to support ideas and programs. […] The engineering of consent is the very essence of the democratic process, the freedom to persuade and suggest.

This would be Edward Bernays, writing in the 1950s.  Bold text added.  I’d highly recommend picking up this work by Bernays (The Engineering of Consent) to gain important insight into the mindset, which persists.

Delving into this would require another post (or book!) but since I know many readers will look at that phrase and wonder what the problem is, let me point out the latent assumption Bernays is working off of.  Bernays, and the people who think like him, believe that the government ought to proactively be enacting policies, which they, in their great wisdom, guided by an army of experts, believe should be enacted, despite the fact that there is not otherwise any public clamor for it.

The alternate view–that the best government is the one that governs less–and only intervenes when absolutely necessary to facilitate the movement of citizens within society, is nowhere in view.  Bernays just assumes, like most progressives, that the government should be constantly tinkering with the machine in a never ending quest to make it ‘perfect.’  And since the rubes might misunderstand the efforts, and might rise up and slit the throats of the Managers for their (always!) benevolent actions, the idea is to engineer the viewpoints of the rubes themselves so that they will support the efforts of the Engineers.

One straight forward way this works out in real life is precisely what we saw with the March for Our Lives, and we’re still in the thick of it.  Essentially it is like this:  a number of politicians and vested interests have wanted gun control all along, but lacking political cover, have not been able to act.

Now, the people with the vested interests are easy enough to understand, but the politicians have their own reasons, which require a moment to reflect on.

It goes without saying that the Democrat party is chafing at the bit to repeal the second Amendment and looks longingly towards the day when the United States is like Australia and England, and the government can do to its people whatever the hell it wants without fear of serious consequence (granted, in those countries, a great number of the citizens WANT the government to tend to their every need, so…)  However, there are quite a few Republicans who want gun control, too.

Why?  Quite simply, because they want the issue off the table.   These sort are basically career politicians who love the perks who want nothing more than to ‘govern.’  Controversial issues are like landmines, where stating a position and acting on it is sure to annoy at least one large chunk of the electorate.  (They could also just be cowards, or liars.)  So, if you can summarily dispatch such an issue, that’s to be welcomed.  Below I’ll talk about a great example of this.

But how to arrange for the necessary political cover?  An Orgy of Outrage, of course!  And how to measure?  Opinion polls, that’s how!

Indeed, for the Democrat party, it is practically standard operating procedure to justify their actions based on polling.  Think about all the articles highlighting the apparent surge in support for gun control in the polls.  To your average liberal, they’re like, “WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED?”

Take a look at this screen grab, and scan the descriptions of the articles.  (Click on it for a larger view.)

“Someone please show Marco Rubio this Fox News Poll” … oh, right, because all Rubio needs to know is found in a poll!

 

This WAPO post article is an excellent example of the whole thing.   Here is the quote you want:

Those numbers are surprising, given that virtually no political leaders in the country are publicly advocating for a repeal or modification of the Second Amendment.

You see, to a liberal, a simple 51% majority on an opinion poll is sufficient justification for enacting public policy, and if politicians aren’t pressing forward on issues in line with (supposed) public sentiment, they are mystified.  “WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED?”

With this attitude, you can see just how valuable events like “March for our Lives” are for pushing their agenda.  The simple majority in an opinion poll may be sufficient basis for implementing a policy, but that’s often not enough to push you over the finish line.  What really helps is anger.  Riots are even better, if you can get them.  Set a city block on fire, and you can really get things moving.  But anger alone will do in a pinch.

And, as Ellul, observed (in the quote above), people want to be angry.   So, its a win-win as far as those engineering orgies of outrage and those who are participating in them are concerned.  THAT’S WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE.

None of this is put forward as exaggeration or hyperbole.  As soon as you are alert to it, you will see it everywhere, and you will understand that I’m merely reporting to you the way things really are.  The reason you may not have recognized it before is because you innocently believe that there couldn’t possibly be anyone as Machiavellian as all this, so even when you see it, you assume the best.  I am here to tell you this assumption is dangerous, and will be used against you!

A good example of how this plays out occurred recently in California.  You may recall a couple of years ago, there was an outbreak of the measles in California.  Spurred on by this, California removed the personal exemption from vaccines.

No one had died from the measles in the outbreak.  Indeed, many of the people who got the measles HAD been vaccinated [click here for corroboration and another illustration of ANGER; actually, 1/4 of those who got it had been vaccinated.].  And none of them died.  In point of fact, very few people have gotten the measles in the United States for decades, let alone died from it–despite all those people who have been claiming the personal exemption all these years!  No way! Yes, WAY.

[If you check out slide #9 in this link, you’ll see there was a huge spike in 2014, but otherwise, the average number of cases per year in the US is around 100.  In 2014, there was a huge jump to almost 700.  You’re not allowed to wonder why that may be.]

Almost over night, the compulsory vaccination law in California was overhauled to deny personal exemptions.  Now, do you really think that the politicians in California were sitting around, minding their own business, and then BLAMO! measles outbreak!  Whatarewetodo?!? Skyisfallingskyisfallingskyisfalling! Quick! We need to do something!  What?  Remove personal exemptions?  Right! The reason all the vaccinated people are getting the measles is because of the unvaccinated, those selfish bastards!  [You’re also not allowed to ponder the logical contradiction intrinsic to that statement.  No critical thinking allowed for YOU.  Just be a tool and get mad and support whatever they do!]

Of course it didn’t happen that way.

No,  there almost certainly was a cadre of public health officials ready to act as soon as the iron was hot, and there were a large number of like minded politicians who were just waiting for the political cover to justify doing what they wanted to do all along.  With a little research, I am certain you could find the actual names of every one of those public health officials.   I gayr-un-tee you that whole process was engineered.

You’re not supposed to ponder what else America’s little cadres in hiding are wanting to do, pending sufficient political cover.

So, this kind of thing happens often, with examples big and small.

The biggest one in recent years is the Obergefell decision.  In this post, I go over the overwhelming national support for ‘traditional’ marriage, documenting in detail how 30 states, including very liberal states like California, engaged in the arduous process of passing actual amendments to their constitutions ensuring that ‘marriage’ would be understood the way it has always been.

I know what you’re thinking.  In nearly all of those cases, the amendments were passed with huge majorities–far more than the 51%!  Doesn’t this disprove your point?

lol come on, son.  Public opinion polls have consistently shown that Americans do not like the idea of abortion on demand, while open to cases of health, rape, and incest, but you have never seen a liberal say, “Ah, well, I suppose our policies should match public opinion.”  We’re not talking about honest people here.  Per Alinsky, their whole tactic is to bend and break the rules as it suits them, while making their foes follow the rules.  It’s all there in Rules for Radicals.  I’m not making it up.  (And again, just because they aren’t cognizant of it, it doesn’t mean they haven’t been conditioned to behave that way.)

But I’m not talking about public opinion polls.  I’m talking about more people than voted for Obama going to the ACTUAL polls and pulling the lever for their proposed amendment.  Remember, THESE polls count for nothing to the Managers.  What counts to them are the public opinion polls.  Why?  Duh.  They are easier to massage, manipulate, shape, and of course you can pick and choose which polls you rely on.

It is true that by the time Obergefell came around, ‘public opinion’ had shifted towards accepting gay ‘marriage.’  This is after a good 15 years of After the Ball style social engineering.   And lets not forget that we were enjoying our regularly scheduled outrages and fits of violence, about that, then, too.   The proper way, if there had been a real change of opinion (eg, not manipulated and manufactured), would have been to unravel those amendments, one by one.   But SCOTUS overruled the votes of tens of millions of people based, not on the law, but on their sense of public opinion.

But that’s not even the real point.  The real point here is how quickly legislators and governors from around the country acquiesced to the ruling.  Even Republican ones.  Even conservative ones.  Why?  Because they too had changed their minds?

No.  Because they were glad the issue was off the table.  That’s why.

So, too, there is a very real risk that supporters of gun rights (supposedly) will suddenly go along with [insert catalyst here] and give in to the ‘common sense gun laws’ movement.  They will be tickled pink just to have the issue off the table so they can go back to ‘governing.’  Read: enjoying the perks of an elected official, without all that unpleasant stuff where people disagree with you.

But there is a lesson to be found in Obergefell.

Obergefell has fully exposed the truth that the rule of law in the United States is a farce, a sham, an illusion.  It only exists insofar as it serves the pleasure of the ‘might makes right’ crowd.  For the little people, the dissenters, the ones eager to self-govern… the rule of law is a set of shackles, that only they have to wear.  Americans noticed, and they didn’t forget.  Nor did they forget Justice Roberts strange contortions to find Obamacare constitutional.

[In that case, again, we find that elections matter less than the Outrage Industry.  Opponents of Obamacare had elected THEIR representatives to majorities in state, local and Federal elections in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016.  Roberts did not think THAT was sufficient political cover.  Sadly, he is probably right:  if Roberts had declared Obamacare unconstitutional, the liberals would have made sure there was blood in the street, and no doubt one or two of them would have been trying to make sure that some of that blood was, literally, Roberts’.]

Not only that, Obergefell did not actually take anything off the table.

All Obergefell did was validate the methodology.  In a classic example of “If you give the mouse a cookie, he’s going to want a glass of milk,” the gay marriage thing has devolved into a veritable sexual anarchy, where small minorities throughout the country agitate for the right to flap their genitalia around however they please with whomever they want, call themselves by whatever gender they want regardless of their actual biology, knowing full well that no one will be able to stop them.  A grown ‘woman’ with a penis could go into a locker room where small humans with vaginas (we used to call them ‘girls’) are stripping, show her full ‘womanhood’ to the other small humans, and you’re just supposed to roll with it.  Don’t JUDGE!  Don’t impose your social construct on that ‘woman’!

Oh sure, you could pass a law if you wanted.  Hell’s bells! you could even pass an amendment to your state’s constitution!

But we see what that’s worth now, don’t we?  Less than the paper its printed on.

These are not the sort of people to ever stop agitating, because agitation is what gives their lives meaning and purpose.

So too, if every proposed gun control measure was enacted, there would still be school shootings, which they’d use to justify the repeal of 2nd amendment.  And they wouldn’t stop there, either.  The goal posts will move AGAIN.   THIS IS HOW THEY OPERATE.

So, here we are.  Day in and day out, watching the social engineers capitalize on this or that event to inspire today’s daily outrage.  And people, daily, are outraged.  This, they call ‘democracy.’

No.  It is the prelude to tyranny, albeit, it may end up like the ‘soft’ tyranny experienced even now in Europe.  But, there is no good reason to think we may end up there, as even in Europe there are signs that their ‘soft’ tyrannies are descending into the real thing.  With their people almost universally disarmed, there is nothing to stop it from happening except the benevolence of their Masters.

And Masters have a historical habit of remaining benevolent, don’t they?

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Thou Shalt Not Be Easily Manipulated

I suppose it wouldn’t take a particularly astute observer to notice that most of my posts for the last 6 months or so have been more orientated towards dissuading people from participating in the ‘national outrage’ rather than addressing whatever it is we’re ‘outraged’ about.  The reason for this is twofold: 1., my research has shown ample reason to believe that there are people who deliberately wish to create and direct mobs and 2., I consider a mobocracy to be one of the most dangerous threats to freedom that history has ever seen.

Thus, I try to avoid ‘national conversations’ and I am definitely not keen on participating in our collective ‘two minutes of rage.’  But I am interested in trying to awaken people to their manipulation, and that means to some degree referring back to whatever people are rabid about today.

Well, what everyone is frothing at the mouth about today are guns, inspired by the latest school shooting.

I have very strong feelings about these shootings, and recently argued that if we were serious about stopping them, we would come to grips with reality and harden our schools with armed guards.   I believe that a big part of the reason people resist this obvious solution (after all, we have armed guards at banks, sporting events, air marshals, etc) is that it is a bold admission that there is something dark in the heart of man which cannot ever be legislated away.  It won’t be deterred by ‘No guns allowed’ signs.  Opposing guns is a cheap way to avoid hard philosophy.

But what if its worse than that?   What if a big part of it the fixation on the guns is simply because so many people are easily manipulated?  What if they lack all ability to think for themselves and WANT to be angry every day, treating their anger as action, and letting their good intentions mask their impotence?   How would one know?

Well, dear reader, that is precisely the question I want you to ask yourself.

Most people are disgusted by the accusation that they are simply a tool.   That will be little consolation if some future outrage you participate in morphs unexpectedly into a Bolshevik purge.  I’m sure the outraged Russians of 1910 didn’t think they might help usher in one of the bloodiest regimes known to human history… and yet they did just that. So, how might one actually know?

I want to give you some tips, and I want to give you a concrete example of something you ought to be outraged about, but you’re not, because… because… because… because the national media has chosen not to look at it, and since YOU ARE A TOOL, you do NOT look at it.  You only look at the things the media tells you to look at.  Sad!

So, one of the best ways to tell if someone has gone off the deep end is when they’ve lost all ability to keep things in proportion and view them in perspective.  The latest school shootings are a great example.

As I said, I am not at all indifferent to school shootings.  However, I know where they sit in the larger context.  I know, for example, that despite a high rate of gun ownership in the United States, the homicide rate is fairly low, and if you exclude Baltimore, Chicago, and a handful of other towns, the homicide rate is comparable to any of the countries with low homicide rates and strict gun control.  Eg, the UK.  Meanwhile, there are plenty of countries with strict gun controls where the homicide rate is absurdly high.  One almost gets the impression that the problem isn’t the gun!

This chart appears to have data from 2016 (I welcome correction):

Would you rather live in Honduras, or the USA?

As you can infer from the fact that America’s top 10 cities have more than 50% of the gun homicides, one of the other things we know is that school shootings, despite being horrible (probably preventable) incidents, simply are not the national problem that the national media would have us believe.

Per this researcher in this Politico piece of a few years back, the number of shootings has remained roughly the same over the last 40 years:

(I wish he would have shown the data on longer timeline.)

The number of victims of school shootings has generally increased, but still remains a very small proportion of the overall fire arm deaths.  In this Vox article, it shows that in 2013, the number of victims from mass shootings was only 2% of the total.   (The author makes some good points, but doesn’t seem to understand the implications of his own data.)

Unfortunately, when listening to gun control advocates talk about guns, they also lump in SUICIDES with homicides.  The Vox article above does a better job than most in parsing that out.  But the Vox article comes closer to revealing the dirty little secret about the whole issue when it says this:

For homicides, one big factor seems to be that the everyday shootings happen out of sight and out of mind for most Americans, since so many occur in poor, black, urban communities. In 2013, for example, more than 51 percent of homicide victims (75 percent of whom were killed by guns) were black, even though they make up 13 percent of the general population.

It is not uncommon for Chicago to put up as many deaths in any given weekend as are killed in a school shooting, but you don’t see any national outrages inspired by those!  Why is that?   Setting aside the possibility that gun control advocates are RACISTS, the real reason is worse in a way: school shootings better fit the gun control narrative.  Mass deaths in crime ridden areas do not fit that agenda, and in fact, may actually contradict that agenda, therefore NO ONE CARES.  The national media can’t make a strong connection between the conditions that leads to gang violence and legally owned weapons… so they simply don’t talk about it.

And because they don’t talk about it, YOU, dear reader, don’t think about it.  I’m not trying to insult you here.  I’m just pointing out that you don’t think about things unless they are put in front of your nose.  (And I’m also aware that MY readers are more sophisticated than this.)

One big way to avoid being being a tool is to read widely, of various sources of different political persuasions.  Read books, too.  Every day, I read multiple LIBERAL websites.  My daily pattern is this:  I start with the Drudge Report, and then from there see what’s going on with the WAPO and the NY Times, and then will mosey on to Huffpo and Salon.  I never read conservative media unless its linked from the Drudge or it pops up on my Facebook feed.

In my experience, my pattern is similar to other conservatives.  That is to say, conservatives read liberal media as much as anything else, whereas liberals and mainstream Americans only read liberal media.  And that is a big problem when it comes to keeping things in perspective.  The liberals like to paint themselves as the objective, non-partisan ones.  It is not so!

I want to give you a case in point.

Back in December, the Politico published a damning expose on how the Obama administration deliberately shut down prosecutions of drug smugglers in order to preserve their ‘deal’ with Iran.  Specifically, Obama and his team looked the other way as Hezbollah enriched itself by smuggling cocaine into the United States.

This is staggering, if true.  And it appears to be true.  But you would not know about it AT ALL if all you read was the NY Times.  It has now been almost 3 months, and the NY Times has yet to follow up on the Politico’s reporting. The WAPO is hardly better.

Well, who cares if loads of cocaine come into the country?

It is interesting–the NY Times didn’t feel like following up on the Politico piece, but when the report came out that opioid (and cocaine) deaths were on the rise, including in black communities, it covered THAT.  The Politico piece came BEFORE the NY times article on the rise of drug deaths, so it is quite the omission.

Well, just how many people died from drug overdoses in the US in 2016?

60,000+.

How many people were murdered by a firearm in in the US in 2016?

11,004.

Which number is bigger?  60,000 or 11,000?

60,000… BIG.

11,000… LITTLE.

60,000… BIG.

11,000… LITTLE.

Media attention on a relatively small amount of school shootings?  MASSIVE.

How many deaths to school shootings in 2016?

10.

Outrage for school shootings?  MASSIVE!

Outrage over 60,000 deaths PER YEAR to drugs in the US?  Zero.

Zilch.

Nada.

60,000 very big.

10…

Media attention 60,000 dead to drug over doses?  Sure, its there, but you don’t see any hyperventilating, do you?

What?  No calls to make heroin and cocaine illegal, despite there being 6 times the number of deaths due to them as opposed to guns?

Oh, that’s right.  Drug smuggling and drug use is already illegal–and it didn’t stop anyone.  It doesn’t fit the narrative, so we don’t have hourly fits of panic and rage about it.

But this Hezbollah story justifies outrage if every outrage was justified.

This chart is interesting in that context:

First of all, note that drug overdoses in general have gone up for everyone, but one of the hardest hit groups are BLACKS.  When did the blacks start getting hit the worst?  Shortly after Obama was elected.  Shortly after Obama thwarted prosecution of Hezbollah.

Now, you KNOW that if a Republican president had looked the other way on drug smuggling and at roughly the same time drug over doses in the black community sky-rocketed, there would be hell to pay.  We’d be hearing about it every day.

If it was the Trump administration, The NY Times, which has not followed up on the Politico piece AT ALL, would be asking the obvious question:  just how many of these drug overdoses are from drugs brought in by Hezbollah’s smugglers? If it was Trump, we’d have a rough answer to that question, and impeachment proceedings would have already been initiated.

But since it was Obama:  silence.

Don’t lie to yourself.  You know its true.  You know it. 

In fact, if you are a liberal, this may very well be the first time you have even heard about the giant pass that Obama gave Hezbollah.  The odds are equally unlikely that you heard that Hezbollah recently shot down an Israeli jet plane… where did Hezbollah get the money for that missile, I wonder?   What other capabilities does Hezbollah have (eg, striking America?) thanks to the veritable cash donation the Obama admin made to Iran’s terrorist expeditionary force?

I could have focused only on the fact that there are more gun fatalities in cities, largely by blacks murdering other blacks.  But my goal here was to expose 2 things:  1., if you had any sense of proportion whatsoever, you would know that even in THAT regards, blacks and whites together are dying in far greater numbers to other things which 2.,  are barely a glimmer in the eye of the media.

This raises profound questions about the health of this society.  And its not by any means the only questions that arise if you really try to assess the true state of the country.   There are many things to get angry about.  But let’s keep it in proportion, and lets take the time to study and research it ALL.

Eventually, our national outrage machine is going to cause serious, perhaps irreversible harm.  Harm that perhaps dwarfs any of these other things we argue about.  There may be no going back.

If we’re going to get angry, we should be getting angry because of the results of our own research, not because the media has whipped us up into a daily frenzy.

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The Right Tool for the Job of Securing Liberty

Last year, I needed to move a large item, but had no way of lifting it.  A couple of years ago, I had learned of something called a ‘farm jack.’   I picked up one, and the job went super smoothly.  I thought to myself: why didn’t I get this thing sooner?  There had been sooooo many times when there had been no better tool than a jack like this, and my life was harder than it needed to be for lack of one.

For some reason, people fail to understand that a gun is simply a tool, and like many tools, can be used in different ways, or even abused altogether.  If someone charges into your house while you’re sleeping, the tool you want is a gun.  If you haven’t a gun, then a baseball bat may be the next best thing.  Just as I found ways to lift heavy items without the proper tool, you might be able to defend yourself with the baseball bat.  But there may very well be a time when the baseball bat simply is NOT going to work.

Now, gun control advocates speak out of both sides of their mouths when it comes to this issue.  They may want guns to be removed–but by that they mean moved… exclusively into the hands of the State.  In other words, if they are disarmed, and someone breaks into their house and has bound them up and is raping their wives and children, they don’t want the police to come armed only with baseball bats.  They want the police to come fully equipped for the task at hand.

Similarly, you can usually get a gun control advocate to very reluctantly admit that SOMEONE has to have guns, if only because of the existence of tyrannies like North Korea.  They understand that North Korea isn’t leaving South Korea alone simply out of good will, but because South Korea bristles with weapons.

But what they never can imagine is that their own country could become more like North Korea.  They can’t conceive of a reality in which the police, being the only armed individuals, comes to abuse their powers in an overwhelming manner.  In short, gun control advocates are afflicted with an ideology which sees threats everywhere–except by the State.  In fact, gun control advocates seem to be doing all in their power to engorge the State, chalking up its many failures as merely ‘blips’ which we can progressively eliminate until one day, viola! Utopia!

Now, the framers of the U.S. Constitution were acutely aware of the horrors an armed State could inflict on its unarmed populace.   To ensure that the United States did not become such a state, they recognized that the best tool for the job was a gun, and they built into the foundational documents the right to keep and bear arms.  (‘Arms’ being short for ‘armaments.’ The 2nd amendment is NOT about conferring a right to HUNT.)

This is a basic disagreement between gun control advocates and those who support the 2nd amendment.  Gun control advocates tend to think it is absurd to believe that their country could ever become a tyranny.  2nd Amendment advocates are convinced it is entirely possible.  Gun control advocates believe that society can be progressively perfected, and they often slip into a state of mind that would have you believe they think that ‘world peace’ is possible.  2nd Amendment advocates do not think that world peace is possible (unless Jesus himself establishes it) and that the civilization we enjoy at present is only skin deep, and is only held together by significant checks and balances from the bottom of the chain to the top.  And the final check and balance on the State is an armed citizenry.

Now, there really is no conversation possible between these two camps.  There is a saying, “A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged.”  Likewise, I believe one only moves out of the gun control camp after they’ve been thumped by reality–and facts, logic, and reason don’t count.

I used to be in the gun control camp.  I advocated for the confiscation of guns.  I mocked the idea that guns don’t kill people.  I was not talked out of this viewpoint.  No, I was violently shaken from my position by the events of 9-11.

9-11 came just as my first child was about to be born and I was suddenly awakened to the realization that MY GOVERNMENT CANNOT PROTECT ME.  I am the first AND the last line of defense for my family.

There were a few other terrifying things that occurred in the background.  For example, there was the guy who barged into my house and stood nose to nose with me, angrily shouting at me.  (I was in Illinois at the time, so it almost goes without saying that I was at the mercy of any random person off the street–which is basically what this guy was).

But it was 9-11 that marked the most profound change.  You see, if you soberly assess what 9-11 represented, you will see that it was not just a monumental lapse of the Federal government’s security apparatus, resulting in 2,000+ dead.  The bombers of 9-11 targeted the United State’s economic (WTC), military (Pentagon), and government (Congress/White House).  It was a serious attempt to literally dismantle the American way of life, sending it into anarchy and leaving the United States unable to defend itself further.

Now, the attempt did not succeed, and perhaps it could not have succeeded.   (Certainly, you’ll need to do more than take out a portion of the Pentagon in order to render our military powerless.)  But the fact that anyone thought the attempt was worth trying–and our government was incapable of preventing the attempt–reveals in very stark terms the fact that we have no good reason to assume that the circumstances of today will be the circumstances of tomorrow, or a month from now.

What is to say that in the near future, some of those famed nuclear ‘suitcase’ bombs might not finish off Washington DC, NYC, or a handful of other strategic locations?   Are we so sure that our civilization could survive such an event?

9-11 was not more than 20 years ago.  It was within living memory.  Who knows what ‘black swan’ event could occur tomorrow where it becomes perfectly evident that the ONLY way liberty can be secured or re-secured is by an armed populace asserting itself?  You can’t know, and while the odds may be remote, they are plausible.  Eg, a massive meteor strike, an earth quake swarm, an EMP attack, etc.

These are the ‘sudden’ scenarios, but there is something to be said about a sober look at history, too.  You don’t even have to go too far back, but why not?

Before the Cherokees were forcibly removed to Oklahoma, they were disarmed ‘for their own good.’  Before the Young Turks murdered millions of Armenians, the Armenians were disarmed.  You can sure as hell bet that the Jews in Germany were disarmed!  You can be certain that the Tutsis of Rwanda wished that they had owned weapons–in fact, it was only the armed Tutsis that effectively survived in order to displace Hutu Power and take control.  This was only in 1994!  Include Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, Lenin, and a host of others, some of them within the last 50 years, and it becomes clear that we should not be resting on our laurels.

These are all examples of STATE-inflicted mass murders.

Freedom and liberty must be carefully preserved and maintained.  It is an exception in history, not the rule.  While you may believe otherwise, there are many of us who believe the founders were absolutely correct to be concerned, and we believe that their concern is valid to this very day.

This is sometimes countered by mocking us  with comments like, “Do you think you could stand up to America’s military?!?!?! Idiot!”  But this shows you’re not listening.  There are any number of scenarios (eg, an EMP attack) that do not involve pitting the American State vs its citizens, per se.  Its also worth mentioning that (I regret to inform you) that American soldiers take an oath of allegiance to the US Constitution, and at least at present, they vote overwhelmingly conservative.  In case of a societal breakdown, America’s military won’t be on the side of the Statists…. they’re with us, not you.

But like I said, there is no particular reason to limit our analysis to scenarios where we need to worry about our own military.   In point of fact, America’s way of handling its military is another one of those important checks and balances on tyranny.  Eg, being subject to civilian authority.  If you read primary sources, you will discover that early Americans saw the citizen-soldier aspect of America’s military as a profound check on government overreach.

The bottom line is that if you want to have a ‘conversation’ about gun control, and your argument is that there is nothing to fear from the State, or black swan events, you’re never going to get anywhere.  Moreover, I should advise you that history suggests that if you succeed in disarming the citizenry, its almost certainly the case that in due time, you will deeply regret it.  Not just because tyranny has come upon you, and you are powerless to do anything about it, but because thanks to your naïveté, you were probably part of the reason it came about in the first place.

 

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A ‘Solution’ to Mass Shootings at Schools

Listen.  I will tell you a secret.  It isn’t the gun.  Indeed, if Nicholas Cruz had wanted to kill even more people, he could have waited until after school and drove his vehicle 60 mph into the kids lined up as they were getting onto their buses.

In the Nice, France, attack, 86 people were killed and 458 others were injured–not by a gun, but by a truck driving down the street.  This is more fatalities than the Vegas shooting.  Not too long ago, 8 were killed in NYC due to a truck attack.   There have not been calls to ban vehicles.  Because that would be stupid.  (You might be surprised at how many such incidents like this there are.)

In Japan, 19 were killed and 26 were wounded in a stabbing attack in 2016.  This surpasses what Cruz ‘accomplished.’

For those having trouble keeping up, truck attacks are attacks by TRUCKS.  Not guns.  Stabbings are attacks by KNIVES.  Not guns.

In this murder spree, these two gents killed 21 people–with a hammer.

A HAMMER.

Are you starting to get the picture?

And lest we forget, France has very strict gun control laws, but that didn’t stop thugs from getting them and wiping out 12 in the offices of Charlie Hebdo.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could focus our attention only on the objects, and solve our problems.  Alas, the problem isn’t objects, it is subjects.  If people decide they want to kill there is little to stop them–except other people.

It is not my purpose to get into why exactly we see schools targeted by shooters.  The basic answer is one that no one wants to contemplate–SIN.  But call it whatever you want–or don’t call it anything.  All you have to do is come to grips with the reality that people are going to continue to murder other people en masse using whatever tool they decide to use. Unless you want to enclose every person on the globe in their own private padded rooms, or ban knives, trucks, hammers, rocks, machetes, ropes, …. , this is an unalterable state of human affairs.

Now, when the grown ups began to appreciate the fact that people were using trucks as weapons, they did not say a peep about banning trucks.  Instead, they worked within the reality that they found themselves in.  They analyzed their situation, erected barriers, trained themselves to spot potential assailants, etc.

Yea, it SUCKS that it became necessary to think in those terms, but THAT IS THE REAL WORLD.

I am convinced that one of the reasons why no ‘solution’ to the mass shooting problem has emerged is because the ‘solution’ means acknowledging not only that people are not intrinsically good, but worse… they are intrinsically bad.  The implications of that realization are far more uncomfortable than the feel good alternative of focusing on the object used in the slayings; well, only if that object is a gun, right?  The point is not trivial.

Now, before I go further and help you all out with the ‘solution’ to this mess, let me submit to you that there have been guns widely dispersed in American society for many decades, but school shootings are only a more recent development, inaugurated more or less with Columbine.  This should tell a tale, except the tale it tells is one that no one wants to hear.   What it means is that there is something that has changed IN THE CULTURE.

If there have been semi-autos back into the 30s and 40s, and bad men even then, but mass school shootings didn’t begin in earnest until the late 1990s, it means a CHANGE has occurred that has NOTHING TO DO with the existence of bad men or the availability of guns.

I’ll have to leave the reader to ponder some ideas on why that is for now.  Yes, I have some distinct ideas of my own, and agree that these dynamics ought to be addressed, but right now my purpose is to save lives, and what I wish to dispel is this fanciful, veritable childish line of reasoning, which supposes that if suddenly every gun was removed from the planet, mass murders would stop.

NO.  They WOULD NOT STOP.  The murderers would merely SWITCH tactics.  Whatever dynamics are driving people to shoot up schools are still going to be present if there are no guns to shoot.

If you want to save lives, you’re just going to have to come to grips with this reality.

To put the point somewhat differently, when you put obstructions up around a soft target so that a truck can no longer mow people down, then you can FULLY EXPECT that perpetrators are going to adapt.  YES.  Good Lord, people.  Can’t you get it through your thick head?  They do one thing, we do another, they react, we react, they react again, THIS IS THE REAL FRIGGIN WORLD.

If you want to save lives–really–then you need to get your head in the world we’re actually in, rather than the world you wished you live in.  Two seconds on Google news will dash any illusions you have about the nature of the world… but you’re a stubborn fellah, aren’t ya?

(Oh yea, and just as a quick aside, if you broaden your research a little further, you will discover that there are no mass murderers that rival the murdering that various States have inflicted on their unarmed subjects.)

So, here is the solution:  abandon the fairy tale about schools being safe environments just by virtue of having locked doors.  (such silliness.  The Sandy Hook shooter just shot his way through the door.  I mean, duh.  What did you expect?)   Abandon the goal of FEELING safe.  Do what is necessary to BE safe within the current environment.

And that means 2-6 sufficiently armed men on the school premises, authorized to intervene ASAP.

Every school.

Every day.

Period, end of story.  No brainer.

If you have your undies in a bundle about having private parties stationed on the school campus armed to the teeth, you could just suck it up and bite the bullet (no pun intended) and factor in the hiring of armed police officers as part of the school budget.  I know with budgets being tight as it is, that’s a hard thing to do, but if you really think you’re going to eradicate every gun in America any time soon you desperately need a reality check.

There is potentially a more cost effective way to do it that might make for a good compromise, and that is to ask any of the hundreds of thousands of veterans that are in our country and ask them to do it.  I will bet you a good chunk of money that almost every community in the country could come up with a sizable security force of trained former soldiers who would gladly be willing to step up to the task, and charge next to nothing for the privilege.  (They would consider it an honor.)

You do this, and mass school murders–not just shootings–will come to a screeching halt.  But if you do it, you gotta really do it.  No half-measures.  No skimpy security details.  For something like this, you have got to do the job right.

Does it strike you as tragic that one would need to have armed guards in a place of learning?  Oh well!  Have you never given any thought as to how we can generally live our lives in peace from threats, foreign and domestic?  That’s not an accident, my friend.  While you might like to nurse your utopian ego and pretend that it all works because at lease we civilized folk are singing Kum Buh Ya, but in point of fact, we only have our relative safety because, as Richard Grenier said, “People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

If you want to stop the killing, you have to suck it up and realize that people have decided that schools are great places to find defenseless people to kill, so if you want to make the change, you need to insert into the equation people who are NOT defenseless.

Do you know what is tragic?  I’ll tell you what is tragic:  people who understand that we rely on ‘rough men’ to secure our peace and freedoms against tyrants and various foes but somehow think its a PERFECTLY BRIGHT IDEA to leave our children defended only by … a hippie delusion that OF COURSE no one would target places of higher learning!  THAT is tragic.

It’s time to come to grips that our schools have practically been designed as actual kill boxes which are known to be absent of ‘rough men’ defending them–with outcomes almost so obvious its almost embarrassing that anyone is shocked, SHOCKED, when sees them as the kill boxes they are.  It’s time to give the ‘rough men’ their proper place, and give up this asinine self-delusion that all we have to do to protect our children is to get rid of the guns.

You either hire a bunch more police officers, ‘enlist’ our vets for the cause, or allow private citizens to step into the breach, or a combination of all three.

Let it now be said: “Parents calmly go about their day and students confidently go about their studies only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

This is the solution.  There is no other.

You’re welcome.

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My Interactions on Social Media Explained

By social media, I basically mean Facebook.  I hold Twitter in contempt.

The purpose of this essay is to offer some explanation for why I post some things to Facebook, which some may find helpful.

My Facebook posts fall into 2 basic categories:  cat videos and hard hitting commentary.  ‘Cat videos’ would be me just chillin’ with light-hearted fare.  Hard hitting commentary is pretty self-explanatory.

Here is the deal: the hard hitting commentary is reserved for those that I deem able to cope with it, which means that for the most part, this commentary is ‘preaching to the choir.’  But even these might be interested in knowing the driving principles behind my remarks.  You can find them summed up to the right on this page under “Anthony’s Three Principles.”  But, if I post on Facebook, its usually with this principle in mind:

Prevent the next holocaust-level event from occurring and stop the ones that are presently on-going. He does not share the optimism of some that humanity has ‘progressed’ enough to avoid it…

In other words, my commentary is meant to ring alarm bells.  People who see this commentary may be sympathetic to my perspective, but they may not have the time, energy, or resources, to investigate them in the way that I can.  My commentary is thus intended as a service–specifically, to alert those who have ears to dangers that are out there that could potentially threaten them or their loved ones.

There is not a 3rd category: debate and argue (I mean ‘argue’ in its technical sense).  If ever there was a time when I argued for the sake of arguing, that time is long gone.  If I contribute to someone else’s conversation, rest assured it is not because I find it entertaining.   I tend to stay off of other people’s FB pages, but if it is on my own Facebook profile, it still isn’t posted because I like debating.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  My time is worth far more to me than people are likely to realize.   No: my goal is to lend my expertise to those who might be interested in hearing my perspective.

And what is my expertise?

I study death.  I study mass murder.  I study genocides.  I study the collapse of societies.  I study repressive regimes.  And by study, I mean, I actually study.  I read, and read, and read.  I seek out primary sources.  I do not rely on others to tell me what to think. I do the work so that if I speak on a topic, I am qualified to do so.  I have a personal library of some 3,000 books, paid for out of my own pocket.   I don’t say it as a boast, but as evidence of my quest for genuine insight into the world.

Here is what I don’t mean by ‘study’: “I saw a meme, once…” or “I read a paragraph in a text book when I was in 9th grade,” or “I learned it in Sunday School!” or “The NY Times says it, so it must be true.”  I have no time or patience for people who argue a position which rests on such infantile foundations.

Unless I have some kind of relationship to warrant putting up with such childish opinions, I’m not going to waste my time talking to them.  Viola! And like that, they are moved from my list of people who can see my hard hitting commentary to only those who see my cat videos.

A sizable number of the books on my shelf are written by people I disagree with completely.  I spend 90% of my time reading the websites frequented by those I disagree with completely.  Why?

Answer: To make sure that my perceptions of an issue are not filtered through the words of another.  I don’t need person X to tell me what Person Y believes.  I listened to Person Y in his own words.  And you can sit there on the other side and piss and moan that my view of Person Y is skewed, or biased, or whatever else someone wants to throw out there, but I will not be cowed by belligerent, ignorant, uninformed rants to the contrary: because I know.  I KNOW.  I heard it out of their own lips. 

As I have taken to saying: Don’t pee on my leg and tell me its raining.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news here, but there is no good reason to think that any of history’s worst calamities cannot unfold right here in the United States.  More bad news:  we are never as far from it as we suppose.  Even more bad news:  all the elements that have enabled Americans of divergent viewpoints to co-exist (relatively) peacefully since its founding are steadily being eroded, corroded, and purposefully undermined.  (Hint: the people doing this are not Christian conservatives.)

This of course doesn’t mean that we’ll see a Bolshevik revolution tomorrow.   Things don’t work that way.  On the other hand, things can happen faster than anyone could have guessed.   There are a number of potential scenarios, and all of them require some kind of catalyst, which almost by definition cannot be predicted (eg, an assassination, such as Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria.)

It is not my purpose here to go into all those scenarios, or discuss likely catalysts, etc.  My purpose is to explain that I believe that, as in other times and places in world history, the fuel is being gathered for the fire, and whether by lightning strike or by arson, a conflagration is more likely by day–not less.

Before I sign off on this post, its worth mentioning too that in rejecting the utopian vision of those engaged in the perfection of society, I firmly believe that the best explanation for this state of affairs is as the Christian scriptures lay them out:  people are fallen and sinful–everyone of us.  And the rest is true, too: this world is going to be burned.  There is one hope, and only one hope, and his name is Jesus.

If you want to hear more from this perspective beyond what is on this blog, you can friend me on Facebook.  You ought to send me a note telling me that you are worthy of more than cat videos, otherwise that may be all you ever see.

[Caveat: there are other reasons why I might not show all of my Facebook posts to all people beyond my feeling that they cannot handle commentary.  For example, I use Facebook to keep in touch with family somewhat, and there is no particular reason to expose THEM.  So, if you are currently a FB ‘friend,’ the fact that all you see are ‘cat videos’ doesn’t necessarily mean I find you unworthy of more.]

 

 

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Trump’s War on the Media Explained

It will be hard for my readers to believe, but for more than half my life, I was effectively a liberal.  Except on the issue of abortion, I more than leaned to the left.  I once seriously advocated for confiscation of all guns as well as legislative re-distribution of wealth.  I was sympathetic to unions until around 1995, and even walked a picket line in 92.  There were a variety of factors that pushed me away from liberalism:  the fall out of the strike I just referred to, the Bill Clinton experience, and 9-11.  Some others, but you get the picture. Despite this transition, I considered liberalism to be a respectable viewpoint held by otherwise reasonable people who happened to disagree with me.

Watching what happened with George Bush brought this to an end.  Although, I should be clear, that when I say ‘what happened with George Bush’ I also mean, ‘what happened to anyone who happened to disagree with liberals.’  Because this idea I had–that you could be a liberal and still be a good person–was emphatically not reciprocated by liberals.

Shortly after 9-11, I distinctly remember hearing some liberal politico, complaining about the popularity that Bush was enjoying,  saying something to the effect of “We have to destroy this man.”  (If anyone knows who this person was and the full quote, I would love to hear it.  I can’t find it now.)  Not long afterwards, Bush Derangement Syndrome set in.

I had and have significant disagreements with the man, but all the information publicly available suggests that he was a decent guy who did his best for the country as he understood it.  And yet he was mocked and heaped with derision that  was never ending.  The media heaped scorn upon him.  I’d be sitting there watching the news and some minor thing that Bush had done (and Republicans in general) was a national nightmare.  It got worse and worse.  It was unrelenting.

And I remember that Bush never fought back.  He didn’t defend himself.  As his regard among the populous was deliberately degraded, the pile-on continued.   It overflowed onto every other Republican, and any other person who disagreed with liberals.  We saw it manifest into red hot silliness with McCain and Palin, and then again with Romney and Ryan.  And I remember that as all these people were subjected to the politics of personal destruction, they did not fight back.

I believe that Trump remembers this too.

Let’s remember that until he declared his candidacy for president, Trump was generally accepted within the wider culture.  As a media figure in his own right, he belonged to the ‘club.’  But as soon as he entered the race as a Republican, and certainly as soon as he strengthened his lead, the contempt amassed, built up a head of steam, and brought us to today, where Bush Derangement Syndrome has been officially replaced with Trump Derangement Syndrome.

I believe that Trump pushes back on EVERYTHING, not because of a personality disorder or ego trip, but as a matter of calculus.  He has watched relatively good people be destroyed at the hands of the press, and he is not going to let it go unanswered.

On this view, if you are in the media and you don’t want Trump to continue tweeting, then stop posting malicious and obviously biased smears and slanders and passing it off as ‘news.’

Whether or not carrying out this counter-offensive on Twitter is a good idea, the counter-offensive in principle is almost certainly the smartest thing that Trump can do.   I can’t help but notice, too, that Trump, in defending himself, is defending 50 million people who have been subjected to one slander after another for as long as I’ve been paying attention.  And I’ve only been paying attention since c. 1996.

I have seen little in this time to suggest that the liberal ideology is interested in co-existing with people who have disagreements.  To them, it is open war, and it is utterly justifiable.  My strong suspicion is that Trump has come to the same conclusion, and refuses to acquiesce to it.

If only the rest of the GOP would follow suit.


Just as a side note– Trump’s Twitter account is accessible to Twitter–by definition. Twitter, like the other social media networks, is run by liberals.  Fighting back using this platform is a recipe for disaster, setting aside the intrinsic problems of communicating in under 300 characters.  It is entirely conceivable that someone at Twitter could hijack Trump’s account, potentially causing yuuuge problems (beyond any that Trump himself might cause 🙂  ).  I don’t know what else I’d suggest, but if I were Trump’s teams, I would take precautions if they hadn’t already.

 

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It shouldn’t be taboo to criticize people who criticize people for having too many children

Ok, so the post title today was immediately what came into my mind, but naturally someone in the comment section to this article, It shouldn’t be taboo to criticize parents for having too many kids, already said it, so my thunder has already been stolen a bit.

These kinds of articles, essays, blog posts, etc, are everywhere these days.  I used to collect them, hoping that the sheer number of them would persuade people to the real danger.  Nowadays, however, the people who can be persuaded already are (after all, they’ve got eyes; they can see these articles themselves, which are EVERYWHERE), and the people who can’t be persuaded will never be persuaded.   For these, I often encounter a variant of Rod Dreher’s “Law of Merited Impossibility” at work.  In sum, there are people who argue like this: “X will never happen, but when it does, you’ll deserve it.”  Put another way:

From arguments of denial to arguments of justification, overnight, with no one seeming to grapple with just how profound the consequences must be. [Emphasis mine].

Similarly, in dozens of exchanges on topics related to population control, my debate partner will A., deny that what I’m describing exists and then after I show it very much does will B., say it isn’t as common as I purport, and after I provide 10, 20, 30, 40… (I could provide hundreds, but after 20 I think we know what’s going on, don’t we?) examples, they will C., say, “well, surely we ought to have a conversation.” And you can be quite sure that after A, B, and C, all come into their full flower, when “D” comes to pass — coercion–they will say, “like I said, it will never happen, but now that it has, you deserved it!”

People with this mentality have something really sick in their head. (Or is it their soul?)  It is more dangerous and potentially deadly than the policies Kristen Pyszczyk wants to have a ‘conversation’ about, and something we should be watching out for when we hear people talking about such things.

Pyszczyk, though offering a rather typical argument, is not worthy of a point by point response.  I certainly have no interest in debating the un-persuadable.   But there are people who are persuadable, and even already persuaded, who could stand to understand better where the danger lies in such argumentation.  This post is for them.

First of all, we need to observe that Pyszczyk describes herself as a feminist–and yet, she feels completely justified in telling other women how many children they ought to have:

It’s not OK to have five kids without once considering adoption.

And:

In the global West, where the environmental footprint of one person is far larger than in developing nations, it’s crucial that we begin to present all people with alternatives to the traditional nuclear family. This inevitably involves calling out people who have kids like they’re going out of style.

Shame is a powerful tool for changing behaviour: it’s how we introduce new and existing social conventions.

Here is your takeaway:  people in this mold, while they might describe themselves as liberals, or feminists, or whatever, who would never want to talk about anything that, as Pyszczyk says, “involves telling a woman what to do with her body,” in reality, these count for very little.  Her own essay stands as a rebuttal to her feminism, but she is too daft to notice–or give it much weight.

The problem for the rest of us is that we take them at their word.  They say they are animated by rights for women, they say they are for personal liberties (more often than not, license), they say they don’t want the government in the bedroom, they say they don’t want anyone else to come between a woman and her doctor… and they are lying about all of it.

Now, they may not know they are lying.  They may very well be lying to themselves.  They are lying nonetheless.

Pyszczyk correctly notes, “Population control is a fraught topic, and carries with it associations with eugenics and other nasty historical events.”

Quite so.  And if you actually study population control, eugenics, and other nasty historical events, you will very often find that the eugenicists and perpetrators of these ‘historical events’ attempted to take the exact same line that Pyszczyk does, that of ‘changing attitudes.’  I will talk about that more in just a bit.

The point is, she thinks that if you get society to adopt ideas that serve the ‘public good’, even if it descends into shaming (just how coercive would she go?), this is NOT an intrusion on anyone.  As someone who HAS studied these things, I can assure you, this is a very common sentiment among the eugenically-minded.  Recently I detailed it in a post describing the aborting of children diagnosed with birth defects, in this article, “The White Supremacy of Aborting Defectives.” Just to illustrate for our purposes here, I quoted a very reputable geneticist as saying:

In order to fulfill the aim of achieving a form of selection more humane than that resulting from the unalloyed struggle for existence, it would of course be all-important for this purposive control to be carried out, not by means of decrees and orders from authorities, but through the freely exercised volition of the individuals concerned, guided by their recognition of the situation and motivated by their own desire to contribute to human benefit in the ways most effective for them.  This is the only real solution, the only procedure consistent with human happiness, dignity, and security. … But for voluntary adoption by people in general of a course of such wisdom, and so different from that now followed, a deep-seated change in mores would be necessary.  Not least among the requirements for this would be a far more thoroughgoing and widespread education of the public in biological and social essentials. [emphasis added]

And here we get into very strange country.

As it relates to population control (rather than aborting children with birth defects), we find in the first place that all the same people who advocated for women’s rights were ready in an instant to revoke them if it became necessary.  In his 1969 book The Population Bomb, Paul Ehrlich famously said,

The battle to feed humanity is over.  In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.  At this late date nothing can prevent [yadda yadda yadda].  Our position requires that we take immediate action at home and promote effective action worldwide.  We must have population control at home, hopefully through changes in our value system, but by compulsion if voluntary methods fail.

What kind of compulsion, you wonder?  Ehrlich would team up with a certain John Holdren in the mid-1970s and put on the table:  compulsory abortion, …

…. compulsory giving children up for adoption, adding sterilants to the water supply, compulsory sterilization, outlawing having more than 2 children, and lets not forget “an armed international organization” or “planetary regime” to enforce such policies on a global scale.

Please observe that Holdren said that these laws can be sustained under the US Constitution.  Oh, and also that he was Barack Obama’s chief science advisor.  He never repudiated his ideas.  He only said that the situation wasn’t ‘sufficiently severe’ to entertain such policies.

These kinds of arguments run throughout the pro-woman’s ‘choice’ to have an abortion field.  I mean, they are everywhere, if one cares to actually find out what they really think.  By far, the most glaring and easy to access example of this sentiment is the Jaffe Memo, which I extensively treat on this blog.

The most notable feature of the Memo for our purposes here is the fact that it was put together by a Vice-President of PLANNED PARENTHOOD, and includes proposals such as:

Restructuring the family by altering the “image of the ideal family size.” Compulsory education of children. Encouraging homosexuality.  Fertility control agents in the water.  FORCING women to work–and then provide few child care facilities.  Compulsory abortion and sterilization–obviously.  Discouraging private home ownership.  And so on.

You get the idea.

The counter argument is that these have not been actually implemented, they were just options to consider.  My point is that they were options at all!  To have an organization like Planned Parenthood seriously considering such proposals, when it is supposedly the guardian of a woman’s right to her own body, is very revealing.

And of course, they all knew that abortion and eugenics were interrelated.  As Frederick Osborn said:

“Birth control and abortion are turning out to be great eugenic advances of our time. If they had been advanced for eugenic reasons it would have retarded or stopped their acceptance.”

And Henry Kissinger noted in a 1974 report (NSSM 200) that was embraced by both Republicans and Democrats:

Certain facts about abortion need to be appreciated:  No country has reduced its population growth without resorting to abortion.

There is one obvious conclusion to make from my argument thus far in relation to Pyszczyk’s claims.  She says ‘we ought to have a conversation.’  This ‘conversation’ has been going on already for the greater part of a century!

A more substantial criticism, along the same lines, is in response to her statement:

Now, as a feminist, I tend to oppose any cultural conversation that involves telling a woman what to do with her body. But women have long been told that they need to have kids to have a meaningful life, and they are groomed for motherhood from a very early age.

But we don’t often hear arguments for alternatives to motherhood. Women need to be presented with options for a fulfilling life that don’t involve taking 20 years of their lives to care for offspring. Changing the narrative around motherhood should help to offset some of the cultural conditioning we receive throughout our lives.

Wow, just wow.  What kind of bubble does she live in?  The above quotes enough show that in actuality, for the last 40-50 years, the truth is that women have long been told that they do NOT need to have kids to have a meaningful life.  Women are CONSTANTLY presented with options for a ‘fulfilling life.’  Moreover, population control advocates have long understood that it is not ‘cultural conditioning’ that leads women to want to have children, but rather the way women really are.  In other words, until and unless the elites smother what women really want, they will generally want to have children.

This ‘smothering’ has been more or less the actual policy for the last 40-50 years.  What happened is that they couldn’t get any traction on the compulsory angle, and the only thing they were left with was trying to change the culture and attitudes (largely among women themselves) about having careers, giving up having children, or too many children, that sort of thing.  We see this most pronounced in the direction that John D. Rockefeller took in his own population control efforts.  An active proponent for population control, he helped spearhead a commission, which gave its report to Nixon in 1972.   Very few of the proposals could be implemented politically (so sad!) so by the late 1970s he has shifted his efforts exclusively towards promoting “women’s rights” (by which he meant, like many advocates of “women’s rights”, “Women can’t think for themselves, so we’re going to goad them into a socially benefit direction”) and homosexuality.  (This is documented in the book, Intended Consequences, by Donald Critchlow)

In other words, everything that Pyszczyk says we ought to be doing is already happening.  It’s already part of the program.  It’s already institutionalized.  Read this little excerpt, which pointedly reveals that all Pyszczyk is advocating for is well under way:

Before the 19th century, fertility levels in North America were as high, or higher, than present levels in many of the world’s less developed countries. As Canada developed and living conditions improved, birthrates declined steadily from their early levels of around 50 births per 1,000 population. By the 1920s, the birth rate had dropped below 30, and by 1937 had reached a low of 20 births per 1,000 population. The Second World War revived the economy and reversed the declining trend in birth rates; they reached record highs during the baby boom — 28.9 in 1947 and 28.5 in 1954 — before resuming the long-term decline beginning in the early 1960s. This decline occurred in a context of significant social change, especially with respect to the role and status of women in society. Beginning in the 1960s, there were significant advances in women’s education levels and their participation in the paid labour force, as well as increased availability of efficient birth control methods (see also Women in the Labour Force). All of these factors contributed to a decline in fertility rates.

Since the mid-1970s, the number of births has been below 400,000 per year, and the total fertility rate has ranged between 1.5 and 1.7 children per woman. These figures are well below the 2.1 level of fertility needed to ensure the long-term replacement of generations for a low mortality population such as Canada. The continuing pattern of low fertility for nearly half a century gives little reason to expect a return to replacement levels. In 2014, the total fertility rate was 1.58 children per woman, significantly lower than the 3.85 rate recorded at the peak of the baby boom in 1959.

Emphasis added.

Thus, if you find her essay offensive, you shouldn’t be offended by what she’s proposing.  You should be offended by what is happening.  And then take action.

(There are countless resources detailing all this, many of which are highlighting the problems resulting in DECREASES in population.  In other words, the birth rate is already so low in so many places, that there are major societal problems arising from it.   To think that there is a continuing problem with a GROWING population, when the population is actually set to decline [certainly in certain countries, eg, Japan, but globally, too] shows you just aren’t paying attention: you are a dupe.)

In particular, you should start thinking very carefully about what you believe and why you believe it.  Chances are good you were fed 1970s-era rubbish which you accept today as fact, and have no idea the rubbish was formulated by pro-population control eugenics-minded people who didn’t give a rat’s ass about individual liberties and the like, but had to find a ‘work around’ to the reality that they couldn’t just shoot people the way the Nazis did.

Now, I want to say a word or two about the most dangerous part of the whole thing.  It would be easy enough to chalk this up to typical liberal progressive excrement, but the underlying attitude that Pyszczyk exhibits is not at all limited to the liberals.  The attitude in question: statism.  Yes, liberal progressives are almost all statists to a man, but you can find statists across the spectrum.

For example, to stay on this topic, the population control movement was thoroughly welcomed in the Republican party for decades.  It was Richard Nixon that passed a Federal population control bill establishing an office of population affairs–which still exists.  (You’re not supposed to notice that the whole purpose of the agency is to curtail the population of the United States while its sole activity is to promote ‘family planning.’).  Henry Kissinger, previously mentioned, has played both sides of the aisle, and was charged by Nixon to apply population control measures first internationally (with an eye towards eventual domestic implementation).  It was the Republican Gerald Ford that signed the implementation order on Kissinger’s plan.  George H Bush is on record fully supporting population control (forgotten by the time he ran for president).

These guys are all statists.  Also statists:  Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham.  And of course, Obama, John Holdren, Cass Sunstein, Jonathan Gruber, etc.

Pyszczyk is a statist.

Among the many giveaways in her article is her throwaway comment regarding immigration:

And if the birth rate in Canada declines, so what? As old You-Know-Who cuts off aid to not-for-profits that educate on abortion, restricts immigration and stops sending money to countries that need it, we will have a steady supply of smart and talented immigrants. Their loss, our gain.

This is essentially the exact same position of ‘moderate’ Republicans who are in favor of open immigration: we need workers to take the place of all the people who are not being born because of our population control efforts.  (Notice again how Pyszczyk is contemplating a FUTURE decline, amazingly seemingly unaware that the decline is well in progress.) Immigration is not linked to the welfare or dignity of the immigrants, but is instead a necessary counter-balance to a falling population.  And abortion, rather than a function of a woman’s liberty, is construed as a public policy issue.

What is a statist, exactly?

Think of a farmer who has a herd of cows.  The farmer runs the estate, of course, but he also decides which cows will breed.  He decides how each cow will be utilized.  He balances the resources of his property to maximize the ‘sustainability’ of the enterprise.  At times, he will cull the herd.

A statist is like the farmer, except instead of a farm it is a nation or the globe, and instead of managing cows, they manage people.  They literally view the human population as something to be managed, and they, of course, are the designated Managers.  They are usually exempted from their own management policies–eg, they will fight tooth and nail for compulsory public education, but they send their own kids to expensive private schools with far more flexible arrangements.  Or, like Al Gore, they’ll lecture on cutting back on a carbon imprint while having one that is 100 times larger than anyone else.

There are many starting points for becoming a statist, hence how both Romney and Obama can be statists, but in entirely different political parties.  (Remember, Obamacare was modeled off of Romneycare).  I’m not going to go into all the different rationales behind statism, as that would be quite the essay, and this one is already 3,000 words long.  But core idea is that it is good, proper, and appropriate for one group of people to manage another (usually larger) group of people (usually, the rest of us).  Culling is very much on the table–what do you think abortion is?  And euthanasia, to ‘free beds’?

True, the best of them try to balance their inclinations to manage society against the rights and dignities of individuals, but in principle, they are ready to give them up when the chips are down.  I mean, after all, if you thought the whole globe was going to DIE unless X happened NOW, what wouldn’t YOU contemplate?  That’s how they actually think, and that’s why they are a continual threat to all that is good and decent.  They are, in a word, proto-fascists.  And bigots and racists and sexists usually, too (black people can’t take care of themselves, so the government needs to step in… by paying for their abortions; women, when left to their own devices, would have a baby!  Aaaaaaaaaaaah!  Must! Inter! Vene!).

Kristen Pyszczyk wants us to adopt a society-wide shaming campaign. Fine, lets start with shaming the proto-fascists like her.

[A fascist, historically, is someone who advocates for private ownership, but government control.  This is only a small step away from communism:  government ownership and control.  Capitalism: private ownership, private control.]

They can’t be trusted.

If only they were God, they would be smart enough and able enough to manage the affairs of 7 billion people.  Despite their persistent belief that they are God, they aren’t.  They ruin everything they touch.

The best thing would be to radically scale back their ability to touch anything.  That’s probably not going to happen, though.  The best opponent to statism, at least right now, is the Republican party in the United States.  The fact that the GOP threw up a field of presidential candidates in 2016 in which 3/4 were statists tells you what you need to know about the long term prospects of the GOP being a faithful opponent to statism.  Its only a matter of time before proto-fascism turns into real fascism.  Plan accordingly.

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Its the Idea of America I Love

He is an American, who leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones with the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds … Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men.  — Jean de Crevecoeur in Letters from an American Frontier, 1782.

This is a bit of a prelude to some essays percolating in my mind, in which I will discuss some grave errors that have been made by various countries in the past, including the United States of America.  I want to have some thoughts on “America” on record before I write those posts.

First, I want to take issue even with the idea that the United States is like any other country in the world, past or present.  If I discuss America’s ‘sins’ is that even a meaningful concept?  To what degree is it meaningful even to discuss the sins of ‘Germany,’ such as what transpired under the Nazis?  What is ‘Germany’?  In what sense do Germans today have to answer for what Germans did almost 100 years ago (the Beer Hall putsch was in 1923)?  Not every German went along with it; some, like Bonhoeffer, actively opposed it, and paid for it with their lives.

In an important way, the idea of a ‘country’ is conceptual short cut, which is real enough, but also obscures other realities.  For the purposes of this conversation, one of those ‘realities’ it obscures is the fact that if you’re going to try to make people TODAY accountable for the behavior of people 100+ years ago, you’re going to need something more expansive than merely the fact that they happened to live in a region geographically described as being within the ‘German’ or ‘American’ territory.

The point is driven home when you look at certain regions which have been in the hands of different ‘nations’ repeatedly over the centuries.  The country of Czechoslovakia has had its borders changed dramatically over the centuries.  One decade, the Czechs are Hungarians, the next, they are Poles, and the next, Germans.  To which ‘nation’ do present day Czechs need to answer for? Similarly, should the people who live in the region of the Alsace today answer for the actions done by Germany or the actions done by France? There is a wry bit of ‘humor’ in The Gulag Archipelago where Solzhenitsyn describes ‘Russians’ who were sent to the gulags for treasonous travel without the proper papers–travel that had occurred decades earlier, before the region in question had fallen under control of the Soviets.  They had betrayed Russia decades before they were subject to her laws!  But that did not stop the Soviets from imprisoning them or even executing them.

These kinds of realities seem essential to recognize if one is going to start talking about ‘generational justice’ and reparations, and so on.  It is all well and good to make someone pay for their crimes, and maybe even proper to have the child pay for the sins of the parents, but should someone be made to pay for the sins of people who were not their ancestors at all?  If 100 years from now, the Canadians sweep down from the north to conquer the state of Wisconsin, should residents of Wisconsin be made to pay for the Canadian crimes against their aboriginals?  If so, on what basis?  On what logic?

If I had to wager money, it would be based on no logic whatsoever.  It would be a pure emotional argument, with the truth more likely being that the ‘justice’ argument was a paper thin cover for pure greed and covetousness.  But I’ll be speaking on this more in the upcoming essays.

Back to the topic at hand:  just what is America?

America is not like any other country, past or present.  It was not organized based on tribe or religion or political party.  Most of the people who flocked to the geographic area now called ‘America’ were in fact fleeing countries that were organized based on tribe, religion, or ideology.   These knew intimately and directly what atrocities followed from the principles espoused by other statists, especially but not exclusively in Europe.  They wanted nothing except to be left alone, and they designed an organizing document that would enshrine these principles of liberty.

Granted, many of these principles were corrupted before the pen even went to the paper.  Granted, many of the Europeans modes of thought that they had wanted to escape nonetheless followed us here.  Granted, even these people who felt these principles of liberty most keenly failed to implement them.  Granted, granted, granted… and yet….

America is not a ‘country.’  It is an idea.  And you can have that idea wherever you live in the world, regardless of the circumstances of your birth.  These ideas lived in the bosoms of Mankind before there was the land we call ‘America’ but until there actually was a land, people were enslaved to the whims of strongmen, ‘nobles,’ and ‘systems.’  Contrary to much of the gibberish spouting out of the ivory towers today, ‘America’ flourished not because the region happened to have a lot of natural resources or because it plundered resources, but because the people it attracted were the bravest and most noble people from any region.

They sold all that they had, took every risk, and suffered immeasurably, to escape the tribalism and dictatorships of the other countries all around the world.  When they tossed King George on his ass in the late 1770s, they had no desire whatsoever to appoint a new king.  When they fled Prussia in the 1850s, it sure as hell wasn’t to create a new Prussia.  We could go on and on with such examples, whether they be Chinese settlers or Irish immigrants, one of the defining characteristics of these people was that they were adamantly opposed to implementing the philosophies of the lands they left.  However different they were in other respects, they had this in common, but it was only in the land we now call ‘America’ was it possible to avoid doing otherwise.

To put it another way, you could almost carve out any other territory in the world and hand it over to these kinds of Americans, and they would there build a city on a hill that shines as brightly as it now shines today.  That’s because there is a connection between the philosophies enshrined in the US Constitution and the great wealth and prosperity the US has enjoyed.  There is a connection between the constitutions of the people who flocked to the shelter of the US Constitution and the great wealth and prosperity the US has enjoyed.

There is a reason why the rest of the world limps behind ‘America’ in so many respects, and that reason is that the people who love America as an idea love a better idea.  What is that idea?

In a nutshell:  every person has intrinsic dignity and worth and has the right to strive mightily for their own self-interests, worshiping as they see fit, living as they see fit, and governing themselves.  But, people will abuse both powers and freedoms, thus robust checks and balances are necessary.  A republican scheme of governance allows for the most pertinent issues to a community to be resolved by the community itself, with only select powers given to the higher levels of governance.  Both the mob and the tyrant are to be feared.

The rest of the world is still bound up by its old world concepts, with its ethnic divisions and squabbles over petty issues, which is all well and good if that’s what they like, but the spasms of violence and grotesque atrocities that are constantly percolating make it clear that the idea of ‘America’ must be carefully preserved and protected–for it can be lost.

Indeed, it could be argued that it is being lost.  As second and third and fourth generations are born in land area called ‘America,’ it has been easy to forget just how God-awful things were for their parents, grand-parents, great-grandparents, and so on.  It has become easier to contemplate, nay, even embrace, defective and destructive policies that have laid previous populations into ruin.  Aye, are even now laying people low:  look to Venezuela or North Korea.  These things could happen in this land area, given time and circumstances.  Ideology matters.

‘Americans’ have sinned horrifically over the centuries, but the idea of America is nearly without blemish.  I renounce and hate those sins, but the idea of America is the closest thing to heaven that we’ll actually have on this earth.  If it is lost, there is no haven besides heaven left.  The further away we get from that ‘nutshell’ understanding of the American ‘idea,’ the greater the danger of having that last haven disappear, with all of the attendant tragedies likely to be inflicted in short order.

Thankfully, the idea of America is not bound up by borders or genes, so even if the region now called ‘America’ were to succumb to old world toxins, America could spring up again–in China, perhaps, or the Congo.  And the world’s best and most bravest will go there, instead, and raise the light of freedom high once again.  But you can be sure that many people will have died in the intervening hours.  It would be far better if we remember not only why America as an idea is great, but just what it was that our immigrant ancestors repudiated with their feet, and guard ourselves appropriately.

 

 

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A Tale of Two Shootings

There are 2 released videos out showing people killed by police officers.  I suspect that they’re not going to make too much of a ripple, so I’d like to offer some thoughts of my own. Please don’t leave a comment addressing anything I say unless you watch the videos.

Here is the Daniel Shaver (hotel hallway) video (start around 12 min mark):

Here are couple of perspectives of the Pierre shooting.

This one is helpful, because it provides a bit of audio.

The first video outraged me, and I was further outraged to hear the police officer was acquitted. It almost makes you think that maybe we should take guns out of the hands of even law enforcement. But then you see the second video(s), and you see that multiple non-lethal methods are attempted, and even tazing the guy doesn’t stop him. A guy like this is capable of anything and all the evidence is that he would not have stopped unless he was shot–unless, of course, the police officers were to put themselves even further into harm’s way.

In reality, there are more examples of the latter than there are of the former, so armed law enforcement agencies are on balance necessary. But it is still a reality that there are plenty of shootings by police officers that are not justified or where other methods could have obtained better results.

I am not drawing all my lessons from these 2 videos alone, but I think both offer some good jumping off points for discussing some of those lessons, so here is a bit of analysis.

Evidently, the Shaver incident began because someone saw someone ‘waving a gun’ and called the police. It was actually a pellet gun. The officer who shot Shaver bears the bulk of the blame, but I wonder if the person who made the call feels any responsibility. I think I can almost picture this person in my mind’s eye… the kind of person… the mere sight of a gun throws them into a cold sweat… IT MUST BE REPORTED! Despite the fact that Arizona allows people to carry weapons–both concealed and openly, on one’s hip–without even a permit, the sight of the gun INSIDE a hotel room prompted this person to call. Well, better safe than sorry, right? RIGHT?

Wrong.

But if we can’t expect some ninny off the street to properly assess a threat, you should at least expect your local police officer to be aware of the laws of Arizona and what that might mean when you encounter someone. When you look at these two people come out of their hotel door, you can plainly see, if you have any capacity for situational awareness and reading people, that these people are nowhere near ‘up to something.’ And even if he did have a gun, damn it, he was lawfully entitled to have it.

Listening to the background audio on the first video, I gather that one of the police officers was relatively new. This may have impacted the behavior of the other officers, who perhaps were over-compensating for having the liability of a new guy with them.

Shaver bears some responsibility here, and it is a lesson for all of us gun owners. 1., assume your fellow citizens are idiots. If at all possible, prevent them from knowing you are carrying at all. They can’t be trusted to take the measure of a situation. Shaver apparently flashed his pellet gun inside his hotel room being none-the-wiser, and died for it. This is, in my opinion, a good reason for concealed carry rather than open carry. 2., assume the LEO is as dumb as you assume your fellow citizens are. Of course, if you are intoxicated, as Shaver may have been to a degree, you might not be thinking all that clearly. But the irony with Shaver is that he didn’t have a gun with him AT ALL and he still was killed. So, the bottom line is that you should have your wits about you ALL. THE. TIME. Take responsibility for your actions.

As for the LEO himself, I think it speaks to a toxic strain that runs through America’s law enforcement mentality. Yes, the job is dangerous. Yes, you might get killed in the line of duty. Yes, your discretion and patience may actually get you killed. Yes, you may have to make decisions super quickly based on limited knowledge of the situation. Sorry, but the Shaver scenario shows what can happen if you allow this toxic strain to manifest without restraint.

This is still a Constitutional republic, and within this constitution, there is a second amendment to bear arms. There are other amendments, too, protecting citizens. You, as a law enforcement officer, are duty-bound to treat your fellow citizens as FELLOW CITIZENS with rights and privileges that come under the Constitution. You receive certain accommodations on the use of force, but you do not have a license to disregard the Constitution just because you are afraid for your own life. If you cannot maintain a high view of the Constitutional rights of the people you encounter, then GET ANOTHER JOB.

I thought this National Review article put it well:

That’s especially true when the police — through their own incompetence — create their own fear. Philando Castile was shot even as he followed his killer’s instructions. Shaver died trying his best to comply with a highly unusual, complicated set of commands while under extreme duress. Scared cops still need to be competent cops, and members of the public shouldn’t face death because a police officer can’t keep his emotions in check.

Finally, I know that police have a dangerous job, but they’re not at war. As I noted above, it’s infuriating to see civilian police exercise less discipline than I’ve seen from soldiers in infinitely more dangerous situations. Not one of the men I deployed with would have handled a terrorist detention the way these officers treated American citizens.

Emphasis added.

And who holds law enforcement accountable? The local municipalities. In other words, elected officials have the responsibility to make sure their officers have the right attitude. If law enforcement is allowed to set its own rules and expectations, that’s like the fox guarding the hen house. It is easy to defer to the ‘experts’ in law enforcement, but it is not wise. Hold their feet to the fire. This toxic strain I referred to can only be reversed when local communities and states make it emphatically clear that the rights of citizens shall be preserved, even in the execution of law enforcement activities. This is the United States of America, not some two-bit third world country. And, as David French put it, we are not at war.

In the second video, we see too much restraint! I honestly don’t know what that police officer was thinking. His posture and demeanor from beginning to end was bizarre, although maybe if I had more information it would make sense (eg, as he enters the room he seems to be unprepared for the possibility a hostile is inside it). It should have been evident almost immediately that this guy would not be stopped by anything short of lethal force (or non-lethal force that put the lives of LEOs at risk).

One gets the impression that this officer was highly reluctant to use lethal force. Perhaps here the elected officials over-did it? Maybe he was more frightened of what the American media would do to him if he shot Pierre (a black man) than what Pierre might do to him–even if Pierre killed him!

This officer is frankly lucky to be alive. His own weapon could have been taken from him, or perhaps Pierre was armed with a firearm all along and could have transitioned to it. Less than decisive action by LEOs have led to their deaths at the hands of bad men.

The second video helps us see why we do need to give law enforcement some latitude in their use of force. We see how fast situations can escalate, and how quickly one has to make decisions. It reminds us that there are some bad hombres in the world, and if one of them happened to be in your house, you want the responding police officers to have the capacity to use the necessary force. Although, the same lesson is again an argument for why citizens should be allowed to arm themselves.

If a bad hombre like Pierre is in your house, there probably won’t be enough time for the police to respond BEFORE YOU ARE DEAD. In that second video, there appears to be a full 90 seconds before backup arrives–and this is with his partner ALREADY ON THE SCENE. There is plenty of time for Pierre to put this officer down for good. 90 seconds may not seem like a long time to wait for help, but hopefully this video helps the reader think more clearly about the realities of such encounters. Per the saying among advocates for guns: when seconds count, the police are minutes away.

How far do you live from your police department?

This is the real world, not some fantasy make-believe world where given enough time and good intentions we’ll iron out all of our problems. There will be bad men, bad accidents, and bad misunderstandings. Very little of it can be addressed at a level above the individual, with some of it falling appropriately under the scope of the local community. But lurking behind all this is an even more disconcerting truth… what happens if the bad men control the nation?

Better to work through these issues before you are in them, in my humble opinion.

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