05 March 2017

Dr. Thomas Sowell: "Is Personal Responsibility Obsolete?"

Is Personal Responsibility Obsolete?  Part I

By Dr. Thomas Sowell


Among the many disturbing signs of our times are conservatives and libertarians of high intelligence and high principles who are advocating government programs that relieve people of the necessity of working to provide their own livelihoods.

Generations ago, both religious people and socialists were agreed on the proposition that "he who does not work, neither shall he eat." Both would come to the aid of those unable to work. But the idea that people who simply choose not to work should be supported by money taken from those who are working was rejected across the ideological spectrum.

How we got to the present situation is a long story, but the painful fact is that we are here now. Among the leading minds of our times, including Charles Murray today and the late and great Milton Friedman earlier, there have been proposals for ways of subsidizing the poor without the suffocating distortions of the government's welfare state bureaucracy.

Professor Friedman's plan for a negative income tax to help the poor has already been put into practice. But, contrary to his intention to have this replace the welfare state bureaucracy, it has been simply tacked on to all the many other government programs, instead of replacing them.
It is not inevitable that the same thing will happen to Charles Murray's plan, but I would bet the rent money that there would be the same end result.

Just what specific problem is so dire as to cause some conservatives and libertarians to propose that the government come to the rescue by giving every adult money to live on without working?


Poverty? "Poverty" today means whatever government statisticians in Washington say it means — no more and no less. Most Americans living below the official poverty line today have central air-conditioning, cable television for multiple TV sets, own at least one motor vehicle, and have many other amenities that most of the human race never had for most of its existence.
Most Americans did not have central air-conditioning or cable television as recently as the 1980s. A scholar who spent years studying Latin America has called the poverty line in America the upper middle class in Mexico.

Low-income neighborhoods suffer far more from social degeneration, including high rates of crime and violence, than from material deprivation.

Welfare state guarantees of not having to work, however the particular policies are applied, are not a solution. Relieving people of personal responsibility for their own lives, however it is done, is a major part of the problem.

Before there can be a welfare state in a democratic country, there must first be a welfare state vision that becomes sufficiently pervasive to allow a welfare state to be created. That vision, in which people are "entitled" to what others have produced, is at the heart of the social degeneration that can be traced back to the 1960s.


Teenage pregnancies, venereal diseases, dependency on government and murder rates were all going down during the much disdained 1950s. All reversed and shot up as the welfare state, and the social vision behind the welfare state, took over in the 1960s.

That vision featured non-judgmental rewards and non-judgmental leniency toward counterproductive behavior, whether crime or irresponsible sex and its consequences. But relieving people from the responsibilities and challenges of life is doing them no favor. Nor is it a favor to society at large.

American society has become more polarized under the welfare state vision. Nor is it hard to see why. If we are all "entitled" to benefits, just by being present, why are some entitled to so little while others have so much?

In an entitlement context, all sorts of "gaps" and "disparities" automatically become "inequities," and a reason for lashing out at others, instead of improving yourself. Only in a society in which rewards are based on contributions is there any reasonable reply to the question as to why Bill Gates has so much and others so little.

The track record of divorcing personal rewards from personal contributions hardly justifies more of the same, even when it is in a more sophisticated form. Sophisticated social disaster is still disaster — and we already have too much of that.

Is Personal Responsibility Obsolete?: Part II

By Dr. Thomas Sowell

Too many social problems are conceived of in terms of what "we" can do for "them." After decades of massive expansions of the welfare state, the answer seems to range from "not very much" to "making matters worse."

Undaunted, people in a number of countries are coming up with new proposals that are variations on the theme of government-provided income — which amounts to relieving people from personal responsibility.

Yet even some conservatives and libertarians are coming up with proposals for more "efficient" versions of the welfare state — namely direct cash grants for life to virtually all adults, instead of the current hodgepodge of overlapping bureaucratic programs.

Charles Murray recognizes that "some people will idle away their lives" under his proposal. "But that is already a problem," he says, and therefore is no valid objection to replacing the current welfare state with a less costly alternative.

Everyone recognizes that there are some people unable to provide for their own survival — infants and the severely disabled, among others. But providing for such people is wholly different from a blanket guarantee for everybody that they need not lift a finger to feed, clothe or shelter themselves.

The financial cost of providing such a guarantee, though huge, is not the worst of the problems. The history of what has actually happened in times and places where people were relieved from the challenge of survival by windfall gains is not encouraging.
 
In both England and the United States, the massive expansion of the welfare state since the 1960s has been accompanied by a vast expansion in the amount of crime, violence, drug addiction, fatherless children and other signs of social degeneration.

Maybe that was just coincidence. But there have been too many coincidences in too many very different times and places where people were relieved from the challenge of survival by windfall gains of one sort or another.

In 16th and 17th century Spain — its "golden age" — the windfall gain was gold and silver looted by the ton from Spanish colonies in the Western Hemisphere. This enabled Spain to survive without having to develop the skills, the sciences or the work ethic of other countries in Western Europe.

Spain could buy what it wanted from other nations with all the gold and silver taken from its colonies. As a Spaniard of that era proudly put it, "Everyone serves Spain and Spain serves no one."

What this meant in practical terms was that other countries developed the skills, the knowledge, the self-discipline and other forms of human capital that Spain did not have to develop, since it could receive the tangible products of this human capital from other countries 
But once the windfall gains from its colonies were gone, Spain became, and remained, one of the poorest countries in Western Europe. Worse, the disdainful attitudes toward productive work that developed during the centuries of Spain's "golden age" became a negative legacy to future generations, in both Spain itself and in its overseas offshoot societies in Latin America.

In Saudi Arabia today, the great windfall gain is its vast petroleum reserve. This has spawned both a fabulously wealthy ruling elite and a heavily subsidized general population in which many have become disdainful of work. The net result has been a work force in which foreigners literally outnumber Saudis.

Some welfare states' windfall gains have enabled a large segment of their own citizens to live in subsidized idleness while many jobs stigmatized as "menial" are taken over by foreigners. Often these initially poor foreigners rise up the economic scale, while the subsidized domestic poor fail to rise.

Do we really want more of that?

British historian Arnold Toynbee proposed the "challenge and response" thesis that human beings advance when there are challenges they must meet. The welfare state removes challenges — and has produced many social retrogressions.
Those with the welfare state vision often want to remove challenges even from games by getting rid of winning and losing. That is consistent with their overall assumptions about life. But it seems very inconsistent for conservatives and libertarians to support plans whose net effect would be to reduce the inherent challenges of life for still more people.

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is www.tsowell.com. To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

05 February 2017

Out Here, My Friend, We Deal in Lead...



Got a load on and got a little retrospective about just how long and how hard we all have fought these past twenty-five years.  Went on Facebook and vented my spleen.  Went a little like this:

I'm a Marine. I've been one since 1994. I have retired from being responsible for deploying to fight, but I am still responsible for training Marines in the art and science of combined arms in my civilian job. "Retiring" from the obligated service entails an age, and a level of experience (I think) that provides me with a perspective that is (I flatter myself) worth at least heeding.
It occurred to me today, about two hours ago, that I am happier at this point of my life than any other. I have become accustomed to being the "loyal opposition", for the past 28 years. As a young man, growing up in my formative years under the Reagan Presidency, my assumption was that the guy in that office, doing that job, wanted the best for Americans and wished for the country to be awesome. Slowly, Reagan's successors have eroded that assumption. I've slowly come to understand, in the fullness of time, that Smedley Butler was right, that War IS a racket, and that Reagan was the exception, not the rule. Reagan was an outsider, he had a cup of coffee as the governor of California before becoming the President, but he had not spent a lifetime of becoming the heir-apparent to the throne of the Chief Executive of the US as his successors did. Those individuals compromised the legacy that was genuinely aimed at making America stronger and more successful.
The current President seems to have the same motivation that Reagan once did, and the freedom of interaction to do so. He doesn't have a list of contributors to mollify as he goes about his business. He doesn't seem to be as likely to get us into a war to benefit the business interests of those who have contributed to him sitting in that office. This leads me to list the things that I realized, just now, that I do not miss:

*I do not miss being told by the President that I should feel bad about myself because I'm white.

*I do not miss being told by the President that I should be ashamed of my country, the oath I took to defend it, or the actions that I took in doing so.

*I do not miss worrying about the fact that my CinC wants to destroy the culture and tradition that I've adopted as a Marine Officer.

*I do not miss the daily press conference where the designated member of the White House staff decries almost everything I hold dear as vicious, while maintaining every vice that I've ever known is a virtue.

These are a few things that give me genuine happiness. I know that many of you find the President offensive, without any precise reason why, except for what the mainstream press is publishing out of a fit of puerile rage because they didn't get their way. The process of electing a new President was carried out, and we've got a new guy doing exactly what he said he would do. You might not agree with him or his decisions. God knows that I can sympathize, since the vast majority of what has come out of that office since 1992 has resulted in my own disagreement and outrage. Throughout that period, twenty-five years in duration, I have ever urged whomever would read my tripe to understand the constitution and the intent behind its adoption. I did not call for the head of any of the usurpers that had been elected. I did not urge violent demonstration against them. I only urged folks to be aware of what was guaranteed in the founding documents and to demand that they were either returned or maintained.

Now we finally come to it. Those that simply cannot accept what I have accepted for many years are calling for open rebellion. That is their right, and they are free to seek such redress for whatever slight of their rights that they perceive. But to those individuals I say this: I've gotten pretty good with my long gun out to 1000 yards, and I can knock the ass out of a barn cat with my lever gun anywhere inside 300 yards. If your sense of outrage makes it within a mile of my place, you're not going to be able to cash that check from MoveOn or whatever Soros exchange you work for. Out here, my friend, we deal in lead.


Unclean

23 October 2016

Mark Steyn, "Laws are for the Little People"



I tip my hat to John Derbyshire, who is one of my favorite writers, for tipping me to this article in his weekly "Radio Derb".  As he said, "If I could make every adult in the country read it, I would."  Having read it, I tend to agree.  The vast corruption of this country's political caste certainly does not begin and end with Hillary Clinton, but she sure as hell serves as the prime example of how it metastasizes within a society that has been not-so-gently prodded to ignore her malfeasance.  Please give this article a read: http://www.steynonline.com/7564/laws-are-for-the-little-people

07 June 2016

Post coitum, omne animal triste, est.

 
 
 
video
A very compelling argument, and Mr. Junger gets almost all of it right, but for one thing: The answer to the questions, "Why would they want to go do that?" Or, "Why would they want to go back?"
 
The answer that Mr. Junger doesn't talk about, because he doesn't necessarily understand it, is this: Imagine an ER nurse, or an ER doctor, who trains to save trauma patients. They go to school, they learn a ton, they get their license. What if they were only able to work on computer simulators, but never able to save actual people? How compelled would they be, after years of such training, to actually work on a real, live patient? Imagine the frustration of training, and training, and training, but never being able to practice their art.
 
Now, ask yourself, "do they love the fact that people get hurt in a traumatic way? Do they revel in the carnage of day-to-day life?" Well, of course not.
 
Neither, in a similar way, do we hope to go and fight. We hope that it doesn't happen, as the ER Nurse prays everyone stays safe while she's on shift. But when it does happen, and we are sent to go and kill the enemies of this nation that have been identified to us, there is a satisfaction that is not unlike the Nurse's satisfaction...
 
We spent years preparing ourselves for this. We've trained ourselves in a harsh way to be ready for this. Today, when we come to grips with the enemy of our nation, we will be who we have always wished we could be. For that man to our left and to our right. Because, in our stunted little society, each of us would rather die than be found lacking in the eyes of those men... and the rest of the world be damned. In the end, there are two kinds of people: my people (the men to my left and right), and everybody else.
 
After the fight is over, as he mentions, there is a period where we all wish to go back and be that effective. It isn't that we want to go back and kill. Nor is it that we want to go back and die. We want to feel what we did then, and Aristotle was good enough to coin a phrase that captures it perfectly: POST COITUM, OMNE ANIMAL TRISTE, EST. [After sex, every animal is sad]
 
Aristotle was smart enough to recognize that copulation has many parallels. It is something big. As we say in the Marine Corps, it is a "significant emotional event". Those events are what characterizes each of us. Because war is so big, so terrible, and lasts for so long, those of us who prosecute it tend to allow that event to identify us, and we miss it. Because many of us feel, as we lay safe in our beds this night, that we were never more effective than when we practiced our art on those fields, and many of us spend the rest of our lives in an attempt to find that effectiveness again.
 
If Only...
 
-Unclean

05 April 2016

Your Austrian Economics Public Service Announcement

 
 
Your quarterly Austrian Economic Public Service announcement: The link below will take you to the Mises Institute, and a page that highlights the contributions of a man named Friedrich A. Hayek. There is a .pdf file available on that page that is free, and that will download a condensed copy of Hayek's "Road to Serfdom". Dude won the Nobel, back when it meant something. Give it a read.
 

26 March 2016

Day 16,582...

 
 
 
Day 16,582: These people seem unable to understand that individual freedom, (defined as the ability of a man to do whatever he wants provided it does not intrude upon the freedom of some other) will result in the optimal state for all men. Despite my sincere attempts to explain this to many, I constantly argue against the idea that the Leviathan has some duty to decide our fate, that we owe the Leviathan some debt. I despair that the teachings of Locke will ever be accepted again. That the fact that the body of the Constitution contains a legitimate description of the duties of the Leviathan, and that the Amendments to the Constitution describe the tangible limits on the Leviathan, will ever be commonly understood. After 16,000 days, I’ve reached a point where I despair that this ship can be righted or that it’s people will demand that the Leviathan heel to the document that founded it.
 
I find these days, in this eye of madness and corruption, that my solace is only in the fact that I am readily equipped and trained for the defense of myself and my family. It saddens me that, with the exception of the extended family that has adopted me over the past twenty years spent in the Marine Corps, that there is a huge number of people who are clueless, or inexplicably accepting of the presence of the corruption, who are willing to go along with anything that might guarantee their “safety”, and who will sell the rest of us down the River to Hell. 
 
 
16,582 days on this earth has taught me what is important: My Cause, as it was exemplified in my Oath of Office. Make no mistake, despite my temperate conversations with you:
I remember my Oath. Every single word of it.

14 March 2016

The Legacy That We Owe.

The Legacy That We Owe.
I've seen it on Leno, I've seen it on the Daily Show, and I've seen it on Kimmel. You've seen it too. Camera crews, combing the nation, interviewing people who don't know who won the fucking War Between the States, who we fought during War 2, or (for fuck's sake) who WASHINGTON DC is named after. Afterwards, everyone clucks their tongue and shakes their head about "How Bad the Public Schools Are"...
People, please pay attention: the government is not going to teach your children anything other than how to grasp the handle and pull it. Their interests are completed by having done so. Your child will graduate their conditioning...err, um, I mean their CURRICULUM... knowing only how to obey, and how to assimilate, and how to follow orders. Public Schools don’t want, or appreciate free-thinkers. They don’t want anyone to upset the applecart of modern progressivism. They sure as hell don’t care about turning out anyone who can think for his or herself. If you are okay with that, then you need to re-evaluate your place in the universe because your children, in that condition. are nothing more than cattle, and without your attention, they will not be prepared for anything other than being fed by another and being beholden to that person for their very existence. In doing so, you are resigning them to be slaves.
So, realizing the propensity of the government to attempt to condition my children thusly, I’ve become involved in teaching my children “how to think” instead of allowing the government to train them “what to think”. Because, teaching them to think as an individual, the proper perception of the world around us, a work-ethic, and the place of government in the life of an individual is MY responsibility to teach MY children, and it’s your responsibility as well. Get off your ass, pay attention to the tripe that is being fed to them by the Leviathan, train your kids up right, and expect a lot out of them. It ain’t cruel, by God. It’s LIFE that you’re teaching them.
Terry McElwain put up an awesome post about “What is your why” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNQhuFL6CWg

Your “why”, when you have kids, is to teach them to be effective. To teach them our culture and our history. To understand why we weep when we watch The Alamo. To understand why Memorial Day is a difficult thing. To know which individuals put their life on the line to invent this country in the late 18th century, (and even to know that the fucking “18th century” is the same goddamn thing as “the 1700s”.) To understand that such a miracle had NEVER FUCKING HAPPENED in the 3000+ years of human history before it.   That the strife, action, and self-awareness of YOUR life was only a preamble to set the condition for THEIR strife, action, and self-awareness. And so on. Because that is the only way that we give back to the people who taught us...
Your “why”, if you have managed to procreate, is to train and educate your children in the ways of our people. To paraphrase a very good John Wayne line: Train them that they won’t be wronged, they won’t be insulted, and they won’t be laid a hand on; and that they won’t do these things to other people, and that they ought to require the same from everyone else they meet. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cm2...] Your “why”, if you’re teaching the next generation, should focus on making your children self-sufficient, able to communicate clearly, and jealous of their individuality.
That mentorship is the debt that we owe to those from whom WE learned it. Pay it back.
-Unclean

28 December 2015

SEVERE CLEAR. A review.


Severe Clear
 
 
Holy Shit.  I just watched a documentary by a Marine FiST Leader in 1st Battalion, 4th Marines from OIF I / The March Up in 2003, entitled Severe Clear.  I now know what Vietnam Vets must have felt like when they first saw Stone's Platoon or Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket.  This movie is just that powerful.  In my own humble opinion, it is the essence of the experience of we who fought in Iraq, specifically we who became Marines in the mid-1990s.   It is apolitical, inasmuch as it seeks to derive no conclusions about whether or not we should have invaded Iraq, but seeks to explain it from the Marine side of the equation.  I absolutely cannot imagine a better way of telling that story than what Mike Scotti accomplished in this picture. 
 
For Coyotes: These are the guys who we are training: FiSTs who are headed into first contact with a conventional force.  I don't know when 1/4 went through CAX before they deployed, but there are places where I can definitely sense Coyote teaching.  What we're teaching now is going to absolutely make so much money for these guys that are on the dime to do the NEXT BIG THING.  Keep this in mind as you go out there for ITX 2-16.
 
I implore you to clear 90 minutes out of your day and give this a watch.  It is without a doubt the most captivating thing that I've watched in years.
 
The link to the movie: SEVERE CLEAR
 
Be Well,
Unclean 

07 September 2014

Bile

Bile

 

 


Shifting Perspective


For me, last weekend was one of those that each of us needs every once in a while.  I watched Legends of the Fall with Daniel before he went to bed, and then found Flags of our Fathers on HBO in-progress.  I caught the last hour.  I realized while watching those two movies that I had turned some corner.  I don’t remember when this happened.  There was no accompanying fanfare, as I might have expected as a younger man.  It even took me the better part of an hour to accurately identify exactly what had just come about. 

Context: My mother, Jean, was an exceptional woman.  I spent forty years and twenty some-odd days learning from her.  She taught me living, loving, accepting, raising children, cooking, crisis response, and civility in the face of fear, panic, meanness, and anger; the lessons were endless and her example remains with me every moment.  She left her mark on each person who loved her, and each of us would chew our leg off rather than feel unable to live up to our own expectations in light of the example that she set for us. 

Jean passed away in October of 2010.  She had a massive heart-attack, and I rushed back to Texas from Twentynine Palms as quickly as I possibly could.  She had been resuscitated in the Emergency Room, but it had taken them a very long time to affect that, longer than her brain could go without oxygen.  Thus, she was alive but not present by the time I arrived.  Her body took a few days to pass, and I accepted the deathwatch at her bedside each night.  It was somehow fitting, I reckon, that it became my lot to be with her in the small hours.  She loved peace and quiet when she was among us, and there is nothing so peaceful, nor so quiet, as a hospital room at 0300.  As was her wont, my mother held on for a number of days and nights.  I don’t remember how many, as those days have become a single, jagged wound.  The night that her body finally gave in to the pressures placed upon it, I was beside her, reading.  I did not notice that she had left for some time.  There was no fanfare, as I did expect, unreasonably, as a younger man.  I kissed her forehead.  I said goodbye.  I told her that I loved her.  I then made the walk down to the nurses’ station to inform the staff that my mother was dead.

I say these things, partly out of the empathic need to finally describe that night, but mostly because I realize something now, almost four years later, which is vitally important.  We each go through life preparing ourselves for something.  The training that we conduct, the education that we receive, the preparations that we make all generally carry with them some expectation that we will be tested at some point.  That we will use this training and education.  That these preparations we have made will be called upon.  Those of us who made careers out of being Marines naturally assume that this trial will take place in war, or something very much like it.  In that assumption, I was only partially correct. 

I came home from Iraq in 2006 with the satisfaction that I had acquitted myself well.  That the training and preparations were appropriate to what was expected of me by my boss, myself, and the Marines under my charge.  I see now that Iraq was ALSO preparation for what would come.  It prepared me emotionally for the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  All of that training, education, preparation, and experience was necessary for me to see my mother off into the next world, and to deliver her eulogy.

So it might seem a trivial way for me to realize something that had been staring me in the face for quite some time.  I’ve watched Legends of the Fall probably forty or-so times, but I’ve always identified most closely with “Tristan”, the character who refused to bend his identity to match the conventions of his time.  This time, I inexplicably found myself identifying very closely with the patron of the family “Col. Ludlow”.  (This might have been aided by my son’s regular comparisons between the Col. and myself.)  Then, as I watched Flags of our Fathers, I found myself identifying with the aged Corpsman, John Bradley rather than his son, who sought to understand his father.  In either case, this represented a change in my perception.  Both of the elder characters had reached their allotted four-score and ten years and their time of trial had become the mentorship of their adult children.  Their wars were over.  It was all prologue to their last years spent as the patrons of their respective families.  This was a nuance to human existence that I had never really considered.

Maybe this is part of a trap of my own making.  I’ve always wondered why I made it through Iraq twice.  Since then, I’ve wondered what would pass for a death for me.  A senile old man?  Wandering through a home in a robe with a walker grafted onto my fists?  I had kind of surrendered to the idea that all of this time after my war was just a long epilogue.  I’ll just keep doing my bit to train the next generation of Marines to go and fight (and HOPEFULLY help them to combine arms in a meaningful way), die in harness, have them dump my ashes over Trench 1 at 410A, and call it good.   Carry on. 

I don’t know, maybe a lot of veterans think that way.     

But after watching the end of Flags of our Fathers, as I was washing up before bed, I heard Ma asking me from somewhere deep in my consciousness, “what are Joel, Sarah, and Daniel going to say about you someday, when it’s their turn to do for you what you did for me?  What have you earned, in that respect?  You used to write, what have you written for them to have, after you’re gone? ”

Then I heard, “the legacy you leave will be determined by the effort you give every day.  It is yours.  Own it.”

I bought a new laptop to replace my balky tablet the next day.    

It’s all training.  All of it is preparation.  Every word, every lesson.  It’s preparation for WHATEVER comes next.  The test comes every day.  There is no epilogue because apparently God is not interested in the literary aesthetic.  I have a feeling that his symmetry is on a much, much larger scale. 

Earn it.

Unclean

14 May 2014

Allow Me to Sing You the Song of My People

This is the Song of My People...

Real quick and in under 500 words...

-My people distrust their government, any government. Because government means someone who knows less than we do about the challenges we face daily will tell us how they can solve our problems, will try to do so ineffectively, and then will charge us for their failure to do so.

-My people took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same.  If you've taken that same oath, yet are actively engaged in the subversion of that document,  then consider yourself perilously close to the category of "domestic enemy". Watch your ass.

-My people were raised by persons familiar with civility and a code of honor. Making vice out of virtue and virtue out of vice is not acceptable and we will not tolerate it. Nor will our children.

-My people are not politically correct. We do not understand, nor will we tolerate prior restraint. We call it as we see it. If you don't agree, make an argument or leave the room. We did not give up our right of free expression because some actor or professor disagreed with us.

-My people do not want to be taken care of, by anybody, if we can help it. We understand that any assistance we receive will be immediately followed by some bureaucrat dictating to us what freedoms or choices we have given up as a result. We will do for ourselves, accept the inherent risk, and will bask in the glow of our own free will, thank you very much. Take your safe, well regulated serfdom and stick it up your ass.

Regards,
Unclean
Homo Indomitus est

06 May 2014

Cinco de Mayo Bile

Fuck it.

Due to the modern miracle of facebook, I've been subjected to, and have argued with a huge number of people who just. don't. get it.

It's almost like the people of these United States have forgotten not only the tradition of a limited government guaranteed by the Constitution, but have completely become unreconciled with the premises of manhood, individualism, honor, accountability, and/or personal responsibility.

These principles are things that I have argued in favor of for my adult life.  Here, though, I finally admit defeat.  My notions of old and outdated principles have blinded me.  These self-evident duties that are assumed in a polite society are outdated, in fact they are obsolete.  Nevermind the bondage that awaits a people who shed such a burden.  There are people just like us, who are no smarter than we, and no more trained in the aspects of such responsibility, but who will take care of us.  These geniuses will contrive a better way for each and everyone of us to live, strive, and survive that will be better than anything that we have ever imagined.  Better than any of our forefathers could have contrived in their ancient, by-gone era, guaranteed by their obsolete documents. 

Despite the fact that not one of these worthies are better qualified than any of us who is reading this to make a single decision as to the disposition of our life, liberty, and property.  Somehow THEY know better than any of us who wake up each morning with nothing in mind but the continued survival of the tribe for whom we are responsible.  At each turn, we find ourselves outmatched, outmaneuvered, and out-motivated by the group of people who feel themselves to have been trained, educated, and motivated to make better decisions about what we should be doing and how we should be doing it. 

One of my literary heroes is H. L. Mencken.  He applied Occam's razor to more craziness than I ever have, and has often done so in fewer than 100 words.  I offer his effective and terse summation of the above few paragraphs:

The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. Their principal device to that end is to search out groups who pant and pine for something they can't get and to promise to give it to them. Nine times out of ten that promise is worth nothing. The tenth time is made good by looting A to satisfy B. In other words, government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods.

People, these folks who wish to tell you how to live your life, what you should eat, drink, wear, tell your kids; these people are no more qualified to do so than my dog.  They have the same degrees that you and I have, yet those who are currently running this show have less experience in leading people, managing projects, and holding people accountable than you or I.  We've been places, done things, taken risks, all under the specter of the fear of failure.  If we failed, we would be shamed, dishonored, kicked to the curb.  We would have failed at something that we believed in vehemently and felt lacking.

This is not the crucible that tempers those in power now.  They have thrived and acceded to vaunted places by being able to cause the majority of our people to believe that they deserve the very sweat of our brow.  They exist because they have effectively fooled a majority of the voting public that they give a shit, and can run things better than they have been run.  Better than you could run them.  Better than I could.  They're fucking wrong.  

You are smarter.  You are stronger.  You have accomplished more than they.  You do so on a steady basis.

Yet, (and this is the saddest thing), despite all of the above: They Have Won.  I'll let them flip their bat and waddle around the bases. They can spike the ball and dance in the end zone as long as they want.  Those of us who understand Locke, and Adam Smith, and Rothbard are not on the rise.  We're not winning, nor can we be, for the foreseeable future.  Because our lot is hard, it calls on sacrifice for our responsibilities, it demands accountability...all the things that no one wants to accept in these days of instant gratification and victimhood.


Nixon called those who remembered the old ways the "Silent Majority", and hoped that those plain folks would ignore his narcissism.  It was a pipe-dream, and the day he became the face of the opposition over Goldwater was the end of it all, my friends.  The day that people, who thought that lyrics to Beatles' tunes were acceptable substitutes for legitimate domestic and foreign policy, were allowed to decide how to run the country was the day that our ideal ended.

I have no doubt that I will be one day soon (like 4 May 2014) viewed as "an anacronsym" or a "right wing conspiracist".  But the thing is; I've been so weird for so long that I'm comfortable with any or all of that.  I've never been bashful in saying what I perceived needed to be said. 

I'll keep saying it.

But for the first time in twenty years, I've despaired that it will make one damn bit of difference in the end.  I have no hope that we can get out of this spiral of madness, control, and despotism.  Yet, in the dark hours, with these conclusions weighing on me like so many regrets, so many mistakes, like lead wrapped 'round my neck...

Fuck it.


Immundus saecula saeculorum,

Unclean


05 May 2014

Breaking the Stereotype


Mattis is the one guy to be in a position to call this like it is. In a country where less than 1% of the total population served during the longest war in our country's history, and less than 1% of them actually went outside the wire on a regular basis, this story is a bit over-reported, I think.

If not, then the stereotype of the emotionally frail veteran is definitely spread or sprinkled over all of us very liberally.

Here's to Gen. Mattis for saying what many of us have been thinking; and here's to "post traumatic growth", by God...

13 June 2013

Overload

"This line is tapped.  So, I must be brief.  They got to you first, but they underestimated how important you are.  If they knew what I know, then you'd probably be dead."  
"What are you talking about?"
"You are the one.  You see, you may have spent the last few years looking for me, but I have spent a lifetime looking for you..."
-The Matrix, Neo's first conversation with his liberator.  
It has been awhile, hasn't it?  I tried some inspirational content. Worked in some half-hearted attempt at something like a "thingy of the month".  But then "it" happened.

What "happened", friends and neighbors, was the punchline to all of the jokes that I've slathered on this space since sometime in 2001.  We have, as a nation, come to realize all of those things that HAD to be coming, based on our patterns, our culture, and our tendencies.

  • We --perhaps not you nor I, but this nation-- elected a guy to a second term as President who is determined to destroy the very fabric that has held us together for a long time.  This nation did so because it was unable to focus on those particular aspects that make us free:  The Bill of Rights and the separation of powers in the three articles of the constitution along with the tenth amendment.    
  • Despite the overwhelming and mind-destroyingly egregious manner in which our rights have been tread upon, NOBODY REALLY MINDS THAT MUCH.  Thus, we find ourselves in the pot of boiling toads that we discussed a long time ago.  Stewing in a roiling, tepid broth, shocked that it has come to this at last...
It was and is, my worst fear.  I'll turn it over to Morpheous:

"I imagine that right now, you feel a bit like Alice?  Tumbling down the Rabbit hole?  I can see it in your eyes.  You have the look of a man who expects what he sees, because he's waiting to wake up.  Ironically, this is not far from the truth.  Do you believe in fate?"  
"No."
"Why not?"
"Because I don't like to believe that I'm not in control of my own life."
"I know EXACTLY what you mean.  Let me tell you why you're here.  You're here because you know something.  What you know, you can't explain.  But you feel it.  You've felt it your entire life.  But there's something wrong with the world.  You don't know what it is.  But it's there...
Like a splinter in your mind.  Driving you mad.  It is that feeling that has brought you to me.
Do you know what I'm talking about?"
"The Matrix."
"Do you want to know...what IT is?   The Matrix is everywhere, it is all around us.  Even now, in this room.  You can see it when you look out your window, or turn on your television.  You can feel it when you go to work.  When you go to church.  When you pay your taxes.  It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth."
"What truth?"
"That you are a slave."
-The Matrix, Neo's second conversation with his liberator

Bile
Overload.

1)  "This is not Vietnam, Smokey.  We have rules here."
What sent me over the edge was a facebook post from that sage, Dan Mainville.  It was a "open mic oopsie" by the current Egyptian government.  I'll give you a few minutes to check this out (watch the vid at the bottom of the story)  http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/06/12/im-very-fond-of-battles-egyptian-cabinet-minister-caught-on-hot-mic-discussing-war-with-enemies-israel-and-america/

This is the latest of many stories that have been dragged across our desk over the past weeks.  It documents, in live television and streaming video, that a nation who we donated $1,300,000,000 to last month is casually referring to us as an "enemy", along with Israel.  Because Ethiopia is building a hydroelectric dam on the Nile.  
Look, I've read Bismarck.  I've taken the command and staff class. I know that we give money to foriegn nations for ACCESS to that country whenever we might need to fly into or over that nation to kick the shit out of someone.  But this is beyond anything.  The people at that table, before they even realized that they were being broadcast live and on TV, "calmly" and resolutely plotted against us.  
Did you see that on any major news network?  I didn't think so.  This sent me over the edge.  Inconsolable.  That's enough, by God...THAT is ENOUGH...

2)  "Dozer, when you're done, take her up to broadcast depth.  We're going in.  I'm taking Neo to see her."

Here it comes.  The slavery that is being pulled over your eyes.  One incident at a time.  Episodically, like a baseball game...
  • "The Administration announced today that Vice President Joe Biden is to lead a task force aimed at increasing gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy."
  • "Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said today that he likes it in the ass, and wants every single service member on active duty to acknowledge his right to enjoy it.  Following his announcement, he sodomized the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff until they liked it.  Any like-minded service member is henceforth free to do the same to his chain of command without any repercussions deriving from existing articles in the Uniform Code of Military Justice."
  • "The White House today confirmed that it changed the Benghazi talking points twelve times before those talking points were released to congress..."
  • "Today, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, along with the Secretary of Defense, call upon all service branches to develop a plan to include females in combat-arms branches of the service, or else prepare to suffer the Spanish Inquisition."
  • "The IRS confirmed that agents targeted right wing applicants for higher scrutiny once they filed for non-profit status."
  • "Right wing organizations confirm today that the IRS questioned them regarding the names of their donors and what they ate last week for lunch."
  • "The Associated Press confirmed today that the Department of Justice sodomized them repeatedly regarding the exact identity of their sources and bludgeoned a FoxNews reporter's civil rights into a bloody pulp in order to make us safer."
  • "Today, the Washington Post confirmed that the NSA is tracking the phone history, emails, and browser history of millions of Americans."
  • "Today the State Department's Office of Inspector General acknowledged that diplomatic security teams repeatedly purchased the services of whores, but were not investigated because they were told to cease and desist."
  • "The Obama Administration announced today deep cuts in the Defense Department as a result of budget sequestration.  Active duty Marines and Sailors immediately commissioned a car wash at the corner of Adobe Ave. and Two-Mile Rd. to raise money for Operations and Maintenance funds to cover training costs for the rest of the Fiscal Year."
  • New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg pays $350,000 to take out ads to admonish Democratic Senators who voted against additional gun control measures.
  • "The Deputy Director of the IRS pleads the fifth today under questioning from the House Oversight Committee."
So, we've managed in the above continuing litany, to emasculate the military culture while besieging the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 10th Amendments. 

There seems to be little freedom of the press or free expression/thought (The IRS hounding of right wing groups and the invasion into the sources of the AP and FoxNews.)

  • Biden is plotting, in his bed right now with Mike Bloomberg, snuggling and whispering post-coitus, various and sundry ways to disarm us.  The state of California is in the process of banning anything that doesn't load from the muzzle.  Chicago surpasses Baghdad in number of deaths due to gun violence over the past twelve months.
  • The NSA has been granted authority by a judge sitting in a so-called "FISA" court to pull "metadata" from Verizon.  Meanwhile, a former tech from NSA exposes a rather comprehensive plan to pull data from Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Google, and AOL servers.  
Here's the problem.  Despite all of this, there has been no independent counsel appointed, there are not armies of congressional investigators marching into the State Department, looking for the truth about Benghazi and the malfeasance of the diplomatic security details.  No corps of independent counsel questioners goose-stepping into the IRS to get actual records that will indict those responsible for the witch-hunt against conservative Americans.  Not a single peep has been addressed directly to the President about anything of substance, while I desire above all things to see everyone in the West Wing subpoenaed and questioned at length about everything from the Benghazi debacle, to the IRS director's 157 meetings with the President, to what he knew about the Attorney Generals beef with the AP and Fox, to why he is reading this blog right now via PRISM.

 I see no one besides Rand Paul raising a single eye-brow follicle over the NSA's push to know EVERYTHING about EVERYBODY.  I don't see anybody on a national level, outside of the NRA, countering the rank stupidity of that Bloomberg asshole from New York City and the other members of his mayoral circle-jerk.  Through it all, everyone seems okay with just going along, waiting to see how it all comes out in the news.  Meanwhile, the administration sends low-level minions out to answer Congress and the people. 

 Fuck Jay Carney, I want to hear an explanation from the Commander in Chief about why he wants to emasculate the military culture, while restricting the ability of the press to report on the government, while his VP wants to take my guns, and why I don't have an expectation of privacy while I conduct daily business on a cell phone and on my computer.  I'd like him to give a detailed explanation of why the only constitutional amendment mentioned by any member of his administration is the fifth amendment, which was only brought up to avoid telling the truth about why the first and fourth amendment rights of American citizens has been actively violated by the IRS.

It's as if we have all given up, in some cynical overture to the inevitable political cover-up and spin that we've seen in every administration since Kennedy, that the will of the people is irrelevant and will be ignored.

BULLSHIT, people.

This is an assault on the Bill of Rights.  It is as plain as the nose on your face.  It is not racist to decry injustice, just due to the fact that the sitting President is a man of color.  It is never wrong to stand up to this kind of despotism.  Don't let the sheer tonnage of the accusations hanging over this administration distract you from your justifiable moral outrage.

Aristotle pointed out that it is just as vicious to suffer injustice needlessly as it was to be over-sensitive about any perceived transgression.  If one allows the state to trample on his rights without protest, then he is as much to blame as the tyrant doing the trampling.
Read my writing on the wall,
If ignorance is bliss,
Then knock the smile off of my face...
If we don't take action now,
we'll settle for nothing later.
  If we settle for nothing now,
we'll settle for nothing later.
Normally, I end on that kind of a quote.  But not tonight.  This is too vital.  I've been saying this for years but that doesn't matter either.  What I need you all to do, all of you who read this, is to Google the constitution and read it.  You have to read it and the amendments.  You need to inform yourselves of rights that you might be unfamiliar with.  Know them and be very aware of issues that effect them.  Tweet the fucking things (most are well under 140 characters).  Tell your friends.  Share them on your Facebook feed.  SHOUT THESE RIGHTS FROM A THREE STORY WINDOW.  If the above message is too crass, fine.  Don't share it, but for the love of all that is holy, START GETTING PISSED OFF.  Paraphrase it in whatever tone you feel comfortable with. But DO something.  

People who currently sit in seats of inscrutable power need to go to jail for this. 

Not fired.  

Not publicly humiliated.

Not minimum-security detention, but a genuine Federal Pound Me In The Ass facility.  And it needs to happen now.

People, I love each and everyone of you.  It gives me no pleasure to say that your government does not.  They want to enslave you, in the worst way.  They are doing so, easily. And we are going out without as much as a shout, but as sheep being led to slaughter, or worse, as chattel being led to the field to till, return from our labor, consume, surf the monitored web, sleep, and go out and do it all again.  

Please, raise a stink.  Get mad.  Be effective.  Tell somebody.

I remain,
Immundus saecula saeculorum,

Unclean