This is from the Washington Post:
A group of atheists unveiled a monument to their non-belief in God … to sit alongside a granite slab that lists the Ten Commandments in front of the Bradford County [Florida] courthouse.
As a small group of protesters blasted Christian country music and waved “Honk for Jesus” signs, the atheists celebrated what they believe is the first atheist monument allowed on government property in the United States. …
American Atheists sued to try to have the stone slab with the Ten Commandments removed from the courthouse lawn in this rural, conservative town in northern Florida. Their demand was not met, but they were told they could erect their own monument in “what is described as a free–speech zone”.
It ‘s not just a monument, however:
“When you look at this monument, the first thing you will notice is that it has a function. . . we selected to place this monument in the form of a bench,” said David Silverman, president of American Atheists. …
The event – on Saturday June 29, 3013 – made a small stir:
About 200 people attended the unveiling. Most were supportive, although there were protesters, including a group from the Florida League of the South that had signs that said, “Yankees Go Home.” …
After the 1,500-pound granite bench was unveiled, people rushed to have their pictures taken on it. The bench bears quotes from Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the founder of American Atheists. It also has a list of Old Testament punishments for violating the Ten Commandments, including death and stoning.
The event did not pass entirely without drama. A Christian “jumped atop the peak of the monument and shouted his thanks to the atheists for giving him a platform to declare that Jesus is real.” [He isn't - ed.] But “atheists shouted at him, and he stepped down after about a minute”. …
The atheists said they expected protesters.
“There always are,” said Rick Wingrove, director of a Washington, D.C., area office of American Atheists. “We protest their events, they protests our events. As long as everybody’s cordial and let people speak. This is our day, not theirs. We’re fine with them being here.”
Could we now have a monument to non-belief in socialism in the grounds of the White House?
We who counted ourselves luckier than the general run of humankind because we live in the United States of America are no longer standing on firm ground but on shifting sands.
What accustomed ways, what assumptions on which we’ve always relied, what expectations we’ve long held, what values we’ve taken for granted, are not being interrogated anew?
Customs, values, standards, principles – the elements that cement civilization – are being let go, one after another, at ever increasing pace as we are moved away from liberty into serfdom.
Have you relied on custom? On long accepted moral norms? On the probity of public servants? On high standards of medical practice? On the intellectual openness of universities? On the integrity of scientists? On the solidity of old established institutions? On common values of decency, civility, and honesty?
You, we, can do so no longer. The wrecking crew is out. The fundamental transformation of America is underway.
Immense progress in science and technology will not help us because all invention will come under the ever-expanding control of the government and its ideological army of wreckers.
Over what part of our lives, even the most intimate, is government not taking control?
Our freedom of speech has been qualified by political correctness. Certain words are taboo, and it is widely accepted that they ought to be, on the grounds that some might take offense if they hear them.
In almost everything we commonly do, in almost every sphere of normal activity, we find ourselves in a state of uncertainty. So multitudinous are the regulations continually heaped upon us by government that we could be unknowingly breaking the law every hour of every day, in our businesses, our professions, our leisure, our shopping, our travel, or while simply breathing inside our own homes. The hand of government is on our thermostats. Its scolding tongue lashes us if we use more water than it deems necessary to our survival. It tells us what we ought to eat and drink; what we must do with our garbage; what we may not carry on a plane; what we may not move from one state to another. If we unintentionally break an obscure business regulation, we can be raided by an armed SWAT team and heavily fined. If we gather people together at regular intervals in our home to share a common interest we can be sentenced to a term in prison. (The example our link leads to concerns a bible-studying group. We would hate to attend it ourselves, but we defend the freedom of everybody.)
Do not expect the money you earn, save, or invest to keep its value. Our currency is being continually debased. We cannot even be sure that our cash will be safe in a bank. It’s all too possible that government will summarily confiscate it. What happened recently to private deposits in Cyprus banks could happen here – a blatant act of government theft:
According to in-house memos now circulating, the DHS has issued orders to banks across America which announce to them that “under the Patriot Act” the DHS has the absolute right to seize, without any warrant whatsoever, any and all customer bank accounts, to make “periodic and unannounced” visits to any bank to open and inspect the contents of “selected safe deposit boxes”.
We can no longer rely on our title deeds to protect our property tenure. On the grounds of “eminent domain” any real estate, including your own home, can be snatched away by government and handed over to someone else who wants to change its use for his own benefit. In the case of land, the government can declare it subject to environmental laws that make it impossible for its owners to use it as they choose.
Government agencies which many or even most considered irreproachably honorable (if also terrifyingly powerful) – such as and chiefly the Internal Revenue Service – have turned out to be rotten with corruption.
We are surveyed by government all the time. We have come to expect that we cannot make a phone-call 0r send an email that government doesn’t know we made or sent. And government can look at what we said in them at any time it chooses. Under “Obamacare” we cannot have an ingrowing toenail, a terminal disease, a deformity, an embarrassing whatever that untold numbers of persons will not be informed about.
In the matter of our health and “Obamacare”, we do not know how we will pay for medical consultations and treatment in future; what insurance we may have, at what price, or what it will cover.
The political principles on which the Republic was founded are no longer the bedrock of the American nation.
The values our civilization was built on – which are not in any religion but in pre-Christian classical antiquity and the Enlightenment – are no longer esteemed. Worse, they are despised, mocked, and discarded.
Mark Steyn, recognizing the rot, writes of a recent momentous day in the decay of America – June 26, 2013:
First thing in the morning, Gregory Roseman, Deputy Director of Acquisitions (whatever that means), became the second IRS official to take the Fifth Amendment, after he was questioned about awarding the largest contract in IRS history, totaling some half a billion dollars, to his close friend Braulio Castillo, who qualified under a federal “set aside” program favoring disadvantaged groups — in this case, disabled veterans. For the purposes of federal contracting, Mr. Castillo is a “disabled veteran” because he twisted his ankle during a football game at the U.S. Military Academy prep school 27 years ago. How he overcame this crippling disability to win a half-billion-dollar IRS contract is the heartwarming stuff of an inspiring Lifetime TV movie. …
The so-called comprehensive immigration reform is so comprehensive it includes special deals for Nevada casinos and the recategorization of the Alaskan fish-processing industry as a “cultural exchange” program, because the more leaping salmon we have the harder it is for Mexicans to get across the Bering Strait. While we’re bringing millions of Undocumented-Americans “out of the shadows,” why don’t we try bringing Washington’s decadent and diseased law-making out of the shadows?
Just when you thought the day couldn’t get any more momentous, the Supreme Court weighed in on same-sex marriage. When less advanced societies wish to introduce gay marriage, the people’s elected representatives assemble in parliament and pass a law. That’s how they did it in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, etc. But one shudders to contemplate what would result were the legislative class to attempt “comprehensive marriage reform,” complete with tax breaks for Maine lobstermen’s au pairs and the hiring of 20,000 new IRS agents to verify business expenses for page boys from disparate-impact groups. So instead it fell to five out of nine judges, which means it fell to Anthony Kennedy, because he’s the guy who swings both ways. Thus, Supreme Intergalactic Emperor Anthony gets to decide the issue for 300 million people.
As Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben so famously says in every remake, with great power comes great responsibility. Having assumed the power to redefine a societal institution that predates the United States by thousands of years, Emperor Tony the All-Wise had the responsibility at least to work up the semblance of a legal argument. Instead, he struck down the Defense of Marriage Act on the grounds that those responsible for it were motivated by an “improper animus” against a “politically unpopular group” they wished to “disparage,” “demean,” and “humiliate” as “unworthy.”
What stump-toothed knuckle-dragging inbred swamp-dwellers from which hellish Bible Belt redoubt would do such a thing? Well, fortunately, we have their names on the record: The DOMA legislators who were driven by their need to “harm” gay people include notorious homophobe Democrats Chuck Schumer, Pat Leahy, Harry Reid, Joe Biden, and the virulent anti-gay hater who signed it into law, Bill Clinton. …
In his dissent, Justice Scalia wrote that “to defend traditional marriage is not to condemn, demean, or humiliate those who would prefer other arrangements, any more than to defend the Constitution of the United States is to condemn, demean, or humiliate other constitutions.” Indeed. With this judgment, America’s constitutional court demeans and humiliates only its own. …
As I say, just another day in the life of the republic: a corrupt bureaucracy dispensing federal gravy to favored clients; a pseudo-legislature passing bills unread by the people’s representatives and uncomprehended by the men who claim to have written them; and a co-regency of jurists torturing an 18th-century document in order to justify what other countries are at least honest enough to recognize as an unprecedented novelty. Whether or not, per Scalia, we should “condemn” the United States Constitution, it might be time to put the poor wee thing out of its misery.
Hayek warned us that an over-mighty state would put us on “the road to serfdom”. Well, we’ve arrived. We’ve passed the sign at the side of the road saying “Welcome to Serfdom” and we are now in Serfdom itself. It is built on a quagmire of erroneous theory. Serfs may console themselves with an illusion of security, but serfs are not secure; they exist at the whim of their masters.
By the time Islam takes over and imposes sharia law over the whole of North America, we’ll hardly notice any difference.
Afterword: One of our readers and commenters, Roger, laments the drop in standards of personal presentation among his professional colleagues with this description. (Please note we make no judgments of a person by his taste or appearance. We quote this comment because it conveys how some American citizens feel they have strayed into an alien world.)
Yes, our society is changing. I attended a construction “kick-off” meeting yesterday, at which all of the construction “professionals” were present as well as the major trades. This project is for the renovation of a very high end residence, if I mentioned the Client’s name many of you would know the person. The Architect wore an ill fitting suit that looked like it had been piled into a corner of the utility room for weeks, bare feet and flip-flops (on a construction site!) The project manager wore a loose undershirt of the type colloquially known I believe, as a “wife beater”. His entire upper body was covered in multicolored tattoos depicting what seemed to be scenes from robot wars featuring children’s Saturday morning cartoon characters. The representative of one of the mechanical trades wore a patched and worn out dungaree overall and sported a bone through his nose. [They all] wore various metal items in different parts of their faces; earrings, nose rings, lip rings, etc. None seemed in the least bit surprised at the attire of the others. I admit my concentration suffered as I wondered when it was exactly that I had been abducted and brought to this planet, and when the hell could I go home.
Most of us have not only ourselves and our family dependents to support but also a welfare state.
We do not ask ourselves why we support a welfare state rather than let ourselves be supported by it. But perhaps we should.
Fred Reed, a dry-humored iconoclast (with whom we often but not invariably agree), has considered the question and presents “An Approach to Poverty”, which we like and quote. (Read it all here.)
Before I learned about poverty, I was just a country boy from up the holler in West Virginia, with twelve toes, and I guess I didn’t know much. Especially about poverty. When I got to Washington, DC, I decided that I ought to be poor. I just wish I’da started earlier.
It’s a good deal. You get lots of free stuff and you don’t have to work. If I had knowed about poverty when I was fourteen, and what a good thing it was, I’da give up my paper route. I mean, who in his right mind would get up at four-thirty in the morning in January, with eight inches of snow on the ground, and ride across lawns on a bike with four hundred pounds of the Wheeling Intelligencer in a basket, so people could read about crooked politicians and clip grocery coupons? And then I’d catch the school bus.
That teacher lady said I was pretty smart, and she hoped I’d go far, but I reckoned she’da been happy if I just went to the next country over.
When you got out of high school, you had to get a job, and get up mornings even if you didn’t want to, and do something all day that you probably didn’t like. Unless you were poor, and then you could sleep in and do what you wanted all day. I didn’t know it then, though.
Best thing if you want to be poor is to go to Washington, the Yankee Capital, and take up poverty. Then the feddle gummint gives you a house for free. It may not be the best house in the world. You probably don’t have your own swimming pool like a football field. But it’s dry and warm and nothing wrong with it. And in the morning you can get up early, just to appreciate that you don’t have to, and watch all those other people go to work. They got better houses, sure. But they got to sit all day in little square boxes in offices and scratch on pieces of paper. You don’t, if you’re poor.
The gummint gives you Medicaid in case you fall on your head, and Food Stalmps, or really it’s like a credit card, so you can act like one of them high-dollar lawyers that work twenty hours a day and makes a million dollars till they die of a heart attack. Don’t matter. There’s always another waiting in line. You can get roasted chicken at Safeway or Cheetos or anything you want. Or you can sell your Food Stalmps and buy liquor. Or that left-handed tobacco.
The gummint gives you welfare, which is money. See, you get to be poor and have money at the same time. Only America has figured out how to do that. It makes you feel all patriotic, when you wake up at eleven to eat roasted chicken.
Now, welfare ain’t a lot of money. It ain’t a lot of work, either. But it’s enough to live on really good if you think about it. For a couple of hundred dollars you can buy a cheap stereo that lasts forever. Cheap stuff now is a lot better than expensive stuff used to be. Another few hundred gets you a cheap computer that lasts for five years, and internet don’t cost much. You can steal all the music you want. You can get CDs from your friends and copy them. …
Anyhow, after I heard about this and went to Washington to be poor, I met this feller, Git-Some Jukis. … That wasn’t his real name, not Git-Some, but everybody called him that because he had a lot of girlfriends. He was real smart and had a beard and read books He told me he wanted a good education when he got out of high school, but it cost too much. He said being poor was better than a university. It was because when you are poor you have plenty of time to study, and everything you need is free.
Like, there’s the Martin Luther King Public Library on Ninth Street, where you can get any kind of book you want and read it. If you don’t read too good, there’s plenty of ways on the internet to learn if you really want to, but Git-Some could read fine already. He had this thing called a Kindle, that cost about seventy dollars. That’s less than you can sell one bunch of Food Stamps for. And he used to get free books from the internet with it.
The more he talked about it, the more I thought maybe I’d do it too… once I get really settled into poverty. You could go to all the Smithsonian museums, which are free, and read all about any of it on the computer before you went.
And he said you could find all kinds of free music, like classical at the Kennedy Center, and lots of free lectures about interesting stuff, and there was so much of it that getting educated could take up all your time. …
He said someplace called MIT put all its college courses on the internet and he was studying like a steam beaver, and anybody who had the advantage of poverty, and didn’t feel thankful and study and listen to music was just shiftless. He kind of upset me. Momma always told me not to be shiftless.
I thought about it all, and what Git-Some said. I’d always had curiosity about things and I wanted to educate myself, but I never had time because I had to work, like night shift at Kriegstedt’s Amoco on Route 301 in Virginia. Having a job really gets in the way of your poverty. I decided to be like Git-Some. I’d buy me a Kindle with my first Food Stamps and get him to help me. It made me appreciate things.
I always liked America fine. But poverty made me realize what a wonderful great country I lived in.
An American industrialist argues with a French government minister.
The story comes from the left-biased Washington Post, told by Edward Cody:
It is a battle of archetypes: Morry “the Grizz” Taylor, the millionaire American capitalist who owns the tire manufacturer Titan International, has taken on Arnaud Montebourg, a handsome French Socialist and political comer whose evocative government title is minister of productive recovery.
In an unusual public exchange, the two have been trading insults about the work habits of the French, who, according to folklore [and not the facts? - ed], attach more importance to coffee breaks and long, winy lunches than to efficient production. It is an old and entertaining subject but one that has assumed new urgency in the fifth year of an economic crisis affecting France and its European neighbors.
In a letter to Montebourg, Taylor started the battle by saying bluntly that French workers at a tire plant he had visited are overpaid, lazy and coddled by a Socialist government enforcing such legally mandated rights as a 35-hour workweek, five weeks vacation and early retirement. But the biggest problem, Taylor said, is what the workers do, or not, while on the job.
“The French employees get high salaries but only work three hours,” he wrote in the letter, which was made available to the French media this week. “They have an hour for their breaks and their lunches, chat for three hours and work for three hours. I said this in front of French union representatives. They said that’s the way it is in France.”
To which the “political comer” replied with a load of BS and added an irrelevant historical reference in a childish bid to puff up his national pride:
Montebourg shot back that Taylor’s accusations were “as extremist as they are insulting” and revealed “a perfect ignorance of what our country is.” He added: “Do you at least know what La Fayette did for the United States of America?” …
At this point the author of the report, Edward Cody, sees fit to pour what he thinks is justified derision upon Mr Taylor:
Taylor, a 68-year-old arch conservative, ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1996 on a platform summed up in the title of his book “Kill All the Lawyers and Other Ways to Fix the Government.” (Montebourg is a lawyer by profession.) Although he got only about 1 percent of the vote in GOP primaries, Taylor has gone on his merry way buying up dying corporations for profit.
Having got only 1 percent of the vote in the GOP primaries, he should have refrained from carrying on with his business, or refrained from making it profitable? Is Mr Cody unaware that this sentence is a non sequitur as well as a give-away of his absurd leftist mind-set? He seems to believe that you are justified in whatever you do only to the extent that you are voted for. To parody Descartes: “I’m voted for, therefore I can pursue my career.”
Montebourg, 50, who garnered 17 percent of the vote in the Socialist Party’s presidential primaries last year, has positioned himself in President Francois Hollande’s government as an industrial nationalist. … He has advocated protectionist measures to ward off competition from cheap-labor countries such as China and vowed to protect France’s wheezing factories from predatory foreign capitalists by nationalization if necessary.
Good for him. It’s a reliable recipe for making the parlous condition of the French economy even worse.
In any case, the work habits of the French have long been a hot topic here, the subject of jokes but also of such serious discussion that even the Socialist government has tried to reform the labor laws.
So Taylor was not “perfectly ignorant” about them after all.
The conversation has intensified in recent months, as France’s economic growth has flat-lined and factories continue to close, producing a 10 percent unemployment rate. For many economists, a big culprit is the high cost of production — an hour of work is $46 in France, compared with about $30 in the United States.
Despite the discouraging statistics, Taylor’s company tried for several years to buy part of the failing Goodyear tire factory in the northern city of Amiens, intending to abandon general production to specialize in heavy-duty agriculture tires. But the negotiations fizzled because, Taylor charged, French unions made unreasonable demands that were backed by the government.
When Goodyear announced Jan. 31 that it planned to close the plant, putting 1,250 French employees out of work, Montebourg wrote to Taylor suggesting that negotiations might resume on the plan for a partial acquisition. But the American would have none of it.
“Do you think we are that stupid?” he wrote back. “Titan is the one with the money and the know-how to produce tires. What does the crazy union have? It has the French government.”
Bravo, Mr Taylor!
Montebourg retorted that 20,000 foreign companies operate in France, including 4,200 American subsidiaries that employ nearly half a million people and find they can do business just fine. “Far from your statements, which are as ridiculous as they are nasty, all these businesses know and appreciate the quality and the productivity of the French workforce, the commitment, the know-how, the talent and the competence of French workers,” he said.
Unwilling to leave it there, Taylor granted an interview Friday to the French news service Agence France-Presse and fired off another missive to Montebourg by e-mail.
“The extremist,” he told the minister, “is your government and its lack of knowledge on how to build a business.” Relentless, he added: “Since you bring it up, why is unemployment so high in France and especially among young people? It is because of your government’s policies, sir.”
“A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn is not so much a history, more a compendium of complaint. And (therefore) of every Leftist issue you could think of.
(We have written about Zinn before. See our post Zinn writes histories, December 11, 2009.)
The “People” in Zinn’s mind are a totally different species from the “fifty-five privileged white males whose class interest required a strong central government” and so wrote the Constitution and founded the Union. Those same fifty-five privileged white males of a species different from the People have continued to pursue their selfish material interests ever since at the expense of downtrodden masses. These masses, this vast victimized majority (he quotes Shelley at them: “Ye are many; they are few!”), consists of subordinated races, females, persons of minority sexual preferences (he doesn’t call them that), and people who would like to be rich but do not manage to become so (he doesn’t call them that).
Zinn milks pity from his readers (or tries to). He would have you feel bad if you are white, if you are male, if you are “privileged” (ie not poor), and if you are American; but implies over some 700 pages that you can redeem yourself from your badness if you will beat your breast frequently, cry ‘Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!” every day of your life, and join with the complainers in bringing down those fifty-five imperial villains by becoming a violent radical socialist revolutionary or, more comfortably – well, he doesn’t say so in the book because it was published before the Occupy Wall Street movement emerged, but he would have said, by joining it.
Thomas Sowell writes at Townhall:
Schools were once thought of as places where a society’s knowledge and experience were passed on to the younger generation. But, about a hundred years ago, Professor John Dewey of Columbia University came up with a very different conception of education — one that has spread through American schools of education, and even influenced education in countries overseas.
John Dewey saw the role of the teacher, not as a transmitter of a society’s culture to the young, but as an agent of change — someone strategically placed, with an opportunity to condition students to want a different kind of society.
Or to put it another way: indoctrinate students to believe that a much better society – even a perfect one – could be planned and is only not being planned because “corporate interests” (a euphemism for the fifty-five immortals who founded the USA) will not allow it.
A century later, we are seeing schools across America indoctrinating students to believe in all sorts of politically correct notions. The history that is taught in too many of our schools is a history that emphasizes everything that has gone bad, or can be made to look bad, in America — and that gives little, if any, attention to the great achievements of this country.
If you think that is an exaggeration, get a copy of “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn and read it. As someone who used to read translations of official Communist newspapers in the days of the Soviet Union, I know that those papers’ attempts to degrade the United States did not sink quite as low as Howard Zinn’s book.
That book has sold millions of copies, poisoning the minds of millions of students in schools and colleges against their own country. But this book is one of many things that enable teachers to think of themselves as “agents of change,” without having the slightest accountability for whether that change turns out to be for the better or for the worse — or, indeed, utterly catastrophic.
This misuse of schools to undermine one’s own society is not something confined to the United States or even to our own time. It is common in Western countries for educators, the media and the intelligentsia in general, to single out Western civilization for special condemnation for sins that have been common to the human race, in all parts of the world, for thousands of years.
Meanwhile, all sorts of fictitious virtues are attributed to non-Western societies, and their worst crimes are often passed over in silence, or at least shrugged off by saying some such thing as “Who are we to judge?”
Even in the face of mortal dangers, political correctness forbids us to use words like “terrorist” when the approved euphemism is “militant.” Milder terms such as “illegal alien” likewise cannot pass the political correctness test, so it must be replaced by another euphemism, “undocumented worker.”
Some think that we must tiptoe around in our own country, lest some foreigners living here or visiting here be offended by the sight of an American flag or a Christmas tree in some institutions. …
American schools today are … undermining American society as one unworthy of defending, either domestically or internationally.
Which reminds us of what happened to Rome when it took on Christianity, the first Mea Culpa creed in history.
Yesterday, by a majority of 1,057,148* (a figure we have just derived from the Drudge Report), Americans chose to give up liberty by re-electing the socialist Islam-lover Barack Obama to the presidency.
And so “government of the people, by the people, for the people” is perishing, contrary to President Lincoln’s hope.
It is no wild exaggeration but a sober truth that Obama prefers to govern in the manner of a tyrant, against liberty in principle, and destructive of it in practice.
Thomas Sowell gives a few of many possible examples of Obama’s contempt for American Constitutional democracy:
The checks and balances of the Constitution have been evaded time and time again by the Obama administration, undermining the fundamental right of the people to determine the laws that govern them, through their elected representatives.
You do not have a self-governing people when huge laws are passed too fast for the public to even know what is in them.
You do not have a self-governing people when “czars” are created by Executive Orders, so that individuals wielding vast powers equal to, or greater than, the powers of Cabinet members do not have to be vetted and confirmed by the people’s elected representatives in the Senate, as Cabinet members must be.
You do not have a self-governing people when decisions to take military action are referred to the United Nations and the Arab League, but not to the Congress of the United States, elected by the American people, whose blood and treasure are squandered.You do not have a self-governing people when a so-called “consumer protection” agency is created to be financed by the unelected officials of the Federal Reserve System, which can create its own money out of thin air, instead of being financed by appropriations voted by elected members of Congress who have to justify their priorities and trade-offs to the taxpaying public.
You do not have a self-governing people when laws passed by the Congress, signed by previous Presidents, and approved by the federal courts, can have the current President waive whatever sections he does not like, and refuse to enforce those sections, despite his oath to see that the laws are faithfully executed.
Barack Obama … has refused to carry out sections of the immigration laws that he does not like, unilaterally creating de facto amnesty for those illegal immigrants he has chosen to be exempt from the law. The issue is not — repeat, NOT — the wisdom or justice of this President’s immigration policy, but the seizing of arbitrary powers not granted to any President by the Constitution of the United States.
You do not have a self-governing people if President Obama succeeds in having international treaties under United Nations auspices govern the way Americans live their lives, whether with gun control laws or other laws. …
The desire to circumvent the will of the American people was revealed even more ominously when Barack Obama said to Russian President Medvedev – when he thought the microphone was off – that, after he is reelected and need never face the voters again, he can be more “flexible” with the Russians about missile defense.
There are other signs of Obama’s contempt for American Constitutional democracy, but these should be more than enough. Dare we risk how far he will go when he never has to face the voters again, and can appoint Supreme Court justices who can rubber stamp his power grabs?
A majority of 1,057,148 chose to force the nation to risk it.
America is no longer the political embodiment of the idea of liberty.
Thomas Sowell ends by asking rhetorically –
Will this still be America in 2016?
* Later numbers of popular and electoral college votes may be found here.
Environmentalists “refuse to look at or admit the existence of the carnage they have created and continue to perpetuate worldwide.”
So writes Robert Zubrin in an article at PJ Media.
He contends that more people have died as a result of the environmental movement than at the hands of the most extreme mass-murdering dictators. In fact, he argues, millions of those deaths in the dictatorships have been caused, indirectly, by the environmental movement.
How good is his case?
Let’s look at the record.
Some of the worst atrocities can be laid at the feet of the population control ideologues such as Paul Ehrlich and his co-thinkers who argued — in direct contradiction to historical fact — that human well-being is inversely proportional to human numbers. As a result of their agitation, since 1966 U.S. foreign aid and World Bank loans to Third World countries have been made contingent upon those nations implementing population control programs. In consequence, over the past four decades, in scores of countries spanning the globe from India to Peru, tens of millions of women have been … subjected to involuntary sterilizations or abortions, often under very unsafe conditions, with innumerable victims suffering severe health effects or dying afterwards.
We are against foreign aid. But we are even more against the forced reduction of populations by “population control programs” including compulsory abortion and sterilization.
Ehrlich also called for the United States to create a Bureau of Population and Environment which would have the power to issue or deny permits to Americans to have children. While rejected here, this idea was adopted by the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party, who were convinced of the necessity of such measures by the writings of the Club of Rome* after these were plagiarized and republished in China under the name of one of its top officials. Thus was born China’s infamous “one-child policy,” which has involved not only hundreds of millions of involuntary abortions and forced sterilizations, but infanticide and the killing of “illegal children” on a mass scale.
There have been tens of millions of cases of murder-by-default: people being allowed to die by keeping from them a remedy for fatal disease:
The anti-technology wing of the antihuman movement also has its share of human extermination to account for. …
… by getting governments to ban the highly effective pesticide DDT – not always for scientific reasons, but precisely because it saves lives:
To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT. It has contributed to the great increase of agricultural productivity, while sparing countless humanity from a host of diseases, most notably perhaps, scrub typhus and malaria. Indeed, it is estimated that in little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million deaths due to malaria that would otherwise have been inevitable. But the role of DDT in saving half a billion lives did not positively impress everyone. On the contrary, as Alexander King, the co-founder of the Club of Rome put it in his 1990 biography, “my chief quarrel with DDT … is that it has greatly added to the population problem.” …
Scientific arguments were also used, for instance that DDT endangered birds. To these lunatics (what else can one call them?), the preservation of bird life was more important than the preservation of human life.
Rachel Carson … in her 1962 book, Silent Spring, … made an eloquent case that DDT was endangering bird populations.
Which wasn’t even true:
This was false. In fact, by eliminating their insect parasites and infection agents, DDT was helping bird numbers to grow significantly. No matter. Using Carson’s book and even more wild writing by Ehrlich (who in a 1969 Ramparts article predicted that pesticides would cause all life in the Earth’s oceans to die by 1979), a massive propaganda campaign was launched [in the US] to ban DDT.
The EPA – not yet the storm-trooper arm of a dictatorial administration as it has now become – carried out an investigation into the effects of the pesticide:
In 1971, the newly formed Environmental Protection Agency responded by holding seven months of investigative hearings on the subject, gathering testimony from 125 witnesses. At the end of this process, Judge Edmund Sweeney issued his verdict: “The uses of DDT under the registration involved here do not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds, or other wildlife. … DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man.”
But dedicated environmentalists are never put off by facts:
No matter. EPA administrator William Ruckelshaus (who would later go on to be a board member of the Draper Fund, a leading population control group), chose to overrule Sweeney and ban the use of DDT in the United States.
Subsequently, the U.S. Agency for International Development adopted regulations preventing it from funding international projects that used DDT. Together with similar decisions enacted in Europe, this effectively banned the use of DDT in many Third World countries. By some estimates, the malaria death toll in Africa alone resulting from these restrictions has exceeded 100 million people, with 3 million additional deaths added to the toll every year.
The harm done by the EPA, itself a creation of the environmental movement, has not been limited to stopping DDT. It is no coincidence that U.S. oil production, which had been growing at a rate of 3 percent per year through the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, peaked in 1971, immediately after the EPA’s creation, and has been declining ever since. In 1971, the U.S. produced 9.6 million barrels of oil per day (mpd). Today we are down to 5.6 mpd. Had we continued without environmentalist interference with our previous 3 percent per year growth in the period since — as the rest of the non-OPEC world actually did — we would today be producing 35 mpd, and the world economy would not be groaning under the extremely regressive tax represented by $100 per barrel oil prices. The environmentalist campaign against nuclear power has made its promise for plentiful, cheap electricity impossible as well.
The genocidal effect of such support for energy price-rigging should not be underestimated. Increasing the price of energy increases the price of all other products. It is one thing to pay $100 per barrel for oil in a nation like the USA which has an average income of $45,000 per year. It is quite another to pay it in a Third World country with an average income of $1500 per year. An oil price stiff enough to cause recession in the advanced sector can cause mass starvation among the world’s poor.
While we think the phrase “genocidal effect” is not well chosen, we follow Dr. Zubrin’s argument.
Again, the evil that he accuses environmentalists of is choosing not to allow the saving of lives that could be saved:
European greens also have much horror to account for, notably through their campaign against genetically modified crops. Hundreds of millions of people in the Third World today suffer from nutritional deficiencies resulting from their cereal-dominated diets. This can now readily be rectified by employing genetically enhanced plants, such as golden rice, which is rich in vitamin A. Other genetically modified crops offer protection against iron or other vitamin deficiency diseases, dramatically increased yields, self-fertilization, and drought or insect resistance. But as a result of political pressure from the green parties, the European Union has banned the import of crops from countries that employ such strains, thereby blackmailing many governments into forbidding their use. In consequence, millions of people are being unnecessarily blinded, crippled, starved, or killed every year.
Taken together, these campaigns to deny billions of people the means to a decent existence have racked up a death toll exceeding that achieved by Hitler, Stalin, Mao, or any of the other tyrants whose crimes fill the sordid pages of human history.
*And here is a very important footnote that explains how and why environmentalists decided to exploit pollution, global warming, and famine in order to make a case for global unification [ie for world government] as long as the earth is peopled, but also against the human race, which they perceive as the planet’s enemy. What their ultimate aim is – whether absolute power over the human species or its total annihilation – is not clear. Is preservation of the environment the pretext for, or the goal of world government? Perhaps they are not sure themselves.
The Club of Rome raised considerable public attention with its report Limits to Growth … It predicted that economic growth could not continue indefinitely because of the limited availability of natural resources, particularly oil. …
Mankind at the Turning Point was accepted as the official Second Report to the Club of Rome in 1974. … [It claimed] that many of the factors [affecting the environment] were within human control and therefore that environmental and economic catastrophe were preventable or avoidable. …
In 1993, the Club published The First Global Revolution. According to this book, divided nations require common enemies to unite them, “either a real one or else one invented for the purpose.” Because of the sudden absence of traditional enemies, “new enemies must be identified. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. … All these dangers [to the planet] are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.”
… for they, the International Communist Dictators of the United Nations, shall inherit the earth.
They, the ICDs of the UN, and their collaborator-in-chief Barack Obama, plan to bring about world-government through environment and species protection.
In fact, the appearance and disappearance of species can no more be controlled by human beings – even such super-beings as the ICDs of the UN – than can climate and the weather.
According to Wikipedia, “A typical species becomes extinct within 10 million years of its first appearance although some species, called living fossils survive virtually unchanged for hundreds of millions of years. Most extinctions have occurred naturally, prior to Homo sapiens walking on Earth: it is estimated that 99.9% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct.”
Alan Caruba writes at Canada Free Press:
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was passed in 1973 at the height of the period in which Congress became enthralled with any legislation purported to save the planet and to regulate anything and everything that had to do with the environment. It is a complete failure.
In 1999, Jamie Rappaport Clark, then the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), told a congressional committee that “… in 25 years of implementing the ESA, we have found that designation of ‘official’ critical habitat provides little additional protection to most listed species … ”
Why then did the Associated Press report in September 2011 that “The Obama administration is taking steps to extend new federal protections to a list of imperiled animals … from the melodic golden-winged warbler and slow-moving gopher tortoise, to the slimy American eel and tiny Texas kangaroo rat”?
The Obama FDS “… issued decisions advancing more than 500 species toward … new protections under the Endangered Species Act.” Among the species selected for protection were 35 snails from Nevada’s Great Basin, 82 crawfish from the Southeast, 99 Hawaiian plants and “a motley cast of butterflies, birds, fish, beetles, frogs, lizards, mussels and more from every corner of the country.”
The answer is that the ESA was never about endangered species. It is a blunt instrument of environmental groups and those within the federal government to delay development anywhere in the nation. Almost 1,400 species on the government’s list are listed as “threatened” and none of them can be expected to avoid extinction, a natural process that cannot be impeded by human intervention. …
Recall the outcry two decades ago that spotted owls were on the brink of extinction. The resulting action to protect them shut down a great swath of the timber industry in the northwest. It turned out that barred owls were preying on their cousins, again a natural competition between species. The Obama administration wants to set aside millions of acres to protect the spotted owl and to authorize the killing of barred owls!
The plan … has nothing to do with spotted or barred owls and everything to do with attacking the timber industry in the same fashion it is attacking the coal and oil industry. It is an attack on the nation’s economic maintenance and growth.
Little known is the fact that the government compensates the legal fees of environmental groups that bring action to get a particular species designated as “threatened” or “endangered.” It is a scheme … that has nothing to do with the question of extinction and everything to do with setting aside vast parts of the nation from any development or use.
Which greatly assists the implementation of the UN’s “Agenda 21″. This collectivist, world-government program, already being put into practice by left-dominated local authorities all over the US, aims to herd people into small living-units in cities and return as much of the developed countryside as possible to wilderness. Watch out for the surreptitious advance of the scheme in your own area.
See our posts: Beware “Agenda 21″, June 24, 2011; The once and new religion of earth-worship, October 27, 2011; Agenda 21: the “smart growth” conspiracy, November 21, 2011; Three eees for environmental equalizing economics, December 4, 2011; Prepare to be DICED, March 23, 2012.
In 2006, California had the second-highest number of endangered species — from the California condor to the Delhi sands fly. It led the lower 48 states in acres of officially designated critical habitat with nearly twenty percent of approximately 100 million acres in the regulatory clutches of the FWS. It will cost California millions in lost revenue, particularly from its agriculture sector which feeds much of the rest of the nation.
In 2006, a federal judge halted a $320 million irrigation project in Arkansas for fear it might disturb the habitat of the ivory-billed woodpecker that many believed had already gone extinct. The National Wildlife Federation and the Arkansas Wildlife Federation had sued the Army Corps of Engineers, to stop a project to build a pumping station that would draw water from the White River. Among their claims was that the noise from the station would cause the woodpeckers stress!
The author rightly concludes:
The only species that is endangered is the human species as environmental organizations continue to deny access and use of American land needed for growing crops, raising livestock, and building any new improvements … that would contribute to the welfare of the human inhabitants of planet Earth.
Not only is the ESA a huge bureaucratic failure, it is testimony to the arrogance and evil intent of the environmental movement to harm any form of economic activity and growth in America.
The UN must be destroyed.
This video is an overview of an excellent course in 10 parts. It teaches how the Muslim Brotherhood is pursuing its agenda in the US, which is to infiltrate the institutions of American democracy and penetrate the highest echelons of government, in order to spread totalitarian sharia law, and advance towards the establishment of a caliphate as a dominating global power.
It shows that even the Republican Party is being subverted by Muslim Brotherhood agents, most notably Grover Norquist, whose tax-cutting ideas are good, but whose affiliation to America’s worst enemy is evil and needs to be exposed.
It shows how “useful idiots” in the military and security services are helping the Muslim Brotherhood achieve its aims.
Learn more about it, or take the whole course free of charge, here.
Sex Aversion 35
Following on from our post Childlessness (April 30, 2012), we quote today from an article about a spreading aversion to sex. It is by Spengler, writing in the Asia Times:
A Japanese government study [shows that] almost a third of Japanese boys aged 16-19 and three-fifths of girls say that they have no interest in sex. …
The hormones of late adolescence evidently rage in vain against some cultural barrier that makes young Japanese “despise” sexual relations. …
For 60 years, the sexual revolution insisted that repressed desire is the root of all evil. It turns out that the ultimate victim of the sexual revolution is sex itself.
What makes the Japanese hate sex? The same things that make a growing proportion of Americans hate sex. Joan Sewell’s 2007 book I’d Rather Eat Chocolate became the manifesto of American women who don’t like sex …
Pharmaceutical companies are racing to market a pill to revive fading female libido, to no avail: women do not want to be sex objects, and a culture that objectifies women will make them hate sex …
Japan is a step ahead of the United States, as the first industrial country to bring sadism and pedophilia into the mainstream. … A streak of cruelty pervades Japanese culture … But the West has begun to embrace cruelty in sexual relations on a scale comparable to Japan, and the consequences most likely will be identical.
For example: Fifty Shades of Grey [by E L James], the adult version of the Twilight vampire-and-werewolf series, has become a soccer-mom bestseller. Now we know what the original, adolescent version was about, namely sadism and submission. What is it that makes adolescent girls crave sexual control and degradation? Evidently, it is the same thing that prompts their mothers to buy heavy-breathing pulp versions of the same thing in more explicit form.
After half a century of sexual revolution – otherwise known as objectification – women suffer en masse from the sexual equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome, identification with their tormentors, as a number of popular commentators observe. After a quarter-million e-book downloads, Viking Press has just paid a seven-figure advance to … E L James, an Englishwoman who initially posted the manuscript as bondage porn on a Twilight fan fiction site under the screen-name “SnowqueensIcedragon”. In the original, still available online, little Bella of the Twilight books is deflowered not by her vampire boyfriend, but by a billionaire sadist instead, and becomes his adoring sex slave. …
The Austrian novelist Elfriede Jelinek … got the 2004 Nobel Prize in literature for explicit portrayals of sexual violence, but with literary pretensions. Jelinek … is an Austrian communist who politicizes domination. …
Why are so many American women fascinated by sexual cruelty? The answer is that the prevailing regime of sexual objectification already carries with it the experience of cruelty. For adolescent girls, the replacement of courtship by “hooking up” with “friends with benefits” is a cruel prospect.
Somehow that doesn’t seem an adequate explanation. Cruel prospects might be expected to invoke a yearning for happier ones, not an appetite for reading about cruelty.
Even though only three out of ten American teenagers aged 13 to 16 are sexually active, the options available to adolescent girls are narrowly defined. Adolescent boys are monsters, as anyone who has been one, or known one, can attest, and to require adolescent girls to engage in sexual activity of any kind with such creatures is horrifying. The considerate and courteous young vampire of the Twilight books is a cavalier by comparison.
Freud’s question, “What do women want?,” showed what an ideologically-driven fanatic he was. Women want what every human being wants, which is to be unique, and to be loved for their uniqueness. With rare exceptions, human beings become unique by bearing and raising children: a child can have only one mother. Women are unique as mothers, and men are lifted above their animal instincts by their attachment to the mother of their children.
The moment we separate sexuality from child-bearing, we turn women into generic sexual objects, which makes it impossible for them to obtain what they want, because sexual objects are generic. The one thing you know with 100% certainty about any woman you see, supermodels included, is that some man, somewhere, is tired of sleeping with her. If women cannot control men by bearing their children, what other means to they have to control them? We find the answer in the sudden popularity of dominant-submissive fantasies.
The dominant “master of the universe” in EL James’ story can be controlled by his own need to dominate, for the submissive female heroine has something that he needs in addition to generic sexuality. …
The controller is controlled by the woman he controls? Control, control. Women liberationists, are you listening?
The stylized sexual games that EL James recounts become a creepy substitute for actual courtship. Like the romance novel hero, who must pay court to the female lead, the “master of the universe” must pay prolonged attention to the female lead in preparation for sexual acts. Romance fiction requires a suspension of disbelief that is increasingly precarious in a culture of sexual exploitation. The dominant-submissive fantasy is more credible.
The sudden popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey portends the death of America’s libido. I cannot speak from personal experience, but the paradox of domination … surely applies to the ritualistic cruelty described in this silly book and its sequels. After the initial frisson has passed, repetition of the same handcuffs-and-riding-crop routine must become unspeakably boring over time. …
And when perversion fails to titillate, nothing at all will. Like Japanese women, who encountered mainstream sexual violence and now eschew sex altogether, American women will have a great deal less sex and a great deal more chocolate.
All the signs are there. … American women will follow their Japanese sisters into asexuality, and if women become sufficiently disgusted with men, men will become disgusted with themselves.
But then again, much of that diagnosis may be just psychobabble. The ingestion of chemicals could be to blame:
There might be a simpler explanation for the disappearance of Japan’s libido. Between 1998 and 2003, sales of anti-depressants in Japan quintupled …
Prozac is well known to cause sexual dysfunction, along with general calming. Maybe the attack on depression and hyperactivity is affecting aggression, violence, crime, and many other antisocial behaviors. … Maybe America and other nations are prescribing themselves a gradual but gigantic and deadly loss of libido.
Whether it is due to disgust at the misery of their circumstances, or the side-effect of drugs intended to dull the misery of their circumstances, women are abandoning sexuality.
When human beings cease to desire each other physically, it is because they have ceased to desire each other at all. The things that motivate human beings to unite in intimate and permanent union, procreating and acculturating another generation, give way to the pure exercise of ego.
No, no: “pure ego” is being denied. What is the evolutionary use of sexual desire? The only discernible purpose our biology provides for us is to reproduce. As a biologist once put it: “The only reason an egg gives birth to a chicken is to ensure that there will be another egg.”
But we agree with the main point: promiscuous sex is lonely, sterile, boring, purposeless, destructive of dignity and self-respect, and terminally bad for human beings both individually and as the human race.
The typical [not quite - JB] American household no longer harbors a family but a person living alone. As Eric Klinenberg reports in his much-commented new book Going Solo, 28% of all American households now contain a single person, compared to just 9% in 1950.
Klinenberg, to be sure, thinks this is wonderful; his typical “Singleton” lives in Manhattan, hangs out at the local sushi bar and coffee shop, swims in a rich cultural current, and devotes himself to the grand diversion of the age, namely “self-realization”, which is easier to pursue in the absence of another self that might make competing demands.
In another 20 years or so, though, the self-sufficient singles of American cities will emulate the kodokushi (“lonely death”) victims of Japan, another much-commented 21st-century phenomenon. … Kodokushi clean-up has become a minor industry:
In the 1990s … the owner of a small moving company in Osaka, Japan, began noticing that many of his jobs involved people who had just died. Families of the deceased were either too squeamish to pack up for their dead relatives, or there wasn’t any family to call on. So [he] started a new business cleaning out the homes of the dead. Then he started noticing something else: thick, dark stains shaped like a human body, the residue of liquids excreted by a decomposing corpse.
That is the end that enlightened secular culture has prefigured for us …: to leave no trace of our mortal existence except for a grease-stain on the carpet.
A sickening image, a pathetic fate.
But we don’t like his putting in the word “secular”. His implication is that lack of religious belief underlies or directly causes this vast disillusionment and lapse into hopeless futility. What does religion offer as a counter? A purpose beyond this world, this life? It is in this world, this life that we need happiness and fulfillment. There is no other.
(Hat tip for the link, reader and commenter rogerinflorida.)