The point of no return 3

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James Hankins and Allen C. Guelzo … noted in the first chapter of Where Next?: Civilization at the Crossroads thatCivilization is always threatened by barbarism, and the greater threat often comes more from within than from without.”

The political philosopher James Burnham made a similar point when he argued thatSuicide is probably more frequent than murder as the end phase of a civilization.”

The historian Arnold Toynbee spoke in this context of the “barbarization of the dominant minority.” When a society is robust and self-confident, Toynbee suggested, cultural influence travels largely from the elites to the proletariats. The elites furnish social models to be emulated. The proletariats are “softened,” Toynbee said, by their imitation of the manners and morals of a dominant elite. But when a society begins to falter, the imitation proceeds largely in the opposite direction: the dominant elite is coarsened by its imitation of proletarian manners. Toynbee spoke in this context of a growing “sense of drift,” “truancy,” “promiscuity,” and general “vulgarization” of manners, morals, and the arts. The elites, instead of holding fast to their own standards, suddenly begin to “go native” and adopt the dress, attitudes, and behavior of the lower classes. Flip on your television, scroll through social media, look at the teens and pre-teens in your middle-class neighborhood. You will see what Toynbee meant by “barbarization of the dominant [or, rather ‘once-dominant’] minority.” One part of the impulse is summed up in the French phrase nostalgie de la boue. But it is not “mud” that is sought so much as repudiation. …

What we are talking about is the drift, the tendency of our culture. And that is to be measured not so much by what we permit or forbid as by what we unthinkingly accept as normal. This crossroads, that is to say, is part of a process, one of whose markers is the normalization of the outré.  Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan described this development as “defining deviancy down.” It is, as the late columnist Charles Krauthammer observed, a two-way process. “As part of the vast social project of moral leveling,” he wrote, it is not enough for the deviant to be normalized. The normal must be found to be deviant. . . . Large areas of ordinary behavior hitherto considered benign have had their threshold radically redefined up, so that once innocent behavior now stands condemned as deviant. Normal middle-class life then stands exposed as the true home of violence and abuse and a whole catalog of aberrant acting and thinking.”

Hilaire Belloc espied the culmination of this process in Survivals and New Arrivals (1929):

When it is mature we shall have, not the present isolated, self-conscious insults to beauty and right living, but a positive coordination and organized affirmation of the repulsive and the vile.” …

Jean Raspail’s Camp of the Saints (1973) … imagines a world in which Western Civilization is overrun and destroyed by unfettered Third-World immigration. It describes an instance of wholesale cultural suicide … Conspicuous in that apocalypse is the feckless collusion of white Europeans and Americans in their own supersession. They faced an existential crossroads. They chose extinction, laced with the emotion of higher virtue, rather than survival. …

In 1994, Irving Kristol wrote an important essay called Countercultures. In it, he noted that “‘Sexual liberation’ is always near the top of a countercultural agenda—though just what form the liberation takes can and does vary, sometimes quite widely.” The costumes and rhetoric change, but the end is always the same: an assault on the defining institutions of our civilization. “Women’s liberation,” Kristol continues, “is another consistent feature of all countercultural movements—liberation from husbands, liberation from children, liberation from family. Indeed, the real object of these various sexual heterodoxies is to disestablish the family as the central institution of human society, the citadel of orthodoxy.”

In Eros and Civilization (1966), the Marxist countercultural guru Herbert Marcuse provided an illustration of Kristol’s thesis avant la lettre. Railing against “the tyranny of procreative sexuality,” Marcuse urged his followers to return to a state of “primary narcissism” and extolled the joys of “polymorphous perversity.” Are we there yet?  … Marcuse sought to enlist a programmatically unfruitful sexuality in his campaign against “capitalism” and the cultural establishment: barrenness as a revolutionary desideratum. Back then, the diktat seemed radical but self-contained, another crackpot effusion from the academy. Today, it is a widespread mental health problem, accepted gospel preached by teachers, the media, and legislators across the country. As I write, the National Women’s Law Center has just taken to Twitter to declare that “People of all genders need abortions.” How many things had to go wrong for someone, presumably female, to issue that bulletin? “All genders,” indeed. I recall the observation, attributed to Voltaire, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

In The Catholic Tradition and the Modern State”(1916), the historian Christopher Dawson wrote, “It is not liberty, but power which is the true note of our modern civilization. Man has gained infinitely in his control over Nature, but he has lost control over his own individual life.” I think this is true. And there is a political as well as a technical or scientific dimension to the phenomenon Dawson describes.

[It may be true, but the underlined sentence is annoyingly badly written. When “Man” is used  as a generic term, “he” cannot be said to have an “individual life”. A better formulation of the idea Dawson is trying to express: Humankind has gained greatly in control over Nature, but individuals have lost control over their own lives.]

In the West, what we have witnessed since the so-called “Progressive” movement of the 1910s and 1920s is the rise of a bureaucratic elite that has increasingly absorbed the prerogatives of power from legislative bodies. In the United States, for example, Article I of the Constitution vests all legislative power in Congress. For many decades, however, Americans have been ruled less by laws duly enacted by their representatives in Congress and more by an alphabet soup of regulatory agencies. The members of these bodies are elected by no one; they typically work outside the purview of public scrutiny; and yet their diktats have the force of law. Already in the 1940s, James Burnham was warning about the prospect of a “managerial revolution” that would accomplish by bureaucracy what traditional politics had failed to produce. Succeeding decades have seen the extraordinary growth of this leviathan, the unchecked multiplication of its offices and powers, and the encroaching reach of its tentacles into the interstices of everyday life. We are now, to an extent difficult to calculate, ruled by this “administrative state”, the “deep state”,  the “regulatory state”.

When in September 2020 the World Economic Forum at Davos announced its blueprint for a “Great Reset” in the wake of the worldwide panic over COVID-19, a new crossroads had been uncovered. Never letting a crisis go to waste, the Davos initiative was an extensive menu of progressive, i.e., socialistic imperatives. Here at last was an opportunity to enact a worldwide tax on wealth, a far-reaching (and deeply impoverishing) “green energy” agenda, rules that would dilute national sovereignty, and various schemes to insinuate politically correct attitudes into the fabric of everyday life. All this was being promulgated for our own good, of course. But it was difficult to overlook the fact that the WEF plan involved nothing less than the absorption of liberty by the extension of bureaucratic power.

Kimball’s idea is that we are now  at a point – a “crossroads”, or a fork in the road – where we have a choice to make: restore and preserve Western civilization, OR let it die.

I do not think we have that choice. “The drift, the tendency of our culture” has gone too far in the direction of “the repulsive and the vile” to be stemmed and diverted back to “right living”. Western Civilization  has been “overrun and destroyed by unfettered [unobstructed] Third-World immigration”.

We are at – we have have passed the point of no return.

 

Jillian Becker    December 12, 2022

Conservatism now 5

In the January 2022 issue of The New Criterion there is a debate about conservatism, its “merits and limitations”, its “proper meaning and vocation”.

The main difference of opinion is over whether conservatism needs to be focused more or less on “the common good”.  The argument – as always between thinkers on the same side of a wide political-philosophical division – is significant to those pursuing it, but likely to seem slight to the unengaged.

There is broad agreement that conservatism is struggling to survive.

The triumph of anti-conservatism  is undeniable. In Michael Anton’s essay, he gives an account of how the enemies of conservatism on the Left have ruined our institutions and every aspect of our culture. We think his horrifying description of the wreck is true. To the question whether conservatism can recover, he concludes no certain prognosis can be made. While he hasn’t entirely given up hope for it himself, he deplores the failure of his fellow conservatives to recognize the critical condition it is in.

In his introduction to the debate, the editor, Roger Kimball, quotes this by Michael Anton:

If conservatives are right about the importance of virtue, morality, religious faith, stability, character and so on in the individual; if they are right about sexual morality or what came to be termed “family values”; if they are right about the importance of education to inculcate good character and to teach the fundamentals that have defined knowledge in the West for millennia; if they are right about societal norms and public order; if they are right about the centrality of initiative, enterprise, industry, and thrift to a sound economy and a healthy society; if they are right about the soul-sapping effects of paternalistic Big Government and its cannibalization of civil society and religious institutions; if they are right about the necessity of a strong defense and prudent statesmanship in the international sphere—if they are right about the importance of all this to national health and even survival, then they must believe—mustn’t they?—that we are headed off a cliff.

And Kimball comments:

It seems to me that Anton was quite right when he went on to observe that it was “obvious that conservatives don’t believe any such thing, that they feel no such sense of urgency, of an immediate necessity to change course and avoid the cliff”. 

Conservatives, Kimball thinks, should feel such an urgency, such an immediate necessity, and should act to save conservatism from extinction:

Our basic problem … is not so much a poverty of understanding as a paralysis of will. The real problem conservatives face is not in formulating sophisticated principles but in effectively confronting the juggernaut of progressive usurpation. For decades we have been living with the one-way ratchet of liberal imposition. The harvest is a situation in which conservatives are considered legitimate only when they embrace progressive aims. Conservatives, in other words, have conspired in their own eclipse. Meanwhile, the true sources of value—not government but the family, the churches, and our educational institutions—have been twisted out of all recognition. The answer to this tyranny lies not in the framing of better arguments but in the deployment of a more efficacious politics.

We at TAC have an enduring difference of opinion with the majority of our fellow conservatives over religious faith. We do not think that the churches are, ever have been, ever will be or could be a “true source of value”.  We agree with the rest of Anton’s (and Kimball’s) summary of what conservatism is, what is good about it.

Is Kimball right that conservatism as a political force requires urgent action to save it from extinction?

Can it be saved from extinction by any means, or is it doomed?

Posted under Conservatism by Jillian Becker on Saturday, January 1, 2022

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Valuing liberty was not a passing fashion 3

Liberty was not a fad.

Nor were honor, courage, and competence.

But their enduring value is being questioned, somewhat surprisingly by a writer at American Greatness.

American Greatness is a very good website. Articles by such erudite thinkers as Victor Davis Hanson, Roger Kimball, Conrad Black are often posted there. Opinion is conservative – though what conservatism is and should be in these troubled times is earnestly debated.

Recently, in an article titled Living in Another Time and Place, Max Morton expressed the view that conservative values must change to fit the times.

He writes:

The current batch of generals and national security bureaucrats are neither competent nor honorable, certainly not courageous, and America would be better off without the lot of them. Amazingly, shouting “Have you no shame?” in the halls of Congress doesn’t make them want to resign their prized sinecures.

How did we get to the point where the worst among us are now leading us? It is because we, as a nation, failed to hold our elected officials accountable for the state of our government and its institutions.

We assumed (Morton thinks)that our military’s generals and civilian leaders were honorable. But they are not. “We don’t live in that world anymore,” he writes.

Our understanding is that America is a constitutional republic, founded in democratic principles, with a representative government by and for the people. We have been told—or have at some point assumed—that our bureaucratic officials work for the good of the nation and are accountable to the people via our elected representatives. We were led to believe that our originally designed system of checks and balances was a guard against the tyranny that tempts human kind. All of this was true . . . at some point. In other words, this was once a valid American construct.

But he surely cannot mean that something was true only for a time and then stopped being true; he means, and goes on to explain, that a system can work for a time and then not work as it had done.

Pedro Gonzalez, a frequent contributor to American Greatness, wrote in his essay Middle America’s Road to Power: “A fundamental problem with conservatism is that it reflexively seeks to conserve institutions that either don’t exist anymore, or which have been perverted to become hostile to the right.” Gonzalez’s words are the perfect description of the problem of an obsolete construct.

Traditional America is mired in an obsolete construct due to our failure to observe certain substantial changes in our political and cultural environment.  Processing these types of changes is difficult for most people.

Inevitable changes? Impossible to reverse or reform? Changes we must accept? And that’s difficult for most of us (though not for him)?

As examples of such changes he cites the villainy of the FBI and the Department of Justice. The FBI, once trusted to enforce the law, has been caught “framing Trump officials, lying under oath to Congress, falsifying FISA warrants, and generally acting like a corrupt secret police outfit”. And the DOJ, “responsible for oversight of the FBI”, let it all happen and did nothing. And “Trump supporters,” he observes, “couldn’t process the fact that something so foundational to their belief system (the integrity of federal law enforcement) had so significantly changed.”

“Process” it? Or accept that it must be so?

Must we accept that the FBI from now on will be corrupt, and the DOJ will allow, approve of, connive at its corruption?

Many in conservative and traditional America are still arguing and debating “the facts” thinking the other side will listen or care about them and that, this time, they’re going to change minds. Some, still yearning for the old bipartisanship, can’t see that in the construct of present-day America, classical liberalism is dead.

To deal with the dilemmas we now face, we must transport ourselves out of our obsolete construct and into the reality of the moment. We must see the world for what it truly is. We must know both our enemy and ourselves, where we are and where we are going.

We can no longer complain that the other side is not playing by a rulebook they discarded long ago, but to which we still irrationally cling. Instead, we should determine what we stand for, what we want our future to look like, and plot a course to that future understanding, anticipating the resistance we will face along that path. Our road to victory starts when we can see that truth, join with our fellow like-minded citizens and face forward towards the imminent struggle ahead.

“They” discarded the old rulebook, so we must discard it too, conserving nothing? And put what in its place?

Struggle how? Not with integrity? Not with honor, courage, competence? (Surely not with deception, dishonor, cowardice, incompetence?)

Under what system if not one of accountability, with checks and balances to guard against tyranny?

To what goal if not liberty?

If there are better values, what are they? If there can be new kinds of institutions to enforce the law, describe them.

If there can be a better system than that laid down by the Constitution of the United States, what is it?

Posted under liberty, US Constitution by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, October 5, 2021

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The weakening of America 3

Is it all over for America as the world’s one-and-only, unchallengeable, superpower?

Despairing thinkers on the Right think so.

Roger Kimball writes in part at American Greatness:

“Never forget [9/11].” “We remember.”  The sentiment [is] invariably bolstered with reminiscences of loss and heroism.

The loss and the heroism are real, no doubt, but I am afraid that admonitions about remembering seem mostly manufactured. How could they not? Clearly, we have not remembered …

We spent 20 years and trillions of dollars in Afghanistan—for what? To try to coax it into the 21st century and assume the “woke” perspective that has laid waste the institutions of American culture, from the universities to the military?

Certain aspects of that folly seem darkly comic now, such as our efforts to raise the consciousness of the locals by introducing them to conceptual art and decadent Western ideas of “gender equity”. The explicit cost for such gender programs was $787 million; the real cost was much higher because “gender goals” were folded into almost every initiative we undertook in Afghanistan. …

The dissolution of the British Empire—one of the most beneficent and enlightened political forces in history—took place for many reasons … Part of the reason for its dissolution was inner uncertainty, weariness, a failure of nerve. By the middle of the last century, Britain no longer wished to rule: it wanted to be liked.

The promiscuous desire to be liked, for states as much as for individuals, is a profound character flaw. …

When we ask what nurtures terrorists, what allows them to flourish and multiply, one important answer concerns the failure of authority, which is the failure to live up to the responsibilities of power.

Christopher Bedford writes at The Federalist;

How many are willing to confront the deep, decades-long rot that is the actual reason we lost in Afghanistan?

America is sick. …  If we don’t make the choice to confront [that fact] directly, it will kill us.

In his view the decline has been recent and rapid:

If all of these things — that riot and that disease, and the ever present specter of racism — were to disappear right now never to be seen again, this country would still be very, very sick. The United States — our home — would still be feeble compared to five years ago, let alone 10, 15 or 30.

Mark Steyn said in an address to the Gatestone Institute that China’s “moment” has come, and the “transfer” of superpower status has already begun:

We were told a generation or two back that, by doing trade with China, China would become more like us. Instead, on issues such as free speech, we are becoming more like China.

American companies are afraid of offending China. American officials are afraid of offending China. We are adopting Chinese norms on issues such as free speech and basic disagreements with the government of China. …

Everything we need comes from China. China not only gives us the virus, we are also dependent on China to give us the personal protective equipment ‑ all the masks and everything ‑ that supposedly protect us from the virus. …

We’re living in the early stages of a future that is the direct consequence of poor public policy over the last couple of generations. …

Right now, we are witnessing a non‑stop continuous transfer of power to a country that is serious about using that power. This is China’s moment. My great worry is that actually, the transfer to China has already happened. The baton has already been passed. We just haven’t formally acknowledged that yet.

America has been a benign superpower, as was Britain in the nineteenth century.

Communist China will not be benign.

If America’s decadence, its putrid sentimentality, its self-abasement, its effeminization allow China to become the next world-dominating power, the Leftists, the anti-white racists, the “woke” liars and cheats who now rule America will learn too late what “systemic” oppression really is.

Will the rest find that sufficient compensation for the loss of freedom?

The danger of benevolence 4

Christianity impoverished, terrified, tortured, and killed uncountable multitudes. And so does Socialism.

Why then are so many who earnestly desire the happiness of humankind drawn to either or both? Because both advertise benevolence as their purpose. And it sells.

But while many, perhaps most, are seduced by Socialism’s imagined benevolence, its political pimps understand how to use its attractive image to gain the power of government.

Roger Kimball, writing at American Greatness, points out:

The party of benevolence is always the party of big government. The imperatives of benevolence are intrinsically opposed to the pragmatism and common sense that underlie the allegiance to limited government.

And –

For centuries, prudent political philosophers have understood that the lust for equality is the enemy of freedom. That species of benevolence underwrote the tragedy of Communist tyranny. The rise of political correctness has redistributed that lust over a new roster of issues: not the proletariat but the environment, not the struggling masses but “reproductive freedom” [aka abortion on demand – ed.], gay rights, the welfare state, the Third World, diversity training, and an end to racism and xenophobia. … Such attitudes are all but ubiquitous in modern democratic societies. Although of relatively recent vintage, they have spread rapidly.

Socialism “flatters the vanity of those who espouse it”.

Even though it “actually creates more of the poverty and dependence it was instituted to abolish” …

The intoxicating effects of benevolence help to explain the growing appeal of politically correct attitudes about everything from race, sexuality, and “the environment” to the fate of the Third World.

Which is why …

… the consistent failure of statist policies [do] not disabuse the advocates of the statist agenda.

And he asks rhetorically:

Where else are the pleasures of smug self-righteousness to be had at so little cost?

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These signs decorate many front lawns in our heavily Socialist Democrat town:

“Virtue” Boasting

Posted under Christianity, Socialism by Jillian Becker on Saturday, May 22, 2021

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Now the American oligarchy 19

“Welcome to the American oligarchy,” Roger Kimball writes at American Greatness.

Preparation for the new type of regime, he observes, is being done by the military:

Why are there some 21,000 troops and oodles of razor wire in Washington D.C.?

Really, it is an amazing, not to say an ominous, spectacle.

What excuse for it does this type of ruler give the nation?

The ostensible reason for turning the capital of the United States into an armed camp is to protect the mostly virtual inauguration of China’s Big Guy, Joe Biden, against the onslaught of all those “right-wing extremists,” “white supremacists,” etc. that the magical magus Donald Trump is mobilizing through secret “dog whistles” and other shamanistic practices.

As always when a tyranny puts on a show of its might, it claims that it is acting only out of necessity. As always, the necessity is a fiction.

The trouble is, all those “right-wing extremists,” like President Trump’s supposed “incitement” of the crowd at his “Save America” rally on January 6, are a figment of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s addled imaginations. Yes, that meme is assiduously, not to say preposterously, circulated and amplified by the media, social and anti-social alike. But those threatening hordes do not exist.

Just so, the violent mob scene at the Capitol on January 6 was not an “insurrection” or an act of “domestic terrorism” but rather … a political protest that “got out of hand.”

Here’s something else that has got out of hand: the American political order.

Many people, myself included, have been quoting Benjamin Franklin’s response to an inquisitive citizen upon the conclusion of the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention in 1787.

“What sort of government have you given us, Dr. Franklin?”

“A republic, madam, if you can keep it,” was Franklin’s reply.

Well, that’s all over now. Welcome to the American oligarchy.

THE FREE REPUBLIC OF AMERICA IS OVER AND GONE.

The Left has been promising for years to “fundamentally transform,” this country, and now it has done so.

The transformation was accomplished with the election of 2020.

As the years go by, historians, if the censors allow them access to the documents and give them leave to publish their findings, will count the 2016 presidential election as the last fair and open democratic election.

Beginning with the election of 2020, the game was rigged.

I know, I know, we are not supposed to say that, and Twitter, Forbes, Facebook, and other woke guardians of the status quo will frown upon the suggestion.

But every honest person knows that the 2020 election was rigged.

The statistician William M. Briggs has a handy round-up of the evidence. He also makes the commonsense observation, “If a party cheats, and is in charge of investigating accusations of cheating, and if the media calls the cheating a conspiracy theory, and if the rulers move to expel those who question the cheating, as has already happened, then that party will win by virtue of its power.”

That, as he goes on to observe, “is the way power works.”

An evil chance helped the long-striving would-be transformers to succeed:

The forces that rigged the 2020 election had tried before. Hitherto, their efforts had met with only limited success. But a perfect storm of forces conspired to make 2020 the first oligarchic installation of a president.

The evil chance came in the form of a contagious sickness, the Covid-19 virus. Government everywhere, in universal accord, turned an epidemic into a panic, and the panic into an urgency so pressing that it required an abrogation of law.

It would not have happened, I think, absent the panic over the Chinese virus. But that panic, folded in a lover’s embrace by the democratic establishment, was not only a splendid pretext to clamp down on civil liberties, it also provided an inarguable excuse to alter the rules for elections in several key states.

Well, “inarguable” is not quite the right word. There could have been plenty of arguments, and many lawsuits, against the way the executive branch in many states usurped the constitutionally guaranteed prerogative of state legislatures to set the election rules when they intervened to allow massive mail-in voting. But the Trump Administration, though foreseeing and complaining about the interventions, did too little too late to make a difference.

There has been “an unaccountable administrative state for many years” directing and implementing policy, regardless of which party is in power. Through all that time, the continuing existence of the free republic of America has been to a large extent illusory.

The illusion has been possible because …

 … the people do have a voice, but it is a voice that is everywhere pressured, cajoled, shaped, and bullied. They have a choice, but only among a roster of approved candidates.

The central fact to appreciate about Donald Trump is that he was elected without the permission, and over the incredulous objections, of the woke oligarchy that [now openly] governs us.

Representatives of that power tried for four years to destroy Donald Trump. The first mention of impeachment came mere minutes after his inauguration, an event that was met not only by a widespread Democratic boycott and hysterical claims by Nancy Pelosi and others that the election had been hijacked, but also by riots in Washington, D.C. that saw at least six policemen injured, numerous cars torched, and other property destroyed.

Kimball fully appreciates the good that President Trump has done for America:

Donald Trump’s accomplishments as president have been nothing less than stunning. (Here’s a nice summary by a spokesman for the administration.) Trump was, and is, a rude force of nature. He accomplished an immense amount. He lacked one thing. Some say it is self-discipline or patience. I agree with my friend who suggested that Trump’s critical flaw was a deficit in guile.

Yes. President Trump trusted too easily and was betrayed over and over again.

Trump seems never to have discerned what a viper’s nest our politics has become for anyone who is not a paid-up member of The Club [of oligarchs in both political parties].

But Kimball, despite his finding that “the transformation of the United States of America from a republic into an oligarchy” was long in the making and decisive in its recent consummation, seems to think it is temporary. He does not say that the oligarchy will go and the free republic return, but implies it with a prediction that remorse will set in among the oligarchs:

Someday—maybe someday soon—this witches’ sabbath, this festival of scapegoating, and what George Orwell called the “hideous ecstasy” of hate will be at an end. The orgy will end one day and people will be aghast, some will be ashamed, of what they did to the president of the United States and people who supported him …

We think it highly unlikely that the oligarchs will regret anything they are doing to gain power, exact vengeance, and vent their resentment, spite, malice, contempt and fury on Donald Trump.

And on his tens of millions of devoted followers.

They are taking power as the choice of a minority of voters and plainly do not care to win the majority over. It is the tyrants’ pleasure to force those who hate them to obey them.

Seventy-three million problems 3

… with the story that Joe Biden has won the presidency.

Roger Kimball writes at American Greatness:

The Associated Press called the election for Joe Biden a couple of weeks ago. Other news agencies, from the Wall Street Journal and Fox News to CNN, the New Woke Times, and the Washington Post were right there on cue, hailing him the winner. Time, the former news weekly, devoted its cover to Joe Biden, “46th President of the United States.” Twitter was on the case, adding little warning messages to tweets about the election it didn’t like, suspending the accounts of people whose opinions it disagreed with, throttling the ability of those who dissented to broadcast their dissent. Who knows what Google and Facebook are doing with their search results. Some secrets are too deep for the light of day.

And that is my point. The strongest argument for Biden’s victory is not the vote tally. It is the monolithic narrative, pumped up like one of those inflatable play castles at a child’s birthday party. With every passing day, that narrative becomes more boisterous, more assertive, more uncompromising. It is a collective primal scream, emitted with eyes shut and ears plugged.

There is a problem for the narrative, however. Or more to the point, there are 73 million problems. A major concession in the Biden-won-give-it-up-narrative is revealed by the hawkers of the “Unity Now” meme. Let us all come together as one nation, under Joe, and reassert the American normality that has been so sorely missing under the despotic reign of Donald Trump.

No. No, that’s not going to fly, and not only because of the snarling viciousness that attended Donald Trump and his entire administration from the moment he was elected until now. Granted, Democrats are masters of hypocrisy. … They are utterly unembarrassed by double standards. Indeed, they glory in them. …

[Kamala Harris’s] sense of entitlement is unshakable, beyond embarrassment. “When we do it”—go without masks, eat out with friends after telling hoi polloi to stay home, run a private email server for government business, collude with Russians to upset an election, leak classified material, lie under oath, etc.—“It’s OK because—reasons.” …

But glaring hypocrisy is not the only reason that the narrative’s call for unity is failing. There is also its essential fragility. It is loud. It is seamless. It is asserted by all the best and most beautiful people, the really smart ones with fancy degrees, the right attitudes, the impressive ZIP codes. But it is also like an elaborate barque in high winds and choppy seas on a leeward course off a rocky coast.

That coast is the anti-narrative, otherwise known as reality.

The really hard and jagged part of the impinging reality … is the actual vote tally in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Huge anomalies have been alleged in all of those key states. …

Inquiring minds want to know, how is it possible that voter turnout in just those key cities in just those key states was so high: often 90 percent or more? How is it possible that Joe Biden, who barely campaigned, garnered more votes in just those spots than even Barack Obama had done? How is it possible that, as everyone was getting tucked into bed on the night of November 3, Donald Trump had notable leads in almost all of those states and then, suddenly, all at once, in the wee hours, floods of votes poured in and—wouldn’t you know it—they were overwhelmingly, sometimes exclusively, for Biden?

And what about those voting machines from Dominion: are we confident that they are secure?

Aristotle tells us that “Probable impossibilities are to be preferred to improbable possibilities.” Do we have instruments capacious enough to measure the improbabilities that attend Joe Biden’s performance in these key states?

There seems to be a couple of different attitudes towards voter fraud. For some, a little voter fraud is just the cost of doing business. …

That, anyway, is one point of view. But even if one grants that in principle, it seems legitimate to ask, how much voter fraud is OK? I am not aware of any political FDA weighing in and telling us what percentage of the vote can be tainted before it is ruled inadmissible. In this election, hundreds of thousands of votes are alleged to be fraudulent. At the moment, Joe Biden is said to be ahead by some 150,000 votes in Michigan, 80,000 in Pennsylvania, 20,000 in Wisconsin, and 10-12,000 in Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada. What if his standing in a majority of those states were shown to be the result of fraud?

Then there is that stretch of coastline known as election law. The particular rules of our elections are generally entrusted to legislatures of the various states. But in several instances, courts or various executive entities weighed in at the last moment to change the rules about how votes would be counted. Pennsylvania is an especially egregious case. … Election officials clearly violated the law by inspecting mail-in ballots before November 3, in clear defiance of the law, which requires such ballots to be safely kept in “sealed or locked containers” until 7 a.m. on Election Day.

Because of this and other irregularities, a state judge on Friday, finding that mail-in ballot procedures likely violated the Pennsylvania constitution, ordered that Pennsylvania halt the process of certifying the vote. “Petitioners,” Judge Patricia McCollough wrote, “appear to have a viable claim that the mail-in ballot procedures set forth in Act 77 contravene” the law. In a blow to Team Trump, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court vacated Judge McCollough’s order Saturday night, clearing the way for the state to certify the election. Next stop? The Supreme Court of the United States.

Something similar is happening in all the battleground states. Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, part of Trump’s official legal team, are pursuing alleged violations of the law in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and elsewhere. Sidney Powell, an activist lawyer who is not on Trump’s official legal team, has filed suit in Georgia and Michigan, alleging massive voter fraud significant enough to overturn the vote there.

If state legislatures and the courts find the courage to stop the momentum carrying Biden to the White House, if Trump is declared after all to be the legitimate winner of the election, a general strike is threatened, and rioting and arson, murder in the streets, are to be expected.

That outcome is not to be shirked at all costs. It is not worse than the loss of America to the globalist Left. May the executive, led by Donald Trump, have the courage to meet force with force, and defeat the saboteurs, the killers and destroyers, wherever they arise, whatever they do.

***

Here is a clear discussion of Sidney Powell’s case. It demonstrates that Joe Biden has NOT won the presidency. His party is committing a gigantic fraud against the American people and making a mockery of the democratic system:

 

(Hat-tip to our commenter pepaz for the video)

The implacable anger of the ruling class 10

The ruling class of America resents an outsider seizing the levers of power.

The outsider Donald Trump did that, which is the real reason why the ruling class hates him.

That is the view of Roger Kimball, editor of The New Criterion. He writes about it at American Greatness:

Children in the United States are (or at least they used to be) told that in America, anyone can become president.

Of course, that has never really been true. At any given time, there are plenty of people who, for various reasons, could never become president. But the pleasing story did name a sort of half-truth that was also an ideal, an ideal that revolved around the effort to maintain a society that rewarded talent, ambition, and hard work more than it valued wealth, connections, or pedigree.

Donald Trump put that ideal to the test. The test failed.

Trump was the first candidate since Andrew Jackson really to challenge the dominant narrative. Trump was rich, which is a plus for candidates these days. But he came not just from the wrong sort of family, but also from the wrong consensus, the wrong universe of opinion and sentiment.

It was not so much his particular policies that were at issue. It was rather what he himself represented. Some people have banged on and on about Trump’s “character”, which they said was a bad character. But I do not believe that his character was ever really the issue. The issue was that he represented an existential threat to the governing consensus.

This consensus is not fundamentally Democratic or Republican. It is not really even left-wing or conservative. John Fonte came close to identifying it with his phrase “transnational progressivism.” The “transnational” part was just as important as the “progressive” element, not least because the definition of “progressive” is always a mutable and hungry thing. Yesterday’s progressive ideas routinely become tomorrow’s reactionary throwbacks because the critical thing is not specific policies but specific attitudes.

The transnational ruling class meets at Davos. It governs the EU. It conducts the raucous orchestrated evil worked continually by the UN. It is perpetually, stubbornly, ardently against the idea of people doing whatever they want to do.

It helps explain why so successful a president—has anyone in history had a more successful first term than Donald Trump?—could still be so cordially hated by the credentialed elite, both in this country and abroad.

Cordially? No. Not cordially. Bitterly. Furiously.

That elite has “gone beyond” such parochial affections as patriotism [and] national identity … To a large extent it has even “gone beyond” or at least redefined family. Donald Trump was a walking rebuke to every finer feeling with which they congratulated and fanned themselves. For four years, they stood together as one to emit a primal scream of repudiation. Nothing worked. Not the Russia collusion delusion, not the preposterous Ukrainian impeachment follies, not the dark talk about invoking the 25th Amendment, nothing.

Now, finally, their concerted assault against a U.S. presidential election may have done the trick. …

But …

Some 73 million people voted for Donald Trump. They are not retreating in silence to their caves. They are galvanized with the MAGA spirit that Trump inculcated in the country and, except for a handful of soy boys, in the Republican Party. As I write, thousands upon thousands of people are descending upon Washington D.C. for “a million MAGA march”. There is the “Women for Trump” contingent, the “Stop the Steal” contingent, and more. These are the people who are fleeing Fox News, Twitter, Facebook, not to mention CNN, The New York Times, and the entire woke establishment to create a counterforce …

I suspect that Donald Trump may have the last laugh.

Many people have bet against Donald Trump over the years. Most came to regret it. …

Donald Trump advises:

Never bet against me.”

If Kimball is right – and I think he makes a good case – the republic of the United States is not governed by the people for the people, but by a few people for their own gratification.

They risk allowing general suffrage, and occasionally the risk takes their assumed birthright of power away from them as Donald Trump did in 2016. They are trying to snatch it back by any means, however immoral, violent, and persistently arrogant.

They need to be permanently overthrown, and the movement of the people launched by Donald Trump may yet succeed in doing it. It would be the greatest historical triumph since the founding of the American republic.

Posted under United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, November 15, 2020

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Virtue and its emanation, terror 3

Yesterday a revolutionary terrorist armed with a gun and bombs advanced in an Antifa mob to attack a US institution of law-enforcement. Fortunately, police shot him dead before he effected mass murder.

Matt Vespa writes at Townhall:

So, when can we call Antifa a full-blown domestic terror organization? Over the weekend, police killed an activist from this progressive mob after he tried to assault an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility in Tacoma, Washington. Willem Van Spronsen, 69, was armed with a rifle and incendiary devices … This man is … part of a larger mob of progressive thugs who hate this country and any authority figures that seek to uphold law and order. …  A friend of Spronsen thought this was a suicide, believing this assault was meant to spark a larger conflict.

Spronson’s friends praise him as a hero and martyr. They believe themselves to be virtuous. Most virtuous.

So we have it on the authority of Seattle Antifascist Action (Antifa) that this would-be mass-murderer was “kind”, and “deeply loved” by “many communities”.

Who and what are these communities who deeply loved this kind man? Implied are persons of legendary oppression grouped together by their Antifa champions according to their class, race, or abnormal sexual preferences. For them – made virtuous by their oppression – the enforcers of the law must be killed and government overthrown.

Yesterday, July 14, was Bastille day, and as usual France celebrated it.

Roger Kimball wondered why.

He writes at American Greatness:

Since I am writing on Bastille Day, I am prompted to wonder why the French—or anyone else, for that matter—celebrate this infamous date. After all, the “storming” of that royal keep in 1789 was the spark that started the conflagration of the French Revolution. Unlike the American Revolution, in which the rule of law and the institutions of civil society survived the change of governments, the French Revolution was one of the signal bad events in world history. It consumed civil society and the centuries-old institutions of civilization. It was an unalloyed triumph of the totalitarian spirit, and in this respect it presaged and inspired that even greater assault on decency and freedom, the Bolshevik Revolution, the opening act of one of the darkest chapters in human history. The butcher’s bill for the French Revolution is many hundreds of thousands. Soviet Communism was responsible for the deaths of tens upon tens of millions and the universal immiseration of the people whose lives it controlled. …

One canard that we were all brought up on is that the Bastille was a loathsome dungeon full of innocent political prisoners. In fact, it harbored not hordes but precisely seven inmates when the mob stormed it. Contrary to what you have been told, the prisoners were detained in good conditions. At least one was attended by his own chef.  Bernard-René de Launay, the governor, was by all accounts a fair and patient man. But that did not save him from the mob’s “revolutionary justice”. They dragged him out of the fortress and stabbed him to death.

By rights, Bastille Day should be a day of national mourning or contrition. That it is not tells us a great deal—about the persistence of human credulousness, for example, and the folly of subordinating the imperfect, long-serving structures of civilization to the demands of impatient people infatuated by their own unquenchable sense of virtue. Tocqueville, in his book on the ancien régime at the eve of the revolution said that the “the contrast between benign theories and violent acts” was one of the Revolution’s “strangest characteristics”.

Strange it may have been, but it has turned out to be a regular feature of the totalitarian sensibility. What could be more benign sounding than slogans about “liberty, equality, fraternity”, O Citoyen, but how oppressive, how murderous, were their implementation “on the ground”? Robespierre cut to the chase when he spoke of “virtue and its emanation, terror”. He knew that the index of the sort of virtue he proselytized—a heady confection inherited from Rousseau—was the rapidity with which le rasoir national, the guillotine, pursued its grisly business. The pursuit of virtue by communists is a hundred, a thousand times bloodier and more soul blighting.

And here in America, “Kill, kill, kill,” say the Antifa assassins, thirsty for our blood.

Note: Antifa is the military wing of the Democratic Party, self-appointed maybe, but not rejected.

Posted under France, revolution, United States by Jillian Becker on Monday, July 15, 2019

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The disguised tyranny of infantilization 10

In order to work, the dependency agenda needs not only to cultivate … a population of dependents. It also needs to foster a population of controlling bureaucrats, … warders of the system. And this brings us to … “the real entitlement mentality that threatens to bankrupt the nation: A political class that feels entitled to rule over the rest of us.”

So Roger Kimball writes at PJ Media:

Republicans … are often heard grumbling about the “entitlement mentality.” I sing in that chorus myself. Usually, the song dilates on the growing habit of dependency and appetite for … “goodies provided by the government and financed by taxpayers.”  …

It is a corollary of that “psychological change” in a people that Friedrich von Hayek diagnosed in The Road to Serfdom: a transformation from the practice of autonomy and self-reliance to the habit of dependency. It was, Hayek noted, both a regular result and precondition of “extensive government control.” Cause and effect fed upon and abetted each other. It was … a textbook case of what Tocqueville described in his famous paragraphs on “democratic despotism.”

How would despotism come to a modern democracy? Tocqueville asked. Not through the imposition of old-fashioned tyranny. No, that instrument is too blunt, too crude for modern democratic regimes. Much more effective is the disguised tyranny of infantilization. Turn government into the sole provider of all those “goodies” and you enslave the population far more effectively than an old-style tyranny ever managed. …

Entitlements are bait on the hook  of totalitarianism. Don’t take it.

What the state gives the state can withhold. Don’t depend on it.

The state should be neither a nanny nor a sugar-daddy. It should do only what it alone can do – protect our liberty.

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