Women and Harley’s and Power and War

rftw-flag-bikesSometimes, in my more cynical moments, I think the Monday Holiday Law was enacted to make us forget the cause of the holiday. Proof, I suspect, if you needed it, that I have my full share of the traditional American distrust of the government and all its doings. It may be misplaced but, I’ve always found it a good guide.

But sometimes it backfires because it gives us more time to reflect, and this Memorial Day is one of those for me. As I mentioned last Saturday when General Logan issued the orders to the Grand Army of the Republic that instituted Decoration Day, he specified that it should be done on 30 May, and frankly moving it to 25 May is nearly too far. But there is nothing really wrong with America’s memory, and we know both what and why we celebrate it.

Bruce Catton in describing a route march of the Federal army observed that march discipline was terrible with stragglers all over the place, where men stopped for a drink and a rest and all. He also noted that when the battle lines were drawn all those stragglers were right there, and no armies ever had better battle discipline.

Not because the officers demanded it, a few thought discipline should be like the regulars, but the volunteers, with their mostly elected officers weren’t having it. He made the comment that Billy and Johnny were very much like GI Joe that he knew in the forties as well. American armies always have a sort of loose-jointed, lanky discipline. Pretty much everything important gets done, and on time, but there’s not much spit and polish in evidence.

And that is about as American as it gets, ad hoc, informal, git ‘er done. And that’s what I’ve been thinking about this Memorial; Day: Rolling Thunder. What could be more American than a bunch of veterans, sick of being ignored because of the war they fought in, getting together to commemorate their comrades, and all the others, from Washington on down to those still ‘downrange’.

Stanton S. Coerr wrote movingly about it in The Federalist.

Yesterday, nearly a million sunburned Americans converged on Washington DC’s National Mall for the Rolling Thunder Run, a combination memorial event and motorcycle rally held since 1988. Hundreds of thousands were mounted, roaring one at a time along the nation’s front yard; more than half a million watched from sidewalks, ice cream in hand, yelling and cheering from the sidelines. Wives rode pillion, and flags snapped and streamed behind the bikes: the Stars and Stripes; POW/MIA flags; Navy unit crests; Marine Corps colors; Ranger flags; the yellow and black of the Airborne.

Devoted to good Detroit steel and unmuffled V-twin combustion from Harley Davidsons built in the heartland America of small-town Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Missouri, these veterans celebrate every year, in booming engines and determined presence, the American fighting man. […]

They started gathering early Sunday morning in the parking lot of the Pentagon, that building which sent them to war and their friends to early graves. Looking up from the rally point, these riders could see the Arlington gardens of white stone, thousands of acres of perfect, serried ranks where their brothers lie. Standing sentinel above those rows of crosses and Stars of David, looking out at Washington, is the house which came through the Washington family to Robert E. Lee, and which the Union took from him, its land appropriated for the graves of the Union fallen in the War Between the States.

Low and right of that house, riders could just see above the trees the American flag flying above the Iwo Jima Memorial, Joe Rosenthal’s photo come to life, commemorating the fallen of the Marine Corps’ wars. Carved into black stone on the base of that monument are the dates and wars in which Marines have fought….but only wars which are complete. Iraq and Afghanistan are absent. […]

The Harleys flowed, too. They passed monuments to America’s best moments and her worst: the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the National Museum of African American History under construction, the White House, the Capitol, the National Museum of the American Indian. Black leather, black bandannas, black helmets, black motorcycles, black POW/MIA flags snapping in their breeze, they motored past the quiet white buildings of the United States: government agencies, art galleries. They passed within feet of the National Archives, engine noise thrumming in the rooms that hold the Declaration of Independence and the Magna Carta. They passed the block-long glass of the Air and Space Museum, the busiest museum in the world, a monument to the strength and can-do know-how of Americans who conquered the skies, won our wars and put men on the moon.

All of this is America. The roads of Rolling Thunder– Independence and Constitution – are bookends to the ideals for which these men joined and fought, and for which their friends died. […]

Returning to Virginia, the bikers did what Americans do. They shut down the bikes and men, women, and engines cooled. They gathered. Some went to visit their brothers in Bobby Lee’s backyard, leaving totems atop the cool white stone: rocks and unit patches and jump wings and bottles of Jack, cards and boots and bullet casings. They turned for the cameras and left space for their brother between their knees. They put their arms on one another’s shoulders and looked at the frozen lives, carved now into the nation’s stone. And they wept.

Reads it all at: In Washington, Motorcycle-Mounted Veterans Remember Their Own

And that too strikes as so very American, veterans parading in good order and discipline without any real semblance of leadership, while the American people cheer. Jess has told us several times that in Britain the military is nearly monastic, separated from the people most of the time. Not here, the American military is the darling of the people, well, the no nonsense folks from the Heartland anyway, it’s quite rare for a soldier out here to buy his own beer. And this in a country that at it’s founding abolished the Army because of its threat to domestic tranquility.

Orwell was right you know, we sleep safe in our beds because of rough men stand ready to do violence on our behalf.

I spoke above of how the Civil War soldiers always showed up for battle, and here is why, then, and now, they are a band of brothers, who fight for each other, the question really is always, “Who were you with?”

What’s it all mean? Perhaps as usual Kipling put it best.

We cleansed our beards of the mutton-grease,
We lay on the mats and were filled with peace,
And the talk slid north, and the talk slid south,
With the sliding puffs from the hookah-mouth.
Four things greater than all things are, --
Women and Horses and Power and War.
We spake of them all, but the last the most,
For I sought a word of a Russian post,
Of a shifty promise, an unsheathed sword
And a grey-coat guard on the Helmund ford. […]
 
"Heart of my heart, is it meet or wise
To warn a King of his enemies?
We know what Heaven or Hell may bring,
But no man knoweth the mind of the King.
Of the grey-coat coming who can say?
When the night is gathering all is grey.
Two things greater than all things are,
The first is Love, and the second War.
And since we know not how War may prove,
Heart of my heart, let us talk of Love!"

Although perhaps today we should substitute Harley’s for horses, since they perform much the same function, and that throbbing sound of power is also America at its best

I think General Logan would approve

Last call in merrie olde England

RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk.PR.XIX painted in ...

RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk.PR.XIX painted in the colours of 16 Squadron, 2nd Tactical Air Force (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You know, I look back over a fairly full life, No, I’m not (God willing) going to die anytime soon but, I am arguably on the downhill side, and I seem to see a society going to hell in a handbasket all over the place. Why?

I wonder if we haven’t infantilized it so much that our people no longer have the room to grow up. I, like you, read reports every week of people being reported to Family Services for allowing their kids to play in the park (or the front yard). Kids play, they take risks, they get hurt (hopefully not seriously). That’s how we learn our limits and how things work, through experience.

I had a wonderful childhood, although it would really horrify many parents these days. I managed to remove a tire and rim from an old car when I was four, I started running power equipment at five, and using bucket trucks by the time I was ten, by then it was my responsibility to keep the yard (all five acres of it) mown, with professional style equipment. At ten, I also got my first real rifle, a .22.

What’s the difference here? I was allowed to test and extend my limits, always having impressed on me that I was responsible for what I did, the good stuff, but especially the bad stuff.

I was reminded of that last night, as I watched a biography of Douglas Baden of the RAF, one of the main heroes of the Battle of Britain. He flew that Spitfire like few others and was one of the greatest leaders ever. He also had no legs. He lost them in an aircraft accident, in the early thirties, his comment was that he screwed up (it was actually a British construction that escapes me at the moment). His responsibility, without question.

That’s how you develop responsible citizens and leaders, you give them responsibility, a bit more than you think they can handle, and you trust them, and you allow them the benefits of succeeding, and allow them to pay the costs of failing.

And you know what, it works, even with adults. I’ve found in business, that if I tell someone, to get something done, and give him the needed stuff to do it, and go away, often he (or she) will do so, although not always as I would have (often better, in fact). If he doesn’t, well he’ll pay a price, and if he keeps making the same mistakes, that price goes up, quickly. And soon, he won’t be working for me.

Along that same line Daniel Hannan, MEP had some reflections of the end of ‘Last Call’ in England ten years ago. You might be surprised what happened although I wasn’t. Here’s Dan.

Moralists feared the worst. The typical Englishman, after all, is altogether too fond of booze. As Shakespeare’s Iago puts it, “Your Dane, your German, and your swag-bellied Hollander … are nothing to your English … [H]e drinks you with facility your Dane dead drunk; he sweats not to overthrow your Almain. He gives your Hollander a vomit ere the next pottle can be filled.”

England accordingly braced itself for a societal breakdown. The Daily Mail warned against the “unbridled hedonism … with all the ghastly consequences that will follow.” The Sun prophesied a “swarm of drunken youngsters.” The police prepared for “an increase in the number of investigations of drink related crimes, such as rape, assault, homicide and domestic violence.” The Royal College of Physicians predicted that “24-hour pub opening will lead to more excess and binge drinking, especially among young people.”

Ten years on, we can see that each of these predictions were 180 degrees wrong.

When I was in my late teens, it was quite normal for young British men to spend Friday and Saturday nights drinking ’til they were comatose. By my early thirties, it was no longer just men. I remember feeling mildly annoyed that the phenomenon of public female inebriation had emerged at precisely the wrong moment for me: too late to enjoy as a teenage boy, just in time to hit me as a father of daughters.

As it turns out, I needn’t have worried. The lifting of restrictions was followed by a drastic drop in consumption. Binge drinking among 16 to 24-year-olds sank from 29 to 18 percent. Overall alcohol sales declined by 17 percent. Alcohol-related hospital admissions fell sharply, as did alcohol-fueled crimes. As Christopher Snowdon put it in a paper for the Institute of Economic Affairs, deregulation “made the country a better place to live by treating people as adults and allowing businesses to meet demand.”

Which is, if you think about it, the essential case for conservatism. Give people more responsibility and they will behave more responsibly. Not all of them; but enough to make freedom worthwhile.

Last call in merrie olde England | WashingtonExaminer.com.

To be honest, I’ve always thought that a lot of the problem in the US with college kids and their binge drinking is simply because they’ve never been trusted with booze before, and besides, it’s always more fun to do things we’re not supposed to, especially if we think we can evade responsibility. That’s true for me, and you, and has always been true, everywhere. I think if we let our kids have a beer or two with dinner in the evening, much of that problem would disappear, in a very short period of time. Church said, “If you would create a black market, destroy a free market”. He’s right, and it doesn’t only apply to governments.

Memorial Day 2015

suvcw1Headquarters Grand Army of the Republic

General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868

I. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose among other things, “of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion.” What can aid more to assure this result than cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes? Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their deaths the tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders. Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

If our eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.

Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.

II. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to lend its friendly aid in bringing to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.

III. Department commanders will use efforts to make this order effective.

By order of JOHN A. LOGAN, Commander-in-Chief

N.P. CHIPMAN, Adjutant General

Official:

WM. T. COLLINS, A.A.G.

And so began one of America’s most solemn holidays. It nearly always featured the reading of the names of veterans departed during and after the war. It is very close in meaning to the British (and Commonwealth’s) Remembrance Day, for it too commemorates a lost generation. In 1860 the population of the United States (free and slave) was 31,443,321. Out of that population in the next five years there would be over 600,000 casualties or one out of every 52 people, and they were mostly young men.
They were nearly all volunteers, both sides had a draft but, in both cases it was ineffective and easily evaded. These were men who said what they meant and meant what they said, and proved it with their devotion to their cause. We’ve talked about them before and we shall again but, today let’s listen to some of their legacy, the music of America. This were losses on the scale of what Britain suffered in the Great War, and yet somehow we continued, carrying out our perceived mission.
As other wars happened, the losses in those wars were added to the lists, and the roll of the honored dead lengthened along with the list of faraway places with strange sounding names, which had once seen American soldiers, and their willingness to die for the cause.
And all those people also came to know one of America’s most dread but also most loved tunes, as we said goodbye to our comrades.
And so as you go about your day this Memorial Day, spare a thought and prayer for Johnny Reb and Billy Yank, those Americans who fought so hard for freedom, that they destroyed slavery as a by-product. They are also the only armies I know of that after a battle, or in camp would cheer themselves hoarse for each other.
And in a strange coincidence, today is also the Feast day of the Venerable Bede, that English monk who wrote what is still the standard history of Anglo-Saxon England and has become the patron saint of historians. In these sad days, when many denigrate the Faith of our Fathers, as well as the many virtues of our fallen soldiers, and indeed history itself. It is indeed fitting that we celebrate that these men did indeed once live and continue to inspire us.
Fort McPherson National Cemetery

Fort McPherson National Cemetery

Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God
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Planetary Soldiers

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The phrase comes from Robert Leckie’s The Wars of America and has been apt since the Spanish-American War. American Forces have fought just about everywhere and in just about every climate, in defense of freedom. And so this weekend, from Fort MacPherson, Nebraska, to Manila, The Philippines, to Luxembourg, to Cambridge, England and on Robert E. Lee’s own fron lawn, free men and women will honor American soldiers who died for their freedom.

This is Memorial Day weekend when we honor those brave men (and often women as well) who gave their lives to save America, and to keep the beacon that was lighted so long ago, lit. America, the first Revolutionaries, winning our independence in war with the Greatest Empire of the Age, and keeping the torch lit down through the centuries.

On 13 December 1636 a Royal Regiment of Foot was organized in Massachusetts from the pre-existing trained bands. From that regiment once known as the North Regiment is descended the 181st Infantry Regiment of the Massachusetts National Guard.

37762_132550020116358_2738621_nThe unit carries battle honors from French and Indian Wars, American Revolution, War of 1812, American Civil War, Spanish-American War, Mexican Expedition, World War I, World War II, Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Iraq War, and Afghanistan War.

Their honors include: Cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for actions in the ARDENNES (1944), French Croix de Guerre with Gilt Star (1918), French Croix de Guerre with Palm (1945), French Fourragere (1945).

This is the oldest military unit of the United States formed only 16 years after the Mayflower and in existence for 376 years. From that day till this we have depended on our military for the defense of our liberty and they have never failed us.

Of them, General of the Army Douglass MacAurthur said this

Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man at arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefields many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then, as I regard him now, as one of the world’s noblest figures; not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless.

His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me, or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy’s breast.

But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements.

In twenty campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand campfires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have carved his statue in the hearts of his people.

From one end of the world to the other, he has drained deep the chalice of courage. As I listened to those songs of the glee club, in memory’s eye I could see those staggering columns of the First World War, bending under soggy packs on many a weary march, from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle deep through mire of shell-pocked roads; to form grimly for the attack, blue-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain, driving home to their objective, and for many, to the judgment seat of God.

I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. Always for them: Duty, Honor, Country. Always their blood, and sweat, and tears, as they saw the way and the light.

And twenty years after, on the other side of the globe, against the filth of dirty foxholes, the stench of ghostly trenches, the slime of dripping dugouts, those boiling suns of the relentless heat, those torrential rains of devastating storms, the loneliness and utter desolation of jungle trails, the bitterness of long separation of those they loved and cherished, the deadly pestilence of tropic disease, the horror of stricken areas of war.

General MacAurthur’s words seem a bit dated sometimes, his verbiage a bit purple for our tastes but I say the deeds they commemorate are the only justification they need. An example follows.

A Clerk of Oxford: Blogging, Academia, and Aspiration

Photo Credit:  A Clerk of oxford

Photo Credit: A Clerk of oxford

One of the consequences of my friendship with Jessica is that I have been brought in touch with a fairly wide cross-section of British historians (and such). Mind you, I know only a few of them well, and a couple have become close friends but, I see a good bit of their public work. Frankly, I wish I was as well connected with American ones.

I have found many of them via Twitter, and that has led to several of them being featured here. One of my favorites, not least because her interests cross mine in several areas is A Clerk of Oxford. The other thing is that she is, I think anyway, a superb writer, able to transport one to the historical places she writes about. Frankly, I love her blog.

She has just published her 1000th post, and its tone is a bit sad, on what should be a joyous occasion. For those of you who read our blogs but don’t write one, I’ll tell you a secret: It ain’t easy. Coming up wit material that is both interesting and that one know well enough not to make too many mistakes is hard. To be able to write it in an interesting fashion is harder yet. She does it very well, far better than I do. So very heartfelt congratulations to her.

But the tone of her post was not all that cheery, as you’ll see. My impression was that she was turned down for a new position (I may well be wrong (if so, I hope she’ll forgive me.) and that it was done with open contempt by a senior faculty member. Well, that’s not unheard of, sadly not in business, and certainly not in academia. But it is not helpful, to the institution and certainly not to one turned down.

I have heard, from some of my friends over there, stories of the rankest incompetence, which would get you bounced off the curb in my company, no matter how senior you are, especially in the faculty leadership. For the most part they were told to me in confidence and so I will forbear sharing them with you but, I’ll say this, I believe every word she says here.

What we call ‘academia’, as practiced in universities today, is a modern invention, not more than a century or two old, and it seems to me that it’s swiftly reaching the point at which it becomes no longer sustainable; but scholarship and learning are much bigger than academia, and living somewhere like Oxford helps you to hold that in mind. The human desires to understand, to study, to teach and to learn are fundamentally good and beautiful things, however much any particular institution or any age may distort them, and Oxford’s long history of scholarship is a reminder of that: from its medieval origins, the monks and friars who gathered here to study and teach, through its history of benefactors, women and men who endowed colleges and gave money, asking nothing in return but prayer, to the countless generations who have laboured in its libraries to win the secrets of books, a silent wrestling-match with no prize but knowledge.
This is an idealistic picture, I know, but you’ll have to forgive me for being a little wistful right now. Most of the scholars, great in their day, who have worked within Oxford’s cloisters would not survive five minutes in modern academia, and I can’t help feeling that’s not a good thing. Of course I know that the world I’m describing would for most of its history have excluded people like me (a woman, from a non-traditional-Oxford background). But in effect, it still does; it still speaks in code, to keep insiders in and outsiders out. You might think that after eleven years in Oxford I’d have learned to crack the code, learned to fit in, but I’m as mystified as ever. It’s not just Oxford, anyway, but academia as a class – a culture still dominated by patronage, opacity and exclusion, only now in different ways. Now they talk the language of inclusion, while being as exclusive as ever. Oxford has a little bit of polite verbiage they put in their job adverts these days: ‘Applications for this post are especially welcome from women and ethnic minorities, who are under-represented among the University’s academic staff’. Well, you can certainly apply; but if you don’t respond well to an aggressive and hostile interview, you might end up quoting that verbiage back to yourself rather wryly. If I leave academia now, I just become a statistic. But I’ve received so much kindness and such rigorous teaching in this place (the vast majority of it from women); when I leave, I’ll take that with me, and do some good with it somewhere.]

A Clerk of Oxford: Blogging, Academia, and Aspiration.

And so I have little add, except that I offer her congratulations on a thousand posts, many of which I have enjoyed thoroughly, and commiseration and sympathy on her setback, which I hope will resolve itself to something even better. It can happen, and often does, at least two of my friends have oxford degrees and neither was a traditional type in college.

Toward the end of her post she included a poem by C.S. Lewis (and you all know what sucker I am for poetry).

In 1919, when he was still an undergraduate (and not yet a Christian), C. S. Lewis published a poem called ‘Oxford’. It’s full of youthful idealism, but it would be unjust to call it naive; the boy who wrote this poem had lived through a war worse than anything most of the people who inhabit a place like Oxford can even begin to imagine. He had a right to his idealism and his hope for a better world.

It is well that there are palaces of peace
And discipline and dreaming and desire,
Lest we forget our heritage and cease
The Spirit’s work — to hunger and aspire:

Lest we forget that we were born divine,
Now tangled in red battle’s animal net,
Murder the work and lust the anodyne,
Pains of the beast ‘gainst bestial solace set.

But this shall never be: to us remains
One city that has nothing of the beast,
That was not built for gross, material gains,
Sharp, wolfish power or empire’s glutted feast.

We are not wholly brute. To us remains
A clean, sweet city lulled by ancient streams,
A place of visions and of loosening chains,
A refuge of the elect, a tower of dreams.

She was not builded out of common stone
But out of all men’s yearning and all prayer
That she might live, eternally our own,
The Spirit’s stronghold — barred against despair.

And my hope that she will keep blogging because I, at least, and I know I’m far from alone, love her blog, and her insights. And I hope it all works out for her.

 

Some (Unwanted) Advice for Ireland

English: This protester was on his own and let...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some of you may not have noticed but Ireland is going to vote tomorrow on ‘Gay Marriage’ That all well and good, I suppose. At least they get to vote on it, as opposed to here, where it is being imposed by non-elected judges with very dubious legal precedents, but we can let that slide for the moment.

There are some lessons here for them, warning: unsolicited advice to follow. First I, like Robert Tracinski, in the quoted article, as far as what the state recognized as marriage, well I can’t get very worked up about it. I too had a strong preference for the term Civil Union with all the attendant rights and privileges of marriage. Marriage is a specific term, based on religion far more than on the state, which is a johnny-come lately comparatively.

In any case, it’s not about ‘gay marriage’ anyway advocates don’t give any more of a rat’s patootie about gay people than they do about women, or blacks, or Hispanics. The gays are simply getting used, still again. It’s all about power and the ability to control the speech and actions of the people.

Ireland is currently engulfed in a bitter debate over a national referendum on gay marriage to be held this Friday. They could draw some useful lessons from America’s own little experiment with gay marriage—which turns out to be a cautionary tale about what can go wrong.

My own position on gay marriage has run the gamut from profoundly ambivalent to vaguely sympathetic. Back when it was still an option, I was all in favor of “civil unions” that would allow gay couples to create the same legal relationship as marriage but without the name. But the idea that gay unions had to be called “marriage” gave me the heebie-jeebies. I was generally willing to acquiesce to the idea of gay marriage, but I feared that gay marriage advocates were seeking to use the power of the state to coerce public acceptance of homosexuality.

Well, there’s no reason to speculate about that any more. We’ve conducted our national experiment with gay marriage and the results are in. After the attempts to force pastors to officiate gay weddings, after that baker in Oregon got fined $135,000, and after the national campaign against Indiana for passing a law that sought to protect religious freedom, I consider those fears fully vindicated.
What we have learned is that, for a very large number of its advocates, gay marriage is not just about seeking a recognition of the rights of gay people; it is also about beating down Christians and coercing them into renouncing their beliefs. If you can brand gay marriage holdouts as “bigots,” that’s all that is necessary to declare them without rights and outside the protection of the state. Their sincere religious convictions are dismissed as a “flimsy cloak of piety” that is “discordant with cultural norms”—as if that were a crime—so everyone must be made to mouth their support for “the law of the land.”

He goes on to make his case authoritatively, I think. Toward the end, he quotes Thomas Paine a couple of times:

There never yet was any truth or any principle so irresistibly obvious that all men believed it at once. Time and reason must cooperate with each other to the final establishment of any principle; and therefore those who may happen to be first convinced have not a right to persecute others, on whom conviction operates more slowly.

That was in reference to the lessons he learned from the terror that followed the French Revolution, and it looks very clearly to me that that is where much of the left wishes to take us, we were wise enough the first time around to avoid it. Will we be this time? It’s not looking good lately. The second quote is this:

He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.

And it is desperately important that we remember that one at all times. And that is exactly what the one promoting gay marriage in Ireland, the US and the UK propose to do. I will never support any person who believes in ‘free speech for me but not for thee’. Then it becomes about freedom, not rights.

Read more at Ireland, Look to America’s Cautionary Tale on Gay Marriage.

It’s interesting to note, as Fr. Ray Blake has, for all the sound and fur, and all the lobbying strength just how few the gays are on the ground.

We don’t have Irish statistics that I know of. The U.S. Department of Health did a survey of Sexual Orientation and Health Among U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 2013. The survey of 34,557 adults aged 18 or over was published July 2014. They were asked: “Which of the following best represents how you think of yourself?”’ The replies were: Straight 96.6 %. Lesbian or Gay 1.6 %. Bisexual 0.7 %.UK statistics in 2013 are lower. The Integrated Household Survey (2013) found 1.2% of adults identified themselves as gay or lesbian; 0.5% of adults identified themselves as bisexual.If the US percentages are similar for Ireland, we may project the following numbers of people, based on the 2011 Census: Total population 4,588,252. Of these, 3,439,565 were aged 18 or over.We may then estimate the following aged 18 or over: Lesbian or Gay: 55,033; Bisexual: 24,076. Total: 55,033+24,076 = 79,109.The Central Statistics Office (CSO) for Ireland reported that in 2013 there were 20,680 marriages registered in the State, and 338 Civil Partnerships, making a total of 21,018. The 338 Civil Partnerships are 1.61 percent of the total. The percentages may help in having an idea of how many people in your local parish or area identify as Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual – that is, if numbers are evenly distributed around the country. It is possible that the percentages are higher in urban areas and lower in rural areas, due to migration.Same-sex couples: statistics for Ireland:According to the 2011 Census, there were 4,042 same sex couples living together in 2011. Of these, 2,321 (57.4%) were male while 1,721 (42.6%) were female. These 4,042 same-sex couples are 0.34 per cent of families in the State. The Census was taken on 10 April 2011, so we do not know how many of those 4,042 same-sex couples in the 2011 Census are included in the total of 1304 Civil Partnerships registered 2011 – 2013.According to the CSO, the number of same sex couples living with one or more children was 230 (reply received from the CSO in March 2015). This is 5.69% of all same-sex couples.

Read more at A Minority Interest

Now mind this carefully, just because they are few in number does not mean that it is OK to violate their rights, that would be unforgivable if there was only one of them. I just find it fascinating how so few can through their amplification system make so very much noise that we think the foundations of the Republic are shaking. Well maybe they are but it ain’t the gays themselves doing it.