Experts?

the-truth-about-industry-expertsThe other day, over on The Conservative Woman UK, Cresta Norris wrote about our growing distrust of experts. Here’s a bit of it, but you should read it all.

‘People in this country’, said Michael Gove, ‘have had enough of experts’. During the run up to the referendum, geeky Gove was ridiculed for his views. Brexiteers who dismissed the predictions of the Chancellor, the Bank of England, the CBI, the universities and the rest were reviled.  If you reject expertise then you must be stupid.

After the vote, the experts predicted that the economy would shrink, the collapsing pound would cause inflation and jobs would disappear. Now, three months on, the experts have changed their tune. Even the Guardian is running headlines saying ‘The Brexit economy: post-referendum data defies gloomy UK predictions’. But do the readers believe the new data? No, they do not. Almost six thousand Guardianreaders were upset and left comments after the article, and most are sceptics. It is not just the Brexiteers who have had enough. Michael Gove was surprisingly percipient.

Why have we stopped believing in experts? Psychologists believe that, to have a healthy personality, you need to trust your parents. The Early Childhood Cognition Lab at MIT has studied the effects of lying on children and found that children who have been lied to, begin to distrust the world outside the home. Self-doubt turns into suspicion of authority.

Adults are the same. If they feel that they have not been told the whole story, they begin to doubt their ability to know what is a dependable source of information.

via Cresta Norris: Gove knew the nation when he dismissed Remain experts – The Conservative Woman

I agree with almost all she says, which shouldn’t surprise anybody. In fact, I commented that often my definition of an expert is anybody more than 50 miles from home. That’s my definition because I have seen it happen often, all my life. It’s worth noting that it has worked both for me and against me all my adult life.

But the kind of expert Cresta is mostly talking about here, is the government consultant, engineer, whatnot. The same is true in the private sector, innumerable times I have seen consultants say exactly what lower level people in the company said, but because they were paying the consultant ‘the big bucks’, which were not always that big by the way, but because he was away from home he was credible. Insurance companies are infamous for doing this, especially when something goes wrong. Well, it makes a payday for some, although it often damages the company, sometimes irreparably. But that’s not the insurance company’s problem, much better, from their standpoint, that the formerly productive company goes out of business (and all the employees be made redundant) than that there should ever be another claim.

In truth, a lot of engineers fit into this category as well. Many haven’t actually done the things they are designing a machine for. That is why I’m very chary of driverless cars. It’s very easy to design, and frankly, I think a driverless motor home would be quite wonderful. Imagine sitting there behind the big windshield, watching the world go by, having a beer (or six) if you wish. Sounds good to me. But then I remember, aircraft have such good autopilots now that they can fly from the gate halfway around the world and taxi to the gate, without a pilot doing anything. But you know something, there are still two pilots on the flight deck, and I’ve heard no one saying they shouldn’t be.

Why is that? Because things can go pear shaped in the strangest ways, and bloody quickly as well. In fact, reading Cresta’s article made me remember there is a movie I wanted to see. It’s called Sully, and it’s about US Airways Flight 1549 back on January 15, 2009, when Captain Sullenberger, managed to dead stick land it on the Hudson river in New York. If you watch the movie you will learn the difference between an expert who has the experience, and the academics. You may also learn why so many aircraft accidents are ruled pilot error, although I suspect a fair percentage really are. But sometimes you really need a guy who has sat in that seat to understand how it happened.

You also need people that know enough about it that they can process information very quickly indeed, and that only comes from experience and thinking about it before it happens. That is why I almost never judge things like police shootings, while I sometimes do on what happens on the power line. I’ve never been a cop, but I know line work inside out.

In any case, see the movie, I liked it quite a lot. And here’s the trailer.

Transgender Activists and Brophobia

Well, one can hope, anyway!

Well, one can hope, anyway!

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

Lewis Carroll

Indeed. Recently Robert Tracinski wrote in The Federalist about Transgender Activists and Brophobia. It’s a pretty interesting and important article. Here’s some of it.

What really leaped out at me from this response was the following passage, which I suspect explains a lot of the motive behind this fanatically enforced orthodoxy.

All that “typical guy stuff” you hold so near and dear: have you considered that it’s actually extremely alienating for guys who differ from antiquated masculine norms? Many men like me who are queer-identified and/or comfortable with their femininity do not relate to the dickswinging contest nonsense that (mostly straight and white) men in fraternities apparently find so sacred. Your perspective has led you to believe that these rituals are essential for all men, when actually, not all men relate to your sh—y brand of toxic masculinity.

So this enlightened progressive just derided another person’s sexual orientation and gender identity as “toxic.” Yay, tolerance!

Yay, tolerance, indeed. But we’ve all heard plenty of comparable stories, haven’t we? Later, he says this,

The stoking of brophobia reflects the Left’s basic problem with the concept of “tolerance.” They use the word to mean “advocacy on behalf of groups we like and against groups we don’t like,” which is the exact opposite of its actual meaning. Tolerance is supposed to mean tolerance specifically of people you don’t like. That’s why you’re “tolerating” them—you don’t like them, but you’ve agreed to put up with them anyway, to recognize their right to live and speak, and to engage them in a civil way. […]

That is (or at least was) a simple definition of a common word. I don’t know about you but tolerating others like oneself doesn’t seem to me to reflect much credit on one to me. On the other hand tolerating those who say or do things (things that don’t actually physically hurt people) does reflect a fair amount of credit on one. Continuing.

You see comments like: “I’m really disgusted that he was given a platform,” “literally shaking I’m so angry,” “SOS SOS SOS,” and my favorite: “if this article was triggering for anyone I would not recommend delving into the comments—some readers/commenters use deeply offensive language and there is heavy support for the author’s message.” Boy, millennials really live down to that “snowflake” caricature, don’t they?[…]

It’s important to remember that the contemporary code of political correctness emerged from an actual, literal totalitarian ideology. Karl Marx argued that all of culture—ideas, religion, art, everything—was just a “superstructure” built to disguise and perpetuate the real foundation of society, which was the economic relationship between labor and capital. Modern neo-Marxists turned this idea into the slogan “the personal is the political,” which was the origin for the concept of political correctness.

In this philosophy, there is no such thing as an apolitical “private life,” and everything a person does — his every preference, every aspect of his personal identity — can be judged for its political meaning and conformity to the right causes. But the new Marxists also conceived of the underlying “base” of human life more broadly: it was not just the struggle between the worker and the capitalist, but the struggles for power among social pressure groups based on “race, class, and gender.”

via Transgender Activists Need To Get Over Their Brophobia

And you know, that may be the base difference. I frankly don’t give much of a damn about what you do, or even what you do with consenting adults. At least as long as you inflict no injury on others.

Yes, I’m a Christian, and if you want my advice on how to live your life, I’ll be happy to tell you. But I’m neither God nor your dad, so I have no real reason to tell you how to live. Often enough here, we’ll tell you what has worked for us, and has worked for some two thousand years, but it’s up to you to apply it or not. Although I would remind you that if a Christian is wrong, well then oblivion is the end. However, if an atheist is wrong, I think it a much worse outcome for him.

That all is subject of course to keeping it quiet and private, as we used to say, “Don’t scare the horses.” And that’s a matter for the civil authorities, mostly, but even there, I’m pretty tolerant.

And that’s the major difference, isn’t it? The new Marxists aren’t at all tolerant, and no, I’m not tolerant of intolerance, not in a society. I wanted to say in a civil society, but I’m not sure the modifier still applies.

I Hear There’s Going to be a Debate…

w1056atonight. Will I watch? Perhaps. Will I change my mind? Unlikely. Still, if you’re undecided you should watch, and carefully. Part of the reason I’m unexcited are the candidates. Yes, one is worse, maybe much worse than the other. But to be honest, my vote doesn’t matter a damn. If Nebraska three went for anybody without an R behind his name by less than 60-40 it would shake down the thunder. I don’t see that happening, whatever Ben Sasse says.

That doesn’t mean it’s unimportant, though. I think the following, although long, lays out the stakes quite well.

Read the newspapers or listen to the network news and you would believe that Donald Trump’s appeal is restricted to reprobates and morons, racists and xenophobes, uneducated and unclassed, rejects and retards, unsavory degenerates and that is being kinder than PBS talks about Trump supporters. They will tell their liberal audiences that the Trump supporters do not read or listen to the news and have little or no understanding of the realities of the world and Trump supporters are simply supporting Trump because they hated President Obama because he is black and well educated and the Trump fools are jealous of those who are their betters and want to put one of their own in the White House. It’s the same old story in the media, if there exists support for anybody not leftist, socialist, one worlder then they are not worthy of standing on the stage in the debate, let alone be elected to the most important job in the world. Coverage like that is simply more of the every day in and day out coverage of Democrats good, Republicans evil; our side educated and wonderful, that other side ignorant and disgusting. So, what is driving the support for Trump? That is the question which is seldom answered by the mainstream media because they do not recognize what Trump is selling or what his supporters desire and see as him capable of delivering.

Trump’s slogan of make America great again resonates and his plain language strikes them as honesty and his level of excitement is contagious and he works the crowd well. What they want is the country they believe America should be and what they feel they have had stolen from them. They want an economy which provides decent jobs with better pay which comes with a healthy economy. They do not understand the jobs overseas as much as they understand the jobs simply drying up. They understand that a near doubling of the minimum wage will only drive away jobs and prices up because many have seen what rising minimum wages has done. They remember days when things were better and the unions protected them and that the Democrats promised they would protect the unions but that did not work out as well as promised. Many of Trump’s supporters have voted for the Democrats out of loyalty, out of belief they really were for them, that the Democrats loved the same America they did and that the Democrats were delivering on their promises. The news media have one thing correct, many of these voters really have problems with President Obama but not because he is black but because he really meant that he would fundamentally change America and found what President Obama did not like and wanted to bury about America was the America they loved. It was the policies and broken dreams that lie shattered in the wake of President Obama and his policies and his hatred of their America. Now they believe that in Trump they can have their America back again. They just want what they had, what was before Obamacare, before President Obama bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia and apologized for their country all over the world and deferred to the Iranians and basically acted in what they always thought to be un-American. Now they just want to set things back right and believe the Donald will do that. Whether their faith is misplaced or whether Donald Trump is exactly what they believe him to be, well, unless he becomes President Trump we will never know. This is the one type of Trump supporter that the media elites really do not like as most are not Ivy League educated or even anything beyond possibly Community College or Trade School educated or even simply high school or drop out and are what they think of as the great unwashed.

 

There is another group of Trump supporters which the media dislikes even more because they cannot scare or cajole these voters into ever supporting Hillary Clinton. These are unlike the Never Trump voters because there is a good chance the Never Trump voters will go third party or stay home, they will never likely vote for Hillary Clinton and be able to look themselves in the mirror should she win. It will not matter if they live in a redder than red or bluer than blue state such that their vote never really mattered because they have consciences which would always prevent their sleeping well the entire four or eight years Hillary Clinton spent as President. The voters who are either tired of Hillary Clinton’s corruption or Hillary Clinton’s lies or simply tired of Hillary Clinton period will vote for Donald Trump by a large percentage because they are not really voting for Trump but will do what it takes to prevent a President Hillary Clinton. These same people will also vote for Donald Trump again if he delivers on what he has bragged he will do. This is close to what the United States and the American voters faced in the 1980 elections with many crossover voters electing President Reagan because they did not want any more of President Carter. President Reagan delivered and I know this because my lifetime Democrat father who voted for the reelection of Jimmy Carter against Ronald Reagan voted four years later for the first time since President Eisenhower for a Republican candidate and was quite overjoyed and proud for voting for President Reagan and supporting his second term. Oh, and about President Eisenhower, didn’t almost every World War II veteran vote for the Commander of the Allied forces in the European Theater, even if they served in Burma in the British Army against the Japanese and the vultures, snakes and other dangers of the Burmese jungles. He will be voting for Hillary though this time around as Trump never did serve, let alone command forces in any war as doing so might have destroyed his manicure.

via On What is Donald Trump’s Appeal Being Based? | Beyond the Cusp Read the whole thing.™

My favorite candidate this cycle, as most of you know, was Ted Cruz. That’s mostly because he sounded like he really believed in the Constitution, and that’s my bedrock to decide on. But he was also right when he said to vote your conscience, and like him, I will. You should as well.

Trying to Form a More Perfect Union

stearnsThis morning at the Watchtower, Chalcedon started his post with this:

Democracy is boring. It involves discussing things in representative assemblies – aka ‘talking shops’; it means compromises – aka ‘fudging things’; it involves not always getting what you want  – aka ‘selling out’.

Do go and read it, I’ll wait for you, and this will make more sense, with his as background.

I certainly agree, and would add that it is a feature, not a bug. As an American, when I look at the British government, well it’s terrifying. Parliament can literally do anything. The Prime Minister is a creature of parliament. Parliament itself is the supreme court. No checks, no balances, nothing. Only the Grace of God to prevent what the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury feared from happening even more often.

As I have said, there are two points or two characteristics of the Radical programme which it is your special duty to resist. One concerns the freedom of individuals. After all, the great characteristic of this country is that it is a free country, and by a free country I mean a country where people are allowed, so long as they do not hurt their neighbours, to do as they like. I do not mean a country where six men may make five men do exactly as they like. That is not my notion of freedom.

And that is why so many of us refer to the United States as a Republic. We have rules, set, as close as man can, in stone. The key thing actually is that the federal government is a government of enumerated powers. It can only do the things it is chartered to do, essentially what the preamble to the constitution states.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Granted it has gotten stretched well beyond what the founders had in mind, and the states are plenary government, that can do anything not prohibited.

A few points here.

  • Our founders feared a strong central government. That’s why the government’s power is so circumscribed, and then divided three ways.
  • The founders also feared what John Adams called ‘Mobocracy’. That’s why the president is not elected by the people, we elect electors in each state who then elect the president. And that is also why the Senate used to be elected by the state legislatures. It was designed that way to slow down the passion of the mob and allow a cooling off period.
  • They also feared a standing army (with cause). That why the US Army, alone in the government can only be budgeted for 2 years.

It’s all about keeping the people, and only the people, not 50% +1 of the people, sovereign, not Congress, certainly not the President, not even the Supreme Courts, or the states, only the people.

Reagan said that “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

He meant it and we still do. So Chalcedon is right as well about the second amendment. No, it’s not about hunting, although many of us enjoy that. Nor is really about the right of self-defense, although that is valid. And while the man who put the terrorist down last weekend in St. Cloud, MN is a sworn officer, he is a reserve and hadn’t been on duty for two months. What he does for a living is that he is an NRA certified instructor, mostly teaching and training concealed carriers. This was said once:

The right of self-defense is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine this right within the narrowest limits possible. Wherever standing armies are kept up, and when the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.”

— Henry St. George Tucker (in Blackstone’s Commentaries)

And that is the purpose, it follows on from the inbred distrust in Anglo-Saxon communities of standing armies and aristocracies. Many say it can’t work anymore, but I wonder. Does anybody think the Americans can’t make as good partisan fighters as the Afghans? You might ask Lord Cornwallis about that. We wrote that book, with a fair amount of input from the Native Americans. It’s also germane that there are over 300,000,000 small arms in civilian hands here. It’s not a sure thing, for either side, and so prudent men wait and think and try to find a better way.

Putin and Assad are, perhaps, representative of their societies, but they are not of ours. Chalcedon is again right when he speaks of Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin, and Stalin. And while they were not as evil, Wilson, FD Roosevelt, George HW Bush, and Obama could be included. And likely some British PMs too. The wanting for a man on a white horse to right our perceived wrongs is as universal, as it is pernicious.

The identity politics we are seeing in the west, if we don’t get over it, will destroy our civilization. Jess and I wrote a short series on this a while back. Since this is already overlong, I’ll simply link you there, you’ll find them here, and here.

If It Ain’t Broke…

17078-john-adams-famous-quotesYes, I know I haven’t posted for a while, nor am I sure this isn’t the last. I started writing this blog because I had something to say, and I’ve said it over and over and over again. There’s little point that I can see in saying it anymore.

The title comes from that old saw: If it ain’t broke; don’t fix it. But there is a corollary: If it is broke; do fix it, or find another, or do without. And America isn’t.

There has been a lot written about Decius’ Claremont article The Flight 93 Election, of you haven’t read it, you really should. He has quite a lot to say, all of it cogent, and I think right. I’m only going to quote a couple of paragraphs.

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. […]

Yet we may also reasonably ask: What explains the Pollyanna-ish declinism of so many others? That is, the stance that Things-Are-Really-Bad—But-Not-So-Bad-that-We-Have-to-Consider-Anything-Really-Different! The obvious answer is that they don’t really believe the first half of that formulation. If so, like Chicken Little, they should stick a sock in it. Pecuniary reasons also suggest themselves, but let us foreswear recourse to this explanation until we have disproved all the others.

Read the whole thing ™The Flight 93 Election.

I think he’s exactly right. There was a lot of blowback, as you might imagine, and recently he issued a Restatement on Flight 93, And I also want to quote from that.

Some also complained about the aptness of the analogy: the plane crashed! Well, yes, and this one might too. Then again, it might not. It depends in part on what action the electorate chooses to take. The passengers of Flight 93 roused themselves. They succeeded insofar as that plane did not hit its intended target. The temptation not to rouse oneself in a time of great peril is always strong. In another respect, the analogy is even more apt. All of the passengers on Flight 93—and all of the victims at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon—died owing in part to a disastrously broken immigration system that didn’t then and still doesn’t serve the interests of the American people. Which also happens to be the core issue at stake in this election.

And as we have always held here, the passengers of Flight 93 staged a counterattack, yes, they died, but they made sure in doing so that the terrorists’ mission did not succeed. And you know what, they were going to die anyway, because of their counterattack, others lived. That is why they are and remain American heroes. Just like the defenders of the Alamo.

A point from the earlier essay is worth repeating. Conservatives have shouted since the beginning of Trump’s improbable rise: He’s not one of us! He is not conservative! And, indeed, in many ways, Trump is downright liberal. You might think that would make him more acceptable to the Left. But no. As “compassionate conservatism” did nothing to blunt leftist hatred of George W. Bush, neither do Trump’s quasi-liberal economic positions. In fact, they hate Trump much more. Trump is not conservative enough for the conservatives but way too conservative for the Left, yet somehow they find common cause. Earlier I posited that the reason is Trump’s position on immigration. Let me add two others.

The first is simply that Trump might win. He is not playing his assigned role of gentlemanly loser the way McCain and Romney did, and may well have tapped into some previously untapped sentiment that he can ride to victory. This is a problem for both the Right and the Left. The professional Right (correctly) fears that a Trump victory will finally make their irrelevance undeniable. The Left knows that so long as Republicans kept playing by the same rules and appealing to the same dwindling base of voters, there was no danger. Even if one of the old breed had won, nothing much would have changed, since their positions on the most decisive issues were effectively the same as the Democrats and because they posed no serious challenge to the administrative state.

Which points to the far more important reason. I urge readers to go back through John Marini’s argument, to which I cannot do anything close to full justice. Suffice to say here, the current governing arrangement of the United States is rule by a transnational managerial class in conjunction with the administrative state. To the extent that the parties are adversarial at the national level, it is merely to determine who gets to run the administrative state for four years. Challenging the administrative state is out of the question. The Democrats are united on this point. The Republicans are at least nominally divided. But those nominally opposed (to the extent that they even understand the problem, which is: not much) are unwilling or unable to actually do anything about it. Are challenges to the administrative state allowed only if they are guaranteed to be ineffectual? If so, the current conservative movement is tailor-made for the task. Meanwhile, the much stronger Ryan wing of the Party actively abets the administrative state and works to further the managerial class agenda.

This is exactly what I see, as well, and I do want to quote Decius’ final paragraph.

One can point to a few enduring successes: Tax rates haven’t approached their former stratosphere highs. On the other hand, the Left is busy undoing welfare and policing reform. Beyond that, we’ve not been able to implement our agenda even when we win elections—which we do less and less. Conservatism had a project for national renewal that it failed to implement, while the Left made—and still makes—gain after gain after gain. Consider conservatism’s aims: “civic renewal,” “federalism,” “originalism,” “morality and family values,” “small government,” “limited government,” “Judeo-Christian values,” “strong national defense,” “respect among nations,” “economic freedom,” “an expanding pie,” “the American dream.” I support all of that. And all of it has been in retreat for 30 years. At least. But conservatism cannot admit as much, not even to itself, in the middle of the night with the door closed, the lights out and no one listening.

I tried to tell it, and it got mad.

Again, read the whole thing: Restatement on Flight 93

I’ll tell you something, this is exactly what drove Brexit, this summer. Jess won’t agree, but everything I read says that the people that voted to leave the EU did so to restore the sovereignty of Great Britain. Some are as the BBC tries to paint them all, but most are not even against immigration, they are against uncontrolled immigration. But most want Britain to be governed in Britain’s interest, not Europe’s (or increasingly, Germany’s).

And that brings me to this. I have no idea when or if there will be another post here. I will take up my pen (I’m getting a little old for the sword) and my ballot to fight the left at any time. But when most of the right makes common cause with the left against America’s interest, well…

It really is our Flight 93 moment.

A Man for All Seasons

LZ Albany

LZ Albany

Yesterday, I commented that I have doubts in America’s leadership these days. That’s true, but many of us did in the sixties as well. But then, as now, we had heroes. Some of them remain in our hearts, even more than the others. This article also from five years ago, tells of one of mine.

There were plenty of heroes on 9/11. Fire and police and port authority all going in. Passengers counterattacking on Flight 93 and various civilians and military in New York and the Pentagon. Even what the military calls NCA, the National Command Authority.

If

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

….
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

~Kipling

But the one that is my especial hero of the day; is my hero because of how he lived his life.

A British NCO from Cornwall who served in the Parachute Regiment, immigrated to the US, served as Platoon Leader, B Co 2/7 Cavalry in the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in the battle of Ia Drang, where he gave the British commands of ‘Fix Bayonets, On Line, Ready forward’. His picture is on the cover of ‘We Were Soldiers’. It is a praiseworthy story prompting us to Remember ,

but it doesn’t end there.

On 9/11 he was vice-president in charge of security at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. We all know what happened that day, but do we remember that only six Morgan Stanley employees died when their building was obliterated. One them was this man, now a retired Colonel, who stayed to make sure he got his people out. In all those situations, he was singing an old song commemorating the resistance of the Cornish against the British, and Roark’s Drift in the Boer War, and other engagements. That song is:

 

Men of Cornwall stop your dreaming;
Can’t you see their spearpoints gleaming?
See their warriors’ pennants streaming
To this battlefield.
Men of Cornwall stand ye steady;
It cannot be ever said ye
for the battle were not ready;
Stand and never yield!

That man was Colonel Rick Rescorla and he is a legend in the 7th Cavalry. He is not a man any of us should ever forget. A real life Sagaman, who lived quietly amongst us.

From Shakespeare:

“His life was gentle, and the elements
So mix’d in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world ‘This was a man!’”

The tragedy of 911 was this; multiplied by three thousand.

Never forget.

After having reached safety, Rescorla returned to the building to rescue others still inside. He was last seen heading up the stairs of the tenth floor of the collapsing WTC 2. His remains have not been recovered. He left a wife and two children.

He is my hero not least because he fulfilled to the last breath the leadership credo that the Air Force taught me and so many others:

First: The Mission

Always: the People

Last: Yourself

And thus, on this September 12th the story of how the people of a great American financial institution were rescued by the 7th U.S. Cavalry (Custer’s Own).


If we are to live up to the heritage that men like Colonel Rescorla have left us, I think our motto must be:

At football, golf, and polo you men have made your name

But now your country calls you to play your part in war

And no matter what befalls you

We shall love you all the more

So come and join the forces as your fathers did before

From: Oh! What a Lovely War