Charlottesville and Norks; Through a Glass Darkly

Well, we certainly are living in interesting times, aren’t we? Between North Korea and our homegrown fascists, it’s hard to know which is important. Or maybe both are, and if one happens to like conspiracy theories, the ground is very fertile. Not least because we saw in Charlottesville last weekend reminded us that the white supremacy folks and anti fas are simply two facets of the same evil thing. They want us to believe they are of the right and the left, but they are not, they are both of the totalitarian left. As such, neither is pro American, although some of the useful idiots in the streets may think they are – they have jumped the shark, they are not supporting the president, they hurt him, and they hurt America. I doubt either group is grassroots, both are funded by shadowy figures and groups whose aim is to end western civilization. Who else noticed? Melanie Phillips did clean over in London.

The first shocking thing was just the very sight of neo-Nazis and white supremacists openly parading with swastika flags, demonstrating their bigoted, hateful and violent ideology.

The next horrible thing was the violence that broke out between the neo-Nazis and counter-demonstrators. It’s unclear who started it, but there is evidence that at least some of it was unprovoked on both sides.

There was then a shocking car-ramming terrorist attack against anti-Nazi demonstrators which killed one person and left several others injured. The driver is widely assumed to have been a white supremacist supporter; although a man has been arrested and charged with second degree murder, at time of writing it has not been confirmed that he was the driver.

All of this was absolutely terrible.

What’s even more frightening is the violence increasingly erupting in America, as it did in Charlottesville, between two types of people who perpetrate hatred and intolerance, stand against freedom and reason and seek to impose their view of society and human nature by force.

For this battleground does not set fascists against anti-fascists. It is a clash between two armies of demagogues, each worshipping power and violence and smashing anyone who stands in their way. “Antifa” are not, as their name declares them to be, anti-fascists. They are fascists of the left – and in their Black Lives Matter incarnation, anti-white racists too.

What’s yet more appalling still is the double standard being used and the way in which the alt-left have seized upon these events in order to smear Donald Trump by association.

The fact that the former Ku Klux Klan “grand wizard” David Duke – who was at the Charlottesville demonstration – claims to support Trump’s agenda is being used by the alt-left to smear Trump himself as a white supremacist. In other words, Trump is being defined by these particular supporters.

The hypocrisy here is breathtaking. Under President Obama, America was repeatedly subjected to race riots with demonstrators running amok, inciting violence against the police and trashing and looting stores. Since these violent demonstrators were overwhelmingly likely to have been Obama supporters, did the alt-left conclude that Obama himself – who consistently blamed the police – was responsible for black thuggery? Of course not. They blamed the police too.

Since Trump’s ascendancy began, there has been repeated violence against Republicans at Trump rallies by anti-Trump demonstrators. Does the alt-left conclude that, because these demonstrators are Democratic party supporters, the Democrats are thugs themselves?

Quite.

Do read the rest.

Whoever you think is supporting this execrable nonsense, do not make the mistake these fools do, this is not America, these are fringe groups beholding to a few fascists, Nazis, and/or communists amongst us. Which reports to whom? I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. They all have the same rationale for existence, the destruction of the United States as we have known her. It is, in fact, time for us to heed the words of one of America’s greatest soldiers, General Robert E. Lee. Thanks to Practically Historical for the quote.

“It is the duty of every citizen, in the present condition of the Country, to do all in his power to aid in the restoration of peace and harmony…Dismiss from your mind all sectional feeling, and bring [your children] up to be Americans.”

Then there are the North Koreans. If something isn’t done, they are just likely to pull off the destruction of western civilization. Sometimes being considered crazy is an advantage, and so it is here. This should actually be as simple as the invasion of Poland in 1939, just as welcome, too, but that is what kicking cans down the road gets you. But again some shadowy figures have made the simple complicated. From Beyond the Cusp, who I always enjoy reading but tends to long form content that is difficult to summarize.

The United States has not ever been known to be alone in the world with friends which can be counted on her two hands. Those days are almost upon us. Very soon the United States will be finding herself blamed for acting when she acts and for standing aside when she doesn’t act. She will start facing denunciations in the General Assembly of the United Nations by votes resembling those only Israel has faced before where 130 will vote to denounce her with maybe a dozen supporting America and the remainder abstaining and in the United Nations Security Council she will find only her own Veto will prevent her facing sanctions. Whenever the United States acts there will be accusations of unilateralism even when her actions are to rescue a nation from hostile acts of their neighbors. What could possibly bring on such condemnations? Well isn’t it obvious? Her own leftists and their NGO’s in their inevitable rush to try and discredit and destroy President Trump will result in their also discrediting the necessary actions he may soon be called upon to decide as certain things reach critical levels after being pushed aside for decades. These situations reaching these points, these deplorable stages, are doing so largely due to President after President kicking the can down the road because to act required somebody actually being the adult in the room and taking the responsibility of what would inevitable be an unpopular series of events.

This will burst upon the scene initially with probably facing down the North Korean menace Kim Jong-un and his ever-increasing threat which advances with each missile test. Most observers place his current level of threat lower than it actually is, a common thread in politics where avoiding bad news and terrible situations is often done by underestimating the possibilities. Currently, President Trump and his military are properly giving North Korea and its potential threats its rightful attention but they are likely to back away from confrontation if for no other reason than their knowledge of the firestorm which would follow any military action against the Kim regime. They probably already made the deal not to intervene in exchange for allowing one more set of sanctions just passed by the United Nations Security Council to work. If somebody could give us a reason why these sanctions will function with any superior results than the past five sets of sanctions since the armistice was signed in the early Eisenhower years, that would at least be amusing. The problems with these sanctions are the same as with the previous sanctions, North Korea largely trades with China and some with Russia and little else. These are the two nations which can be counted upon to ignore the sanctions after a brief period of observing them so as to grant them the appearance of working. Sanctions are not the magic tool for breaking the bond that China and Russia have with North Korea. For these two adversaries, North Korea is their arrow in the flank of the United States which seriously hampers the American image and drains off the attentions of the United States from their acts of belligerence. One will always pay attention to the leader threatening nuclear annihilation over those merely pressuring neighboring nations in order to increase their spheres of influence.

[…]

This is why Kim Jong-un need be countered on the United States terms and not wait for him to become an actual threat. That leads us to President Trump and the current situation. President Trump currently has his hands tied until Kim Jong-un either carries out a nuclear test or another missile test this time using both stages being solid-fueled systems. This will prove his ability to launch on command instead of having an hours waiting for fueling for launch when ready, not immediate. With this proven technology, the United States will be on notice that Kim Jong-un will be readily capable of striking any number of targets potentially within the Continental United States, that would be CONUS Command, and possibly any target within the United States as well as Europe. Whatever the perceived and admitted abilities of North Korean missile technology, they are frighteningly close to their desired capability and already are capable of striking the United States with a devastating EMP device which could bring down most, if not all, of the North American electrical grid. We would call that a very definite threat to the well-being of every American as such a devastating strike would minimally kill three-quarters of the population of North America. Canada would also be direly adversely affected. This places President Trump with the unenviable decision of does he act now, before anything horrific occurs or does he wait for a provocation which nobody could fail to recognize and admit he acted according to the betterment of the American people or did he act as a warmonger seeking personal glory. We may as well face the reality of this situation. Should President Trump act to prevent any of the dire consequences of a nuclear capable Kim Jong-un, then the media, Congress and other world leaders and especially the United Nations and their army of NGO’s and Agencies will all unite to condemn the man who destroyed the peace solely for self-aggrandizement. And should President Trump wait until Kim Jong-un acts and attacks the United States then President Trump would be pillories as the President who did not have the foresight or the willingness to act in the face of impending danger and allowed the needless suffering of the people of Japan, South Korea or wherever Kim Jong-un ordered the strike and if it was the United States, all the more Trump will be condemned. If Kim Jong-un were to strike Japan and President Trump responds by attacking North Korea then he will be criticized if his attack is too large in scale or if it is considered insufficient in scale. The secret is if it leaves Kim Jong-un with any ability to strike further, then the attack proved to be insufficient and Trump is an incompetent. If, on the other hand, the attack decapitates North Korean military and political structure and removes all threats, then Trump is a warmonger bringing undue suffering to the people, the innocent people of North Korea. If then China were to take hold of most of North Korea, well, then Trump is an incompetent again for not seeing this inevitability and acting to prevent the Chinese from taking over the northern half of the Korean Peninsula and thus threatening South Korea even worse than Kim Jong-un had threatened them. If United States and South Korean troops enter the North and unite the peninsula, well then Trump did it for the land and to force democracy war upon North Korea without even asking them if they desired such. You basically get the idea, either he is a warmonger or he was unprepared or he was a warmonger just before he was unprepared or he is a warmonger land grabber. Whatever President Trump does about North Korea, or does not do about North Korea will prove to have been wrong in the immediate media coverage and in the halls of Congress. We predict that if President Trump were to take steps to replace Kim Jong-un and manage this without firing a single shot or missile and all of North Korea were hailing him as their savior, impeachment charges would be brought up in the House of Representatives on charges of unnecessarily involving the United States in regime change for no reason. Of course, if he waits and Washington D.C. becomes a target, then there likely will be no action from Congress, as they will be scrambling to get far enough from the Capital in the period they have between warning and strike. With the EMP scenario, Congress might meet and actually still have electricity as the coasts might survive such a strike, and they would most definitely be bringing impeachment even if they were doing so by candle light. The end result of any action or inaction on North Korea will be impeachment, that is about the only sure bet.

Those ellipses cover a lot of ground which I do want you to read, and a tip of the Stetson to Oyia Brown for bringing us Beyond the Cusp.

I’m hardly a conspiracy theorist, I have both too much belief in Ockham’s Razor, as well as a belief that a secret can be kept by two people if one be dead, to be. But there are troubling indications of currents beneath the surface in the matters. I do not believe that it is part of a plot to remove Trump, although that could easily be a part of it, not least because for all his faults, he tends to speak for and to the folks you made the Great Republic what it is. But if this is correct he, like many millions of others will be collateral damage, in a most remorseless restructuring of the world. It will not be to the benefit of common people, anywhere. It will, on the other hand, strengthen those who would like to gather power into their own hands. It is time, and past time, to act, but I like most of us, have not found the proper button. So for the moment, watch wait, and think, because acting in the wrong way, merely strengthens the enemy. I think.

Charlottesville

So we had ourselves a riot in Charlottesville last weekend. I wasn’t too surprised, I’ve been expecting it, frankly. Daniel Greenfield in Frontpage Magazine tells you why.

A functioning society requires a middle ground. There has to be someplace where different sides can meet and negotiate their differences. Extremism happens when one or both sides eliminate that middle ground. And then all that’s left is a brutal fight for power.

The left is up on its high horse after the latest violence. But it’s the Democrats who allowed themselves to be taken over by the left. The extremism boosted Black Nationalist racist groups which were quickly mainstreamed.

Democrats demand that Republicans condemn Neo-Nazis. And certainly everyone should make their disgust clear. But Democrats have publicly endorsed Black Lives Matter. And Black Nationalists are just another racist hate group. Who operate with the support of the Democrats.

The Confederate memorial crisis was an utterly unnecessary confrontation pushed by Black Nationalists and exploited by Neo-Nazis.

After the Civil War, Americans achieved a modus vivendi. The Union was preserved, but the South was allowed to honor its dead and its leaders. The campaign against Confederate memorials was the best possible present that the Neo-Nazis of the Alt-Right could have received. And so both sets of extremists fed on each other. That’s how it works. And the blame goes to the left which lit the spark.

He’s right and that modus vivendi he speaks of is the last and likely best legacy of Abraham Lincoln, aided by Generals Grant, Sherman, and Lee. It was a wonder of the ages, a hard fought civil war ending without hangings, proscription lists, and a partisan campaign. Only happened in America. And here are extremists, from both sides, throwing it away around 150 years later.

And you know, in life as in physics, an action is always operated on by an equal and opposite reaction. We just saw the opening salvo of that reaction. If the BLM and the others continue, it will get worse, and it will spread. And given the left’s opposition to free people, and democratic government, as we’ve seen in the last six months, it will get worse, perhaps much worse, because it will spread from the fringes to the mainstream who want nothing to do with these hate groups but like that perhaps apocryphal Polish colonel, who when asked what he would do if he marched his regiment between the Soviet and Nazi German forces, replied, “Attack in both directions and die gloriously”.

Never think it can’t happen here. We don’t do ‘blood and soil’ patriotism here in America like they do in Europe, but we have something much more powerful. We have an almost religious belief in the ideals of America, and unravelling them has never been, and I doubt it will be now, permitted. Not by any of our overdone government bodies, but by the average person, who has been watching aghast the last few years, and no longer recognizes the America we once knew and loved.

Well, in 1781 the wheel came full circle, as the Revolution completed. Will it again? No one knows but I would never bet against the American people, especially on a bunch of rag tag extremists from either (or both) sides.

The president is taking a lot of criticism for his statements on the matter. John Hinderaker of PowerLine says this:

Today the White House released an additional statement that specifically addressed white supremacist groups:

The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry and hatred and of course that includes white Supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups. He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together.

Trump’s various statements have failed to satisfy just about everybody, including many Republicans–Scott, for one. Trump’s position may or may not be politically wise, but I am sympathetic to it. What his critics want him to do is denounce white supremacist groups to the exclusion of anyone else. The problem with his statements, in the eyes of critics, is they are too even-handed. Trump’s denunciation includes both the white supremacists in Charlottesville and the fascist “antifas” who counter-protested, as well as other hate groups.

This seems entirely appropriate to me, as the Charlottesville violence resulted in large part from the fact that the “antifas” showed up, spoiling for a fight. The videos I have seen suggest that the “antifas” were at least as responsible for the violent clashes as the white supremacists. Both deserve to be repudiated, and fascists who riot and try to shut down other people’s speech are just as reprehensible as racists.

Yup, and as far as I’m concerned anything else is partisan political spin. Especially most of what the formerly main stream (and now mostly fake) media are putting out. As were the riots themselves.

The Week in Picture: The Bombing Starts in 5 Minutes Edition

Hah, Saturday snuck up on me, but I saw it coming. So a bit has gone on this week, as usual, summed up well in pictures. Here’s some of them.

 

Aws usual, most from PowerLine. Have a better week

 

Googling Diversity

So should we look a bit at Google’s self-inflicted hangnail? Google is so huge that is about what it amounts to. Still, it is interesting in several ways.

Now mind, I believe that one may run a company one owns as one pleases, and if you choose to promote less competent social justice warriors into posts of responsibility instead of competent software engineers – well on your head be it. The counter argument is that Google is nearly a public utility, but that is not so. The Internet is not necessary (yet, anyway), however desirable it is. And Google does have, in all areas, competitors, some very good.

Ben Domenech lays it out well at The Federalist.

Yesterday, the internet lit up with a flame-war of epic proportions over an internal memo written by James Damore, a Google engineer with a Harvard PhD, who wrote at length about workplace diversity. The memo was the type of statistical analysis one could expect from a dispassionate engineer irritated by a lack of clarity in why fewer women choose to participate in his field, attempting to quantify it beyond the vague assumptions favored by corporate PR. He offered various reasons and explanations for why this could be the case, and offered to discuss the memo further with anyone interested in doing so. For writing this thoughtcrime, he was fired. Google’s CEO claims the memo violated its Code of Conduct. You can read the CEO’s statement here, which stresses that his views were “Not OK”.

These views are consistent with those of Google’s Eric Schmidt, who recently rejected the idea advanced in a Q&A that any right of center views need to be considered part of the bucket of “diversity” favored within Google. As I noted at the time: 

Note the response from Eric Schmidt, who rejects the idea that anyone disagreeing with him politically could be operating from a position of ‘science-based thinking’. The level of diversity and inclusiveness welcomed by Google is precisely as much as is needed to achieve their corporate aims. ‘You’ll also find that all of the other companies in our field agree with us’ – yes, we know.

You see the same tone advanced by Danielle Brown, Google’s vice president of diversity, integrity and governance, who insists the memo’s gender assumptions were “incorrect”.

As always “not consistent” does not mean right or wrong. It means “he doesn’t agree with me, and it’s my company”. As it happens, I believe Damore makes a hell of a lot of sense. But my name isn’t Schmidt, and I’m not CEO of Google, and I do think he can run the company however the shareholders will let him, no matter how stupid. And I note that Google does appear to make money! 🙂

Domenech quotes several of his contributors in his article. As usual David Harsanyi makes a good logical case.

Gizmodo calls a Google engineer’s leaked internal memo about the company’s diversity initiatives an ‘anti-diversity screed.’ Recode calls it ‘sexist.’ Most major news organizations frame it in similar terms. The memo has gone viral. (Update: Google has fired the author for ‘perpetuating gender stereotypes.’) In reality, the problem is that a senior software engineer, perhaps unwittingly, admitted to pondering three of the most scandalous thought-crimes of contemporary American society. The first was to propose that a meritocracy might be heathier for a company than bean-counting race, ethnicity, and sex. The second is pointing that ideological diversity matters. The third, and most grievous of all the wrongthinks, is suggesting that men and women are, in general, physiologically and psychologically different from each other, and thus they tend to excel at different things.

And that my friends is the real ‘thoughtcrime’ here. Wouldn’t it be terrible if we promoted people based on their skills instead of their politics?

A Consequential President

Winston Churchill wrote that in Edwardian times (around the First World War) there were “great events and small men”. Seems to me that now, a full century later, it has come around again. I have never seen so many apparatchiks in the Washington establishment. (Note that this applies full force to all of Europe (including Great Britain) as well as Washington. They are so busy trying to blame each other, or especially anybody trying to accomplish anything, that government has pretty much stalled. Except of course, for the social causes that no rational person could ever support.

So much of this reminds me of the death throes of the Soviet Union. The gravy train is off the rails but those living on it are managing to believe it is not, and will continue forever. And they will do their best to destroy anybody who tells any part of the truth. Clarice Feldman brings her talent to bear on this.

Once when my son was about 6 or 7 I took him to the circus with some of his friends. The acrobats, clowns, and lion tamer in the center ring enthralled the other kids. Not him. He turned to me and said, “How do you think they make money producing a circus? I think it’s the concessions.” It struck me then that among the people in the world, there are some — too few, actually — who are not distracted by spectacles, but, instead, keep their eyes on the bottom line.

That’s how I see the President. His stated goals have always been to make us safe, get the economy booming, enable a job-creation economy, and make life better and safer for all Americans.

As the news is filled with tittle-tattle about the phony baloney Russian collusion story and moronic punditry, the president keeps plowing on with his agenda. American Digest lists 220 things the President has achieved while in office, despite the vitriolic attacks on him and what appears to be a silent coup by the press, bureaucrats, and entrenched officeholders.

The thing that is most apparent here is that not a single one of the cretins is honorable enough to openly state what they believe. Instead, they sneak around doing their damage to the country, simply to preserve for a few more months their rice bowl, and then they’ll do it again. We’ve always (all countries do) had these useless mouths to feed, so do corporations, in fact. In fact, anytime in my lifetime, at least, when you see court cases or legislation, that favors one group over another, whether it is ‘affirmative action’, the feminist movement, public workers unions, even (since the sixties) the traditional unions, you are seeing the incompetent band together to steal the fruits of the competent. Thing is, it always damages the country, and this time because they are perfectly willing to leak national security material, they damage it more severely and directly than normal. Clarice again.

The stock market is booming although the NYT twists itself into a pretzel to deny the President’s role in this, per Tom Maguire:

Just imagine how different the tone of The Resistance would be if the stock market were in hideous retreat, as per Nobel Laureate Krugman’s infamous early prediction in response to Trump’s election.

But that pesky stock market keeps going up! So the Times explains why, doing their Very Bestest to keep Trump out of it. Spoiler Alert: They nearly succeed.

‘Wall Street, Climbing Sharply, Skips Washington’s ‘Soap Opera’

By Nelson D. Schwartz Aug 2, 2017

Despite the disorder in Washington — with a revolving door at the White House and roadblocks on Capitol Hill — Wall Street and corporate America are booming.

The disconnect was evident Wednesday, as the Dow Jones industrial average passed the 22,000 mark, a new high. At the same time, blue chips like Apple, Caterpillar and U.S. Steel have all reported strong earnings in recent weeks that surpassed analysts’ forecasts.

“None of the soap opera in Washington matters,” said Frank Sullivan, chief executive of RPM International, a Cleveland-based maker of specialty coatings and sealants like Rust-Oleum. “Nobody in business cares about who talked to who in Russia.”’

[snip]

But a market surge based on political hopes has been replaced by one more firmly grounded in the financial realm.

Besides steady economic growth or less regulation, investors also have been encouraged by the loose reins of central banks like the Federal Reserve, which have helped keep interest rates not far above their historic lows. Inflation, too, remains tame, with price increases in recent months actually falling short of the Fed’s targets.’

[snip]

Well. Presidents often get more credit for the economy than they deserve, but I think Trump deserves some credit for being Trump and a lot of credit for not being Hillary.

Then there is the Russian nonsense…

Another longtime investigative reporter, Seymour Hersh in salty language edited out here, claims insider knowledge that Seth Rich downloaded the DNC emails. They were not hacked, but leaked.

He had submitted a series of documents, of emails. Some juicy emails from the DNC, and you know, by the way all this sh*t about the DNC, um, you know, whether it was hacked or wasn’t hacked, whatever happened, the democrats themselves wrote this sh*t, you know what I mean? All I know is that he (Seth) offered a sample, an extensive sample, you know I’m sure dozens of email and said “I want money”. Then later Wikileaks did get the password, he had a Dropbox, a protected Dropbox, which isn’t hard to do, I mean you don’t have to be a wizard IT, you know, he was certainly not a dumb kid. They got access to the Dropbox. He also, and this is also in the FBI report, he also let people know, with whom he was dealing, and I don’t know how he dealt, I’ll tell you about Wikileaks in a second. I don’t know how he dealt with the Wikileaks and the mechanism but he also, the word was passed according to the NSA report, “I’ve also shared this box with a couple of friends so if anything happens to me it’s not going to solve your problem”. Ok. I don’t know what that means.

[snip]

I have somebody on the inside, you know I’ve been around a long time, and I write a lot of stuff. I have somebody on the inside who will go and read a file for me. This person is unbelievably accurate and careful, he’s a very high-level guy and he’ll do a favor. You’re just going to have to trust me. I have what they call in my business a long-form journalism, I have a narrative of how that whole [%^&$] thing began, it’s a Brennan operation, it was an American disinformation and [*(&]ing the [*(&]ing President, at one point when they, they even started telling the press, they were back briefing the press, the head of the NSA was going and telling the press, [%^&]ing c Rogers, was telling the press that we even know who in the GRU, the Russian Military Intelligence Service, who leaked it. I mean all [nonsense]… I worked at the New York Times for [*(&^]ing years, and the trouble with the f[%^&*]ng New York Times is they have smart guys, but they’re totally beholden on sources. If the president or the head of the (???) to actually believe it. I was actually hired at the time to write, to go after the war in Vietnam War in 72 because they were just locked in. So that’s what the Times did. These guys run the [*(&^]ing Times, and Trump’s not wrong. But I mean I wish he would calm down and had a better a better press secretary, I mean you don’t have to be so. Trump’s not wrong to think they all [*(&)]ing lie about him.

Clarice goes on to deal with Comey and Mueller and you should read it, it’s just as important.

You know, Trump’s swamp meme is quite appropriate, if you’ve ever tried to walk in a swamp, well, it can be done, often more effectively than a boat, but progress is difficult, as you’re walking through waist (or deeper) water while standing in mud, and sometimes sinking knee-deep in that. It’s exhausting and quickly so. I give Trump a lot of credit for keeping on, not many men would. You get to a certain age, rocking chairs have their appeal.

Will he succeed? I don’t know. But I suspect something is moving in that swamp, and it’s ugly. The American people have after about 20 years (or more) of this nonsense had just about all they are going to take. If Trump loses, especially in the wrong way, say to this so-called ‘slow coup’ – well I have a feeling that there could well be a counter coup, which will be neither quiet nor slow.

Interesting times, indeed! I think we’ll give T.S. Elliot the last word today

                   I

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

II

Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer-

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom

III

This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.

IV

The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.

V

Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Eudaimonia

While reading that nonsense from Lindy about being an astronaut the other day, something struck me. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe the Millenials are simply spending far too much time in their parent’s basement. I mean, how long can you stay in your room before you go mad? Yes, electronics would make it better less horrible, but still.

I mean that’s what we call cabin fever, after a blizzard within a day or so, you’ll willingly shovel wet snowdrifts 10 feet high to get out of your house. Why? Usually, no reason except you’re down to you last gallon of milk for the two of you.

Look, I like my own company, and I spend a good deal of time interacting with others on line, and still if I don’t get out and around every day for a while, I get cranky. I like to think I’d be happy in a cabin in the mountains without all you idiots, and I would, for about five hours. 🙂 We all need people, preferably in person, but if they are good ones, on line can do, kind of, sort of. In fact, that’s why I have a lunatic respect for submariners (Hi Mac!). How anybody can volunteer to spend 60 days with only the 100 or so crazy guys on the crew, no matter how busy you are, I don’t understand. 😉

Quite a while back, Charlie Gilkey wrote an article on what Aristotle called  Eudaimonia, which he translated as ‘flourishing’. That translation works for our purposes, and I don’t do Greek, so we’ll agree. In it, he says…

  1. We are physical beings (because we are animals). As physical beings, we require nourishment, exercise, rest, and all the other things that it takes to keep our bodies functioning properly.
  2. We are emotional beings (because we are animals). What separates animals from plants, according to Aristotle, is that animals have wants, desires, urges, and reactions. We perceive something in the world that we want and we have the power of volition to get it; likewise, we have the power to avoid the things we don’t want. For humans, these wants can get pretty complex, but at rock bottom we all have (emotional) needs and wants that spring from rather basic sources.
  3. We are social beings (because humans live in groups). We must live and function in particular societies. “No man is an island,” and we are the type of being that does well only in social settings. Our social nature stacks on top of our emotional nature, such that we have wants and needs that we would not have were we not social creatures. For example, if we were the type of creature that flourished as hermits, the need for trust and friendly cooperation would not be nearly so pressing.
  4. We are rational beings. To the Greeks – and, let’s be honest, most cultures, including our own contemporary one – what made humans human was our rationality. We are creative, expressive, knowledge-seeking, and able to obey reason. We might not always obey reason and we may sometimes not want to exercise our minds, but a large part of our existence relates to our being rational animals.

That’s not all inclusive, at least to me, but he’s on to something here, I think. We do have to keep the machine maintained, decent food, the joints working, some fresh air all that. When I was a kid, there was that fad for fallout shelters, even as a kid (and a pretty young one) I wasn’t sure it was worthwhile if I was going to have to live in essentially a semi trailer for 6 months to a year. That’s still my trouble with some of the preppers. That just isn’t reasonable for human beings, unless you know it’s for a limited time, and the world will be out there waiting for you.

Well, it seems lately that we don’t need much encouragement to be emotional, or even overemotional. It’s important to note, but it seems to me that balance is lacking lately.

We can live in isolation, but I question how well. Perhaps the ones who did it best were the early Christian ascetics, and before all that long that had grown into monasticism, because, I’d guess, the ascetics found that God, for all his virtues, wasn’t very good day-to-day company. And that’s why holing up in Mom’s basement rarely works out well.

This to me seems the yang to emotions ying. Without rationality, we are simply animals, reason is what sets us apart. It has to be in balance, or we end up depraved (and deprived).

I said above that he was not all inclusive, and it’s not. That’s not a major fault if one is talking about Aristotle, because the source is, what is missing is God. But it is interesting, as Christians, we often refer to God as the Logos, which is also Greek, which in many ways is the original language of Christianity. It translates correctly as two things. Love, our emotional commitment to others, and as Reason, our commitment to rationality. Frankly, that is where Atheism and Objectivism fail, human beings are innately emotional, all of us, and it must be taken into account Both are gifts of God to humanity.

Of course, it’s up to us to use those gifts for good, and we could do better.

%d bloggers like this: