Camille Paglia

Camille Paglia, and the fiery planet of Mustafar, from "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith." (Credit: Michael Lionstar/Salon)

Camille Paglia, and the fiery planet of Mustafar, from “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.” (Credit: Michael Lionstar/Salon)

Ella Whelan recently interviewed Camille Paglia for Spiked. As always, a huge amount of common sense is on display.

But turn your brain to high, because there is several hours worth of information here, in a bit over a half hour. Her classes must be fascinating, and also very tiring, but never tiresome.

Her views on Feminism, Lena Dunham, and Hillary Clinton are worth your time, not even to start with campus culture, or lack thereof.

I don’t see how she get to where she goes with her politics, but her premises are almost always correct.

Enjoy!

Naught For Our Comfort

This is a repost of a post I made reworking Jess' first (and guest post here) in the fall of 2014, when she was just starting her recovery. It gave me comfort then from the strain and worry involved, and the horribleness of knowing she might be gone from my life,  just like that. Now, it still gives me comfort, as I look around an America, that I  barely recognize. I hope it does you as well. Neo

I doubt that it is news to any of you but, one of the great joys of mine in writing this blog for the last two years has been the help and friendship of Jessica, and her co-author Chalcedon. I admire them both greatly, and one of the reasons for that is that they have rekindled my love for poetry, and you have seen all of us use it to reinforce our points. It is hardly a new method but, it is one used rarely these days. I suspect because most of us are so ill-educated that we are unaware of its richness, and ability to reinforce our point.

If you read much of Lincoln’ writings and speeches, for instance, you will see it used to great effect. For instance his famous, “of the people, for the people, and by the people’ was not original, nor did he claim it was, and his listeners knew it was not. The original is this: “This Bible is for the government of the people, for the people and by the people.” it is by John Wycliffe and it is from 1384.

And so they have enriched my life, and will continue to do so, God willing, and yours as well because it is reflected in my posts for you. And so

A sea-folk blinder than the sea
Broke all about his land,
But Alfred up against them bare
And gripped the ground and grasped the air,
Staggered, and strove to stand.

For earthquake swallowing earthquake
Uprent the Wessex tree;
The whirlpool of the pagan sway
Had swirled his sires as sticks away
When a flood smites the sea.

Our towns were shaken of tall kings
With scarlet beards like blood:
The world turned empty where they trod,
They took the kindly cross of God
And cut it up for wood.

He bent them back with spear and spade,
With desperate dyke and wall,
With foemen leaning on his shield
And roaring on him when he reeled;
And no help came at all.

There was not English armor left,
Nor any English thing,
When Alfred came to Athelney
To be an English king.

It was a very bad time to be King Alfred of Wessex, and I think it holds parallels to our time as well. to continue

“Mother of God” the wanderer said
“I am but a common king,
Nor will I ask what saints may ask,
To see a secret thing.

“But for this earth most pitiful.
This little land I know,
If that which is forever is,
Or if our hearts shall break with bliss
Seeing the stranger go?”

And here we come to my introduction to this epic by Jess when she quoted to me on one of our political defeats

I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher

“And this is the word of Mary,
The word of the world’s desire
`No more of comfort shall ye get,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.’

Naught for your  comfort has become a catchphrase for us when things go awry, which has been often these last few years for us Americans, and for Britons as well.

We are living through a failed presidency (or, at least, trying to) and one of the reasons it has failed is that many of our countrymen have confused Obama with God, and I suspect he has as well. That never turns out well, and it is not here either.

I’m reminded that first class leaders hire the best men they can find to help them, and second class leaders hire third class helpers, and worst of all, third class leaders hire lackeys who will tell them what they want to hear. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

But we are going to have to soldier until after the next election and hope we find a man (not a god) to help us lead in the rebuilding western civilization, for without our leadership it will fall. It’s going to be an epically hard battle, and we could do worse than to emulate King Alfred.

But remember, we remember King Alfred because he won. Let’s finish with the rest of the poem.

And this was the might of Alfred,
At the ending of the way;
That of such smiters, wise or wild,
He was least distant from the child,
Piling the stones all day.

The King looked up, and what he saw

Was a great light like death,
For Our Lady stood on the standards rent,
As lonely and as innocent
As when between white walls she went
And the lilies of Nazareth.

[…]

They shall not come in warships,
They shall not waste with brands,
But books be all their eating,
And ink be on their hands.

Yea, this shall be the sign of them,
The sign of the dying fire;
And man made like a half-wit,
That knows not of his sire.

What though they come with
scroll and pen,
And grave as a shaven clerk,
By this sign you shall know them
That they ruin and make dark;

By all men bond to nothing
Being slaves without a lord,
By one blind idiot world obeyed
Too blind to be abhorred.

By thought a crawling ruin,
By life a leaping mire,
By a broken heart in the breast
of the world
And the end of the world’s desire.

By God and man dishonored
By death and life made vain
Know ye, the old barbarian,
The barbarian come again

The eternal battle against barbarism is ours to win for our generation or to lose for generations to come. It has taken us a thousand years to get where we are, and it might take longer to recover. So, Stand Fast, my friends.

Did that interest you enough to wonder about the poem and its author? I hope so. It was written by G.K. Chesterton (and it’s much longer than the excerpts here) it’s called The Ballad of the White Horse. You can find it at Project Gutenberg.

Fundamental Concepts: Features and Benefits: Part 1

flag-united-states-industrial-power-national-america-american-industry-57691837Let’s get right into this, even divided into two posts, today and tomorrow it’s fairly long. But it really is fundamental, and why I support Ted Cruz, as well.

When people have a product or service that they want to sell you, they will spend an inordinate amount of time telling you about all the features that they offer. They think that this is a good thing, and it is; but what is important to the listener is not what features are offered, it’s how each of these features would benefit the user. […]

[…] I’d like to turn to something that Ted Cruz is doing in this campaign, and analyze how he needs to do it better. Cruz speaks about recreating the “Reagan coalition”, which is mostly code for getting the votes of blue collar workers. He needs their votes, because these people have been hammered by globalization and they are flocking to the pablum that Donald trump is peddling in droves. Cruz is in the ballpark, but he’s still out in left field talking about features (a very lawyerly thing to do). Reagan’s gift was that he was able to bring it home for voters by showing them the benefits of the policies he proposed. Ted needs to figure out how to do that. It might look something like this:

“I talk to Americans every day as I travel across this country trying to earn your vote for President, and I have to tell you that there is a common theme I hear coming from almost all of them: Economic uncertainty. America’s working men and women and women have been hammered by the last 7 years of Obama’s no-recovery recovery, and they’re nervous. Nervous that they might wake up one morning and find that the jobs they’ve been doing for decades are moving overseas. Nervous that they might not be able to feed their families and raise their kids in the environment that they aspire to. Nervous that even if their job doesn’t go overseas, they might be given to lower skilled workers with lower salaries. Nervous that they might even be forced to endure the indignity and insult of being required to train their replacements! You know what? Under the current administration, and under a Hillary administration, they’re right to be nervous; in fact, they should be downright terrified.

“So what will a Ted Cruz administration do differently? Well, first of all, of all of the candidates in the race, I’m the only one who is absolutely committed to building the wall and enforcing our existing immigration laws. You know, Donald Trump likes to tell you that he’s going to build the wall, the biggest, most luxurious wall the world has ever seen. Every time someone challenges him for details, he just roars “The wall just got higher!”. I think in Donald’s mind the wall reaches to Mars by now. What Donald also says, something that the media has taken great pains to hide, is that his wall also has a great big door in it, the biggest, most luxurious door you’ve ever seen. This is called ‘touchback’ amnesty and it’s about as stupid as it sounds. Would you build a dam with a great big hole in the middle of it? Of course you wouldn’t. Touchback amnesty makes about as much sense.

There’s more there, but that makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? And that is how you ethically sell something. You talk about the benefits to the purchaser. I can talk all day about how a $5 light switch is better than a 50¢ one is, but I’ll never sell one. But how about if I tell you (truthfully) that it will lower your light bill by $x per month and last your lifetime. Depending on which $5 switch we’re talking about, that’s entirely possible. That’s enough immigration, I think, but how about jobs moving overseas:

[…] American labor is expensive, and why shouldn’t it be? American workers produce the highest quality goods in the world. There is a reason that “Made in America” means something around the world. If you want quality work, you have to pay for it, and honestly, would we want it any other way? The dream of America has always been that this is a place where you can work hard and make a good living, leaving your kids better off than you were when you started. My father came to this country and worked washing dishes for $.50 an hour, and now his son is running for president. Is this a great country or what? We have to preserve the American Dream for ourselves and ensure that it will still be there for our children.

“What you’re missing, however, is that labor is only part of the picture. There are many reasons for a company to decide to locate itself in any given location, but there are five big ones: Stability, infrastructure, energy cost, labor and regulatory expense. The United States of America has an unquestioned advantage over the rest of the world in the first three categories.

“Stability: Ask any businessman what the foundation of running a successful business is, and he’ll tell you it’s the ability to reasonably project what the future will bring. The United States has been a free market republic, based upon rule of law, for 240 years. If you were starting a business, would you do it in Venezuela? Labor costs are dirt cheep down there, nobody has a job, but anyone who tries to build something immediately has it taken away from them by the government. I’d stay here if I were you.

I highly recommend that you read it all™ at Fundamental Concepts: Features and Benefits [Weirddave].

Emphasis mine.

Here is the reason, why first Britain and then America became and continue as economic superpowers, especially the rule of law. That means that your company will not be seized by the government (unless you break the law). When did Britain start to slide into mediocrity as an industrial power? After World War Two when the Labor Government began and continued nationalizing whole industries, like steel, railroads, and health care. When did it start recovering? When  Maggie Thatcher privatized industries. The market is always, always more efficient than the government. More honest too, when it is let alone.

That’s likely enough for today, we’ll continue tomorrow.

Nancy Reagan RIP, and a bit from Jim deMint

Official White House photograph of Nancy Reaga...

Official White House photograph of Nancy Reagan, wife to then-President of the United States Ronald Reagan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before we start, word has come that Nancy Reagan died yesterday morning, this is how an era ends. made me think of a bit of T.S. Elliot from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.
I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled

She’ll be missed! RIP and enjoy being with Ronnie again.


The Reagans knew as much as anyone about building a conservative movement, and so it may be fitting to add this here because Jim deMint know a fair amount about it himself. Genevieve Wood tells us:

Candidates for federal and state office are running successfully on conservative ideas—cutting government spending, protecting religious liberty, repealing Obamacare—that have taken hold over the past five years, Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint says.

America’s Ruling Class vs. All

Mad as hellThis is the absolute truth, and not only at the Washington level. Whenever you see a man (or woman) who has grown fat and prosperous in a government (or elective) job, you have found corruption. If we do not roll it back, it will be the cause of the end of the Republic.

Sitting back and observing the current civil war happening within the Republican party should come as no surprise to anyone who resides outside the beltway of Washington, D.C. Pundits, thinkers, writers, and radio hosts who I once admired, have now lost credibility as they have bestowed upon themselves the bastion of what is and isn’t “true conservatism”. Yet, while the civil war wages within the party, the party itself does a disservice to this nation for fighting the wrong battle at the wrong time as the war for the heart of this country wages on.

To myself, this has always been the main issue in regards to the Republicans. For far too long they’ve fought for the soul of conservatism as they’d like it to be, but not for the soul of the nation as it truly is. I highly doubt that the very pundits, thinkers, writers, and hosts whom I’ve come to follow are malevolent in their intent for overlooking this point but I have come to realize that they’ve overlooked it completely. I find it flat out astounding that they fail to recognize the zeitgeist of the times as America has reached a point in which the majority of the voters not only couldn’t give a damn about what is and isn’t conservatism, but have no idea what the word even means. Why? Because year after year, representative after representative, and election after election the elites within the Republican establishment repeatedly betray their constituency as they immediately capitulate on their promises.

Each time a Republican, supporting conservative principles, promising to fight once elected into office, gets elected and then turns on those very principles, it damages the cause of conservatism. […]

The latter, those so covetous of power that they’ve abandoned all principle for the sake of power is what I’d define as America’s ruling class. Our ruling class’s agenda is power for itself.

via America’s Ruling Class vs. All – Politically Short.

And you know, Americans are not really that stupid. Even the ones that don’t really understand what is going on, know that something has changed, and they no longer have the upward path their parents did. I have friends that are ready to jump ship to places like the Philippines that are corrupt, but honestly corrupt. I’m too old to start over yet again, and I’m stubborn, so I’m staying, but I’m increasingly understanding what they are saying, and yes, I’m sympathetic.

I think it is what also drives the “Let it Burn” meme that we hear so much. It’s time to turn it around, not just manage the decline.

A Question of Interpretation

'Truth Presenting a Mirror to the Vanities', Dutch, c.1625

‘Truth Presenting a Mirror to the Vanities’,
Dutch, c.1625

This is interesting. Here we base most of our stories on history, whether it is that of a British regiment, or the church, the American Revolution, or politics, or whatever. We firmly believe that we should make decisions based partly on what happened when similar decisions were made in the past.

If there were no other reason, and there are many, it would be sufficient to say that it reduces the scope of ‘the Law of Unintended Consequences’ because some of them have already happened. That’s partly why those who want to make unprecedented change almost always denigrate history, such as the often heard disdain for ‘old, dead, white men’. Thing is, those guys have something to teach us because they had many of the same problems we do, and often hit on the same solutions. So, they provide a guide as to what works, and what doesn’t, if we read and learn.

Yet those lessons can often be clear as mud. Why? Because history is an interpretation, it’s not the complete story. It can’t be. There was a Republican debate just last night, maybe you watched it, as I did. If we wrote the lessons we learned from it, they would likely be quite different. That’s last night. Now, what if it was between Charles I and Oliver Cromwell about 400 years ago. And all we have to go on is what the published reports said. If we spin those reports enough, we probably can posit almost anything.

And that is in some ways what historians have to work with. In my experience, most (but not all) do a very good job of trying to being objective, and writing the truth, as it presents to them. Some, like politicians, serve an agenda rather than the truth, but they are, usually a minority. If they become the majority, history becomes essentially useless, and reputable historians know it and pay attention.

One of those very reputable ones is Suzannah Lipscomb, Head of History at The New College of the Humanities, London, and she explains this very well, I think.

[…]

In the term before Christmas I was teaching first-year undergraduates. At the end of each term those who have been lecturing and tutoring get together with each student to talk about how it has gone. They are bright students who made great progress, but a repeating theme that emerged from this general round-up was the need for them to develop their own voices in the midst of the historical argument: to imagine, with each essay, that they take their seat at the dinner table of historians who have written in that field and then join in the debate. This is no new counsel. I remember a comment written on one of my undergraduate history essays at Oxford by my then-tutor, Susan Brigden, with her characteristic elegance of phrase: ‘Don’t bow with such becoming submission to the secondary authorities.’

History is debate, history is discussion, history is a conversation. Hugh Trevor-Roper wrote in 1957, ‘history that is not controversial is dead history’. While some of this controversy comes from the pronouncements of historians as public intellectuals addressing the present day, much of it comes from them arguing with each other. The collective noun for historians is – honestly – an ‘argumentation’.

Continue reading:  A Question of Interpretation | History Today.

I love that phrase, as well as the admonition:

‘Don’t bow with such becoming submission to the secondary authorities.’

That’s some really good advice, even when you apply it to me!

 

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