Book Burners Afraid of Matches

 

The Class of 2015: Bill Whittle

Boom!

That says it all!

What You Should Know About The Armenian Genocide

armenian-genocide-02-jpg

This comes from that dead period before America thought as a world power, and besides we were paying attention, if at all, to the Great War, especially the western front, so we never heard much at all about it.

But it happened exactly a hundred years ago starting today. It can be considered a precursor to the Nazi Holocaust, or ISIS or other things in the twentieth century, progressing right up to yesterday.

We should probably note that Turkey (and a few other nations) deny the term Genocide, although not the fact. They claim that the term is inapplicable because they didn’t plan on killing all those people. I have a low opinion of nation-states using incompetence as a defense, but that’s what it is.

From The Federalist:

April 24 marks the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, a massive tragedy that brutally snuffed out the lives of up to 1.5 million Armenian Christians in the Ottoman Empire.

It was a systematic attempt to exterminate an entire race of people. And now, on the one hundredth commemoration, President Obama joins those who deny it byrefusing to call it was it was: genocide. This is the seventh time he’s retracted his 2008 election-year promise that if elected he would recognize the Armenian genocide.

As the granddaughter of genocide survivors, it’s personal for me, and I grew up knowing all about it. But too few people today are even aware of what took place in that part of the world exactly 100 years ago.

Unfortunately, as philosopher George Santayana noted, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. We can see today how the calamity that befell the Armenians 100 years ago seems to be repeating itself in the wholesale slaughter of Christians in the Middle East by ISIS and other terrorist groups. So I’d like to offer a bit of a primer on the Armenian Genocide.

What Happened?

About 1.5 million Armenian Christians were systematically slaughtered by the government of the Ottoman Empire. It was jumpstarted on April 24, 1915, when hundreds of Armenian community leaders and intellectuals were rounded up in Constantinople, arrested, and killed.

Young Armenian women who were not raped and killed could end up Islamified and taken in as wives or concubines.

The goal was to exterminate every Armenian Christian, whether child, woman, or man. The killings themselves often included all manner of butchery, torture, and humiliation. My grandmother lamented the crucifixion of her father, who was known in the village as a holy man.

Another part of this extermination program involved deportations that forced Armenians out of their homes and basically put them on death marches into the Syrian Desert. Many died of starvation and exhaustion on these caravans. Others succumbed to diseases like typhus in lice-infested camp conditions. Young Armenian women who were not raped and killed could end up Islamified and taken in as wives or concubines. My grandmother’s younger sister was taken into a harem.

Some of the most harrowing accounts of the murders are included in the extraordinary memoirs of the survivor Bishop Grigoris Balakian, entitled “Armenian Golgotha.” For in depth documentation of the genocide online, I recommend this website.

Continue reading What You Should Know About The Armenian Genocide.

A Triptych of England and the English

Procession_of_Characters_from_Shakespeare's_Plays_-_Google_Art_ProjectThis royal throne of kings,this scepter’d isle, This earth of majesty,this seat of Mars, This other Eden, Demi-paradise, This fortress, built by Nature for herself, Against infection,and the hand of war; This happy breed of men, this little world, This precious stone set in the silver sea, Which serves it in the office of a wall, Or as a moat defensive to a house, Against the envy of less happier lands; This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England..

Seems a good way to start since we mark three things today, a triptych, if you will. In 1564 William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-on-Avon, and 52 years later on this date he died there, as well. In between he became the greatest author to ever write in the English tongue, and simply perhaps the best, ever.

A man whose works we have read, and honored in all our generations, and whose phrases like the one above, continue to grace our everyday tongue. There’s little more for me to say, except that it would be a good day to reread some of your favorites.

st-george (1)The third pane of our triptych today is that it is St. George’s day, and so as we celebrate the greatest author in English, we also celebrate the patron Saint of England herself.

Wikipedia tells us:

St George was born sometime around the year 280 in what is now Turkey. He was a soldier and rose up through the ranks of the Roman army, eventually becoming a personal guard to the Emperor Diocletian. He was executed for being a Christian on April 23, 303, and is buried in the town of Lod in Israel.

St George is most widely known for slaying a dragon. According to legend, the only well in the town of Silene was guarded by a dragon. In order to get water, the inhabitants of the town had to offer a human sacrifice every day to the dragon. The person to be sacrificed was chosen by lots.

On the day that St George was visiting, a princess had been selected to be sacrificed. However, he killed the dragon, saved the princess and gave the people of Silene access to water. In gratitude, they converted to Christianity. It is thought that the dragon represents a certain type of pagan belief that included the sacrifice of human beings.

St George is the patron saint of a number of places, such as Bulgaria, England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Portugal and Russia. He is also remembered in some regional holidays, such as in the province ofNewfoundland and Labrador in Canada and among the Gorani people who live in a mountainous area in the Balkans and were converted to Islam many centuries ago, but still observe St George’s Day. Around the world, a number of days are devoted to St George, including April 23 and dates in November and December of the Gregorian calendar.

Sir Winston Churchill said:

There is a forgotten -nay almost forbidden word,
. . . . a word which means more to me than any other. . . .
That word is
“ENGLAND”

This morning in an article on the Watchtower, I said this:

Seems to me he wasn’t far wrong. We hear much of Great Britain, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, and even of the former Empires: America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore, and even India, but we hear little of the source of the glory: England. For without the driving force of English ideas, our world would simply not exist.

The Late Rt Hon Enoch Powell MBE gave the following speech to a dinner of The Royal Society of St George, in London, on St George’s Day, April 23rd 1961

There was a saying, not heard today so often as formerly . .

What do they know of England who only England know?”

It is a saying which dates. It has a period aroma, like Kipling’s “Recessional” or the state rooms at Osborne. That phase is ended, so plainly ended, that even the generation born at its zenith, for whom the realisation is the hardest, no longer deceive themselves as to the fact. That power and that glory have vanished, as surely, if not as tracelessly, as the imperial fleet from the waters of Spithead.

And yet England is not as Nineveh and Tyre, nor as Rome, nor as Spain. Herodotus relates how the Athenians, returning to their city after it had been sacked and burnt by Xerxes and the Persian army, were astonished to find, alive and flourishing in the blackened ruins, the sacred olive tree, the native symbol of their country.

So we today, at the heart of a vanished empire, amid the fragments of demolished glory, seem to find, like one of her own oak trees, standing and growing, the sap still rising from her ancient roots to meet the spring, England herself.

 

Perhaps, after all, we know most of England “who only England know”. 

So the continuity of her existence was unbroken when the looser connections which had linked her with distant continents and strange races fell away. Thus our generation is one which comes home again from years of distant wandering. We discover affinities with earlier generations of English who felt no country but this to be their own. We discover affinities with earlier generations of English who felt there was this deep this providential difference between our empire and those others, that the nationhood of the mother country remained unaltered through it all, almost unconscious of the strange fantastic structure built around her – in modern parlance “uninvolved”.

Backward travels our gaze, beyond the grenadiers and the philosophers of the 18th century, beyond the pikemen and the preachers of the 17th, back through the brash adventurous days of the first Elizabeth and the hard materialism of the Tudors and there at last we find them, or seem to find them, in many a village church, beneath the tall tracery of a perpendicular East window and the coffered ceiling of the chantry chapel.

From brass and stone, from line and effigy, their eyes look out at us, and we gaze into them, as if we would win some answer from their silence.”Tell us what it is that binds us together; show us the clue that leads through a thousand years; whisper to us the secret of this charmed life of England, that we in our time may know how to hold it fast.

“What would they say”?

They would speak to us in our own English tongue, the tongue made for telling truth in, tuned already to songs that haunt the hearer like the sadness of spring. They would tell us of that marvellous land, so sweetly mixed of opposites in climate that all the seasons of the year appear there in their greatest perfection; of the fields amid which they built their halls, their cottages, their churches, and where the same blackthorn showered its petals upon them as upon us; they would tell us, surely of the rivers the hills and of the island coasts of England.

One thing above all they assuredly would not forget; Lancastrian or Yorkist, squire or lord, priest or layman; they would point to the kingship of England, and its emblems everywhere visible.

They would tell us too of a palace near the great city which the Romans built at a ford of the River Thames, to which men resorted out of all England to speak on behalf of their fellows, a thing called ‘Parliament'; and from that hall went out their fellows with fur trimmed gowns and strange caps on their heads, to judge the same judgments, and dispense the same justice, to all the people of England.

Symbol, yet source of power; person of flesh and blood, yet incarnation of an idea; the kingship would have seemed to them, as it seems to us, to express the qualities that are peculiarly England’s: the unity of England, effortless and unconstrained, which accepts the unlimited supremacy of Crown in Parliament so naturally as not to be aware of it; the homogeneity of England, so profound and embracing that the counties and the regions make it a hobby to discover their differences and assert their peculiarities; the continuity of England, which has brought this unity and this homogeneity about by the slow alchemy of centuries.

For the unbroken life of the English nation over a thousand years and more is a phenomenon unique in history, the product of a specific set of circumstances like those which in biology are supposed to start by chance a new line of evolution. Institutions which elsewhere are recent and artificial creations appear in England almost as works of nature, spontaneous and unquestioned.

From this continuous life of a united people in its island home spring, as from the soil of England, all that is peculiar in the gifts and the achievements of the English nation. All its impact on the outer world in earlier colonies, in the later Pax Britannica, in government and lawgiving, in commerce and in thought has flowed from impulses generated here. And this continuing life of England is symbolised and expressed, as by nothing else, by the English kingship. English it is, for all the leeks and thistles grafted upon it here and elsewhere. The stock that received all these grafts is English, the sap that rises through it to the extremities rises from roots in English earth, the earth of England’s history.

 

We in our day ought well to guard, as highly to honour, the parent stem of England, and its royal talisman; for we know not what branches yet that wonderful tree will have the power to put forth.The danger is not always violence and force; them we have withstood before and can again.The peril can also be indifference and humbug, which might squander the accumulated wealth of tradition and devalue our sacred symbolism to achieve some cheap compromise or some evanescent purpose.

Good advice there for all of us who are members of ancient and honorable countries.

69387_1It’s a low key day in England, much like the 4th of July celebrations I remember in small town America, although with Morris dancing. so enjoy. Sadly, it’s no longer a holiday tough, although some are trying to rectify that.

Happy St. George’s day to the cousins

The Rise of Hillary and the Death of Politics

150220_POL_Hillary.jpg.CROP.promovar-mediumlargeIn full disclosure, I dislike Hillary Clinton (nor am I fond of Bill) and it would probably not be amiss to add that I have little more regard for the Bushes. All of them together epitomize things about politics in America that I dislike, chiefly the rise of politics as a career path nearly approaching dynasties.

That said, In the 2008 campaign, I did admire Hillary, she refused to campaign simply as a woman but, on her ideas. I wasn’t likely to support her, since I think they were (and are) wrong ideas that benefit only the state  and its sycophants but, that’s different matter.

Brendan O’Neill wrote on Spiked a few days ago about his views, and here they are.

Clinton’s gender-obsessed campaign confirms the end of political life.

If you want to see how small politics has become in the 21st century, just look at Hillary Clinton’s chucking of her hat into the 2016 US presidential race. Or better still, look at the response to her unveiling of her presidential ambitions, the chorus of cheers and whoops that greeted her decision to make hers a gender-focused, grandmotherly, womanish campaign, in which, as one excited observer puts it, sex – as in biology, not raunch – will form a ‘core plank’ of Hillary’s stab for the White House. What this speaks to is the suffocating extent to which the politics of identity, the accident of who we are, the lottery of our natural characteristics, is now paramount in the political sphere, having violently elbowed aside the old politics of ideas, and substance, and conviction.

Hillary’s presidential launch confirms that, in the space of just seven years, identity has become pretty much the only game in the town of politics. For as many commentators are pointing out, even as recently as 2008, when she stood against Barack Obama in the clash to become the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary wasn’t all about gender. There was something else. ‘Ms Clinton played down the gender role the first time she ran for the top job’, as one American news report puts it: ‘But this time it’s expected to be a core plank of her campaign.’ Back in 2008, Clinton did ‘her best to make gender a non-issue; this time it’s expected to be the opposite’. The Guardian, long-time supporter of the Clintons, especially when Bill bombed Yugoslavia in 1999 (liberals loved war back then), gushes about the fact that Hillary is playing the gender card. Where in 2008 she ‘struggled against the idea’ that she was striking a blow for her gender – that is, she foolishly though her views counted for more than her vagina – this time she will put ‘gender at the forefront of her presidential race’ to become ‘grandmother-in-chief’, says the Guardian approvingly. We will never know if the supposedly feministic Guardian’s leader-writers stopped to think that it might be a tad patronising to define a woman who has been involved in law and politics for 40 years by the fact that she’s a granny.

But of course, that’s the card Hillary herself is playing. She uses the Twitter hashtag #GrandmothersKnowBest (one wonders if that will be printed on the side of the missiles she fires at errant states that dare to piss off Madam President). And her launch video was all about gender. Primarily featuring women – and of course containing a nod to gay marriage, for it is political suicide for any public official to fail to genuflect cravenly before this most orthodox of modern orthodoxies –her video is an identity-fest. It says nothing of policy – bar supporting families and being nice to working people – and instead tick-boxes all identities, especially gender ones. Young woman? Check. Ethnic woman? Check. Old woman? Check. Mexicans? Check. Gays? Check, check, check. Left-leaning observers are falling over themselves to pat Granny Hillary on the back for what one describes as her ‘shift in tone from 2008 to 2016’, where she will now be ‘running as a woman’. In 2008, she ran as a politician; in 2016, she will run as a woman. How, precisely, is this ‘shift in tone’ from defining a female candidate by her politics to defining her by her gender a positive thing?

Continue reading: The rise of Hillary and the death of politics | Brendan O’Neill | spiked.

And that’s sad, on many levels. But mostly because it tells us that a (perhaps large) group of Americans no longer believe in the worth of individual, only groups, women, Hispanics, the poor, whatever. That is not what America was ever about, America has always been about social mobility, if you don’t like where you are, get to work and fix it.

The American dream was never about things, a chicken in every pot, a house in the suburbs, all those other slogans we have heard. It’s about making it on your own, that why our ancestor’s left Europe, and it limiting class structure. In a phrase, “to breathe free”.

In his last paragraph, Brendan says this:

Where the politics of conviction treated us as political subjects, shaping the world through argument and analysis and action, the politics of identity makes us biological objects, shaped by our natural characteristics or our skin colour or by our private choices to have kids, to have grandkids, to be gay, to be married, or whatever.

i can’t improve on that, and that is what is at stake in this election.

Pew first: Gun rights top gun control in major public opinion shift

12-10-2014-2-19-42-PMThis is interesting, although to be honest, I find it unsurprising. From the Washington Examiner:

Exactly two years after President Obama’s bid for gun control following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting died in Congress, a new poll has discovered a huge shift in public opinion to backing Second Amendment gun rights and away from controlling gun ownership.

The reason: Americans now believe having a gun is the best way to protect against crime, 63 percent to 30 percent.

Pew Research Center found that while support for gun control once reached 66 percent, it has dropped to 46 percent while support for gun rights has jumped 52 percent, the highest ever in the past 25 years.

“We are at a moment when most Americans believe crime rates are rising and when most believe gun ownership – not gun control – makes people safer,” said the survey.

Keep reading: Pew first: Gun rights top gun control in major public opinion shift | WashingtonExaminer.com.

I said above that I don’t find it particularly surprising. That’s because I don’t think Pew got the cause completely right. probably because of the news coverage we get, some of do think crime is up, and it is, in some locations, like, say Chicago. But I think there is more to it.

Most of you know that I have family on the east coast, and they are fairly normal for the area, compared to me, you’d likely call them liberal, some, at least, voted for Obama, at least once. But when I was back there at Christmas, one of my nieces, who lives in a somewhat isolated area, commented that she was considering getting a gun. I was surprised, although not shocked. Like all my family she has a big dose of reality based thinking in her, and knows that women living alone are vulnerable.

My only advice to her is what it always is, “Make sure first that you are willing to use it, otherwise you are simply giving someone a weapon to use on you. And practice!”

But I don’ think this is driven by crime, at least in the normal sense. I think a large part of this is driven by the administration. Obama has made governance in this country a continual constitutional crisis. His disengagement with many of the American norms of government (even if for most, they are merely lip service), has made much of the citizenry uneasy, and unseemly trends in the surveillance state, and the militarization of police departments has added to the mix.

On an objective basis, many of these things can have a case made for them, but coming one after another, it is distressing, and the obvious unwillingness of the Department of Justice to enforce the law on an objective basis (remember the Black panthers in Philadelphia back in 2009?) has made it worse, far worse.

In large measure then, I don’t think the country is arming itself against crime so much, as it is arming itself against a rogue government, in defense of our freedom. That is, of course, the real purpose of the second amendment, not to protect hunting, or to fight crime, but to stop tyranny in its tracks.

And it appears to be working.

I also find it interesting that politics is changing as well. if one were to look at American governance outside of Washington, one would find it to be more conservative than it has been since 1928. so perhaps what we are seeing, is the return of that peculiarly American individualism and self-reliance, and the beginning of the break up of the nanny state.

Well, one can hope, anyway :)

Erastianism; John Stuart Mill, and the Saviour State

images10This is an outstandingly interesting (albeit long) article. I don’t agree with all his premises, especially with regard to intentions but he’s very good on outcomes. In any case he’ll make you think.  By Douglas Farrow writing for Touchstone magazine:

The Audacity of the State

Jeremiah Wright’s 1990 sermon, “The Audacity to Hope,” which lent Barack Obama the title of his electioneering book, has the story of Hannah as its text, and a painting by G. F. Watts

as its foil. Whether the lecture at which Wright first heard of the painting, or his own subsequent reading, included a consultation of G. K. Chesterton’s 1904 treatment of Watts, I can’t say. […]

The Savior State

When I speak of the audacity of the state, the kind of state I have in mind is what we may call the savior state. The main characteristic of the savior state is that it presents itself as the people’s guardian, as the guarantor of the citizen’s well-being. The savior state is the paternal state, which not only sees to the security of its territory and the enforcement of its laws but also promises to feed, clothe, house, educate, monitor, medicate, and in general to care for its people. Some prefer to call it the nanny state, but that label fails to reckon with its inherently religious character. The savior state does have a religious character, precisely in its paternalism, and may even be comfortable with religious rhetoric. […]

Re-Sacralized State

We can hardly be surprised at this. The Erastianism which (to speak anachronistically) had long been trying to get the upper hand in Christendom, managed to do so in the wake of the Lutheran Reformation, though it was in England that it first succeeded. The year 1534 brought the Act of Succession, and a mandatory oath of allegiance that included assent to everything declared by parliament about marriage in general and about Henry’s in particular. Later that year, the Act of Supremacy also established the king’s ecclesiastical jurisdiction, making no mention of the proviso formerly attached to it by the bishops: “as far as the law of Christ allows.”

Christendom, of course, had already seen many princes who were determined to make the church do their bidding. But Henry, by writing his supremacy into the laws of the realm, inaugurated a new era. In that era, the ongoing process of subordinating religion to the demands of the state would outrun the monarchy as such, and the Church of England too. Not merely some, butallof the church’s authority over things public would gradually be expropriated, binding even the conscience—as the Act of Succession already did—to the authority of the state.

Today we live in a society that shrinks in horror from the very idea of established religion, something the American Constitution in any case forbids. Yet we live, even if we live in America, in states increasingly ready to withdraw conscience clauses not only from public servants but also from doctors and druggists and so forth, requiring them to violate the teachings of their religion and the dictates of their consciences in order to demonstrate their allegiance to the state.

In Britain, and increasingly in North America, even churches and charitable organizations are not exempted from laws that demand conformity to state-endorsed ideologies loaded with religious implications. Penalties for violation include heavy fines or even imprisonment. Thus have we come round to accepting Erastus’s invitation to the state to punish the sins of Christians, supplanting the church’s sacramental discipline. We have come round, that is, to the de-sacralization of the church and the re-sacralization of the state, which is once again taking a tyrannical turn.

Keep reading: Touchstone Archives: The Audacity of the State.

Specifically, I have trouble with his underlying assumptions about the Enlightenment, about John Stuart Mill, and about Christianity’s inherent hostility to the individual rather than ecclesiology. Still more would I dispute libertarians antipathy to the family, it may be true of some but most are far more family friendly than the sacralized state.

But whatever their intention, in many ways, what he says here, is where we are. That is our baseline and it’s up to us to guide where we want to go.

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