Back Into the Wasteland

 

keep-calm-_-hes-back

A note from Neo

Well, I’m back again, not that I really left, I’ve been  posting some on the Watchtower because that has been more appropriate to my thoughts lately. I have been thinking of you though, there aren’t so many of us here, but we tend to be, I suspect a good bit alike, and if you’re like me, you feel very much like a sojourner in a strange land.

Today is, of course Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, when we traditionally give up things by which we commemorate Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness , as we prepare ourselves for Easter.

Well, I’ve decided to give up feeling sorry for myself this year, as many of you know Jessica, my editor here, is also my best (and best-loved) friend. When she was stricken with cancer last September, my life pretty much stopped. She survived thanks to what can only be described as a miracle from God himself. She is now recovering in a convent in England, and while I have limited contact with her, for which I give huge thanks to the abbess, I miss her daily presence immensely. But in many ways that’s not important, but what is, to me at least, is that you, my readers, still read her posts, very nearly everyday. And so do I, her writing here and at the Watchtower comforts my soul. And so for your (and my) enjoyment and remembrance, I decided to repost one of her best. NEO

Into the Wasteland

The Hollow Men 5We 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

The opening lines of T.S. Eliot’s 1925 poem speak with eloquence to any age and people who feel disconnected from what they feel is a calamitous and collapsing socio-political world.

Eliot was writing in the aftermath of the most catastrophic war in the history of the Western world. It was the war when hope died. How could one believe in progress after the Somme and the horrors of the Western Front? And what had all of that slaughter been for? A settlement at Versailles which few believed would really bring peace to the world.  Men like Wilson and Hoover, or MacDonald and Baldwin, seemed small men facing giant problems, and sure enough, within fifteen years the world had once more descended into the abyss.

Does the fault lie in our leaders? They do, indeed, seem to be hollow men, with heads stuffed with straw. The words of Yeats’ Second Coming seem apposite to our times:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

Writing in 1919, Yeats wondered:   

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand

But it was not so. In Lord of the Rings, Frodo tells Gandalf that he wishes he did not live in the time he did, when such dreadful things were happening. Gandalf’s reply is for all of us:
So do I,’  said Gandalf, and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’

It is not for us to decide such things. All each of us can do in the end is to decide how we live our lives and by what star we steer. Those of us with a Christian faith, like Tolkien himself, know we are strangers in this world, and we know by whose star we steer. We can rage all we like against the way the world seems to be going, so did our forefathers, and so will our descendants. Eliot ends with a dying fall:

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.

But Yeats, in best prophetic mode wondered:

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

For me, Eliot’s words in Ash Wednesday ring truest:

Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us


That’s pretty much what the world feels like, increasingly to me, at least, it seems that we may have to simply burn it down and try to rebuild in the ruins.But I continue to hope not, so we will see.

In many ways Kipling asked the question I think our political leadership should have to answer

I could not dig; I dared not rob:
Therefore I lied to please the mob.
Now all my lies are proved untrue
And I must face the men I slew.
What tale shall serve me here among
Mine angry and defrauded young?

But as Jess said above, we don’t get to pick the era in which we live, we are simply called to do the best we can. And so we shall, God willing.  NEO

 

How to deal with enemies, foreign and domestic

NEO:

Dan Miller in Panama, and his Librul guest columnist remind us that “The Times They Are A’changin”

Originally posted on danmillerinpanama:

Editor’s note: This is a post by my (imaginary) guest author, the Very Honorable Ima Librul, Senator from the great State of Confusion Utopia. He is a founding member of CCCEB (Climate Change Causes Everything Bad), a charter member of President Obama’s Go For it Team, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Chairman of the Meretricious Relations Subcommittee. He is also justly proud of his expertise in the care and breeding of unicorns, for which his Save the Unicorns Foundation has received substantial Federal grants. We are honored to have a post of this caliber by a quintessential Librul such as the Senator. Without further delay, here is the Senator’s article.

***********************

As the anointed leader of my Librul kingdom, countless methods for dealing with “enemies” are at my disposal. I, along with my loyal Secretary of Slyness (SOS) Sir Ketchup, bring happiness to all. Many “enemies” of my…

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Concealed Carry and the Right of Self-Defense

Feb25We haven’t been talking a lot about this lately mostly because other than a few loonies like NYC’s mayor, few are pushing it. But as always, we need to pay attention.

One thing that struck me as we all watched the events in Paris, is how helpless Europeans have become, simply passive sheep awaiting slaughter. Nor was it the first time these thoughts were in my mind.

Most of you know that I have many friends in Britain, and a while back when Drummer Rigby was butchered in Woolwich, we talked about it both on the Watchtower and I expanded on those comments here. It was very interesting to see the differences in  the American viewpoint contrasted with the British, and I suspect continental Europeans are even more passive.

In fact, the passivity contained in the comment by a distinguished British educator chilled my blood.

We are entirely dependent upon the Police”

My response was as follows:

It’s true of course, most of us have read of British subjects sentenced to life in prison for defending themselves in their home from an armed assailant. And I’m certain I speak for most American when I say, with that system, you are not free. To me and most likely to my compatriots it brings to mind a phrase that Thomas Jefferson used.

Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.”

Which translates as,

“I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.”

This was brought to mind this morning as I read from Dave “the Sage”, in his usual, calm rational style the case for the armed citizen, which is as true today as it was when the right was written into Magna Charta 800 years ago., thereby codifying an existing right. Here’s a piece  of it:

“A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.” 

–  Sigmund Freud

[…]

The truth is often very simple. The law-abiding, gun-owning citizen is not the problem but for some reason is often the target of those who seek to disarm the populace.

When I received my concealed handgun permit it required little more than having the right sheriff, taking a hunters safety course, filling out a questionnaire, not having a criminal record, and writing a check. They have since tightened the restrictions a bit, but not by much if you know the right NRA instructor. Seventy-five dollars can get you an afternoon of target practice, training, and your ticket to the coveted concealed-carry permit if you are willing to do your homework.

Think of the growing number of concealed handgun permit holders as thousands of walking safety bubbles moving throughout society and undoubtedly crossing your path while potentially protecting you and your family without you even knowing it. You can live as a victim subject to the whim of criminals and crazies or you can live as a free man and have the potential to protect yourself, your family, and your community. I choose the latter.

[…]

No one should insist on leaving entire sections of the community open and helpless to the predations of murderous psychopaths. It is important to attempt to help change a culture that has wandered hopelessly off the path of logic and common sense, and help to rectify the pathetically failed policies that cost some people their lives. I can think of nothing more important to address than that. People are dead because of others stupidity and continual striving for a utopian nanny state. That cannot be excused or allowed to continue anymore.

Free Americans should have the right to defend themselves from the more unsavory elements of society that attempt to prey upon or outright kill them.

Laws that forbid the carrying of arms… disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.

— Jefferson’s “Commonplace Book,” 1774-1776, quoting from On Crimes and Punishment, by criminologist Cesare Beccaria, 1764

Concealed Carry and the Right of Self-Defense ⋆ Dc Gazette.

It strikes me that the main problem with the Europeans, and with some segments in America as well, is that they have abdicated the right to be a free person, along with (or perhaps because of) the concomitant obligation to act in their own interest. And so they sold their freedom for a little temporary safety, and as always, they soon shall have neither.

Les evenements

NEO:

My post this morning on Magna Charta was short, although it provides a basis for many things. Part of the reason for that is that I was distracted by the events in France.

I haven’t gotten my thoughts pulled together yet but, my co-blogger Chalcedon451 at AATW has, and I agree wholeheartedly with him. Here are his thoughts.

Originally posted on All Along the Watchtower:

IMG_0739

The cartoonists murdered by gun-men claiming to be revenging Islam’s prophets were plying one of distinctive aspects of the society which so many come to the West to enjoy – liberty; the best tribute to them is to ensure that liberty is maintained. It is many years since I read copy of Charlie Hebdo. I exercised my freedom of expression in the way civilised people do, by not purchasing a magazine which made a speciality of insulting my Church and my faith. I found the cartoons neither witty nor well-drawn, with racial stereotypes far too in evidence; still, that was its style, and if you didn’t like it, as I didn’t, you could do that thing people are free to do – ignore the thing

The Liberal leader, Nick Clegg, has rightly said that there is ‘no right not to be offended’. Absolute free speech has long been abrogated in…

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Monday Links

Its time to clean up some semi-random stuff that has accumulated.

What an insult to The Few: MoD abandons iconic memorial dedicated to Battle of Britain aces… to save a paltry £50,000

  • MoD chiefs plan to close down St George’s Chapel at Biggen Hill, Kent
  • The former RAF station was used during the Battle of Britain to repel Nazis
  • The chapel is expected to close in 2016 unless it can find a benefactor 
  • Minister Anna Soubry said it was an ‘inappropriate use of resources’

By Mark Nicol Defence Correspondent For The Mail On Sunday

Published: 17:01 EST, 3 January 2015 | Updated: 09:14 EST, 4 January 2015

With its magnificent stained-glass windows, it stands as a fitting memorial to the Battle of Britain pilots who gave their lives to save the nation from Nazi invasion.

But The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the ornately furnished chapel Sir Winston Churchill insisted should remain a ‘permanent’ shrine to the glorious Few is to be closed down and boarded up.

Defying the wartime leader’s express wishes, defence chiefs have decreed that the £50,000- a-year cost of running St George’s Chapel of Remembrance is an ‘inappropriate’ use of resources.

Scroll down for video

St George's Chapel, pictured,  is at the former RAF station at Biggin Hill in Kent, is threatened with closure

St George’s Chapel, pictured,  is at the former RAF station at Biggin Hill in Kent, is threatened with closure

MoD abandons memorial dedicated to Battle of Britain aces to save £50k | Daily Mail Online.


I’m not saying let’s go kill all the stupid people. I’m just saying let’s remove all the warning labels and let the problem work itself out.


 

 

Eagle Project: Operation Gratitude

Here’s an opportunity for all of my readers to support our troops, and at the same time (in an indirect way) support this blog. My eldest, David, is a boy scout. He’s currently a Life scout (the rank just below Eagle); and all he has left to do to be an Eagle scout is to complete his Eagle project before his swiftly approaching 18th birthday.

For his Eagle project, he’s organizing a letter-writing campaign for Operation Gratitude—but I’ll let him tell it:

You're right, that's not a boy scout uniform.  He's also in his fourth year of JROTC.

You’re right, that’s not a boy scout uniform. He’s also in his fourth year of JROTC.

Hello Patheos readers,

I am David Duquette, a Life scout and son of Will Duquette. I am currently working on my Eagle Project and would like your help. I am doing a letter drive for a group called Operation Gratitude.

Operation Gratitude is an organization that collects letters, hygiene products, books, movies, and so on, to put in boxes to send to our troops overseas. They get these items completely by donation. They are completely non-profit organization.

Eagle Project: Operation Gratitude.


 

You can tell a lot about a woman’s mood just looking at her hands. If they are holding a gun, she’s probably angry.


 

America Is Being Transformed Into Brazil

Our dishwasher broke just after Christmas.  The timer stopped working, and a new one costs about $100.  My wife suggested that since the dishwasher is nineteen years old, we should buy a new one.  Up until now it was working very quietly and efficiently, washing and drying a full load in about an hour.

We visited the appliance shop where we had recently purchased a new clothes washing machine a few months earlier.  I mentioned to the salesman that our new washer was very slow, taking nearly two hours to finish a large load compared to our old one, which took about 35 minutes.  With a bright smile, he explained that that was because of the new federal energy efficiency standards for clothes washers enacted by the Obama administration’s Department of Energy in May 2012.

(I later looked this up on the Energy.gov website, and found that this new regulation was only one of over 40 new onerous energy regulations on products and appliances already enacted, with many more to come, including forChristmas lights.  According to the website, these are “sensible steps” that will save consumers “billions on energy bills”.  This is a highly suspect claim.  When energy consumption decreases, utility companies typically raise the price per kilowatt hour to make up for the loss in revenue.)

America Is Being Transformed Into Brazil


 

You know that tingly little feeling you get when you really like someone? That’s common sense leaving your body.


 

All you’ll ever need to know about the history of England in one volume

A review of Robert Tombs’s history of the English salutes a stupendous achievement
Fair Maid Of Kent
The English and their History Robert Tombs

Allen Lane, pp.1012, £35, ISBN: 9781846140181

Here is a stupendous achievement: a narrative history of England which is both thorough and arresting. Very few writers could pull it off. Either they’d have an axe to grind, or they’d lose perspective, or they’d present a series of anecdotes, or they’d end up in a Casaubonish pursuit of other historians’ errors. In fact, to get it right, you’d ideally be a mature and accomplished author, steeped in the facts, who was nonetheless tackling English history for the first time.

Which is more or less what Robert Tombs, a professor of French history at Cambridge, is. ‘A writer of history ought, in his writings, to be a foreigner, without country, living under his own law only,’ claimed Thomas Hobbes, adapting Lucian. If you’ve read any modern French history in English, the chances are you’ll have come across Tombs. This book, though, will be remembered as his magnum opus.

The English and their History is about as long as a single volume can be; yet it couldn’t really be any shorter. To be honest, like many reviewers on a deadline, I had planned to skip bits of it; but found myself gripped by the narrative. Nothing important is omitted, there are no howlers, and yet plenty of myths are gently corrected — especially those surrounding the first world war. ‘A few lines of Wilfred Owen outweigh a shelf of monographs,’ as the author drily notes.

All you’ll ever need to know about the history of England in one volume » The Spectator.


 

Gone are the days when girls used to cook like their mothers. Now they drink like their fathers.


 

Have a good day

Will and Obedience — NEWMAN LECTURES

PORTRAIT OF ENGLISH CARDINAL JOHN HENRY NEWMANA reminder to us all which we should heed.

“If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.”John xiii. 17

THERE never was a people or an age to which these words could be more suitably addressed than to this country at this time; because we know more of the way to serve God, of our duties, our privileges, and our reward, than any other people hitherto, as far as we have the means of judging. To us then especially our Saviour says, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.”

Now, doubtless, many of us think we know this very well. It seems a very trite thing to say, that it is nothing to know what is right, unless we do it; an old subject about which nothing new can be said. When we read such passages in Scripture, we pass over them as admitting them without dispute; and thus we contrive practically to forget them. Knowledge is nothing compared with doing; but the knowing that knowledge is nothing, we make to be something, we make it count, and thus we cheat ourselves.

Continue with Will and Obedience — NEWMAN LECTURES.

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