Control the Past, Control the Future

We seem to have somewhat inadvertently developed a theme of sorts this week. which suits me. I agree with every word, and you guys appear to like it as well, so let’s go with the flow.

Victor Davis Hanson took a look around and reminds us that George Orwell was correct. That is why the screeching and increasingly violent left is reacting so badly. He wrote about it in American Greatness. Let’s take a look.

The summer season has ripped off the thin scab that covered an American wound, revealing a festering disagreement about the nature and origins of the United States.

The San Francisco Board of Education recently voted to paint over, and thus destroy, a 1,600-square-foot mural of George Washington’s life in San Francisco’s George Washington High School.

Victor Arnautoff, a communist Russian-American artist and Stanford University art professor, had painted “Life of Washington” in 1936, commissioned by the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration. A community task force appointed by the school district had recommended that the board address student and parent objections to the 83-year-old mural, which some viewed as racist for its depiction of black slaves and Native Americans.

Nike pitchman and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick recently objected to the company’s release of a special Fourth of July sneaker emblazoned with a 13-star Betsy Ross flag. The terrified Nike immediately pulled the shoe off the market.

VDH cites quite a few more, all of which you know, and they matter, but the point is our mis named elites are running scared, and the noise is overwhelming isn’t it. I find myself tuning out more, constant outrage isn’t very healthy, and I’m not ready to give up this ship. Like most of you, I’ll fight her till she sinks, and that means we’ll either win through or like the once and future king in Camelot we will become legend, that people down the long cold dark centuries will keep close to their hearts, that once there was a nation where men and women were free and happy and even prosperous. And the joke will be true, what did men use before candles for light? Electricity.

In their radical progressive view—shared by billionaires from Silicon Valley, recent immigrants and the new Democratic Party—America was flawed, perhaps fatally, at its origins. Things have not gotten much better in the country’s subsequent 243 years, nor will they get any better—at least not until America as we know it is dismantled and replaced by a new nation predicated on race, class and gender identity-politics agendas.

In this view, an “OK” America is no better than other countries. As Barack Obama once bluntly put it, America is only exceptional in relative terms, given that citizens of Greece and the United Kingdom believe their own countries are just as exceptional. In other words, there is no absolute standard to judge a nation’s excellence.

About half the country disagrees. It insists that America’s sins, past and present, are those of mankind. But only in America were human failings constantly critiqued and addressed.

America does not have be perfect to be good. As the world’s wealthiest democracy, it certainly has given people from all over the world greater security and affluence than any other nation in history—with the largest economy, largest military, greatest energy production and most top-ranked universities in the world.

America alone kept the postwar peace and still preserves free and safe global communications, travel and commerce.

The traditionalists see American history as a unique effort to overcome human weakness, bias and sin. That effort is unmatched by other cultures and nations, and explains why millions of foreign nationals swarm into the United States, both legally and illegally.

That last paragraph sums it up, doesn’t it? If America is so terrible, why is all of Central America trying to get in? I have no problem with somewhat limited legal immigration, always provided that the immigrants are coming because they share our dream. That’s the problem now, they are not. The was clearly indicated that last weekend when the tore down our flag at that detention center, and raised the Mexican one. Down the ages, such things have often been viewed as an overt act of war.

If progressives and socialists can at last convince the American public that their country was always hopelessly flawed, they can gain power to remake it based on their own interests. These elites see Americans not as unique individuals but as race, class and gender collectives, with shared grievances from the past that must be paid out in the present and the future.

We’ve seen something like this fight before, in 1861—and it didn’t end well.

He’s right and it didn’t. By 1865 it had cost 600,000 men their lives out of a population of 35 million or so. This crap needs to be suppressed soon.

Si vis pacem, para bellum

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong

Are you looking around the world, and seeing a lot of darkness. Lots of subversive activity, not to mention Antifa, in America, Tommy again is a dangerous prison, for acting like a free man in Britain, Brexit still in bollox land, South Africa all but a free fire zone on whites, none of it too pretty.

But then there is Hong Kong. A lost colony that the British, back when they were law-abiding, followed the law, giving it back to China, while getting the best deal they could, which wasn’t that great, but they tried.

My computer screen got a little dusty as I watched the Union flag come down, and I doubt I was alone even in America. Many of my Navy friends had happy memories of Hong Kong. Well, in the past, but as we say Pepperidge Farm remembers.

But as we watch the demonstration there, we recall that we too are a child of Britain and that the Hong Kongers demonstrate at the same abuses as the American colonists did, Rather remarkable, as J.T. Young noted in The American Spectator this week.

It is no accident that the Declaration of Independence cites in its recitation of grievances with Britain: “Depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury [and] … transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences.” Once free, Americans would address these concerns in the Constitution. Section 2 of Article 3 states, “The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed.” Even this was not enough for America’s first citizens, who included it again in the Bill of Rights as the Sixth Amendment.

Four of the Bill of Rights’ first 10 amendments deal specifically with America’s legal system. As Madison observed during Virginia’s Constitutional Convention, “The trial by jury is held as sacred in England as in America.” It is therefore not surprising that Hong Kong, springing from the same British governmental heritage, would be outraged at any attempted abridgment.

Hong Kong’s protests and America’s independence movement share more than this single, but significant, overlap. The American colonies had been left by benign neglect to practice British government locally before war with France, and that country’s intrusion into North America, refocused the Crown’s attention. When Britain sought to reassert its perceived rightful rule — primarily through tariffs to offset its expenses — Americans balked.

Although the tariffs were not particularly costly, they were strenuously resisted on principle. Far more than the tariffs themselves, colonists’ objections lay in the denial of freedom and self-government.

Hong Kong’s protests also run far deeper than they appear. Extradition from Hong Kong to a trial in China is far from trivial, but the principles involved are far larger, more pervasive — and, for China, more explosive. The local Hong Kong government’s move is a refutation of the “one country, two systems” policy that was supposed to ensure Hong Kong’s separate way of life for half a century. Undoubtedly many in Hong Kong had hoped that in half a century China would have caught up with Hong Kong … now they rightfully fear that China is seeking to pull Hong Kong back to itself.

Instead of America’s benign neglect, Hong Kong had enjoyed Britain’s “benign protect.” This relationship imbued them with the same fundamental sense of freedoms and rule of law that America’s colonies had ingrained. The sense of loss and betrayal is equal in both cases — if anything, it is even more justified in that of Hong Kong.

The People’s Republic of China has grossly misjudged, just as Britain did over two centuries ago. China’s error is more understandable because they lack the foundational philosophy to understand their misjudgment’s magnitude. China, having exacerbated its inherent conflict with Hong Kong, cannot assuage it or extinguish it.

China also sees in the protests more than just the incidents themselves. In their eyes, a greater principle fundamentally threatens them, too. China’s system — government, economic, and social — is one of inherently authoritarian control that strictly limits personal freedom. China’s President Xi has sought to further increase this right to control.

Hong Kong is a direct threat to the communism and socialism governing mainland China. There is no question which system most would choose — either in Hong Kong or in the rest of China.

Keep reading

As I have often said recently, there is very little we can do to support Hong Kong materially, but we can remember that America too once took on the greatest empire of the age for the very same reason, and won, and we can pray for the Hong Kongers. I know I will be.

And:

Let us ask ourselves, ‘What kind of people do we think we are?’ And let us answer, ‘Free people, worthy of freedom and determined not only to remain so but to help others gain their freedom as well.’

Ronald Reagan

Why Are the Western Middle Classes So Angry?

On American Greatness, Victor Davis Hanson asks this question. It’s a good one, I think. Because almost all of us of the middling sort are pretty angry about things. So let’s have a look.

What is going on with the unending Brexit drama, the aftershocks of Donald Trump’s election and the “yellow vests” protests in France? What drives the growing estrangement of southern and eastern Europe from the European Union establishment? What fuels the anti-EU themes of recent European elections and the stunning recent Australian re-election of conservatives?

Put simply, the middle classes are revolting against Western managerial elites. The latter group includes professional politicians, entrenched bureaucrats, condescending academics, corporate phonies and propagandistic journalists.

What are the popular gripes against them?

One, illegal immigration and open borders have led to chaos. Lax immigration policies have taxed social services and fueled multicultural identity politics, often to the benefit of boutique leftist political agendas.

Two, globalization enriched the cosmopolitan elites who found worldwide markets for their various services. […]

He gives us six, in all. All are, as one would expect, cogent and accurate. So go and read them.

One common gripe framed all these diverse issues: The wealthy had the means and influence not to be bothered by higher taxes and fees or to avoid them altogether. Not so much the middle classes, who lacked the clout of the virtue-signaling rich and the romance of the distant poor.

In other words, elites never suffered the firsthand consequences of their own ideological fiats.

That’s a huge part of it in my estimation. It’s one thing if all these things are good for us, or necessary for the world to survive, or something. It’s an entirely different kettle of fish if you’re telling me how important this trash is, but it doesn’t apply to you and your friends. “Do as I say not as I do” doesn’t work any better leading a company, group, country, civilization, or anything else than it does trying to raise a kid. Never has, never will.

What it does is bring rebels. It did when my high school said we couldn’t wear blue jeans. Suddenly my entire class showed up in them. What are you going to do now, Mr. Principal? Give a quarter of the school detention? Makes you look sort of bad, doesn’t it, that your leadership is so bad?

The same principle applies when you and a few hundred of your closest friends fly their private jets into Davos for a party disguised (badly) as a conference.

Elites masked their hypocrisy by virtue-signaling their disdain for the supposedly xenophobic, racist or nativist middle classes. Yet the non-elite have experienced firsthand the impact on social programs, schools and safety from sudden, massive and often illegal immigration from Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia into their communities.

As for trade, few still believe in “free” trade when it remains so unfair. Why didn’t elites extend to China their same tough-love lectures about global warming, or about breaking the rules of trade, copyrights and patents?

Do you know anybody who believes any of this tosh, unless, perhaps, their livelihood depends on it, or the indoctrination they received in school hasn’t been rubbed off yet? I can’t think of one that I do. I know a few trolls who say they do, but I’d bet they’re paid to say that. I do know one person who believes in Global Warming, but he also believes it is beyond the tipping point, so we may as well ‘Rock on’.

If Western nations were really so bad, and so flawed at their founding, why were millions of non-Westerners risking their lives to reach Western soil?

How was it that elites themselves had made so much money, had gained so much influence, and had enjoyed such material bounty and leisure from such a supposedly toxic system—benefits that they were unwilling to give up despite their tired moralizing about selfishness and privilege?

So where does it end?

Because elites have no answers to popular furor, the anger directed at them will only increase until they give up—or finally succeed in their grand agenda of a non-democratic, all-powerful Orwellian state.

Or in an armed revolt, which I discount less each month. The people are not going to go quietly into the night.

 

Deplorable, Contemptible, and Winning

Caroline Glick has written an excellent article in Frontpage Magazine. She postulates that the two common thread running through the election cycles in the western world today is the contempt of the globalists for the people, and the reciprocal determination of the common people to retain their local characteristics.

The triumph of Nigel Farage and his Brexit party in Britain’s European parliamentary elections tells us two stories at the same time.

The first story is a local British story. The Brexit Party’s victory effectively ends the Conservative party’s monopoly on Britain’s political right for the first time in two hundred years. The Conservatives will respond to the trouncing in one of two ways. They can disintegrate completely by doubling down on outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May’s soft Brexit – with or without a second referendum — or they can start listening to their voters.

The second story encapsulated in Brexit’s victory — and that of Marine Le Pen’s triumph in France and Matteo Salvini’s in Italy — is the now familiar tale of the rise of the populist/nationalist/ideological right throughout the Western world against the conventional wisdom of the traditional progressive and center-right elitist establishment, and more often than not, in defiance of the polls.

In Britain itself, the rise of Brexit is a fitting bookend to Prime Minister Theresa May’s stunning betrayal of her voters. May came to power after her predecessor David Cameron resigned office in response to the Brexit vote. As she entered office, May pledged to embrace the will of the voters and shepherd Britain out of the European Union.

Indeed, one can make the case that this is the worst defeat that the Tories have taken since the 1620s, about 400 years and before the Civil War – The English Civil War. That’s what  I call a historic defeat!! And a deserved one.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s victory earlier this month over his challenger, Labor Party leader Bill Shorten, has largely been attributed to Shorten’s radical economic agenda. […]

In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a fifth term in office last month by running on a record of diplomatic and economic success that the leftist parties were unable to discredit.

Trump’s victory is widely attributed to Hillary Clinton’s failure to rally the Democratic base in the Rust Belt and to counter Trump’s message of industrial renewal.

But one underlying issue is common in all of the elections. And until the progressive left and the establishment center right reconcile themselves to it, and find a respectful means to contend with it, they will continue to see populist forces grow stronger and win elections.

That issue is contempt. Throughout the Western world, beyond the economic issues and even beyond specific social issues like gay marriage or abortion rights, voters are motivated to vote for the populist, nationalist right in part due to their anger at the left and center-right’s undisguised contempt for them.

In the United States, the left’s snobbery reached its height with Hillary Clinton’s castigation of Trump’s supporters as “deplorables.” But her assertion wasn’t made in isolation. It was made in the midst of a general atmosphere in which Democratic politicians from Barack Obama to Nancy Pelosi and establishment Republicans felt comfortable putting down Americans who aren’t part of their club. Obama infamouslyreferred to Clinton’s “deplorables” as “bitter” people in small towns who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

And now, I often see Englishmen and women refer to themselves as a “Deplorable”, it has become a badge of honor. The mark of the person who believes in his homeland, that is the one characteristic that joins us all.

I would probably add Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India to the list. There too we see the outlines of a nationalistic party lining up against the corrupt ruling class. Always there are differences, between the countries, that is as it should be, it’s the globalists that are the ‘Anywheres‘ that David Goodhart wrote about. The Somewheres are always going to have local issues. That’s why we’re ”Somewheres’.

The most potent message that crosses the world each day and empowers populists and nationalist conservatives is one of exasperation and anger at the transnational elites’ solidarity in their contempt for their people. From Jerusalem to Budapest to Birmingham to Cincinnati, the spurned citizens have understood that the only way to force their contemptuous elites to heel is to vote them out of power.

For European Unionists and British Remainers, for the Israeli elite and the American establishment, the globalization of their values and agendas has brought them to believe that democracy means fixing the rules of the game. Through judicial activism and bureaucratic regulations, through intellectual terror and public shaming, these elites seek to render election results inconsequential. Ballot boxes, in their view, are no match for the combined forces of the elite media and academia and the bureaucracy. They determine norms. They determine policies – in the name of Democracy.

But throughout the West, the “deplorables” are listening to one another and rediscovering their power and voices at the ballot boxes. They realize that democracy is a means for the people to determine their course in the world. The elite may control the discourse, but the people decide who will run their countries.

And that is one reason that it is up to American conservatives to maintain freedom of speech, not only for us but for our compatriots around the world. This is the time-honored American mission, as recognized by Edmund Burke in 1775.

In this character of the Americans, a love of freedom is the predominating feature which marks and distinguishes the whole: and as an ardent is always a jealous affection, your colonies become suspicious, restive, and untractable, whenever they see the least attempt to wrest from them by force, or shuffle from them by chicane, what they think the only advantage worth living for. This fierce spirit of liberty is stronger in the English colonies probably than in any other people of the earth; and this from a great variety of powerful causes; which, to understand the true temper of their minds, and the direction which this spirit takes, it will not be amiss to lay open somewhat more largely.

First, the people of the colonies are descendants of Englishmen. England, Sir, is a nation, which still I hope respects, and formerly adored, her freedom. The colonists emigrated from you when this part of your character was most predominant; and they took this bias and direction the moment they parted from your hands. They are therefore not only devoted to liberty, but to liberty according to English ideas, and on English principles. Abstract liberty, like other mere abstractions, is not to be found. Liberty inheres in some sensible object; and every nation has formed to itself some favourite point, which by way of eminence becomes the criterion of their happiness.

Some things change very little.

The Return of the Sovereign Nation

Seventy-five years ago next week, the United States and Great Britain, along with the Empire (soon to be Commonwealth) burst into Europe in Normandy to destroy the European Empire led by Germany. It’s happening again, this time not by tank and infantryman, but by leadership.  Sumantra Maitra wrote yesterday on The Federalist.

“The one system that absolutely does not work and never will is ersatz democracy,” Tucker Carlson writes in his book, “Ship of Fools,” adding that, “If you tell people they’re in charge, but then act as if they’re not, you’ll infuriate them. It’s too dishonest. They’ll go crazy. Oligarchies posing as democracies will always be overthrown in the end. You can vote all you want, but voting is a charade. Your leaders don’t care what you think. Shut up and obey.”

For a while, analysts on both sides of the Atlantic after 2016 would have given anyone the idea that everything that had happened was a dream, and a rotten one at that: an aberration, a short deviation from the inevitable progressive arc of history. Brexit was treated as simpleton Brits making a mistake. Donald Trump as president was considered even worse. And most Americans had no idea what was brewing in Europe, after German Chancellor Angela Merkel disastrously carried on her country’s tradition of deciding finance, military, and demographic issues for Europe and inviting a backlash.

Well, what a backlash it has been. The latest round of European elections was a total meltdown for the managerial and technocratic center-left and center-right parties. It is hard to put in words how broken the European landscape is, but to put it simply, the center no longer exists.

Do read the article, it goes into Europe more than I do here.

Again we see the old form, Britain holds the line, as in 1940, but along comes the Americans, late as usual, but a powerful presence. In showing how it’s done, not in coercing anyone.

The most decisive is in Britain, where Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, only six weeks old, and drawing everything from left-Marxist Labourites to lifelong Conservatives, roared up the charts, throwing Trump style rallies, which looked like just as much fun as the original. Six weeks old and the party pretty much destroyed the Tories (42% –> 9%) and Labour (40% –> 14%). Look at the last column, TBP at 32% outperformed the Tories and Labour combined (23%).

And caused the Prime Minister to give notice of her intention to resign even before the votes were counted. Well, maybe, she ain’t gone yet, see also Merkel.

The game isn’t over though because the Parliamentary parties haven’t figured it out yet, they still think they can rule without the people. They have a surprise coming.

And that is true all through Europe, the French electoral map looked like the 2016 US one. Macron carried a few cities, Le Pen took the rest.

Remember, nobody at all in Europe (including Britain) is as conservative as American conservatives, nor do any of them have the creedal underpinning we do. A radical right winger in Europe is about a RINO here, maybe a Yellow Dog. There are valid historical reasons for that, and it is unlikely to change.

But they are moving our way, and are well underway with destroying the EU, It’s been obvious for a long time that the only way to Unify Europe is by force, and that applied ruthlessly, and even that isn’t guaranteed, especially not when the ring is held by the United States. The EU wants to be an empire and to take over the UK armed forces, which are the only viable forces in Europe. That too drove the revolt.

And it drove a lot of Britons back to their friends – us. I have heard more British praise of President Trump in the last year than I have of America in a decade. Why? For the same reason, many of us have come to support him. He fights his (our) corner, They are smart enough to know that if he Makes America Great Again, that allows them to Make Britain Great Again. All the European nations sense this, I think. And so there is a leadership possibility here. All we have to do is be Americans. That’s something we are really good at.

A time to weep

That, of course, is Notre Dame de Paris, as she has looked since roughly 1260. The interior it is said requited cutting some 52 acres of timber. That’s a lot of wood. And it’s been quite the life, through war and revolution, and even desecration, it’s hung on. But this morning it looks different.

Smoke billows as fire engulfs the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier – RC1AC7F22C50

Frankly, it hit me as I watched very much like watching the attack on the World Trade Center did, for both were symbols the WTC of a proud trading nation, and Notre Dame of a time when lives were centered on God, not ourselves. I sat here for a while yesterday, watching through my tears, even as I did on 9/11. I’m neither proud nor ashamed of that, it just is. Not only me, either.

The French say it was just an accident caused by the renovators currently working there. Like most of you, I tend to distrust governments because they have a propensity to lie, to cover up, on the other hand, it would hardly be the first time a careless workman destroyed a building. So, it likely is so.

The French also say it will be rebuilt, and already contributions are pouring in. But I wonder, are they rebuilding a historic building, or a tourist attraction, or a house of God. The name is Our Lady of Paris after all, and the French have not been noted for their Christianity since before the Revolution. So we (or more likely you younger people) will see. I will pray for the rebuilding of a house of God.

Some, at least of the relics and artwork were saved, amongst them The Crown of Thorns, reputed to be the actual Crown of Thorns that was pressed on Jesus’s head this very week long ago. It may or may not be the original, but it is a reminder.

Another parallel with the Trade Center. I suspect some of you remember this, as I instantly did yesterday.

This is from the interior of Notre Dame this morning.

And so, again, the essential remains, and we have received a message, we would do well to heed.

Ecclesiastes 3 Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)

All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven.

A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.

A time to kill, and a time to heal. A time to destroy, and a time to build.

A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather. A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.

A time to get, and a time to lose. A time to keep, and a time to cast away.

A time to rend, and a time to sew. A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.

A time of love, and a time of hatred. A time of war, and a time of peace.

What hath man more of his labour?

10 I have seen the trouble, which God hath given the sons of men to be exercised in it.

11 He hath made all things good in their time, and hath delivered the world to their consideration, so that man cannot find out the work which God hath made from the beginning to the end.

12 And I have known that there was no better thing than to rejoice, and to do well in this life.

13 For every man that eateth and drinketh, and seeth good of his labour, this is the gift of God.

14 I have learned that all the works which God hath made, continue for ever: we cannot add any thing, nor take away from those things which God hath made that he may be feared.

15 That which hath been made, the same continueth: the things that shall be, have already been: and God restoreth that which is past.

16 I saw under the sun in the place of judgment wickedness, and in the place of justice iniquity.

17 And I said in my heart: God shall judge both the just and the wicked, and then shall be the time of every thing.

18 I said in my heart concerning the sons of men, that God would prove them, and shew them to be like beasts.

19 Therefore the death of man, and of beasts is one, and the condition of them both is equal: as man dieth, so they also die: all things breathe alike, and man hath nothing more than beast: all things are subject to vanity.

20 And all things go to one place: of earth they were made, and into earth they return together.

21 Who knoweth if the spirit of the children of Adam ascend upward, and if the spirit of the beasts descend downward?

22 And I have found that nothing is better than for a man to rejoice in his work, and that this is his portion. For who shall bring him to know the things that shall be after him?

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