Broken Eggs but no Omelet

Catholicism Pure and Simple tells us that Fr Thomas Haake, an eighty-year-old priest was assaulted outside his residence in Washington. Fr Haake was dressed in his cassock a praying the Rosary at the time. The assault was apparently carried out by BLM/Antifa (if there is any difference, which I doubt).

Well, I can think of few things more offensive and despicable than assaulting an elderly person, or a priest, let alone an elderly priest. As far as I am personally concerned, they should be put down permanently, there is nothing there left to save. Since it appears that Fr Haake will survive, the law is not that, which is probably a good thing, but increasingly, especially in our cities, we are seeing little to no punishment for such crimes. This will not end well.

It is also a stark reminder of Jacobinism, that brought France the terror, and little different from Mao’s Cultural Revolution or Pol Pot’s Killing Fields. The only real difference is that this time it is in the West, as it hasn’t been since Napoleon ended that nonsense with a whiff of grapeshot.


So what the hell is going on here? Gene Veith at Cranach found someone who thinks he knows.

Today I want to focus on Prof. Kaufmann’s discussion of the prospect of a “Second American Revolution” and his sociological and psychological analysis of what is happening today, as many of our cultural elite turn against their own culture.

Here are some excerpts from his article (bolding what I think is most significant):

Statues toppled, buildings renamed, curricula “decolonized,” staff fired. The protests following George Floyd’s killing have emboldened cultural revolutionaries in America and Europe. The iconoclasts are changing minds, and could be in a position to enact a root-and-branch reconstruction of America into something completely unrecognizable to its present-day inhabitants. Imagine a country whose collective memory has been upended, with a new constitution, anthem, and flag, its name changed from the sinful “America” to something less tainted.

Prof. Kaufmann discusses the “social construction” of “harm,” how framing issues in a particular way can change the way they are perceived.  He uses the example of the teenaged girl who wore a Chinese dress to the prom and got savaged for it on social media:

Is a white woman wearing a Chinese prom dress complimenting or insulting the Chinese? Most Chinese would probably take the former view, but a left-modernist ideological entrepreneur can spin this as cultural appropriation and white colonialism. In effect, the left-modernist socially constructs “harm” and “racism,” spinning something positive into a negative and seeking to sensitize Chinese people to the “fact” that they should feel insulted rather than proud. Those inducted into the religion of antiracism get the message and signal their virtue online, helping to propel people toward the new norm. If this were to catch on in China, the emotions Chinese feel when seeing the image of a white woman in a cheongsam would flip from pride to anger.

The same sensitizing dynamic works for history, literature, film, statues, and even words. Like Red Guards with a hair-trigger sensitivity for sniffing out the bourgeois, today’s left-modernist offense archaeologists outdo each other in trying to reframe the world as racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, and so on. Turning the principle of charity on its head, they insist on the most suspicious interpretation of a person’s motives when the subject matter is associated with their canonical totems of race, gender, sexuality. A Hispanic man flicking his fingers outside his truck window gets fired because this was photographed, tweeted, and spun as the “OK” white power sign. The result is an atmosphere where inter-personal trust is as low as humanly possible while discursive power flows to the accuser. The new cultural revolutionaries have constructed our emotional and conceptual reality.

Once “harm”, “racism” and other concepts become unmoored from reality, more of the world is remade. Statues which were long ignored become offensive. Complex historical figures like Jefferson or Churchill, who embodied the prejudices of their time, or elites like Columbus or Ulysses Grant, whose achievements had both positive and negative effects, are viewed through a totalizing Maoist lens which collapses shades of grey into black and white. If a historic personage transgressed left-modernist sacred values, their positives instantly evaporate and activists myopically focus on their transgressions.

Read Dr. Veith’s article and the linked one from Prof Kauffmann that is linked as well. The emphasis is Dr. Veith’s which I agree with.

It all sounds very possible doesn’t it, that this is what’s happening. Maybe so. Dr. Veith continues.

You should read the whole of Prof. Kaufmann’s article, which compares what is happening in the United States to the cultural destruction carried out by the Taliban and to the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” of Mao Tse Tung’s China.  The different threads of this phenomenon lead him to conclude that a “second American revolution” could happen, unless it is countered by a revival of “cultural nationalism.”
What do you think?  Is a second American revolution likely?
I say, no.  The cultural revolutionaries are up against reality, and reality always–maybe not in the short term but the long term–wins out.
I agree with Gene here, there is just too much to destroy to manage it, certainly without government power, but most likely even with.
Plus, there is something so engrained in the American cultural DNA that would prevent a radical “deculturalization” (to use Prof. Kaufmann’s term):  namely, a love of liberty.  The cultural revolutionaries themselves hold to a version of it–they demand sexual freedom–and the original protesters of George Floyd’s killing were quite commendably demanding the protection of civil liberties for Black Americans.  This love of freedom, in fact, unites all Americans despite all of their differences.  And I think it will ultimately thwart the efforts of social control–including limiting free speech, the freedom religion, and the freedom of thinking– that the more radical progressives would like to impose on all Americans.
Again I agree with him, Americans have built too solid a structure of liberty and individual freedom for this to work, now or at any time I can conceive in the future. Sadly, that does not preclude the breaking of eggs, like Fr Haake, but is far more likely to lead to a horrid mess on the kitchen floor than anything resembling an omelet.
Something else BLM/Antifa, as well as our so-called cultural elites, should consider, is that as my less properly spoken friends are wont to say.

“Paybacks are a bitch!”

Churches Supporting BLM Have Lost Their Mission

So, as we reopen that which should never have closed, our churches, it seems clergy are coming under pressure to make statements supporting Black Lives Matter. It would be unconscionable for them to do so. Joshua Lawson explains in The Federalist.

As churches across America restart in-person services, Christians and their pastors are feeling the heat. The “heat,” however, is not from the lack of air conditioning in the sanctuary as things get hot and humid — it’s the pressure to “say something” in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Yet just as Christians shouldn’t feel obligated to issue “official church statements” every time sin is committed (there would be little time for anything else), they should oppose demands from Black Lives Matter activists to “take their Christianity further.” Why? The gospel is already sufficient.

Believers living out Christ’s commands to love God and love their neighbors as themselves led the West’s push to abolish slavery. Christians acting out a sincere application of the gospel were at the forefront of the civil rights movement, a movement steeped in the biblical message of neighborly love. We’re already in possession of the ultimate “user’s manual” to bring peace to our nation and defeat evil wherever it lurks — it’s called the Bible.

It’s true, you know, those things were accomplished, above all, by Christians, British and American mostly.

Not for nothing did President Lincoln say to Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war?” It is one of the most influential books in history, selling 300,000 copies the first year after it was published in the United States, and many times that number since. But here is the kicker, she was the daughter of very outspoken Calvinist preacher Lyman Beecher, and she was married to Rev. Calvin Ellis Stowe, Professor of Biblical Literature at the Lane Theological Seminary of which her father was president. He was an ardent anti-slavery man and they participated in the Underground Railway. If that’s not enough, her brother was Henry Ward Beecher, one of the most famous Abolitionist preachers, so too were two of her other brothers, preachers as well. Here indeed are the roots of American Abolitionism and the Civil War to come.

As stated in James 1:16-20, “the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” Indeed, James warns against being carried away by earthly movements. The only cause we should be following whole-heartedly is the cause of the gospel of Jesus Christ:

Don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. … You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

All Christians can, with confidence, emphatically say the words “black lives matter,” a statement that is resoundingly true. What they should not condone, however, is the BLM movement that removes the forgiveness, hope, and peace of the gospel and replaces those core values with continual protest, fear, and anger. As Paul reminds us in Romans 12:19, “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord.”

The God-inspired words of the New Testament are already sufficient. The words and deeds of Jesus Christ are already sufficient. When before His last breath Christ proclaimed, “it is finished,” His mission was complete.

We’ll never know perfect human equality here on earth. But until our Lord returns, Christians can take comfort that the Bible app on their phone, the Holy Scripture resting on the shelf, and the Word in front of them in the church pew all contain the only guide needed to heal our broken world.

Indeed so, yesterday we wandered off on the tangent of the morality of self-defense, and in Christian morality it is moral, even a duty, not, in truth, so much to protect ourselves, although that is our right, but to protect our neighbors. And that is very good, but our first duty remains what it always is:

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you … John 13:34

And protection of self and others is part of that, and yes, if you happened to wonder, that is why a large percentage of legal gun owners are also decisively Pro Life. In a very real sense, it is the same issue.

Note that I have published a connected post this morning on All around the Watchtower as well.

Law and Disorder in Portland

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler

There was a story in The Washington Times last Sunday on the Antifa riots in Portland. It was rather interesting.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler came under fire over a viral video showing Antifa protesters blocking traffic and harassing drivers, but he says he supports the decision by police to watch from a distance without getting involved.

“I was appalled by what I saw in the video, but I support the Portland Police Bureau’s decision not to intervene,” he said at a Friday press conference. “This whole incident will be investigated.”

The video posted by journalist Andy C. Ngo showed protesters, including members of Antifa and Black Lives Matter, blocking an intersection and attempting to direct traffic at while officers on motorcycle watched from a block away.

I expect that we have all seen it multiple times by now. What we have now is the Mayor’s (He’s also the Police Commissioner) announcing Portland’s surrender to Antifa/BLM. Nothing more, nothing less.

“I’m willing to take criticism all day long from Fox News,” he said. “But I’m not willing to accept criticism from Fox News of the men and women of the Portland Police Bureau.”

Well, I saw the report on Fox news several times. I did not see any criticism of the individual police officers, which would indeed be inappropriate. They are required to follow orders. I did hear, and myself have, severe criticisms of the Portland Police Bureau, the Police Commissioner, and the Mayor. They have failed both the police force and the citizens of Portland.

The mayor argued that law enforcement is in a no-win situation.

“This is the story of Goldilocks and the two bears. The porridge is either too hot or it’s too cold,” Mr. Wheeler told reporters. “At any given moment in this city, the police are criticized for being heavy-handed and intervening too quickly, or they’re being criticized for being standoffish and not intervening quickly enough.”

Poor little snowflake leadership, I wonder if police morale in Portland is below periscope depth like it is in Chicago. I bet it is, with leadership like this.

Tell me again why we have police forces?

Sir Robert Peel, the founder (during the time the Duke of Wellington was Prime Minister) of the London Metropolitan Police, the first modern police force, after which all police forces in the English speaking world were patterned, had nine principles of policing. They are:

  1. To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.
  2. To recognize always that the power of the police to fulfill their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behavior, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.
  3. To recognize always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing cooperation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.
  4. To recognize always that the extent to which the cooperation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.
  5. To seek and preserve public favor, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humor, and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.
  6. To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public cooperation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.
  7. To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
  8. To recognize always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.
  9. To recognize always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.

I think Mayor/ Police Commissioner Wheeler would do well to review Principles 1, 5, and 9 for starters. At the rate he is going, the people are going to apply number 7 and take back the police power for themselves. Some call that vigilantism, but it is necessary when the police refuse to be the police.

And likely at that point, you will see the military take over because it has reached the point that only Napoleon’s cure will work. His command was to “Give them a whiff of grapeshot.” That’s the progression that the stupid Progressives Regressives have us on.

BLM and The End of PC: Bill Whittle Saturday

We haven’t had much Bill Whittle recently, so let’s have a couple for Saturday. First, how Black Lives Matters kills people.

And it’s going to get nothing but worse as the craven administrations of our cities force more and more police departments to ‘Go Fetal’. Anybody who thinks these people give a damn about blacks, or anybody else but themselves, well it’s hard to believe anyone can be that deluded.

Then there is political correctness. You know that I long ago decided not to play this game. I simply don’t care, I call things what and as they are. Bill and Stefan Molyneux thnk we’ve turned the corner on this one. Hope so, and in any case, keep the pressure on.

 

Cliven Bundy and The Rural Way

I said yesterday we were going to look at the confrontation between Cliven Bundy and the BLM today, and we are. But first I want you to read Victor Davis Hanson on it, so here it is:

Works and Days » Cliven Bundy and The Rural Way

I’m sure that Cliven Bundy probably could have cut a deal with the Bureau of Land Management and should have. Of course, it’s never wise to let a federal court order hang over your head. And certainly we cannot have a world of Cliven Bundys if a legal system is to function.

[…]

So Mr. Bundy must realize that in about 1990 we decided to focus on the misdemeanor of the law-abiding citizen and to ignore the felony of the lawbreaker. The former gave law enforcement respect; the latter ignored their authority. The first made or at least did not cost enforcers money; arresting the second began a money-losing odyssey of incarceration, trials, lawyers, appeals, and all the rest.

Mr. Bundy knows that the bullies of the BLM would much rather send a SWAT team after him than after 50 illegal aliens being smuggled by a gun-toting cartel across the southwestern desert. How strange, then, at this late postmodern date, for someone like Bundy on his horse still to be playing the law-breaking maverick Jack Burns (Kirk Douglas) in (the David Miller, Dalton Trumbo, Edward Abbey effort) Lonely Are the Brave.

But the interest in Mr. Bundy’s case is not about legal strategies in revolving fiscal disagreements with the federal government.

Instead, we all have followed Mr. Bundy for three reasons.

One, he called attention to the frightening fact that the federal government owns 83% of the land in Nevada. Note that “federal” and “government” are the key words and yet are abstractions. Rather, a few thousands unelected employees — in the BLM, EPA, Defense Department, and other alphabet soup agencies — can pretty much do what they want on the land they control. And note, this is not quite the case in Silicon Valley or Manhattan or Laguna Beach. The danger can be summed up by a scene I see about once a month on a Fresno freeway: a decrepit truck stopped by the California Highway Patrol for having inadequate tarps on a trailer of green clippings, just as a new city garbage truck speeds by, with wet garbage flying over the median. Who will police the police?

Two, this administration has a long record of not following the law — picking and choosing when and how to enforce immigration statutes, depending on the particular dynamics of the next election; picking and choosing which elements of Obamacare  to enforce, again depending on perceived political advantage; and picking and choosing when to go after coal companies, or when not to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, or when to reverse the order of the Chrysler creditors, or when to allow Lois Lerner to destroy the credibility of the IRS for partisan advantage.

In other words, the Obama administration regularly breaks the law as it sees fit. So we wonder why a federal agency sends out swarms of armed security agents to the empty desert on behalf of a tortoise, when it could just as easily storm Jay Carney’s press conference and demand that the president promise to enforce the Affordable Care Act. Or start apprehending those who are not just violating immigration law, but also serially signing false federal affidavits or providing employers with fraudulent identities.

via Works and Days » Cliven Bundy and The Rural Way.

And that’s the real story here, isn’t it? Cliven Bundy is the old American ideal, doing what he has to do to earn a living in a hard world, asking neither for our help nor tolerating our intrusion. He may be wrong legally (by all accounts he is) but by Anglo-American history he is very nearly the ideal. A man who completely understands what Augustine of Hippo meant when he said, “An unjust law is no law at all”. I can’t speak for you, but I was raised to be a moral, upright, and just man, and so was Cliven Bundy. Crusty and hard to get along with he may be but, he is a real man, as we have understood it since at least the time of Henry VIII.

Now let’s talk about the BLM and Bundy.

I’m not sure that I have heard anyone claim that Bundy is in the right, in court he’s going to lose, and badly but that is not why he got so much sympathy. He got that sympathy mostly from people who believe deeply in the Rule of Law and he got it because the government badly overstepped it proper role. Just like Parliament did in the run up to the revolution.

First, I’m old enough that I remember when we referred to the police as “peace officers,” their role was to protect the peace and fight crime, and to do it legally within the constitution, and they did it superlatively. In that context, the government would have gotten an order from the court and the sheriff would have gone out and done what was necessary, whether it was seizing the land and cattle, or arresting Mr. Bundy. It might have come down to an armed confrontation, or it might not have, either way it would be a local story and almost instantly forgotten.

But now, what we saw was a paramilitary federal force invading like an occupying power with armored vehicles, air support, snipers, and all the appurtenances of modern war, to effect a civil settlement. The means were far beyond the object, and people reacted as Americans always do, against the overreach of arbitrary government power, and so like in Lexington, 239 years before almost to the day, an opposition gathered. And like that day, the government caved, at least for the moment. I also suspect more than a few BLM agents wondered what they were doing there but, that’s another story. And parenthetically, so did the British Regulars on that day.

That’s one thing that must always be remembered, American are very jealous of our freedom, and even the appearance of infringing it brings an immediate reaction. I found it quite telling to see the pictures of the opposition, with not only the national colors flying but, also the colors of every armed service of the country. These were men that know what it is to fight for freedom, and are far better trained than paramilitary federal forces. In the old phrase that has come down from the Civil War, “They have seen the elephant”.

I have said before that America is very tense, right now, and it is. It feels very much like the prairie does before a big thunderstorm. If the government is wise, it will do whatever it must to reduce those tensions. Given the isolation of the government from the people, which is hardly less than that of Parliament was from the colonies, I have little hope of that.

And thus after a long detour we come back to Sen. Reid’s comment. I and many like me see Mr. Bundy as wrong on the issue but right to resist. In truth, we see the government as acting like an occupying power, and are beginning to think of the government as the enemy of the people.

It is hurtful to the peace of the realm when government officials attempt to make us “the other” because that status (and we know this) removes any liability for anything done to us, it also works in reverse, and that is inimical to peace.

What we really have here is the clash of cultures. One is the old traditional do-it-your-way, mostly rural America, where men are men, and not interested in your forced government charity. The other is the progressive nanny state, which looks a lot like France. This is the baseline battle in our culture, and on it depends the future of America, the free world, and liberty itself.

The real endangered specie here is not some tortoise,

it’s the American.

[Update: Dan Miller has some very good thought on this as well, here.

and Kevin D. Williamson has a very good article at NRO on it as well]

 

 

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Cliven Bundy and Brendan Eich

Compass_integrityI’m referencing two articles today, on two seemingly different subjects. But are they? If you read these two outstanding articles, I’ll think you will agree they are two facets of the same subject. That subject is the integrity of a man (or woman). These are both heroes for our time.

Cliven Bundy managed to stare down the Bureau of Land Management, for now. The best summary of this I’ve seen is from John Hinderaker of Powerline, here’s bit of it:

Why You Should Be Sympathetic Toward Cliven Bundy

On Saturday, I wrote about the standoff at Bundy Ranch. That post drew a remarkable amount of traffic, even though, as I wrote then, I had not quite decided what to make of the story. Since then, I have continued to study the facts and have drawn some conclusions. Here they are.

First, it must be admitted that legally, Bundy doesn’t have a leg to stand on. The Bureau of Land Management has been charging him grazing fees since the early 1990s, which he has refused to pay. Further, BLM has issued orders limiting the area on which Bundy’s cows can graze and the number that can graze, and Bundy has ignored those directives. As a result, BLM has sued Bundy twice in federal court, and won both cases. In the second, more recent action, Bundy’s defense is that the federal government doesn’t own the land in question and therefore has no authority to regulate grazing. That simply isn’t right; the land, like most of Nevada, is federally owned. Bundy is representing himself, of necessity: no lawyer could make that argument.

That being the case, why does Bundy deserve our sympathy? To begin with, his family has been ranching on the acres at issue since the late 19th century. They and other settlers were induced to come to Nevada in part by the federal government’s promise that they would be able to graze their cattle on adjacent government-owned land. For many years they did so, with no limitations or fees. The Bundy family was ranching in southern Nevada long before the BLM came into existence.

via Why You Should Be Sympathetic Toward Cliven Bundy | Power Line.

As near as I can tell Mr. Hinderaker has it about right. There is no way that Bundy is going to win in court, it’s going to cost him at least money and likely his way of life, and could cost him his freedom as well. I do sympathize with him, not least because I’m rather the same sort of hard-boiled, do the right thing sort of guy myself. Good Luck to him, and I’m afraid he’ll need it.

But there is also this, long ago, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail, said this:

There are just laws and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that an unjust law is no law at all… One who breaks an unjust law must do it openly, lovingly…I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for law.

Then there is the case of Brendan Eich, the former CEO of Mozilla, who was forced to step down because he would not recant his opposition to same-sex marriage. Mollie Hemingway wrote an outstanding article the other day in The Federalist on this story. And here is a piece of that article as well.

The Rise Of The Same-Sex Marriage Dissidents

[…]

At the end of the day, they’re all wrong. Or at least not even close to understanding the problem with Eich’s firing. Political differences with CEOs, even deep political differences, are something adults handle all the time. Most of us know that what happened held much more significance than anodyne market forces having their way. And Eich shouldn’t be protected on the grounds that one has the right to be wrong. See, Eich wasn’t hounded out of corporate life because he was wrong. He was hounded out of corporate life because he was right. His message strikes at the root of a popular but deeply flawed ideology that can not tolerate dissent.

What we have in Eich is the powerful story of a dissident.

And what we have in Eich is the powerful story of a dissident — one that forces those of us who are still capable of it to pause and think deeply on changing marriage laws and a free society.

via The Rise Of The Same-Sex Marriage Dissidents

Are you starting to see the parallels here? These are both men of conviction, doing what they think is right. And they are willing to pay the price that goes with standing up to be counted as men of conviction and integrity. We shouldn’t be hounding these men, Like Dr. King, these men should be heroes for out time, spoken of with, if not awe, with respect.

St. Augustine also said this:

Hope has two beautiful daughters.

Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.

 

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