Weekend Pictures

Time to look around before we start a fresh week of hell, not to mention Pumpkin Spice

In case you were in space last week, the news is that casting couches still exist in Hollywood, and Harvey Weinstein knows how to use them, often. But something happened and all the bribes paid to politicians contributions to the Democratic Party haven’t sufficed to keep the story out of the paper. Film at 11!

“I’ll take that one!”

As always mostly from Bookworm and PowerLine. Have a good week!

 

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Why Are There So Many Mass Shootings Today?

Rush did a segment on this the other day, it’ strikes me as a reasonable premise. It is also an uncomfortable one

On Oct. 1, 2017, a 64-year-old man named Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers in Las Vegas, killing at least 58 people and injuring some 515 more.

Paddock, who had no previous criminal record, then turned one of his weapons on himself, reports say. It was the largest domestic mass shooting in U.S. history. Authorities have not yet identified a motive.

Paddock’s case has become all too familiar. The FBI has confirmed that mass shootings are on the rise, and statistics bear this out. According to Mother Jones, which tracks mass shootings (an attack involving four or more people killed indiscriminately in a public place), there have been seven mass shootings so far in 2017.

This figure is slightly higher than the annual average between 2012 and 2016 (5.8), a figure that, in turn, is nearly three times the annual average (2.0) from 2000 to 2011. As an additional point of reference, during the entire decade of the 1980s there were eight mass shootings, according to Mother Jones.

There is no shortage of theories attempting to explain the surge of violence. These theories include the large number of firearms in the U.S., “the collapse” of the American dream, a lack of mental health resources, violent movies, graphic video games, and many others.

One theory I have not seen posited is an idea proposed by the philosopher Hannah Arendt (1906-1975). Arendt, a German-American political theorist who wrote extensively on totalitarianism, predicted that modern society would see a surge of domestic violence and social unrest.

Few humans have better understood power and the psychology of violence than Arendt. Widely considered one of the twentieth century’s greatest thinkers, she escaped Germany during the Holocaust and found refuge in America, where she became a visiting scholar at some of America’s finest academic institutions, and was Princeton’s first female lecturer.

In her classic work On Violence, Arendt discussed the ideas of power and violence at length. She begins her essay by quoting Voltaire, who said power essentially “consists in making others act as I choose.” If such a definition is true, and “if the essence of power is the effectiveness of command, then there is no greater power than that which grows out of the barrel of a gun,” she says.

But Arendt qualifed that power and violence are two very different things. In fact, she said they are diametrically opposed:

“…politically speaking, it is insufficient to say that power and violence are not the same. Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears where power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power’s disappearance.”

True power, Arendt says, doesn’t require violence. It belongs to a group (never an individual) and it remains so long as the group stays together and can exert its will. Violence, on the other hand, is an instrument. It’s most often employed by those who lack power (a ruffian on a dark street) or by a group that feels power slipping away.

If Arendt is correct, violence is an instrument most likely to be used by those who lack power and feel powerless. And this is where she critiqued modern society.

Arendt believed that modern states had become “bogged down under the monstrous weight of their own bigness.” She saw that the bigger a state grew, the more need there was for an administrative apparatus to allow it to function. The bureaucratization of society sounds more mundane than oppressive, but Arendt saw it as an insidious and smothering force that resulted in a sort of faceless tyranny.

“…bureaucracy, or the rule by an intricate system of bureaux in which no men, neither one nor the best, neither the few nor the many, can be held responsible, and which could be properly called the rule by Nobody. Indeed, if we identify tyranny as the government that is not held to give account of itself, rule by Nobody is clearly the most tyrannical of all, since there is no one left who could even be asked to answer for what is being done. It is this state of affairs which is among the most potent causes for the current world-wide rebellious unrest.”

Humans are by nature political creatures, Arendt understood. She believed the bureaucratization of society robs man of a fundamental human need: the ability to take action.

“What makes man a political being is his faculty to act,” she wrote in her 1969 essay Reflections on Violence. “And I think it can be shown that no other human ability has suffered to such an extent by the Progress of the modern age.”

And it’s here where she arrives at the correlation between bureacracy and violence:

“The greater the bureaucratization of public life, the greater will be the attraction of violence. In a fully developed bureaucracy there is nobody left with whom one could argue, to whom one could present grievances, on whom the pressures of power could be exerted. Bureaucracy is the form of government in which everybody is deprived of political freedom, of the power to act; for the rule by Nobody is not no-rule, and where all are equally powerless we have a tyranny without a tyrant.”

Now, one might argue that perhaps Arendt was speaking primarily of political violence. That’s certainly possible (though unclear). But in any event there is a psychological aspect to consider.

If Arendt is right that 1) violence is perpetuated primarily by those who lack power; and 2) the bureaucratization of society deprives people of the ability to act, making them feel powerless; then it stands to reason that some individuals who lack power may be seeking to feel powerful through violence. As Arendt noted, in its traditional understanding “there is no greater power than that which grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

A mass shooting is only one form of violence, of course. But is there some truth in Arendt’s larger thesis? Will we witness increased social unrest and violence as societies become increasingly bureaucratized and humans are deprived of “the faculty of action”?

This post Why Are There So Many Mass Shootings Today? was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Jon Miltimore.

http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/sites/all/themes/ito/js/ito-repub.js

I think if we look at this as objectively as we can, we will find that Ms Arendt has a very valid point. Who amongst us doesn’t get a hopeless feeling when dealing with our bureaux, and leave most of the time in a rage. The only saving grace for many of us is that we were raised as ladies and gentlemen, and so tend to be nonviolent even when furious. But I suggest there is a breaking point out there someplace that when that line is crossed all hell will break loose. Best if we control it before that point.

And yes, this too is why we got Trump!

 

Vegas

That’s from the White House moment of silence for the victims in Las Vegas. You can find a video of it if you want. It’s moving and appropriate. The video has a close-up near the end where Melania looks like she is about to cry, where the President looks sad and determined. Both are appropriate. Far more so than most of the reactions around the country or the world. As usual, I was watching British news yesterday morning, and the instant, insistent, and arrogant drumbeat for gun control angered me nearly as much as the massacre itself. It will be a long time before (if ever) I tune in again. From what I read the American media, and a good many politicians weren’t any better. It’s a time to mourn the dead, succour the wounded, and attempt to comfort the bereaved, then it will be time to see if we can figure out what happened, and what, if anything, we can do to prevent a  repeat.

I know essentially nothing. To me, it sounded too mechanical to be semi-automatic fire and too slow to be fully automatic fire. (Actually, it sounded like an old BAR). There are reports that he modified an AR 15 and/or an AK version to bump fire, or with a trigger device. Sounds about right to me. But there are reports out there supporting anything you want it to be. Nobody knows, but everybody is riding their hobbyhorses for all they’re worth. In sum, it is simply disgusting on all sides. Funny that of all of us, Donald Trump is nearly the only one to get it right.

I have little to add to that. In time we will know more, and perhaps there is a way we can make a repeat less likely. But it is also possible that, as Bill O’Reilly said yesterday, this is one of the prices we pay for freedom. Today, and as it was almost 250 years ago if so, it is worth it.

Eventually, the police will have more information for us,   as will the Federal agencies. The cause isn’t helped because they squandered their reputations one and all over the last few years, but that is where we are. God help us all.

God bless the victims, their family and friends, Las Vegas, and us all.

Week in Pictures, Taking a Knee Edition

Well, one can’t say nobody pays attention to the NFL, can they? As I’m writing this, I’m listening to Sky News out the UK, and what I’m hearing tells us all about why Britain ain’t what it used to be. But all five of them think that the players have the support of the people and that President Trump is wrong. Well, I’m very afraid these representative of the British ruling class have lost their place. Cause I don’t see any evidence of even close to a majority of Americans agreeing with them. Bothersome as it is to some, Trump speaks for the average American here. And this being America, the marketplace will rule, and that is a very bad forecast for a brand as out-of-touch as the NFL.

My opinion is that the NFL has made the greatest marketing decision, since New Coke. Maybe worse cause I don’t think there is much of a road back. Best thing to happen to The Legends League, the NCAA, and the NHL in quite a while/

Imagine what would happen if your kid took this to school today?

You Choose!

And, of course!

mostly from Bookworm and PowerLine as usual

Here Come de Judge

So Judge Moore won the Alabama primary very decisively (almost double digits). Trump campaigned for his opponent and Mitch McConnel dumped in a ton million against him as well. Didn’t matter. Why?

Mollie Hemingway’s thoughts parallel mine, so what do we think.

1. Luther Strange Lost Just As Much As Roy Moore Won

Roy Moore is a popular man in Alabama, and he ran a solid campaign that built on his strong level of support. Much of that additional support came from people fed up with the corruption surrounding former Gov. Robert Bentley.

Pretty much of a given, I think. Alabama voters, especially Republican ones, tend to be Christians, and rather conservative ones, not inclined to be voting in people suspected of corruption, at least when they have a choice. And they had a choice, it’s hard to think of a man more incorruptible than Roy Moore, whether you agree with his views or not, he doesn’t change them for any reason, for any pressure. That is impressive.

2. Trump Supporters Showed Independence

That note from the Alabama voter brings us to the second point: this was not a Donald Trump referendum. He did, for reasons only he can explain, side with Mitch McConnell in endorsing Strange. He tweeted for him, talked about him, and campaigned for him, albeit half-heartedly there at the end when he saw the writing on the wall.

That’s a lot of it here, the support for Trump is not entirely (or even mostly) a cult of personality. It is instead a deep-seated dislike (tending towards hatred) of Washington’s business as usual. The people are resuming their sovereignty and it’s going to happen whatever Washinton thinks. Playing the ball, not the man, so to speak.

3. Republican Voters Are Done With the Old Way of Doing Business

While this was a race with Alabama-specific dynamics that may not have been much of a referendum on Trump, it’s not wrong to say there was a bit of a referendum on Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and what he represents to the Republican voter. “Mitch McConnell has had a bad week, and it’s only Tuesday,” political consultant Jordan Gehrke wrote. “There is blood in the water now, and more conservative candidates who are hostile to the establishment are primed to step forward.”

This one is important and ties in with number 2. The real loser here was Mitch McConnell and the Washinton establishment. Both men are more or less Trump supporters. The fact that Luther Strange supported the president in the Senate has much to do with Trump’s endorsement, I think.  But McConnell’s support for Strange was the kiss of death. It’s a stark warning for the GOPe who are just as blind and deaf as the Democrats because Alabamians are hardly the only people in the country that feel that way. 2018 is going to be a most interesting year, The new sheriff we speak of so often is likely to get a bunch of new deputies, and it will matter.

4. NeverTrump Should Not Rejoice

While most pundits think Strange’s failure is bad for Trump, it’s really bad for NeverTrump and other critics. There is a mindset in DC that Trump is a rare disruptive blip, and that once he is taken care of or defeated, everything will return to normal.

Alabama is just the latest example that shows that the disruption that is happening is so much bigger than Trump. The voters are simply sick and tired of how DC is doing business, and they’re willing to do quite a bit to send that message. In retrospect, the defeat of Rep. Eric Cantor in Virginia back in 2014 was something of a canary in the coal mine. Republican voters have been trying to get party elites to wake up to their frustration for many years now. They launched the Tea Party, they have ousted members of leadership, they have voted for Trump as president. Now they’ve selected Moore, known for his extreme views, over the establishment candidate.

Yup. Nothing to add to that. And

5. Senate Shaping Up To Be Very Different In 2020

Moore will presumably win the special election in December, since Alabama is now a pretty solid Republican state. Trump received 63 percent of the vote in 2016.

Yesterday, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee announced he would not seek re-election. In a few years, the U.S. Senate could lack not just him but a slew of other men and women nearing retirement age, or moving on to other opportunities. That list might include Sens. John McCain, Orrin Hatch, Jim Inhofe, Thad Cochran, Pat Roberts, Susan Collins, Mike Enzi, Lamar Alexander, and others.

Indeed the pitch is on the fire and the pitchforks are out, and the Democrats are not the only, or even the major, targets. Few thing anger Americans more than hypocrisy in government. So we’ll see, but if I were a GOPe Congresscritter, staffer, or consultant, I would be (and should be) very afraid.

Conservatives Rising

Kurt Schlichter lays it out on Townhall just in case any of our so-called representatives would be interested in what the people that elected them think. I admit it’s unlikely, the gravy train and cocktail circuit in Washington is so much more fitting to their self-image. Here be ground truth or if you’re a Washington insider, monsters on the horizon, and they may be closer than you think.

I guess now we’re not supposed to be fighting culture wars anymore – man, it’s so hard to keep up with these ever-changing new rules! I’m old enough to remember way back to 2016, before Trump got nominated, and I could have sworn Conservative Inc., was gung-ho for the whole culture war thing. But then Trump actually fought it, taking on the big, soft target that is the spoiled, semi-literate athletes who like to rub their contempt for the flag we love in our faces in the guise of woke wokedness. Now we suddenly discover that fighting back is horribly uncouth and déclassé and “Oh, well I never!

Gosh, I would have thought from all those cruise panels about how our crumbling culture is slouching toward Babylon and the need to resist the liberal onslaught that maybe we ought to actually resist the liberal onslaught, but see, that was my mistake. I took it seriously when Conservative, Inc., promised to fight the leftist blitzkrieg against normal Americans. It was all a scam, a lie, a pose for us rubes. The Tru Cons didn’t actually mean it.

Jokes on them though, we meant it when we elected them, they’re replaceable, and I think some (maybe not enough) will be. We’ll find out soon enough. Yesterday, Alabama voters told us what they think.

Conservativism forgot about the real world conservatives we expected to line up behind us. While we were talking about free trade, we were ignoring that GOP voter who fought in Fallujah, came home, got a job building air conditioners, raised a family, and then one day watched the video of the oh-so-sorry CEO – who looked remarkably like Mitt Romney, because all these guys look remarkably like Mitt Romney – sadly informing his beloved employees that their jobs were getting shipped to Oaxaca. And our response to the 58-year old Republican voter who asked us how he was going to keep paying for his mortgage and his kid in college? Pretty much, “Well, that’s how free enterprise works. Read some Milton Freidman and go learn coding.

That’s not a response, not for a political party that requires people to actually vote for it. That’s an abdication, but what did Conservative, Inc., care? Priorities! “There’s this new tapas place in Georgetown everyone is talking about – the other night, my buddy from the Liberty Freedom Eagle Institute for Liberty, Freedom and Eagles saw Lawrence O’Donnell there getting hammered!

How about the guy who wanted to be a roofer in Fontana but he couldn’t because the contractors were only hiring illegals? What was our answer to him? “Oh well, the big corporate donors need their serfs, and if some pack of tatted-up MS-13 dreamers gang-rapes your daughter that’s just a price we’re willing to pay!

They try to crush our religion and Conservative, Inc., cowers because Apple’s CEO might say mean things. “Just bake the cake,” they say – it’s not worth the fight! They demand our tax money to kill babies and Conservative, Inc., passes the spending bills – “Gosh, we can’t risk the WaPo saying we’re mean!” They diss our National Anthem, we react, and Conservative, Inc., wags its soft, spindly fingers – “So, so very unpresidential! My word!

You know what is (not very) funny? I’ve got a lot of British friends who feel exactly the same way about the Tories, especially as led by Mrs. Dismay. You should hear them, some of them make Col. Schlichter sound very mild, indeed. They envy us though, because they’ve known enough Americans that they know we’ll do something about it, one way or another, and that we have the tools, and the experience, and yes, the guts to actually do it, not talk about it. I’m not calling them wusses, mind. They’d walk through fire for a conservative government that would tell the Frogs and the Krauts, not to even mention the Islamic terrorists, to sod off. That why they voted for Brexit. They envy us Trump, as well, and can’t see how such a figure could get to be their Prime Minister. Sadly, they have much right in that belief.

What’s coming after is militant normalacy, the not-so-polite demand that the lackwits and failures who style themselves as our betters stop dumping on us normal Americans who work hard and play by the rules (Gosh that sounds familiar, like it used to be a winning electoral recipe, if only I could remember where I heard it before).

Who are the normals? The Americans who built this country, and defended it. When you eat, it’s because a normal grew the food and another normal trucked it to you. When you aren’t murdered in the street or don’t speak German, it’s because a normal with a gun made those things not happen. We normals don’t want to rule over others. We don’t obsess about how you live your life, but also we don’t want to be compelled to signal our approval or pick up the tab. We are every color and creed – though when someone who is incidentally a member of some other group aligns with normals, he/she/xe loses that identity. The left drums normals who are black out of its definition of “black,” just as normal women get drummed out of womanhood and normal gays get drummed out gayhood. In a way, the left is making E pluribus unum a reality again – to choose to be normal is to choose to reject silly identity group identification and unite. Instead of saying “normal Americans,” you can just say “Americans.” [..]

That’s why the shameful abdication of Conservative, Inc., in the cultural fight is both important and irrelevant. It demonstrates that the first loyalty of many folks in the conservaracket is to the ruling caste to which they belong, and it also demonstrates that these wimps’ absence from the battle means nothing. […]

But we’re not giving up, and we’re not going to sit back and just take it. Militant normalcy is the result of normal people roused to anger and refusing to be pushed around anymore. We prefer a free society based on personal liberty and mutual respect. But if you leftists veto that option, that leaves us either a society where you rule and oppress us, or one where we hold the power. So let me break this down, both for the left and for their fussy Fredocon enablers: You don’t get to win.

Not for nothing did General Creighton Abrams, back when he was a Lieutenant Colonel commanding the 37th Tank Battalion, in the 4th Armored, as it led Patton’s 3rd Army to the relief of Bastogne, when he was informed that Bastogne was surrounded, say,

“They’ve got us surrounded again, the poor Bastards” 

 

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