Welcome to December

Well, another week, for a lot of us Christians, we start a whole new year today, as we anticipate the birth of Jesus. I’m ready for one, and suspect you are too. He’s back!

Well, the President retweeted some British group (that hardly anybody had heard of, although they have now) and HMG came unglued. I wonder of it was because Britain First was correct. Less NSFW than usual, BTW.

Well, another week, another bunch of unemployed famous men who can’t seem to understand that women are not their property, or something.

More palatably

Christmas shopping?

And, of course

Mostly from PowerLine, Sleeping Beauty from Ace.

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Pictures of the Week, Thanksgiving Edition

Lest you think that picture is purely gratuitous, The American Spectator tells us:

Marilyn was descended from John Alden and Priscilla Mullins — arguably the two most famous Pilgrims to step off the Mayflower — through their eldest daughter and first child, Elizabeth. Marilyn was a seven-times-great granddaughter of the Aldens. But she didn’t know it.

But I would have run it anyway! 🙂

Not the Rolling Stones

A Polish soldier

And of course

As always, mostly from PowerLine and Bookworm.

A Privileged Miracle

Interesting how things get turned on their head when one really thinks about them. Kind of like a revolution. to wit.

A young person said this recently:

“The Founders were all white privileged men”

To which the answer was:

“Yes. And your point is?”

“They wrote the Constitution to protect their interests. It was stacked for rich white men from the beginning.”

Which is also mostly true at the time.

“Do you know what the ‘true’ Miracle was in Philadelphia in that hot summer of 1787?” he was asked.

The real miracle was that they did not establish a kingdom or an oligarchy forever. Which they very easily could have done and some, including Alexander Hamilton, wanted to see done.

The Founders turned to the writings of John Locke and other classical liberal thinkers not only to set the predicate for the Constitution with the immortal words “all men are created equal” in Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence in 1776, but also to pour the concrete foundation of our country with principles to establish the first free democratic republic which has been copied the world over to set people free for the last 228 years.

Our Founders had every power at their disposal to set up a parliamentary government to serve a king. But they didn’t. George Washington voluntarily retired to his farm and distillery at Mount Vernon and set the paradigm for citizen-politicians ever since.

Our Founders had every power at their disposal to set up an oligarchical form of government similar to the ancient Greeks in Athens. The “rich white privileged men” in Philadelphia didn’t have to mention equality for everyone or free speech, religion, press, assembly or the right to petition the government for anyone else but members of the oligarchy, but they did.

Instead of 100 percent serving their own narrow interests, they fought tooth-and-nail over provisions in the Constitution to enable a free flow of commerce and trade, a strong centralized national defense and individual freedoms and liberties unlike the world had ever seen before. Their aversion to total concentration of power in the hands of King George III led them to go to the other end of the spectrum to set up a system of government that does its darndest to frustrate and prevent capricious actions on the part of a president or even small groups of one faction or the other in the U.S. Senate versus the U.S. House.

All true, you know as is the rest at The ‘Real’ Miracle In Philadelphia, 1787

And that, of course, is why the left is forever trying to redefine terms, everything they falsely advocate for, is already available, although, like anything worthwhile, it does have a cost. And that is their problem, they think that with the power of the gun, they can make all this good stuff free. But you can not make people think, innovate or be productive. You always end up back with the old Soviet folk saying, “We pretend to work as long as they pretend to pay us.”

But that system works fine for the Nomenklatura as long as there are German appliances to be bought, doesn’t work at all for the people even close to the bottom of the ladder, such as the middle class in Venezuela. The thing is, socialism runs on envy. It’s not that you have your ball and can take it home, it’s that you have a ball and I don’t, but I’m not willing to do what you did to buy that ball. But it’s bad for you to have something I don’t, so I’ll destroy it. And then there will be no ball to play with.

Mind, I didn’t say they make any rational sense, they don’t. They’re just vindictive, irrational people, who since they are not happy, think we all should be unhappy.

I feel sorry for them, really I do. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to let them write the rules. It’s a very long time since I played football with Lucy, and there is a reason for that.

Really, Ireland?

Hard to understand just what the Republic of Ireland is thinking. A few months ago they installed a picture of Che Guevara as somebody of Irish descent who had made a difference in South America. Well, I suppose one could say that if one allows that murdering thousands of innocent fellow citizens is making a difference. In that case, the Cuban population of Miami was enraged and soon it was gone. And the Irish government apologized. Good.

But I wonder if they mostly apologized for getting caught, it seems so, if nothing else, these fools are persistent. Irelands Post Office has issued a €1 stamp commemorating this murderous thug. Who as Jay Nordlinger reminds us.

The fog of time and the strength of anti-anti-Communism have obscured the real Che. Who was he? He was an Argentinian revolutionary who served as Castro’s primary thug. He was especially infamous for presiding over summary executions at La Cabana, the fortress that was his abattoir. He liked to administer the coup de grace, the bullet to the back of the neck. And he loved to parade people past El Paredon, the reddened wall against which so many innocents were killed. Furthermore, he established the labor-camp system in which countless citizens–dissidents, democrats, artists, homosexuals–would suffer and die. This is the Cuban gulag. A Cuban-American writer, Humberto Fontova, described Guevara as “a combination of Beria and Himmler.” Anthony Daniels once quipped, “The difference between [Guevara] and Pol Pot was that [the former] never studied in Paris.”

Maybe it’s because Pol Pot didn’t have ancestors from Galway. A bit more from that article of Jay’s…

And yet, he is celebrated by “liberals,” this most illiberal of men. As Paul Berman summed up recently in Slate, “Che was an enemy of freedom, and yet he has been erected into a symbol of freedom. He helped establish an unjust social system in Cuba and has been erected into a symbol of social justice. He stood for the ancient rigidities of Latin-American thought, in a Marxist-Leninist version, and he has been celebrated as a freethinker and a rebel.” Those who know, or care about, the truth concerning Guevara are often tempted to despair. The website of our own National Institutes of Health describes him this way: an “Argentine physician and freedom fighter.” Guevara was a physician roughly like Mrs. Ceausescu was a chemist. As for freedom fighter … again, the temptation to despair is great.

I don’t know, maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I’m appalled and sickened at this hero worship of a man who murdered thousands of his fellow citizens, often for no reason at all. You go right ahead Ireland, there’s plenty of other places to visit, and it will be quite easy that day in March, to drink Norfolk whisky instead of Jameson, and I already have an Orange shirt.

Simply deplorable. Bad enough if they don’t know enough history to know what this man was, worse if they do, and still idolize him.

Sir Robert Scruton on Capitalism

Last week, Reaction published an article by Sir Roger Scruton. They class it as a long read,  which it is. It is also a most interesting read, which you should read and ponder. So, here it is, for your discernment, and if you are anything like me, enjoyment. And besides, it is something not to do (at least directly) with violence, which is a welcome change after the last few days.

So put your thinking caps on, get yourself a cup of coffee, and enjoy.

In 1989, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, there were many cheerful people in the West who said, ‘Great! The battle between socialism and capitalism is over; and capitalism has won.’ They would have been astonished by anyone who told them that, a quarter of a century later, one of the favourite candidates for US President would describe himself as a ‘democratic socialist’, that the leader of the Opposition in the United Kingdom would be a Marxist, that radical socialist parties would be powerful forces all across the Northern Mediterranean or that Albania, having freed itself from the most cruel and ignorant of all the post-war communist regimes, would be governed by a party calling itself socialist. So how should we understand this surprising turn of events? Is it just a matter of words – that people call themselves socialists, for whatever reason, but act in quite another way? Or has the old disease really broken out again? Or was it not a disease but a cure? And if so, a cure of what?

My first response is to say that, yes, it is in part a matter of words. But no, the words are soaked in emotions, and the emotions are powerful. Take the word ‘capitalism’, introduced by Saint-Simon, to be taken up by Marx. It was supposed to describe an economic system, in which private individuals (the ‘capitalists’) own the ‘means of production’. On Marx’s view, capitalists formed a class, the owners of property, who stand opposed to the working class, the class of those who have nothing to sell except their labour. Out of this picture there grew the epic story of ‘class struggle’, leading to revolution, as the workers seized control of assets that had, in effect, been stolen from them. The epic story was immensely seductive. It gave people a just cause to fight for. It rationalised resentment against the rich and aligned the heroic intellectual with the poor in their fight to possess what is rightly theirs. It both justified revolution and predicted it as inevitable. And it made ‘capital’ into a kind of agent in history. The capitalists acted together as a class; they formed a kind of conspiracy against the rest of us. They controlled not only the means of production but all the institutions that stemmed from it and supported it – the church, the law, the schools and universities, the military. More, they controlled the ideology, the set of ideas and beliefs that represented their control as legitimate. In short, the word ‘capitalism’, introduced to describe an economic system, ended up as a description of an organised enemy of mankind, an invading army in the midst of us, which controlled everything, stole everything and meanwhile neutralised all our attempts at rebellion with the ‘false consciousness’ instilled through its propaganda.

Described in that way ‘capitalism’ ceased to be a word of economic theory. It became a summons to war. And then we need another word, to describe those who are on ‘the other side’ against this enemy. And that word is ‘socialism’. We are to fight for socialism, against the capitalist enemy. That is the message that has been drummed into us relentlessly since the Communist Manifesto. Of course, Marx saw socialism merely as an intermediate stage, on the way to communism. But he did not have the faintest idea as to how communism would come about, once the dictatorship of the proletariat had been established, and – what is more – he did not really care. It is the fight for socialism, and the revolution that would result from this, that interested him. And the same has been true of all socialists in our time. They take their inspiration from the thing that they are against, not from the future that is supposed to replace it.

Much of our confusion today comes from the fact that the situation for which the word ‘capitalism’ was invented has disappeared. Marx’s picture was of an economy devoted to the ‘production’ of material goods, in factories that belonged to representative members of the ‘capitalist’ class. A few such factories and a few such capitalist owners still exist. But the modern economy is a ‘service economy’: it is providing advice, contacts, entertainment, travel, things for hire and rent. The enterprises that provide these things are rarely owned by individuals, but usually by shareholders who do not control them. The managers who control them are also employed by them. Employees enjoy varying degrees of influence over the organisation, from the bare minimum exerted by the office cleaner to the extensive control of the CEO. Power is delegated at every level, and each level of management ‘reports to’ the one above, rather than obeying explicit orders. The whole thing has evolved ‘by an invisible hand’, in accordance with the natural ability of rational beings to cooperate and to compete with each other. Who, in this arrangement, is the capitalist, and who the proletarian? The old story can no longer be told. So what on earth do people now mean by ‘capitalism’, and what is the ‘socialist’ alternative?

The one thing that our modern systems have in common with the system described (and to some extent invented) by Marx is private property, and the freedom to exchange it, to accumulate it, and to give it away. This freedom is not absolute: some exchanges are forbidden by law, most are taxed, and in some countries inheritance taxes and capital taxes penalize accumulations. Nevertheless the freedom to own and deal in private property is at the heart of the modern economy, and in so far as the word ‘capitalism’ means anything today it denotes this freedom, and all that has issued from it. At the same time new forms of ownership have emerged – shares, options, copyright, royalties – which blur the margins between private and public property. In these circumstances it is very hard to know what the alleged conflict between capitalism and socialism really amounts to.

Much more at The case for capitalism must be made afresh. Do go there and enjoy!

America Burning

I don’t know if you noticed, but I certainly have that over my lifetime, forest fires (and similar wildfires) have increased dramatically, both in number and in scale and intensity. Why? Well many of us, who are blessed with experience and common sense have noticed it is because of how we manage these areas. Paul Driessen at PA Pundits – International tells us that might finally be changing.

President Trump promised to bring fresh ideas and policies to Washington. Now Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue are doing exactly that in a critically important area: forest management and conflagration prevention. Their actions are informed, courageous, and long overdue.

Westerners are delighted, and I’ve advocated such reforms since my days on Capitol Hill in the 1980s.

As of September 12, amid this typically long, hot, dry summer out West, 62 major forest fires are burning in nine states, the National Interagency Fire Center reports. The Interior Department and Ag Department’s Forest Service have already spent over $2 billion fighting them. That’s about what they spent in all of 2015, previously the most costly wildfire season ever, and this season has another month or more to go. The states themselves have spent hundreds of millions more battling these conflagrations.

Millions of acres of forest have disappeared in smoke and flames – 1.1 million in Montana alone. All told, acreage larger than New Jersey has burned already. However, even this hides the real tragedies.

The infernos exterminate wildlife habitats, roast eagle and spotted owl fledglings alive in their nests, immolate wildlife that can’t run fast enough, leave surviving animals to starve for lack of food, and incinerate organic matter and nearly every living creature in the thin soils. They turn trout streams into fish boils, minus the veggies and seasonings. Future downpours and rapid snowmelts bring widespread soil erosion into streambeds. Many areas will not grow trees or recover their biodiversity for decades.

Most horrifically, the conflagrations threaten homes and entire communities. They kill fire fighters and families that cannot get away quickly enough, or get trapped by sudden walls of flames.

In 2012, two huge fires near Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, CO, burned 610 homes, leaving little more than ashes, chimneys, and memories. Tens of thousands of people had to be evacuated through smoke and ash that turned daytime into choking night skies. Four people died. A 1994 fire near Glenwood Springs, CO, burned 14 young firefighters to death.

These are not “natural” fires of environmentalist lore, or “ordinary” fires like those that occur in state and privately owned and managed forests. Endless layers of laws, regulations, judicial decrees, and guidelines for Interior and Forest Service lands have meant that most Western forests have been managed like our 109 million acres of designated wilderness: they are hardly managed at all.

Environmentalists abhor timber cutting on federal lands, especially if trees might feed profit-making sawmills. They would rather see trees burn than let someone cut them. They constantly file lawsuits to block any cutting, and too many judges are all too happy to support their radical ideas and policies.

Thus, even selective cutting to thin dense stands of timber, or to remove trees killed by beetles or fires, is rarely permitted. Even fire fighting and suppression are often allowed only if a fire was clearly caused by arson, careless campers, or other human action – but not if lightning ignited it. Then it’s allowed to burn, until a raging inferno is roaring over a ridge toward a rural or suburban community.

The result is easy to predict. Thousands of thin trees grow on acreage that should support just a few hundred full-sized mature trees. Tens of billions of these scrawny trees mix with 6.3 billion dead trees that the Forest Service says still stand in 11 Western states. Vast forests are little more than big trees amid closely bunched matchsticks and underbrush, drying out in hot, dry western summers and droughts – waiting for lightning bolts, sparks, untended campfires, or arsonists to start super-heated conflagrations.

Do keep reading, he goes into what is starting to change, finally, and it is quite interesting.

And that is the thing I’ve noticed as long as I’ve lived in the west, and that is about 30 years or a bit more by now, the so-called environmental do-gooders organizations don’t and never have, really given a damn about the forest, the rivers, the fish and wildlife, erosion, or any of the other things they jabber on about, all they care about is curtailing civilization, and power over others. Knowing this explains a good bit of my (and probably others, as well) skepticism with regard to global cooling/global warming/climate change. It’s brought to you by the same bunch of Luddites. There may be a bit more to it, but it is far from proven, which is why we see religious furor, rather than reason used to advance the cause.

It also likely has to do with why we use mostly Canadian lumber to build in the United States. I don’t have a problem with that, but a bit more competition would be good, as it always is, for the consumer. And the timber companies have long since proved that they know far better than government how to manage forests. The government management of forests as shown in the linked articles (more here) is not designed for the good of the forest, or of the people, but to advance an agenda, which is to destroy modern civilization, and thus to quite literally kill people. This agenda is, as we have all seen, advanced with the religious fervor of a dervish attack.

It’s time for common sense to finally break out, and it looks like Secretaries Zinke and Perdue are starting to do so. May their efforts be rewarded.

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