Men without chests

Richard Fernandez at Belmont Club quotes C.S. Lewis on men without chests:

“And all the time — such is the tragi-comedy of our situation — we continue to clamor for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more “drive”, or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or “creativity”. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.”

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When the state *really* wants to change the way you eat

“Mr. Yang’s father would die within three days. Yet it would take years before Mr. Yang learned that what happened to his father was not an isolated incident. He was one of the 36 million Chinese who succumbed to famine between 1958 and 1962.”

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Who ordered Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s name taken off the watch list?

It’s about six weeks past the Boston Marathon bombings, right? O.K., then, I give up, who ordered that Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s name be taken off a terrorist watch list? Not only has that question not been answered, there’s no one in the big ass mass media even asking it. So, that’s the next question: Why isn’t anyone, from Charles Krauthammer to Jonah Goldberg to Ron Fournier to Paul Krugman to Tom Brokaw to James Rosen *asking* who took Tsarnaev’s name off the bloody watch list? Seems to me that there had to be a real, live, breathing person who ordered that his name be removed. Who was it? And why? And why can’t the question be asked and answered? Is this what’s called an “oversight?”

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Obama’s fourth dimension

America has a show culture, and in America, politics is the show of shows. But shows are always a virtual reality, a simulation of real things, that reduced to their essence are shadows of what is real. They are two dimensional. So, despite the real living and dying that Americans do, the representations, the feedback they get on American life from the vastness of American media, is two dimensional.

That is not to say that there is little feeling or emotional content aboard those two dimensions. In fact, feeling and emotion are the principal material of these othewise often flat narratives, supplying the one element that keeps them afloat.

So Americans are plugged in, listening, watching, experiencing every human emotion that can be put into a live wire, and they often buy and sell along those pathways, as well as buying others and selling themselves in those two dimensions, with great feeling.

A problem arises, among many problems, when the political realm is sold in the same way a song, a car, or a soft drink is sold. Images of granny and baby, sorrow and happiness, success and failure, are attached to politics, but when we buy any political product the price is now more often the last of our own freedom, and that freedom is converted by the political class into power. The joke is on us because the power is over us. What was two-dimensional in its offering, like everything else that settles into reality, becomes three dimensions, and the third dimension of politics is power.

This is where conservatives and libertarians, who do not agree that often or on that much , operate: In a third dimension in opposition to the further accumulation of power by the state. Neither conservatives nor libertarians are very proficient in the two dimensional realm. They can occasionally sell themselves and their ideas that way, but the product is freedom and self-reliance, and that’s not really a product at all. That’s a “take back the real world from the illusion of free stuff, because the ultimate price on free stuff is slavery” principle, and principles are three dimensional, at least when they are acted on.

“But we like our free stuff!” is the bottom line in much of America. “Take somebody else’s free stuff, we like ours.” It’s not uniquely American, but in America it’s done in a unique way, and our foolishness in the matter is something we easily deny. The two-dimensional world is very easy to produce: images, themes, music, words, feelings, emotions. Not much reality.

But conservatives and libertarians work the third dimension where they are trying to sell you on yourself and all that messy freedom stuff, where you choose the things you want and your way of life. It’s an uphill battle, and the other side always has a new fear to exploit along with a new product to take care of it (and there’s always granny and baby), and they have long had enough media power accumulated to dominate the discussion. How they have so much control of the media might be explained in terms of simple compatibility: they are specialists in the two dimensional and the media is their natural realm. It’s a ready made and nearly perfect combo.

It is only when reality comes a calling that conservatives and libertarians have a small advantage. They know, for instance, that the business and commerce of entrepreneurial capitalism is the goose that lays the golden eggs in America and that the other side thinks the goose is to be plundered “for the people” and of course and especially “for the children.” When reality comes a calling, however, enough people usually wake up to pry the fingers of plunder from the goose’s neck long enough to let her produce more golden eggs so that the real world can move forward and prosper.

That’s what should be happening now in America, where the goose is hanging by the neck from a tree, and the two dimensional plane of feeling and emotion are as exhausted as the employees of a brothel are on a Sunday morning.

Enter Obama, one of the great operators in the two dimensional realm. He entered the power picture as hope and change, but wore it out in six months. He hid, for awhile, in plain sight, but has now repainted himself as “vitally serious statesman and leader.” He does this in the middle of an act that has been catastrophic for America. The media enables him. Nothing in the third dimension, in reality, supports him in this refurbished act. How does he manage it?

He manages it by not taking either the two or three dimensions seriously, meaning that he believes in neither the shadow nor the reality. He attends to both via the two dimensional route, but he has another realm that he works from, a fourth dimension, and the perspective from there allows him to treat the values and principles of reality with contempt. He is not just working the two dimensional track with the usual images, feelings, and emotions. He has activated the fourth dimension, and that fourth dimension is an idea and the idea is class struggle.

Obama is an orthodox Marxist who has vicious contempt for the values and principles of the bourgeois world, and he embraces revolutionary Marxism, seeking to lift the veil of bourgeois ideology and to allow the “scientific” struggle to emerge. So he has the people who vote for a living on his side and aligned against the people who work for a living. He has a special government class of public employees aligned, much like an army, against the taxpayers who pay them. He has the public sector aligned against the private sector (the goose). And internationally he has reinvigorated radicals in and from the Middle East as scavengers of the bourgeois carcass in Europe.

As the best trained and most committed Marxist since Lenin, living behind a veil of deceit and political correctness, and with violent malice toward bourgeois society, particularly American society, Obama is determined to ruin America and the West. Not only does he have no interest in their success; he has no interest in their survival.

This is the power of his fourth dimension. He is on the other side of the looking glass of history, but he reaches back and manipulates the “false consciousness” of the second and third dimensions, both the illusion and the reality. The illusion is manipulated by the usual methods of image, feeling, and emotion. The reality is manipulated by power. But the drive to do this is concocted in the more or less infantile realm of orthodox Marxism, which is an ideology that teaches that history is an unfolding material process that leads only to the “scientific” finale of socialism. Everything not aligned with this process is either the “false consciousness” of “bourgeois principles,” or a temporary stall along the path.

The collapse of the Soviet Union twenty years ago was an unbearable catastrophe for orthodox Marxists, and was conceivably the most agonizing moment for Obama, who was thirty when it happened. But to a truly committed Marxist, whose understanding of “scientific socialism” takes the form of an absolute belief that interprets all human society in those “scientific” terms, could only see the end of the Soviet experiment as a temporary setback. Indeed, the Soviets left a legacy throughout Europe and America with a ceaseless “march through the institutions” of those societies by indigenous Leftists who were de facto, and sometimes de jure, Soviet agents. It is Marxism that has prevailed in the politics and culture of universities, for instance.

Obama is the legacy of all that and, the extent to which that shows, it had to be hidden in plain sight. Enter political correctness and the countless declarations that focusing on these elements of Obama’s background amounts to “racism.” At this blog, I have said that the church was the key to this man’s unfitness to be a U.S. senator, let alone president. Anyone who belonged to the white parallel of Obama’s church would have been hooted off the national stage the moment he set foot on it. This, however, is the power of political correctness at the two dimensional level. But it is important to understand that political correctness is a tactic from the fourth dimension: A Marxist manipulation, shaped as social intimidation and threat, of bourgeois “false consciousness.”

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New Paltz: This Tuesday, June 19, don’t miss the opportunity to vote down another school budget

I’ve been saying for a few years that the New Paltz school district is over-funded by about one-third. It has been bloated up by overly-generous contracts with teachers and administrators negotiated by people sitting on the same side of the table, with help from the union lobbies in Albany.

The only thing that local taxpayers have is the annual vote, which usually presents a choice between more and more more. This year the board of education, trying to make up for cuts in state aid by passing the difference on to local property owners, overplayed its hand with an initial budget that exceeeded the tax cap, required a 60% majority to pass, and failed to get it.

This time the board presents a budget that sits right at the tax cap, such that it requires only a simple majority.

So here’s a chance for taxpayers to get themselves up and out, realizing that the school district has a solid voting bloc of employees and their spouses that gives them an instant advantage, and rally to put this budget down against the odds. Voters did that with the Middle School bond proposal and the recent proposal to purchase land next to the Lenape elementary school.

It would be a good thing, using the only tool that voters have at their disposal, to force this arrogant school district to cut its budget down to size. As usual, the first thing that they do is threaten the music and sports programs. There’s never any mention of holding the line at the next teacher contract. And it’s always positioned as “for the children” blah, blah.

Well, here’s a chance to pull it together and tell the school district to cut more and start rethinking things. That’s the only message worth sending, in my opinion. And it would be nice if school district employees and their spouses seized an opportunity to vote some small relief for their neighbors, instead of voting for higher taxes to benefit themselves.

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The New Paltz school district loses a budget vote, at last

The people who run the New Paltz school district are a self-interested lot, who never stop pleading “but it’s for the children” in their relentless efforts to maintain and increase their funding with other people’s money.

I try to avoid getting into the personalities involved because it’s not about personalities. It is really about the power of teachers unions (in league with all public employee unions), locally and in Albany, and even nationally. It is about a historical trend among Progressives to take control of citizens’ lives by first targeting them as children, beyond the immediate reach of their parents, and conditioning them to accept elites exercising power over them through government. It’s about a worn-out, moribund concept of public education, that if it isn’t already dead sure is startin’ to smell funny. And only lastly is it about the unwitting and useful slobs and factotums and placeholders who run the thing on-site at the public school penal colonies.

But all of this morass of expensive compulsory institutionalization has now been swept away conceptually by the internet, and by the vast resources for learning online from the best teachers available, without the current abject institutional confinement and the resulting formation among students of immature peer group cultures (and the now multiple-generation conspiracy against adult reality) that public school advocates attempt to call “socialization.”

This dysfunctional horror show is now six or seven generations deep in America. Parents who think fondly (often aided by the darkest rose-colored glasses) of their time going through it want to believe that they are giving their children something “even better” than what they had, usually unaware that public schools have continued to march on toward odder and odder goals, including the “diversity” fetish, which boils down to “we are replacing your values with ours.”

So it was with great wailing and gnashing of teeth, when the New Paltz school budget failed to pass on Tuesday with the required 60% vote (because the school district had proposed a budget that exceeded the property tax cap set in Albany), that the usual suspects, those who think that all good things come from government, and that there is never, ever enough of such good things, were very very very upset. Whining slob Lefties and blackguards that they are, any setback for the agenda is a deep offense against their moral vanity, which is immense and based in vapors so thin that they barely function intellectually, such that they are consumed in the offense they take that anyone would, or possibly could, disagree with them.

Despite my effort to resist taking the matter down to the personalities at the local level, every once in a while an individual will catch the light of the moment in just the wrong way and I’ll go there very quickly indeed, and I’m almost there with at least one of these people, someone I’m calling for now the “lovable fuzzball commie.”

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Johnny Carson

Watched the PBS American Masters bio of Johnny Carson last night. Great bit where he says to Muhammed Ali that he had boxed about eight fights himself in the Navy and Ali said to him that he must have been pretty good because he had no marks on him. Carson told Ali that he didn’t have any marks on him either. Ali says, well, I’m pretty good. This was the later, quieter Ali, not the coarse loudmouthed early Ali. And right there those two might have been the two most famous people in the world at the time.

Something I never noticed before, and this might have been part of what limited mystique George W. Bush had, is the resemblance between W. and Carson. It’s not pronounced, but it’s definitely there. Both apparently got the same results out of drinking as well.

One thing I did not know about Carson was that he was a philanderer. At least he had the decency not to flaunt it.

His schtick, the head whipping from side to side, the darting eyes, all the rapid moves were born in his youthful obsession with magic tricks, his early self-training at being an entertainer. He was trying to hold his mother’s attention, at first, and maybe for a lot of his life. She was apparently indifferent. But it worked on almost everyone else.

Most impressive was the part about how when the television writers went out on strike for several weeks, Carson wrote the entire show himself. He was also a generous man, who helped people in dire straits all the time and never took any credit for it. Was also a voracious reader and a loner, who could spend his time with everyone in the world or just himself. In the end, everyone knew Johnny Carson and no one knew him.

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George Will on the mechanics of Barack’s drive to ruin and dependency

Here we are in the middle of it.

More: Michelle Malkin on the jobs lost to the drilling moratorium.

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The marriage dodge

A note on this “separation of marriage and state” dodge that is becoming popular with libertarians and others who want to avoid confronting the “gay marriage” issue. All modern Western states have inherited the fundamental social institution of marriage, which has existed for millenia. States neither invented it, just as they did not invent its natural basis, nor have they (or “the people”) any power to change its basic meaning, which is grounded in biological reality and the oppositional and complementary nature of the two sexes, and in actual (not simulated) sex and natural reproduction. Its purpose is as a moral covenant between a man and a woman and it is a framework for reproduction and the family. States, like our civilization itself, exist because of marriage, not the other way around. Likewise states have inherited much of the legal framework (states have not invented the law either) that supports and adjudicates marriage. That does not give said states any power to fundamentally mess with marriage. In other words, marriage means something. In the Western civilization it has been optimized as a monogamous institution, just one man and just one woman. Marriage can exist without the state, but since it has as clear a meaning as 2 + 2 = 4, it cannot be redefined by individuals any more than it can be redefined by the state. Individuals can do as they please, but marriage is what it is. It is something, the way a road or a house is something. If the state or “the people” pretend to change it, they are in fact destroying it by destroying its meaning, which is as well the destruction of meaning itself, which no civilization can survive.

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The emerging political religion and “the children”

It was clear to me as it happened that the ’08 election was a trip back to the 1930s, and not just to the American 1930s, but to the European 1930s. The Democratic Party underwent the transformation from a corrupt American political party to a political religion, the single most dangerous thing that happened in Europe in the 20s and 30s (via Lenin and Stalin, Mussolini, and Hitler). The Democrats fell captive in ’08 to a messianic figure who came out of a radically politicized black church whose teachings were a combination of Marxism and black supremacy (blacks, not Jews, are the Chosen People according to “black liberation theology”). Yet the messianic figure would be positioned as a “racial healer.” This was hidden in plain sight but it was right there for anyone who bothered, as I did, to go to a library and find out about it. The media refused to report it. And it followed, of course, that anyone who criticized the messianic racial healer was instantly accused of racism by his proxies. With the charismatic skills of those European leaders from the 30s, this orthodox Marxist, wearing the deliberate disguise of a “community organizer,” embarked on a program of “transformation” for the American economy and society. It was all wrapped up in riddles and lies, and now that it has predictably failed on the economic side, the culture will be assaulted. That’s why as a preliminary move to the Chief Executive leading an assault on marriage, the symbolic leader of America’s public schools announced that he supported the assault on marriage. I did not see one single person in the media raise that point, that the federal leader of the schools had thusly gone to work on “the children.”

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The Soviet ghost speaks

The only thing new here is that they’re actually using the word Communism, probably because the work done in the public schools and universities throughout the West has been so successful at getting the stink of death, torture, deceit, and failure off of it. Although, there will still be a stigma attached to the use of the word when anti-Communists use it. So, as usual, there’s a healthy dose of doublethink mixed in. An anti-Communist calling a Communist a Communist will still be an offense that will mark someone as a “McCarthyite.”

The new vanguardists of Communism are the Communist intellectuals who actually admit to being Communists. After decades of making up all sorts of new names (and retrieving old names) for themselves, they’ve finally come full circle and returned to the gold standard.

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‘Composite Americans’

Mark Steyn gives a classic Steynian treatment to the 1/32nd Cherokee of Harvard, Elizabeth Warren. This, my friends, is a riot.

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Andrew McCarthy on the airbrushing of Islam

Andrew McCarthy is saying that the Obamafeds are busy airbrushing jihadist doctrine out of all their photos of Islam. Never forget that the Left loooovvvvveees violence. Loves it. Just so long as it’s good old revolutionary violence. Remember my theory in ‘Corpse‘ about how the Left views Islamic violence as a culiminating attack on the decadent bourgeois infrastructure of the West that will start the wheels of history turning again? And according to the “science” of socialism, history’s wheels must inevitably move toward what? That’s right, toward socialism.

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The creepy cheesy vulgarity of Elizabeth Warren

She ran the diversity scam on Harvard Law School, claiming to be a Cherokee on the basis of one distant forbear possibly being of the tribe, and Harvard ate it right up.

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The state religion

In America the state has become the state religion and its catechism is taught in the public schools and the methods of the public schools have become unsound. The doctrine of “diversity,” for instance, which translates, “we are replacing your values with ours.”

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Sowell on Racism and Zimmerman

Direct, concise, and sober.

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