Robert Conquest, 98

One of the greats. If you don’t know who he was, find out.

Reflections on a Ravaged Century. For instance. (Part One: Mindslaughter)


The Great Terror: A Reassessment.

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When all of America looks like Detroit

It will look like Venezuela.

Richard Fernandez:

“Desperate gangs of looters are roaming the streets, forcing the remaining businesses to shut down. “One person was killed and dozens were detained following looting of supermarkets in Venezuela’s southeastern city of Ciudad Guayana on Friday morning, according to Venezuelan authorities. Shoppers seeking scarce consumer staples including milk, rice and flour broke into a supermarket warehouse on Friday morning, leading businesses in the area to shut their doors.””

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Welcoming “The People’s Cube”…

…to the New Paltz Journal blogroll.

America through the eyes of a former Soviet agitprop artist.”

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New Paltz: The village hires a planner

Less sure of what the planner will do after reading the article about him in the Fidelpaltz Smileyface-Brownnoser* than I was before I read it.

But I’m going to help Mr. Gilmour out because he sounds like an unpretentious sort of man and around here that will make him an easy target for the anxieties of the ever-lapping wave of busybodies. I’ll assume in advance that he won’t deserve that treatment.

First, Mr. Gilmour, you should ask yourself “Who planned Plattekill Avenue?” Why? Because in its snake-like climb from Main Street to the South Manheim plateau, along a stretch of the perimeter of the SUNY beast and past the terminus points of several side streets, it’s unlikely that anyone actually did plan it. Someone said “let’s build a road from here to there,” no doubt. But it happened, probably, without a great deal of headscratching or civic nobility or pretense. It got a job done. You gotta love that enormous near half-circle it cuts around the village hall as it bends up to its unlikely encounter with Hasbrouck as that straightforward drive rises up to meet it. That’s a core element of the village. I can remember when the “movers and shakers” wanted to disfigure that ramping combo with their “one-way loop.”

Second, if you want to “plan” something so obviously in need of “planning,” plan the resuscitation of Hasbrouck Park. That little ballfield there needs a game played on it most summer days. Maybe I’ve been missing those games, just not going by there when they are being played, but the field appears to me to be unused and unloved. Not even sure whether it’s a little league or a softball field, but it needs to be something. Most days the field looks like an orphan, the playground at the back end of it notwithstanding. (Later: I just inspected Hasbrouck Park and the field was far less forlorn and forgotten than I last remembered. The all-dirt infield even appeared to have been recently raked or dragged. Everything looked tidy. The backstop appeared to be in good repair. The grass was mowed. But there was no one there. I’ll assume that, because the field had a home plate in place and looked ready for a game, games have been getting played there. I’ll check back.)

Third, when someone starts telling you about making Main Street or DuBois Drive “bicycle and walker friendly,” you might want to point out that these drags are both major uphill climbs. Maybe nice to glide down, but glide down after what kind of effort to get up them? If the rail trail is a “linear park” and a largely horizontal one, a ride up Main is a steep enough diagonal climb and likely of interest largely to the Men in Spandex, if even to them. And there is no way to put a bicycle path in Main at the Toscani Narrows, unless you pull out the parking spaces there and you do not want to pull out those parking spaces. Resist the anti-car types who will encourage you to “plan” such a thing.

Fourth, the Trailways bus station at Main and Prospect is not broken and does not need to be fixed. Don’t be conned by the County transportation bull now taking aim at the downtown New Paltz china shop. Aside from being fishy and unnecessary, the “expanded” bus station will be instantly out of proportion with its surroundings. We already have SUNY for that kind of aesthetic bullying and the downtown is actually a defense against it. I’ve written elsewhere here, in greater detail, about the bus station, back down the queue if you’re interested.

Fifth, (and here I depart into something that is more distinctly my aesthetic preference than just ordinary good sense, though it’s that too), if you really like that little splotch called Peace Park, try to gently persuade the local grandees to get that ghastly ugly sculpture out of there. It has had its run, don’t you think? Time to put it away in the corner of some building somewhere. I wouldn’t inflict it on the DPW team, as I once suggested, so maybe the college would take it. They adore ugly up there, and its partisans would still be able to visit it.

Sixth, “the Pit” is the hole in the downtown donut. It gives the downtown universe its three-dimensionality and its illusion of size, and developing it would be to two-dimensionalize the downtown. Like time, the Pit is what keeps everything from happening at once. I think the only thing that should be allowed down there is an archeological dig, and even there you might find Lovecraftian horrors you don’t want to know about. (Did you know that Lovecraft had an interest in New Paltz?)

Seventh, and this is crucial, when the destroyers insisted that the village must have the one-way loop, one of their fantasy island architect’s drawing dreams was to have a “pedestrian mall” between North Front/Plattekill and North/South Chestnut. In other words, they longed for a “tragedy of the commons” effect. The truth is that the downtown social space is interior space, and there’s lots of it. Lots and lots of it. Lots of tables and lots of chairs. Pay attention to that.

I’ll leave my recommendations at a lucky seven. They’re focused on the core of the village. The village of New Paltz is a very important physical place, and here’s hoping that it will survive the heavy breathing busybodies of this generation and cast its spell on many generations to come.

* It calls itself the “New Paltz Times,” but we know what it really is.

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Diana West again violates the first rule of Fight Club

She talks about Fight Club.

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“Auschwitz commandant outraged over Mengele video”

The People’s Cube:

“”It makes my blood boil!” the commandant stated to reporters. “The treachery! The deceit in the underhanded way that sound bite was secretly filmed and subjected to selective editing! And don’t even get me started on the selective editing! I am utterly sickened by how low some people will stoop to get an unfavorable sounding comment from one of our most qualified physicians. However, this was not a government-approved media source. The film was not screened by the Ministry of Culture and thus it may be disregarded as invalid Allied propaganda, probably funded by the Jews. Besides, this is the sort of filming only the Gestapo is permitted to do.””

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Margaret Sanger’s Vivisection League

Planned Parenthood has always been an organization that would put a smile on Josef Mengele’s face.

These people who have been caught engaging in a brisk market for fetal organs, and who are so glib about it, and then try to spin their way out of it, rely on other people to pretend it’s nothing, nothing at all.

You’ve seen the videos, right? Or as much of them as you could take.

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The Clinton-UBS story

So perfect and breathtaking in the sheer balls of it. She comes in as SecState in 2009 and fixes a problem UBS (the Swiss bank) is having with Americans allegedly stashing cash with it to avoid U.S. taxes. (She intervenes with the IRS.) Then UBS contributions to the Clinton Foundation skyrocket and there are suddenly a raft of speaking engagements for Bill, to the tune of $1.5 million.

Nothing to see here citizen, keep moving, move along, get moving.

Richard Nixon must be scratching his head, somewhere.

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New Paltz: The surveillance tape of the last village board meeting

Not sure why I watched it.

Well, I didn’t really watch it. I took in some of the early moments and then kept jumping forward, compressing the ordeal down to about twenty minutes of hard viewing.

I will not pick on the new mayor, who seemed prickly and uncomfortable and was leaning on the lawyer at the far end of the table to fill in the blank spaces of, I presume, the “legalities” of “the process.” If you know what I mean.

Zimet was there, speaking from the gallery, working her latest hustle, something about having one building for town and village governments. She was being, as usual, very urgent, highlighting the urgency with dark implications. (There’s a committee studying all this! Again!  A duly constituted committee is the Velveeta cheese of local municipal process.) The mayor averred that the citizens are still, after more than a century, confused by the difference between village and town governments, and that maybe having them in one place would solve the problem.

Perhaps a twenty-minute refresher course in local civics at the high school (do they still teach anything like civics at the high school, or the middle school, or anywhere?) once a year would do the trick and avert the need for major construction. Meanwhile, that could be put on a YouTube and said confused citizens could be referred to it. Maybe even candidates for political office could watch it.

Don Kerr, local media star and now a trustee, seemed to be the only one on the board daring to raise questions about…things. Kerr is preternaturally restrained by the extreme roundness of his deferential attitude, which encloses his point (if he has one, and I’ll assume he does) within a nearly opaque bell jar. Just spit it out, Don. Try things like, “I don’t like this,” or “let’s try it this way,” and don’t worry about the fur going up on Tim Rogers’ neck. He’ll get over it. Or he won’t.

Despite the awkwardness of this meeting, it was a comparative relief from the prior board where one trustee seemed determined to drive Jason West to the welcoming arms of the Hemlock Society.*

* Silly me, the Hemlock Society, dedicated to putting you out of your misery, changed its name over a decade ago and then merged with another organization and is known today as the New Paltz Times.

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Human sacrifice update

Don’t look at this if you’re over your horror quota for the quarter:

“On the tape, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, casually sips her Merlot and discusses the sale of post-abortion infant body parts.  She even goes into detail about how – if they’re informed of which parts have been requested – they can alter the procedure to ensure they don’t “crush” the desired organs.”

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Naturalism, A Comedy

“On what ground is the house of nature built, Dr. Watson?”

“Why, Holmes, it is built on the ground of nature.”

“And where does the ground of nature sit?”

“It sits in nature, of course”

“And where did nature come from?”

“Again, from nature.”

“Oh, I see.” Holmes rolls his eyes. “And what is the purpose of nature?”

“It has no purpose, no purpose at all.”

“Why is it there? What is its meaning?”

“Why is it there? It has no reason for being there and has no meaning.”

“So, Watson, all of your reasoning takes you back to a foundation, in nature, of nature’s meaninglessness?”

“Of course it does, Holmes. You and I and all of it are completely absurd.”

“And where, again, but excluding the cause of nature itself, did nature come from?”

“Why, from nothing at all, my dear Holmes. From absolutely nothing.”

“And so you’ve concluded, my dear Watson, that something can indeed come from nothing?”

“Yes, of course I do. Everyone knows that, Holmes. The Americans call it the ‘free lunch’.”

“But there is no free lunch, Watson.”

“Exactly! That’s what I’m saying!”


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“In Defense of Language”

Jeff Nyquist:

This poisoning of the mind, as the fruit of middle class prosperity and education, has led civilization into the fiasco of the intellectual. Human beings are not generally competent thinkers. We tend toward incompetence, and intellectual excellence largely consists in momentarily overcoming this incompetence. In this context, therefore, let us consider the following track record: namely, that the intellectuals fell for Darwinism, fell for Marxism, and embraced psychoanalysis. And as Karl Kraus noted, “Psychoanalysis is the mental illness of which it believes itself to be the cure.” Might we also say that Marxism is the political oppression of which it believes itself to be the salvation? And hasn’t man failed to evolve in dignity since Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species?

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“Through Orwell’s Eyes”

Diana West writing for the occasion of Orwell’s 112th birthday, quotes this nugget:

“The autonomous individual is going to be stamped out of existence.”

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“The Microagression Farce”

Oh, it’s a farce all right.

Heather Mac Donald in last Autumn’s City Journal.

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Ann Coulter

Fresh off the publication of her new book on illegal immigration, she’s arguing that Donald Trump is being attacked because he told the truth about the criminality of Mexican illegals. And that the U.S. government and the media have been concealing it. She’s almost always right, despite what her detractors think. So pay attention to what she’s saying. Probably a good idea to get her book, Adios, America, though I haven’t done that yet.

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The counter-revolution is truth

Angelo Codevilla:

“The ruling class’s component groups jointly dismiss America’s traditional liberties because they aim to replace them with their own primacy. Having seized the power to redefine liberty, our rulers tighten their definitions around their opponents’ necks like nooses. Since their desire for primacy has no limit, they can’t stop tightening. The norms that they demand that we honor help sustain each constituency by letting its members feel good about themselves while looking down on others. Their “dignitary interests” (to use Justice Kennedy’s term for who must be honored vs. those who must submit to being vilified) simply trump those of others. This is why the ruling class demonizes any questioning of its demands’ substance by imposing modern equivalents of the slave-era “gag rule.” They wage identity politics as war.”

Very clear, very explicit, and right. This is chapter one in the post-June 2015 re-initiation of America. I recommend it, at the link.

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