Saturday, June 24, 2017
A decade ago, I kept a different blog which actually had some extremely minor impact (one or two legacy mainstream media figures used to read it at any rate, or so one could infer by their subsequent choices of topics on which to report). Those however were different times. We were Gen X, blogs like mine were rare then, and video blogging had not yet achieved the influence it has today. In short, the blog you now read tells you what I think if you care, but the world does not care any longer what I think. Nor should it.
I am too busy, anyway.
I was perhaps an asset to the blogging New Right a decade ago, but the New Right, now the Alt Right, now fueled by a generation that was in middle school a decade ago, no longer needs me, I think. That's a relief.
Scattered new posts might or might not appear here from time to time.
Friday, May 5, 2017
- Alt Right Chan culture,
Alt Right Mark I is a reaction to the almost inexplicable failure of American conservatism to try to conserve the nation.
Alt Right Mark II is a rebellion of belligerent Millenial nerds who have noticed that feminism (among others) is a big lie.
Mark I and Mark II both like being European white. Otherwise, Mark I and Mark II accidentally overlap. Each has learned somewhat from the other, but their motives differ. Taxonomically, both are called Alt Right, but maybe calling both by the same name has been a mistake.
I am not precisely Alt Right of either Mark, but I like Mark I a lot. By contrast, Mark II promotes such boring signaling spirals that Mark II is hard to like (it reflects the progressive Left in this respect). On the other hand, since I am not an establishment conservative, I am not stupid enough to think Mark II a foe.
Besides Mark I and Mark II, you have the offensively hilarious Alt Right Chan culture. That is sometimes very funny. I am not sure that Alt Right Chan culture has not been the youthful mainspring whose meme-power has lifted Alt Right Mark I to its present prosperity. Notwithstanding, though good taste has (by failing to conserve the nation) disgraced itself during the past 20 years, good taste cannot permanently fall out of style. Culturally, good taste will come back. Thus, Chan culture probably, inherently has limited reach. The youthful will not always be young.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
To say that someone is an “isolationist” because he doesn’t want to join (or start) wars overseas is akin to calling someone a shut-in because he chooses not to break into another person’s house and set fire to the building.
I used to be in favor of America's post-Cold War foreign wars. Then I noticed that:
- we Americans had killed hundreds of thousands Iraqis in their own country (the blood being on American hands) and few of us seemed to care;
- the Russians had killed one tenth as many Syrians at Aleppo (the blood not being on American hands) and we seemed to care a lot; and
- in the interim, we had moved large numbers of Iraqi survivors to the U.S. to let them take out college loans, collect food stamps, and vote Democratic.
I gather that if we had killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in the U.S., or even killed hundreds of Iraqis in the U.S., or even failed to give an Iraqi in the U.S. his food stamps, why, we would feel very guilty about this. But killing Iraqis in their own country is different: that's called liberating them.
I haven't even mentioned Afghanistan.
At any rate, I was wrong when I was in favor of America's foreign wars. Our invasion of Afghanistan was unfortunately a required response to Bin Laden's mad Sept. 11, 2001, bombing of Manhattan, but we should have exited Afghanistan within six months of entering it and should not have fought Iraq at all. The Baltic states or Taiwan might be next to draw us into a foreign war but I will not send my sons there to die. I am an isolationist now.
THE HITLER OBJECTION
There was the objection that, if the U.S. does not stand up to tyranny, it could be Hitler all over again; yet this ignores how utterly wrong the U.S. has been in almost every foreign intervention (including the one against Hitler) as to what the actual effects of that intervention would be. Since when is it worth killing, since when is it worth dying, to enforce randomly unpredictable results in some faraway land?
It seems to me that, by intervening, the U.S. is at least as likely to create the next Hitler as to stop him. Those who disagree might tell us why, and tell us how many they are willing to kill to prove their point. No, Larison is right. That is not worth the foreign blood on our hands. That is not worth the deaths of my sons or yours. Hitler, who is already dead, is no excuse.
Who is bloodthirsty enough to tell us otherwise?
The U.S. has made enough corpses. The next time we fight, it must be for something worth fighting for; and please God may that day be long delayed. I am indeed an isolationist now.
Saturday, April 1, 2017
Now, apologetics is of its nature a rational enterprise aimed at persuading those who do not already agree by means of sober argumentation. And Catholic apologetics has always been guided by the principle of meeting one’s interlocutors where they are, charitably finding whatever is of value in their position and using it as a basis for discussion, etc.
Friday, March 31, 2017
- I plan to change planes in Minneapolis to reach Milwaukee.
- John plans to earn a Harvard MBA and to rise to become CEO of one of America's top ten general building contractors.
The hypothetical war plans of which I wrote in my last article are plans of the second kind.
So are the plans of the Alt Right.
THE ALT RIGHT PLANS REVOLUTION!
One reads much loose talk of revolution on the Alt Right, in blogs and such. Who are those revolutionaries? Will you and I revolt with them? Shall we man the barricades forthwith, a broken bourbon bottle clenched in each angry fist?
I suspect however that the loose talk of revolution does have value, for all that. For analogy, recall the above linked article on war plans. When a 32-year-old Army major is instructed to revise an old plan to invade Hungary, this is probably not because generals think an invasion of Hungary likely. Rather, it is chiefly because revising the plan makes good practice for the major, who might someday become a general; and because the quality of the major's work on the plan shows senior officers whether they can, during the intervening years, trust the major to help to plan something more real.
The major's Hungarian plan remains hypothetical, but hypothetical does not mean useless, does it? The major's Hungarian plan is an exercise that develops sound habits of mind. Besides, in an unforeseen emergency, one never knows: elements of the major's Hungarian plan might actually get used.
Now, admittedly, to compare hypothetical Alt Right chatter against an Army officer's hypothetical war plan strains the analogy. Indeed, measured against the latter, the former seems unserious on the face of it, hypothetical though both they be. After all, the Army officer will have trained four years at West Point, may have earned his Combat Infantryman's Badge under live fire on the high plains of Afghanistan, and might have commanded in Iraq an infantry company of 150 soldiers—to two of whose mothers he had personally written to explain their sons' deaths in action. The Alt Right blogger? He's just a blogger.
However, if the U.S. regime the major serves is deconstructing the American nation, then which of the two—the major or the blogger—may actually be doing some good? If the final measure of the major's work is to count the dead, what a tragedy! Though I would not quite say that I belonged to the ranks of the Alt Right, even I can see that the Alt Right blogger has at least a positive program of sorts to promote.
A HYPOTHETICAL REVOLUTION
Revolution is a bloody business. It does not go well. It does not end well. It is not in itself a positive program. It gets hijacked by bad men for their own wicked purposes, while artilliery shells demolish men's homes, instantly reducing whole families to blood blots. You have rubble. You have famine. Men eat rats when they can get rats, sawdust when they can't. Water does not run. Electricity does not flow. Simple cuts get infected and lead to amputations without anesthesia. And that's if the revolution doesn't get crushed by the regime—which, nine times out of ten, it usually does.
You may think that you want a revolution, but you don't. You really don't. Yet, if things keep going as they are, you may get a revolution, nevertheless.
How would a hypothetical revolution go?
I have no idea. I do not want to find out, because a future is foreseeable in which revolution were the sole alternative to the extinction of our race. And, if a revolution there must be, then a reasonable man might conclude: the sooner, the better. One observes that the European race is the most effective warlike race ever to walk the earth, so I suspect that we whites would win even if substantially outnumbered; but the less outnumbered, the better, nor is victory guaranteed.
Pat Tillman. He looks as though a squadron of F-35s could do him no harm, but in fact he was felled by an ordinary rifle round.
Still, I believe that we would win. And still, I would rather not put my belief to the test.
IF NOT REVOLUTION, THEN WHAT CAN BE DONE?
Chris Matthews once rhetorically asked, "Why does the little guy love his country?" Matthews' answer: "Because it's all he's got."
What can be done? What can be done is surprisingly easy:
- Remember that the United States is our country.
- Decline to get sidetracked by the troublemaking question, "What about the immigrants? Isn't the U.S. their country, too?" (To the individual immigrant, the answer "You're here, aren't you?" suffices. To the collective of immigrants—well, that collective is precisely the problem, isn't it?)
- Halt almost all immigration.
- Have the U.S. pay incentives to a significant fraction of recent immigrants voluntarily to emigrate.
- Criminalize Islam, with a temporary exception for Muslims who are arranging to emigrate.
- Admit that desegregation was once a noble impulse but has become a gruesome mistake. Repeal the Civil Rights Act. Strip most blacks of the franchise.
- Amend the tax code to further incentivize whites who earn (or whose parents earn) above-average incomes to make more babies.
- Restrict the college-loan program to discourage our best young women from wasting their most fertile years in college. College, which is scheduled to the natural tempo of a smart young man's life, simply does not work for most women.
- Kick the undisciplined and the badly behaved out of high school, so that our high schools can restore their rigor, affording our young women a sound education during those few, precious years they can afford to devote to full-time study.
Will we do these things? No, probably not, but we could. We choose not to.
Why we won't do these things, or something like them, is rather a mystery. None of these things is harsh. None is brutal. None is unjust. All seem necessary and desirable. Most of these measures would have been embraced by our ancestors, were our ancestors alive today to counsel us. Since our ancestors are not alive, since we will not heed their counsel, a time seems not unlikely to come—nor may it be long delayed—when circumstance forces Americans to turn to harsh, brutal, unjust measures, but that time has not yet arrived.
When? Events will ride the saddle. Events are unforeseen. You'll see.
Meanwhile, the Alt Right plays at revolution as the lion cub plays at the hunt.
Monday, March 27, 2017
The keynote of all war planning before 1939 was the strategic concept, required by national policy, of defense of the United States by the United States alone against any and all combinations of foreign powers. Thus of the ten or twelve color plans current and approved in the years between the wars, the one which occasioned the most staff work was not, properly speaking, a war plan at all but instead a "National Position in Readiness" plan called BLUE (United States). Of the others only two called for general mobilization of the armed forces, and these two represented highly improbable developments in international affairs, namely a war against RED (British Empire) or against a coalition of RED and ORANGE (Japan). The most significant plan from a strategic point of view was the ORANGE plan proper, which visualized a major conflict that, although primarily naval, would require the mobilization of more than a million men in the Army. The other war plans provided for actions in comparatively minor emergencies.
In all cases the color plans were simple outlines of missions to be accomplished and Army forces to be mobilized, concentrated, and used in combat in the event that military operations became necessary under the circumstances presupposed in any one of the plans. As strategic planning in a broad sense, the early war plans, with the exception of ORANGE, were virtually meaningless because they bore so little relation to contemporary international political and military alignments. They were valuable, however, as abstract exercises in the technical process of detailed military planning, providing useful training for the officers who drew them up....As far as I know, all armies do this. Just as engineering professors cause their students, for practice, to plan cantilevers, trusses and the like, generals cause their staff officers to plan hypothetical invasions of Hungary and Costa Rica. Unlike the professors, however, the Army secretly archives the plans. Most plans are never used; but, occasionally, in an emergency, a plan may be snatched from the archive and put into sudden action.
It is more likely, of course, that the plan which actually gets used will have been prepared before action with greater care.
By 1940 [when World War II had begun on both sides of the Old World but the United States was not yet openly in the fight] the color plans had been largely superseded by the more comprehensive RAINBOW plans, which provided a variety of military courses of action to meet the real strategic situation imposed by Axis aggression.Still, even an obscure plan can influence the course of a war, whether or not the plan as such is ultimately employed. William L. Shirer recounts:
Shortly before Christmas [1939, Alfred Rosenberg, head of the German Nazi party's Foreign Affairs Department] dispatched a special agent ... to Norway,... and over the holidays the handful of officers at OKW who were in the know began working on "Study North," as the plans were first called.
[Two months later], Hitler ... sent for [Gen. Nikolaus von Falkenhorst], who ... commanded an army corps in the west....
Falkenhorst later described in an interrogation at Nuremberg their first meeting at the Chancellery on the morning of February 21, which was not without its amusing aspects. Falkenhorst had never even heard of the "North" operation and this was the first time he had faced the Nazi warlord, who apparently did not awe him as he had all the other generals.
"I was made to sit down," he recounted at Nuremberg. "Then I had to tell the Fuehrer about the operations in Finland in 1918.... He said: 'sit down and just tell me how it was,' and I did.
"Then we got up and he led me to a table that was covered with maps. He said: '... The Reich Government has knowledge that the British intend to make a landing in Norway....'"
[T]he General, to his surprise, found himself appointed then and there [to carry out the invasion of Norway] as commander in chief. The Army, Hitler added, would put five divisions at his disposal. The idea was to seize the main Norwegian ports.
At noon the warlord dismissed Falkenhorst and told him to report back at 5 p.m. with his plans for the occupation of Norway.
"I went out and bought a Baedeker, a travel guide," Falkenhorst explained at Nuremberg, "in order to find out just what Norway was like. I didn't have any idea.... Then I went to my hotel room and I worked on this Baedeker.... At 5 p.m. I went back to the Fuehrer."
The General's plans, worked out from an old Baedeker—he was never shown the plans worked out by OKW—were, as can be imagined, somewhat sketchy, but they seem to have satisfied Hitler. One division was to be allotted to each of Norway's five principal harbors, Oslo, Stavanger, Bergen, Trondheim and Narvik. "There wasn't much else you could do," Falkenhorst said later, "because they were the large harbors." After being sworn to secrecy and urged "to hurry up," the General was again dismissed and thereupon set to work.Apparently, the nonlinear way in which plans interact with unforeseen events can be complex. No formula can explain it, but stories like these can help one to understand.
The story of Falkenhorst and the Baedeker seems worth telling in any case. I do not suppose that the Norwegians found it too amusing when the German Army actually invaded (as indeed the German army did, 77 years ago next month), but, you know: a Baedeker? As though the General were looking for aught but a cozy Norwegian hotel in which to spend the night.
And before that, on the American side during the 1930's, the U.S. Army's chief strategic study seems to have been a plan to parry a hypothetical joint invasion of the United States by whom? By Britain and Japan!
In the shadow of the (now almost forgotten) Washington Naval Conference of 1922, I suppose that the idea was that, if the U.S. could parry a joint invasion by Britain and Japan, then the U.S. could probably parry other invasions, as well; but war with Britain and Japan does nevertheless seem formally to have been the plan.
Monday, March 20, 2017
The accession of Henry II began one the most pregnant and decisive reigns in English history. The new sovereign ruled an empire, and, as his subjects boasted, his warrant ran "from the Arctic Ocean to the Pyrenees...." The memories of Hastings were confounded in his person, and after the hideous anarchy of civil war and robber barons all due attention was paid to his commands....
After a hundred years of being the encampment of an invading army and the battleground of its quarrelsome officers and their descendants England became finally and for all time a coherent kingdom, based upon Christianity and upon that Latin civilization which recalled the message of ancient Rome. Henry Plantagenet [that is, our young Henry, Henry II] first brought England, Scotland, and Ireland into a certain common relationship; he re-established the system of royal government which his grandfather, Henry I, had prematurely erected. He relaid the foundations of the central power, based upon the exchequer and the judiciary, which was ultimately to supersede the fuedal system of Willam the Conquerer. The King gathered up and cherished the Anglo-Saxon tradition of self-government under royal command in shire and borough; he developed and made permanent "assizes" as they survive to-day. It is to him we owe the enduring fact that the English-speaking race all over the world is governed by the English Common Law rather than by the Roman....
The Plantagenets were rough masters, and the temper of the age was violent. It was the violence however of vigor, not of decadence. England has had greater soldier-kings and subtler diplomatists than Henry II, but no man has left a deeper mark upon our laws and institutions.... The names of his battles have vanished with their dust, but his fame will live with the English Constitution and the English Common Law.
This great king was fortunate in his moment. William I and Henry I had brought to England or preserved there all those instruments through which their successor was to work. They themselves could move but slowly and with caution. The land must settle itself to its new rules and rulers. In 1154 however [Henry II] had come to a country which nearly twenty years of anarchy had prepared for the acceptance of a strong hand at the centre....The italics are mine. See part 1.
The disasters of Stephen's reign determined Henry not only to curb baronial independence and regain the ground lost by his predecessor, but to go much further. In place of a multitude of manorial courts where local magnates dispensed justice whose quality and character varied with the customs and temper of the neighbourhood, he planned a system of royal courts which would administer a law common to all England and all men.
The policy was not without peril. The King was wise enough to avoid a direct assault, for he knew, as the Conquerer had known, that to lay a finger upon the sanctity of customary rights would provoke disaster. Faced with this barrier, Henry shrewdly opposed custom to custom and cloaked innovation in the respected garb of conservatism. He was careful to respect existing forms....Respect for existing forms: this is a crucial point.
His plan was to stretch old principles to take on new meanings. In an unwritten Constitution the limits of the King's traditional rights were vaguely defined. This opened a shrewd line of advance. For centuries before the Conquest, Church and King had been the enemies of seigneurial anarchy, but there had been no question of swiftly extending the Crown's jurisdiction. Fastening upon the elastic Saxon concept of the King's Peace, Henry used it to draw all criminal cases to his courts. Every man had his own Peace, which it was a crime to break, and the more important the man, the graver the breach. The King's Peace was the most important of all, and those who broke it could be tried in the King's court. But the King's Peace was limited, and often embraced only offences committed in the King's presence or on the King's highway or land. When the King died his Peace died with him and men might do as they willed. Cautiously and quietly Henry began to claim that the King's Peace extended over all of England, and that no matter where it was broken offenders should be tried in the King's courts. Civil cases he attracted by straining a different principle, the old right of the King's court to hear appeals in cases where justice had been refused and to protect men in possession of their lands. He did not brandish what he was about; the changes that he made were introduced gradually and without legislation, so that at first they were hardly perceived. Rarely is it possible to state the date at which any innovation was made; yet at the King's death a clever man might have looked back and seen how much had been altered in the thirty-five years that Henry II had sat on the English throne.Churchill will continue our story in part 3.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
The Anglo-Norman state was now powerful. Henry [fourth child, third son of William the Conquerer] was lord of England, Normandy, and Maine. In 1109, his only legitimate daughter, Maud, was betrothed to Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Germany. On the other hand, the reunion of England and Normandy after [the Battle of Tenchebrai] had stirred the hostility of France.... A wearing warfare darkened the later years of the reign.
What may be judged malignant fortune now intervened. The King had a son, his heir apparent, successor indisputable. On this young man of seventeen many hopes and assurances were founded. In the winter of 1120 he was coming back from a visit to France in the royal yacht called the White Ship. Off the coast of Normandy the vessel struck a rock,...This was the accident, without which the English jury as we know it might never have emerged.
[T]he vessel struck a rock and all but one were drowned. The prince had indeed been embarked in a boat. He returned to rescue his sister. In this crisis the principle of equality asserted itself with such violence that at the ship's side so many leaped into the boat that it sank. Two men remained afloat, a butcher and a knight. "Where is the prince?" asked the knight above the waves. "All are drowned," replied the butcher. "Then," said the knight, "all is lost for England," and threw up his hands. The butcher came safe to shore with the tale.The last italics are mine, but our story is only beginning.
None dared tell ... the King. When at last he heard the tidings "he never smiled again." This was more than the agony of personal grief for an only son. It portended the breakdown of a system and prospect upon which the whole life's work of Henry stood. The spectre of a disputed succession glared again upon England, and every noble in his castle balanced his chances upon who would succeed to the crown.
There were two claimants, each of which had a fair share of right. The king had a daughter, [Maud, earlier mentioned], but although there is no salic law in the Norman code this clanking, jangling aristocracy, mailed and spurred, did not take kindly to the idea of a woman's rule. Against her stood the claim of Stephen, [Henry's nephew], son of [William the] Conquerer's daughter Adela [who was Henry's elder sister]. Stephen of Blois, no inconsiderable figure on the Continent, with great estates in England added, was, after his elder brother had waived his claim, the rightful male heir. Throughout Christendom the accusation of violating an oath was almost mortal,... But here was a dilemma which every man could settle for himself according to his interests and ambitions. Split—utter, honest, total!...
Upon [his] daughter, after mature consideration, Henry founded all his hopes. On two separate occasions he called his murmuring barons together and solemnly swore them to stand by Maud.... The English mood in later ages has never barred queens, and perhaps queens have served them best. But here at this time was a deep division, and a quarrel in which all parties and all interests could take sides....
Henry I expired on December 1, 1135.... [Maud] was with her husband in Anjou and Stephen was first on the spot. Swiftly returning from Blois, made his way to London and claimed the crown....
There was an additional complication. Henry I had a bastard son, Robert of Gloucester, a distinguished soldier and a powerful magnate in the West Country....
King David of Scotland, persuaded of the English decay, crossed the Border and lay claim to Northumbria....
The civil war developed.... Stephen, faced with powerful rivals, failed to preserve the rights of the Crown. The royal revenues decreased, royal control of administration lapsed; much of the machinery passed for a time out of use. Baronial jurisdiction reasserted its control; baronial castles overawed the people. It seemed that a divided succession had wrecked the work of the Norman kings....The disputed reign of Stephen and the consequent civil wars continued seventeen years, during which Maud's son Henry, whose father was Holy Roman Emperor,[*] came of age.
Before he was twenty, Henry [Maud's son] had cleared Normandy of rebels and pacified Anjou. He turned forthwith to England. It was a valiant figure that landed in January 1153, and from all over England, distracted by civil wars, hearts and eyes turned toward him. Merlin had prophesied a deliverer;...You didn't know that Merlin himself had a hand in the founding of the English jury, did you?
[H]ad [young Henry] not in his veins blood that ran back to William the Conquerer, and beyond him, through his grandmother Matilda, wife of Henry I, to Cedric and the long-vanished Anglo-Saxon line? A wild surge of hope greeted him from the tormented Islanders,...All this because a yacht had struck a rock, and a prince had died, failing to save his sister.
[A]nd when [young Henry] knelt after his landing in the first church he found "to pray for a space, in the manner of soldiers," the priest pronounced the will of the nation in the words, "Behold there cometh the Lord, the Ruler, and the kingdom in his hand."
There followed battles: Malmesbury, where the sleet, especially directed by Amighty God, beat upon the faces of his foes; Wallingford, where King Stephen by divine interpositions fell three times from his horse before going into action. Glamour, terror, success, attended this youthful, puissant warrior, who had not only his sword, but his title-deeds. The baronage saw their interest favoured by a stalemate; they wanted neither a victorious Stephen nor a triumphant Henry. [Notwithstanding,] a treaty was concluded at Winchester in 1153 whereby Stephen made Henry his adopted son and his appointed heir. On this Henry did homage and made all the formal submissions, and when a year later Stephen died he was acclaimed and crowned King of England with more general hope and rejoicing than had ever uplifted any monarch in England since the days of Alfred the Great.In part 2, Churchill will begin to explain how these developments made possible the English jury.
[*] Correction: the Emperor had died and Maud had remarried. Young Henry's father was thus Maud's second husband, Geoffrey of Anjou.
It is unfortunate, really. Vox might have been great. Indeed, few have done so much for the Alt Right as Vox has done, for Vox acts while others (like me) merely talk. It's too bad that Vox persistently insists on being such a stinker.
Now, you had better not agree with anything I just wrote. If you do, then Vox will breathlessly remind you that his blog has more readers than you do, whereupon that fellow on the right will dart forward, point the pudgy finger of indignation, and curse you for being such a Gamma.
Friday, March 17, 2017
“From here I say to my citizens, I say to my brothers and sisters in Europe… Educate your children at better schools, make sure your family live in better areas, drive in the best cars, live in the best houses,” said [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan.
“Have five children, not three. You are Europe’s future.”Why, yes. Yes, I believe he did say that.
I don't know about you, but I had been blundering along under the illusion that Erdogan was more or less a friend.
When Erdogan had a Russian military jet shot out of the sky in 2015, did NATO not risk war to shield Erdogan from Russian vengeance?
Maybe it's time for NATO to boot Erdogan's country from the alliance. If the Turkish president can afford to plan the future of Europe, then perhaps Turkey can afford to fend for herself.
Thursday, March 16, 2017
- The Dutch have voted. Geert Wilders, the Trump of the Netherlands, has lost.
- The queen of England has assented to the Article 50 bill, clearing the way for Britain to withdraw from the European Union.
- In the U.S., moving to slash parts of the welfare state, the Trump administration explicitly enumerates the federal agencies and programs it wants Congress to shrink or kill.
- Trumpistas rally again in Berkeley, Calif. Riots resume. Police arrest 10, but on which side? That's not yet clear.
- A federal judge, this one in Hawaii, restrains the president from enforcing his second immigration order.
Dr. Elshikh’s wife is of Syrian descent, and their young children are American citizens. Dr. Elshikh and his family are Muslim.... His mother-in-law, also Muslim, is a Syrian national without a visa, who last visited the family in Hawaii in 2005.... In September 2015, Dr. Elshikh’s wife filed an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative on behalf of her mother.... Dr. Elshikh fears that although she has made progress toward obtaining a visa, his mother-in-law will be unable to enter the country if the new Executive Order is implemented....
Hawaii primarily asserts two proprietary injuries stemming from the Executive Order. First, the State alleges the impacts that the Executive Order will have on the University of Hawaii system, both financial and intangible. The University is an arm of the State.... The University recruits students, permanent faculty, and visiting faculty from the targeted countries....Yes, I bet it does.
There is also evidence of a financial impact from the Executive Order on the University system.... [T]he University will not be able to collect the tuition that those students would have paid.
On the other hand, what if it could be shown that the University would collect more in tuition if students from the six countries were not there? Maybe some prospective students would prefer not to be exposed to jihad?
The State argues that the University will also suffer non-monetary losses, including damage to the collaborative exchange of ideas among people of different 19 [sic] religions and national backgrounds on which the State’s educational institutions depend.
This will impair the University’s ability to recruit and accept the most qualified students and faculty, undermin[ing] its commitment to being “one of the most diverse institutions of higher education” in the world.The court does not explain the relevance of this commitment as far as I can see, but it does refer to the order issued earlier by a federal district judge in the state of Washington. Perhaps the earlier order explains the relevance of the commitment in question.
The second proprietary injury alleged Hawaii alleges is to the State’s main economic driver: tourism. The State contends that the Executive Order will “have the effect of depressing international travel to and tourism in Hawai‘i,” which “directly harms Hawaii’s businesses and, in turn, the State’s revenue.”Well, we can't have that. As we all know, the reason so many tourists flock to Hawaii is to watch the burqini-clad Somali girls on the beach. And how boring are hotels in which no bombs ever go off?
Is anyone going to ask actual tour operators what they think of the state's contention?
Hawaii's claims look like losers to me, but then I'm not the judge.
The court's order fairly persuasively finds that Trump's act is disingenuous with regard to its purpose: it is a Muslim ban and probably means to be a Muslim ban, whatever pretty language it might prepend to disguise the fact.
Rudolph Giuliani explained on television how the Executive Order came to be. He said: “When [Mr. Trump] first announced it, he said, ‘Muslim ban.’ He called me up. He said, ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.’”The order thus finds that Trump's act probably fails "the three-part test for Establishment Clause claims set forth in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, 612-13 (1971)."
According to Lemon, government action (1) must have a primary secular purpose, (2) may not have the principal effect of advancing or inhibiting religion, and (3) may not foster excessive entanglement with religion.Trump fails point (1), says the court. The Government (that is, Trump) however points out that "the six countries represent only a small fraction of the world’s 50 Muslim-majority nations, and are home to less than 9% of the global Muslim population...." To this, the court replies:
The illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable. The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed.The court has a point. After all, jihadis demonstrate their animus toward any group of people without targeting all of them at once.
In March 2016, Mr. Trump said, during an interview, “I think Islam hates us.” Mr. Trump was asked, “Is there a war between the West and radical Islam, or between the West and Islam itself?” He replied: “It’s very hard to separate. Because you don’t know who’s who.”The court further notes that, "[i]n that same interview, Mr. Trump stated:"
“But there’s a tremendous hatred. And we have to be very vigilant. We have to be very careful. And we can’t allow people coming into this country who have this hatred of the United States. . . [a]nd of people that are not Muslim.”So, the question is, if a president believes that, can he act on his belief? The court says, no.
Defendants and all their respective officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and persons in active concert or participation with them, are hereby enjoined from enforcing or implementing Sections 2 and 6 of the Executive Order across the Nation. Enforcement of these provisions in all places, including the United States, at all United States borders and ports of entry, and in the issuance of visas is prohibited, pending further orders from this Court.The stakes are high. We'll see what happens.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Paleoconservatism was an attempt to bring High Toryism to America. Unsurprisingly, trying to inject it to an audience of descendants of Whiggish commonwealthmen in the vein of Sidney, Harrington and Trenchard who entertained conspiracies of Romish papists under the bed, proved to be abortive. Sam Francis then reoriented paleoconservatism into a populist revolt of Middle Americans against rootless cosmopolitan elites. Not that I dislike Francis, not at all – but it is a different direction, one that has since passed on to the alt-right.That sounds about right, on both ends: High Toryism; populist revolt. I inhabit the midpoint of that spectrum.
If you belong to Generation X or the Baby Boom, and you insist that this stuff is evil, you're missing the point. The energetic transgression of youth will always exist. In the Current Year, the important question is, at what object is this transgression directed?
In other words, if you disdain #frogtwitter, fair enough; but then what's your solution to the suicide of Western Civilization and the vanishment of European man?
When the Millenials were children, we fecklessly force-fed them a year-round diet of Black History Month. We forgot that they had brains and could think for themselves. So #frogtwitter is the result. If you ask me, I like #frogtwitter and most everything that goes with it; I strongly approve—but if you don't, then what's your answer?Let me put it another way. NBC's Saturday Night Live isn't as funny as it used to be. Why is that? If Bill Murray were a Millenial, don't you suspect that he'd be on #frogtwitter?
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
The Court usually is not under any obligation to hear [a case], and it usually only does so if the case could have national significance, might harmonize conflicting decisions in the federal Circuit courts, and/or could have precedential value. In fact, the Court accepts 100-150 of the more than 7,000 cases that it is asked to review each year.Few write American English as lucidly as the Court's justices and their clerks. If you can read The Wall Street Journal or New York Times, then you can read this Court.
The Court's decision, March 6, 2017, in Peña-Rodriguez v. Colorado is drawing attention across the Alt Right. As the Court explains:
A Colorado jury convicted petitioner Peña-Rodriguez of harassment and unlawful sexual contact. Following the discharge of the jury, two jurors told defense counsel that, during deliberations, Juror H. C. had expressed anti-Hispanic bias toward petitioner and petitioner’s alibi witness. Counsel, with the trial court’s supervision, obtained affidavits from the two jurors describing a number of biased statements by H. C. The court acknowledged H. C.’s apparent bias but denied petitioner’s motion for a new trial on the ground that Colorado Rule of Evidence 606(b) generally prohibits a juror from testifying as to statements made during deliberations in a proceeding inquiring into the validity of the verdict. The Colorado Court of Appeals affirmed, agreeing that H. C.’s alleged statements did not fall within an exception to Rule 606(b). The Colorado Supreme Court also affirmed, relying on Tanner v. United States, 483 U. S. 107, and Warger v. Shauers, 574 U. S. ___, both of which rejected constitutional challenges to the federal no-impeachment rule as applied to evidence of juror misconduct or bias."Anti-Hispanic bias"? Uh-oh. Such words a usually a bad sign.
Our legal system has many rules that restrict the admission of evidence of statements made under circumstances in which confidentiality is thought to be essential. Statements made to an attorney in obtaining legal advice, statements to a treating physician, and statements made to a spouse or member of the clergy are familiar examples. See Trammel v. United States, 445 U. S. 40, 51 (1980). Even if a criminal defendant whose constitutional rights are at stake has a critical need to obtain and introduce evidence of such statements, long-established rules stand in the way. The goal of avoiding interference with confidential communications of great value has long been thought to justify the loss of important evidence and the effect on our justice system that this loss entails.
The present case concerns a rule like those just mentioned, namely, the age-old rule against attempting to overturn or “impeach” a jury’s verdict by offering statements made by jurors during the course of deliberations. For centuries, it has been the judgment of experienced judges, trial attorneys, scholars, and lawmakers that allowing jurors to testify after a trial about what took place in the jury room would undermine the system of trial by jury that is integral to our legal system.
Juries occupy a unique place in our justice system. The other participants in a trial—the presiding judge, the attorneys, the witnesses—function in an arena governed by strict rules of law. Their every word is recorded and may be closely scrutinized for missteps.
When jurors retire to deliberate, however, they enter a space that is not regulated in the same way. Jurors are ordinary people. They are expected to speak, debate, argue, and make decisions the way ordinary people do in their daily lives. Our Constitution places great value on this way of thinking, speaking, and deciding. The jury trial right protects parties in court cases from being judged by a special class of trained professionals who do not speak the language of ordinary people and may not understand or appreciate the way ordinary people live their lives. To protect that right, the door to the jury room has been locked, and the confidentiality of jury deliberations has been closely guarded.To grasp the true impact of the Court's decision probably wants first a review of the fascinating history of the venerable institution of the English jury, but this blog post is already long enough, so we'll leave that review for another day. I do realize, as you probably do, that the Court's liberal majority is probably more motivated by Steve Sailer's "Who? Whom?" than by a tender concern for the majesty of the law. I suspect too that the Court is wrong, or at any rate that it has here rendered an unwise ruling. Moreover, one doubts[*] the fidelity with which the English jury can serve its ancient purpose when the jurors are, increasingly, multicultural non-Englishmen. Notwithstanding, if you value the English jury (as indeed you should, as Peter Hitchens explains here and here), then Peña-Rodriguez v. Colorado merits more careful study.
[*] It does not say, "denies." It says, "doubts." Before you send me hate mail, please read carefully what I have actually written. Then, when you send me hate mail, if you must, please tell me what you think of the jury trials of today's South Africa. Or, if that's too distant a subject, then, instead, if you are old enough to remember O.J. Simpson's murder jury, please tell me what you think of that. Persons who frantically refuse ever to doubt the unchallengeable certainty of politically correct dogma, persons who would try to bar those who do doubt from the arena of civilized discourse, are just tiresome. See Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities.
Monday, March 13, 2017
All of the issues legitimately raised by skeptics were potential biases: data selection, temperature-station siting, data adjustment, and heat island. The fifth was potential bias from the large number of adjusted parameters that were used in the global climate models, and from the instability of those enormous simulations. We came up with a solid analysis of each of the biases and were able to conclude, using our independent work, that global warming was real and caused by humans. We can go farther than the IPCC by attributing 90% of the warming of the past 260 years to humans. We’ve kept our work open and transparent.
I get along very well with skeptics, largely because I respect them. Most of their complaints against climate change are legitimate. Most headlines and most comments made by politicians―and by many scientists!―on this subject are either exaggerated, misleading, or false; that’s why there are so many skeptics. I’ve talked privately to very prominent scientists who admitted to me that they exaggerate on purpose to garner public concern and action. But I think such exaggerations are counterproductive; they lead to a mistrust in science.
Separately, Steven Weinberg opines on "The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics," if you're into that sort of thing.
Looking back over the events of 2016, liberal-minded commentators are apt to sound a warning against “populism,” a disorder that they observe everywhere on the right of the political spectrum. Populists are politicians who appeal directly to the people when they should be consulting the political process, and who are prepared to set aside procedures and legal niceties when the tide of public opinion flows in their favor. Like Donald Trump, populists can win elections. Like Marine Le Pen in France and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, they can disrupt the long-standing consensus of government. Or, like Nigel Farage and the Brexiteers in Britain, they can use the popular vote to overthrow all the expectations and predictions of the political class. But they have one thing in common, which is their preparedness to allow a voice to passions that are neither acknowledged nor mentioned in the course of normal politics. And for this reason, they are not democrats but demagogues—not politicians who guide and govern by appeal to arguments, but agitators who stir the unthinking feelings of the crowd....
The shocks and surprises of 2016 have made it imperative to understand what, if anything, is true in this charge, and just when, if at all, it is legitimate for politicians to appeal directly to the people, in ways that by-pass or marginalize the political process....
The answer is that democracies are held together by something stronger than politics. There is a “first person plural,” a pre-political loyalty, which causes neighbors who voted in opposing ways to treat each other as fellow citizens, for whom the government is not “mine” or “yours” but “ours,” whether or not we approve of it. Many are the flaws in this system of government, but one feature gives it an insuperable advantage over all others so far devised, which is that it makes those who exercise power accountable to those who did not vote for them. This kind of accountability is possible only if the electorate is bound together as a “we.” Only if this “we” is in place can the people trust the politicians to look after their interests....
But what happens when that trust disintegrates? In particular, what happens when the issues closest to people’s hearts are neither discussed nor mentioned by their representatives, and when these issues are precisely issues of identity—of “who we are” and “what unites us”?...
Now, I do not know whether Scruton would affirm, if directly asked, that it is Spencer's point that Scruton considers. Scruton's admirable essay is not wholly free of liberal-conservative cant, so my guess is: probably not. Spencer is the vanguard, after all. Such is a vanguard's fate.
Still, you should read Scruton's whole piece as linked above. I recommend it.
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Jake Freivald, a U.S. Marine and a Christian conservative, not hard Right, recently recounts:
I remember being in my early twenties, reading the story of [Lt. Gen. Hal] Moore and his soldiers, feeling the responsibility that Moore felt for each of his men as well as his mission. He knew and accepted that some of his men would die, but those losses touched him deeply despite their inevitability. There was no casual loss. No man could be left behind. Yet he also knew what his responsibility was, and he wouldn't give in to despair or give up on winning the battle. There was nothing squishy, no false mercy for his men, in his actions. And his men rose to the challenge set by his example.Read Freivald's full tale here.
In other words, respectable conventional wisdom in the Current Year was lunatic.Read the whole thing here.
Saturday, March 11, 2017
The smarter leftists are deep in self-reflection, constantly wondering “how did I get this wrong? How did we all miss [the possibility that Donald Trump might win]?”.So true.
I thought a new slogan to say to these people.
Check Your Signaling.
Yes, Shlomo. You lost your bets because you were busy signaling. Every time you say something stupid we’ll be there to tell you: Check your signaling. Because we know. We know you’re full of [nonsense]. And the thing is, we know you know it too. You’re a smart guy. You just need somebody to remind you. To shame you on your fawning to the elite. To shame you on your greedy status-seeking. To shame you on your signaling.
Spandrell rightly speaks of "elites," "fawning" and "signaling." Tangentially, though, what I find interesting is that the Alt Right has developed its own elite, its own fawners, and its own status signaling. Alt Right status signaling is different, but it exists, and it seems to be growing more prevalent. Currently in vogue is to signal status by thumping one's virtual online chest, boasting about how "beta" some other male is.
Actually, I don't necessarily think that Alt Right status signaling is a bad thing. I like the Alt Right. American society needs more young men to aspire to alpha status. It's just kinda funny. That's all.
Maybe all prospering societies above some minimum size necessarily develop status signaling, just as a side effect. Against all odds, the Alt Right has grown above that minimum size, hence the manly chest thumping.
I shall try to avoid signaling in this blog. I'll probably fail, since signaling is so often implicit in almost every mode of communication, and since it is hard to avoid all hokum and cant; yet it seems worthwhile to try. When you catch me signaling, you can call me on it.
On another topic: if you haven't already, check out this video of Kyle Chapman, Berkeley's Alt Knight. There is one who has earned the right to thump his chest, don't you think?
Friday, March 10, 2017
- requires individuals to buy federally approved health insurance;
- requires health insurers to insure all comers; and
- subsidizes insurance premiums on a sliding, income-based scale so that even those of modest means can pay.
The ACA is colloquially named Obamacare after the president who championed it, and it seems to be failing. The ACA is a complicated law, not all of whose details and outcomes I know; but I do know that Congressional Democrats, refusing to compromise during 2010, chose to enact the ACA with zero Republican support. In 2010, every single Congressional vote in favor of the ACA was cast by a Democrat. Democrats unnecessarily rammed the ACA down Republicans' throats.
Now in power, Republicans are coughing the ACA up.
THE IMMENSE COST OF HEALTH CARE
Modern health care is expensive. It is costly. It can save your life and, when it does, you'll be glad for the care, but, oh, the price! Americans spend 17 percent of GDP—one sixth of everything the U.S. produces—on doctors, hospitals, pharmaceuticals and the like. Seventeen percent. That's a lot.
That's just what health care costs, though, right? Answer: apparently not. The French spend 12 percent of GDP on health care, the Germans 11, the Japanese 10, the British 9. We spend 17. All those other countries seem to achieve life expectancies as long (or longer) and infant-mortality rates as low (or lower) than we do. Americans can congratulate themselves on avoiding the putative horrors of European-style socialized medicine, about which there is indeed much to dislike, but if costly American health care really were that much better on average, wouldn't one expect the life-expectancy statistics to reflect this? If the statistics don't, then what does that tell us?
Well, statistics can tell all kinds of things. For example, statistics can tell that Coloradans are leaner and smarter than Mississippians, which really only says that Coloradans are whiter than Mississippians. So you have to be careful. However, 17 percent versus 9 percent ... that's a pretty big difference. As far as I know, no one has ever demographically adjusted the British number so as to prove that Britain's health outcome is objectively worse. What we do know is this: Britain's health outcome is cheaper. It's a lot cheaper. So is France's. So is nearly everybody's, all across the First World.
INSURANCE AND FREE MARKETS
But Britain has socialized medicine! Socialized is never cheaper, is it?
Answer: no, socialized is never cheaper, or at any rate is seldom cheaper. Free markets beat socialism on price and quality practically everywhere, at nearly everything.
The only trouble is, the U.S. hasn't had a substantially free market in health care since the Truman administration of the 1940s and 1950s.
What we have had is an accidental oddity, employer-based health insurance. During World War II (in which the U.S. was at war 1941-45), with so large a fraction of the skilled labor force under arms overseas, employers were forbidden by law to bid up wages among the scarce civilian labor that remained in the U.S.; but a chink in the law allowed employers to offer employer-paid health insurance in lieu of raised wages. Employers did that, the federal tax code allowed them to deduct the premiums as a business expense, and the employer-based system took root.
The results were rather weird. Under the employer-paid system, if you lost or left your job, then you lost or left your health insurance. If you were unhealthy, no insurer would then insure you but at exorbitant rates. Physicians lost incentives to hold down costs whenever distant insurers were paying the bills, which progressively caused insurers to take over the management of physicians' practices. Physicians' wages rose, and costly malpractice lawsuits further drove up the price of care. A growing number of Americans could no longer afford health insurance, nor qualify for work at an employer that could afford it.
Even weirder was this: if, lacking insurance, you paid the doctor cash for his services, he'd bill you 50 to 100 percent more than he'd have billed the insurer, even if you paid on the same day you received the service! I never figured out exactly why this was, but it wasn't like anything else, and it wasn't funny if it was, say, a $3000 MRI scan. Building supplies never worked that way, nor automobiles, nor attorneys' counsel, nor any other product or service of which I know. Only health care. Undoubtedly, the reason was some obscure, complex, government-regulatory dynamic. It was spooky. If you were sick and uninsured, it could be frightening. And no one could rationally explain to you why it was the case.
REPUBLICANS TO THE RESCUE?
During 20 years preceding the ACA, Congressional Republicans had ample opportunity to try to alleviate the aforementioned costly weirdness of U.S. health care. Apparently having little idea what to do, Congressional Republicans let the problem fester, while insinuating that ordinary citizens harbored socialist sympathies if they had the temerity to ask about the problem; so, when Democrats finally decided to have a go at the problem, some of us Republican citizens who would otherwise have opposed the Democrats were half-inclined to afford the Democrats the benefit of the doubt.
Now that Congressional Republicans are again in power, they're perplexed. The ACA is inefficient, bloated, bureaucratic, paperwork-intensive, confusing and (even in the short term) unsustainable; but it has nevertheless solved some real problems—particularly for sick people who change jobs—which Congressional Republicans had long lacked the courage or imagination to address. Congressional Republicans seem to wish that they could repeal the ACA and simultaneously restore all the good features of health care from 2009, 1959 and 1929, without retaining the problems from any such year. Since such a wish is little more than magical thinking, Congressional Republicans don't seem to know what to do.
Europe is the faith, the faith is Europe. When Roman Paganism died, the Roman Empire in the west died. Julian the apostate tried to revive paganism, got an undead religion. My commenters tell me Christianity survives as a mustard seed, but to me, it looks like a dead parrot.
I wish Christianity could be revived, I hope it can be revived, but am not all that optimistic.
I support Jim and believe that the world would be a better place if more people heeded him. However, Jim's language regarding women has an extravagantly coarse edge which, if he asked my advice, I would say does not really help.
Perhaps the very purpose of Jim's language is to be so coarse that no troublesome woman would risk interjecting. Maybe that's even necessary. Still, I won't say that I like it.
I am a mild philo-Semite.
Jews are smart. In American political and cultural life, some, even many, Jews are seriously obnoxious. Others, like (((Stephen Miller))) and (((David Cole))), are terrific. [This (((triple-parenthetical))) notation is useful, unfortunately.] To a remarkable degree, U.S. Jews seem to identify as Jewish first and American second, but the extreme fluency of Ashkenazi U.S. Jews in American language and culture is astonishing, so it isn't quite as simple as that.
I grasp that Alt Right anti-Semitism is partly about what an earlier generation once called, Sticking It to the Man. U.S. Jews are wealthy, influential and too often touchy. Few U.S. Jews seem to take our side in the Culture War (Miller and Cole notwithstanding), so you taunt, "Hey, Shylock!" just to draw their attention. I get it.
For what it's worth, our Jews are better than their Jews. Consider the aforementioned Miller versus Matthew Weiner. Not that I especially care.
So, why does the blogroll link both Jews and anti-Semites? Answer: because the blog you are reading does not revolve around, and is seldom very interested in, attitudes toward Jews. If you seek a solution to The Jewish Question here, you've come to the wrong shop.
I don't expect to have much more to say about this, but if you have something to say, you can comment below.
[*] Many paleoconservatives were wary of Mitt Romney. For subtle reasons, I thought that that wariness was a mistake, but an understandable mistake, for Romney (who could at least be trusted to fill a contract) would have done much better for the hard Right than any other national-party presidential nominee since Reagan. In any case, that's old news now. —HJH—