The View from the Sticks

"By traditional definitions, conservatism stands for intellectual humility, a belief in steady, incremental change, a preference for reform rather than revolution, a respect for hierarchy, precedence, balance and order, and a tone of voice that is prudent, measured and responsible. Conservatives of this disposition can be dull, but they know how to nurture and run institutions. They also see the nation as one organic whole. Citizens may fall into different classes and political factions, but they are still joined by chains of affection that command ultimate loyalty and love."
                                                                                                                                                                                           - David Brooks  

Society is held together by the rule of law and authority, not by the imagined rights of individuals. Obedience to the law is the duty of each citizen, this is the disposition that makes it possible to govern a society.  Without obedience to law societies crumble into anarchy and totalitarianism. Real freedom, is not in conflict with obedience, but is the obverse. Socrates held that breaking the law is an instance of injustice, and injustice should  be avoided so that one doesn’t become corrupted. 

Shakespeare too realized the importance of law and order.  In Henry VI, Part II, act IV, Scene II, Line 73: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers," was stated by Dick the Butcher, a follower of the rebel Jack Cade, who thought that if he disrupted law and order, he could become king. Shakespeare meant it as a compliment to attorneys and judges.

Burke's argument about the social contract holds that most parties to the contract are either dead or not yet born is correct. To ignore this truth and throw away customs and institutions is to "place the present members of society in a dictatorial dominance over those who went before, and those who came after them."

Moreover, in the Book of John(14:15), Jesus says "If you love me, keep my commandments". Although the
statement has different interpretations, it certainly is no call for revolution.

The utopian promise of socialism is based on an abstract vision that has no real connection to the way most people think (Liberals excluded).  Hence, attempting  to organize society towards a social utopia requires a real or imagined enemy. This accounts for the strident tone of socialist literature that usually identifies an enemy of the people preventing the realization of the utopian dream. 

Those who do not accept the vision are labeled, racist, fascist, politically incorrect or such. To protect this orthodoxy the power of language to describe reality is replaced by language whose purpose is to avoid encounters with realities and to paralyze opponents with guilt. 

 Assuming history can be given a direction or that a perfect society can make everyone equal is a childish impossible dream. A dream most obvious in academia. Alan Bloom described those academics who wish to replace the Western Canon with less talented writers and thinkers as the School of Resentment. For the resentful faculty members institutions are the cause of inequality, and therefore the cause of their humiliations and failures. All who oppose the dream must be driven out.

Life is unfair, the purpose of government is to provide stability and order to a society, not to redress the grievances  of the less talented.   The purpose of higher education is to educate the next generation for the benefit of society, not to act as a staging ground for social experiments and revolution.

 

 

Update:

The rant was written in July of 2015. This is the day after Thanksgiving  and I have read the thing again to see how my opinions have changed. Well, my opinions are the same. The path to the White House for a Republican candidate seems just as unclear. I do keep waiting for The Donald to self destruct, but so far he has failed to do so. No matter how  infantile his behavior he still has supporters.

Update 2:

January's cold finally slipped in and the old guys that gather each morning seem to have mercifully lost temporary interest in politics. Even the fella with the Donald Trump cap has not been on the scene and the others are content to discuss a local law suit involving only lawyers; "the piranhas are attacking each other", somebody remarked. I just finished a tome on St Augustine and am still in a fog as to why the Mediterranean world gave up the Olympians for the Trinity. Sin and guilt, who needs that. Anyway, after the Iowa and New Hampshire events politics will no doubt raise its ugly head.

Some political  pundits are saying the nominations will be Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. If that is the case I face a Hobson's choice. At least you know what a socialist is and will do while we have no idea what mischief a bloviating ignoramus with an ego larger than the galaxy would stir up.

02/02

Iowa: Rubio came in third and that is excellent; a Republican who might actually get elected is in the running. Moreover, Clinton was unable to do much more than hold her own against a old socialist and the FBI is hot on her trail. My suspicion is that Obama will not use the Justice Dept. to protect her and just let the chips fall where they may. This is becoming interesting.

02/19/16

John Kasich now seems the best choice, but I would be content with a Rubio nomination. I don't think the death of Justice Scalia will have a great influence of the presidential race, but the presidential race will have much to do with his replacement. I can only hope for a moderate.

February 27. My foreboding about the Presidential election of November 2016 brings to mind another election, November 1860 and the words of Sam Williams of Washington, Arkansas in his book, "Printer's Devil".

"But I have been making a wide digression. To return to the Presidential election of 1860: It passed off as quietly as such events usually did in the Olden days. The day following the election was an uncommonly dark and gloomy one for November. It was ushered in with rain, and all day long there was a constant downpour. As I sat alone by the window - I remember it as distinctly as if 'twer but yesterday - and gazed out upon the dark pall of clouds that enveloped the earth, and listened to the ceaseless patter of the rain-drops, I felt a vivid presentiment that the forbidding scene was a presage of the dreadful feeling of gloom that was about to be cast over the entire South by the news of Lincoln's election. Never was news of a political contest awaited with deeper interest. In due course of time - I think it was the third day - intelligence of the result reached Washington. My presentiment proved too true. Abraham Lincoln was chosen. The announcement fell upon our little community with the awfulness of a death-knell. In all previous election contests the news of the result had been received with shouts of joy by a portion of the people, and good-natured expressions of disappointment the another portion. But there were none to rejoice - unless we except the bondsman, and his rejoicing was done in silence and secrecy, if at all."

"The entire male population assembled at the post-office before the arrival of the stage-coach, and when the intelligence was given out, the effect could be plainly discerned in the faces of the groups who were discussing the momentous event. A feeling of sadness, as if some great and overshadowing calamity was about to happen, pervaded the entire community. With leaden hearts and downcast spirits the little knots of men finally dispersed to their homes."

March 4

As for the Republican debates, Peggy Noonan summed them up very well, "the presidential contenders, are running around like rabid squirrels throwing nuts at each other in the dark. It's not a good look."

March 9

Somewhat puzzled that Mitt denounced Trump. Does that mean that the Republican establishment had rather have Hil in the White House over Trump? If so, Trump is suddenly looking better. Now with Bernie's win in Michigan, maybe the voters do smell a rat emitting from both parties and will choose Trump and Bernie. If given a choice of Trump or any Democrat, no doubt I will eat my words and vote for Trump.

April 3

Trump now seems like a maimed zombie lumbering towards the nomination unless the republican national committee can devise a strategy to stop him. The alternate seems to be Cruz who is far to conservative for me, but he will nominate, I hope, rational individuals to the Supreme Court. Only the Great Deceiver knows what will end up on the Supreme court if the Dreaded Hil is elected.

May 4

Trump wins Indiana and the GOP is DOA. Trump can not win the election, so we will have eight years of liberal lies and further destruction of the social fabric. Unions and minorities will be strengthened with liberal laws and taxpayer funds and the working white minority will purchase more guns in a feeble attempt to hold their shrunken piece of turf. Tragedy is when the gods bring you down. Farce is when you destroy yourself through stupidity.

May 14

"I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it any more!"

Trump seems to be the real life Howard Beale of  Paddy Chayefsky's movie, Network. Beale was insane and I hope we can determine if Trump is insane before the election

 

 The British historian Paul Johnson expresses his opinion  in Forbes (April 19, 2016). Although I have never felt threatened by municipal librarians or postal workers, Johnson has put his finger of one of the causes of the popularity of Trump.

 

ranting

The GOP might adopt the title of Eudora Welt's novel "Losing Battles" as their motto. I cast my lots and joined my meager forces with the GOP years ago because of their conservative stance.. But after a long series of GOP fumbles and stumbles I shall try a new tactic - maybe I will examine the entrails of a white goat to decide what political path to take.

My disaffection began with the invasion of Iraq. The White House was misled.  However the responsibility ultimately rest with the president and he made the wrong decision.   After that my disaffection list began to expand:

1. Abortion

Republicans pride themselves on their libertarianism which upholds the principal of freedom of choice.  Well, if a woman decides to exercise that freedom, I don't see why she should be prohibited. The decision to abort a fetus should be made by the woman and her physician; everyone else should butt out, especially sanctimonious religious hypocrites who care about human life only when it is unborn.  However, if a woman is unable to afford the doctor's fee, she should not expect those opposed to abortions to foot the bill  - perhaps the man involved in her plight might ante up.

2. Gay Marriage

Once again the principal of freedom of choice applies. A political party should not force its moral precepts on anyone and the Bible thumpers should read the part that says love thy neighbor, no matter who he/she sleeps with.  As far as I know there is nothing in the Constitution about marriage, so I have some difficulty understanding how the Supreme Court managed to insert itself into the argument, but it did and their decision is the law of the land.  So, any government agency that performs the marriage ceremony must do as the court directs. On the other hand, churches are free agents and do no have to follow suit.

3. The Confederate Flag

The GOP is certainly not responsible for the recent flag flap, but there will be spill over onto the conservative movement. My paternal great grandfather died in that conflict leaving my grandfather an orphan and my maternal grandfather served with honor in many battles. I firmly believe the Federal Government should have let the South go its own way and avoided the war, which they could have done. But that said, most true southerners have swallowed that bitter pill and have moved on. We lost the war, we respect the men who served the cause, but our vanquished flag, like our grief, should be kept private.  Moreover, it pains me to see the flag displayed on the front of log trucks or waved publicly by big bellied bellowing fools. Historical reenactors and solemn ceremonies are the only exceptions I can think of for acceptable public display of the flag.

4. Obama Care

The program is law and approved by the Supreme Court so that point has been conceded. To continue opposition is foolish, just a waste of political capital. If the program is as flawed as some think, then it will collapse under its  own weight. So move on, dude.

5. Global Warming

Once again the GOP managed to get on the wrong side of an issue. Global warming, global cooling, climate change or whatever the label is not the real issue. To deny that humans are causing damage to the planet is inane. The real problem is what to do. Closing all of the coal fired electrical generating plants in the U.S. would not help if China and India continue to build such plants  - American coal would be transported to Asia and burned there.  I favor everybody junking their automobiles and I will junk mine just after the last Chinese junks his...and I'll turn off the a.c. at the same time. This is problem to be solved by scientist, if there are any who have not sold out for grant money, and international statesmen, if any exist. See:

The Climate Snow Job

Political posturing is not the answer.

6. Gun Control

Attempting to bring reason to the gun control issue is impossible. As soon as the topic is raised  members on both sides turn red in the face and began screaming. First, nobody can rid the US of all the guns that are already out there, strict legislation will only drive buyers to obtain guns from private sources. Second, there is no justification for a private citizen to legally own an automatic rifle. Any deer hunter who is unable to kill a deer with a bolt action rifle has no business hunting.

That said, the Republicans should all stand for gun control, but not gun control as defined by Democrats. Once again, the Republicans have managed to allow the media to portray the Republicans as the toadies of the NRA.

Today, I was looking for  lawn more blades  in a supply store that caters to farmers, mechanics, et al and watched an man purchase a $700 automatic rifle. There were five or six guys around, either clerks or customers and I asked of nobody in particular, "What do you shot with that thing besides people?"  Somebody replied, good naturedly, "Hogs". True there a plenty of feral hogs around, so I let it drop.  But a good sportsman should aim at the heart of the targeted animal not spray bullets in the general direction of moving targets. You should aim for a clean kill, nobody wants wounded beasts dying long horrible deaths. I do not accept the need for automatic rifles to kill anything but other humans.

The Medusa.

There ain't nothin' more powerful than the odor of mendacity!
-Big Daddy Pollitt
hil

 

 

                                                             

The Republicans were once the civility party, the party of the head and the Democrats were the party of the heart and of rabble rousing. Now the head has had a lobotomy: an election can not be won by insulting Hispanics and alienating woman.

The special interest element of  Republican constituency will deliver the country into the hands of the Medusa. calvin

 

 

THE MENTAL INFECTION known as “political correctness” is one of the most dangerous intellectual afflictions ever to attack mankind. The fact that we began by laughing at it–and to some extent, still do–doesn’t diminish its venom one bit.

PC has an enormous appeal to the semieducated, one reason that it’s struck roots among overseas students at minor colleges. But it also appeals to pseudo-intellectuals everywhere, since it evokes the strong streak of cowardice notable among those wielding academic authority nowadays. Any empty-headed student with a powerful voice can claim someone (never specified) will be “hurt” by a hitherto harmless term, object or activity and be reasonably assured that the dons and professors in charge will show a white feather and do as the student demands. Thus, there isn’t a university campus on either side of the Atlantic that’s not in danger of censorship. The brutal young don’t even need to impose it themselves; their trembling elders will do it for them.

The insidious thing about PC is that it wasn’t–and isn’t–the creation of anyone in particular. It’s usually the anonymous work of such Kafkaesque figures as civil servants, municipal librarians, post office sorters and employees at similar levels. It penetrates the interstices of society, especially those where the hierarchies of privilege and property are growing. To a great extent PC is the revenge of the resentful underdog.

Nowhere has PC been more triumphant than in the U.S. This is remarkable, because America has traditionally been the home of vigorous, outspoken, raw and raucous speech. From the early 17th century, when the clerical discipline the Pilgrim Fathers sought to impose broke down and those who had things to say struck out westward or southward for the freedom to say them, America has been a land of unrestricted comment on anything–until recently. Now the U.S. has been inundated with PC inquisitors, and PC poison is spreading worldwide in the Anglo zone.

For these reasons it’s good news that Donald Trump is doing so well in the American political primaries. He is vulgar, abusive, nasty, rude, boorish and outrageous. He is also saying what he thinks and, more important, teaching Americans how to think for themselves again.

No one could be a bigger contrast to the spineless, pusillanimous and underdeserving Barack Obama, who has never done a thing for himself and is entirely the creation of reverse discrimination. The fact that he was elected President–not once, but twice–shows how deep-set the rot is and how far along the road to national impotence the country has traveled.

Under Obama the U.S.–by far the richest and most productive nation on earth–has been outsmarted, outmaneuvered and made to appear a second-class power by Vladimir Putin’s Russia. America has presented itself as a victim of political and economic Alzheimer’s disease, a case of national debility and geopolitical collapse.

 None of the Republican candidates trailing Trump has the character to reverse this deplorable declension. The Democratic nomination seems likely to go to the relic of the Clinton era, herself a patiently assembled model of political correctness, who is carefully instructing America’s most powerful pressure groups in what they want to hear and whose strongest card is the simplistic notion that the U.S. has never had a woman President and ought to have one now, merit being a secondary consideration.

The world is disorderly and needs its leading nation to take charge and scare it back into decency. Donald Trump fits the bill. Other formidable figures, including Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan, have performed a similar service in the past. But each President is unique and cast in his own mold. -Paul Johnson

.

Yes Paul, but I fear the cure may be worse than the disease.

 

May 30

Finally, Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland is a full blown fiasco. Do they think the Medusa will nominate anybody nearly as rational as Garland?

June 7,

Trump should be acting presidential by now. Instead he continues to brawl with anyone who disagrees with him. His brother said Donald was the kid at the birthday party who threw the cake. Such a bad sport is pushing all the uncommitted voters towards Clinton. She will reign as Queen of America and appoint liberals to the Supreme Court. The non-productive hoards will be underwritten and this nation will flounder. So sad.

Donald Trump has finished off the Republican Party. It is now bankrupt and should seek protection under Chapter 11.  They must regroup, throw out all the old stale ideas and make a fresh start. The US will be sick and tired of Hillary and Bill after four years in the White House, thus presenting a golden opportunity to return the country to sanity.

We can only hope.

June 17

If Trump were actually fit to be president, then he would realize that he can not defeat Clinton and step aside at the convention. But as he is not presidential, he will not step aside. Therefore, the GOP rules committee should change the rules and allow Romney to ride in like the US Cavalry in a bad western and save the day.

Too bad this is not a movie....

July 8,

Clinton sent and received confidential, secret, and top secret government documents on a private email server (a server that was certainly hacked)  and that is obviously indictable behavior, even treason. Why then did FBI director Comey let her off the hook? Well, he laid out the dirty laundry for everybody in the world to see but he wisely refrained from being the arbiter of the presidential election. If the American voters are willing to put such an irresponsible witch in the White House, the Director of the FBI should stand aside. 

 

7/15

Trump has chosen Mike Pence as running mate. This belays some of my fears about Trump's character, so for now, I am leaning towards casting my one useless vote for him.

7/20

Flip and Flop. One rational act does not certify a person as sane. Trump's utterances are becoming increasingly incoherent and the fear of an unstable personality, as opposed to a congenital liar, in the White House is just too strong. Now let me see, who is the Libertarian candidate?

 

7/23

 

The New Yorker ran a piece, "Donald Trump's Ghostwriter Tells All", about Tony Schwartz who helped create the myth that Trump has an unfailing knack for business. When you finish reading the  piece you will be persuaded that the Republican nominee should go to the nut house, not the White House.

7/30

"He (Trump) is a morally untethered, spiritually vacuous man who appears haunted by multiple personality disorders." -David Brooks, NY Times

08/3

Our choice is between a lying cheater and a sociopath. I'll vote for the Libertarian just to send a message to the Republicans to change their platform. My message might be received if a check for five million dollars was attached. Maybe the Republicans will go the way of the Whigs by becoming irrelevant and a new party based on civility and pragmatism will emerge from the ashes.

Fat chance.

It has been well said that “sooner or later, we all sit down to a banquet of consequences.” Our first course will be served a few months after the November election. My guess is chitlins with ghost peppers.

Both Clinton and Trump have deeply flawed personalities and their individual shortcomings will damage the nation whichever becomes president. The question is which candidate will do the lest damage to the nation and the world? Lancelot said to Arthur, "You lack a knight's humility." Arthur found humility only after the sword of destiny was broken by his rage. Achilles never found humility and dragged the corpse around the walls of Troy. I fear neither presidential candidate is capable of humility and thus embracing their humanness. Like McNamara they will defend their mistakes to the grave; many corpse will be drug about.

 

August27

Even if my a single vote decided how the six electoral votes allotted to Arkansas would be cast, that would not be enough to put either candidate over the top, but my vote nevertheless  is dear to me and I agonize how to caste the silly thing. Here is my reasoning as of today;

The infantile left and the biased  media outlets supporting their agenda are the enemies of  western civilization and, ipso facto, my enemy. Moreover, the Democrats have nominated a person, supported by  the New York Times and their ilk, who will continue the welfare state and all other lame brained  liberal causes. Further, their candidate is personally flawed and used political office to accumulate 200 million dollars in bribes under the aegis of  a "foundation".

The Republican nominee may or may not be even more flawed than the criminal Democratic nominee. But that is unknown to all of us.

If  the choice is between a know looser and an unknown entity, the better bet is with the unknown entity. Even if he is deeply flawed he will not further the liberal agenda.

September 20

Colin Powell in his leaked emails calls Trump "a national disgrace and an international pariah". And he says that he resented Clinton's dragging him into her email problems and that "everything [she] touches she kind of screws up with hubris." So one of the few trustworthy figures in Washington  dismisses both candidates. Can I do any less? Let me see now, is that Libertarian dude named Gary Johnson.....?

October 10

Our choices for the next president of the United States are: 1) a National Socialist masquerading as a Liberal Democratic, 2) a Rogue Capitalist as himself, and 3) an ignorant pot head. Each represents one of the three most destructive aspects of American culture. Our only hope is a deus ex machina to arrive in a space ship and spare us the fate we have so obviously  prepared for  ourselves, otherwise we will be hoist on our own petard.


Isle of the Dead

October 29,

The liberal new outlets (almost all) have sunk even lower in their attacks on the right. Disgusting, nauseating, and revolting; this is no longer a civil society. 

Heraclitus became so unhinged by the Athenians and his fellow Ephesians, wishing the latter wealth in punishment for their wickedness, that he wandered the mountains subsisting on grass and herbs. I'll certainly not go that far, but retribution will come, if the righteous eat grass or not.

heraclitus
              Weeping  Heraclitus by Utrecht Moreelse

November 1, 2016

Crunch time. One week until the election and I have made my decision: Evan McMullin for President of the USA. He can not win, but he is a man of principle and if neither Trump or Clinton can get 270 Electoral votes let the House decide.

November 3

So we close with Trump the Opera without  permission from the WSJ.

November 9

HRC described Trump supporters as a basket of deplorables and they have responded. The good news is that she is not president and the Republicans control Congress, the bad news is the Donald is president. This will be interesting.

There are two questions to be answered, 1) will Trump appoint level headed individuals and  listen to their advice, and 2) will the closed minded liberals, who think their opinions make them virtuous, act with civility towards the red state citizens. I have hope for Trump, but I have no faith that the closed minded will change much.

November 17

Trump seems to be assembling a responsible transition team. However, the liberal media outlets, especially the NY Times staff, continue venting their spleen; pathetically pointing fingers and calling names.

 

Finis

 

witch
               "misogynist, homophobe, bigot, racist, dodo"

 

For such tactics, the only remedy is the defense we used in the third grade:

"I'm rubber and you're glue, everything you say bounces off me and sticks to you."

 The Tao Reverses

The Republican party was in disarray, progressivism was on the upswing,  HRC was headed for four long dreadful years in the White House, and more unraveling of the social fabric was coming. Then the voters halted the slide into darkness and muffled the shrill voices of identity politics. The sun just may shine again this Thursday, this truly Thanksgiving.

December17

The Electors assemble on Monday. The liberal establishment has launched a two prong attack to steal the election: 1. They are bombarding the Electors with emails to coerce them with bribes or death threats to get them to change their votes. 2. On the national level the media is carrying various messages based on this syllogism:

 

 

December 20

The Electoral College has given Trump enough votes to make him POTUS. The whiners will now hush, but the media will continue to  use images of Trump with his mouth open and to slant reports on all his actions. The voters who put him in office will shake their heads at the likes of  Paul Krugman and move on.  The effete is in retreat but will mount rear guard attacks. The Republicans have both houses and the White House, we will see what they can do. Fending off liberals and moderating Trump will only be two of their problems.

January 6

The NY Times ran this on the front  page today:

" As Donald Trump Denies Climate Change, These Kids Die of It" by  Nicholas Kristof,   followed by a picture of a pitiful African boy.

Is there any wonder that I let my subscription lapse.

January 21

Well, the inauguration came off without a hitch. Protesters continue to fill the streets, seemingly  protesting the democratic process.  The likes of  Michael Moore encouraging the misguided. Surprising how much that revolting man resembles a jelly fish - neither has a brain nor is encumbered by the lack thereof.

February 15

The Roman month Febrkuarius was time of  the purification ritual Februa  held on this date because of the full moon. A purification ritual is exactly what the nation needs. The liberals and their spokesmen of the main stream media have fouled the very soul, or what's left of it, of this nation.

June 17, 2017

Four more days until summer. The economy is strong, we are not in a major war and you would think the country would be at rest, but instead we seem to be unraveling. The liberals begin a new witch hunt as soon as the old one fails and the media continues to pour fuel on every fire, fires that they themselves start. The left is suffering from political disorder syndrome for which there seems to be no remedy.

July 3, 2017

"The capacity of the human mind to rationalize its way around empirical obstacles to sustain a belief is spectacular." - Charles Murray.

Rain all night and rain continues this morning. All those holiday campers will probably be cooking burgers under tarps.

August 29

Houston is becoming the Gulf of Houston.  Recovery will be long and expensive. Now for more political ramblings.

Rereading this entry, which seems to date back to early 2016, my prognosis appears to be about as good as the national pundits... which is nothing to brag about. The body politic is splitting, or has split, and the lunatic fringe is moving to occupy the gap. Both houses, unable to act in concert, are failing to address the nations problems, much less actually solve any problems. Members of Congress and members of the Senate are all busy doing selfies; that is, focused on their private interest instead of the public interest. I fear they are unable to distinguish between the two. 

 Where vanity ascends, reason slips away, and evil rears it ugly head.

September 4, Labor Day

goldberg

After reading Jonah Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism,” an exposition of progressivism and its subsequent effects on liberalism, perhaps we should stop lumping all liberals together. We should start using “liberal” to designate the semi-rational folks of the left and label  “progressive” for those who 1) seek an unrestrained regulatory state, 2) think it’s just fine to curb the interests of individuals to do social engineering, 3) support a president’s abuse of executive power for liberal causes, and 4) see no problem in stifling dissent.

September 21

With the polarization and politicization of everything there is, seemingly, nowhere to hide. The TV is unplugged, subscriptions to newspapers cancelled, so the only outlet remaining is the computer, but when the Internet is activated Microsoft has usurped my screen and presents a daily image of the President with his mouth wide open and a caption announcing his latest, in their view, travesty.

End