The Practice of Free Speech Is a Spiritual Necessity

I almost began by writing that I’m sick of politically tinged topics and wish to dedicate a column to something spiritual… but this one lands me right to the heart of free speech.  Everything, alas, has grown political.

In my nightly meditation (it’s my variety of prayer), I pass a “station” where I ask myself if I have “reached out” that day, because I’m convinced that exchange of some sort has to be an essential part of why we’re here.  We are not finished products.  We cannot allow ourselves to be deposited in a curio cabinet (or deposit ourselves there), safe from dust and errant missiles.  That doesn’t mean that we have a holy obligation to throw our elbows about and shout around the water cooler; it simply means that we must find a way to register our “take” on the truth as events unfold around us in this accelerated, hyper-active, overly medicated e-world of our creation.  Not to speak up in some manner, unfortunately (for the meditative, to whom silence is golden), is these days equivalent to nodding quiet assent to the slanders and inanities that build a dizzy momentum on Twitter, Facebook, and the rest.  “Pushback” is required.

And it was ever so, to be honest.  Monastic seclusion is beneficial only to the extent that it allows the hermit to reflect.  As soon as it favors a suspension of thought and a mind-numbed retreat into daily routine, it shuts down the individual’s opportunity to grow further.  A cow is not the ultimate sage.

I write this as someone with very strong tendencies to flee to an island and sink the skiff that brought me there.  That’s why I have to hold myself to an accounting every evening.  Exchange is required, not just (or even primarily) for the benefit of one’s “benighted” neighbors: it prods one’s soul, as well, into probing questions deeper and framing answers better.

Hence my quoting the word “benighted” above—for we must not think of our intellectual participation as gracing the world with prophetic revelations or as hammering sinners for not falling in with the onward march of Christian (or socialist, or utopian) soldiers.  An exchange not only runs in two directions: it also, in a truly Christian context, must accept limitation and fallibility.  Beings such as we cannot fully grasp ultimate truth, let alone express it.  Though I may be closer to the mark than you, and though I may know well that you won’t accept my correction—however modestly offered—I still need the “exercise in futility” involved in making my case to you so that I may better guard against any straying off target from my side.  When I’m enhancing a digital photo, I always overshoot the point where the lighting or coloring is just right; for how will I know where “just right” is if I haven’t veered into “too much”?

Not that I deliberately go too far in my speech or writing… but I will never “nail” the full truth; and without the evidence of a day’s slight (or gaping) misses, how will I restrain myself from the pride of feeling that I—in my superior silence—understand everything while the others are mere puny mortals?

There, in a nutshell, lies the spiritual necessity of exchange.  And there, as well, lies the wickedness of shutting down exchanges in the interest of “what’s right”.  So you know exactly what’s right, do you?  How generous of God, to loan you His eyes and sit you upon His throne!  But, of course, the people who would shut down such discussion do not regard their perspective as on loan.  In a post-religious world, their vision has become the new god—and they are all his prophets.

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Roy Moore, Sex, the Seventies, and the South (Part One)

The following is the exact text submitted to an e-colleague who has always published my ruminations before on his busy site.  He woudn’t touch this one, or even tell me why not.  Roy Moore is apparently radioactive for “intellectuals”–especially those with good northeastern educations.

I had to wince at Roy Moore’s answers to Sean Hannity a couple of weeks back. Specifically, there was far too much talk about how the mothers of a seventeen- and an eighteen-year-old girl “liked” Roy and were pleased to have him courting their daughters–how he never asked a girl out without first consulting the lady of the house–followed by reiterated insistence that, no, he didn’t date teenagers when he was a thirty-two-year-old. So, Roy… these two particular moms wanted you to court their daughters, but you refused because of the age gap? And when you asked out a woman of twenty-eight, you first contacted her mother so as to ascertain if a date would be acceptable? Is that what you’re saying?

I so wanted to like this man… but thanks to contradiction and incoherence flowing from his mouth in a steady, unsavory mush, he has rendered himself impossible to believe and presently looks as guilty as Ganelon. If your account of how you did not do a deed is insulting to people with IQ’s higher than the temperature on Christmas Day, then you likely did the deed. (For instance, if you claim that you found a gun in a dumpster and decided to shoot a seal with it, but dropped the piece and then stumbled so that your toe pulled the trigger while pointing the muzzle further downward so as to create a ricochet… but I forgot that such things really happen in San Francisco.)

I concluded after the Hannity interview, then (with my head buried in my hands), that Moore must have done everything of which he stood accused. I was ready to fit the noose around his neck myself.

As the weeks have stumbled along, however, as awkwardly as an expatriate seal-hunting drug-dealer on a crowded pier, I began to reconsider. I did so largely on the basis of my own recollections of the Seventies, and of the ordeal of being a single Christian male during those suicidally hedonistic days. Here’s what I wish Judge Moore had said, and what I think he may have meant to say:

“Mr. Hannity, I’m sorry that you think it’s a perversion for a man of thirty-something years to ask a girl fresh out of high school for a date. In the rural South and out West, such practices were routine rather than unusual (let alone aberrant) before the Civil War; and in some parts of the South, things haven’t changed that much. But, yes, they’ve changed enough to have made my courting practices a little oddball back in the 1970’s. All the same, in my neck of the woods, asking out a girl ten or fifteen years your junior wouldn’t have been equated with pedophilia necessarily, as you seem determined to do–and your making that association really intimidates me. I’m really tempted to scuff up certain boundaries and hedge on the truth, except that I know I would be setting my foot in my own snare. You fast-talking Yankees, Mr. Hannity… you all have a way, you know, of making us Southerners feel like backward, inbred perverts, deviants, mutants, and retrogrades. You’re always so sure of yourselves, and we’re always Exhibit A for human failure and degeneracy. But I’m going to admit to the seventeen- and the eighteen-year olds–those were innocent adventures involving nothing more torrid than a light kiss at the end of the evening; and I’ll attempt to explain to you something further about the Seventies.

“You just about couldn’t find a girl to go on a date with back then who didn’t expect the evening to end up in bed. It didn’t even matter much if you met her at church. Since I had been unwise or unlucky enough to remain single into my thirties, most of the available women were divorcees, and they weren’t in any hurry to repeat what they regarded as a mistake: to get married again, that is to say. They held the institution of marriage at fault for their unhappiness, and not their own evaluation of marriageable material. They had decided that if they ever did marry a second time, they would do so only after giving the vehicle several test-drives. Unfortunately, this attitude not only tolerates behavior that a Christian is not supposed to practice; it also doesn’t yield the sort of confirmation that girls back then seemed to expect of it. So if I had engaged in the dating game as it was then being played by people of my age, I would have been exploiting women for my selfish sexual pleasure, albeit with their permission–and I would have been preparing them for another personal catastrophe following hard upon their previous one, since they were seeking to build a solid edifice upon a foundation of sand.

“Of course, there were better-educated women of approximately my years who had not rushed into marriage right out of high school, as we tend to do in the South; but few of them, frankly, clung even the rudiments of Christian belief that I found in struggling, confused divorcees. Indeed, it was the creed of feminism, learned in colleges and exported by these dazzling graduates into professional circles throughout the community, that probably induced many a single-parent secretary or nurse to follow the same lifestyle. For that was how the ‘smart’ people lived.

“In those circumstances, Mr. Hannity, I conceived the perhaps ill-advised notion of trying to date ‘unspoiled’ girls–young ladies who were neither exiting an unhappy marriage nor bound for a campus that would make them wise in the ways of contraception and abortion. I thought I was choosing the best option of the few available to me. Naturally, I made myself look a little ridiculous to certain people in the community who were already disposed to dislike me. Some of them, I’m sure, made me out to be a pervert and a predator, because I had left myself in a perfect position to receive shots like that. My ill-wishers in the law enforcement fraternity, especially, would start rumors about how they had to warn old Roy away from the young girls at the shopping mall. That’s what Jesus said would happen if you didn’t follow the way of the world. Him, the Son of God, they called a drunkard and a reveler, a companion of shady characters like tax-collectors. If the world would say that of Him, why would it say kinder things of me?”

Kind of a long speech for a Hannity segment, I know… but I wish Judge Moore had uttered something in the vicinity of my script.    continued tomorrow

On the Educated Elite’s Adoration of Centralized Authority: Part One

A conversation I had earlier this week is really getting me down. The person concerned is a Chinese colleague who survived the Tiananmen Square crackdown and knows the PRC’s communist regime up close and personal. I’ve grown very fond of her. I think she understands much about freedom that most Americans have forgotten. And yet…

And yet, she readily unleashes comments such as the following. All Trump voters are impoverished, uneducated, blue-collar white people (what we call down South “poor white trash”). They are single moms with five kids and no job. They’re grouchy old men living in clapboard houses with sagging, leaky roofs. They’re cousins of the cast of Moonshiners, wearing no shirt under their overalls, sporting boots with holes cut for their toes, and lisping through their remaining teeth that jut out like yellow tusks. How could they possibly be anyone else? All the smart, educated people voted for the other party. With an absolute conviction of omniscience and infallibility that the Chinese system drums into its own educated elite—including a reflexive “doubling down” response whenever one blunders into error—this worthy colleague sought to school me on the demographics and propensities of my own society.

I sought to remonstrate mildly. Excuse me… but the type of person just described a) rarely votes at all, and b) votes solid “D” (as his or her relatives have done immemorially) on rare trips to the polling station.

More significantly, my disputant maintained that these fictitious masses were voting against their interest in supporting a candidate who would cut off the flow of freebies. My own belief (and fear) is that Donald Trump isn’t this type at all, ideologically (which is why I didn’t vote for him); and my further belief (and fear) is that no one is served, eventually, by trying to bleed a corpse that has already started to draw flies.

Indeed, my original comment that started this conversational ball rolling into the La Brea Tar Pits was that all of our masses—American, Chinese, English, Italian—are too multitudinous, too unskilled, too needy, and too prolific for any of the world’s devious political systems to keep sustaining them. A sow with a dozen teats cannot feed fifty piglets. The world’s various political elites all know this. Ergo, it is painfully obvious that various plans for mass die-off at some critical point must be circulating in back rooms, bunkers, and barrooms of exclusive golf courses.

My point never penetrated. Despite her experience of authoritarianism, my colleague couldn’t grasp the extremely high probability that the nerve ganglion of an intricately centralized human system would devise ways to rid its outer reaches of unproductive cells. Indeed, I have noticed in her and other Chinese an almost obsessive concern over access to doctors and medicine, as if the “dependency” impulse had been activated across the board. When educated Chinese are imprisoned by their paternalistic handlers (an ordeal euphemistically known as “going to the police station for a cup of tea”), their first lament seems to be for their meds. The orientation toward the ganglion is invincible, apparently. After all, how could we survive without a brain, even though some brains think evil thoughts?

Yep. Depressing. God forbid that we should use our own brains!

The Cold-Blooded-Killer Ideology

What was the political ideology of the highly educated, well-to-do, self-righteous thug who ambushed Senator Rand Paul with deadly intent as he mowed his lawn?

What are the ideological connections of the brutal Antifa cowards who routinely destroy property while kicking and sucker-punching bystanders whenever any college campus schedules a constitutionalist speaker?

What were the politics of Gabby Gifford’s shooter? What were those of the assassin who turned his rifle on U.S. senators practicing softball? How about the Butcher of Las Vegas?

What is the political persuasion of people who consider mass-murderer and rabid racist Ché Guevara’s face a fashion statement?

None of these figures was an Islamic terrorist… and, yes, we have had plenty of those. We’ll probably have plenty more, unfortunately. But the rash of white male homicidal sociopaths recently is notable—and it appears that child-murdering punk Devin Kelley was of the same political stripe as the others I have just named. A profile is emerging: disgruntled, angry at the world, socially inept, abusive in intimate relationships, furiously resentful of mainstream culture and traditions, particularly inimical to Christianity, committed in Charles Manson fashion to some kind of helter-skelter anomia intended to usher in some kind of revolution… hmm. Maybe a criterion for the legal purchase of a firearm should be supplying objective evidence that one is not a Leftist.

Oh, I know—we have the idiot who drove his truck into a crowd during the Charlottesville KKK rally (which, by the way, was utterly unpremeditated); and let us never forget that media darling of mass-murderer paradigms, Timothy McVeigh (who, by the way, was dishonorably discharged from the military, like Kelley). But for every hayseed mumblety-peg who forgot which gear of his truck was “reverse”, we now have a hundred slogan-spouting Leninist sociopaths.

Speaking of mass murder… what is the political preference of the creative geniuses who churn out lurid blood-sport fantasies for our “entertainment” venues—nightmares so graphic that one wants to look away even during fifteen-second television teases? What about the party-affiliation of the willing participants in these sadistic bacchanals—people known as “actors” for some odd reason? What about the designers of rape-and-mutilate video games and of the hardware that purveys them—which political ideology does this lot seem most likely to embrace?

Which side has constantly promoted the murder of babies in the womb for half a century now, even to the point of sanctioning the extraction of the child’s brain with a large hypodermic as he or she attempts to exit the birth canal?

Which side has tirelessly advanced the exploitation of women as sex objects, not just by way of movie and film production but also and especially by disseminating in academe a code of casual, on-demand, recreational sex?

Which side, in short, has consistently broadcast a view of life as a meaningless sojourn among partially evolved primates whose only compensations are sex, intoxication, hallucination, and electronically sustained fantasy, and whose highest moral imperative is to reduce the number of wasteful, useless Yahoos thus impeding the good Mother Earth’s natural cycles?

Confiscate all the guns, if you like. It won’t do any good as long as a studied self-perversion continues to define the “progress” of our society.

The Dark Elite (Part Two)

I perhaps erred in my previous post by insisting that our career politicos and captains of industry are a seamless unit. I realize that CEO’s don’t retire to enter politics and that, by the same token, politicians (few of whom have any business savvy today) don’t retire to go into private industry. In a way, that was exactly my point: neither needs to stray into the territory of the other, because either side is already doing the other’s bidding.

Now that I’m trying to focus my attention upon the sector that I call Security, however (meaning the high-ranking bureaucrats who “protect” us more than men and women wearing any sort of uniform), I find myself uncomfortable with advancing any sort of provenance. I don’t really know where these people come from. Are they military personnel? Sometimes… but if so, they have seldom smelled powder or seen blood before being entrusted with a nation’s survival. This type usually seems to scale the ranks by discreetly guarding or purveying secrets and working effective “damage control” for incompetent but powerful superiors. The military record of Michael Hayden, former chief of NSA and the CIA, is essentially that of what used to be called an aide de camp—a well-connected, copiously decorated “yes man”. Might another type have occupied elective office prior to penetrating the inner circle of watchdogs? Less often, I would guess… but more often than never. Leon Panetta began life on the national scene in the US House of Representatives before embarking upon a series of cabinet positions that led to his being CIA director. George Bush’s career path was similar.

These are men, in short (and in my logarithm, they show up as male without fail), who have served in the “armed forces” without being armed, never having to choose between bearing a moribund comrade along clumsily and saving the rest of the squad in a quick dash; or perhaps they have represented the “people’s choice” at some point in some capacity, but without playing the demagogue or polarizing the public. They have shown themselves to be “team players”—trustworthy practitioners of the inside game even when it bends the rules ostensibly observed by others. They keep things quiet rather than stir things up. There’s something, maybe, a little cold-blooded about them. They enjoy a kind of aloofness from the madding crowd. Whether ex-military or former legislators, they have displayed a particular talent for making the right people look good and for making the wrong facts go away. They know where the skeletons are hidden—and, in their capable hands, those closets have been dry-walled over and hung with dim portraits.

One may wonder if someone like Bill Gates might prove himself worthy of admission into the club from the private sector. Gates’s attempted trespasses into education policy strongly imply that he wants to be a member—that he wants to market hardware and software on a vast scale, yes, but also that he considers himself worthy of directing society’s course for decades to come. Without question, he holds the keys to a lot of doors; and his legendary acts of “hard ball” when Steve Jobs took him too far into his confidence may impress the Dark Elite more as salutary ruthlessness than as risky infidelity… or perhaps they suggest to us, rather, that one does not deserve trust in this club who cannot be ruthless, and that anyone who trusts too much deserves not to be trusted.

Now, a nerdy milquetoast like Bill Gates would never be admitted into the rarefied ranks of Security, would he? Or would he? Why not? If federally mandating costly communications and information systems creates the ultimate bonanza for tech companies, doesn’t their proliferation also create the ultimate opportunity for the nation’s watchdogs to eavesdrop on everyone’s every movement? Isn’t that, indeed, the mother lode for a private innovator: an advanced surveillance and data-gathering network’s being purchased by public-sector bureaucracies? And if you were the Eavesdropper in Chief, wouldn’t you want Bill Gates on board—all the way on board, and as gung-ho as you about a perfect planet where wars no longer bubble up because trouble-makers are preemptively identified and subdued? Wouldn’t Bill Gates or Steve Jobs be all in for that?

I’m already beginning to anticipate the next step in my speculations—the “tech whiz” portal; so allow me to backtrack briefly into the deathly-discreet vaults of Security for a few more words. I cannot over-emphasize that these elite few do not dream of clearing out Times Square with tanks as the Chinese did Tiananmen Square. That’s a Hollywood script, recycled and retreaded God-knows-how-many times since Seven Days in May screened in 1964. (Hollywood, by the way, is now as seamlessly joined to the news media as corporations are joined to politicians: more useful idiots, their Woodstock-era nightmares of men in uniform create a very successful diversion from the real threat.) Preserving the myth of a fully armed, booted, and helmeted military probably assists Security in funneling money to its “black ops” programs, to be sure. The American voter is generally willing to be taxed more if he thinks he’s financing new submarines and jet fighters. He is also completely oblivious to how much of this money disappears down the hole of off-budget projects.

But no, Security’s vision of domination has no battlefields and no heroes. The planet will be made ready for her “great leap forward”, rather, by handling obstacles with sanitary efficiency: by dazing armed militants with sound waves, by mollifying dissidents through the education system (delivered via home computer), by thinning out burdensome social elements with sterilants in the yearly flu vaccine, and by disgracing spirited opponents with faux mafia pay-offs uploaded to their bank accounts. While this portion of the Dark Elite is the more sinister for being the less disruptive of daily routines, its solutions are perhaps more permanent than a nuclear holocaust; for extermination of one’s adversaries only postpones the power struggle for another generation, but the Orwellian integration of adversaries into the mainstream makes society forget how to say “no”.

The Dark Elite’s security (read “enforcement”) branch, then, is quintessentially high-tech. That’s why the exposure of our nation’s power grid to the threat of Electro-Magnetic Pulses is so worrisome: because, I mean, our rulers are far too sophisticated to have allowed such a vulnerability to take them by surprise. If our civilization risks such catastrophic collapse, it is because our “guardians” have decided to preserve collapse as a “pacifying” option. Should our numbers and demands become inconvenient, ninety percent of us may have to be culled so that the remnant may grow strong and straight.

The Scriptwriters of Alien Abductions: Dare We Name Them? (Part Two)

As well as information on David Jacobs’ research, I’ve lately found on Netflix a documentary about Stan Romanek. This rather Walter Mitty-ish middle-aged American claims to have been abducted by aliens several times since childhood. The only evidence he has to support his outlandish story is highly advanced physics equations burned into his memory about navigating space-time, videos of ghostly intruders into his house, corroborative testimony to abduction events, medical examinations of strange scarring that turn up no probable cause, and a photo of his “alien daughter” which was viewed by dozens of people before it disappeared from his camera as they all looked on. What a prankster, this guy!

Stan never had any asteroidal chips inserted into him; but his unearthly hosts did leave peculiar marks on his body from time to time, it seems, and also took a keen interest in breeding hybrid humans from him (hence the daughter). I can’t for the life of me, and with the best of wills to bear out Romanek, think why they should do this. What do you do with a half-human whose immense almond eyes and pixie stature give it away as something bizarrely different—something beyond a mutation? You can’t very well seed the human population with such leprechauns and expect to take anyone but a college professor by surprise. Why not, if you’re an alien traveler, just put in an appearance yourself, like Michael Rennie in The Day the Earth Stood Still (the original version, made before our race began to degenerate precipitously by interbreeding with computers)?

Be that as it may, Romanek’s easy recitation of equations which perhaps a dozen people on earth understand—and among whom he most definitely cannot be numbered—inclines me to believe at least some of his story. Then, too, there’s his recent arrest for possessing child porn on his personal computer. Turns out that the NSA is fast developing an m.o. for uploading forbidden porn onto targeted computers and then sending agents to take the owners out of circulation. Most effective—for who would want to plead the case of a creep or a pedophile? If there are NSA fingerprints on any part of this man’s story, then the eagerness to shut him up virtually proves that he has something embarrassingly true to say.

And back to the implanted chips: who would have access to asteroid fragments? Aliens, I suppose… and also anyone who could pilfer some of the harvest of NASA’s exploratory flights.

Who manufactured the circumstances behind the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution? Who once drafted plans to stage a bloody attack on Miami as a pretext to invade Cuba? Whose response to petitions for the whole truth about 9/11 is to ridicule and defame the petitioners? Who switched our astronauts to a private radio frequency whenever they started to remark the presence of inexplicable phenomena on and around the Moon? Who has so mastered Soviet technique of dezinformatsiya that unimpeachable testimony about UFO activity is hopelessly compromised by sensationalist folderol (such as endless sloppy TV documentaries)?

Who would profit from having a convenient “panic” button to push or a source of popular hysteria to rev up as an occasion to declare martial law? Who could pump victims with hallucinogens (perhaps only those with certain blood types) and then parade robots or dwarves in costumes before them?

Who demands to know your income, requires you to have insurance, would like to mandate your having yearly flu shots, exacts a whole battery of inoculations of your children before they may attend mandatory schooling, aspires to confiscate your firearms “for your own good”, monitors your drinking water so that it’s as salubrious as the crystal effluvient of Flint (Michigan) taps, and increasingly governs the news you see on the Net and over TV and radio?

Gee… I just don’t know who that might be. Do you?

Two Suggestions for a Better World (Don’t Hold Your Breath)

First, the NFL. (I hate football, by the way, and have never been a consumer of the NFL’s product.) Certain conscientious players will don black armbands prior to the raising of the flag. The anthem completed, they will remove the signs of mourning and go on about their business. When a svelte female sticks a microphone in their face after the game (funny how women seem so eager to assert their presence in the most brutal of all our sports), they will explain that they wish to honor their nation–but also to grieve publicly the loss of well over a million defenseless babies annually to abortion. (“They are fetuses,” snarks Answers.com if you use the “b” word.)

Then let’s see how the NFL reacts. Care to place a bet?

Now for health care. The abortionist’s comeback is always, “Well, you don’t care what happens to the fetus after it becomes a child…” which is correct, in a way–because it’s Mom and Dad who are supposed to care about the “fetus” both before and after it “becomes a child”, and too often neither cares at either time. Implicit in the comeback, you see, is the assumption that Mom will give her new baby one hell of a life. She already has six or eight other babies, and she hasn’t bothered to care for any of them. (Needless to say, Dad–or the dads–is/are nowhere in sight.) We, on the other hand, are supposed to care–meaning that we’re expected to keep ponying up tax dollars to buy every new child food, clothing, health care, and education. Mom doesn’t even trouble herself to look for a job: her job is to have babies and collect monthly checks for them. If one of the dads should decide to marry Mom, and if he should have a job other than sharing in the baby-bonanza, he chooses to keep the kids on Medicaid rather than buy into the group policy offered at work. So we continue paying…

If my wife and I had been able to keep more of our own money over the years, we could have adopted one or more children. We wanted to… but the process is costly and lengthy. Women are either aborting their unwanted babies (excuse me: fetuses) or else consigning them to Grandma and collecting Uncle Sam’s check. So… yeah, maybe some of us begin not to care much for this situation.

Here’s my suggestion: how about a box on the income tax return that you could check and then designate X dollars for the health care of babies born to parents illegally resident in the US, legally resident but unmarried and unwilling to practice birth control, or married and gainfully employed but unwilling to take the insurance offered at work? If “caring” in such circumstances appeals to you, then you can donate however many thousands you wish. Nancy Pellosi could easily manage six figures a year out of the millions she has garnered from marginally legal but patently unethical insider trading.

As I say… don’t hold your breath.

Finally, a stray thought: why is it that evidence of brilliance in our far-distant ancestors can only be explained by hypothesizing visits from extraterrestrials, yet the current generation is styled the most brilliant ever because its young use smartphones–the assumption being that all of them could assemble the circuitry or write the code for the software? Can any of them even average his grades without using the Math Ap or logging onto Blackboard? But, hey… we don’t build campfires, and we have nice teeth!