Orwell Has Arrived

A German woman of a certain age named Mona Maja published an impassioned plea on YouTube last week for her fellow citizens to join her in a peaceful demonstration.  The emotion in her voice was driving words out at a rate I couldn’t quite keep up with—and my German is none too perfect, anyway.  On top of that, she was filming in a suburban back yard, apparently, that admitted frequent streams of background noise.  Yet this much I can assert: there was no incitement to violence whatever in her speech (unless anxiety over the high probability of being spat on, raped, or knifed on the city sidewalk is incitement in the form of a call to self-defense).

Nevertheless, YouTube removed the video after it had attracted about 150,000 views on the grounds that it was “hate speech”.  (The video was republished on Facebook, where it has topped half a million views: we’ll see how long it is allowed to run there.) If your daughter is murdered by a Turkish “refugee” and you organize a march to protest the passivity of the police, then you are a hate-monger and rioter in today’s Western world.  That’s the Orwellian society that is threatening to overtake us on this side of the pond, as well.

Netflix has lately been trying to force down my throat a documentary blaring the praises of feminist ambulance-chaser and courtroom stormtrooper Gloria Allred.  Also salient on the docket of recommended choices are opinion-flicks featuring Michael Moore and Robert Reich about how to repair the capitalist system they so love (hint: it begins with outlawing the profit motive).  Something called Dirty Money keeps trying to run a trailer every time I log on; the series tag promises to reveal how corporations are laundering money for drug cartels and otherwise outbidding Satan for the rule of Hell.

That’s all fine and dandy… but I’m still awaiting the exposé about how Eric Holder’s DOJ covertly ran guns to said cartels in order to get so many innocents slaughtered that the public would cry out for the Second Amendment’s repeal.  (The gambit was partially successful; a dozen kids were murdered with the guns at a birthday party in Juarez, for instance.)  My eagle-eye is still cocked, as well, for the bold new docu-drama that will follow a progressive-utopian Secretary of State as she abandons her personnel to an overseas mob and later sells massive amounts of uranium to a nation whose leadership once vowed to bury us.

Still on the lookout, too, for the first of Dinesh D’Souza’s many documentaries to make the Netflix roll call.  Still waiting for ANY of them to appear.  D’Souza, you may recall, did hard time over an unwitting violation of an obscure law governing political contributions for whose infraction only minor fines had been levied before. Courtesy of that forementioned lion of justice, Eric Holder.

Last month we were told to lament and deplore the repeal of Obama-era codes claiming to enforce “Net neutrality”.  Let’s see: YouTube is closed to any non-progressive point of view, individualist appeal, or inconvenient news flash: Netflix… closed; mainstream television… closed; Facebook and Twitter… as apt to close suddenly as the Symplegades.  But the Internet remains dangerously reflective of actual public opinion.  It’s lopsided.  Views that garner about 15-20 percent approval on a good day do not receive a “fair”, half-and-half manner of exposure.  Yeah, we really need to fix that—to “netfix” it.  And anyone who says otherwise should be indicted for hate crimes and sent away for a couple of years to rethink his position.

Welcome to what we called, in my youth, the Free World.


There Are No Lines in the Sand During a Sandstorm

I continue to read a lot about the desperate situation in Germany.  Without any specific intent, I’ve blundered into adding both Thilo Sarrazin and Peter Helmes to my daily reading.  The former makes the very strong case that recent waves of (mostly Turkish) “refugees” are doomed to undermine German culture without profiting from the German educational system.  Their own cultural conditioning both denies to women any extended exposure to book-learning and disdains in men any preoccupation with it.  The latter, as a columnist, provides a more “on the ground” view of the decline.  For instance, I read a Helmes piece this past week that described how a courtroom in Mannheim was mobbed by dozens of young “guest workers” (during prime working hours on a weekday) who shouted down witnesses and threatened the testifying victim.  Such scenes are now a fixture in parts of Germany.

Something in me wants to join the chorus of voices insisting that Islam is irredeemable: that the Koran explicitly prescribes violence against infidels, that Muslims have always practiced aggression upon their neighbors, and that the innate human decency in many individual believers is overridden by a cultic conditioning that treats members of rival faiths as sub-human.  Perhaps Kipling was right: “East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.”

At the same time… well, what exactly is the priceless German education system teaching these days?  Helmes has chronicled many a time the ascent of the “Green/Red” coalition to strangle-hold control over public-school curricula.  An initiative to indoctrinate elementary-school children into the “joys of sex”, with heavy brainwash in favor of the notion that gender is entirely fluid, clearly aims at undermining the nuclear family and paving the way for Big Brother to become everybody’s universal daddy.  One has to suppose that Germany’s Muslim community isn’t too happy about this.  If Muslim schoolboys are calling their teachers whores and punching on male instructors… can one say they’re utterly, one-hundred-percent unjustified?  The “teachers”, after all, are doing the work of pimps. Where is the invertebrate Christian community, in any of its denominational forms, during these troubled times that require people of principle to stand up?

You can draw analogies between Germany’s predicament and ours as you see fit.  The parallels are far from precise; Mexico’s Catholic “guest workers”, for instance, are scarcely as alienated from their host nation’s culture as Europe’s “refugee” horde.  The moral meltdown of Western civilization, on the other hand, hasn’t been cooled or stalled by the Atlantic’s waters.  The behavior of tens of thousands of “pink pussyhats” in public spaces last weekend inspired in me a disgust to which no words are adequate, and would simply not have been believed by our grandparents—by mine or yours, no matter who you are.  The epochal moment when human beings consider their genitalia to be the major determinant of their identity has always been a downward-turning indicator for a society’s survival, and no sane adult can suppose that it argues for a strong-willed, independent spirit. The self-governance of a mature will and subjugation to hormones are of two irreconcilable houses.

I honestly don’t know where to turn for truth or support any more, other than within; but as for political parties or religious denominations or educational cohorts… none of it seems to mean anything.  I wrote the other day in a different context that the greatest damage wrought upon us by the 9/11 attacks was what did NOT change the next day… or month, or year.  Our “culture wars” had come to a head as the millennial calendar turned over, and we were poised to “have it out” in some definitive fashion, I think.  Then we were all drawn together as one in defense of “our way of life”… and we failed to notice in time that we no longer shared a way of life.

Now half of us appear passionately to believe that something Donald Trump might have said or might have thought is an imminent threat to Earth’s preserving her orbit and must be punished with fire and sword.  The other half rightly identify the maniacal overreach of CNN/Pelosi-style charges—but respond reactively by embracing any proposition that the Oval Office decides to float on a given day.  I’m not suggesting that the two sides are equivalent.  Lunacy is lunacy, and barbarity is barbarity. You shouldn’t go spitting on your teacher even if she is encouraging your little sister to join “study groups” formed to finger themselves and one another.  Common sense exists, truth and right exist, and manners ought to exist.

We can’t orient ourselves to these morally magnetized polarities, however, if our exclusive attention is paid to those who have steered away from them.  You don’t necessarily put yourself on the right course just by avoiding the zigzags of the drunken pilot beside you.  This “Make America Great Again” stuff… just which America would that be?  The one that has given us Hollywood?  The one whose citizens never read a book because they’re too busy texting and “sexting”?  The one whose book-bred class will not allow Orthodox Jew Ben Shapiro to speak on campus because “he’s a Nazi”?!  Or maybe the one, Mr. Trump, that considers confiscation of private property through Eminent Domain a worthy notion if it “creates jobs”?

I don’t know.  I just don’t know.

How Does a True Conservative Stay Out of Holes?

If I have to read or listen to one more commentary about Trump’s coprologism for corrupt, impoverished Third World nations, I’m going to eject something malodorous from the other end of my digestive tract.

I’ll say this much, though, about the so-called conservative contempt for living close to nature: it isn’t conservative at all, and it has made my own alliance with the political Right very unstable at times.  Face it.  There’s a very vocal strain in “conservatism” that wants to burn energy and build highways the way any normal person would relish describing in front of a snowflake how he killed a squirrel.  (Squirrels eat baby birds, by the way, dearie: that’s why mockingbirds hate them.)  In other words, certain self-styled conservatives are reactive.  They say and do things because they know the other side will be ticked off.  Rush Limbaugh leaps to mind.  How many times has he discussed smoking his cigars, turning on all the lights in his mansion, and driving about in a gas-guzzler just for the joy of making his political adversaries change their diapers?

Now, I don’t know if the president made the specific comment attributed to him or not.  I know, however, that many who have sprung to his defense leave me feeling a little skittish with their implied judgment that life without cell phones and Netflix must be hell on earth.  The ancient Stoics viewed a man as free and true to his natural purpose to the extent that he could eliminate his ties to material needs and assert the superiority of his will.  I have always deeply admired that perspective.  To my mind, it comes very close to describing the essence of manliness (a word which literally translates the Latin virtus).  That’s one reason, by the way, why I have never found it very masculine for men to go chasing addictively after women: that is, if they can’t control themselves, then they deserve to be considered something more on the level of a dog pulled on an invisible leash behind any pooch in heat who wanders through the neighborhood.

Part of the independent life is being able to supply most or all of your needs for food, shelter, and defense.  There was a time when certain parts of what we call the Third World were very good at such self-sufficiency.  True, most of those places have since been transformed into hellholes; but they have been so courtesy of the USSR, the PRC, and—yes—sometimes the USA piping sophisticated weapons into the region and enabling (unintentionally or otherwise) tinpot dictators to subjugate their populace.  I am NOT willing to brand such spots the anal sphincters of the globe just because farmers have to use their hoes manually and don’t have iPhones in their pockets.

Any real conservative, on the contrary, would be very concerned about the inroads that frivolous high-tech is making into the lives of our children.  When a teenager plunges into deep depression and withdrawal syndrome just because he or she is deprived of Internet for a week, then we should not be proud of the new kind of dependency we have permitted to corrupt a once-independent citizenry, even if it “creates jobs”.  If said teenager were truly using the device to become better informed about the world, then a case might almost be made for the addiction… but remember where this ramble of mine started: in a news cycle that hasn’t for a week been able to let go of one badboy comment uttered in a supposedly private conference.  Meanwhile, China is sentencing a blogger to twenty years in prison and water has been incontrovertibly discovered on Mars—but who has time for that?

We don’t need more jobs: we need more nut-bearing trees, more hands that can turn sun and rain into potatoes, more minds that understand how to get an egg from the chicken to the table: that would be a conservative’s view.  But no, let’s all just keep piling into our own urban hellholes.  That’s the approach, by the way, which is drawing all the Third Worlders here—and the loss of traditional skills and social structures in their own homelands is what’s driving them to emigrate.


“Proud to Be an American”: What Does This Mean in 2018?

I’ve been trying to establish a Twitter presence, on the advice of a marketer with whom I shared concerns about a couple of my microscopic business ventures.  Every day I try to grind out something pithy… and every day I watch the Twitterverse volley snarky remarks about Ivanka and Oprah back and forth over my head.  This ain’t working for me.  It’s like expecting a mastodon to do The Worm in the endzone.

A hot topic the other day seemed to be whether one should—or dare—be proud to be an American.  The ever-hypersensitive Mika apparently tweeted something about her friends being “viscerally embarrassed” to acknowledge their American citizenship in Paris.  I logged a response about my father-in-law’s having told me once that no one was ever allowed to enter Paris on furlough after the Liberation without a buddy—that too many fascist-sympathizers were abroad and looking for targets.  I added that the French Jews could never have been rounded up for deportation without local help: Hitler hadn’t the troops to spare for such duty.

My point, of course, was that Parisians hardly have a right to criticize anybody’s national affiliation… but the chatter just continued: “I was in Paris last summer, and I had no trouble being a proud American,” etc., etc.

On the one hand, I personally am probably not all that proud of my nationality.  I was born here.  So what?  I try to find other things in life in which to take pride than accidents of birth.  Should I be proud to be Caucasian or male?

I was once proud that my nation lived by a document that allotted rights to men and women on the basis of their being creatures endowed with freedom by God whose society left them alone to fail, to learn, and to grow… but I’m not at all proud that my nation has largely turned its back on that most precious element of its heritage.

I’m not proud, either, that one may not so much as begin a conversation about the sanctity, say, of Abraham Lincoln.  One may not call into question certain “facts” about the Civil War, observing that 95 percent of Confederate soldiers didn’t own a slave, that the South harbored more Abolitionist societies than the North until John Brown started stirring up murderous chaos, that Lincoln only emancipated slaves in the South—and there only to enlist them forcibly as cannon fodder for his very unpopular war (protests against which he squelched by suspending habeas corpus).  No, can’t go there.  Matters of history, especially when they’re tinged with matters of race, are a Twitter-ready toggle up/toggle down in this land of the free.  Either you drink the Kool-Aid, or you’re a liar and a racist.  I’m not proud of my association with a society that exacts such lynch-mob thinking of its citizens.

On the other hand, as I edge my way through the 2015 serial now on Netflix, The Fighting Season, I feel a certain pride that our military is halfway around the world helping people to resist the outright hooliganism—cynically swathed in religion—which is the Taliban.  I have no problem with our vaporizing these butchers, just as I would have no problem with our leaving Mexican pandilleros for the vultures whenever we find them straying across our border.  Men who behead women for visiting a hairdresser or enslave young girls in prostitution have already acted as their own judge and jury, as I see it, and only need an executioner.  The Mikas of the world are all for cutting them enough slack to brutalize more children, as long as they stay away from the gated neighborhoods of the elite.  Most Americans, however, would say, “You had your chance, and you chose the sword.  Now die by it.”

I’m not “viscerally embarrassed” that my countrymen do not sit impotently on the sidelines and do nothing but snipe at would-be intercessors.  Situations like those in Afghanistan are immensely complex, and a case could certainly be made that our well-intentioned presence will end up making things worse; but the French were raping Vietnam for her natural resources while we were trying to halt the creep of totalitarian Maoist communism, and I’ve no doubt that any interest they might take in Central Asia would be of a similar quality.

Of course, what this is really all about is the incessant disparagement of everything wrought by Western culture—by Christianity, by capitalism, by applied science and technology, by republican governments—ongoing in our grade schools and universities.  It long ago leaked into the news and entertainment media, and it is growing ever more observable in a know-nothing generation of youth addicted to “smartphones”.  No one who’s read my stuff faithfully for a year would think of charging me with being uncritical of organized Christianity, unbridled capitalism, or unexamined technical innovation… but there comes a point when one finally wants to say to the spoiled brats inhabiting artificial reality, “Just shut up, will you?  Mistakes are what happen when you get off your butt and try to do something.  People like you never make mistakes.”

I’m not going to wrap myself in the Stars and Stripes… but I get it.  In this increasingly dumbed-down, either/or, “with us or against us” society of ours, I completely get it.


Snotty Ideologues of Film Industry Again Rape American Frontier

If I’m any sort of a critic, I’ll claim to be one of culture rather than film.  The two are not widely separated—yet perhaps too widely, for all that, when irredeemable garbage like the “Danish Western” (you read that right) inscrutably titled The Salvation can be released upon the world.  As has become my wont on Netflix, I fast-forwarded through huge sections after witnessing the sick beginning, pausing only to take in two minutes here and there.  I had to see just where the thing was going, you know: I simply couldn’t believe that the only direction was down.  Boy, was I ever wrong!

Here’s a Wikipedia summation of about two-thirds of this sagebrush saloperie.

The family [a rancher reunited after years with his wife and young son from Denmark] boards a stagecoach bound for their small residence while Peter [the rancher’s sidekick or foreman or… who cares?] stays behind. Their coach is also boarded by two recently released criminals, Paul and Lester. Following a tense struggle, the two criminals throw Jon out of the moving coach after which they rape and kill Jon’s wife. They also kill his son and the stagecoach drivers.

With great effort, Jon catches up to the coach to find his family murdered. Enraged, he kills the two convicts.

Unbeknownst to Jon, Paul is the brother of Henry Delarue, a notorious gang leader and land baron. Upon hearing the news, Delarue kills three innocent citizens of Black Creek, the town that reports the deaths to him. He also forces the townspeople to cooperate and find his brother’s killer.

After burying his wife and son, Jon decides to leave the town with Peter and sells his land to Keane, Black Creek’s mayor and undertaker. Before they can leave, Jon and Peter are captured by the town Sheriff, Mallick. As Jon sits in his cell, Mallick tells him that his death will buy the town more time while he tries to alert higher authorities of Delarue’s actions. Meanwhile, it is revealed that Delarue is working with the Standard Atlantic Oil Company and with the help of Mayor Keane, had been acquiring Black Creek and its surrounding land, which was close to an untapped oil reserve. Delarue’s now widowed sister-in-law, Madelaine, acts as his accountant and suffers sexual and physical abuse from him.

I won’t torment you any longer.  Frankly, what little I could make out of the remaining “plot” was merely more of the same ghoulish blood-fantasy.  I’d utterly missed all the crapola about Standard Oil.  Stagecoaches, long-barreled revolvers… and Standard Oil?  Was the CIA also involved, perchance?

This all pisses me off highly, for several reasons.  First, don’t pretend that you’re making a Western if you can’t play by the chronological rules.  Colts are not AK-47’s.  Stagecoach drivers don’t rumble along obliviously while their passengers rape and murder just under the floorboards.  Frontier towns whose every occupant is equipped with a Winchester do not quake in fear as a half-dozen psychopaths put bullets through the skulls of old women; and as for that, the number of criminals who raped men’s wives, slit their children’s throats, and executed their grandmothers was pretty close to zero in my considerable reading of Western history and first-hand accounts.  Precisely because practically everybody carried a gun, a Charles Manson who sought forcible entry into your house would be sure to meet with a dozen bullets from a dozen directions. I only wish the Manson-in-becoming sixth-grader who composed this script had met with an analogous reception from parents with switches and yardsticks.

Hollywood, of course, doesn’t “get” the fine points of gun ownership.  Europeans, a fortiori, can’t begin to understand the concept of effective self-defense (which is why they’re waiting for us, perhaps, to chase Putin out of Ukraine).  If this moronic video screed were only aimed at the firearm… but my discovering the role of Standard Oil in the sadistic fantasy is a scintillating example of something I’ve written about very recently.  The European intelligentsia, like other cultists of the political Left, knows no bounds—neither those of shame nor of common sense—in the matter of projecting every perversion and atrocity a deranged or over-medicated mind can imagine onto their ideological adversaries.  “Americans?” mulls Danish Filmmaker. “Think big business.  Think brutal, wanton murder.  Think rape and infanticide.”  And the only white hat in the satanic comic strip is a quiet émigré from Denmark!

Jeez, why did we bother helping you guys in 1941?  (Oooh, that’s right–I forgot you were Hitler’s ally.)  And you won’t raise a peep against radical Islam! Who is it nowadays, by the way, that’s requiring young children in public school to finger their pudenda and play sex games before their voices change?  Remind me again… who is the pervert here? On that basis, at least, Islamic fundamentalists and American Christians could agree to throw the EU off the stagecoach.

Yet the “critical response”, according to Wikipedia, was quite positive in general.  Referring to a Web nexus of professional critics, the oracle informs us,

The site’s critical consensus reads, “It’s all but impossible to add anything new or fresh to the traditional Western, but – thanks in no small part to Mads Mikkelson’s [sic] performance – The Salvation comes close.”  On Metacritic the film has a score of 64 out of a 100 based on 19 critics, signifying “generally favorable” reviews.

Look, I get t that historical films are always ultimately about the here and now.  Yet at the same time, you accept certain realistic limitations in selecting a historical period as your context.  Arthurian knights must not greet each other with a hearty, “What up, dawg?”  Al Capone shouldn’t be storing the bodies of victims in a freezer for his dinner.  Nelson’s Victory didn’t fire torpedoes.

From what I’m seeing lately, the film industry throughout the decadent West (and I mean Europe and the U.S.) has developed an obsession with thrusting psychotic attributes onto exotically sick villains said to belong to the past and then having sensitive cosmopolitan types who sport “I’m with her” stickers on their chariot’s bumper or horse’s butt barge in like avenging angels.  This kind of scenario abuses the past in ways that I consider unforgivable and despicable.  At the same time, it sheds no light whatever on the human condition in any age, because its Manichaean moral polarities are childish—“pre-school” childish.  What sickens me most is that I can’t even picture myself, as a creator, imposing some of these obscene, twisted behaviors on history’s true villains.  If I were making a film about Stalin’s unleashing his troops like ravening wolves upon a fallen Berlin now inhabited by no one but women and children, I would still paint some of my lupine characters with a tortured conscience.  After all, in the depths of their depravity, something stubbornly human must have sparked within at least a few of these butchers.

Nope—that’s not how our political adversaries see us.  If we’re not slavering hellhounds, then we’re wimpy pseudo-pious hypocrites. (Did you catch the irony of the mayor-preacher’s being a pimp for Standard Oil?) And they use a grotesque caricature of the American West to give a location to their Hell.  My God, what snotty, overweening arrogance!


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!


Insanity Begins Where Truth Evaporates

In just the past week, I’ve been bombarded with so many outrageous claims and patently made-up fantasies that I’m somewhere between headache and nausea.

Did you know that illegal aliens actually commit crimes at a lower rate than other residents—overlooking the fact that illegal entry is itself a crime, I mean?  Of course, being illegal, many of this group don’t call the cops when they’re robbed, raped, or mugged in the barrio… but I’m sure that whatever study the professor was quoting to Tucker Carlson took this into account.  Right?

High rates of Ruthenium 106 have been detected in the southern Urals… but, hey, Russia isn’t engaged any longer in the covert weaponizing of nuclear materials, and Jared Kushner’s chat with a Russian lobbyist remains a far greater threat to our security than Hillary’s Uranium One deal.  Anyway, who’s to say that Greenpeace Russia isn’t lying as part of a Trump pay-off?  Right?

Today I saw a video claiming that Native Americans have observed Thanksgiving as a day of mourning for centuries, and that the actual date marks the occasion of a massacre wrought by the Pilgrims upon their swart, dark-haired, fatally naive hosts.  The narrator was a Native-looking young lass who truly seemed to be very distressed.  Why would she lie?

All week I’ve been reading about our “greatest president”.  No, not Barack Obama—the other one: Abraham Lincoln.  He promised not to free the slaves as a candidate, his proclamation freed them only in the South and not in Unionist border states, he freed them then only to find more cannon fodder for his unpopular war, he had to siphon off precious troops to suppress draft resistance in states like New York, he smashed presses and imprisoned editors when newspapers in far-from-the-front Ohio and Indiana criticized his policies… but these are all just charges assembled by Southern apologists.  I have it on the high authority of Glenn Beck, the official historian of Planet Earth.

A professional sportswriter penned something that crossed my bow yesterday.  It argued that we might as well usher all the Steroid Boys into the Hall of Fame and waive the character criterion, because the Hall’s prior occupants are a bunch of bastards.  Take Tris Speaker, who wouldn’t attend teammate Ray Chapman’s funeral because Ray was Catholic.  Naturally, the argument made in Charles Alexander’s painstaking biography that Chapman was born Protestant and that, in any case, he selected Speaker to be best man at his wedding reeks of bias.  I’m sure the no-name who has wearied of the Hall’s prissy “character” clause must have it right.

A certain relative at our Thanksgiving gathering launched a verbal tirade because my son beat her at chess.  She insisted that knights couldn’t leap over other pieces when moved—citing an Internet source which actually undermined her position… but that was just our interpretation of the passage.  And the Internet is always right, especially when it’s vague.

From the cosmic to the national to the trivial, I find myself wading through hastily stitched “facts” at every turn.  What’s happening?  Are we all losing our minds?  Am I, perhaps, a psycho for thinking that the sun sets in the west?

No, it seems to me, rather, that we’re falling into a habit of rewriting the rules (sometimes literally) to whatever game we’re playing so that we personally come out ahead.  And because I once thought that Putin could be trusted, and that Glenn Beck could be trusted, and that institutional or professional research could be trusted, I don’t think I’m the lunatic in this asylum.  Why not?  Because I’m capable of admitting error and changing my mind.

Here’s an exercise I recommend: think of three positions that you’ve had to surrender over the past year because the facts just didn’t support them.  Can you do it?