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

Here’s the second half of my “unacceptable” essay about Roy Moore–and it may just be my comments about Mr. Lincoln’s bloody dictatorship that got the door closed in my face.

I myself didn’t actually court younger girls very often in my thirties—but I knew those who did. At a large Southern Baptist church which I visited frequently (since it was the only place in town to meet single women other than a bar, and marginally the more wholesome gathering of the two), we were classed in Sunday School rigidly according to age; and, yes, I observed more than one thirty-something man to forsake the abundant company of wounded divorcees and go hang out with the college girls. The age gap always froze me in my tracks when I contemplated the maneuver. I was afraid that a younger woman might be interested in me only and precisely because I was older: that is, she would assume that I was “experienced” in various and mysterious ways rather than that I was a bookish, retiring person who had hunkered down as the hurricane of the Sexual Revolution raged overhead. I’m sure certain people who wished me no particular good must have whispered various ingenious theories about how I had come to remain single at thirty-two. In fact, I was occasionally apprised of the speculation by busy “well-wishers” who “just thought I should know”.

Now, I quite obviously cannot attest that my situation and Roy Moore’s were closely parallel in the manner that I have just suggested. I hope they were. That would allow me to let the Judge off the hook for everything except some very clumsy prevarications in the throes of “Yankee-induced panic”. I can further imagine, without much of a stretch at all, a fourteen-year-old girl whose parents have split up being titillated by the prospect of drawing attention from an older, “more experienced” man. And I can imagine her creating fantasies that come to have the vividness of reality for her—perhaps to the point that she holds the older man responsible for not finding her more interesting and considers herself somehow violated by him. Look up a classic black-and-white film with Lawrence Olivier and Sarah Miles titled Term of Trial if you want to view a good example of just how such things can happen.

I do not believe that Moore had the sort of encounter with the fourteen-year-old which she has described, forty years later, as a middle-aged woman. It would make no sense. Having exercised gentlemanly restraint around the older teenagers (who had reached the legal age of consent), as all parties acknowledge who acknowledge anything at all—and this excludes Roy himself, at least during Hannity’s interview—why would the same man then strip naked before a child? In the scenario I have portrayed, Moore would most likely have an interest in younger women precisely because he was striving to preserve an abstemious Christian lifestyle before marriage. Had this not been his objective—believe me—he could have found dozens and dozens of playmates to party with in the pre-AIDS, hypersexualized Seventies. Yes, even down in the land of cotton, where there’s a steeple on every street corner.

A Southerner, a Christian, a white male… Roy Moore is everything our intelligentsia loves to hate. The only thing needed to fill out his profile, as far as the opinion-makers are concerned, is a trail of corpses indicating the activity of a serial killer. I do wish this man were not so verbally klutzy; and, as a Christian myself, I wish he would not retreat to Bible-thumping every time he senses that the jackals are closing in. Just because all martyrs suffer doesn’t mean that everyone who suffers is a martyr.

On the other hand, I have to reject the pronouncement of Gregg Jarrett (for whose views I have the utmost respect) that Moore is an antinomian renegade just because he has defied the Supreme Court. “Renegade” seems to me a pretty accurate descriptor for more than one of the nine worthies who sit on that august body. Then, too, Mr. Jarrett, you must understand that some of us in the South, even now, have not forgotten the hypocrisy of a central government that invaded its member states for exercising a constitutional freedom, all the while sanitizing its act by decrying the atrocity of slavery yet tolerating the institution in “loyal” states and freeing Southern slaves only to serve as cannon fodder, imprisoning publishers and legislators in states as remote as Illinois and New York for resisting Mr. Lincoln’s draft and his sanguinary policies, and carting away plunder while leaving once-prosperous cites in ashes. Roy Moore speaks to those memories, as sublimated as they have grown and as unhappily knotted as is his drawling tongue. The government in Washington, Mr. Jarrett, observes what clauses of the Constitution it feels like reading on what days it finds itself in an observing mood.

We revere the Constitution in the South. The faraway, faceless government that claims to rule by constitutional authority? Not so much.

Roy Moore, if you are that caricature of a Christian gentleman that they make of you in the corridors of power… then God help us, and I only hope that forty years have taught you how to keep a belt buckled.

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R.I.P., Kate Steinle—and God Help the Rest of Us

Some day, I will be able to speak freely about several subjects that weigh very heavily on my heart at the moment. As a teacher of over thirty years’ experience, I am dismayed, disgusted, and even infuriated by things that I see going on around me… but I must not speak. Not yet.

So I’ll content myself, at the moment, with a few comments about the liberation of Kate Steinle’s killer by a San Francisco jury last week.

Yes, it was a jury’s decision, and not an activist judge’s, for a change. Yet the judge could have thrown out the verdict, as I understand, had he or she determined that the jury ignored its instructions and willfully disregarded the letter of the law. I don’t know how this could be said not to have happened when the shooter, a convicted felon, was in possession of a firearm. That act in itself is already a crime, whether the felon shoots the piece or not. If he merely touches it, he’s in violation of the law. Nevertheless, the sterling character in question was exonerated on that charge.

Neither do I understand how a defendant is allowed to walk when his defense is a patchwork of lies, many of them trimmed with other lies when the earlier versions sprang leaks. I accuse you of emptying out my wall safe. You say, No, I spent that evening at my auntie’s. Well, that’s not what you aunt says. Oh, did I say “aunt”? I meant “uncle”! Well, your uncle’s been dead for three years. But I was at his house. No, you weren’t: the new owners don’t know you. But I was going over there to fetch some stuff, but my car broke down….

Now, nothing in such a line of questioning establishes that you in fact possess the contents of my safe. You have lied so many times in seeking an alibi, however, that your evasions may—and should—be construed as evidence of guilt.

But not in San Francisco.

Apparently, Franciscans are so blissfully, virtuously ignorant of the operation of firearms, furthermore, that they are incompetent to pass judgment on an act involving one. You cannot fire a gun with your toe—not unless you’re a chimp, and your heel can bend like the palm of your hand to restrain the handle as the trigger is compressed. (Was our innocent murderer shoeless? Did anyone even ask? You certainly can’t pull a trigger with a sneaker!) The bullet is supposed to have ricocheted upward into Ms. Steinle’s heart. What did it hit? A forty-caliber slug would have to encounter something pretty solid to gain four feet of height within fifty feet of distance—always assuming that the gun was lying flat on the pier. Did anyone bother to reconstruct the incident? What hard surface did the bullet strike?

Of course, my guess is that it didn’t matter, and wouldn’t matter. California juries are composed of people who intend to go to sleep that night wrapped in a warm confidence that they are morally superior to the rest of the nation. They’re not going to bully people of other cultures. The poor immigrant fellow was just trying to make his way in the world. The real villain here is the NRA—because without the NRA, there would be no guns. And so on, and so on… nighty-night.

How many of our neighbors and our relatives will have to die so that these pompous idiots can curl up in their solipsistic, sociopathic utopianism every hour of every day?

Netflix Movies: Just Stick Your Head in the Toilet

Over the holidays, my son wanted us to watch a movie together. He had something very recent in mind, and he didn’t think Netflix would carry it. I’d never logged onto Hulu, and the Roku seems to have misremembered the PIN number that I wrote down a long while back, so… we went movie-hunting in Netflix, despite my son’s strongly expressed misgivings.

(The previous paragraph, by the way, is an excellent capsulization of e-life: infantilized product names, cryptic acronyms, passwords and numbers galore, software malfunction [I wrote the PIN down precisely because it worked at one time]… so much spiritual poverty amid so much material wealth!)

After we tired of combing through endless yet uniformly idiotic offerings, I all-but-blindly clicked on something titled U.S.S. Indiana. It claimed to be historical. How could you go far wrong with World War II? It opened with two ordinary seamen puttering up to a Southern mansion in an old truck. The one was ushered into a roomful of profiteer-industrialists back-slapping each other over all the riches the war had brought them and closely questioning their guest in bell-bottoms about the Manhattan Project. The other was taken upstairs to a bevy of hot Southern chicks dancing to jazz in slow-motion moves that reminded one of Ice Follies… and of these, she who was most overly made-up partnered up with Sailor Boy for a lust-at-first-sight tango.

Back to menu. Scroll down. Hmm… Canadian movies. The Canadians are more tasteful and cultured than we, are they not? They’re always telling us so. I’ll try this.

Rampage: President Down. Guns, guns, guns. Explosions, assassinations, land mines, tunnel-crawling, body armor, target practice, machine-gunning, more explosions… punctuated with Superhero Mass-Murderer’s raves on some recorded message or other about the United States being solely responsible for all the violence and evil in the world.

We ended up with Trailer Park Boys, a serial which seems much more adequate to the genius of the contemporary Canadian mind. My wife had retired to bed by that time, so the steady barrage of f-bombs fell on hardened ears; and, of course, it occurs in a context which underscores the impotence of brain capacity hasn’t learned to cope with modern living. One can let loose and laugh.

What about the “serious” productions, however? A common seaman being grilled by drooling capitalists about the nuclear bomb before one was ever dropped? Did someone hire the Trailer Park Boys to write this script?

I’m sure the Canadian snot who directed the assassination-orgy would argue that we Americans brought all the violence into the world–so if we’re offended, well… take that! But you’re the one responsible for this movie, imbecile. And if you have a specific indictment to lodge against a specific American foreign policy initiation–Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Obama’s beloved drone program–then do some research and make a film about that particular adventure. Your vengeance-flatulent fantasy about the lone-wolf weird kid turning the tables on the playground bullies and taking them all out (in FBI and CIA gear) with grenades and exploding bullets conveys about as much moral insight as Stephen Paddock Against the World would have displayed if the Las Vegas shooter had lived to get a directing gig in Hollywood.

I could drop some trailer-park adjectives myself when I think about what utter crap our “entertainment” industry is churning out. You tedious, talentless, parasitic, hypocritical, sanctimonious, morally vacuous, intellectually bankrupt, doped-up, spaced-out legions of deadbeats and losers! I hope your punishment is to watch your own creations over and over for all eternity.

How to Hide in Plain Sight: Surround Yourself in Conspiracy Theory

Societies have always been vulnerable to blindness induced by their own prejudices.  If a child were born under the “wrong” alignment of the stars, or if a crow flew left instead of right as an expedition started out, then human ingenuity and determination could be negated by an invincible sense of doom.  To our own time of mass communication, instant dissemination, and absence of rooted values, however, belongs a special susceptibility to “being handled”.  Devious people can lead us all around by the nose with a bridle of two or three words… or even just one.

The idiotic coinage “judgmental” has been such a word since my early youth.  So we are not to judge anything?  But are we not judging, then, those who practice judgment?  And how does anyone abandon judgment without surrendering consciousness?  Don’t we still advise our children not to climb into cars with strangers?  Don’t we pass on eggs and yogurt if their container declares them out of date?

Of course, the whole idea behind “non-judgmental” is to judge very harshly and rashly a person or group designated by our handlers as caught red-handed in the exercise of principles.  It’s an easy sell to such as we have become.  Simply by turning off our brains, we ascend to the ranks of the “best” people.  We didn’t really want to think, anyway.  It’s painful.

Or take the phrase “conspiracy theory”.  Who wants to be detected in entertaining a crackpot idea?  That’s the only kind ever known to have been hatched by “conspiracy theorists”, you know.  They believe that reptilian aliens living in Inner Earth slipped Lee Harvey Oswald his rifle, shape-shifted to become Dick Cheney, and loaded the 9/11 jetliners with robots.

The truth is that a conspiracy is any plot to maneuver a person or persons into a certain behavior by withholding critical portions of situational truth.  Two or more must be involved in the subterfuge.  A lad who bribes a girl’s best friend to praise him lavishly to her has launched a conspiracy.  A dad who promises his son a new video game if he votes that the family should vacation in the Rockies instead of at the beach has created a co-conspirator.  Conspiracies are a fact of ordinary life.  To hear the “conspiracy theory” theorists, you’d think that all the laws on the books against conspiring to commit criminal acts would be redundant.  Few people would ever be stupid enough to conspire, and nobody would be stupid enough to believe them if they tried!

Labeling intelligent suspicion of official accounts a “conspiracy theory” has now become a favorite species of disinformation.  If you and your cronies design a lie for feeding to the public, and if some group of skeptics indicts your veracity, play the CT card.  “Oh, sure, that’s right… we wanted to cover up the existence of an alien spacecraft at Roswell, even though its discovery would have revolutionized modern living.  We want to stay in the Dark Ages—and we lied about the Lizard Men who fought us for the wreckage, too!”

A dismissive documentary about the Roswell incident quoted a high-ranking general testifying before Congress in almost exactly these terms—and the narrator obligingly rated the testimony “devastating” to the conspiracy crowd, though it had no more substance than I have portrayed.  All you have to do is sniff, be a little snarky, and tilt your head in the direction of “the troglodyte set over there”.

An infinitely subtler use of the technique, however, is to finance your own “conspiracy theory” clique, broadcast, or website to cry out against the very conditions you wish to hide.  Instead of cozening interviewers for the Roswell documentary to ignore the evidence of an extraterrestrial encounter, play the thing up to the hilt.  Make your own film.  Carry it far over the top.  Spread rumors that one alien pilot survived and conferred with President Truman.  Create a list of everyone in the county who died over the next decade and speculate that government agents “took them out”.  Disgust the public with your lunacy.

I sincerely wonder if some of the more extravagant serials and documentaries about the Kennedy assassination, alien visitors, 9/11, and the rest do not have their roots in this more subtle kind of dissuasion: the “make the believers look like psychos on crack” approach.  But that, of course, would just be another conspiracy theory.

 

Sensible Tax Policy in Never-Never Land

It’s more than a bit sordid to listen to all the verbal jockeying that goes on as a new tax bill is debated. Overcrowded and overtaxed liberal states like New York and California want to keep their state-income-tax deduction. Otherwise, we’re told, their part of the federal burden would be unfair. But wait… there’s another way of looking at this. You blue states have freely chosen to engage in an experiment in socialism, and to do so you had to load whopping taxes onto your highest earners. Naturally, unskilled blue-collar workers also swarmed across your boundaries to have access to all the free goodies; and a comparatively large proportion of these, by the way, were not even legal citizens. So now you’re in a situation where you hand out more free stuff than anyone else and to more eager hands than are reaching anywhere else. Quite a pickle. To cut your gainfully employed some slack, you remind them that they can deduct their hefty state taxes… except that now, perhaps, they cannot. Ouch!

But that’s a predicament of your own making. If we’re all supposed to be taxed federally on the same scale, but your citizens get bumped down on the scale because you’re already working them over, then those of my state have to pay comparatively more. Indirectly, we’re financing your idiotic experiment in socialism. You supply the ruinous idealism… we supply the cash. Shall we keep talking about fairness?

Or what about the other side of the aisle, and the anguish that its members are enduring over capping the deduction for mortgage payments at $500,000? I’m supposed to feel sorry for someone who takes out a mortgage on a half-a-million-dollar house and wants it deducted from his taxes? Don’t buy the damn house if you can’t afford it! If you’re living in California and half a mil buys you a thousand square feet of roach motel… get out of California! Why should I take some of the burden that should have been yours—why should any of us have to underwrite your costly California residency?

As for 401K’s… wow. Guess what? I only recently discovered myself (much to my shame) that the 401K is just a shell game. You don’t pay taxes today so that you may pay those taxes later, just as you’re quitting your job. Essentially, the government is trying to incentivize you to do something that you should be doing, anyway, if you’re a functional adult (i.e., save). And the incentive is also written on water in disappearing ink. Why is this a bone of contention?

I have long said that ALL taxes—local, state, and federal—should be raised from a universal sales tax. This would have the following immense advantages:

  • There would be no tax fraud or evasion; every time you bought something, you would pay the requisite tax along with the item’s market price.
  • Taxation “moralists” would have to content themselves with the tough but fair lesson that those with wealth may buy much and those in poverty must buy little; there is no “right” to live like a rich man on a poor man’s income.
  • Those living beyond their means would be forced to grow up and become more frugal.
  • Those of substantial means who chose to be stingy and save would not be punished by Super Nanny and would enrich the investment sector, creating more jobs for laborers.
  • Everybody would contribute some little something to the national coffers and would hence partake of the sacrifice of being a full citizen.
  • Those who were not legal citizens would have further reason to go back home and stay.
  • Most importantly in my view, everybody would see just how outrageously expensive all our layers of bloated government are, and an angry electorate would demand change.

Naturally, none of this will ever happen.

My Charitable Org Signs Off

(Below is the approximate text of the notice that I intend to send out for the final edition of an online journal that began seventeen years ago.)

The final issue of Praesidium has now been published. After seventeen years of struggle, the journal has failed, and more generally my vision for the Center for Literate Values has evaporated into pixie dust. The reasons for the collapse are detailed in my opening article for 17.4, and many have to do with my personal ineptitude as a Webmaster; but the ultimate and decisive reason is that our society is significantly, perhaps terminally post-literate, and that no amount of expertise could have salvaged the project. As I view the contemporary landscape, I see staggering evidence of a people that has taken progressive leave of reality.

Item: The Commanders in Chief who presided over the first sixteen years of the new millennium (almost precisely overlapping the lifespan of the Center) did nothing whatever to secure the nation’s power grid, thus neglecting their primary constitutional duty as they went merrily courting new venues of patronage and popularity. Their gross incompetence (and, in my mind, criminal negligence) is surely a prime reason why we cannot face down North Korea, any one of whose satellites drifting over our air space could be the platform for launching an Electro-Magnetic Pulse that would leave as many as ninety percent of us dead within a year.

Item: In the face of such crisis, our elected representatives continue to escalate our levels of debt to the point that national suicide of an economic variety is virtually inevitable.

Item: In the face of these accumulating crises, the base of one major party nominated a wooden sociopath to run for the nation’s highest office—a person constantly forced to imitate the reactions of her trusted entourage in the absence of any natural human affections and whose tone-deafness to the anguish and danger incurred by her fellows is directly implicated in the deaths of some under her authority. Meanwhile, the base of the other major party attempted to out-under-perform this selection by elevating a man who never reads and whose vocabulary consists only of hyperbolic clichés, his lifetime of exploiting legal loopholes and greasing the pumps of local political machines taken—incredibly—as proof of his “outsider” bona fides. As one after another of his bombastic promises crumples under the pressures of hard fact, we are now treated to the unsavory spectacle of these same boosters trying to fashion their Stump King into Charlemagne with feats of imagination reminiscent of children shaping castles out of clouds.

Item: Young people populating supposed institutions of higher learning are expensively protesting the free speech of those who might make them rethink their rigid programming, noisily insisting that they receive the fetal protections which they scorn to extend to genuine fetuses, and aggressively insulting everyone in whose casual utterances they can ferret out the unintended tinder of a faint slight.

Item: Descendants of slaves (but which of us is not one such, if only we knew our entire pre-history?) are defacing public property that may or may not commemorate men who actually owned slaves a century and a half ago, all on behalf of a political ideology that aspires to mire them—and the rest of us—in cradle-to-grave dependency.

Item: Among college students, probably a ninety percent majority (in my personal experience) is convinced to a pitch of quasi-cultic fervor that manmade climate change imminently threatens the survival of terrestrial life. An essential tenet of the cult is that only big government can save us, this despite the distinct possibility that the world’s most affluent governing elites have been playing at the manipulation of global weather systems for strategic purposes since the late twentieth century—a highly risky set of exercises about which our young bright things know absolutely nothing, but which might in fact be responsible for major damage to the natural weather cycle.

Item: University programs in the liberal arts continue at an accelerating rate to ascribe all the miseries implicit in the human condition to a) maleness and b) white racism. We have surpassed the kindergartner’s “Billy made me do it” defense, inasmuch as the charges now grow savagely vindictive and their consequences increasingly punitive. The Western literary canon, along the way, has become hopelessly shattered and scattered, its contents lost to the next generation and the entire spiritual discipline of speculating within reasonably objective boundaries forgotten for the duration.

Item: Meanwhile, the Christian Church (including all of its denominations) has likewise slipped its moorings and gone adrift. The notion of tolerance was once understood as an acknowledgment that we are all impeded from realizing our identity in God by subjugation to various circumstantial factors: wealth, praise, fleshly pleasures, fear of physical pain or privation, and all the rest. Now those very chains are accepted from the pulpit as defining us (a specific race, an anomalous sexual preference, an eating disorder), and the utopian’s blueprint for the perfect society—built according to the aspirations of an elite few—is an overlay forced upon every Gospel passage. We are no longer kept from our true self in God by worldly interference; immersion in the world, rather, is the only path to this new god (who is at least as manmade as “climate change”).

So the Center for Literate Values failed. Of course it did. How do you make an omelet out of mud?

The Point of No Return Lands Us Right Back Where We Started

The History Channel began airing a special titled Two Degrees: The Point of No Return on Friday night, September 15. I survived about five minutes before my own temperature started to rise alarmingly. Here are some reactions based upon that minimal exposure.

The documentary appears to be somewhat more credible than Mermaids.

The two fatal degrees actually refer to the Celsius system, meaning that they equate to nearly four degrees in the Fahrenheit system more familiar to us laymen. No attempt to dramatize there, I’m sure.

The footage of Arctic icebergs releasing sheets of ice into the ocean has been so widely circulated among the documentary community that I quite literally saw it fifteen minutes later on another station where the Ice Age was being discussed.

Juxtaposing footage of melting icebergs, ambulances on a tear, hurricane-flooded streets, and high-rises in conflagration is a very sorry substitute for rational argument.

Similarly, footage of smokestacks belching out pillars of fumes is evidence of nothing whatever. Most of the billowing effluvient may be water vapor (i.e., steam); and the videos themselves may have been taken in 1968 or 1975, or at any point over the past fifty years when pollution controls were lax to non-existent. The documentary’s argument, of course, would not be served by acknowledging that we’ve gotten much, much better—not in China, but in the West—about filtering out toxic particles.

Is it entirely arch, by the way, to observe in passing how much this kind of fear-mongering serves the imperialist ends of Communist China, its objective being to curb our own industrial production rather than to point the finger at immensely more zealous offenders? Might full disclosure reveal some modest involvement of the PRC in this production, I wonder… wonder… wonder?

The opening assertion that, in the century and a half since weather records have been kept, eight of the hottest ten years have occurred in the last decade is a prima facie absurdity. You cannot take the planet’s temperature the way you take a sick child’s. In 1880, a great many reaches of the planet were not even fully explored. Today as then, furthermore, many areas where temperature readings may be harvested in abundance are, naturally, urbanized—and we can indeed say confidently that urbanization has both increased over the past century and that urban construction heats things up. But…

But the manmade activity in the crosshairs isn’t hyper-reflective, headache-inducing steel and concrete, all of which god-awful mess I detest as much as anyone on earth; the culprit is supposed to be CO2, which alone (for some reason) must take the rap for nudging up the mercury. But…

But plants love CO2. They eat the stuff up. I’ve never seen the desert Southwest so green as it was this past summer. Is that bad? Does that spell the end for us all?

Well, yes… because mosquitoes will descend upon New York and Boston just as they currently do upon, say, Brazil. Bet you didn’t know that there actually aren’t any human beings still alive in Brazil. The mosquitoes got ’em all.

I could go on. I could question, for instance, why the same people who want to shut down our industries (but not the PRC’s) also want our southern border flung wide open so that millions of blue-collar workers driving uninspected, high-emission smoke-bombs can take their place in our twice-a-day rush-hour traffic. But…

But my temperature is starting to rise again. Yeah, I hate car culture and the contemporary American city. Hate it more than the ambassadors of Green who fly innumerable jets to endless conferences in Seattle. But kindly stop insulting my intelligence with the Halloween panoply of skeletons and ghouls held together by paperclips and Elmer’s glue. Come back after you’ve done your homework, and try to talk like an adult.