Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On Driving By Dead Churches

It's rather melancholy, driving through some formerly middle class areas and seeing how the church "landscape" has changed. Many of the old red brick suburban churches are shuttered now, their still-tended cemeteries the only signs of their former congregations. Or else the buildings have been gifted or sold to immigrant churches. In their place are storefront churches, as transient as their congregants, nestled among the liquor stores and check cashing establishments. "Permanence is the illusion of every age", as Mark Steyn once said. It may be that the fading of the mainline Protestant denominations will be no more than the falling of an oak after its acorns have sown a forest--much of middle America's thrift, generosity, resilience, optimism and perhaps most importantly sense of stability comes from that tradition. But once there are no more formal institutions actively transmitting it to the next generations, who knows what will happen?

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Georgia hot car death deliberate?

The local police think so. I thought the father of the late Cooper Harris in Cobb County Georgia might be just another weapons-grade idiot, like so many parents in these incidents are. But this is a whole other order of ugliness, if the charges are true.

Meanwhile, there's a support group for parents who lost their children's lives in hot cars:

"I always tell them, you're not a bad parent," Balfour said. "No one is going to judge you more than you do yourself. I know that I did not leave my son in the car intentionally when I left that day. People tell me I need to forgive myself -- I don't feel like I have anything to forgive. I made a mistake and it cost me my son's life. But I certainly didn't leave him in the car to go bowling or to get my nails done."

So, what constitutes being a bad or good parent in these cases? Should we judge by past history, by intentions, or by outcomes? Does one fatal mistake make you as bad a parent as someone who is habitually negligent but whose child nevertheless beats the odds? People have to make their own peace with themselves, and I hope I never have to face myself in the mirror after a tragedy like this. But if I did, and I asked myself if I was a good or bad parent, I would have to answer:

You are
What you do
When it counts
-- John Steakley

Deport the surge of Central American illegals, children or not

I once again decline to regard the illegals as victims. The appeals to family are specious, as there are always more cousins of cousins of cousins of cousins to be "reunited" with illegals already in the country.

As I've said before, here is the problem in miniature: There is in my town a football complex, next to which are apartment buildings full of illegals. The local leagues pay registration fees to use the fields, and of course only use them when the fields are open. Not so the illegals! They hop the fences at night or out of season, tear up the fields having their own tournaments, todo gratis, por supuesto. Now expand that attitude of su casa es mi casa to include schools, hospitals, all other social services, and scale it up into the millions. This trend needs to be reversed, not sentimentalized.

I wonder if my kids will be able to have summer jobs, as the illegals have taken the low-skill entry jobs (hard times have put retirees into that labor market too, to be fair). If you are not in competition with cheap illegal labor for your livelihood, if you are not having social services you depend on eroded because of illegals' free overuse of them, if you are unlikely to fall victim to crimes that some of them commit, then your "compassion" is very cheap indeed.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Shadow boxing in Pakistan

Pakistan Vows to Eliminate Terrorist Sanctuaries. snort! Watching Pakistan fight terrorists is like watching someone leg wrestle with their own other leg.

via The Jawa Report

Saturday, May 17, 2014

What will Ta-Nehisi Coates say that white America owes to black America?

A teaser for his forthcoming cover story in The Atlantic is here.

I have never understood the reasoning behind reparations for slavery but not for Jim Crow. There are no living victims or perpetrators of antebellum slavery, but there are plenty of living victims of Jim Crow. Maybe TNC's scheme will attempt to account for these.

When you get your living and indeed your very identity from presenting yourself as a grappler with some issue or other, the last thing you want to do is solve the issue. Let's say that reparations would involve a massive transfer of wealth to blacks from non-blacks, racial set-asides in government representation, public and private jobs, and university admissions, maybe some sort of get out of jail free card for black criminals, and just about any other goodie that the racial avengers could think up & bully the rest of us into going along with. What do you think would happen after that? Would that be the end of the Civil Rights Movement? Would we all come together at a summit and say "There," air checkmark..."all done!" Of course not! New grievances would be wailed over; new adjectives with which to prefix "racism" would be trotted out ("invisible racism", "unconscious racism", and now "elegant racism"), the Left would continue its present trajectory of screaming louder and louder about less and less. And dissidents, of all colors, would be studiously ignored or vigorously attacked.

And there is nothing uniquely black or white about this. Revolutionaries, which pampered academic leftists so frequently imagine themselves to be, usually act as if the ground ahead of them is virgin soil. Edmund Burke said as much more than two centuries ago:

With them it is a sufficient motive to destroy an old scheme
because it is old. As to the new one, they are in no sort of fear with
regard to the duration of a new building run up in haste; because
duration is no object to those who think little or nothing has been
done before their time.
-- Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France

It's as if the Great Society trillions of dollars never happened, nor all the civil rights legislation, nor the more than half a million Civil War dead. In part it's due to the climate of the times; the Left has successfully mauled the universities and thereby much of our nation's intellectual discourse into its own rigid template. If all human interaction throughout history consists of an oppressor and a victim, then of course the moral high ground lies with the victim, and thus we have the current campus imperative to prove oneself a victim, in order to maintain a passing grade, tenure track or employment. And of course all racism is in the sole eye and judgment of its self-proclaimed victims. So there will be a very long line indeed for these reparations. There was a very long line to join Native American tribes decades ago, once there began to be federal money connected with belonging to those ethnicities. How much of the reparations movement is driven by a quest for justice, and how much by the scent of cash money? It's probably forbidden to even ask that question on campus nowadays.

A typical Ta-Nehisi Coates race column nowadays is rather samey at times. A current event deemed to be deplorable is duly deplored, the animating cause of which is laid to the racism deemed to be constant, like the speed of light, and pervasive, like nitrogen. This is followed by relating a historical atrocity or five, seemingly selected by free association, juxtaposing it to the current event, and then wrapping up as if anything, anything at all, had been illuminated or proved. I'll be disappointed if this forthcoming feature doesn't have more meat on its bones than that.

Five decades? Six? Seven? How long should it take to understand that the life of a community cannot be reduced to politics or wholly encompassed by government?
The time in which we live has unfathomable depths beneath it. Our age is a mere film on the surface of time.
--Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, November 1916

Friday, April 04, 2014

Should Jonathan Pollard be released?

He's back in the news, as the rumors swirl about a deal to release him. Yes, he should be released--and then banished from the U.S., sent to Israel if Israel will take him. If he goes, then his supporters better watch out. If the U.S. is treated to video footage of him receiving a hero's welcome at Tel Aviv airport, then that will confirm for some people some very ugly assumptions about American Jews. I don't approve of dual citizenship--why try to sit on two stools if you only have one ass?--but anything that revives the old stereotype of divided loyalties is bad for the Jews. This is not concern trolling--just keep an eye on certain far rightwing websites, if his release happens.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

If the Civil War had been reported by today's editors for The Atlantic...

...the article headlines might look like this:

What Everyone Gets Wrong About The New York Draft Riots

No, The Blockade Runners Will Not Save The South

The Myth Of Heroic Southern Womanhood

The Fredericksburg Disaster, In Three Simple Graphs

How Lincoln's Exchange With Horace Greeley Emboldens Foreign Intervention

When Habeas Corpus Is Just A Memory

Why The Substitute Soldier Is The Future Of War

This list is inspired by this article from The Atlantic last autumn.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Will Ta-Nehisi Coates shut down comments at The Atlantic?

I've been commenting at The Atlantic on posts by Ta-Nehisi Coates for the past year or so. His comments threads have always been heavily moderated, and justly so. I remember what happened to the unmoderated African-American usenet groups back in the 90s, 'nuff said. He has to have two maybe three editors to keep the vileness out. In addition to that though, he seems to dislike much in the way of disagreement. After having received a rap on the knuckles from him a time or two, I've tried to tone up my remarks, with some success. I will confess that I was surprised when I first discovered him, that it was harder than I expected to hold up my end of a conversation with him and his fans. I now take it as a challenge to frame my opinions in a way that is acceptable to that online community, while still making my points. Only n00bs whine about the moderators, is my online motto.

But I've been struck how many comments will be deleted and commenters banned, for stating obvious facts. I myself was threatened with banning, for mentioning the fact that Africa's post-colonial human rights record is an appalling horror show, and its leaders have until recently been mostly larcenous and murderous despots. His truth narrative doesn't seem to like having its toes stepped on by other truth narratives, apparently. I mean, what would the reaction be if the Nigerian academic George Ayittey logged in and said the same things? Things are a bit more relaxed when he deals with topics in which race is not always front and center, such as his experiences in Paris or his readings in Eastern European history. (Speaking of which, I wonder if he's going to take up Iron Curtain anytime soon, as promised some time back? Maybe he's lost interest.) Then the crowdsourced knowledge of the commenters is giving freer rein, and the threads make for quite educational and enjoyable reading, for those interested in those subjects.

Lately he's been posting articles and leaving the comments off for days, if not permanently. I hope he doesn't leave the magazine because of commenters, the way Steven den Beste gave up political blogging because he was tired of getting crapped at by his commenters. If the comments are too wearisome to police anymore, my suggestion would be for him to do away with them, a la James Fallows, and just post open threads once a week. That ought to simplify things from The Atlantic's end.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Simferopol scene

This picture is currently making the rounds on Twitter. Looks like riot police checking women's handbags.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Crimea, Ukraine and Russia

Attentive readers of the news boiling out of Crimea and Ukraine may have noticed this historical tidbit, that Crimea was transferred to Ukraine from Russia in 1954. See here and here for backgrounders.

Back when the Soviet Union was still around, I used to enjoy "eavesdropping" on the Kremlin by browsing the publication The Current Digest Of The Soviet Press. Snippets of old issues are available in Google Books, and while spelunking therein I found this announcement from 1954:

It's just a snippet, but you can grasp the high-handed optimism so typical of communist propaganda. Little did they realize that their "reforging" of humanity would fail, and the consequences of their social engineering would ripple out for decades.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Digital rights lockdown

Oh, brother...didn't they learn anything from the music biz? H/T Instapundit.

Keurig Will Use DRM In New Coffee Maker To Lock Out Refill Market (via Techdirt)

The single coffee cup craze has been rolling now for several years in both the United States and Canada, with Keurig, Tassimo, and Nespresso all battling it out to lock down the market. In order to protect their dominant market share, Keurig makers…

Sunday, February 23, 2014

An eventful night, as gleaned from a single Twitter account

A Turkish professor, Balkan Devlen, has been gathering some important developments from a number of hotspots overnight:

And, the most striking image of the day, someone repainted the Soviet Army memorial in Sofia, Bulgaria with the national colors of Ukraine:

Saturday, February 22, 2014

FCC backs off attempted oversight of news coverage

Good. It was probably the result of a load of idle staffers, soft sciences majors, trying to come up with a pointless novelty to justify their employment. But just imagine the eruption in the MSM if George W. Bush's FCC had attempted to pull something like this during the mid-Aughties. shudder... There are any number of two-syllable responses a news editor should give to some FCC munchkin trying to police news coverage. The most printable of them is probably No Thanks.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Where have I been?

Mostly commenting. Goodness, what a wordy fellow I am!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Bible and the future

Over at Aeon Magazine, there's a piece of deepthink which startlingly misrepresents the Bible's conception(s) of time.

Finally, we can always blame the Bible. Whether you think of it as casting a long shadow across the history of Western culture or as fathering a great light within it, there is no denying the Bible’s powerful influence on the way that we think today. And you might have noticed that there’s not much about a billion-year future in it. The Bible does not tell us ‘The beginning is near!’ but rather ‘The end is near!’

I don't think that American fundamentalist end-times theology is a wide enough lens through which to view the Bible nor its influence on our attitudes through the millennia. Sure, the Bible makes no mention of billions of years--but its authors were very pre-occupied with eternity, which for humans amounts to the same thing. Psalm 103:17 says that "But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children." The old king who narrates Ecclesiastes muses at length on the passage of time and the successions of generations stretching into the future. Remember that the Christian Bible was written by dozens of authors over the course of about 600 years. They weren't all just huddling around the altar all that time, waiting for the world-ending thunderbolt to strike.

Indeed, a case could be made that the thinkers of antiquity, both Judeo/Christian and Greco/Roman, had a firmer grasp of the immensity of time and their own minuscule place within it. Since the beginning of the Mechanical Age, events have rushed past in such a blur, that the present has perforce absorbed most of our attention. In addition, we spend the yet-to-be-created wealth confiscated from yet-to-be-born posterity for our own present gratification. "Just keep the checks coming til I'm dead, and then the world can go hang!" Attitudes like that are not found in people who plant acorns, the shade of which trees they will never sit under. Attitudes like that are denounced in the Bible, in fact.

An attempt to excogitate from scratch a new way of regarding the future will most likely sound strangely familiar, in some parts. It's already part of our heritage, if you know where & how to look.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Bill Nye Ken Hamm Creation Debate at Answers in Genesis museum in Kentucky

As longtime readers know, I loathe creationism. I though Nye did a great job, presenting a thumbnail sketch of how we know science is the best guide to the natural world, and confining Hamm to circular appeals to authority and just plain Bible thumping. If our answer to the questions of the natural world is "God did it", then that's the end of any inquiry, since God can do anything He wants, and His ways are unsearchable. But an open-ended universe following discoverable natural laws offers vistas of potential discovery.

And that's all I've got. Have some good tweets from the #creationdebate tag. Boy, was it a fast thread!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The gift the Protestant missionaries bequeathed the world

There's a great article in the current issue of Christianity Today, about the influence of Protestant missionaries in the Third World over the past century and a quarter. Far from being mere enablers and apologists of imperialism, they succeeded in creating broad, lasting uplift for the indigenous people, even in ultimate opposition to colonialism itself. In brief, the Protestant missionaries felt it imperative to spread the Gospel among all people. This meant teaching the Bible, which required teaching people to read. So missionary schools were founded, and thus literacy spread among the people in the areas where the Protestant missionaries operated. (The Bible did not have such primacy among Catholic missionaries.) There was of course more to it, as Western civilization made its way through the colonized lands. Medicine, law, technology, coupled with the Christian imperative to share those blessings with "the least of these" helped give credence to the missionaries' message. The liberating aspects of the Gospels themselves had their effects, as well. The end result is that areas that were ministered by Protestant missionaries were more well-disposed to democracy. The CT article details one researcher's quest to nail down these findings in statistical form, and to overcome the revulsion of deracinated secular academics at such a thing.

In search of answers, Woodberry traveled to West Africa in 2001. Setting out one morning on a dusty road in Lomé, the capital of Togo, Woodberry headed for the University of Togo's campus library. He found it sequestered in a 1960s-era building. The shelves held about half as many books as his personal collection. The most recent encyclopedia dated from 1977. Down the road, the campus bookstore sold primarily pens and paper, not books.

"Where do you buy your books?" Woodberry stopped to ask a student.

"Oh, we don't buy books," he replied. "The professors read the texts out loud to us, and we transcribe."

Across the border, at the University of Ghana's bookstore, Woodberry had seen floor-to-ceiling shelves lined with hundreds of books, including locally printed texts by local scholars. Why the stark contrast?

The reason was clear: During the colonial era, British missionaries in Ghana had established a whole system of schools and printing presses. But France, the colonial power in Togo, severely restricted missionaries. The French authorities took interest in educating only a small intellectual elite. More than 100 years later, education was still limited in Togo. In Ghana, it was flourishing.

Enough examples like that added up to this:

Woodberry already had historical proof that missionaries had educated women and the poor, promoted widespread printing, led nationalist movements that empowered ordinary citizens, and fueled other key elements of democracy. Now the statistics were backing it up: Missionaries weren't just part of the picture. They were central to it.

To wit:
Areas where Protestant missionaries had a significant presence in the past are on average more economically developed today, with comparatively better health, lower infant mortality, lower corruption, greater literacy, higher educational attainment (especially for women), and more robust membership in nongovernmental associations.

It's sad to think of such an important bit of the Western heritage being downplayed or denied in modern academia. In at least one country I know of, South Korea, they remember and honor the missionaries that came in the late 19th Century, the Bells, the Junkins, and many others. It's too bad Christopher Hitchens isn't around anymore; I'd like to see how he would have reacted to this. The same effects took hold in their native anglophone nations too, of course; and still do to this day. It's too bad we are as ignorant of them as fish are ignorant of water.

Edit: Dr. Horace Jeffrey Hodges, the Gypsy Scholar, has excerpts of the original academic paper and further thoughts here.

Sunday afternoon ADHD linklets & quotes

Lost letters, photographs and diaries by Heinrich Himmler have been discovered in Israel.

Nobody disputes the fact that, in order to make efficient use of the means at its disposal, the government must exercise a great deal of discretion. But, to repeat, under the rule of law the private citizen and his property are not an object of administration by the government, not a means to be used for its purposes.
-- The Constitution of Liberty, by F.A. Hayek

Previously unknown Egyptian pharaoh discovered.

America does not know the difference between money and sex. It treats sex like money because it treats sex as a medium of exchange, and it treats money like sex because it expects its money to get pregnant and reproduce.
- Peter Kreeft

Liberal, 2.0 A view of the wreckage by James Bowman at The New Criterion.

Islamic Extremists in Nigeria Attack Christians at Sunday Worship Every Week in January

Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.
-- Gustav Mahler

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Costco and the minimum wage

Speaking strictly from personal experience here...Re: Costco and their workers high wages. Great for them! It's a good store! I just have to search longer to find a worker to help me than I do at Sam's Club, because there are fewer of them. Also unlike Sam's Club, the workers giving out samples at Costco work for a different company & don't know where anything in the store is. Wonder what their pay is like?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Happy blogoversary to The Jawa Report!

Rusty and the gang have been giving it to the e-Jihad hot and strong for ten years now!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

RIP Ariel Sharon

He didn't care what the outside world thought; his only concern was protecting his people. And he was right to do so. As P. J. O'Rourke said:

This is [a] wonderful thing about Zionism: it was right. Every other "ism" of the modern world has been wrong about the nature of civilized man—Marxism, mesmerism, surrealism, pacifism, existentialism, nudism. But civilized man did want to kill Jews, and was going to do more of it.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday morning ADHD linklets...and some musings too

Did Nigerian soldiers join Boko Haram's massacre of Christians?

From the Pentagon to homelessness.

"For nearly 30 years I have asked myself this question: Why Richard?"

What American malls need: Husband storing facilities.

Okay, so Melissa Harris-Perry is smart. Maybe after this she'll also be somewhat wiser. Is MSNBC's bubble so thick that she, her co-hosts, writers, producers and everyone else involved in show prep all thought that this segment was a good idea? "We were jeering at the family photo to highlight how racist Republicans are. Because white Romneys." Too clever by half. She should have known better.

Goodbye to Amiri Baraka. It was rather hypocritical for New Jersey's poet laureate people to get all offended after his despicable reaction to 9/11. He had never misrepresented himself. What did they think they were getting when they awarded the post to him? But as with so many other Sixties radicals who went on to receive establishment recognition, he was well summed up in V. S. Naipaul's observation about the U.S.:

Always out there, the United States, an unacknowledged part of the
world picture of every kind of modern revolutionary: the country of law
and rest, with which at the end of the day a man who had proclaimed
himself to be on the other side–in politics, culture, or religion–could
make peace and on whose goodwill he could throw himself. –V.S. Naipaul,
Beyond Belief, 1998

Saturday, January 04, 2014

al Qaeda retakes Fallujah

This is very double plus ungood. One of the biggest urban battles the U.S. was involved in during the Iraq war was in Fallujah, driving al-Qaeda out. Army tank commander Lt. Neil Prakash kept a blog of the battle, and even in its redacted state makes for thrilling reading. The Americans were welcomed by the citizens, who were being brutalized by the terrorists:

I am also a professor at a military-related institution, and
my little brother is an enlisted Marine (a sniper with 1-3) in
Fallujah. This weekend he called for the first time since the battle
began. He informed us that a large number of the residents of
Fallujah, before fleeing the battle, left blankets and bedding for the
Marines and Soldiers along with notes thanking the Americans for
liberating their city from the terrorists, as well as invitations to
the Marines and Soldiers to sleep in their houses. I've yet to see a
report in the media of this. Imagine that.

Now we are gone, and the terrorists have returned, according to these reports. So sorry for those citizens, having to go through this ordeal again! We can only hope that the Iraqi national government can come together long enough to drive them out--I doubt they can be bought off.

A scene from the war:

Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday Morning ADHD Linklets

A simple, reliable, safe and time-tested product will shortly be made illegal, in favor of an expensive, toxic, unreliable and unpopular product. Green science saves us from ourselves again!

2013 was a zombie of a year.

Hits and misses from First Things. This blog, you may recall, used to be a running commentary on that magazine, until it sank in that I didn't have the intellectual horsepower to keep up on a regular basis. But I still read it from time to time.

Yes, man-made climate change is really happening.

Iceland highway project delayed by elves.

I thought Prince Charles was an arabophile. But here he is drawing attention to the slow pulverization of the ancient Christian church in the Middle East. Good for him!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

No, Martin Bashir's firing is not comparable to A&E dumping Phil Robertson

The Left-o-sphere has been marshaling a surge of whatabouttery in response to the outrage over A&E Network suspending Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson. Martin Bashir was fired for what he said, they assert, and so why aren't you hypocrites mad about that? Here's why:

Martin Bashir emitted his vileness while on the air on MSNBC, acting in his capacity as an employee and representative of MSNBC. A reasonable viewer could conclude, at least at first, that he was not saying anything that MSNBC did not approve of. Else why let him say such things on the show?

Phil Robertson, OTOH, gave his private opinion, off the show, when asked for his private opinion. See the difference? He was speaking for himself. Now, the Lavender Mafia in the entertainment industry is not to be crossed lightly, so of course A&E sprinted for the tall grass when GLAAD went on the offensive. But the premise of the Two Minute Hate against Duck Dynasty is that one can no longer have a non-liberal private opinion. Presumptuous arrogance like that is as vile as Bashir's comments, and are no part of an America I care to live in.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas...and have some holiday gooniness picked from Twitter

Friday, December 20, 2013

Dennis Rodman in North Korea

All I've got to say is what I said the first time back in March:

In the 30s, serious intellectuals traveled to the Soviet Union to hail it as the future of humanity. In the 60s and 70s, writers, actors & other assorted glitterati went to Cuba to be schmoozed by El Jefe. And now North Korea has hauled in...a retired basketball player with a penchant for shock publicity. The quality of useful idiots is on a definite downward trajectory.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Is Pope Francis advocating Marxism?

Most probably not. Marxism, you see, is a counterfeit of the true Christian spirit, action and love. On paper, it will seem very much like Christianity, to the uninformed. (Scroll to the bottom for some quotes illustrative of this truth.)

As for Francis, I wonder if his outlook is colored by his Latin American heritage. Unlike anglo-protestant North America, Central and South America were founded by a thin scum of sleazed-out nobility, lording it over a vast sweated underclass, with not much in between. With a more populous, more enterprising and more resourceful middle class, the North out-prospered the South, even though the southern continent was superior in natural resources. The desperate circumstances of Latin America's poor through so much of their history has impressed itself on anyone with a living conscience. Perhaps it's only natural for the Argentinian Francis to project their plight onto the world at large.

It might be remembered that pontiffs expressing care for the poor and laboring classes is not new. Even Pope John Paul The Great in June of 1989 came in for a rough ride from National Review--surely a Catholic-friendly venue--for seeming to equate the rougher edges of capitalism with socialism. It apparently wasn't noticed that his talk of respecting the rights and welfare of workers were even tougher on the communist societies from which he came.

So don't worry. Western progressives surely wish to forget about communism as quickly as possible and, through their control of the educational institutions, prevent coming generations from learning about its horrors at all. (Ever wonder why public middle schoolers are rightly taught about the Holocaust, but hardly anything unambiguously bad about communism is mentioned until graduate school, if even then?) But the popes were aware of communism's spiritual dangers very early on:

" absolutely contrary to the natural law itself, and, if once adopted, would utterly destroy the rights, property, and possessions of all men, and even society itself." --Pope Pius IX, Qui Pluribus, 1846

Poland is free. The Baltic states are free. Ukraine is free, with an asterisk. Cuba will one day be free. So will China and Vietnam one day be free. With so many Catholics in the world enduring or having survived the assault of communism within living memory, no Pope is in danger of becoming a Marxist.

Let us be perfectly honest. The historical record is indisputable. Marxism means the persecution of Christians, the execution of right wing dissidents, massive slave labor camps, and grinding poverty for countless millions of terrified, muzzled human beings. -- J.R. Nyquist

The socialist state requires greater and greater degrees of force to make it function. If resources and wealth are allocated on the basis of need rather than production, people will compete to be more needy rather than more productive.
-- Linda Bowles

In every village there will arise some miscreant, to establish the most grinding tyranny by calling himself the people.
--Sir Robert Peel

We have yet to answer our right-wing critics’ claims, which are regrettably well documented, that throughout history from ancient times to the peasant wars of the sixteenth century to the Reign of Terror and beyond, social movements that have espoused radical egalitarianism and participatory democracy have begun with mass murder and ended in despotism.
--Eugene Genovese

A permanent possibility of selfishness arises from the mere fact of having a self, and not from any accidents of education or ill-treatment. And the weakness of all Utopias is this, that they take
the greatest difficulty of man and assume it to be overcome, and then give an elaborate account of the overcoming of the smaller ones. They first assume that no man will want more than his share, and then are very ingenious in explaining whether his share will be delivered by motor-car or balloon.
-- G. K. Chesterton

From its earliest inception, the Left cried that the world was not good enough. It held that any attempts to find happiness in the present were not only doomed, but immoral. Religion, Marx said, "is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness." He claimed that capitalism could never feed the poor. Lenin said Marxism could, and defined Communism as "socialism plus electricity".
What they forgot to add was that the world would never be good enough. That not a single Marxist state ever managed to provide either the food or electricity in adequate quantities remained beside the point. Shortages were always in the present and the present was unimportant anyway.
-- Richard Fernandez

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Another automated pricing war on Amazon.

I read this review of the book Raising a Jihadi Generation, and clicked over to Amazon to check it out. Once there, I found that two used copies were going for nearly a thousand dollars each.

I read an article somewhere this past year about how this sort of thing happens, but I don't have the link to hand. I'm sure no humans were involved, though.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Obama, Castro, the handshake, and the persistence of Leftist faith in Communist Cuba

I've been viewing with disgust the left-leaning commentariat around the blogs, taking the opportunity of Mandela's funeral to agitate for normalization of relations with Cuba. I have no respect for proggs who help inflict utopias on hapless Third World countries, to which they fly (with return air tickets) to slobber over the Maximum Leader.

The U. S. should soften its stance towards Cuba? When will Cuba "soften" its stance towards Cuba? There should be an immediate release of all political prisoners in Cuba, restoration of basic human rights, including property rights, and post-Soviet style councils, like in Eastern Europe in the 90s, to account for the victims of Cuban communism, and bring the oppressors to book. Norteamericano proggs would be howling for this, if Castro had not couched his tyranny in anti-American leftist phraseology. Instead, he is still the darling of the doddering Sixties flotsam setting the tone for the American Left.

Castro killed more Cubans in his first three years than Hitler killed Germans in his first six. First World proggs just can't bear to part with their youthful infatuation with the old Red, is all, and they will ignore the boot stomping the faces of the Cuban people forever, if that's what it takes to preserve their collectivist illusions.