Saturday, December 30, 2017

INDEPENDENCE, SELF-RELIANCE AND COMPETENCE (Part III)


After a long hiatus, yes, I'm finally getting back to my series on modern American freedom.  I've said a lot of this before, but it does need repeating.



Throughout the last half-century, the grand strategy of the aristocracy – not just American, but from every country capable of supporting even a small super-wealthy class – has been to maintain their position through what Kipling called “The Peace of Dives”: interdependence for the rich, and complete dependence for everyone else.  “Globalism” is part of this pattern, devoting whole countries to single industries so as to make them dependent on other countries for everything else they need, let alone want.  Meanwhile, the aristocracy – the “one percent” – take care to own and control as many various industries, and lands, as possible;  “diversification” they call it, a means of guaranteeing their own continued wealth and safety no matter what catastrophe strikes anywhere else.  The problem is keeping the peasants at home from getting out from under proper control, which they have a lamentable tendency to do, especially in America.  Note how, despite the decades-long push for "globalism", and constant propaganda, Americans have obstinately refused to accept the concept of "gun control", and its necessary reliance on governments for domestic protection.  They've also, by and large, refused to accept floods of "Syrian refugees" which have proven so disastrous to traditional cultures in Europe.

When you start with a culture that emphasizes the value of the individual -- and individual competence, self-reliance, and responsibility -- and a government structured as a democratic republic, a would-be aristocracy has an uphill fight to establish or even maintain its power.  Suborning the national and local governments isn’t enough, because ultimately the politicians must keep the goodwill of the people at large in order to keep their jobs.  Even appointed or hired bureaucrats can be displaced – or even hauled into court – if they mistreat the citizens enough.  This limits how blatantly the aristocracy can use the government to loot the peasants.  Throwing the occasional politician or bureaucrat to the wolves of outraged citizenry is only a stopgap measure, because the peasants will notice, soon enough, that nothing about their condition has really changed.

Likewise, dominating the economy and weakening labor unions isn’t enough, because – despite lots of cunning government regulations designed to hamper small businesses (while being barely a sneeze to big ones) – the citizens still insist on creating small businesses of their own.  An independent businessman may work harder, at longer hours and with more responsibility than a hireling, and may be constantly at the mercy of the current market, but he’s still not dependent on any particular boss.  He doesn’t have to vote, speak, worship or think the way his boss wishes.  He’s in the position of the old English yeoman-farmer, or the Russian kulak – which is precisely why the British aristocracy and Russia’s Stalin made such efforts to wipe them out.  The American aristocracy may have severely weakened the middle-class, but they can’t eliminate it entirely.

Besides, those pesky mini-entrepreneurs are constantly finding new products, new services, new tactics, and new ways of getting in on the ground floor of new industries.  It won’t help to ruin your mini-rival’s credit if he can get funds by crowd-sourcing.  You may stop him from advertising his product through the mail or the news-media, but how do you keep him off the Internet?  You can price him out of manufacturing his product in a big standard factory, but you can’t keep him from 3-D printing.  Worst of all, you can’t keep him from learning these tricks by censoring the schools, because there are always libraries and the Internet.  You can try to censor the local Internet servers, but there are always hackers and pirates willing and able to dodge around you.  You can’t censor the phone system, because you need its capacities for yourself.  You can’t even starve an area into compliance if its people have learned the tricks of urban mini-farming and aquaponics.  So long as that enterprising and libertarian spirit is common among the citizens, you can’t quash them completely. 

All you can do is remain alert for particularly successful up-and-coming rivals, and stomp them individually.  For example, take the case of Changing World Technologies – which came up with the Thermal Depolymerization process for converting any carbon-bearing garbage to its essential minerals and light crude oil.  It set up its first factory next to a turkey and chicken processing plant in Carthage, Missouri, and began churning out 500 barrels of diesel fuel per day.  Certain residents promptly sued the company for creating bad smells (as if the poultry slaughterhouse hadn’t been doing that already for decades), and forced the company to shut down.  Also, some other company (which kept its actions and name remarkably secret) offered to handle the poultry waste at a better price.  The result was forcing Changing World Technologies into bankruptcy.  Its resources, including the conversion technology, were bought up by a Canadian company called Ridgeline Energy Services – about which very little is known.  So much for that rival.

Still, there’s no way to stop the proliferation of very small businesses, not with modern communications.  The “buy locally” movement is quietly growing, and attempts to quash it – especially with government intervention -- are met with surprising resistance.  Note the nationwide uproar (perpetrated through the Internet) that resulted when the FDA attacked dairy farmers selling “raw” milk, or the kids who sold homemade lemonade off a table in their own front yard.  There’s also a growing revolt against copyright law being used to prevent home repairs of computerized machinery, as in the case of the farmers versus John Deere and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.  And all the hasty laws against 3-D printing didn’t stop the creation of the Liberator II printed pistol.  The supposedly ultimate power of money, including the push toward abolishing cash in favor of more readily controlled electronic cards, has already engendered BitCoin and the expansion of barter – both online and face-to-face

And of course there’s the proliferation of urban farming, homeschooling, and home energy production.  These are usually denounced by the media as politically motivated, and of course the politics are branded fascistic – regardless of what the practitioners actually believe;  it’s in the interest of the aristocracy to persuade the populace that the government (and its professional cohorts) is always benign, and no one but an outlaw of some sort or another would even want to be independent of the proper rulers.  Still, the citizens don’t always believe what they’re told.  A concerted propaganda campaign during the ‘90s managed to discredit the name “survivalist”, but the survivalists themselves cleverly changed their names to “preppers” and their image to suburban white-collar, and have continued as before. 

American culture has always held that the basic unit of society is not the tribe, the household, or even the family, but the individual – which means that the individual must contain within him/herself the skills to survive if not succeed.  This takes broad and practical education, which the public schools are notoriously poor at providing, but the Internet makes it readily and cheaply available.  Anyone with intelligence and will can get it.  As for the unintelligent and apathetic, well, sheep have always been shorn. 

So it all comes back to competence and self-reliance, the ground and root for independence.  The cultural tendency to be competent and self-reliant is too strong and too widespread to be stamped out, so the grassroots rebellion continues to spread, and the aristocracy can’t stop it. 

How will this end?  There are three scenarios, but they all conclude – sooner or later – with the fall of the aristocracy, as such have always eventually fallen. 

The first, the peaceful change, would come if the increasingly disgruntled populace elects a smart and libertarian collection of politicians who legally dismantle the structure of laws, policies, and bureaucracies which maintain the status quo, and the aristocracy will have the sense to cut their losses and run, keeping their comfortable living – and their heads, literally.

The second is that some catastrophe will cripple and preoccupy all governments simultaneously, leaving the people to slip out from under control and run their societies themselves without interference, until they have the capability to shed their former masters. 

The third is that the citizens don’t wait for a distracting catastrophe, but begin sliding out-from-under by themselves.  In scenarios #2 and #3, the actual liberating will be only a matter of strategy and tactics, which competent and self-reliant people can readily choose for themselves.

It’s anyone’s guess which of the three is most probable.

--Leslie <;)))><                      

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

RISEN FROM THE GRAVE, III: Melting Definitions


Hang on for the ride, folks;  this will be a long one.


It isn’t just nostalgia for my younger days that makes me cynical about contemporary “left/right” politics.  Neither is it the old saying, attributed to Clemenceau, that “He who is not a Socialist at 20 has no heart;  he who is not a Capitalist at 40 has no head” – hell, I was always an Anarchist.  No, it’s a sharp nose for hypocrisy and a clear memory of not-so-ancient history. 

When I was in college, never mind how long ago, the difference between “liberal” and “conservative”, between “socialist” and “reactionary”, and between “communist” and “fascist” was sharp and clear.  (Even then, we noticed that the extremes of both political directions curled around and met each other, nearly alike in attitudes and tactics.  It’s no coincidence that this is when the Libertarian movement began.)

In simple terms, the “left” was for civil rights and racial equality, for feminism and Gay rights and gender equality, fiercely for the Bill of Rights, for separation of church and state, against anti-Semitism and pro-Israel, against the war and very suspicious of Russia, China, and the Arabs. They also believed in the basic goodwill of government, and assumed that if they could only persuade a big-enough government to do the right stuff, all our sociopolitical problems would be solved.  They did have a vague notion of “globalism”, the old Progressive ideal of “All men are the same, the whole world around”, and that the ideal future would have a happy unified world under a single benign government, assumed to be the UN.  They didn’t spend too much time with that idea, though, being primarily concerned with immediate reforms.   

When it came to tactics, the “liberals” were meticulous in keeping what Dr. King called “the moral high ground”.  They’d spend hundreds of hours discussing the ethics, as well as the effectiveness, of their proposed actions – always aware that everything they did in public was intended to persuade the undecided to the morality of their cause.  They were very aware that the further left anyone got from their position, the less s/he cared about the ethics of tactics.  The “liberals” also had the advantage of being serious intellectuals who put high value on art – all the arts – which gave them a tactical advantage on persuasion;  they could effectively inject their attitudes into everything from theater to popular songs.

The “right” then ranged from “conservatives” to shameless reactionaries, but was undergoing some serious changes thanks to the war, Barry Goldwater and Ayn Rand.

The reactionaries were blatantly anti-Civil Rights and distinctly militarist, racist, sexist, and religiously biased – only Christians allowed, and preferably Protestants.  They were also furiously pro-war, anti-labor-union, plainly class-biased, hysterically anti-communist-or-anything-like-it, and were very much pro-government – right up to the point where governments interfered with businesses.  They were also distinctly anti-intellectual and suspicious of art and artists.  Their tactics were fairly simple and straightforward: entice money from sympathetic oligarchs – particularly in the military-industrial complex – use it to purchase controlling influence in the mainstream media, and campaign for likewise-reactionary political candidates.  And the occasional lynch-mob or police brutality was carefully ignored.  

But there were strong cross-currents running.  Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”, published in the 1950s, had been a steady best-seller since, second in sales only to the Bible, and her philosophy of “Objectivism” had quietly attracted millions – particularly among the young and intelligent.  It was at this time that Young Americans for Freedom – the first nascent libertarian group -- took off on college campuses across the country.  Their inspiration was about half Rand and half Barry Goldwater, whose “Conscience of a Conservative” helped redefine “conservatism” in years afterward.  Goldwater was called a “maverick” then, but his definition of “conservative” would have made him a Libertarian just a few decades later. 

Bear in mind that only a few years earlier the southern reactionaries – “Dixiecrats” – had finally figured out that the Democrat Party was (a century later!) no longer the opposition to Abraham Lincoln, and they deserted en masse to the GOP.  This had not done the Republicans any good, for it shifted the GOP severely into the reactionary camp – and its reputation likewise.  That was the real reason that Goldwater lost the election to LBJ.  And LBJ, despite his own political leanings, signed the historic Civil Rights Act. 

The mood of the voters had been shifting away from the reactionary position ever since World War Two, wherein Blacks, women, and other minorities had proved themselves in the war effort – in full view of everyone.  The revelations of the Nazi genocide won national sympathy for Jews (which neo-Nazis and Arabs have resented ever since), and the scientific advances during the war put anti-intellectualism in bad odor.  The necessary awareness of other countries involved in the war put paid to isolationism, as did the growing Red Scare – and the sensible opposition to it.  The reactionary right lost ground steadily, and by the time of the Vietnam War it was a visible minority.  The GOP was forced to scramble for a reasonable position between the dying reactionaries and the perturbing Libertarians.  The solution Republicans came to was an uneasy balance of “socially somewhat Liberal, fiscally Conservative”, which made them acceptable enough to elect a few presidents in the decades that followed. 

Meanwhile, the Libertarians quietly but steadily gained ground.  They created a formal Libertarian Party in Colorado, in 1971, and managed to get it on the ballot in all 50 states by 1981.  It has remained the only viable 3rd party in the US ever since, winning local and occasional state offices, and struggling against both mass shunning by the news media and repeated co-optation attempts from the rest of the political Right.  When the 2016 election campaigns left many Americans disgusted with both the major parties, the LP gained enough sympathizers – and enough votes – that the news media finally agreed to notice their existence and even give them a few opportunities to air their opinions to the larger public.

Likewise meanwhile, the political Left had progressed by quite visible leaps and bounds.  The “counter-culture” of the ‘60s spread to the mainstream culture, mostly through quality work in the performing arts, all during the ‘70s and well into the ‘80s.  Nixon’s scandal did the GOP no favors politically, and Jimmy Carter’s economic ineptitude did the Democrats no harm – until the Iran hostage crisis.  Voters elected Reagan primarily because they knew his militaristic attitude scared the Iranian government -- into releasing the hostages and backing away from its Jihadist ambitions as soon as he was elected.  His cunning use of economic warfare ultimately succeeded in bringing down the Soviet Union – which also got Bush Sr. elected on his coattails – but Democrats reliably took the majority of lesser offices, particularly at the state level.  American voters clearly wanted enough militarism to keep foreign enemies discreet, and enough sturdy capitalism to keep the economy healthy, but on all other social and political matters they liked the Liberal positions, particularly of racial and religious equality.  This was when federal bureaucracies and various police departments began accepting large numbers of Black applicants, assorted ethnic holidays became fashionable, and Women’s Lib, and then Gay Lib, became legitimate and popular.  And after one term, voters dumped Bush for Bill Clinton in ’92.

But something else had also been launched in 1971.  Two Alabama lawyers – Joe Levin and Martin Dees -- impatient with the slow implementation of the Civil Rights Act, founded the Southern Poverty Law Center for the express purpose of using lawsuits to enforce civil rights and “fighting hate and bigotry and seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society” – according to Levin, who remained a devout civil-libertarian all his life.

Dees may have had other motives in mind.  He had defended KKK chapters just ten years earlier, but clearly saw that the power of the reactionary Right was fading fast and there was no more money in defending it.  When he switched sides to help found the SPLC, he became the group’s chief fundraiser, gaining financial support from every Liberal/leftist group he could find.  Recruiting the famed civil rights activist Julian Bond to be president of the group was a real coup, granting the SPLC fame and respectability enough to open wallets everywhere, give the SPLC a multi-million-dollar war chest, and recruit lots of eager young Liberal law-students.

I recall that when I first encountered the SPLC, back in the late ‘70s, I sensed that there was something ‘off’ about them.  Perhaps it was my ex-SDS/IWW sensitivity to the danger of Parlor Pinks, but I sensed that they were entirely too rich and too Marxist to have the real interests of the people at heart, and I warned my fellow Wobblies to keep away from this bunch.  They, having the same sensibilities, did. 

To be fair, the SPLC did use their pet tactic well.  With crushing multi-million-dollar lawsuits on behalf of the victims, the SPLC did succeed in ruining a lot of the really blatant and vicious White-supremacist groups, smashed most of the legal and economic survivals of the Jim Crow laws, fought landmark cases for equality of women and Gays and the disabled, and contributed to the near-extinction of the Ku Klux Klan.  Through their well-funded research, they assembled probably the nation’s biggest list of what they labeled “hate groups”.  This impressed the FBI, which had not before then made any comprehensive list of its own, and so came to depend on the SPLC for its identification of “hate groups”.

Unfortunately, the SPLC began defining as “hate groups” (or just “haters”) as anyone to the political right of Eisenhower (who, being safely dead by then, couldn’t complain).  That came to include anybody criticizing policies the SPLC liked -- and with growing victories, money, and prestige, the SPLC’s tastes grew more demanding and extreme.  Former members began quietly dropping out.  Co-founder Joe Levin retired from SPLC in 2006 and went into private practice, where he wound up defending three southern universities in turn against federal govt. desegregation suits, arguing for mitigation of Affirmative Action decrees – and SPLC denounced their old civil libertarian and Black academics who agreed with him for “Appeasing the Beast”.

By then SPLC was provably the wealthiest civil-rights group in America, with reported assets over $200 million, and the IRS began asking discreetly about what Dees was doing with its wealth – besides purchasing for himself a 200-acre estate complete with tennis courts, pool and stables.  Undaunted, the SPLC expanded its “hate list” to include anyone criticizing immigration policies, Muslim fundamentalists, abortion laws, Gay Liberation, federal govt. overreach, and gun control.  At one point the SPLC considered adding the NRA to its list of “hate groups”, but backed off upon finding that the NRA had more funds, lawyers, and sympathizers than it did. 

In expanding its “hate list” the SPLC actively inflated the numbers of the moribund Ku Klux Klan.  Although the FBI noted that the KKK’s membership was less than 2000 nationwide, with at least 10% of those being police spies, the SPLC loudly claimed that there are 130 KKK groups in the US – and used this figure to campaign for funds.  In fact, the KKK was so small and fractured that it could no longer pay the salary of its last kingpin, David Duke.  As a result, Duke began hiring himself out as a political “spoiler”;  for an appropriate fee, he would make speeches praising various public figures so as to make them look like “White Supremacists”, tarnish their reputations and hopefully torpedo their careers.  There is no conclusive evidence that the SPLC ever directly hired Duke for that purpose, but that tactic would have dovetailed perfectly with their fundraising efforts.   

Worse, there is spotty but persistent evidence that “unknown sources” have been funding KKK and “alt-right” recruiting efforts, as well as outright hiring of “crisis actors” – if not actual agents provocateurs --  to play the part of “neo-nazis” in public, so as to make them look more numerous and dangerous than they really are.                                                                                                                                                                                   
Note that at roughly the same time the FBI had perfected the ancient tactic of provocateering into an elaborate system, typified by the CoIntelPro campaign originally aimed at the student civil rights movement.  It later used the tactic successfully against the National Organization of Women, using the “Judas goat” Andrea Dworkin.  The SPLC soon became aware of the tactic, and studied it thoroughly.  It has not, however, made any public comments about the government’s use of that tactic in the years since.  Bear that in mind.  Also consider the career of one Jason Kessler, former “Occupy” activist, who dropped out of sight for a few years only to suddenly reappear as the organizer of Richard Spenser’s “alt-right” protest in Charlottesville.  I believe we can add to the list of suspects for funding that elaborate caper. 

At another point, according to an unofficial but witnessed story, the SPLC tried investigating the Libertarian Party as a possible “anti-government hate group”, but retreated in dismay upon meeting an LP officer who was an openly Gay pot-smoker -- and learning the LP’s position on such things.  To all accounts, the SPLC has scrupulously avoided saying anything about the LP since.  It has also, I notice, avoided any mention of the IWW, or any other activist labor groups.  This is worth remembering, since the active labor movement had turned thoroughly against the Communists, Socialists and any brand of Marxist by the end of World War II.     

But possibly the greatest effect of the SPLC has been popularizing, and making into law, the concepts of “hate crime” and “hate speech”, concepts which they have spread world-wide.  If you think about it, laws based on these concepts are blatantly unconstitutional, because they make an emotion criminal – and thereby they make “thought crime” legal. 
 
In practice, this means that the nature of a crime is determined not by the action itself but by a witnesses’, victim’s, or prosecutor’s subjective impression of the perpetrator’s thoughts and emotions.  Evidence for “hate crimes” or “hate speech” can be nothing more than a witness’/victim’s claim of hurt feelings.  This can lead to such monstrous perversions of justice as (true case) sentencing a man to 15 years in prison, plus 15 years’ probation, for nothing more than leaving a pound of sliced bacon on the ground in front of a mosque.  “Hate speech”, legally, is free speech that hurts someone’s feelings, and depends for its severity on how much that person says their feelings were hurt.  This is a very poor basis for legal argument, and it’s hard to see how any rational adult could believe in it.

Unfortunately, the SPLC made a point of spreading its philosophy to a large number of sub-rational sub-adults. 

The college-student involvement in the reform movements of the 1960s and ‘70s impressed many with the political effectiveness of college students, and many were the Liberal political activists who went courting college students – and their professors – in the decades afterward.  Conservative activists tried too, but proved far less efficient at winning sympathizers.  Libertarian activists had better luck, but their hyper-rational philosophy had less appeal among the just-barely-legal-age crowd than the neatly sculpted emotionalism of the Liberals.

Part of this is only natural;  kids love to be told that there’s nothing more important than their own feelings.  However, most of the blame must be laid on the upper-middle-class style of child-raising, which tended to keep children childish for as long as possible – to reward emotions, downplay “cold” logic, and even assume that facts are mutable.  Between1980 and the present day, college graduates with these attitudes had flooded the job-markets of academia, journalism, and even government civil service – simply because other employment required a basic respect for facts and logic (rather than exciting pictures and sensational stories), and because a B.A. in any subject (including Liberal inventions such as “Oppression Studies”) could get you a mid-range job in the state and federal bureaucracies, particularly Welfare.

The result was a fertile recruiting-field on college campuses.  The SPLC, with its respectable list of “hate-groups” to target and its promise of lawsuits to back up any attack thereupon, was certainly not the only political group preaching to eager undergraduates, but it was among the most influential.  By the 1990s the phenomenon of “political correctness” was widespread and noticeable everywhere.

But power corrupts, and on many fronts – including the intellect.  Even as the old reactionary-religious Right was withering away to a rich-but-tiny minority, academic and journalistic standards in America began to sink – and political standards with them.  Regular surveys showed that a disturbingly large minority of college graduates were functionally illiterate in English, and total failures in Critical Thinking.  Media outlets reduced their fact-checking to a minimum, and real investigative reporters became an endangered species.  Government bureaucracies became politicized to the point of sue-able misuse of powers – and funds;  the two fastest-growing fields of legal specialties became civil-rights violations (real or imagined) and forcing government agencies to do their jobs, regardless of the politics of the recipients. 

Meanwhile, families too poor to send their kids to Liberalized universities sent them to technical “community” colleges – and, if lucky, high schools – instead.  There the students learned unflinching facts and logic and saleable technical skills, whereby they could move into the upper working-class or lower middle-class.  Even the military, that last bastion of guaranteed employment, had become very technically oriented;  again, facts and logic and critical thinking were necessary for job-progress, or even survival.

This difference created an unseen but deep division between the university-educated emotionally-oriented upper middle-class, whose politics were reliably left-wing, and the tech-school educated deadly-practical working-class-to-lower-middle-class, whose politics were all over the map.  The growth of the Internet made a wealth of information available to the latter, who made good technical, economic and political use of it.  Thus, by 2000, the old standard of class politics had stood on its head;  the “bourgeoisie” were now the passionate Leftists, and the “proletariat” were the coolly practical Right-of-center.

The terrorist attacks of 2001 only increased the political divide between them.  The practical/working class could see very plainly that Arab culture was the enemy, that too many Arabs/Muslims adored it, and that war between the two was inevitable.  The passionate Left collectively threw away its intelligence and pledged allegiance to the poor, misunderstood, innocent Arabs – on the assumption that they couldn’t possibly be so upset as to commit terrorism if they hadn’t been “oppressed” beforehand.  This led to some incredible intellectual back-bends (eagerly assisted by assorted Arab propaganda outlets) – such as opposing all wars (even those fought for survival) while encouraging civilian violence, blaming Israel and America for all the world’s troubles, claiming that the “White race” is inherently evil, hating Jews, fiercely attacking freedom of speech and the rest of the Bill of Rights as well, giving preferential treatment to Arabs and other Muslims, and elevating other cultures above existing law – even when the practices and foundations of those cultures are directly opposed to the rights and liberties which the earlier Left fought so long and hard to win.

Eventually even the Left’s bellwether, the SPLC, realized that it had created a monster that it couldn’t control – organizations like Antifa, BLM, and offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood ranting and rioting in public.  In particular, the FBI stopped using the SPLC as a reliable information source.  

At about the time that officers of Black Lives Matter began demanding in public that all White people should hand over their “car keys and checkbooks” and then die, the SPLC began adding “Black Separatists” to their list of “hate groups” – and admitting that there were more Black Separatist groups than KKKs, or White Nationalists, or “Anti-Muslims”, or even “General Hate” groups.  This is particularly telling when you see that the SPLC considers that: “All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”  This is an awfully broad definition, since it would also cover groups that “hate” child-molesters, sex-traffickers, and other criminal gangs.  Also, as the Transgender Movement and the life and career of Michael Jackson have proved, very few characteristics these days are “immutable”.  It also still clung to its warning that “Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing” – which is exactly the same list that the more passionate Leftist groups practice.  So the damage was done, and shows no sign of abatement.     

This explains such things as the current Left’s adoration of the vicious Linda Sarsour, the government’s longstanding unwillingness to fight real wars to a solid conclusion, and the steady erosion of the Bill of Rights. 

It also explains the election of Donald Trump.  The practical working class didn’t vote for him so much as they voted against Hillary Clinton, and her promised continuance of the elite-Left agenda.  It also explains why the Libertarian Party gained enough popularityu to get increased attention by the media, and a notable increase in votes, despite its na├»ve attitude toward immigration and foreign affairs.  The corruption and excesses of what used to be the American Left have created the very “divisiveness” it now complains about, exacerbating an unspoken but definite class and cultural war.

Indeed, the so-called Left’s hysterical reaction to Trump’s election has revealed its present attitudes for all to see, and the picture is not pretty.  Today it’s the so-called Left which indulges in censorship, slander, biased news, racism, religious bigotry, hysteria, anti-intellecutalism, and fascistoid mobbing tactics – even as it calls its opponents “fascist”.  It’s the so-called Right which demands freedom of expression and support for the entire Bill of Rights, honors Black achievers like Colin Powell and Dr. Thomas Sowell, demands accurate verification of news media, insists on equal treatment of all religious groups, respects facts and logic, has developed a keen appreciation of the arts – including snarky comedians like Milos Yianopolos, the modern equivalent of Lenny Bruce – and is cautious of its own political fringes. 

Just about the only remnants of their political pasts that remain are the Left’s now-obsessive worship of “globalism” and the Right’s respect for the military and the occasional grim necessity of war. 

Other than that, the names remain the same but the definitions under them have shifted almost completely. 


--Leslie <;)))><                     

Sunday, November 19, 2017

"I AM NOT A GUILTY LIBERAL"



© 2009  (ttto “The 'I Was Not A Nazi' Polka”)
            by Leslie Fish

(I really think that this one needs to be broadcast, right now)


I will not bow down and kiss your ass because it's Black,
Because I am not a guilty Liberal.
I don't think that dirty words are equal to attack,
Because I am not a Bourgeois Liberal.
I believe that everyone deserves an equal chance,
But not that you get special coddling just 'cause you can't dance,
And I don't think skin color puts a tiger in your pants,
Because I am not a whiny Liberal.

I don't think that killing Gays is worse than killing Straights,
Because I am not a guilty Liberal,
Or that crime and punishment depend on who you hate,
Because I am not a Bourgeois Liberal.
If you break your neighbor's skull, it doesn't count that you
Went at him 'cause he's Gay, or Black, a Vegan or a Jew.
I'll hang you all the same, purely because of what you do,
Because I am not a whiny Liberal.

I don't think that passion is a substitute for facts,
Because I am not a guilty Liberal,
Or loving God or animals excuses stupid acts,
Because I am not a Bourgeois Liberal.
So trash a doctors' lab because they do abortions there,
Or just to liberate the mice – frankly, I don't care.
In either case, I'll whip your ass and strip your wallet bare,
Because I am not a whiny Liberal.

I don't think that foreigners are holier than we,
Because I am not a guilty Liberal,
Or that foaming terrorists deserve my sympathy,
Because I am not a Bourgeois Liberal.
I don't care if Allah said the world should run your way,
Or killing Jews or Christians is the virtue of the day.
You come for me, you moron, and I'll blow your ass away,
Because I am not a whiny Liberal.

I don't think that people owning weapons is a sin,
Because I am not a guilty Liberal.
I don't think that any kind of sex lets Satan in,
Because I am not a Bourgeois Liberal.
I don't care which party tops or bottoms out the list.
Stupidities of both of them have left me more than pissed.
The antics of the Left and Right made me an Anarchist!
That's why I am not a whiny Liberal.


--Leslie <;)))><  
 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

RISEN FROM THE GRAVE, Part II: THE SQUAWKING DEAD




Studying more videos of Antifa at work and play, I couldn’t help noticing contradictions about its history and political connections.  It’s supposed to take its name – and its flag design -- from a German group that fought the Fascist and Nazi parties in the 1930s (and obviously failed), yet there’s no mention of this bunch in America before 2016.  There’s some claim that they’re politically descended from the anti-racist Skinheads of the ‘90s, but the Skinheads don’t claim them, and the working-class culture of the Skinheads also makes it unlikely. 

Then my attention was snagged by a brief mention of Antifa being the extreme activist wing of “Students for a Democratic Society” – SDS.

Wait a minute!  (Pause for a reprise of Leonard Cohen’s “The Old Revolution”.)

I was a member of the original SDS, from shortly after it was created at the U. of Michigan until its spectacular end, and real SDS members were nothing like this.  More, at its last convention in 1969, SDS committed honorable Hara-Kiri rather than be taken over by the yowling Marxists of the infamous Weatherman and so-called Worker-Student Alliance factions, and no member with any decency would have revived it.

…But towards the end, there were some members with no decency.

I began looking up this “New SDS” that’s supposedly the connection to Antifa, and what I saw was a walking corpse.  First, there’s no way to talk to the organization except by volunteering to “create a chapter”, and then there’s a strict limit on how many words you can write.  That’s a more-than-red flag, right there.  Also, there’s no more than lip-service to the founding Port Huron Statement, less mention of the original Student League for Industrial Democracy, barely any mention of the original founders (easily done: Tom Hayden died a few months ago, Carl Oglesby died in 2011, and Alan Haber is in his 80s and much slowed down).  There’s the same hit-list of stereotyped “causes” that Antifa pushes, always culminating in “Get Trump”, with none of the characteristic love of discussion that old SDSers indulged in endlessly.  Above all, there’s nothing remotely like original SDS’s “anti-totalitarian clause”, which denied membership to communists and fascists alike.  There’s clear reason why original SDS’s old allies – the still-surviving League for Industrial Democracy and the Industrial Workers of the World – won’t touch this bunch with a ten-foot pole.

So where did this lurching zombie come from, and who called it up from the grave?

I remember that on the last night of that last convention in Chicago, when old SDS tore itself apart and died with honor, there were a few members who still had keys to the old office – and the files, including the membership lists.  One of them was Bernardine Dohrn, who was… to put it politely, a real piece of work.  Original founder Carl Oglesby devoted a whole chapter to her in his historical biography, “Ravens on the Storm”.  Dohrn hung around with the Weatherman faction, but always worked as a mover and shaker behind the scenes.  So did her buddy, Bill Ayers – a classic Parlor Pink, who could have been the reincarnation of Fred Moore, Sacco and Vanzetti’s notoriously unhelpful lawyer.  The only difference between Dohrn and Ayers, Mellon, Oughton, and the rest of that crowd is that she didn’t really come from a seriously wealthy family.  She made up for that by exploiting her sexuality, being More Radical Than Thou, and not denying the rumor that she was really the heiress to the Dohrn Trucking fortune (which she wasn’t).

The important thing to remember about Parlor Pinks – or Limousine Liberals, as they’re called today – is that they’re “privileged” up to the sky.  They come from wealthy families, whom they sneer at even while enjoying the benefits (and protections) of their money, and share the unconscious assumption that their intellects are superior to those of the “uneducated” masses;  therefore they’re fit to be the leaders of the Revolution and to manipulate those dumb masses for their own good.  (I saw this revealed when dear Bill tried to raise a lynch-mob against me at that last SDS convention – and oh, the dismayed look on his face when it didn’t work, when those radical students, who knew me from my work and were used to doing their own research, didn’t believe a word he said.  Oooh, how dare those “masses” be so resistant to his manipulation?  Afterward, I hear, he went looking for younger and more gullible students.)  This is also the hallmark of Antifa.   

After the rest of the Weatherman faction destroyed themselves rather spectacularly, in the explosion of the New York townhouse where they were making bombs (and badly), Dohrn married Ayers and has stuck to him (and his real family money) ever since.  The two of them went underground and stayed ahead of the FBI for 11 years before giving themselves up.  After they managed to get acquitted on a technicality for the charge of blowing up a university building with the hapless janitor inside, they both ducked back out of sight.  Ayers surfaced later as an unassuming professor at the U. of Illinois, and Bernardine as a professor (of Law!) at Northwestern U, in Chicago.  Neither of them gave up their radicalism.  Ayers got into the spotlight briefly, when the news got out that Barack Obama announced his campaign for POTUS at a party in Ayers’ living-room – and was occasionally seen visiting the White House by the back door – but Dohrn managed to keep out of the limelight.  Both of them busied themselves with “education reform”.  They were also glimpsed hanging around with “Occupy”.

So how did these two link to the New SDS?  Well, according to Wikipedia, in 2006 a couple of high-school students, wanting to create a student movement with the power of old SDS, went looking for old SDS survivors and came across old (Robert) Alan Haber.  Now Haber was an old-style New Deal liberal who was notable for three things: 1) taking 11 years to graduate from U. of Michigan (1954-1965, BA), 2) co-authoring the first version of the Port Huron Statement, and 3) being elected the first president of old SDS.  After graduating, he became a cabinet-maker, engaged in local reform issues and never was involved in the wider radical movement.  All he could have told those eager little high-school wannabes was the structure of old SDS and the names of his old cronies.

There’s no record that “New SDS” ever even contacted Carl Oglesby or Tom Hayden.  However, in its very first year of existence, “New SDS” managed to establish over 100 chapters at colleges around the country, and made enough $$ to hold its first national convention.  Just how did two high-school students and a retired cabinet-maker accomplish that?  Obviously, they had help, but whose?  Well, starting soon after the first “New SDS” national convention in 2006, guess who starts showing up – as members, in the background, then later as occasional speakers?  Yep.  Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers.

I guess they just couldn’t resist reliving their glory days.  Instrumental in the destruction of old SDS, they’ve revived its name from the grave and used it as a cover for Antifa – the reincarnation of the Weatherman gang.  Unwilling to give up his behind-the-scenes influence once Obama was out of office, Bill actually let himself be seen amid the hundreds of professionally-printed “Bernie” signs at a noisily-violent Antifa/anti-Trump rally – and I wonder if anyone else got the joke. 

As an old peace-marcher and organizer – and member of old SDS – myself, I’ve noticed the deliberate, provoked, and I dare say constructed nature of the “divisiveness” in American politics recently – most particularly since Trump was elected.  As I’ve mentioned before, fully half of the supposed “alt-right” marchers in Charlottesville, and several hundred of the Antifas, were hired professional instigators.  Such do not come cheap.  I can see wealthy movers and shakers like Soros and the Clintons funding such Reichstag Fire displays, but I don’t think they’re alone – and they wouldn’t have the detailed knowledge of old radical-left tools and techniques, or buzzwords.  They certainly would have no interest in reviving the name of an old and forgotten student political group.  No, that has the fingerprints of Bill and Bernardine all over it. 

One reason for hope:  Antifa was first formed to be the non-Black parallel to BLM, because in whipping up its own enthusiasm BLM became so Black-supremacist that it wouldn’t accept members of any other race.  Now Antifa itself is showing signs of splitting along racial lines, with the Hispanics accusing the Whites of having racism “in your blood…in your DNA.”  This fracture is happening much sooner than the ideological split in old SDS once the “anti-totalitarian” clause was abolished.  In reviving SDS’ name, Bill and Bernardine also revived its chief weakness. 

Some people learn all the wrong lessons from history.


--Leslie <;)))>< 
 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

RISEN FROM THE GRAVE, Part One



A couple weeks ago a friend posted a video on Facebook – Ben Shapiro’s “Undercover in Antifa: Their Tactics and Media Support Exposed!”, available on YouTube – which was full of enlightening information.  I’d already guessed, from studying the Charlottesville caper, that Antifa (like BLM) was an unofficial goon-squad for a very-well-funded branch of the anti-Trump crowd, but I hadn’t known so many of the details.

I noticed in the video that the Antifa crowd are uniformly young, at least a little on the pudgy side, soft-handed, physically unskilled, and nonchalant about their own money – as if they’ve never imagined being without enough of it.  They’re eager to use assorted hand-weapons, or even guns, but don’t seem to have much experience with or knowledge of them.  Above all, they’re supremely self-righteous – as if assuming that all the proper people in the world – including the government -- automatically must think as they do, and anyone who doesn’t simply must be a lunatic or a Nazi.  In brief, they look like middle-to-upper-class college students, with none of the practical skills, knowledge or attitudes that working-class or poor kids would pick up just by surviving. 

The video confirms that they’re most often found around liberal university campuses, actively supported, encouraged, and even protected by liberal university professors.  In short, Antifa is the extreme action-faction of the Special Snowflake/Social Justice Warrior/Limousine Liberal crowd that infests most of the more expensive liberal-arts and state universities these days.  They’re particularly dangerous young Parlor Pinks.  And yes, they’ve been declared a “domestic terrorist” organization by the FBI.  Yet they’re still lionized by the Liberal media, who give much coverage to their abundant anti-Nazi – and anti-Trump – picket-signs, particularly over their “counter-protest” role in the carefully-sculpted Charlottesville incident. 

Besides my general dislike for Parlor Pinks, I’m especially incensed by reporters and editors who describe Antifa enthusiasts as “anarchists”.  As a lifelong ideological Anarchist myself, I can tell you that they’re anything but.  Real Anarchists, whether they come to it from the non-Marxist Left or the Libertarian Right, are people who have done a lot of serious research, self-examination, and studying – of everything from history to psychology – pondering the question of how to maintain a decent and free society without even the possibility of tyranny: in other words, how to have order without “law”. 

This means, clearly, that they themselves must live outside the protections of law and government;  they must provide such for themselves, and they’re on their own.  The Anarchist and the outlaw have much in common, and must learn the same lessons to survive.  Chief among these is Bob Dylan’s famous line: “To live outside the law, you must be honest.”  Because humans are social animals, nobody survives alone;  we all need our social support networks.   To keep a network, one has to make bargains and adjustments with other people – and stick to them reliably.  The Anarchist and the outlaw have to manage this without a government’s law and enforcement to fall back on – quite the contrary, if anything – and that takes considerable thought, and work.

Even as youngsters, these are not the kind of students who plot how to use accusations of racism/sexism to blackmail a professor into giving them a better grade.  They’re not the sort to evade facts, manipulate statistics, sneer at logic, and elevate their own precious passions – particularly their cherished Outrage – to the position of moral standards.  They’re not such flaming hypocrites as to demand absolute freedom of expression for themselves while noisily – and violently – denying it to anybody else.  These are not the type to believe that “the only thing that matters is what other people think of you.”               

Above all, real Anarchists must be realists – or they don’t last very long.  Whether they come from the working class – like Nestor Makhno and Murray Bookchin – or the aristocracy – like Prince Peter Kropotkin and Count Leo Tolstoy – they know full well that they are a minority even among rebels, are feared and hated by tyrants from both ends of the political scale, and don’t have (or really want) enough power to enforce their will on “the masses”, or actually much of anyone.  They approach political situations with the watchful caution of a soldier in a war-zone, not with the thoughtless arrogance of elitism.  (Isn’t it ironic that the Antifas accuse everyone they don’t like of “privilege”, while unconsciously assuming it for themselves?  There are many other such ironies, not to mention hypocrisies, in the wonderful world of Antifa – including their name.)
    
The working weapon of real Anarchists is persuasion – with verifiable facts and logic, with thought-provoking art, or with a tactic called “reality tripping”: luring people into experiencing a situation for themselves.  This tactic is attributed to no less than Will Rogers, for his famous quote: “There are three kinds of people: the few that can learn from reading or being told, the few more that can learn from seeing someone else do it, and all the rest of us who have to learn by p!ssing on the electric fence for ourselves.”  Using this tactic takes extensive forethought, study, and planning – activities for which Antifa is not at all famous.

Real Anarchists will consider using violence -- with extreme caution, not from moral objections but from tactical ones.  The 19th-century stereotype of the bomb-throwing (usually at some Czar’s or Emperor’s relatives) Anarchist is long obsolete, if only because surviving Anarchists observed the effects of all those bomb-throwings, and concluded that it was a tactic of extremely limited usefulness.

Anarchism has survived as a political movement for well over a century, despite heavy “evolutionary pressure”, precisely because of its intelligence – in both senses of the word.  Thoughtless, excitable, morally arrogant, mentally lazy, emotionally childish, unconsciously “privileged” Anarchists do not exist – at least, not for long.  Antifa is not an Anarchist organization in any sense of the word.

“By their works ye shall know them”, and by their actions the Antifa crowd have shown themselves to be the very Fascists they claim to oppose.  This seems to be par for the course in modern American politics, where loyal Democrats sneer at “populism”, self-styled “Conservatives” welcome Black, Jewish, gay and female supporters and even leaders, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are notorious for trying to exterminate whole species of domestic animals.  Welcome to the age of hypocrisy.
                                                                            
  --Leslie <;)))><                                                                                                (To be continued)  

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Las Vegas Shooting: Curiouser and Curiouser




To cut through the media hysteria with some basic facts:

Fully-automatic firearms (a.k.a. machine-guns) have been banned from civilian purchase (except for a very few supremely regulated exceptions) since 1934.  Those rare exceptions include:
             a) Federally-licensed firearms dealers who sell exclusively (and provably) to police and military buyers.
             b) People who go through a very extensive, expensive, and time-consuming process of obtaining a special federal license, which must be regularly renewed;  even these are not allowed to own a functional machine-gun made after 1986.

Converting a common semi-automatic to fully-automatic fire is likewise a federal crime.  The “bump-stock”, which makes it possible for a semi-auto to fire repeatedly almost as fast as a regular machine-gun, is a recent invention which just barely managed to slip around the wording of the law.  This is the only aspect of the shooting which a legal ban might have prevented.

Despite the sensational claims, this massacre was not “the largest mass shooting in American history”.  Wounded Knee was.  Go look that up.  While you’re at it, also look up the Sand Creek Massacre, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, Pancho Villa’s Raid, and the Bath, Michigan School Massacre.  Note the similarities.

Other peculiarities revolve around Paddock himself, according to what the police have uncovered so far – at least what they’ve told to the media, and what the media have broadcast.  First, aside from his father being a notorious bank-robber who died in prison, there was absolutely nothing remarkable about him.  He began working as a mail-carrier, made himself into an accountant, finally got into real-estate and made himself a tidy fortune.  He was White, successful, one year short of retirement age, in not any sort of athletic shape, had never been in the military, nor police, nor been a member of any gun-club, and – according to his brother – had no particular political or religious affiliation, nor musical preferences either.  He’d been married and divorced and currently had an Asian girlfriend, Marilou Danley, who came from the Philippines, and that was all the “foreign” connections he had.  Neighbors described him as “reserved”, and otherwise boringly ordinary.       

Now consider the facts that don’t match.  In recent weeks he began doing a lot of gambling in Las Vegas, actually won a surprising amount of money, and gave most of it to his girlfriend – after buying her a plane ticket to Asia.  He’d also spent the last few months buying an amazing number – more than 40 of them – of assorted firearms, mostly rifles.  He also bought 12 Bump-stocks, several pounds of ammunition, some unnamed “explosives”, at least half-a-dozen video-cameras and at least one camera tripod.  His recent financial and email history show that, since January, Paddock – or someone using his financial and electronic identity -- booked rooms in hotels (though he didn’t always go there) in other cities – including Chicago and Baltimore – that likewise overlooked open music-concert venues.  Marilou Danley, now returned and talking to the police, mentioned that before he sent her off to Asia Paddock was taking Valium, and often lay on his sofa for hours muttering “Omigod, omigod…”

According to the sound-tracks from civilian videos of the incident, two full-auto rifles began firing at the same time into the music-festival crowd.  There are local witnesses who swear that they heard gunshots from two hotel windows: one “high up” and one on the fourth floor.  No witnesses saw muzzle-flashes from the 32nd floor.  The muzzle-flashes on the lower floor ended quickly – after emptying perhaps one extended clip – while the gunshots from the higher floor continued for a total of ten minutes.  According to early reports from local police, the reason they were able to target a room on the 32nd floor was that the amount of gun-smoke in that room was enough to set off the fire-alarm.  There was also a report, broadcast once and then cut, about a hotel security-guard who happened to be on the floor, ran toward the noise, and was shot through the hotel-room door.  When the police arrived, they found Paddock dead of a gunshot, his Bump-stock altered rifle beside him, several more altered rifles, pounds of ammunition, cameras set up to cover the room and the approaching hallways, and nobody else in the room.   

Now let’s pause here and consider some physical facts.  A fully-automatic rifle – designed or reconfigured – is not an easy weapon to use. According to firearms writer Mike Adams, (https://www.naturalnews.com/2017-10-02-lone-gunman-theory-of-las-vegas-shooter-is-complete-nonsense-stephen-paddock.html):

“Even highly trained Navy Seals would have a difficult time running a full auto weapon for 10 minutes straight. Such weapon systems are brutal on the operator. They require tremendous strength, stamina and expert troubleshooting to keep running. Full-auto weapons overheat and jam. They demand incredible strength to keep aimed on target. They require expert reloading and weapons clearing in the case of jams, and the hotel room would have been so full of smoke and powder residue that it would be almost impossible to keep breathing from that enclosed space.
Far from what the firearms-illiterate media claims, these are not systems that any Joe off the street can just pick up and use to effortlessly mow down 500 people. Running these systems requires extensive training, experience and stamina. It is physically impossible for a guy like Stephen Paddock to operate such a system in the sustained, effective manner that we witnessed, especially when shooting from an elevated position which throws off all the ranging of the weapon system.”
More, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo publicly affirmed his belief that Stephen Paddock did not act alone. "…[H]e had to have some help at some point," Sheriff Lombardo is now quoted as saying by the UK Express:

And then there’s the question of why on Earth did Paddock target a country-western music festival, of all things.  There are some disturbing reports from witnesses at the concert who saw a woman push her way to the front row and utter death-threats, more than half an hour before the shooting started: “…there was a lady who pushed her way forward into the front row, and she started messing with another lady.  She told us we were all going to die tonight – it was about 45 minutes before the shots were fired.”  The woman was identifiably not Marilou Danley, who was in Asia at the time. 
And then there are the statements from two Australian guests in the hotel, reported to the Australian Courier Mail: 
 
“An Australian man who was staying in the room next to the shooter in the Mandalay Bay has confirmed he witnessed multiple gunmen involved in the Las Vegas attack.

“‘There were multiple people dead and multiple shooters. I was just hiding waiting for police to come get us. I got outside safely and was hiding in bushes,Brian Hodge told Australia's Courier-Mail.
“Mr. Hodge, who was staying in room 32134, next door to Stephen Paddock in room 32135, also provided important information when he revealed that a security guard was killed by police.
“’My floor is a crime scene. They killed a security guard on my floor.’”

“Wendy Miller from Cooroy, on the Sunshine Coast – another Australian caught up in the Las Vegas shooting – said she was at a bar in the nearby Luxor Hotel with her husband when she saw what she described as a "man of interest" run by.

“Ms Miller said the man sprinted through her hotel after coming off an escalator from the Mandalay Bay. The man that they [security] were chasing was wearing a security jacket like them,’ she said.”

…And there are plenty of other mysteries as well (such as, why do none of the crime-scene photos of Paddock’s “sniper’s nest” show any of the necessarily thousands of rounds of expended brass? --http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/News/226657-2017-10-04-five-more-things-that-dont-add-up-about-the-las.htm), but what these all add up to is that Paddock did not act alone; he had considerable help – and this massacre was planned months in advance.  But why?  Who would want to shoot up a country-western music festival?

The usual suspect, ISIL, took credit for the shooting – but the FBI cleared Paddock from any connection with them, in less than 24 hours.  A TV news pundit, who shall remain nameless, sneered that Paddock was an obviously insane “gun-nut” who hit the wrong target, because country-western fans are usually gun-nuts too – but this theory doesn’t jibe with the prolonged and meticulous planning that went into this slaughter.  Some psychologists have compared Paddock’s rampage with the Texas Clocktower Shooting of over 30 years ago -- and guessed that Paddock, like that shooter, had a brain tumor;  again, this doesn’t synch with the long and meticulous planning, or with his use of equally clever associates.  Blaming it on blackmail or gambling debts only begs the question;  who would have blackmailed Paddock into playing the patsy for a mass-murder, and why?  What was the motive?

Call it my old-time-radical practical paranoia, but I insist on asking: who benefits?

Well…  Aside from Hillary, whose political career has been revitalized by her riding the gun-control hobby-horse, and the gun-control lobby itself, which has gotten a marvelous crisis to exploit and is eagerly galloping to Congress with it, gee, I can’t think of anyone.  Can you?

Now, do I really think that Hillary and her wealthier supporters -- like George Soros, Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn and their ilk -- would really orchestrate a mass murder of American citizens in order to push their political agendas?

Having known Ayers and Dohrn back in the day, I have to say, well...  Yes.  They really are like that.  What I've seen and heard of Hillary and Soros leads me to think that they're exactly the same sort of Parlor Pinks, with the exact same attitudes.  I've no doubt there are others.  No solid proof, of course, but if this is the same crowd who manipulated and inflated the Charlottesville protests, then they're escalating the intensity of their tactics;  they've gone from Wagging The Dog to outright Reichstagging.  Knowing the nature of the Parlor Pink beast, I don't think they'll stop there.  Totally crazy?  Well, so was the Las Vegas shooting itself.

As we used to say back in the day, "The worst day of your life is the day you wake up and realize you're not paranoid."   

--Leslie <;)))>< 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Right to Be Stupid in Public


I've heard it said that freedom is the right to go to hell in a hand-basket of your own design and choosing, and the current flap about the NFL players' protest is a splendid example. 

Just why the assorted football players decided all of a sudden that the US was a "racist" country, oppressing Blacks in particular, and that they should  protest by kneeling rather than standing during the national anthem isn't much of a mystery;  'twas inspired by the same Democrat all-out anti-Trump campaign that's insisting that Trump Is A Racist So Are All His Voters.  Now, a moment's thought -- or an hour's thoughtful Internet research -- would readily disprove this theory.  As I've mentioned elsewhere, according to the FBI/DOJ there are fewer than 100 real neo-Nazis and something less than 7000 hardcore active White supremacists of any stripe in the whole country.

Nonetheless, there are a lot of Blacks (and, inexplicably, Whites) who almost desperately want to believe this political myth, and absolutely won't listen to -- let alone look for -- any facts to the contrary.  For example, I've got a Black neighbor who was particularly entranced by my new sword-cane, so I gave him a copy of the BUDK catalog I ordered it from;  next day he threw it out and refused to speak to me, convinced that the catalog's staff and everybody who read it -- including me -- were all racists.  Why?  Because three of the items advertized in it were decorated with Confederate flags.  Never mind that easily 50 of its items featured US flags, a couple dozen sported computer-game characters, another 40 were modeled from the Lord of the Rings movies, and another 100 had no decorations at all -- doubtless reflecting the tastes of its known buyers.  By that logic, less than 3% of the catalog's fans were racists, and the rest were elves, zombies, Union soldiers, and indifferent.  Ah, but no: that -3% magically contaminates all the rest, so everybody's a "racist" by contact -- even people whom you know perfectly well aren't.  Just why so many people want to believe this is a good subject for several books, documentaries, and Ph.D. theses.  My guess is that it's an easy excuse for everything that goes wrong in the life of anybody with a skin-tone one shade darker than an Icelander's.

Well, lazy excuses aside, the whole idea of the NFL players making a big noise over it -- and choosing to protest by kneeling during the National Anthem -- is just plain stupid.  For one thing, after Tebow's much-publicized kneeling to pray before every game, 99+% of the fans/audience/viewers would have to have the action explained to them, or they might just assume that the players had gone through a mass religious conversion.  For another, once it was explained, it made the players look like a bunch of spoiled brats.  As the  public sees it, professional football players make multi-million-dollar salaries (plus more for product endorsements), earn eternal fame, and are treated like heroes almost everywhere;  who are they to whine about being oppressed?

This was a stupid tactic.  It earned them the animosity of a lot of fans -- particularly veterans, who complained about "insulting" the flag that gave them the right to say what they pleased, a right that had been "bought with other men's blood".  It got them worse criticism from long-established Black civil-rights organizations, which pointed out that it would create resentment among both White fans who certainly weren't racist and Black fans who had no chance of ever earning a pro-ballplayer's income.  Trump's comment of "ungrateful" is forgettably mild by comparison.

To be fair, the working life of a professional football-player is short -- four years, on average, last time I looked -- and always ends with some sort of permanent physical damage.  It's understandable that players would insist on getting salaries that will compensate for that damage (if possible) and support them and their families for the rest of their lives.  And yes, they do earn that money by extreme (and dangerous) physical labor.  In terms of permanent injuries and deaths, being a pro football-player is more dangerous than being a cop (Dept. of Labor stats).  They do earn that money.  And yes, they have the same rights as any other Americans to express their opinions -- and to make fools of themselves in public if they want to.

If that stupid tactic costs them money, as annoyed fans stop viewing or attending their games, well, that's often the price of voicing an unpopular opinion.  Heaven knows, there are worse.

One of the worse effects of this dumb move is that it makes supposedly intelligent, well-educated, certainly successful Blacks look like bigoted fools.  If anything is likely to arouse White animosity toward Blacks, that is.

Of course, one of the better effects is that cooler heads (and there are a lot of them), Black and White -- and all other colors as well, don't forget -- will sit down and ask, just how did intelligent, well-educated, successful people get stampeded into such stupid attitudes and tactics?  The FBI and DOJ will be firmly asked to provide the real evidence on all this supposed racism, which will reveal the hoaxes and propaganda as well.  That will leave a lot of people asking: who profited by deliberately fanning the flames of racism, and why?  --which is a far more important question.

--Leslie <;)))><