Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Thursday, August 25, 2016

This is My Shocked Face

So a writer at Alternet gives a litany of woe for post-Katrina New Orleans, and Salon.com picks it up.  Excerpt:
35. The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority reported that 62 percent of pre-Katrina service has been restored. But Ride New Orleans, a transit rider organization, says streetcar rides targeted at tourists are fully restored, but bus service for regular people is way down, still only at 35 percent of what it was before Katrina. That may explain why there has been a big dip in the number of people using public transportation in New Orleans, down from 13 percent in 2000 to 9 percent now.

44. Over two of every five children in New Orleans lives in poverty — about double the national rate. The current rate of 44 percent is up 3 percentage points from 1999 and up 12 points from 2007. Overall, there are 50,000 fewer children under the age of 18 living in New Orleans than there were in 2000. In 2000 there were 129,408, and the latest numbers have dropped to 79,432 according to the census figures reported by the Data Center.

50. Since Katrina, home values have risen 54 percent and rent is up 50 percent. The annual household income needed to afford rent in New Orleans is $38,000, but 71 percent of workers earn on average $35,000. The average yearly income for service workers is $23,000 and only $10,000 for musicians. New Orleans has only 47 affordable rental units for every 100 low-income residents. Thirty-seven percent of households in the city are paying half of their income for housing, which is much higher than recommended. Thirty-six percent of renters pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing, up from 24 percent in 2004. The New Orleans metro area ranks second in the top 10 worst metro areas for cash-strapped renters, according to the Make Room Initiative. Government leaders bulldozed over 3,000 apartments of occupied public housing right after Katrina but now say there is a critical immediate need for at least 5,000 affordable low-income apartments.
It goes on like this for twelve more paragraphs before concluding:
But $76 billion came to Louisiana because of Katrina. This information makes it clear who did not get the money.
If you read the article, you'll note that he doesn't even suggest where all that money might have gone.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Quote of the Day: Adaptive Curmudgeon Edition

Firehand tagged me over at Bookface, pointing me at this piece by Adaptive Curmudgeon, Thoughts On Z-Blog's "On Being Revolting in the Modern Age." Said Z-Man post is here.

I wish I'd written Adaptive Curmudgeon's post. Excerpt (but by all means, read the whole thing):
My big observation of the “Hillary’s private server with State secrets affair” wasn’t about the press. It was about the people; or rather roughly half of the people. A moment passed that felt colder and more unsettling than the usual “they’ve fucked us again” situation.

Think about it like this; the FBI infuriated half the electorate and that half… did nothing. Yet it wasn’t a moment of defeat. It wasn’t a wail of despair, not gloom, not anger, not resignation, not desperation. It was a subdued tone of quiet finality. An acceptance that corruption is so deep that no one, nobody at all, can pretend otherwise.
Go. Read.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Bending at the Knee

Author Terry Pratchet wrote in his Discworld novel Feet of Clay,
Royalty was like dandelions. No matter how many heads you chopped off, the roots were still there underground, waiting to spring up again.

It seemed to be a chronic disease. It was as if even the most intelligent person had this little blank spot in their heads where someone had written: "Kings. What a good idea." Whoever had created humanity had left in a major design flaw. It was its tendency to bend at the knees.
In 2005 when former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan published her column "A Separate Peace" (which inspired my post Tough History Coming), she was pilloried for her seemingly fawning dependence on "elites" to get us out of the mess we were in (and still are.) Specifically this passage:
Our elites, our educated and successful professionals, are the ones who are supposed to dig us out and lead us. I refer specifically to the elites of journalism and politics, the elites of the Hill and at Foggy Bottom and the agencies, the elites of our state capitals, the rich and accomplished and successful of Washington, and elsewhere. I have a nagging sense, and think I have accurately observed, that many of these people have made a separate peace. That they're living their lives and taking their pleasures and pursuing their agendas; that they're going forward each day with the knowledge, which they hold more securely and with greater reason than nonelites, that the wheels are off the trolley and the trolley's off the tracks, and with a conviction, a certainty, that there is nothing they can do about it.

I suspect that history, including great historical novelists of the future, will look back and see that many of our elites simply decided to enjoy their lives while they waited for the next chapter of trouble. And that they consciously, or unconsciously, took grim comfort in this thought: I got mine. Which is what the separate peace comes down to, "I got mine, you get yours."
Just the other day Ms. Noonan penned another column along the same lines, "How Global Elites Forsake Their Countrymen". An excerpt:
Affluence detaches, power adds distance to experience. I don’t have it fully right in my mind but something big is happening here with this division between the leaders and the led. It is very much a feature of our age. But it is odd that our elites have abandoned or are abandoning the idea that they belong to a country, that they have ties that bring responsibilities, that they should feel loyalty to their people or, at the very least, a grounded respect.
I don't think that's it at all, really. The surprising thing is that for a couple of hundred years the "elite" did feel that way. The peasants never meant much to the Ruling Class until it became apparent that the peasants could object and make their objections hurt. Then and only then did the hoi polloi gain any real political power, and as Mao observed, that political power grew out of the barrel of a gun.  That "grounded respect" came from the only place that matters to those with power.  (See my 2004 essay Those Without Swords Can Still Die Upon Them.)

The thing I found most interesting in comparing these two articles was the subtitles.  The subtitle to "A Separate Peace" was:

America is in trouble--and our elites are merely resigned.

The subtitle to "Global Elites" was:

Those in power see people at the bottom as aliens whose bizarre emotions they must try to manage.

After ten years she's made some progress in figuring out the issue. Our elites disdain us at best, hate us at worst. But she's far behind Mark Steyn who observed as far back as 2005:
My favourite headline last week was in the International Herald Tribune: "EU leaders and voters see paths diverge." Traditionally in free societies, when the paths of the leaders and the voters "diverge", it's the leaders who depart the scene. But apparently in the EU this is too vulgar and "Anglo-Saxon", and so the great permanent Eurocracy decided instead to offer up Euro-variations on Bertolt Brecht's jest about the need to elect a new people.
The UK's embrace of Brexit, the Democrat electorate's embrace of Bernie Sanders, the Republican electorate's embrace of Donald Trump, et cetera, ad nauseam, just proves to them that the Great Unwashed cannot be let near the levers of power - for our own good, you understand.

We should all bend a knee. And LIKE it.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Pantsuits

OK, this one was new to me.  Not exactly the same scene from the film Downfall we're used to seeing:

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Quote of the Day - Classic Iowahawk Version

From the depths of 2013 comes this timeless and ever-true comment by David Burge, aka Iowahawk:
Journalism is about covering important stories.
With a pillow, until they stop moving.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

More Truth in Fiction

I'm currently reading The Far Arena by Richard Ben Sapir, the story of Roman gladiator Lucius Aurelius Eugenianus, frozen in a glacier for 1900 years who is brought back to life.  Pretty good book.  But here's the quote, from the gladiator to the people he's dealing with - the Russian doctor who revived him, the America petroleum geologist who dug him up, and the Norwegian Catholic nun who provides translations for his ancient Latin.  The gladiator has killed someone, and his keepers are trying to figure out what to do about it.  The nun suggests that they should go to "the authorities."  Eugeni responds:
“The authorities? The authorities?” I laughed. “Why is it people think the authorities are some form of gods with either great justice or great, cunning evil, rather than the same plodding fools they see in their daily lives, and most of all in their mirrors?"
And just a bit later:
"The purpose of an authority is to remain an authority, not dispense justice."
As I said, pretty good book.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Civilizational Suicide

Over on Facebook, Firehand linked to an excellent essay by Patrick Deneen, "David A. Potenziani Memorial Associate Professor of Constitutional Studies at Notre Dame."  Professor Deneen begins his piece How a Generation Lost Its Common Culture:
My students are know-nothings. They are exceedingly nice, pleasant, trustworthy, mostly honest, well-intentioned, and utterly decent. But their brains are largely empty, devoid of any substantial knowledge that might be the fruits of an education in an inheritance and a gift of a previous generation. They are the culmination of western civilization, a civilization that has forgotten nearly everything about itself, and as a result, has achieved near-perfect indifference to its own culture.
I would argue that many have been taught to actively hate their own culture, but the majority?  As Elie Wiesel once observed:
The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.
I strongly recommend you read Professor Deneen's entire essay, but here's the money shot:
Our students’ ignorance is not a failing of the educational system – it is its crowning achievement. Efforts by several generations of philosophers and reformers and public policy experts — whom our students (and most of us) know nothing about — have combined to produce a generation of know-nothings. The pervasive ignorance of our students is not a mere accident or unfortunate but correctable outcome, if only we hire better teachers or tweak the reading lists in high school. It is the consequence of a civilizational commitment to civilizational suicide.
(Bold emphasis mine.)  Which is why I've been saying for years that the only thing that can save education is to take off and nuke the current system from orbit until the rubble bounces.

But I'm pretty sure it's too late for that.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

The USP - University Shaped Place

Reader Bram left a comment to my last post, The "Education" System from a Primary Source with a link to a short piece by Fred Reed of "Fred on Everything" fame.  The title of this post comes from that piece, College Then and Now: Letter to a Bright Young Woman.  I urge you to read it in its entirety.

The only thing I would add to it is the observation that the public school system producing the incoming Freshmen has also declined dramatically since "The Sixties," so that ten to twenty percent of college-prepared students is now probably less than 5% compared to a few decades ago.

Monday, August 01, 2016

The "Education" System from a Primary Source

If you're interested in the current status of public education and what's entering our colleges and universities today, spend an hour watching to this interview of Dr. Duke Pesta (Professor of English, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh) by Stefan Molyneux:


Pay particular attention at 14:45.
I started giving quizzes to my juniors and seniors before I even passed out the attendance sheet the first day or the syllabus. I gave them a 10-question American history quiz and we started - even though I'm an English professor not an American historian - just to see where they are. And this has been true for seven consecutive years - the vast majority of my students, I'm talking like nine out of ten in every single class, 28, 29 out of 30 kids - they have no idea that slavery existed anywhere in the world before the United States. And I've got Christian kids, I've got Jewish kids. Moses, Pharoh, none of that. They have none of it. They are a hundred percent convinced that slavery is a uniquely American  invention and that with the Emancipation Proclamation slavery ended worldwide. They're convinced of this. How do you give an adequate view of history and culture to kids when that's what they think of their own country? That America invented slavery and and the whole Black Lives Matter movement, which is taught as absolute history in English classes and philosophy classes, in sociology classes and biology classes and race identity classes, that's the new narrative, right?  That even though slavery ended in America it's still with us in the way we oppressed minorities and so that's all they know. They know nothing else.
Sounds pretty familiar, doesn't it?

Friday, July 29, 2016

They've Done Their Job Too Well

Ran across this on Facebook:

 photo Insult_to_our_intelligence.jpg

I have news for you, son: The last several elections have been insults to our intelligence.

Back in 2000 when I was just really getting started on this internet thing, I wrote a post at a now-defunct site, Theamstream, that got picked up by somebody over at KeepandBearArms.com. (It was the post that eventually got me banned from my time at Democratic Underground for being Not Of The Body.) It was about the 2000 Bush v. Gore Florida fuckball. I titled it "An Uncomfortable Conclusion." Here it is in its entirety:
With the continuing legal maneuvers in the Florida election debacle, I have been forced to a conclusion that I may have been unconsciously fending off. The Democratic party thinks we're stupid. Not "amiable uncle Joe" stupid, but DANGEROUSLY stupid. Lead-by-the-hand-no-sharp-objects-don't-put-that-in-your-mouth stupid. And they don't think that just Republicans and independents are stupid, no no! They think ANYBODY not in the Democratic power elite is, by definition, a drooling idiot. A muttering moron. Pinheads barely capable of dressing ourselves.

Take, for example, the position under which the Gore election machine petitioned for a recount - that only supporters of the Democratic candidate for President lacked the skills necessary to vote properly, and that through a manual recount those erroneously marked ballots could be "properly" counted in Mr. Gore's favor. They did this in open court and on national television, and with a straight face.

So, it is with some regret that I can no longer hold that uncomfortable conclusion at bay:

They're right. We are.

Not all of us, of course, but enough. Those of us still capable of intelligent, logical, independent thought have been overwhelmed by the public school system production lines that have been cranking out large quantities of substandard product for the last thirty-five years or so. The majority of three or four generations have managed to make it into the working world with no knowledge of history, no understanding of the Constitution or civics, no awareness of geography, no ability to do even mildly complex mathematics, no comprehension of science, and realistically little to no ability to read with comprehension, or write with clarity. And we seem to have developed attention spans roughly equivalent to that of your average small bird.

After all, about half the public accepted the Democratic premise that we were too stupid to vote correctly because their guy didn't win by a landslide, didn't they? And the other half was outraged, not that they made such a ludicrous argument, but that they didn't want to play fair and by the rules that no one seems to understand or to be able to explain.

The other majority party isn't blameless in this; they like an ignorant electorate too. It's easier to lead people who can't or won't think for themselves. It took both parties and many years of active bipartisan meddling to make the education system into an international laughingstock.

However, the end result of this downward spiral has been an electorate ignorant in the simple foundations of this country and its government. Most especially the foundation of a rule of law in which EVERYONE is equal under the laws of the land. The Democrats have taken advantage of this general ignorance to its logical extreme. President Clinton, when testifying under oath, debates the meaning of the word "is", and essentially gets away with it. Vice President Gore, when shown to be in direct violation of campaign finance law states that there was no "controlling legal authority".

Laws don't MEAN anything to them. A law is an inconvenient bit of wording that just has to be "interpreted" properly to achieve their ends. When they file suit, they must shop for the proper judge, or they might not be able to get the "spin" they want. Like the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, words mean just what they want them to mean, no more no less. And that meaning can change at any time.

What has this election proven? The system is broken beyond a shadow of a doubt. Humpty-Dumpty is smashed. Regardless of who wins the recount in Florida, we have a system that has abandoned the rule of law because the populace let it, not knowing any better. Everything is up for interpretation. We don't live in the United States of America anymore, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. We live in `Merica, land of the free to do whatever we please, with no adverse consequences to our actions because that just wouldn't be "fair". Ain't Democracy wunnerful? Let's just vote ourselves bread and circuses and wait for the Barbarians to come over the walls. Bet that'll get more than 49% of the vote, huh?
Here's another appropriate Facebook meme:

 photo So_much_for_the_Republic.jpg

And Now for Something Completely Different...

SF blending:

 photo SF_Blending.gif


I like the cut of this man's jib!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Quote of the Day - Woody Allen Edition

Never thought I'd be quoting Woody, but:
More than at any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other leads to total extinction. Let us hope we have the wisdom to make the right choice.
I don't think Woody had any inkling of how prophetic that statement would one day be....

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

One More Time

I posted this last year. Here it is updated.


On this day at 02:56 UTC 47 years ago, Neil Armstrong became the first human being to leave one of these on the surface of another astronomical body. Three years and five months later, Eugene Cernan became the last man to do so, so far.

The last Space Shuttle touched down for the last time on this day five years ago.

Elon Musk of PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX fame has said that the impetus behind the development of SpaceX came when his son asked him, "is it really true that they used to fly to the moon when you were a boy?"

Now there are two-dozen or more private space ventures around the world. There is a plan to capture and retrieve an asteroid for commercial purposes. Two companies want to mine the moon.

If we can just hold it together for a couple more decades, humanity might get off this rock, and we might do it in my lifetime.

But it's looking less and less likely.

As someone posted on Facebook, "They promised me that by now we would have colonies on the moon. What did we get instead?"

 photo Pokeman_Driving.jpg

We got an electorate that put Barack Obama in the Whitehouse - twice - and has now given us the choice of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

I hate to say it, but the nation peaked in 1969, Viet Nam and all.

Friday, July 08, 2016

More on Destabilization

Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams is often an interesting thinker (see his recent post on gun control).  Yesterday he opined on FBI Director James Comey's decision not to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton in the wake of her email server investigation.  Adams made a good point in the opening paragraph:
The primary goal of government is its own credibility.

That notion needs some explaining.

Governments do many things, including building roads, providing social services, defending the homeland, and more. But no matter what the government is trying to accomplish, its macro-responsibility is to maintain its own credibility. Governments without credibility devolve into chaos. Credibility has to be job one.

Consider all the different government systems around the world, and all the different laws they created. The Chinese government is different from the United States government, which is different from Jordan’s government, which is different from Great Britain. But each of those governments is credible to its own people, and that’s the key. The specific laws and the specific forms of government don’t matter too much, so long as the public views its own local system as credible.
This is part of what I spoke of as "trust" in this morning's post. When society loses faith in its government and other institutions, when credibility is gone, societies descend into chaos. He's right about that.

The first comment on my post this morning was from DJ, who asked:
What happens when Hillary Clinton loses the election? Do we have the orderly transition of White House Occupant that we have always had in the past? Does the disorder begin election night, or does it begin when the Electoral Collage announces its results, or does it begin January 20th of next year?
This assumes that Hillary will be on the ballot come November. I'm not saying she won't, I'm just pointing out something. Adams' says that he believes Comey declined to recommend charges because:
The alternative was the head of the FBI deciding for the people of the United States who would be their next president. A criminal indictment against Clinton probably would have cost her the election.

How credible would a future President Trump be if he won the election by the FBI’s actions instead of the vote of the public? That would be the worst case scenario even if you are a Trump supporter. The public would never accept the result as credible.

That was the choice for FBI Director Comey. He could either do his job by the letter of the law – and personally determine who would be the next president – or he could take a bullet in the chest for the good of the American public.

He took the bullet.
I'd like to point out that the Democrats haven't held their convention yet. Neither have the Republicans. And while Comey's action may have deflected attention from Hillary's most prominent scandal, it might very well have instead illuminated it with an arc light.

As I have mentioned on this blog previously, the Democrats aren't shy about kicking anybody to the curb they think is a liability. The precedent for that was Robert "The Torch" Torricelli of New Jersey and the election of 2002. When it became apparent that scandal-plagued Torricelli wasn't going to win his seat in the Senate again, the Democrats kicked him to the curb and - illegally - replaced him on the ticket with Frank Lautenberg, who went on to win. (Hey, it's New Jersey. Whaddaya expect?) IF (and it's a big if) Hillary's numbers decline as precipitously as Torricelli's did, it's entirely plausible that she could be replaced on the ticket with Joe Biden or any number of other people, and it could happen as soon as the convention - which is looking to be as "spectacular" as the 1968 one.

Had Comey recommended charges (and the DOJ obliged), it's a near-certain bet that she would not have been on the ticket come November.  The Democrats would have dumped her like a stained blue dress.  Comey took no "bullet," but he did seriously damage the FBI's  and the Department of Justice's credibility.

But that was just one more straw on an increasingly stressed camel's back.

As Yuri Bezmenov stated in that video I posted this morning, the Left has been carrying out "de-moralization" efforts in this and other Western countries for literally generations.  Read up on The Frankfurt School.  Look into the roots of "political correctness," "critical theory," especially "critical pedagogy," and Deconstruction philosophy.  As Bezmenov noted in 1984, those efforts succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of the Left, and they continue unchecked today.  "Multiculturalism" is but the most recent "success" in the Balkanization of Western society.

The fact of the matter is, however, there's nobody leading these efforts.  The destruction of Western Civilization has taken on a life of its own, and destabilization will be the result of the Jenga-like random removal of the structural supports of our society in the mindless effort to bring about that promised Utopia and human redemption that is the promised reward for those who agitate for it.

Trust in government is at all-time lows:  trust in law enforcement, trust in courts, trust in legislatures, trust in executive offices.  Trust in media outlets?  It's been declining (along with newspaper circulation) for decades.  On top of that, trust in business (EEEEVIL CORPORATIONS!) is also pretty much gone.  And with multi-culti, trust in our neighbors is dwindling, too.

We're devolving to tribalism, where no one who is not a blood relative is "one of us" anymore.  E Pluribus Unum no more.
As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Destabilization

It has been said that Western societies are "high-trust" societies, that is, members of these societies trust their fellow citizens and the various institutions that keep the systems running.  We trust each other to (in the majority) behave honorably.  We trust the police to identify and apprehend the suspect when our fellow citizens fail our trust.  We trust the justice system to try and punish, if necessary, those suspects.  We trust the banks to hold our money and at least not lose it.  We trust our media to report the facts.  We trust our government to treat us fairly.

And how much of what I just wrote above is true today?  Not just here, but in Europe as well?

What happens when a high-trust society no longer is high-trust?

You get chaos.

I ran across the Yuri Bezmenov interview video several years ago.  Ignore the interviewer.  Ignore Bezmenov's background.  Ignore references to the KGB - they were supplanted by homegrown converts decades ago.  Ignore everything except for what he is saying.  Pay close attention to that.

Because it sure looks like we're moving towards the endgame right now.


  1. De-moralization - complete beyond anyone's imagination
  2. Destabilization - in progress
  3. Crisis - ?
  4. Violent change of power
  5. Re-normalization
Thoughts?

Oh, and BTW the actions we're seeing in Dallas are pretty much the definition of Pressing the "Fuck It" Button.

I've posted a follow-on piece.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Your Moment of Zen - Interplanetary Edition

After the last couple of posts, I need one of these even if you don't:

 photo Jupiter.jpg
(click to embiggen)

Congratulations to the Juno team for achieving Jovian orbit! That was a helluva shot!

Monday, July 04, 2016

Pressing the "Fuck It" Button

In December of 2003, just a few months after starting this blog, I wrote Pressing the "Reset" Button, my response to this question posted at Jay Solo's now-defunct Verbosity blog:
Question of the Week: Reset Button

I know, I haven't exactly been keeping up with the "of the week" part, but this one ought to make up for it. This question will require some explanation! First I will type the primary question. Then I will explain what the hell I am talking about, and ask any subsidiary questions that come up in the process. Enjoy!

Do you expect the "reset button" to need to be used in our lifetimes? For the sake of a common number, let's define "our lifetimes" as the next fifty years. Hey, I could live that long, given my genes and medical technology.

I was recently discussing with someone the concept of the Second Amendment as the government's reset button. Ultimately a major reason it exists is so the populace cannot be prevented from being armed, or easily disarmed through registration or excess regulation for that matter, in case we must ever take back the government and start again if it gets out of hand or something akin to a coup happens and the imposters must be reckoned with.

It says that the government provides for the national defense, but we retain the right to self-defense, and to keep and bear the tools needed for that, including defense against the government if it ever turns its might inward or ceases to represent us at all. It's not a separate entity, after all. It's us. If it ceases to be us, it ceases to be in our control, it needs to be taken back into the fold.
Do you think this will ever be needed? In the next fifty years? Do you think it will still be possible after another fifty years of those who want as much power, and helplessness of the populace against it as much as possible, chipping away at or disregarding our ability to reset things back to sanity? How about contrarians; do you think the reset interpretation is erroneous or, even if not, will never be needed?
I know I said that I was done writing überposts, but apparently I lied was mistaken. I ran across something earlier in the week that triggered in me the urge to write again. I fought it off valiantly but obviously lost. Either eject now, or go get yourself an adult beverage and settle in for another 5,000+ word wall-o'-text.

You can read my answer to Jay's question, but it boiled down to "Yes, but ineffectively."

In the intervening twelve-plus years I've done a lot of reading, observing, thinking and writing. I've currently got a bookmark folder entitled "Civil War" with about fifty links in it, and those are just the ones I knew I'd eventually want to go back to.  Apparently I've been ruminating on this particular essay for a couple of years without realizing it. The piece that finally forced me back to the keyboard is a year-old post over at Sultan Knish, No Truce With the Left. It echos a lot of the sentiments I have posted here over the years, but as Daniel Greenfield is wont to do, he says it more eloquently than I. A short excerpt:
The left does not care about gay rights. If you doubt that, consider how many of the left's favorite Muslim countries have gay rights. The left has recently divided its campaign passions between gay marriage and defending Iran. Iran denies the existence of gays and hangs them where it finds them.

The USSR treated homosexuality as a crime even while it was recruiting gay men as spies in the West. Cuba, the darling of the American left, hated both gays and blacks. The ACLU backed the police states of Communism. If the left supports an enemy nation, the odds are excellent that it is also a violently bigoted place that makes a KKK rally look like a hippie hangout.

To understand the left, you need to remember that it does not care about 99 percent of the things it claims to care about. Name a leftist cause and then find a Communist country that actually practiced it. Labor unions? Outlawed. Environmentalism? Chernobyl. The left fights all sorts of social and political battles not because it believes in them, but to radicalize, disrupt and take power.

The left does not care about social justice. It cares about power.

That is why no truce is possible with the left. Not on social issues. Not on any issues.
Do read the whole thing.

I was reminded of another old post, this one at a blog that still exists, though it hasn't been updated in several years. I've quoted from it before, and I shall here again. While the author, Glen Wishard, was obviously in error about the lifespan of "the Marxist ideal," (see: Venezuela) his warning preceded Daniel Greenfield's by more than a decade:
The rise and fall of the Marxist ideal is rather neatly contained in the Twentieth Century, and comprises its central political phenomenon. Fascism and democratic defeatism are its sun-dogs. The common theme is politics as a theology of salvation, with a heroic transformation of the human condition (nothing less) promised to those who will agitate for it. Political activity becomes the highest human vocation. The various socialisms are only the most prominent manifestation of this delusion, which our future historian calls "politicism". In all its forms, it defines human beings as exclusively political animals, based on characteristics which are largely or entirely beyond human control: ethnicity, nationality, gender, and social class. It claims universal relevance, and so divides the entire human race into heroes and enemies. To be on the correct side of this equation is considered full moral justification in and of itself, while no courtesy or concession can be afforded to those on the other. Therefore, politicism has no conscience whatsoever, no charity, and no mercy.
(Bold emphasis in original.)  Read that whole thing, too.  It's not long.  But remember this, as I'll be coming back to it - "The common theme is politics as a theology of salvation...."

Another bit I've quoted here repeatedly demands another airing. Ironbear of the also defunct blog Who Tends the Fires? wrote in 2004:
I have read a great deal of history. And I have read a great deal of past political debate and discourse. Like (Billy) Beck, the last time I recall that we were this irrevocably divided between major factions was in the 1850's and 1860's - and we actually went to war within ourselves over it.

The divide is once again that stark, and that bleak. It's not "1968 all over again", it's 1858.

Unlike the first one, the dividing lines don't cut across states. Like the first one, the dividing lines are drawn across views of the ownership of men.... of whether we are owned by ourselves or by The State.

It would be a mistake to paint the conflict exclusively in terms of "cultural war", or Democrats vs Republicans, or even Left vs Right. Neither Democrats/Leftists or Republicans shy away from statism... the arguments there are merely over degree of statism, uses to which statism will be put - and over who'll hold the reins. It's the thought that they may not be left in a position to hold the reins that drives the Democrat-Left stark raving.

--

This is a conflict of ideologies...

The heart of the conflict is between those to whom personal liberty is important, and those to whom liberty is not only inconsequential, but to whom personal liberty is a deadly threat.

At the moment, that contingent is embodied most virulently by the "American" Left. This is the movement that still sees the enslavement and "re-education" of hundreds of thousands in South Vietnam, and the bones of millions used as fertilizer in Cambodia as a victory. This is the movement that sees suicide bombers as Minute Men, and sees the removal of a brutal murder and rape machine from power as totalitarianism. This is the movement that sees legitimately losing an election as the imposition of a police state. This is the movement that believes in seizing private property as "common good". That celebrates Che Guevara as a hero. The movement who's highest representatives talk blithely about taking away your money and limiting your access to your own homestead for your own good. The movement of disarmament.

The movement of the boot across the throat.

Think about it. When was the last time that you were able to engage in anything that resembled a discussion with someone of the Leftist persuasion? Were able to have an argument that was based on the premise that one of you was wrong, rather than being painted as Evil just because you disagreed?

The Left has painted itself into a rhetorical and logical corner, and unfortunately they have no logic that might act as a paint thinner. It's not possible for them to compromise with those that they've managed to conflate with the most venal of malevolence, with those whom they're convinced disagree not because of different opinions but because of stupidity and evil, with those who's core values are diametrically opposed to what the Left has embraced. There can be no real discourse, no real discussion. There's no common ground. There can be no reconciliation there - the Left has nothing to offer that any adherent of freedom wants. The only way they can achieve their venue is from a position of political ascendency where it can be imposed by force or inveigled by guile.

And all adherents of freedom have far too many decades of historical precedent demonstrating exactly where that Leftward road leads - to the ovens of Dachau.
Billy Beck is the author of the quote up on the masthead of this blog that goes, "All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war."

Another of the things that has prompted me to write was the recent Brexit vote and the reaction that has inspired. The problem isn't limited to the US, it's worldwide. Charles Krauthammer once wrote, "To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil." It's become obvious that this is true not just in American politics. I did a Google search on the phrase "Conservatives ruining future." I got 881,000 results in 0.39 seconds. There's a Facebook Page. It's the #1 hit. It was founded March 11 of 2013. The page has 107,842 total Likes.

A search on "liberals ruining future" got 1,080,000 hits in 0.44 seconds. The #1 hit there? Liberals Are Ruining America. I Know Because I Am One. a New York Times Magazine article from June 8, 2012 by one Steve Almond - "famous" for resigning from his position as a non-tenured adjunct professor at Boston College for their selection of Condoleezza Rice as commencement speaker in 2006. Excerpt:
This, to be blunt, is the tragic flaw of the modern liberal. We choose to see ourselves as innocent victims of an escalating right-wing fanaticism. But too often we serve as willing accomplices to this escalation and to the resulting degradation of our civic discourse. We do this, without even meaning to, by consuming conservative folly as mass entertainment.

If this sounds like a harsh assessment, trust me, I’m among the worst offenders. Yes, I’m one of those enlightened masochists who tune in to conservative talk radio when driving alone. I recognize this as pathological behavior, and I always make sure to switch the station back to NPR before returning the car to my wife. But I can’t help myself. I take a perverse and complicated pleasure in listening to all the mean, manipulative things those people say.
Read that whole essay. I dare you.

Oh, there is a Facebook page for Liberals are Destroying Our Future as well. Apparently it was made in June of this year. It has, at the time of this writing, 132 Likes.

I came across the phrase "conservatives are ruining our future" in a piece about the Brexit vote. A few minutes of Googling and I felt like I needed to take a shower. And to finally write this essay.

"Those people," Professor Almond says.  The Other.

One thing that has, if not changed certainly accelerated since I wrote "Reset" Button has been the increasing "othering" by the two sides.  Just a few weeks ago I wrote Remember "Civility in Politics"? That piece was the motivation for putting Beck's quote on the masthead.  As Roberta X noted, also in 2012, othering is the necessary prerequisite that justifies violence and murder.  It only takes one side to do it, but it doesn't have to be a one-way street.  The Sultan Knish post referenced above is one such, obviously.  Another is Admit It: Decent Folks No Longer Have a Place in the Democratic Party, a piece written by Steve Pauwells and published at Clash Daily in February of 2014 (I told you I've been working on this piece for a couple of years.)  Excerpt:
With so much to choose from in the political/cultural Left’s fetid trove of ludicrosities and obscenities, I’m not sure why this particular outcropping of obnoxiousness set me off so sharply – but it did. And reminded me of a harsh truth that simply must be acknowledged once and for all: these are bad people– the Democrats, I mean.

I know, the frontliners in the GOP too frequently are prodigies of gutlessness. Boehner and company? An embarrassment of don’t-create-a-ruckus, go-along-to-get-along accomodationalism, for sure.

But Democrats? They’ve nakedly, ineluctably morphed into the party of evil. As I said, harsh; but undeniably true.

Along with leading the charge in bankrupting America fiscally, Dems have gone whole hog in ransacking the soul of her citizens, as well. These towering disgraces have nailed their colors — Pink? Lavender? Red? Mortuary Gray? — to the mast of legalized baby-killing, perversion of sex and genuine marriage, institutionalized envy and victimhood. Defecating on our military and law enforcement is a party-wide pastime for these wretches — cloyingly using cops or troops as political props when convenient, otherwise icily cutting their legs out from under them at virtually every juncture. This braying Donkey caucus thrives on distorting facts and debauching history — that is, lying — and turning American against American: black or Latino versus white, woman versus man, young versus old, taker versus producer. Since God specifically clues us in that He “hates” those last two bits of odiousness (Proverbs 6:19), are we allowed to call their proponents what they are: wicked?
Another, also from 2014, is The Fascist States of America, posted at the Zman blog,  Excerpt:
Way back in the olden thymes, I got a close up look at the Cult of Modern Liberalism. This was back in the early Reagan years when I was a part time employee for the Congressman Clarence Long. I was just a kid and a nobody, but Susanna, his wife, took a liking to me and that gave me the run of the place, so to speak. I used to have lunch with the Congressman two or three days a week. He was a nice man, but about as interesting as vanilla ice cream. That’s true of every elected official I met in Washington. privately, they were very dull.

The interesting people were the aides and activists. The ones on the Right were full of excitement about finally turning back the liberal tide. Even as a kid, I thought they were delusional, but they were fun. On the other hand, the old liberals defending the status quo were scary. They were deadly serious and ideology was everything. These were not people interested in free and open debate. They were not all that interested in the free market of ideas. They wanted to win and they were not interested in deviationists in their midsts.

The lesson I have carried with me ever since is this. Unless and until the Right comes to terms with what they are facing, America is doomed. These are not people with whom you can reason or compromise. They are fanatics. To quote myself, “The Liberal is out there! They can’t be bargained with. They can’t be reasoned with. They don’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And they absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.”
Psychologist Robert Godwin over at the blog One Cosmos wrote How I Cured Myself of Leftism in 2005.  Pertinent excerpt:
At this point in time, I am more inclined to think of leftism as an intellectual pathology rather than a psychological one (although there is clearly considerable overlap). What I mean is that it is impossible to maintain a priori that a conservative person is healthier or more emotionally mature than a liberal. There are plenty of liberals who believe crazy things but are wonderful people, and plenty of conservatives who have the right ideas but are rotten people. However, this may be begging the question, for it is still puzzling why people hold beliefs that are demonstrably untrue or at the very least unwise.

One of the problems is with our elites. We are wrong to think that the difficulty lies in the uneducated and unsophisticated masses--as if inadequate education, in and of itself, is the problem. As a matter of fact, no one is more prone to illusions than the intellectual. It has been said that philosophy is simply personal error on a grandiose scale. Complicating matters is the fact that intellectuals are hardly immune to a deep emotional investment in their ideas, no less than the religious individual. The word "belief" is etymologically linked to the word "beloved," and it is easy to see how certain ideas, no matter how dysfunctional--for example, some of the undeniably appealing ideas underpinning contemporary liberalism--are beloved by those who believe them. Thus, many liberal ideas are believed not because they are true, but because they are beautiful. Then, the intellectual simply marshals their intelligence in service of legitimizing the beliefs that they already hold. It has long been understood by psychoanalysts that for most people, reason is the slave of the passions.
Read that whole thing, too.  Of course, the Left tried to "prove" that Conservatism was a mental disorder.  Turns out, not so much.

The thing is, the more I study the more I agree with Godwin, the Zman, Daniel Greenfield and Steve Pauwells.  And the more certain I am that the Left concluded long ago what Charles Krauthammer says they did.  Zman characterized the "aides and activists" on the Right as "delusional, but they were fun."  The old liberals were "scary.  They were deadly serious and ideology was everything."

And that's the difference.  For one side it's a competition.  For the other side, it's a war.  A holy war.

When Barack Obama was running for his first term as President, his wife told us:
Barack Obama is the only person in this race who understands that, that before we can work on the problems, we have to fix our souls. Our souls are broken in this nation.
Hillary Clinton in her 1969 Commencement address at Wellsley said:
What does it mean to hear that 13.3% of the people in this country are below the poverty line? That's a percentage. We're not interested in social reconstruction; it's human reconstruction.
Al Gore in a 2010 New York Times op-ed wrote:
Some news media organizations now present showmen masquerading as political thinkers who package hatred and divisiveness as entertainment. And as in times past, that has proved to be a potent drug in the veins of the body politic. Their most consistent theme is to label as “socialist” any proposal to reform exploitive behavior in the marketplace.

From the standpoint of governance, what is at stake is our ability to use the rule of law as an instrument of human redemption.
What is socialism if not an attempt at human redemption?  Remember, "The common theme is politics as a theology of salvation, with a heroic transformation of the human condition (nothing less) promised to those who will agitate for it."  Not achieve it - agitate for it.  Outcome doesn't matter, only intent.

In 2008 I wrote The Church of the MSM and the New Reformation, a book review of sorts of Brian Anse Patrick's The National Rifle Association and the Media:  The Motivating Force of Negative Coverage.  It was a bit more than that, more like an exposè of the media's statist orientation, but the pertinent portion for this essay is this excerpt from Patrick's book:
They (journalists) truly seem to believe this, that they have access to information to which philosophers and scientists have been denied. I spoke once to a journalist who worried out loud about "compromising" her objectivity when covering a story.

The claim being advanced here, by assumption, is that journalists can truly convey or interpret the nature of reality as opposed to the various organizational versions of events in which journalists must daily traffic. The claim is incredible and amounts to a Gnostic pretension of being "in the know" about the nature or reality, or at least the reality that matters most politically.

An ecclesiastical model most appropriately describes this elite journalistic function under mass democracy. Information is the vital substance that makes the good democracy possible. It allows, as it were, for the existence of the good society, a democratic state of grace. Information is in this sense analogous to the concept of divine grace under the pre-Reformation Roman Catholic Church. Divine grace was essential for the good spiritual life, the life that mattered. The clergy dispensed divine grace to the masses in the form of sacraments. They were its intermediaries, who established over time a monopoly, becoming the exclusive legitimate channel of divine grace.

Recollect that the interposition of intermediaries, the clergy, along a vital spiritual-psychological supply route was the rub of the Reformation. The clergy cloaked themselves in the mantle of spiritual authority rather than acting as its facilitators. Many elite newspapers have apparently done much the same thing, speaking and interpreting authoritatively for democracy, warranting these actions on the basis of social responsibility.

It is not accident, then, that the pluralistic model of social action largely discounts journalists as an important class. In the same way the decentralized religious pluralism generically known as Protestantism discounts the role of clergy. This should be expected. Pluralism and Protestantism share common historical origins. American pluralism particularly is deeply rooted in the Reformation's reaction to interpretive monopoly.

Journalists, particularly elite journalists, occupy under mass democracy this ecclesiastical social role, a functional near-monopoly whose duty becomes disseminating and interpreting the administrative word and its symbols unto the public. Democratic communication in this sense is sacramental, drawing its participants together into one body.
I would go so far as to include public educators in this ecclesiastic order. It is their job to indoctrinate each new generation in The Word, The Light and The Life. After all, human redemption is the goal, and Government is The Way. 

By way of example, look at this piece - an April 14, 2014 New York Times column by the Times' token "conservative*," David Brooks entitled A Long Obedience
The Israelites in Exodus whine; they groan; they rebel for petty reasons. When they are lost in a moral wilderness, they immediately construct an idol to worship and give meaning to their lives.

But Exodus is a reminder that statecraft is soulcraft, that good laws can nurture better people. Even Jews have different takes on how exactly one must observe the 613 commandments, but the general vision is that the laws serve many practical and spiritual purposes. For example, they provide a comforting structure for daily life. If you are nervous about the transitions in your life, the moments when you go through a door post, literally or metaphorically, the laws will give you something to do in those moments and ease you on your way.

The laws tame the ego and create habits of deference by reminding you of your subordination to something permanent. The laws spiritualize matter, so that something very normal, like having a meal, has a sacred component to it. The laws build community by anchoring belief in common practices. The laws moderate religious zeal; faith is not expressed in fiery acts but in everyday habits. The laws moderate the pleasures; they create guardrails that are meant to restrain people from going off to emotional or sensual extremes.

The 20th-century philosopher Eliyahu Dessler wrote, “the ultimate aim of all our service is to graduate from freedom to compulsion.”
Which would explain why the US Code of Federal Regulations sections concerning handrails run to nearly 1000 words.  Same for doors.

Statecraft is soulcraft!  Nothing compels like fines and jail time.  It's spiritual!  Submit, heathens, or face the Inquisition!  It's for your own good!

Now, look at how heathens and especially apostates are treated.  Brendan Eich gets forced out of his CEO position at Mozilla for contributing to California's Proposition 8 supporting a ban on gay marriage.  Larry Summers, President of Harvard was forced out of that position for various apostasies.  Columnist Mark Steyn is currently fighting a lawsuit over his Global Warming heresy.  Scientist Matt Taylor was forced to verbally self-flagellate for wearing a sexist shirt during a television interview after landing a probe on a comet.  The list goes on.  And now it's becoming  instiutionalized - the new Democrat Party platform includes a plank calling for the investigation and prosecution of Global Warming skeptics, a tactic already embraced by a number of Attorneys General in fifteen states, Washington, D.C. and the Virgin Islands.

The Gun Rights movement has managed to get a couple of outdoor magazine journalists fired for supporting bans on semi-automatic rifles, and the rightwing internet did manage to cost Dan Rather and a few others at CBS their jobs over Memogate, but our track record is nothing compared to the Left's.

Oh, wait.  We made Piers Morgan go home.  But then Jeremy Clarkson has actually punched him. We're not a patch on that.

However, it appears that the only place where we've held off the Left has been on the topic of gun control. Why is that?

I believe it's because that's the only topic on which we have a consistent, coherent and widespread philosophy.  It may be as simple as "SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!" but it is shared by a large number of people who may otherwise be politically apathetic.  The Left is made up of a gigantic mishmash of self-contradicting ideologies and agendas, but they all share one underlying belief:  The political Right is evil, intolerable and must be - not defeated  - but destroyed if the Future Is To Be Saved.

Eric Hoffer in his 1951 book The True Believer:  Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements wrote about the rise of the mass movement WWII was fought against.  (Strongly recommended, if you've never read it.)  I wrote about this in my 2005 essay Reasonable People, and this excerpt is again pertinent:
Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all unifying agents. It pulls and whirls the individual away from his own self, makes him oblivious of his weal and future, frees him of jealousies and self-seeking. He becomes an anonymous particle quivering with a craving to fuse and coalesce with his like into one flaming mass. (Heinrich) Heine suggests that what Christian love cannot do is effected by a common hatred.

Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil. Usually the strength of a mass movement is proportionate to the vividness and tangibility of its devil. When Hitler was asked whether he thought the Jew must be destroyed, he answered: "No.... We should have then to invent him. It is essential to have a tangible enemy, not merely an abstract one." F.A. Voigt tells of a Japanese mission that arrived in Berlin in 1932 to study the National Socialist movement. Voigt asked a member of the mission what he thought of the movement. He replied: "It is magnificent. I wish we could have something like it in Japan, only we can't, because we haven't got any Jews."
For the Left, any not part of The Body are the new Jews, and I think we understand that - some of us at least subconsciously.  Estimates are that about 100 million new guns were purchased by individuals since 2006, along with a LOT of ammunition, mostly handguns and semi-automatic military-pattern rifles.  This was not done in anticipation of handing them in at some future date.  So, we have the numbers to thwart them in the legislatures and for now the courts are going our way, but pretty much nowhere else are we making headway because they're True Believers and we (mostly) still think of the Left as the Loyal Opposition.  We don't want war.  We, after all, have a lot to lose.  But as long as they're fighting a war and we're not, we're going to be on the losing side.

In 2010 Angelo Codevilla  wrote a very influential piece, America's Ruling Class and the Perils of Revolution.  This was one of the first mainstream pieces I can remember reading that expressed the idea that our government was not divided by the Democrats and Republicans, but it is instead occupied by what Roberta X refers to as "the two halves of the Running Things Party" - as Codevilla calls them, "the Ruling Class" - and they aren't interested in listening to us.  Pertinent excerpt:
Important as they are, our political divisions are the iceberg’s tip. When pollsters ask the American people whether they are likely to vote Republican or Democrat in the next presidential election, Republicans win growing pluralities. But whenever pollsters add the preferences “undecided,” “none of the above,” or “tea party,” these win handily, the Democrats come in second, and the Republicans trail far behind. That is because while most of the voters who call themselves Democrats say that Democratic officials represent them well, only a fourth of the voters who identify themselves as Republicans tell pollsters that Republican officeholders represent them well. Hence officeholders, Democrats and Republicans, gladden the hearts of some one-third of the electorate — most Democratic voters, plus a few Republicans. This means that Democratic politicians are the ruling class’s prime legitimate representatives and that because Republican politicians are supported by only a fourth of their voters while the rest vote for them reluctantly, most are aspirants for a junior role in the ruling class. In short, the ruling class has a party, the Democrats. But some two-thirds of Americans — a few Democratic voters, most Republican voters, and all independents — lack a vehicle in electoral politics.

Sooner or later, well or badly, that majority’s demand for representation will be filled.
Apparently not this year.  Read that piece if you haven't already.

So one third of the nation is politically engaged.  Two-thirds of us feel ignored and abused.  Now a chunk of those who feel that the Democrats don't represent them are the really hardcore Left who are angry that Obama didn't implement whole-scale Socialism upon his inauguration, but most of the disenfranchised are pissed at the government's profligate spending, reckless abuse and accumulation of powers and complete lack of accountability.

The aforementioned Billy Beck in a 2005 post, "A Pack, Not A Herd", said: 
Carol Ann Rand, of the Georgia Libertarian Party, once pointed out to me that the commies have it all over us when it comes to organization, because they're the ones who are built for "unity". "Trying to organize libertarians," she said, "is like trying to herd cats."
He also said in a lead-in piece entitled Coming Distractions:
Here is the central problem surrounding what you people are talking about:

There is no coherent and cohesive philosophy underpinning it.

--

But you people are talking about blowing the place up, whether you know it or not. That's the only way it can go, as things are now, because there is no philosophy at the bottom of what you're talking about. Once the shooting starts, all bets are off.
Which echoes what I said in answer to Jay Solo's question two years earlier, though perhaps more apocalyptically.  That's what happens when individuals press the "Fuck It" button.

It is generally accepted that two hundred and forty-one years ago, a year before the Declaration of Independence was signed, about a third of the population was loyalist, a third neutral, and perhaps a third in favor of revolt.  In January of 1776 Thomas Paine published his magnum opus Common Sense.  By July it had sold over 150,000 copies, and changed a nation.  Created a nation.  The people had a philosophy behind their rebellion, even if it was "FUCK KING GEORGE!"  We have no such unifying philosophy.  "Treat me with benign neglect" is not a philosophy.

They've got hate, and a holy mandate to build Utopia - on our corpses, if history is any guide.  We've got a populace that knows something is wrong, but has been robbed of the education necessary to grasp exactly what and then reason themselves out of the problem.  Robbed by the same forces that are intent on building that Utopia.  Instead, a significant portion voted for Donald Trump, mostly out of sheer frustration.  Another example of pressing the "Fuck It" button.

This does not bode well for us.



(*David Brooks is "conservative" for a New Yorker.  That puts him to the left of pretty much anybody in Texas outside of Austin.)

Happy (In)Dependence Day.

UPDATE:  Gerard Van der Leun reposts a 2010 piece on this topic you should read..