November, 2018

Mere Christianity

November 29th, 2018 10 Comments

 

Food for thought for those who believe in tribal identity, either by race or gender or whatever; but those of us who believe strongly in individual rights and the importance of self-reliance also need to pay attention to this quote from Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis:

“The idea that the whole human race is, in a sense, one thing—one huge organism, like a tree—must not be confused with the idea that individual differences do not matter or that real people, Tom and Nobby and Kate, are somehow less important than collective things like classes, races, and so forth. Indeed the two ideas are opposites. Things which are parts of a single organism may be very different from one another: things which are not, may be very alike. Six pennies are quite separate and very alike; my nose and my lungs are very different but they are only alive at all because they are parts of my body and share its common life. Christianity thinks of human individuals not as mere members of a group or items in a list, but as organs in a body—different from one another and each contributing what no other could. When you find yourself wanting to turn your children, or pupils, or even your neighbors, into people exactly like yourself, remember that God probably never meant them to be that. You and they are different organs, intended to do different things. On the other hand, when you are tempted not to bother about someone else’s troubles because they ‘are no business of yours,’ remember that though he is different from you he is part of the same organism as you. If you forget that he belongs to the same organism as yourself you will become an Individualist. If you forget that he is a different organ from you, if you want to suppress differences and make all people alike, you will become a Totalitarian. But a Christian must not be either a Totalitarian or an Individualist.”

The War on Drugs

November 15th, 2018 16 Comments

 

Pity the fool. Pity poor Donald Trump. He really doesn’t have a clue.

I am going to make a liberal, left-wing suggestion that will outrage right-wing conservatives, but before you throw up your hands and condemn me, hear me out.

The problem with all of us smelly deplorables electing a non-professional politician as president of the Unites States is that the poor naïve schmuck actually seems to believe he is supposed to keep—or at least try to keep—his campaign promises. Trump doesn’t realize politicians just promise whatever they hell they want or must to get elected; nobody expects them to ever keep a promise, for goodness sake! What a joke.

Trump declared war on drugs on the campaign trail, and, most recently since his election, on opioids in particular. Now let’s see, which president since Richard Nixon (who coined the phrase in 1971) has not declared war on drugs? And how are we doing with that, America?

No one ever accused me of being the brightest bulb in the tanning bed, but I am smart enough to realize that after almost half a century of failing at something, it might be time to try another tactic. Call me an easily discouraged quitter, but that’s how I feel about it.

So I am going to suggest that we just give up—sort of—and legalize drugs; not only marijuana, but every damned thing that you can put in your body to alter or dim your consciousness.

Wait. Don’t go away angry. Listen to some well-known facts before you lose your temper.

Scientists who study such things say that approximately ten to fifteen percent of any population group anywhere in the world will be prone to some form of addiction, be it drugs, alcohol, gambling, whatever, and that percentage of the population will have that tendency no matter what. (Whether they all indulge their tendency or not is another matter.)

Approximately eight to ten percent of Americans are currently considered drug-addicted.

America spends approximately $30- to $100-billion (depending which source you choose to believe and how you calculate it) every single year on the war on drugs. That’s the cost you and I, the American taxpayer, pay to prevent the stuff getting in the country; to try and stop or eradicate it at its international source; to arrest and incarcerate people for selling and/or using it; to provide treatment for addicts; and for campaigns to discourage or prevent people (children, primarily) from starting down the dark road to addiction.

Even at the low end, that’s a hefty chunk of change, but that price tag doesn’t include the ancillary costs: the over 63,000 (according to the CDC) dead from overdoses every year; the quotidian violence and murder in our city streets that destroys not only lives but entire communities; the 250,000 murdered in Mexico alone in the last ten years—more than 55 people a day is the estimate—to feed America’s hunger for addiction; the practically endless costs of less violent varieties of crime (burglaries and robberies); the costs, both in dollars and in human lives, of drug-impaired people driving in the car next to you, or just behind you, or coming toward you, every single time you get behind the wheel of your car.

Legalizing drugs would have several, almost immediate results.

It would drive the price down, which would put most local dealers out of business immediately.

It would eventually put the cartels out of business. Yes, I understand they’re all criminals and would just turn their attention to some other illegal activity, but destroying their bread and butter would save countless lives and countless billions of dollars.

The American government, on the other hand, could make money hand over fist by regulating and taxing the stuff, just the way they do alcohol.

It would provide some measure of control over who takes drugs and what drugs they take. Addicts would have to register to be able to get their drugs, take the stuff in a controlled environment where they wouldn’t overdose or kill you with their driving, and be exposed to endless opportunities to kick their habit.

I suspect the number of addicts would drop because making drugs legal and administering them through some boring bureaucratic agency would take away much of the “wow factor” that causes teenagers to experiment, teenagers being notorious for wanting to do whatever they are told they may not do.

It would save lives: the more than 63,000 who die from overdoses every year, for one; for another, the murder rate would plummet, because approximately 95% to 98% of murders in this country are directly or indirectly drug-related, according to law enforcement; it would reduce the number of traffic accident fatalities (although, to be fair, I have to admit more accidents are caused by cell phones and texting than by impaired driving).

If you disagree, present your arguments against legalization, but make sure you have some alternative to the current, ineffective, wasteful, and destructive war on drugs, because spinning your wheels for fifty years is really not too smart.

Macron and the United Nations

November 13th, 2018 6 Comments

In Paris, at the ceremonies to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, French President Emmanuel Macron gave a speech in which he shook a metaphorical finger at President Donald Trump and other leaders who have espoused “nationalism.” Nationalism is defined as putting the interests of one’s own nation ahead of other nations, and Macron decried it as the exact opposite of patriotism. He went on to claim nationalism “erases” the moral values of any nation that espouses that belief. He pointed to the European Union and the United Nations as examples of how the world should live and as “guarantors of peace.”

Really, Mr. Macron? I don’t follow the doings of the European Union that closely, but in the case of the United Nations, you picked a poor example. Just to remind you of one instance, one where the United States generally and Bill Clinton in particular should also hang their heads in shame, why don’t you go tell the 500,000 to 1,000,000 dead Tutsi in Rwanda what a masterful job the United Nations did of protecting them and preserving peace in that country?

How about Syria, Mr. Macron? Did the United Nations live up to your high standards as guarantors of peace when China and Russia invoked their veto power to overrule France, the United Kingdom, and the United States in their attempt to prevent genocide in Syria in 2012?

Do you really want a world run by the same United Nations that elected the Islamic Republic of Iran to the board responsible for overseeing “gender equality and the empowerment of women?” I wonder how the women of France feel about that.

Do you really want a world run by the same United Nations that elected (among others) Saudi Arabia, China, Venezuela, and Pakistan to be responsible for the Human Rights Council? Please. If that weren’t an actual fact it would make for a preposterous and unbelievable comedy sketch on Saturday Night Live.

I wonder how the Bosnian women who were raped (and many of them murdered) by Serbian soldiers felt about the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces (primarily Dutch, in that case) that stood by and did nothing.

I suspect the approximately 300,000 Sudanese civilians butchered by, apparently, both the Janjaweed and the Sudanese government, weren’t terribly impressed by the two-hundred (200) soldiers the UN finally saw fit to send into an area the size of Alaska.

You pointed to the United Nations as the institution the world should look to in order to insure the kind of international cooperation that developed after two world wars.

Golly, Mr. Macron, putting all the minor little instances above aside, you must have forgotten about the League of Nations, precursor to the United Nations, whose primary mandate was to insure world peace. How did that work for France and the rest of world? I assume in your eagerness to commemorate the end of World War One by lecturing Donald Trump you haven’t forgotten about that little thing known as World War Two.

There are many, many more examples I could give you of the glowing and stellar performance record of the UN, Mr. Macron, but I will only stress one more, the most shameful one of all, one that you, as a Frenchman, should be especially ashamed of:

According to the Wall Street Journal, as of 2016 the United Nations Human Rights Council had condemned Israel more than every other nation combined. More than Syria. More than China. More than Venezuela. More than Pakistan. More than Turkey. More than all of them. That would be the same United Nations that held a World Conference Against Racism which then booed the Israeli supporters off the stage with chants of “Jew! Jew! Jew!” Have you forgotten, or are you so ignorant of your own country’s history that you are now willing to embrace anti-Semitism in your eagerness for a kumbaya world order? For shame, Mr. Macron, for shame!

In the future, do what you want to your own country, Mr. Macron, and keep your nose out of American affairs. I am a proud, patriotic American nationalist and I do not want you or the United Nations telling me how I should live. I especially do not intend to live up to your beloved United Nations’ anti-Semitic standards.

Armistice Day

November 11th, 2018 4 Comments

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the most senseless waste of human life in history, and to honor the gallant military, dead and alive, who helped and help still to keep America safe and free, I offer a poem by one of the lesser-known War Poets of World War One:

In Memoriam

Private D. Sutherland killed in action in the German trench, May 16th, 1916, and the others who died.

So you were David’s father,

And he was your only son,

And the new-cut peats are rotting

And the work is left undone,

Because of an old man weeping,

Just an old man in pain,

For David, his son David,

That will not come again.

 

Oh, the letters he wrote you,

And I can see them still,

Not a word of the fighting

But just the sheep on the hill

And how you should get the crops in

Ere the year get stormier,

And the Bosches have got his body,

And I was his officer.

 

You were only David’s father,

But I had fifty sons

When we went up in the evening

Under the arch of the guns,

And we came back at twilight–

O God! I heard them call

To me for help and pity

That could not help at all.

 

Oh, never will I forget you,

My men that trusted me,

More my sons than your fathers’,

For they could only see

The little helpless babies

And the young men in their pride.

They could not see you dying,

And hold you while died.

 

Happy and young and gallant,

They saw their first-born go,

But not the strong limbs broken

And the beautiful men brought low,

The piteous writhing bodies,

They screamed ‘Don’t leave me, sir,’

For they were only your fathers

But I was your officer.

 

E. A. Mackintosh, killed in action, 1916

Johann Fanzoj

November 5th, 2018 7 Comments

Just to get all our minds off the endless, soul-killing litany of malicious lies and braggadocio of the mid-term elections, I have decided to post some photographs sent to me by rancher and novelist John L. Moore of a work of art by a gun maker I’d never even heard of before.

Johann Fanzoj has been making guns in Ferlach, Austria ever since 1790, and it looks as if they have a pretty good idea of what they’re doing. The gun in the photographs is a Vierling, a four-barreled gun. It would require far more money than I have to buy it, and far more skill than I have to use it, but enjoy the photos.

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