The Era of the Clown

As of this writing, we seem to be in a grip of an invasion of clowns.  Creepy clowns seem to be roving all over America and world with stories of people being scared by people in funny makeup and that the wearing of clown costumes are now being discouraged by government officials.  To me, it seems to be little more than hype that has been created by the media to bolster their bottom lines.  What should really worry us is the massive infestation of clowns that is in an area known as Washington, D.C.

We have two clowns that are now running for office of the President of the United States.  They promise us the moon and stars and want us to be free from the pains of everyday life.  Just trust them and they will take care of all.  How far have we fallen from the idea of limited constitutional government where the federal government was felt in few places except for perhaps the post office.   All of that changed in the 1930s with the rise of the New Deal.  From that time on, the growth of the Washington government has continued unabated and that our liberties and freedoms are fast eroding and that the debt has risen to almost $20 trillion and will no doubt go higher.   We are now caught in a trap and have no conventional way to climb out without taking austerity measures that will be painful.

No, the American public will have none of that.  We are now reduced to being titillated by the proclivities of presidential candidates on both sides without thinking very deeply on the calamities that are upon us. This fact was well illustrated by Neil Postman who wrote in his best-selling book Amusing Ourselves to Death:

When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.

We are indeed in a state of cultural rot.  Reading of books has gone down with people huddled at their computers watching the latest “comedy” on TV which includes bad presidential candidates, various transvestites, raunchy jokes and navel gazing.  Where are the people that wish to create true beauty and peace in our culture?  No, the revelations of Donald Trump reflect the nature of the American people, a nation of culturally immature people that care little about the future and are only interested in the here and now.  Get it while you can because you can enjoy life just once.

If you want to escape the rot, please go to places like the Imaginative Conservative Website, Ligonier Ministries, Acton Institute and other quality websites that wish to restore truth and beauty in the land.  Political clowns won’t save us.  Only when a people humble themselves will any positive change occur.  Stop with the talk of America being the greatest nation on the face of earth or talking about our President being the leader of the free world.  We deserve NOTHING for our embracing a culture of death. God stated in his word:

For the Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low. — Isaiah 2:12 (ESV)

 

Kaepernick–Right for the wrong reasons

This past week, the sports world has been in an uproar over the refusal of San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick to stand for the national anthem.   Cries of treason and ungratefulness have come from various circles.  Kaepernick for his part stated the following:

“This country stands for freedom, liberty and justice for all and that’s just not happening right now.”

The controversy has been dusted up only a few weeks after U.S. gymnast Gabby Douglas was criticized for not putting her hand over her heart during the medal ceremony for the All-Around gymnastics title for women at Olympic Games in Rio.  What are we to make over this issue?  Is it right to stand for the anthem and not pay respect for the country?

Kaepernick should have been paying attention for what the American government has done for the many years to our liberties, yet he has been oblivious to the fact that the government has not stood for freedom, justice and liberty for ANYBODY and not just for African-Americans only.   In fact, the liberties that the country has had in the past have been slowly eroding for the past 100 years.  Our interventions during the world wars, the Cold War and the War on Terror have cost us massive amounts of money, an increase of government that dominates all areas of our lives and a general decline of our cultural mores.

Up until just a few years ago, many football games were first opened with prayer and invocations were done by various officials and God was honored.  As you can see about five minutes into this video of the 1966 Gator Bowl, prayer came before the anthem.  With various Supreme Court decisions over the years, prayers at college and high school games have been banned in the name of the First Amendment.  It seems that nationalism is the new religion and that refusal to stand is tantamount to blasphemy.

As far as respect for country, one must ask what is our country.  Is it some mega country covering tens of thousands of square miles or is it our community or our area? When Robert E. Lee fought for his country, it was not the Confederacy, but his home state of Virginia.  When Lee surrendered at Appomattox, it was the beginning of the end for this nation.  We are now an empire that does not stand for liberty of any sort, but for materialism. statism, abortions and a general hubris that has been discussed so well by men like Michael Scheuer, Ralph Raico, Robert Higgs , Joe Sobran and William Grigg.

Andrew Bacevich opened his book “Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country,” with an illustration on how the flag had been elevated to god-like status and that the National Anthem is part of the new civic religion.

Kaepernick might be wrong in his motives, but there are many in America that have the feeling that something is terribly wrong with this country.   I Samuel 8 is a perfect illustration on how a people refuse to abide by the standards of God and instead put their trust and faith in a king to rule over the land.  We do not have a God-honoring nation anymore so why the fuss over someone not standing for a national anthem.

 

A Giant in Bravery and Courage

This is a review of a book that I just posted on Amazon on the experiences of Witold Pilecki, a Polish army officer who volunteered to go to Auschwitz:

In an era where the word “hero” is bandied about a little too much, one can go back to an era where bravery and heroism was done by people who went above and beyond the call of duty.  In this book, the report of Captain Witold Pilecki on his experiences in the Auschwitz concentration camp in what is now western Poland is told with stunning clarity and anguish. 

By intentionally involving himself in a roundup by SS officers, he undertook a mission to go inside Auschwitz to see how the camp was being run and to buildup resistance among the Poles who were detained there. Throughout the report, he told of great hardship where “capos” and SS men were extraordinarily cruel to the prisoners where men were put into “commandos” and essentially worked to death (finished off).  Pilecki survived in part by conserving his energy during the ordeal and using his wits to obtain better jobs in the camp that involve lighter labor.

He recorded all of the great horrors of the camp including Soviet prisoners being exterminated all at once with gas and men and women being given phenol injections to procure agonizing deaths.  Others were given too little of the drug and were burned alive in the oven.  Jews were the main targets of these atrocities, but Poles, Ukrainians, Czechs and to a certain extent Catholic priests had a share in this horror.

After being informed that he might be sent to a harsher camp where he might not survive, he planned his escape in April 1943 and accomplished it with a large amount of suspense and drama.  He escaped to the “General government” area east of Krakow where he met men of the Polish Home Army and reported his findings.   The final tragedy was to come several years later at the hands of his own countrymen who embraced the Soviet government and tried him as a spy.  Nonetheless, this story which is contained in this book should be read by all who look for men who were giants.   A brilliant book with a short introduction and informative appendices.

 

The South

I looked forward with great anticipation in traveling with my son to some memorable places in the South, an area rich in culture and history that is fast being forgotten in an era of mass consumerism and living for the moment.  The South is different place.  It is a place where things are slower and the people seem to be more laid back.

My travels took me through the upper deep South with stops in Vicksburg, Tuscaloosa, Chattanooga, Nashville and areas of western Tennessee before coming back home.  It was here that we went to various sites where major Civil War battles took place.  Vicksburg, Chickamauga, Stones River and Shiloh ring in the memory of many down here where even 150 years after the fact, the scars are still present.  The remnants of trenches are still seen at Vicksburg where Union troops dug in for several months of siege before the confederates surrendered the town on July 4, 1863, a date which was the beginning of the end for the Southerners.

Chickamauga and Shiloh were bloody affairs where thousands died in the battles and the massive rows of graves are prominent in those areas as well as Stones River.  It is my firm belief that while the Union was saved, the Republic that we have read in the history books was shattered forever. One need only to watch the inane acceptance speeches of both parties during the past few weeks to see that even the ghosts of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Clay, Calhoun and Webster are fast leaving us.

The South still has the magic of past in it with folks saying “Sir” and Ma’am” to each other, listening to country music on stations such as WSM out of Nashville and folks gobbling up hash browns at Waffle House along the interstate.  The weather was hot and humid, but the sounds and the winds of the night air seem to impress my mind with memories that will last the rest of my lifetime.

Good ole Rocky Top indeed.

Russell Kirk: American Conservative–a review

Here is my review of Russell Kirk: American Conservative that I posted on Amazon: 

In a few short days, I journeyed through the 75 years that Russell Kirk lived on this earth from his humble beginnings in rural Michigan to his final home going at Piety Hill in 1994 by reading this very enjoyable biography by Bradley Birzer, a professor of history at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan.

The strengths are many in this book including the fact that much of the research came through retrieval of the personal correspondence and diaries of Prof. Kirk.  There are also other written letters from people dealing with Kirk and that there was much citing of journals and magazines dating back to the 1950s.

Kirk is shown to be a staunch stoic who bared up to the monotony of being stationed for four years during World War II at the Dugway Proving Grounds 85 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah.  It was here that he saw the expanse of the West and the desolation that was ingrained into his memory for the rest of his life.  It was a world totally different from where he grew up in the forested areas of Michigan.

There is so much more that can be said for the man, but the main points that I took away from this book include the fact that he was his own man who had a unique personality almost to the point of being called an eccentric.  He walked with a sword cane and wore a cape wherever he went.  He also despised modern technology that included the automobile, the radio and most especially the television where he threw a fit when his family watched several programs on the tube and proceeded shortly thereafter to throw the device out of the window.   He felt that technology made people less human and robbed people of imagination and opportunities for introspection.

Kirk was also a man who felt that politics was not the way that men should solve problems.  He departed from this belief in the early 1960s through his support of Goldwater and in the early 1980s when he tried to give advice to Ronald Reagan in terms of promoting conservatism.  By the end of his life, he was very critical of the massive growth of government and especially the military industrial complex and came out vehemently against the Gulf War.

Kirk’s conversion shortly before his marriage in 1964 was another highlight of this book.  The author contended that Kirk’s embracing of the Catholic faith was not instantaneous, but rather developed over the course of many years.  He was in the end a man of faith who had a very Stoic life and instilled that philosophy in his children with the help of his wife Annette.

Also, Kirk was not a man that believed in programs.  No ideology could change the hearts of men, for such things could only do more damage to civilization and mankind.  Kirk strived to return to the “permanent things,” those things that came by tradition and by Faith over the course of centuries.  He was very wary of the novel and the unproven which tended toward radicalism.  Kirk was not a libertarian by any stretch but by the end of his days he sought to form a rare alliance with men like Murray Rothbard who was his bitter enemy back in the 1950s.  Kirk also helped libertarian flavored candidates like Lawrence Reed who now heads the Foundation for Economic Education.

I could go on about the fiction he wrote which was very substantial and the numerous trips he took to Scotland, but suffice to say, you all must read the rest to get an idea on what a great man Russell Kirk was.  We need more giants like him…well not exactly like him or he might come from the grave and give us a knock on the head.

The FBI…in craven color

No, I was not named for Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., the actor who played Inspector Erskine on the Quinn Martin produced TV series The FBI from 1965 to 1973, but I do remember watching the show when I was a kid almost every week where Erskine would get his man at the end of every episode and the safety of America was assured.

Having entered into my mature years and actually reading about the FBI’s unconstitutional formation and its attempts to abuse the liberties of the people, I have grown more skeptical that most law enforcement agencies in Washington actually have the best interests of the American people at heart.   I have read books on how the FBI created fake terror plots to get more money for its agency and how the agency spied on war protesters during the 1960s without warrant and its drive to collect data on every person who might have caused trouble for the federal government no matter how many laws it needed to break.

Yesterday, the FBI reached a new low in terms of double standards where they let Hillary Clinton off the hook for her careless handling of classified e-mails in spite of the fact that such actions have been the basis of prosecutions against people of lower stature as Glenn Greenwald stated so eloquently in his Intercept column yesterday.  So whenever I hear about talk about “equal justice” from these progressive Hillary worshipers, I laugh them to scorn.

When it comes to people like David Koresh or the ranchers in Nevada, the FBI flexes it muscles like a steroid drenched wrestler, but when it comes to people in high places, it cowers like a little scream queen in countless b-movie horror flicks.  There is not much to say other than the FBI is not your friend and it is merely a branch of the warfare-welfare state ready to cater to its overlords while we the common folk are impaled on pikes to ensure Washington remains powerful.

It is time for our own Brexit?

Orlando, the way it used to was

Much has happened in the City of Orlando and all of it has not been good.  Shootings and a child towed under by an alligator has given the city a black eye that has tarnished its image as the City Beautiful.  The city has grown into an entertainment mecca with theme parks and a clubs all over the place.  Such modernity might be the in thing now, but it seems that the city lost a bit of its magic from the good ole days.

When I went to Naval Nuclear Power School in Orlando back in 1982, the city was still a sleepy southern town with a county population of just under 500,000 people.   There was Walt Disney World, but that was pretty much about it as far as theme parks were concerned until the opening of Epcot in October of that year.  Wet n’ Wild was the major water park where you could get in for $10 and the only nightlife in the town was Church Street Station which consisted of a few bars and from what I have read closed its doors almost 20 years ago.  I took the bus a couple of times around Orlando, but the bus service ended around 7:00 p.m. as most people stayed at home to spend their evenings cooking meals and listening to country music on WHOO radio.   Yes, there is so much more to do there now, but the hectic pace of going from one park to another and dancing the night away seems inadequate to filling the void left in the soul of man.

Perhaps it is time for people to set back and reflect on the meaning of culture and taking a break from the hustle and bustle or the rat race.  Yes, the past might be somewhat silly according to this video, but it seems that families played together and stayed together and the pace was slow.  Hopefully, places can once again become communities where people can associate with each without other things crowding out the natural growth of relationships.  As Robert Nisbet said in his book “The Quest for Community” :

Other and more powerful forms of association have existed, but the major moral and psychological influences on the individual’s life have emanated from the family and local community and the church. Within such groups have been engendered the primary types of identification: affection, friendship, prestige, recognition. And within them also have been engendered or intensified the principal incentives of work, love, prayer, and devotion to freedom and order.

The Orlando of the past is gone and we cannot go back.  However, it is not too late to preserve what’s left of the old culture where family, church and community was paramount.  Let’s choose the right future.

The wisdom of Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

The stage is now set for the General Election in November with Donald Trump going against Hillary Clinton in the Presidential race.  Once again, many people on both sides of the ideological spectrum are proclaiming this election the most important election in our lifetimes.  This line is bandied about because the office of the President is a very powerful position that decides how the executive agencies are run and what nominees are named to the Supreme Court and the lower courts.  Many are fearful that actions by such a powerful person would lead to the diminution of their liberties.

The question we should ask ourselves is how could just one person have so much power over our lives.  The answer shockingly enough lies within the voting public that elected people in the past that amassed power to themselves.  Among this group of people were many Presidents.  This trend is not new.  Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddhin wrote various books on the dangers of democracy in three books, Liberty or Equality, Menace of the Herd and Leftism.    In them, he excoriates democratic rule which he calls very unstable and leads to tyranny and centralization.  He notes that Revolutionary France was the wellspring of many of the problems that faces people today as the result of government power.  No doubt Kuehnelt-Leddhin would have agreed with Lord Acton that democracy generally monopolizes and concentrates power.    The wealth of quotes from this man are full of wisdom and eye opening.  They include the following:

Even 51 per cent of a nation can establish a totalitarian and dictatorial règime, suppress minorities, and still remain democratic; there is, as we have said, little doubt that the American Congress and the French Chambre have a power over their respective nations which would rouse the envy of a Louis XIV or a George III were they alive today.

Democratism and its allied herd movements, while remaining loyal to the principle of equality and identity, will never hesitate to sacrifice liberty.

Fifty-one percent of a nation can establish a totalitarian regime, suppress minorities and still remain democratic.

Indeed, it seems that the more we vote, the less freedom we have.  We should wake up and call for mass de-centralization of power and abolition of many of the central agencies like the CIA, FBI, ATF, NSA and TSA that have corroded our liberties.   Perhaps the upcoming Brexit vote in Great Britain will give us a ray of hope.

The Centralized State

Last Friday, the United States Department of Education gave out a directive to all of the public schools across America with regards to certain segments of the population who identify as persons of the opposite sex to use the restrooms of the sex they identify with.  With such a directive, it is clear that the federal government has amassed to itself incredible power to dictate policy to every school district and its 50 million children that go to K-12 schools here.   With the North Carolina situation, there is talk of pulling education funding from the Tarheel State unless HB-2 is repealed.

How did we get to this situation?  At the time of the Constitution’s creation in 1789, James Madison specifically stated in Federalist No. 45 that:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.

For the next 70 years, the federal government had little influence in the course of affairs inside America.  It was well understood that the States, which were closer to the people, understood what their citizens needed and past the modest laws to maintain order.  Unfortunately, with the arrival of the Civil War and the subsequent Reconstruction, state’s rights were obliterated and more power was concentrated in Washington.  This fact was all apparent during the Great Depression when Franklin Roosevelt created numerous federal agencies that were wholly without constitutional warrant, yet it thrived by bribing voters into voting for centralized government.   Today, we see the evil fruits of such centralization.  Joseph Sobran said several years before his death that the Civil War actually made it possible for cases like Obergefell and Roe v. Wade to be imposed on the nation for the states were unable to fight back without armed invasion and the states had no check on the  power of the Supreme Court.    Now comes the word from on high that funds will be withheld and decrees issue on behalf of a group that was the subject of curiosity just a few decades ago in films like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Freebie and the Bean and Dressed to Kill.  

To have policies dictated to 320 million people en masse is evidence that the old republic has long since vanished and a progressive empire is now dominant.  Men like Donald Livingston and Kirkpatrick Sale have long warned that centralization of power would eventually lead to an utter despotism.

During the 1970s, women like Gloria Steinem thought that the Equal Rights Amendment was necessary to bring, in their minds, equality for women.  With its deadline for ratification expiring in 1983, many thought that the issue was dead.  Steinem and Eleanor Smeal need not have worried, for the Magic 14th Amendment was all that was needed to make their dreams come true.   The Constitution and federal government was great while it lasted.  That 1789 document is now merely a totem that is on display at the National Archives.

Inclusion, Fairness and Equality…or Death

The continuing battle over bathrooms took a turn as the State of North Carolina and the United States Department of Justice took turns at suing each other over the right to enforce House Bill 2 which would provide guidelines for restroom facilities in public areas as well as businesses and supersedes any local ordinances.  In the meantime, various public figures such as Ringo Starr, Bruce Springsteen and the Blue man Group have cancelled appearances in North Carolina citing discrimination concerns.  Loretta Lynch, the Attorney General, stated, in part, that:

…we are seeking a court order declaring House Bill 2’s restroom restriction impermissibly discriminatory, as well as a statewide bar on its enforcement. While the lawsuit currently seeks declaratory relief, I want to note that we retain the option of curtailing federal funding to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and the University of North Carolina as this case proceeds.

In summary, the government is threatening to withhold federal dollars from the the state unless it complies and repeals the law.  AG Lynch stated that the motivation behind the suit was to summon” our national virtues of inclusivity, diversity, compassion and open-mindedness.”  I dare say that there was another group of people who tried to impose top-down virtues several centuries ago.  In the name of liberty, fraternity and equality, the Jacobins of the French Revolution  imposed their Reign of Terror on the nation that led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and led to the autocratic rule of Napoleon.  Since that time, many nations have envisioned places where all could live in peace and happiness where virtue could be achieved if only if the populace could be educated and the dissenters and troublemakers dispensed with.   Paul Gottfried has noted in a review of Emilio Gentile’s book “Politics as Religion” that the left has created a new civil religion that has taken the place of a weakened Christianity.   Gottfried stated:

Nation-states have been latching onto religious symbols since early-modern times: the frontispiece of Thomas Hobbes’s magnum opus Leviathan features an exalted personal sovereign towering high above the lords temporal and ecclesiastical and over the symbols of their authority. It was not Mussolini but Hobbes who first opined that the Leviathan, understood as the sovereign state, is man’s admirable approximation of divine handiwork.

So it goes that any attempt to question the wisdom of the central state is akin to blasphemy and a monstrous sin against the virtues of inclusivity and so on.   The central State is supreme over family, church and community and is the instrument that will be bring heaven to earth and give us the secular millennium.   Who knows where our government in Washington will go with so much power, but if past experience is a guide, it will lead to great sorrow for the people.