In G.K. Chesterton’s day, it was not necessary to qualify the word “Liberal” with “Classical.”
Culture and political designations have changed. Verities, by definition, have not.
Five score and seventeen years after it was published, this resonates. It requires a careful reading:
“Truths turn into dogmas the instant that they are disputed. Thus every man who utters a doubt defines a religion. And the scepticism of our time does not really destroy the beliefs, rather it creates them; gives them their limits and their plain and defiant shape. We who are Liberals once held Liberalism lightly as a truism. Now it has been disputed, and we hold it fiercely as a faith. We who believe in patriotism once thought patriotism to be reasonable, and thought little more about it. Now we know it to be unreasonable, and know it to be right. We who are Christians never knew the great philosophic common sense which inheres in that mystery until the anti-Christian writers pointed it out to us. The great march of mental destruction will go on. Everything will be denied. Everything will become a creed. It is a reasonable position to deny the stones in the street; it will be a religious dogma to assert them. It is a rational thesis that we are all in a dream; it will be a mystical sanity to say that we are all awake. Fires will be kindled to testify that two and two make four. Swords will be drawn to prove that leaves are green in summer. We shall be left defending, not only the incredible virtues and sanities of human life, but something more incredible still, this huge impossible universe which stares us in the face. We shall fight for visible prodigies as if they were invisible. We shall look on the impossible grass and the skies with a strange courage. We shall be of those who have seen and yet have believed.”
It is indeed strange that by 2022 courage is required contend that 2+2 is 4. The idea has been declared racist and patriarchal. We’re told simple arithmetic is an artifact of white privilege.
One may speculate that the hue of the impossible grass has been excluded from Progressive contempt only because that color is ‘green.’ And/or because neither white nor asian heterosexual males have mentioned it lately.
As to strange courage… How can it require courage to oppose those who declare men to be women?
Why is courage needed to suggest government profligacy tends toward inflation?
From whence could courage be summoned to contest those who think human life begins only after a full 9 months gestation?
In what reality does the idea that self-defense is a natural right become a courageous position?
What’s even stranger… these ideas have public support. In ‘safe’ districts hoary politicians run on these these ideas. Their wannabe successors echo the themes. Many of them are elected in spite of it. In fact, because of it.
What we can conclude is that our practice of democracy has proved Tocqueville right, and Benjamin Franklin’s fears accurate.
Claiming speech is violence will result in violence.
Last week, Salman Rushdie was to address the Chautauqua Institution on the topic of freedom of speech. He has some experience with those who would stifle it. Thirty three years ago he wrote a book titled The Satanic Verses. He was in hiding for the next decade. And it turns out that wasn’t long enough.
For his title, he looked at a few words in the Quran, as interpreted by some Islamic historians. Islamic fundamentalists are triggered by the concept raised by those co-religionists as long ago as ~900AD. In any case, Rushdie was writing a novel. Fiction.
It’s no surprise, though, that Rushdie’s daring to discuss it was not well received in certain quarters. He upset the same Islamist fanatics who encouraged the slaughter at Charlie Hebdo, the murder of Theo Van Gogh, the threats to the Jyllands-Posten for publishing cartoons, the mass shooting at Bataclan and Pulse, and other murders, arsons and riots too common to detail.
Fundamentalist Islam insists religion and the State are one. Naturally, then, Rushdie’s temerity provoked a Muslim cleric and Head-of-State (Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini) to issue a bounty for Rushdie’s death in 1989.
AKA a ‘fatwa.’ In polities where church and state are separated, we don’t yet have a special term for state religion-sanctioned murder. We are working toward it via the Church of George Floyd, the Cathedral of Transexual Pronounism, the Pieties of the Green New Deal, and the rite of Skin Color Original Sin, but we aren’t there yet.
That does not mean progress is not being made here. This week a militant follower of Islam with ties to Iran stabbed Rushdie a dozen times. As yet, the police can’t find a motive. You have to wonder how the find their own butts.
Rushdie’s stabbing is merely a reminder that “don’t say anything we don’t like to hear” fanatics can be dangerous. We have some of our own.
Every day needs to be ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed day.’ Here’s a comprehensive “compendium of images that depict Mohammed (the 7th-century founder of Islam), spanning all historical periods, cultures, genres, styles, formats and themes.”
Here’s my own paltry contribution.
Every day needs to be ‘Everybody write The Satanic Verses day.’
Rushdie’s stabbing is ethically no different from the persecution of Kyle Rittenhouse, the firing of James Damore, the threats against J. D. Rowling, or the demonization of Nicholas Sandmann.
Glenn Greenwald’s Tweets on the hissing pussycats at “Robin D’Angelo Junior High — also known as the national desk of The Washington Post” are devastatingly hilarious. It’s a left-on-left tag-team cage-match.
The fighting started when WaPo reporter Dave Weigel retweeted Cam Harless.
No idea who Cam Harless is, but he’s irrelevant after the internecine bombardments commence. Felicia Sonmez is an aggrieved WaPo reporter, who seems unaware that “believe all women” is over since Robby Mook’s implication of Hillary Clinton in the Steele dossier psy-op. Not to mention Amber Heard, for whom I’ve heard a personal “poop emoji” has been created.
Greenwald’s commentary caught my attention because of his victim point scoring comments (below). Because, in a 2019 post – Victimhood competence hierarchies – I attempted to describe the tools needed for sorting out the victimhood pecking order. A slice from that post:
Let’s consider the complexities via example. Rate a black, homosexual male, wealthy actor; vs. a white, trans-female, wealthy former Pentathlon champion; vs. a brown, female, anti-semitic, Islamist congressional member; vs. a white, 1/1024th Amerind, biological female, wealthy United States Senator. It’s not easy, and those are only a few of the factors. The enterprise seems very difficult.
This is the type of analysis intersectionalists demand as a principle of governance. And, that’s just a poor preliminary attempt to begin to capture the variables currently driving the SJW power struggle. It doesn’t include anywhere near the required profile information. I tried filling it in for a couple of people I thought would help refine scoring. Maybe you can guess who they are.
Complicating this further, just when you might think you have a workable algorithm, someone gets offended by something you did not expect. For example, here’s an example of a lesbian, trans, Leftist, female academic in the Humanities you’d expect to score moderately well even if she is white: A concrete example against which to test our calculation of the victim/oppressor ratio.
If you think the Progs would by now have established their own official scoring system, you’re missing the point. They all aspire to be Thomas Wolsey or Torquemada in a quest to adjudicate their own martyrdom. Any reference to a set of rules could inhibit the exercise of power.
I do not have a Twitter account, and I had to temporarily drop my browser shields to even see Greenwald’s thread. It is worth reading. It’s not like you have to log in.
Anyway, this is the snippet that caught my eye:
After WPost reporter @Feliciasonmez publicly accused multiple Post reporters and editors — including @jdelreal — of supporting misogyny against her, Del Real retorted that he was the only Mexican American on the national desk and also gay. Experts are tabulating the outcome.
For those scoring the various victimhood points at home, among the starring marginalized actors in the WPost oppression drama, 2 are graduates of Harvard University (Sonmez and Del Real) while the other was raised in Greenwich, CT, and educated in Swiss boarding schools (Lorenz).
“I believe that liberty is the only genuinely valuable thing that men have invented, at least in the field of government, in a thousand years. I believe that it is better to be free than to be not free, even when the former is dangerous and the latter safe. I believe that the finest qualities of man can flourish only in free air — that progress made under the shadow of the policeman’s club is false progress, and of no permanent value. I believe that any man who takes the liberty of another into his keeping is bound to become a tyrant, and that any man who yields up his liberty, in however slight the measure, is bound to become a slave.”
— H.L. Mencken
Ukrainians and Freedom Convoy truckers share this principle. You may disagree with their interpretation. If so: Use your words. And don’t try changing the definition of freedom.
The immediate risk of asserting that they are freemen is higher for Ukrainians than for truckers. The long term consequences of failure to resist tyranny are the same.
Trudeaupia’s false choice is that 1984 is not different from Brave New World. Though Justin did resort to the former when his estimation of the completeness of the latter turned out to be overly optimistic.
The Other Club was first published February 19, 2005 on Google’s Blogspot.I have included a first day post below. It celebrated a display of American valor and courage that had taken place 60 years earlier.
In 2005 “valor and courage” would have been a nearly universal opinion. The memory would have invoked reverence and gratitude. Seventeen years later, I wonder…
As the post went up, Myspace was the largest social networking site in the world. The first ever Tweet was 13 months in the future. Facebook would not open to the general public for almost 18 months. YouTube had come online 4 days earlier. Ask Jeeves was still a thing. Google Maps had just been launched on February 8. Pandora was to be launched on August 25. Tumblr was 2 years in the future.
Surveillance capitalism was just booting up.
If you wanted to be notified of a new post at any given blog, you would subscribe to its RSS feed. If it supported one. To find other sites you might find interesting, you depended on blogrolls and word of mouth.
Content wasn’t targeted at you based on deep learning analysis of every search you conducted, every website you visited, every cell tower you passed, the content of your emails, every person you “followed”, every purchase you made, every app you used, or a comprehensive summary of the computer make and model, browser, OS, graphics processor, IP and MAC addresses… etc., you used while volunteering that information.
It was more likely than not you didn’t “google it” in 2005. Google processed a bit less than 37% of searches then. Ranked 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively; Yahoo, MSN, and AOL handled 54%.
Now Google attracts more than 90% of internet queries. Reading more than Twitter’s 140 280 characters before concretizing your righteous outrage has become passé. Facebook has gobbled up the open discussion space by strategically monetizing polarization.
Add TikTok, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, etc. etc., and you get a cultural petri dish where narcissistic moral-superiority contests flourish, and “mean girls” of both sexes actually make a living by practicing their sociopathy.
“We show that individuals with Dark Triad traits-Machiavellianism, Narcissism, Psychopathy-more frequently signal virtuous victimhood, controlling for demographic and socioeconomic variables that are commonly associated with victimization in Western societies.”
A popular way to monetize victimhood is complaining about cultural appropriation. Hoop earrings, for example. As if persons of ‘Latinx’ persuasion invented hoop earrings. And, in their cultural purity, refuse to use anything invented by, say, a dead white British male. Like vaccination.
An environmental impact study would find “the better angels of our nature” an endangered species in a shrinking habitat. Gossip, maliciousness, and reputation savaging, you see, scale and can be monetized. And it works just as well if you can appropriate victimhood.
Well, this turned into more of a rant than a ‘happy anniversary to me.’ Enough.
TOC documents some bits of the last 17 years. Of topical interest, there are 109 posts tagged ‘canada’ as I write. The first is from February 25, 2005. I just tagged it. There are certainly more. Blogspot didn’t have tagging for a long time and I have only partially updated them. Now I’ll have to complete ‘Canada.’
I have made TOC’s ~2,900 posts into a ~2,100 page PDF. About 1.1 million words. Electronically signed copies can be made available. ;)
I think I managed to meet the level of Theodore Sturgeon’s adage: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.” ;)
Anyaway, here’s that first day post I mentioned above. Blogspot didn’t provide for images then, so I’m adding what I would have used.
Original inks have rotted and are replaced from web.archive.org.Saturday, February 19, 2005
Flags of our Fathers
John Bradley, Franklin Sousley, Harlon Block, Ira Hayes, Rene Gagnon and Mike Strank are the Navy corpsman and Marines who, on 23-February-1945, raised the American flag on Mount Suribachi. It’s a famous picture.
Still, Suribachi’s island wasn’t declared secure until 26-March, and it was 7-April before American fighter planes took off from the refurbished runway so many had died to secure.
Describing the Americans who fought this battle, Admiral Nimitz uttered the words that appear on the Arlington Cemetery monument to that flag raising: “Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue”.
Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal said that “the raising of that flag on Suribachi means there will be a Marine Corps for the next 500 years.”
Thank you Marines. Semper Fi. 440 years to go; though I expect you’ve extended that a bit in the interim.
Today is the anniversary of the beginning of the death-struggle for Iwo Jima, in which over 2,000 Marines died in the first 18 hours of fighting.
In the next 36 days Marines had a casualty every 2 minutes. 6,821 Americans and over 20,000 Japanese died. Of 353 Medals of Honor awarded during WWII, 27 were given for heroism on Iwo Jima; 13 posthumously.
And this was not the end of the Pacific war. In fact, it was just the first battle on Japanese soil.
My appreciation of this battle, and my gratitude to those who fought it, grew immensely when I read a book given to me by a former Marine. That book is Flags of our Fathers, by James Bradley.
Bradley discovered that his father, a Navy corpsman who survived the battle of Iwo Jima, had not only been awarded a Navy Cross for his efforts there, but was one of the men in the famous picture of the flag raising on Mt. Suribachi. He discovered this only after his father had died, as he sorted through his father’s papers.
Danielle Girdano is another person belatedly aware of her father’s contribution on Iwo Jima.
What she learned from her small gift resulted in the Legend of Heroes Memorial. A monument in glass, metal and wood; it has the faces of 10 Iwo Jima vets engraved on it. Her father is one of them. It is beginning a 49 state tour this weekend.
It is inscribed, “Boys became men, men became heroes, heroes became legends.”
I am cowed by the modesty, even self-effacement, of men like Bradley’s and Girdano’s fathers; though it is typical of those WWII vets who saw soul-wrenching combat. Part of it is certainly the modesty becoming of a different era, but I think most of it arises from the pain their experiences brought. (Note to John Kerry – your eagerness, sustained for 30 years, to capitalize on your experiences of “atrocities” in Viet Nam is one of the reasons you were not credible.)
Herman also invokes contemporary issues via a perspective on the doubt and debate surrounding WWII strategies that most of us now think of as uncontroversial. # posted by Hershblogger @ 2/19/2005 06:46:00 PM