March 2014

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What a waste of talent.

What a waste of talent.

Stumbled across this on a cable back channel called Aspire.

“Black College Quiz Show” is a straightforward derivative of the old (really old) game show called College Bowl, which I used to watch with my grandparents.

It’s intended to spotlight the scholarly attainments of students at historically black colleges like Howard, Morehouse, Spelman, Tuskegee, Cheyney, Dillard, Fisk, Hampton, and quite a few others. When I discovered it, I thought ‘cool,’ and settled in to be impressed and pleased.

I was impressed but far from pleased. In fact, I was sickened, almost to the point of despair. Here’s the thing. All the students on the show are clearly smart, articulate, and capable of great things. Quick to the buzzer, confident of their answers.

But all the questions, and I do mean ALL the questions are about things black. Civil rights history, black pop stars and athletes, black politicians, black scientists, black writers and artists, and African geography.

It’s an intellectual ghetto, an act of self segregation that literally induces nausea. These kids are clearly smart enough to learn anything. But they are aimed, forced, jammed into a focus on things African American guaranteed to isolate them from everyone who is not African American. Ethnic pride is fine. But if the only topic I ever learned about was Scotland, I know I’d be pretty much screwed. Like all these kids most definitely are. Dead on the altar of a depraved religion called Victimization.

When did this nation go so so crazy that it dooms its young in the name of political correctness? Is there any reason why a young black woman cannot be asked a question about James Madison or Wolfgang Mozart? Apparently it’s much more important for her to be confined to a corner of anger and resentment than bloom in the glory of a western tradition she and her brothers (should) share with everyone else.

Sick. So tired of seeing sour faces and myopically pissed off eyes. It’s supposed to be a positive and upbeat show. Instead it’s a damn tragedy and a self fulfilling prophecy of the long road to bitterness and nowhere.

The way to understand progressives: Fiends with Benefits. This one's called Valerie Jarrett., POTUS Phluffer-in-Chief.

The way to understand progressives: Fiends with Benefits. This one’s called Valerie Jarrett, The
POTUS Phluffer-in-Chief. She keeps it all unreal.

Meant to talk about important things today. Wound up dealing with a spoiled millennial instead. Need to make up for lost time.

Here’s the lede of an only fairly minor Breitbart article:

Albert Einstein once quipped: “If the facts don’t fit your theory, change the facts.” Chris Rodda’s Huffington Post article from March 7, 2014, “Liberty Institute’s Kelly Shackelford Spreads ‘Fear and Misinformation’ at Air Force Academy Leadership Symposium,” devoted 4,000 words to changing the facts.

In her article, Rodda got one thing right: Liberty Institute’s President and CEO Kelly Shackelford did in fact speak at the Air Force Academy’s recent National Character and Leadership Symposium. This prestigious event includes scholars, military leaders, corporate executives, and other national leaders. Shackelford fit right into this group; he is an award-winning First Amendment attorney who has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, serves as a Trustee of the United States Supreme Court Historical Society, and last year was invited to lecture at the Court on the historic Tinker v. Des Moines decisionn.

Rodda, it turns out, got everything else wrong. Everything. All the facts of all the cases, all the points of law, all the real findings of the court decisions.

Which has become the new normal.

New MSNBC host and Harvard grad Joy Reid made news by spilling the beans about an epidemic of alien abductions:

MSNBC host Joy Reid dug into the topic of voter identification laws on Monday when she grilled a Republican guest about the stated necessity for instituting those laws: the need to reduce in-person voter impersonation fraud. Reid said that there have been a variety of studies conducted on the prevalence of in-person voter fraud, and asserted that a person is “literally” more likely to be abducted by aliens than to encounter that type of voter fraud.

“There have been a lot of studies on this,” Reid began. “There are a lot of studies that show, literally, you’re more likely to be beamed up into a UFO or struck by lightning than find in-person voter fraud.”

“Why is it your party seems fixated on trying to go after early voting?” the MSNBC host continued. “ Trying to go after, you know, forcing people to bring a birth certificate — all things that just happen to impact minorities and people who tend to vote for the Democratic Party?”

I dunno. Because voter turnout in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Atlanta is always over 100 percent? Either that, or the alien invasion is well underway. Which I guess it is, in fact. Thanks for the heads up, Joy.

In other news, Matt Drudge paid his taxes. Which got him excoriated by the mainstream pundit press. To the point that the American Thinker’s C. Edmund Wright had this to say:

The recent Twitter kerfuffle between Matt Drudge and the Obama/media/academic complex over the ObamaCare tax demonstrates in plain view and without question something many of us have known for years: while the organized left insist that they are the only ones smart enough to run the world, they remain astonishingly ignorant of how it works. They’re even ignorant of how the most fundamental parts of laws that they champion operate…

We have a low-information president, who has appointed a low-information cabinet, including the low-information secretary of health and human services who is applying a low-information health care law (one of many such laws) behind the big power of a low-morality Internal Revenue Service. The result of all of this low information in power is a low-liberty nation.

So when Matt Drudge – fully complying with the inane and unworkable law as it applies to his 2014 taxes – calls them out on it, they publicly and bumptiously step in their own pile of ordure. These liberals, who claim that they alone can run the auto industry, the banking industry, and all of health care – haven’t the foggiest notion how one of the most basic tenets of tax law works. This particular part of a disastrous health care law is exhibit A for what happens when those who have never signed the front of a business check in their lives have power over those who have. And power over everybody else, too…

And yet, there will be no apologies, nor will any of these pseudo-experts be fired or even censured…

The profound arrogant ignorance of liberals, on display daily. This is the kind of thing that could make for a dynamic, funny, sarcastic, and effective political message, should an opposition party to the Obama machine ever re-emerge.

Quit kidding yourself, C. We love you even without the wishful thinking.

Ellen DeGeneres stepped into the political arena, hosting our insurance salesman president. What she had to say in person:

It’s doing very, very well…you’ve got 5 million people signed up so far. [Applause] An enormous number of people have signed up, so it’s successful….Well, for people who are starting to applaud here, I think everyone’s very grateful that you did this. And I think it is important for people to sign up. It’s just better to be covered. You just never know.

And in promotional print:

Now the leader of the free world, and the champion of comedy will get into the President’s new health care initiative. From L.A. to D.C., Ellen rolls out the red carpet for the United States’ fearless and brilliant head of state!

Dear Leader. Dear Dear Leader. Can I provide a phluffer for you since I don’t swing that way myself or should I make an exception for my Dear Leader? Oh. I see you brought your own. Can I get you a tissue?

Moving on…

Harry Reid seeks to blame the weakest, most spineless performance ever by an American president on, you guessed it, Republicans:

This guy now occupies a magical place in American politics, not unlike the niche Joe Biden occupies although different in a crucial respect. Both get the media’s Democratic discount from bad coverage whenever they say something stupid and/or offensive, and both also get a discount from the sheer volume of stupidity/offensiveness that pours forth. (“Just Joe being Joe.”) The difference is that Reid’s worst soundbites are demagogic by design whereas Biden’s are more oafish. This is the sort of thing that would warrant a 35-minute block on “Hardball” about McCarthyism had a Republican said it of Democrats; as it is, it’ll float by with some vapid comment attached about how Reid’s just an old boxer who enjoys a street fight now and then.

If you care about the crap he said, take the link above. I do BJ jokes but not Reid quotes.

But I do have a video bonus. The president’s phuck buddy tells us healthcare premiums aren’t rising as fast as they used to. Hallelujah.

Yeah. This is the latest news bulletin from the post-God phase of American life. You know. The ones who are smarter, more rational, less superstitiously deranged than we are, having discovered that they can just make shit up as it suits their purposes. Nothing to stop them is there? The smarter, more rational, etc, members of the press won’t call them on it.

After all, the president gets to change all the laws he wants to. Opponents call it a smear, but it’s actually possible to build an NCAA Style bracket pitting this administration’s manifold constitutional violations against one another. You think MSNBC wouldn’t have thought of this if they had the raw material in George Bush’s administration? This bracket now exists.

The tipping point was a couple years ago. Now, everything we get from our government and the mass media is lies, lies, lies, lies, lies. There is no longer any source for facts, let alone truth.

Unhooked. From reality. We are adrift. And Michelle has the world’s biggest credit card. God help us.

TRANSLATION: I got the towels, the robes, the ashtrays, the pens, the stationery, the whole minibar, and the Kung fu trainer. All set. I may even come back.

TRANSLATION: I got the towels, the robes, the ashtrays, the pens, the stationery, the minibar, the fortune cookies, and the Kung fu stud. All set. I may even come back.

But oops. We can’t ask God to help us. Because the rational, reasonable ones are standing at the door telling us to cool it. All is for the best in the best of all rational godless worlds.

Thank God. For a minute there I was concerned.

The Dream of the Rood.

The Dream of the Rood.

Brizoni couldn’t resist taking a couple more shots at me. My deluded religious convictions are all he thinks about anymore. We haven’t talked about anything else in more than a year. Ignore this if you had enough a long long time ago. But here’s my fisk of the comment he wanted me to post. It might serve as a refresher on the trench knife of Instapunk after my long absence. Not doing the block quote thing, though. After the break, it’s him at the margin. I’m the one whose comments begin and end with three asterisks. Got it?

******************

Running late, so I’ll respond to just the most egregious part of this post.

***I love it when debaters do this. I’m just hurrying. If I make an ass of myself it’s because I was on my cell and on the run to an important appointment… Right.***

“But what you can’t do is wash away the murderous record of the human societies that have attempted to rule the daddy fable out of the story. Their record is not only catastrophic but inhuman and monstrous. Their defense is rational philosophy.”

Pardon me. Who’s not thinking anymore?

Rational philosophy was their PRETENSE.

*** And yours.***

Their defense was a religion without God.

***And yours. Your determination to exterminate opposing views, dare I say faiths, is consistent with the atheist totalitarians of Germany, Russia, China, Indochina, and North Korea. You just don’t recognize your soul brothers.***

It doesn’t take a daddy fable to believe in something beyond reason.

***But what do you believe in beyond reason? The lingering, holy scent of Ayn Rand? Damn! Just got it. Screw daddy. Mommy!!!**

Marxism doesn’t work. Throughout the Soviet experiment, the exploiting capitalist West throve and the virtuous East starved. It didn’t take long to see, even through the fog of purges. But it took them more than another half century to admit it. China still hasn’t outright admitted it, even though they’ve molted most of the policies that made Communism distinct from good old fashioned dynasticism. You think they’re not religious? Sheeeyit, you think North Korea isn’t religous? They’ve even got a daddy fable of their own. A couple generations of daddies.

***Your dreariest straw man. All daddies are the same daddy. Any daddy will do, and all are delusional…***

How’s that working out for them?

***Not bad at the moment. For the ones in charge. Of course, the freedoms championed and prized by libertarians aren’t doing so well. A reminder, for example, that capitalism as practiced by regimes like China’s is merely an economic system, not the exclusive basis of a free and freeing civilization.***

Relax. That probably doesn’t count. Somehow.

***Duh. A religion that compels people to bow to their political leaders and ranking political superiors is a fake religion. Its basis is force and the power to regulate, not intrinsic moral authority. Think one child policy. (oh that’s right. You’re on record as knowing exactly when a fetus becomes a baby. Three months and two days? Thanks, Brizoni.) That’s why it doesn’t count. The Chi-com government also has the phony official certitude you do. Only their rationally derived decision is that any pregnancy more than one child already born should be terminated on behalf of, uh, “we the people.” Oh. Are they wrong? You gonna tell’em Mr. I’m kinda sorta enliiiiightened in the brain department? Thought not. Unless they’re burning them to keep Shanghai’s smog rate up to snuff, they’ve got a pile of dead tadpoles the size of the Emperor Chin’s pyramid. One dead’un for every clay soldier, at least. Wait for it. The picture of Michelle Obama posing in front of them…

Can I hold the little clay one? Malia and Sasha will get a Girl Scout merit badge.

Can we hold the little clay ones they’ve got in their pockets? Malia and Sasha will get a Girl Scout merit badge from Planned Parenthood.

Bet you’re proud, M’sieur B. The world’s biggest nation shares your clinical view of the (un)importance of a human fetus. Why we should trust you implicitly. They’re just working through the growing pains of the post-god phase.***

Dare I bring up the Islamic world?

***Go right ahead. Historically dicey ground for you, I think, but I’m sure you’ve got something specious to offer.***

No one has gone harder in the paint for the daddy fable. What do you think of their virtue? You don’t like it? Why not? God has instituted moral laws by which His people must live. What’s not to like? You say the laws ought to be different? Interesting. How do you presume to know better than God what His laws should be?

***As I thought. A deliberately obtuse and legalistic crock. I don’t presume. I observe and I have faith in the difference between the core figures of both religions. One, a prophet who preached kindness to others regardless of station and offered up his life as a penance for all the sins of the world. The other, a prophet who embarked on a career of military conquest, took child brides to bed, and encouraged his followers to slaughter all of other faiths. There is no point at which I have argued anything other than that the God who pointed the way to modern consciousness and profoundly felt moral conscience is most important for his curiously freeing exhortations to partake of divinity by exploring the glories of creation while preserving the humility of allowing others to do the same. One religion has repeatedly resulted in the expansion of knowledge, individual opportunity and liberty, and the magnificent diversity thereby afforded to human experience. The other has repeatedly bound its followers in poverty, subjugation, and hatred. (Think of the family violations called honor killings.

Slut burned good. Ali Ali Akbar.

Slut burned good. Ali Ali Akbar.

Yeah. we gotta kill sis because she got raped by my best friend. That’s the ticket. Ali Ali Akbar. Now let’s suck some rug for Mohammed. Pretty much the same as Christians picketing at abortion clinics. Evil religions. Eeeeevillll.) All the same to you, I understand, because every religion is bad unless it’s the particular one you believe with fanatically hostile and polemically evangelical ferocity. You know. The same bad awful horrible things we needn’t draw distinctions between. Hmmm. No wonder you’re willing to share couch room with the Islamists. Only a reasonable person can see the horrifying commonalities between al Qaeda and Iowa Methodists.***

Oh, so their God is fake and your God isn’t? Can you prove it? What’s your evidence? By what standard can you judge the laws of one daddy fable better than another?

***Guess I covered this mostly already. All I’ll add: I don’t think their God is a fake. I think their prophet, the one they interpose between men and God, is a fake who plagiarized the Bible to create the earliest template of totalitarianism — a religion vested in the state, ruled by men masquerading as priests for the purpose of controlling subjects. My conclusions come from faith guided by intelligence. But since there is no definition in your lexicon for the word faith, I’m sure my answer, however commonsensical, will strike you as delusional, dumb, and nonresponsive. So be it, genius.***

No, I’m sure the Muslims don’t count either. Maybe you think Christianity is the only daddy fable that works (whatever that might mean absent a standard above obedience to God).

***Whatever that might mean? Back to my “moral infant” reference. To you, no religion possesses any content other than superstition. We’re all just fools grabbing at a Sky God who relieves us of the responsibility to charge boldly into this Brave New World you advocate. Which is a pure demonstration of your ignorance and incapacity to discuss this subject at all intelligently. At a rational level (for your sake), I would argue that Christianity is the daddy fable that works best on the basis of results. It is the cultural taproot of a western tradition that has given you, in all your insolent ingratitude, the greatest personal liberty (which thanks to your rational authoritarian fellow secularists you are presently losing at a rapid rate) enjoyed by any people in history. As a matter of faith, I subscribe to the reduction offered by Hemingway: “Moral is what you feel good after; immoral is what you feel bad after.” Don’t know if Hemingway believed in God or Christ. But when he said this, he was standing full square on Judeo-Christian principles. If you like, you can be so advanced as to cease feeling bad about lying, cheating on your spouse, doing harm to your family, stealing, killing, regarding yourself as the center of the universe, etc, but when you do that you are entering a realm where facts would seem to suggest nobody winds up feeling good. (Picture Stalin forcing his senior officers to drink and dance with him at his dacha all night, lest they be shot for treason in the morning.) Alternatively, you can declare your allegiance to such elementary principles of virtue while believing you have the power and the right to amputate yourself from their source. I think that might be your position. But in my human experience, which is far longer than yours, reason is a popgun against the temptations of life. And there does come a day when everything that went around (or by) comes around again. (Btw, spare yourself the pain and sorrow you claim to feel about my pitiful delusions regarding matters of faith. I enjoy a continuing sense of wonder about the universe and the interrelatedness of its affairs, both large and small, from quarks to galaxies, and all the human stuff in between that I would not trade with any man, most particularly you.)***

Maybe you think century after century of Catholic kneading didn’t prepare the German mind to receive Hitler’s message about those verminous you-know-whos. Maybe you honestly think the Dark and Middle Ages were a thriving, perfectly respectable ramp-up to the Renaissance– after all, they produced lots of cool Viking tribal art and a single poem– wait, sorry, are we praising Beowulf or sneering at it as primitive this week?

***This is argument? Really? Where your ignorance is not only insulting but astounding in one who presumes to characterize a millennium he knows nothing of he didn’t obtain from TV documentaries and graphic novels. What a lunkhead jerk you can be when you think you’re closing in for the descabillo. Even people who know better can be terrified into doing wrong.

Thank, er, uh, there are people like Brizoni who never get scared because they have their rational convictions about the correct ethics of every situation. Otherwise we might a faith in something stronger.

Thank, er, uh, there are people like Brizoni who never get scared because they have their rational convictions about the correct ethics of every situation. Otherwise we might need a faith in something stronger than German reason.

Why something better than your soulless, solipsistic rectitude is necessary. And King Harald’s Saga ain’t the Dream of the Rood or even Beowulf.***

Maybe you think a thousand years is a reasonable amount of time for a philosophy to marinate before producing any demonstrable results in the way of civilization. Which lets Latin America off the hook for being a Third World toilet of tribal warfare. They’ve got another, what, four hundred years before all that Jesus really kicks in?­ I just thank God they don’t have enough Jews to scapegoat as a group when the time comes.

***This your vedugo? Fall on it yourself, contemptuous one. It’s been a rough go for Latin and South America (I’m sure you’re lumping them in together, because you’re a truly accomplished lumper inner…) since the Spanish arrived on their shores in 1014 AD (for the punctilious, a scant half century before the Norman invasion of England). I concede that. And 785 years later, certainly, they should have been ready with their mimeograph machines to copy verbatim the constitution of the only nation on earth that organized itself from the start as a government based on the Christian idea of inalienable human rights embedded in law. Sure. As straw men go, an excellent choice. Unless not all of Latin America is, what was your phrase, “a toilet of tribal warfare.”

Tribal toilet trash who should have wished up to Christianity if there anything in it a thousand years ago.

Tribal toilet trash who would have wised up to Christianity if there was anything in it a thousand years ago.

Think they’re more ready for the enlightened wisdom of Ayn Brizoni now, do we? Ready for Hayek and Rand ya think? Good luck with that.***

Let’s look at this from another angle, just to be safe. Remind me how Japan has adopted the (correct) daddy fable. How else have they stopped being a genocidal world power? They must be Godding it up like crazy! But in fairness, their economy isn’t doing as well as it could. That’s enough excuse to say they too don’t count.

***Sometimes when you go cherry picking, the cherries you pick don’t make for good pie. Japan might fall into that category. Of course, Japan counts. But if you knew anything about their ancient history, as far back as 1945, for example (that’s a couple centuries in Brizoni time), you’d know that the miracle of a peaceful and prosperous Japan began with a conquering Christian nation who decided to rebuild rather than rule them, a Christian military governor who wrote them a constitution modeled on that of the United States, and a uniquely speedy transformation from Occupation to most favored nation trading status. Do they buy it all? No. Their legal system is still quasi feudal (better than 90 percent conviction rate on all crimes charged), suicide is still a national scandal, women have the vote but are subject to the most dehumanizing kinds of graphic novel rape and humiliation, and the concept of individual liberty empowering people to aspire beyond the bounds of family tradition remains problematical. Are they Christian? No. Are they unaffected by the Western Christian tradition? No. But I guess you’d have to know something about Japan to discern the differences.

I'm sure you'd pick up this cover at the newsstand and read it on the subway all the way home to your loving wife, right?

I’m sure you’d pick up this cover at the newsstand and read it on the subway all the way home to your loving wife, right? Guess what. That’s what Japanese husbands do. Still.

Hey. They’re all just women, right? Wait for the dismemberment at the end…***

Your pet notion that atheism as such caused the horrors of the 20th century is an old rusty shank of Christian propaganda that was wedged in your head at a young age.

***”Atheism as such”. Good one. More semi-slick misdirection. “An old rusty shank of Christianity wedged in your head at a young age.” Fantastic. Now you have the nerve to know what it was like to be me growing up with Russian ICBMs aimed at a city 40 miles from where they told us to hide under desks. Maybe, under such circumstances, you start to think for yourself before anyone else gets beyond the stage of instructing you with Noah’s Ark coloring books. I’ve written about my own process of grappling with Christian faith before. You just never listened or understood. Because all you’ve been raised to do is do what you want, when you want, whenever you want to do it, and nobody, not even God, has the right to tell you anything different. Hmmm. Seems I wrote a book about this once. And I’m the deluded, presumptuous, cowardly, witless one. What I’m suggesting is that Christianity has ameliorated many of the world’s ills, for many centuries, you utter fool.***

And that you lacked first the wit and then the courage to dislodge. You’ve built too much of your worldview around it. Now it’s a keystone. Or so you fear.

***The stupidest insult of all. There is nothing about you or anything you have to say that I fear. Quite the contrary. I find you and your hysterically rigid positions incredibly — I-n-c-r-e-d-I-b-l-y — boring. My weariness with your pseudo intellectual arguments is practically unbounded. You really think you can lecture me about wit and courage? Really?***

Ask yourself this. If “rational philosophy” is to blame for our modern ills, how did you come to that conclusion? Did you reason that reason is the enemy? By doing things like weighing the evidence and all that? If not, what method did you use? And if reason isn’t the enemy, why do you insist on conflating avowed rationality with authentic rationality?

***Avowed rationality versus authentic rationality. Yeah. I think I know the difference now. Avowed rationality is the work of manipulative, controlling despots who don’t agree with you. Authentic rationality is the work of manipulative, controlling despots who are named Brizoni.

As I said above, reason is a tool for building arguments. It revolves around itself and ultimately consumes itself — as with the post modernists — if it is unhooked from Truth, meaning the anchor provided by thousands of years worth of basic human definitions of goodness and virtue. About which you seem to know astonishingly little.***

**************

We are all the tree. The cross was always a simplification. Why so many of the pioneering quantum physicists believed in God and understood the Christian imagery: Planck, Heisenberg, Schroedinger, and Einstein. The demarcations between creator and created are impossible to make. It’s said Einstein didn’t believe in a personal God. But he also said, “God doesn’t play dice with the universe.” Illustrating an apocryphal question by a long dead saint. If we can envision a God who creates the universe, how can we deny that he might also be a personal God? Surely the first is a greater power than the second. Including the question of whether or not he ever plays dice.

Here’s something Einstein definitely said: “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.” I agree.

My attorneys are removing the previous and all other indicative images.

My attorneys are removing the previous and all other identifying posts.

IRA 46.1-14. Not really. Civilization is ending, but I have all I need. I’ll die before there is screaming in the streets. But there will be screaming in the streets.

I said it would be a long long time before we got where we’re going, but it’s happening faster than I thought. Too bad for you.

I wish I cared more. I really do. But you did everything I thought you’d do, everything I knew you’d do.

You just stopped. You stopped thinking, learning, working, believing, caring, in enough numbers to crumble the whole enterprise. I was never a force. I was only describing what you were already doing. My conscience is clear.

So why am I here? Vanity? Possibly. Or maybe it’s that I feel, finally, that feeling matters somehow. That even if you die after I die, I will still feel it as a loss. That’s not believing in God, mind, it’s believing in, like, aftershocks.

Buy that? What fools you are.

I’m worth more billions than Bill Gates. Who was always an idiot-savant. Great at soldering and worthless at thinking. Why I’m talking. Other billionaires. Not a Renaissance mind in the bunch. They’re all alike. Getting older and older, and all they can think of ever is acquiring more money and power, more power and money, more, more, more. Sickness. Bunch of damn nine year olds, like most men. Three Stooges fans all, if you ask them in the men’s room. Nine.

Not that way myself. I had the misfortune and great good fortune of losing the love of my life early in life. End of ambition in perpetuity. This loss saved my soul. The hard part is caring about other souls. I’m trying.

I’m not nine. Never have been. But the truth is far worse. I have seen it all, all of it, seen it whole. The cliche is that the smart man focuses like a laser, sees the transaction, builds an edifice of transactions from the specificity of his concentration on details. Some may be like that. Not me. I just saw the whole thing all the time, all the transactions, all the maneuvering, all the emotions, all the motives, all the interactions, all the consequences, all the money moving, all the everything.

Why I came to want white things. Because everything else was a stain.

This is getting longer than I thought it would. I haven’t even answered my initial question. Maybe it’s more important for you to understand that I can tell you things you need to know. Things you won’t learn from all the intellects who are supposed to know. Because they don’t have my odd capability to see everything at once. Which is, to be honest, exhausting.

We’ll talk again. Now I have to go rest on my terrace.

image

Three score years of rules and experience. Most rules broken, most experience wasted. But there’s a residue of conviction.

Three score years of rules and experience. Most rules broken, most experience wasted. But there’s a residue of conviction. (Mrs. IP didn’t like the original pic.)

I’m very far from being a priest or rabbi. Of the Ten Commandments, I have broken most of them. I cannot stomach the notion that the Holy Bible is somehow the literal truth of history in the tiny segment of time in which humans have attempted to record their deeds, their beliefs, and their truths. But do I believe the Bible is somehow true?

I am entitled to a whack at that question, because as a writer, bibles have been my business to a greater extent than most. I’ve written at least two and possibly a third in camouflage.

The answer is yes. The Holy Bible is truth revealed, however it was done, which remains a mystery. Its purpose is not to be a million word piece of legislation like, say, ObamaCare, that imposes answers to all questions before they are asked. It is meant as a light that shows us ourselves as we tend to be and illuminates a path toward better lives. Bibles shouldn’t be measured in terms of facts as CBS and the Washington Post define them but in terms of their candlepower.

How much brighter can we be in appraising our choices and decisions? The source of the animating candle is not as important as what we can learn from its glow. The source of that glow is everyone’s choice to make depending on what he has derived from it.

I personally don’t care how you define God or even if you believe in him. If you don’t, you do have the additional obligation of explaining where the idea of him originated, especially given that he seems to have come up with rules that are so very hard for everyone to live by, including the most powerful and talented among us. How did we evolve from the semi-animal view of the human laborer as beast of burden and disposable property to the conception that all people possess a soul and a right to a direct, transcendent connection with the almighty, however imagined?

It wasn’t rational. Economics, political power, nation state prosperity all favored the definition of ordinary people as chattels of the gifted, well born, or otherwise blessed. The Egyptian and Roman models were spectacularly successful. The precociously intellectual model of the Greeks foundered early on. Their empire was an ephemeral dream that died with the sociopathic Alexander. Why feudalism persisted well into the nineteenth century in nations as “advanced” as Italy and Germany.

A true understanding of the Bible could have prevented so much. And, yes, I’m calling shenanigans on everything evil that was supposedly done in the name of the Bible after its Old Testament publication and its subsequent New Testament update by the Council of Nicaea. People take a long time to learn anything.

Why I spoke earlier in terms of candlepower rather than Watts. Here’s where I begin. I have never once benefited personally — in terms of happiness, satisfaction, or peace of mind — from a single time I broke one of the Ten Commandments. Every single instance has brought me grief, regret, unintended consequences, and loss of self-respect. Not because I broke a commandment. But because the commandments are right. I’m 60 now. Which makes me a quick learner, I suspect.

How did a nomadic tribe of, by their own account, opportunistic invaders and killers manage to identify such vital keys to life?

Does it matter? Not until you start to perceive the anachronistic wisdom of their so-called God.

That’s how I’m suggesting we should learn to read the Bible. There are at least two astonishing things about the Old Testament. First, that morality makes such an early appearance in the story of a hard-scrabble desert tribe. Second, that there is so much literary if not strictly factual honesty in their accounts of their own history. Every conceivable kind of crime and barbarism is rendered in detail. Divine revelation or compulsive self-revelation? Murder, treachery, incest, envy, lust, treachery, persecution, stupidity, hubris, and more treachery, always with their own ill consequences, not just the judgments of the prophets and the punishments of God. (Read The Viking epic King Harald’s Saga from at least a thousand years later. Same plot. No remorse.)

It’s a portrait of a people struggling oh so fallibly toward the thing we take for granted, modern consciousness. What set them on that path? They had no algebra, no physics, no discipline of logic, no telescopes, no medicine, no science of the mind or emotions. But they divined the importance of virtue as the ideal outcome of the battle between good and evil. How did they do that?

To drive home the fact of anachronism, consider the Book of David. Maybe contemporaneous with Homer, who was more Beowulf than Shakespeare. David was Shakespeare about two millennia early. Not being glib. T-h-i-n-k about it. If you have the knowledge, context, and mental capacity to….

It is the contrast that provides the spark that should light the light. In its sequence of events, Israel is every other ancient civilization more than not. Despots and fools and builders and destroyers. Against this is the tug of an aspiration not found in their antecedents and peers. The moral glue of their aspiration enabled them to survive where every other imperiled civilization couldn’t, their absolute subjugation by a ruthless occupying empire.

Which caused them to up the ante.

It’s become fashionable to assign Jesus to a category of resurrected gods that includes Osiris and Dionysius. Malarkey. Those gods didn’t return from the dead for any altruistic purpose. They were akin to the concept of spring. Not the moral salvation of all the worshipers.

Jesus is a unique figure, fundamentally unlike Osiris or even Buddha. He was conceived as God made man. Picture the equality sign in your heads. Man made God. Ordinary man made divine. That was the revelation and the revolution. That was the breakthrough.

Jesus was not here to ask us to die in imitation of him. He was here to say that he had already died for us, which freed us to live and think and be and hold our own communion with the greater meaning of life.

He reduced the Ten Commandments to two. Not because the Ten were no longer operative, but because he was, like fathers who give away their daughters at weddings, telling us that he trusted us to make our own decisions now, that he was prepared to forgive our errors as long as we remembered where we came from and how we had been raised. All those errors were already paid for if we could just remember who we were supposed to be.

You can call it a fable if you want. Like one of Kipling’s Just So Stories. You can blame the fable for the continual failures of the brides to justify daddy’s confidence. But what you can’t do is wash away the murderous record of the human societies that have attempted to rule the daddy fable out of the story.

Their record is not only catastrophic but inhuman and monstrous. Their defense is rational philosophy.

But the first rule of Instapunk is that rationality unleavened by truth is the surest road there is to calamity.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Now we are reaching the crisis. Things are not falling apart. They are flying apart. The people who are smarter than all the ancient notions of God are in control. They have forgotten everything that enabled Mankind to emerge from the blood of Assyrian massacres. And they WILL kill us all with their rational omniscience.

P.S. For those who are the noticing kind, that was not my first selfie. This was.

Pacal. I was younger and fitter then. A punk with clout. Still had my Mohawk.

Pacal. I was younger and fitter then. A punk with clout. Still had my Mohawk.

Funny thing. My wife wanted Instapunk to go away. She likes the Scot in me, just not the Scot who goes for the kill when a simple wounding will do.

My main point is even simpler than hers. Life is about living. Which means never yielding, never surrendering, never accepting what other people tell you should be your fate.

Here’s one stanza of one of the greatest poems ever written. By a middle aged Hartford insurance executive who drank his orange juice, read his Wall Street Journal, and dashed off a few lines of verse before driving to work.

Sunday Morning

By Wallace Stevens

She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, “The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.”
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings

Nothing is the way you think it is. Nothing. You kids. You’re fools. You’re all just awful. Knowing nothing is the worst preparation for life imaginable.

What are Instapunk Rules? The only defense against a worthless, meaningless existence. Learn or die. It’s that simple.

Literally, the dagger in the left hand.

Literally, the dagger in the left hand.

An old friend responded to the pic of the trench knife by saying it reminded him of his la main gauche.

Interesting in a couple of respects. Yes, there’s a resemblance. A brutal proof that death has stalked men for hundreds of years. But there’s also a big difference between the French dagger and the trench knife. The former is a weapon of treachery, the latter a final measure of self defense.

When the trench is overrun, the knife is just a chance at living for one more minute.

It’s clear we’ll have to talk a lot more about World War I, the trenches, and the hell of life on the western front.

Which we can accomplish here.

Among other things.

The reality of the logo up top.

The reality of the logo up top.

The way we’re going to start Instapunk Rules. I have one of these. It’s a trench knife. A real one. It’s a triangular blade not meant for or even competent for slicing bread. The only thing it’s good for is killing. Mine belonged to the gentlest man I ever knew, a former captain of infantry in the famous Rainbow Division of World War I. He participated in almost all the final battles that determined the outcome of that war.

Its beginning was almost exactly a hundred years ago. The most deadly strike against modern civilization ever. But most of you know nothing of it. Names like Verdun, the Somme, Chateau Thierry, Gallipoli, the Argonne Forest, and Belleau Wood mean nothing to you. Even as I write this, Apple software is protesting that the proper names are misspellings.

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates don’t know or care about this stuff. Men hurled themselves into a hail of technology that was guaranteed to kill them. People like Jobs and Gates condemn gun technology. As if machine guns are to blame for what happens between titanic egos. So they’re for gun control. Like I’m for computer mouse control. Which folded into the price of a cup of coffee adds up to nothing, even at Vente prices.

I’m going to do all you millennials a huge favor. You won’t like it. You won’t understand it. You won’t even believe it. But men who were far far better than you threw their lives away for a cause you’ll never understand because by their sacrifice they eliminated any responsibility you might ever have to feel. Great, huh? Sure. Ungrateful jerks are jerks because they never know they should be grateful. People like me are sick of you.

Thing is, I won’t be talking in general.

No. I have proof of the difference between the ones who were men then and the whiny pricks who call themselves men now.

I have a pile of letters from my grandfather to his wife. From the front in World War I. Which killed more western Europeans (uh, the supposedly civilized ones) than died in World War II. For the sake of comparison the Brits lost 350,000 in WWII. Ten times that in what the Greatest Generation liked to call the prelude. To be clear, that’s 3,500,000. Wrap your tiny heads around that and look up Douglas Haig on Wiki. Starting to get it? That’s three times all American combat losses in history.

America always comes to the rescue. But we don’t consent to the pure slaughter of our young in foreign adventures. Except one time, in 1918. When progressive Woodrow thought he could remake the world in the image of Princeton. Bad idea. No world ever wanted to be Princeton. But America paid for his orange and black vision.

In close to four years of world war across all oceans Americans in the army, navy, air force and marines lost 440,000 killed in action in WWII. In less than one year of World War I combat, American infantry in Europe lost more than 100,000 troops in France and Germany. In trenches that sickened and disfigured them when they weren’t charging into mud and shit filled swamps of stinking arms and legs and intestines called No Man’s land.

Everything dead. Killed trees don't stink as much as corpses of men.

Everything dead. Artillery fried trees don’t stink as much as corpses of men.

Whether you like it or not, I’m going to tell you about it. Not because I want to cater to your idiotic naïveté. You know, if we treat them right they’ll treat us right bullshit. Because there are always power brokers who are willing to spend every level of human life, unflinchingly, to achieve domination over others. The United States was the first nation in history to halt this kind of aggression without seeking to impose an authoritarian empire of its own. Here’s one of the first missives from one of the least imperialistic soldiers of that first great selfless defense of civilization.

A man writes to his wife. Wanna hear what he has to say?

A man writes to his wife. Wanna hear what he has to say?

Or just enjoy the fact that every photo you click on will expand to fill your screen.

No splash yet. Only a matter of time. But the whole gang is here. Tired of Arreffelly talking about dogs.

Killing our country. The MSM hate Sarah because her voice makes deerhounds hide under the covers. Hey. You don’t like women’s voices? Get the hell out of the country. Most of the people here are women, they have high pitched horrifying voices and some of them, a very few, have good ideas. Get used to it. And your damned deerhounds too.

We’ll be back. We need our multimedia army. Our writers, our spellers, our angers, our muggers…

And we need our Times Roman font. So you smart people can understand what we say.