Saturday, February 11, 2012

Why DO We Still Hold These Truths...?

Filmed in the streets and parks of Paris,
this was posted as an entry into the CPAC category
Why DO We Still Hold These Truths...?

Why Do We Hold These Truths…?

For 5,000 years, mankind was ruled by the thought that Man is a clueless, ignorant persecuted martyr, a victim incapable of fending for himself; OR, alternatively, by the thought that he is a selfish, narrow-minded, greedy, heartless, treacherous, barbaric, racist, bloodthirsty exploiter without love for his fellow man.

For this reason, and again for 5,000 years, mankind was ruled by people — still is, on most of the planet — whose credo, whose self-serving credo, was that the common man, the little man, needed, and needs, an élite to guide his life and to make society function — a king, a class of aristocrats, a caste of government bureaucrats. And for this the common man should be happy, and grateful, that he was thus taken care of.

Then, in the 1770s came a startling development — a group of men in America became fed up with being told they were clueless and/or selfish and/or ungrateful and that they should be pleased to pay taxes so that their betters could care of them in such a generous fashion.

And so these ungrateful men (some of you know them as the Founding Fathers) acted on the following belief — which turns out not to be a belief, but a truth: The average man (and the average woman) is neither victim nor exploiter, instead, he or she is smart, and good, and kind, and generous, and self-sufficient, and has common sense, and he or she can take care of his or her own affairs, all the while — yes — helping the needy. Said in a slightly more aggressive fashion, this becomes, "Do not tread on me!"

When Thomas Jefferson wrote that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" AND that "they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights", he was taking as the premise — the unqualified premise — that the average man is good, and kind, and generous, and self-sufficient. What is important, what is vital, to note is that ONLY if these truths are correct, that ONLY if these premises are true, that ONLY if there ARE no victims, no exploiters, no "little people" do the rights make sense in the first place.

What is remarkable is that for thousands of years, technology had barely progressed, only by the occasional sputter here or there. And then, all of a sudden — as you know if you have read Cleon Skousen's The Five Thousand Year Leap — following the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution and the industrial revolution and the advent of the patent law, technology started advancing by leaps and bounds, from the steam ship to the railroad, from the sewing machine to street-lighting, from mowing machines to the McCormick Reaper, from the telegraph to the telephone, from the photograph to the cinema, from steel to the skyscraper, from the bicycle to the automobile, from the airplane to the rocket, from the personal computer to the smartphone. And perhaps most important of all, from the stethoscope and chloroform and anesthesia to all the medicines that prolong lives and that put an end to the early deaths of infants and children that mankind suffered under for 5,000 years.


And since the 1770s, and all throughout this time of unprecedented progress (as described in Cleon Skousen's The Five Thousand Year Leap), there has been a backlash, from alleged "progressives" and by the monarchs and the élites of foreign countries, to demonize or to ridicule most everything related to the American Republic and just about every event in the Republic's history.

The main purpose in life of the demonizers seems to be to point out the alleged fallacies in the Founding Fathers' belief, the alleged hypocrisy of the American creed: they will point to a crook or to a racist or to a member of the armed forces who committed a war crime and say, "See, this is how, deep down, Americans really are!" In reality, they say, Americans are victims. Or they really are exploiters. Just like the common people of all other countries are — their élites "helpfully" remind them. And they look for a father figure, or an older brother figure, to lead the nation of narrow-minded abusers and clueless victims like a messiah would lead his flock. And how DARE we ungrateful little people criticize this father figure, this benevolent Dear Leader, who is taking care of us and acting in "our very best interests and using our earnings more wisely than we would ourselves"?!

Given that the liberals will — cheerfully — provide examples of all of America's sins, real or alleged, why is it that we do not react to what they say? Indeed, if the examples they provide are true, we conservatives can only be wrong. And so the answer is that we do not believe in these examples of American depravity for the simple reason that the examples are not true, or if an occasional example proves to be true, we know that it does NOT turn out to be representative of America in general, and we know, therefore, NOT to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.

We know that for every Bernie Madoff, there are 49 capitalists who earned their money honestly.

We know that for every Enron, there are 49 companies who treat their clients fairly.

We know that for every crooked bank manager, there are 49 banks with no need of government oversight.

We know that for every evil drug company, there are 49 that help mankind with their medicines.

We know that for every 19th-century company where workers were treated badly, there were 49 others where workers were treated correctly and where those workers prospered relative to foreign workers in the same situation.

We know that for every failed marriage and for every atrocious story involving a so-called dead beat dad, there are 49 families with 49 perfectly loving fathers lured into divorce by the lawyers and the other parasites of the divorce industry, families who get sucked into the welfare state.

We know that for every tragic incident involving alcohol or tobacco, there are 49 Americans perfectly capable of handling their booze and of smoking in an adult fashion who are in no need of nannies to set up a Prohibition-like environment.

We know that for every priest or preacher who abuses children, there are 49 men of the cloth who are truly good and humble and who set an example for their flocks.

More generally, we know that for every preacher who seems to be off his bonkers and who says something allegedly hateful or preposterous, there are 49 preachers who are entirely run-of-the-mill, and who give entirely good advice to the members of their churches or synagogues.

We know that for every My Lai and for every Major Calley, there are 49 soldiers and sailors and marines and pilots of the United States of America who are good and decent and dutiful and courageous and patriotic.

We know that for every crime involving a gun, there were 49 instances where a gun stopped a crime or prevented a crime from occurring in the first place.


In short, we know that, we know the truth that, the generalizations that the liberals make are not supported by the facts.

What is important to realize is that if the liberals' viewpoint is correct, it can only be true that mankind is narrow-minded and that we conservatives are — as perhaps the perfect illustration of this — indeed clueless. And the very fact that we are blind is proof in itself that we are, that we all are, in need a King George III or an Obama or a Che Guevara or any member of the Kennedy family.

But BECAUSE our eyes are open, we know that the liberals' and the statists' self-serving generalizations are NOT true.

And that man is good.

And that he is self-sufficient and capable of taking of himself without government oversight.

And that the society in which he lives is capable of surviving, and of taking care of the needy, without mountainloads of taxes on his back.

And thus, to liberals everywhere and to statists everywhere, within America and abroad, we repeat this:

It is BECAUSE man is good and kind and self-sufficient, it is for THAT VERY REASON that — We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

How Charming! They’re Even Wearing Shoes for Us!

Western civilization is afflicted with a horrible condition. It is one that debilitates the mind, poisoning international relations, enfeebling whole nations to anguish, wasted tears, hands chapped from self-flagellating wringing. Daniel Hannan can tell you all about it.
Congratulations to Rahul Bedi for putting into words what we all half-suspected: India neither needs nor wants UK aid. Such grants are outdated and patronising, he says, and encourage corruption. Indeed, Indians have 'become so contemptuous of Britain’s contribution that they accept it merely to avoid causing the Coalition embarrassment'. Ouch! Indians are a courteous people and Mr Bedi is perhaps too discreet to play his trump card: India's economic prospects are healthier than Britain's.
I call it the bedwetting of the morally vain. The nations at risk of this affliction are the donors, not the recipients, who seem uniquely unaware that the recipients suspect that the erstwhile missionaries of better-ness want to be called “B’wana”, and make them wear native garb for them, but parrot back stories about their good old days in Uni together.
Still, it's worth standing back and considering the big picture. We are borrowing money we don't have to send it to a country less indebted than our own. That country doesn't want it, but accepts it as a favour to us. The money encourages corruption without reducing poverty. Our relations are damaged in consequence.

Friday, February 10, 2012

German Science Finally Escaping the Plantation

Dirk Maxeiner is a long-time blogger and all-around evil genius who has spent years doing the hard work of shining the light of reality on the sad world of Gleichhaltung, or common feeling in Germany. In the present day and age, much of that Gleichhaltung comes in the form of commonly held delusions borrowed from abroad, or things that empirically challenged people just wish was true:
More and more each day, the academic structure that was built around the dogma of global warming, reminds me of a corrugated metal shed, one that shudders and wobbles at every turn. That said, it constantly needs shoring and having holes in the roof patched up. Yet with each gust of wind, someone from the Potsdam Institute has to brave the cold and patch another hole.

Meanwhile, what we have to show for it is a sort of climate favela, ugly and almost always leaking. It’s charming that we have to hear that the current bitter cold have their cause in global warming. Ten years ago, you still could have prophesied that there would be no more cold winter, now they know exactly why they still aren’t. The findings are supposed to become real in hindsight. That is, if the theory and computer models absolutely do not fit the reality, they are not rejected, but subsequently adapted to the fit the trend. That’s how it goes with scientific socialism [Ed.: consensus]. Yu can also call it anti-science.
With the recent turn of direction taken by a senior one-time apocalypse-monger, and a general skepticism about once-favored foregone conclusions, the charlatans of Klimaschutz are being held to some of their claims, even in Germany.

The Proper Way to Wear Your Name Tag If You Are Sporting a Fedora

When a gentleman is wearing a fedora at a conference or a convention, either to keep his head warm or simply to look handsome and/or "cool," etiquette demands that he does forget to wear his name tag in the proper way, as Monsieur Pete Ingemi Da Tech Guy is kind enough to demonstrate here:
the aforementioned badge must appear on the side of the hat — with the name displayed on the outside, tout naturellement — while the lanyard is stretched over the side of the fedora at its widest and ends up strapped tightly under the wearer's chin. (Brusque movements are not recommended…)

What Would Abe Lincoln Say to Barack Obama?

At CPAC Thursday, I met with Richard Fenton, who is the co-author of the book What Would Lincoln Say? (introduction and first chapter available online), and we talked about our respective Lincoln books with our co-authors, respectively Andrea Waltz and Dan Greenberg.

An extraordinary meeting between Barack Obama and our nation's greatest president… with a "twist" you'll never see coming!

How Raymond Aubrac and a Dozen Other Prisoners Escaped a Gestapo Firing Squad

Raymond Aubrac tells the BBC's Hugh Schofield how he met with Jean Moulin during World War II and tricked the Gestapo out of his execution.

How Lucie [Aubrac] and her Resistance group sprung [Raymond] Aubrac from the clutches of the Nazis is today one of France's best-known stories from the war - as uplifting for the French as the Caluire episode is grim.

Somehow Lucie managed to persuade the German commander that she was a) pregnant by the prisoner Aubrac (this was actually true) and b) unmarried to him.

By feigning horror at the prospect of the child being born out of wedlock, she got the commander to agree to a pre-execution marriage.

And so on 21 October, the convoy taking Aubrac back to Montluc jail from his "marriage" ceremony at police headquarters was attacked by a heavily-armed Resistance gang. Three Germans were killed and 14 prisoners escaped.

"One of the Resistance cars overtook the truck in which I was being transported, and when the two vehicles were level they shot the German driver," recalls Aubrac, who received a ricochet bullet in the side of the face.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

It Must be Because of those “Money People” or Something

Typical European solidarity and humanistic concern for the common man: Hungarian Police and Firefighters protesting austerity decide to burn Stars of David in protest.
Thousands of protesters of law enforcement agencies and the armed forces demonstrated against the government's austerity programme along with two far-right organisations Friday, burning a Jewish emblem.

The policemen, professional soldiers, customs, prison and civil guards as well as firefighters joined forces to voice their anger with the government's aim to abolish their last privilege -- early retirement.
I’m still looking for the congruousness in ”I want my meal ticket, and to pack Jews into boxcars too!”

Why Am I a Conservative?

Why Am I a Conservative? is a 1-minute contest
set up by and for CPAC to explain (as the title
suggests) in less than 60 seconds, why
a person is a conservative…
The original text (some of which I cut because
of the time limits) for my entry (which was not
among the three top winners) follows:

Why I am a conservative?

I am a conservative because of telephones.
Until the 1970s, there was no innovation,
hadn't been any, hardly, for decades
everybody had the same yucky-colored telephone,
khaki, black, cream — with a rotary dial —
brought to your home by a government employee…

But hey! Look at the good side: everybody was equal!
All of us, throughout the nation, throughout the world,
we were all equal! we all had the same basic telephone!

Then, at the time that Ronald Reagan became president, AT&T was broken up.
State monopoly vanished, private companies emerged.
All of a sudden, we got innovation, we got new technology
from push phones to wireless sets to cel phones to smartphones
Stores sprang up all over America, all over the world,
jobs were created, in an area that was not even thought of
as an industry previously!

And guess what — it's totally disorderly, it's chaotic,
there is no overview and — What is "worse", quote unquote:
Nobody is equal!
The "gap" between the basic phones
and the smart phones keeps growing!
And yet!
The poor person with the most basic phone built
over the past decades, in any part of the world,
has better equipment — he is richer, phone-wise —
than the wealthiest American multi-billionaire of three decades ago

I am a conservative because of telephones.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Beautiful Game: Football Players in Eastern Europe Are Subject to Harassment, Violence, Racism, Corruption, and Much More

"Je m'appelle Rodoljub Marjanovic, j'ai 23 ans, je suis footballeur professionnel en Serbie. Il y a deux ans, j'ai signé un contrat avec le FK Hadjuk Kula. Pendant six mois je n'ai pas été payé, puis on m'a forcé à mettre un terme à mon contrat auprès de la fédération serbe. J'ai voulu me défendre, mais le directeur financier du club m'a dit que je serais tué si je ne retirais pas ma plainte. Je me suis senti très mal, car le directeur financier, Nikola Dzomba, est célèbre en Serbie pour être quelqu'un prêt à tout. (...) J'étais dans un tel état psychique que j'ai dit aux médias que j'allais m'immoler par le feu devant le siège de la fédération serbe."
When Europeans aren't deploring the Yanks' lack of refinement or when they are trying to point out, say, how the European version of football is far more civilized and far more beautiful than American football, it turns out that Europe's football players, at least those in the Eastern part, are subject to intimidation, violence, and racism, not to mention the deliberate withholding of their pay and the corruption brought about by criminal gang activity.
Cet extrait choisi parmi de nombreux témoignages contenus dans le "Livre noir" réalisé par la FIFPro (le syndicat international des joueurs professionnels) donne une vision alarmante de la situation du football professionnel en Europe de l'Est. Ce rapport de 177 pages, que révèle Le Monde et qui sera rendu public mardi 7 février, démontre - à rebours des clichés qui nimbent celui nanti d'Europe de l'Ouest - qu'à l'est du continent le footballeur est un travailleur dont les droits ne sont pas toujours respectés, que les mauvais traitements sont légion, le racisme omniprésent et les pressions de corruption exercées par des organisations criminelles endémiques.

… 41,4 % des joueurs, toutes nationalités confondues, qui ont répondu à la FIFPro ont indiqué que leurs salaires n'était pas versés à temps. 11,7 % ont affirmé avoir subi des violences, 10,2 %, des brimades physiques ou psychologiques. Le rapport évoque par exemple le cas de Nikola Nikezic, ancien joueur du club russe FC Kuban, molesté et menacé par un revolver en janvier 2011 : "Quelques minutes après que j'ai refusé de signer un document qui mettait fin à mon contrat, deux gars très costauds sont entrés dans la pièce que l'entraîneur s'est empressé de quitter... J'ai fini par signer..." 9,6 % disent avoir été l'objet de discriminations raciales. Roberto Carlos, capitaine brésilien d'un autre club russe de l'élite, FC Anzhi Makhachkala, a été accueilli au stade du Zenith Saint-Pétersbourg par un supporteur qui lui a tendu une banane. 15,6 % ont été obligés de s'entraîner seuls, à l'écart du groupe. Le footballeur russe Igor Strelkov a dû respecter un programme individuel consistant à courir autour du terrain pendant plusieurs jours. La température moyenne était de - 20 °C.

Ces professionnels deviennent, dès lors, plus vulnérables à la corruption mise en place par des organisations de type criminel. 11,9 % des joueurs interrogés ont admis avoir été approchés pour manipuler le résultat d'un match. Pour la FIFPro, il y a "un lien évident entre le non-paiement et les matches arrangés". Un tiers des joueurs approchés pour arranger un match ont subi des violences.

Even More Illiberal and Expansionist

Let’s not forget about that other #European union.
The document was signed by the leaders of the Russian Federation, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. Only the ignorant will be less than impressed.
And it wasn’t just about “Kampuchean-Yemeni Solidarity” like the bad old days.
The Eurasian Union is part of an integration process leading to the Common Economic Space. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev likens it to a train. Think of it as a new European Union with Russia in the driver’s seat, picking up new passengers as it happily motors along.

Western Europe’s clout on world affairs is fading. My sad analysis is that the EU’s economy will soon implode like that of the old Soviet Bloc. Its people’s poverty and austerity will resemble that of communist Romania or Albania.
While the “implosion” fantasies are bogus, the notion of going through a transition phase of mediocrity and dependence isn’t. The EU being the world’s locus of high finance or “big-wind” in the form of being perpetual UN conference hosts will not pay the bills. The fact that we are talking about two R&D deserts doesn’t really figure into things either when you consider who it is that has the natural resources.
The harsh fact is that thanks to years of political ineptitude, the European Union has nothing left to offer the world. It is an also-ran.
I don’t see a sauve qui peut threshold being crossed in the future, but rather a creeping awareness that comes in the form of independent treaties and partnerships that critics will characterize as being rather too “British“ or “Hungarian” for their happy, loving family.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

At Its 1963 Launching, France's Radio and TV Station Was Described Incontrovertibly by Charles De Gaulle as "a Propaganda Instrument"

Besides the firing of radio and TV reporters who did not please the powers-that-be, censorship and self-censorship were the rule in France's radio and television stations, while "taboo" subjects were avoided.
Needless to say, sentences like this one in Daniel Psenny's Le Monde book review help explain the widespread opposition in France to George W. Bush during the Iraq War coupled with just-as-widespread support for Jacques Chirac's "peace camp" histrionics.

The book itself that Psenny is reviewing — Augustin Scalbert's La Voix de son maître ? France Inter et le pouvoir politique, 1963-2012 — goes into more specifics, and that from the very beginning: In his speech launching the official French radio and TV station almost 50 years ago, Charles de Gaulle had no compunction about stating incontrovertibly that the Radiodiffusion-télévision française (including France Inter) should be "a propaganda instrument", writes Daniel Psenny. (As for Le Monde itself, it turns out that France's newspaper of reference was born under similar circumstances and with similar goals…)
Inaugurée le 14 décembre 1963 par le général de Gaulle, la Maison de la radio, qui abrite les radios de service public (dont France Inter), a longtemps été considérée comme "la voix de la France". Dans son discours inaugural, le Général n'avait d'ailleurs pas hésité à affirmer que la Radiodiffusion-télévision française (la RTF) de l'époque avait "une responsabilité nationale" et devait être clairement un instrument de propagande.

C'est ce que rappelle Augustin Scalbert, journaliste à Rue89, dans son livre La Voix de son maître ? France Inter et le pouvoir politique, 1963-2012, qui raconte les relations complexes entretenues entre la radio publique et le pouvoir politique. En clair, l'"avant" et l'"après" Nicolas Sarkozy, qui, en 2008, a décidé de nommer lui-même les présidents de l'audiovisuel public (dont celui de Radio France), pour mettre fin à "l'hypocrisie".

La première partie du livre est historique. Le journaliste y rappelle que la droite (de Gaulle, Georges Pompidou, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing) a toujours veillé à ce que l'audiovisuel public soit sous l'emprise du pouvoir politique. Outre les renvois de journalistes qui ne plaisaient pas, la censure et l'autocensure étaient la règle, et l'on évitait les sujets "tabous" …

En près de cinquante ans, les choses ont bien changé. Même si, financièrement, Radio France reste toujours dépendante de l'Etat, elle n'est plus le "relais de propagande" du pouvoir.

La décision de Nicolas Sarkozy de nommer lui-même le PDG de Radio France a jeté le trouble, tant à l'intérieur qu'à l'extérieur de la Maison ronde, et fait l'objet de la seconde partie du livre.

You Can Check Out Any Time You Like, But You Can Never Leave

With no exit mechanism, and no substantive federalism, or a unifying idea, Francis Fukuyama decribes why the EU empire-building project is more or less like the Hotel California
in a sense, there is a deeper failure at the European level, a failure in European identity. That is to say, there was never a successful attempt to create a European sense of identity and a European sense of citizenship that would define the obligations, responsibilities, duties and rights that Europeans have to one another beyond simply the wording of the different treaties that were signed. The EU in many respects was created as a technocratic exercise done for purposes of economic efficiency. What we can see now is that economic and post-national values are not enough to get people to buy into this community. So wealthy Germans feel a sense of noblesse oblige towards poorer Germans; this social solidarity is the basis of the German welfare state. But they do not feel similar obligations towards the Greeks,whom they regard as being poor disciplined, very non-German in their general approach to fiscal matters.
So there is no solidarity in that broader European sense. I think for various reasons Europe is stumbling toward a short-term solution to this crisis. But I do not think that any form of deepening at this point is a viable project unless someone pays more attention to identity and is able to answer the question in a more substantive sense of what it means to be a European. Not just in a negative sense that we don’t want conflict and old nationalisms and war, but what it means in terms of positive values.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Unbearable Heat Wave: Global Warming Hits Europe Like a Winter Storm

Plantu cartoon:
If I had a job in a newspaper, I could also break important news stories!
• Newspaper headlines:
— Snow Is Falling!
— It's Freezing!
— Snow Is Falling!
— It's Freezing!

More Global Warming news here…

Global Warming Update: Venice Canals Freezing Over for First Time in Over 80 Years

Watching "the canals of Venice […] thickening as they start to turn to ice," the BBC refers to a "throwback to another era" in view of the fact that
…the last time the surrounding lagoon froze was in 1929.
As for the Italian capital further South, "Rome has seen its heaviest snowfall in more than 25 years."

As for Bosnia's capital, "Sarajevo lies buried under its heaviest snowfall ever" (read another BBC report).

All in all, over 200 people have died of the cold in Europe (more than 100 of them in the Ukraine), but apart from (entirely) insignificant details like that, heaven forbid that we should let such an (entirely) insignificant fluke deter us from our fight against global warming.

Update: Meanwhile — and as Plantu tries to steer the narrative towards heart-breaking unemployment and homelessness — it is unclear whether Garry Trudeau catches the unintentional irony in today's Doonesbury strip as the satirist (although a one-direction satirist only, i.e., only or mostly with the right) takes on alleged climate-change deniers and their alleged flexibility with facts

(doubled to make sure Monday's cartoon stays on this post)…

Sunday, February 05, 2012

A Hard Working Poet Never Takes a Break

I'm tired of love; I'm still more tired of rhyme;
But money gives me pleasure all the time.

Belloc, Hilaire (1870 - 1953)

Word up.

Copenhagen: "a photogenic gem", filled with "old and new buildings that compliment each other perfectly"

Robert Thomason moved to Copenhagen to live with his Danish girlfriend nearly 10 years ago
writes The Telegraph.
He describes the city, which he has captured in thousands of pictures, as "a photogenic gem", full of "old and new buildings that compliment each other perfectly".