The Deterioration of Discourse
After a long day of work and school I dealt with an epic traffic jam by ducking into a pleasant Ramen shop in Norfolk.
The waitress, knows I'm a rightie and felt quite chuffed at the opportunity to needle me on the current Republican nominee, who, to avoid triggering any of our readers we will refer to as Whale Vomit for the remainder of this post.
Anyway, she was quite happy that his campaign seemed to be imploding and noted that since Whale Vomit was the Republican nominee, we on the right had no moral authority whatsoever.
Now...it had been a VERY long day, and I was really not in the mood to be thinking about Whale Vomit while attempting to appreciate my Miso Ramen, so I asked her what she thought of her party's nominee (who, in the interest of decency, we'll refer to as the She-Goat of The Forrest With A Thousand Foetid Young). The waitress got annoyed that I would even bring that up. Since nobody in the Democratic party actually likes that individual.
I'll leave the obvious inconsistency to the reader.
The conversation turned to the violence at the Whale Vomit events and the fellow who had tried to shoot the republican nominee...After looking that news tidbit up the waitress was overcome with the blue county giggles and finally broke into laughter, suggesting that the would-be assassin ought to get a medal, or should have done better and if he'd died doing that he'd be a martyr. She also said that any violence at the Republican campaign events was entirely the fault of those rotten enough to show up to support the nominee.
Absolutely no indication was given that she thought this was in any way unreasonable sentiment despite this being a representative republic as opposed to a recital of the Lord of the Flies.
My dismay at the results of the Republican primaries is Brobdingnagian, but I can say with considerable certainty that I hold anyone who is supportive of these thugs and would be assassins in even less esteem than I have for Whale Vomit.
This wasn't the faculty lounge or a meeting of the Weathermen, this was a Ramen shop and there was no hint of awareness that any line had been crossed.
You're not the only one who's worried--here's an American Interest article about a recent Pew Research Center survey; the survey shows the rise of what some commentators call "negative partisanship", i.e. voting for Party X not because you like Party X's policies, but because you hate Party Y's policies (and the people who vote for Party Y). The author of the American Interest article wonders if the term "nihilistic partisanship" might not be more appropriate.
Posted by: Peter the Not-so-Great at Thu Jun 23 20:58:20 2016 (iohoY)
Then tell me, is this what you want conservatism to become?
This is actually one of the most pernicious and vile problems with political correctness. When you define racism down, when you declare vast swaths of discourse off limits and smear everyone who expresses a political disagreement with the label of bigot, then you normalize people like this guy, and give them a way to ooze into our national discourse.
It doesn't help when some of his critics are SO vile that he can look good by comparison to them. It used to be that if someone was accused of being a racist and their retort was "Well, I'm against child rape! SO THERE!" that the public could point out that such a defense is not only a non-sequiter, but a straw man as pretty much everyone was in agreement that having sex with children is wrong. Alas now we have his vocal critics amongst the current Sci-Fi luminaries, who can't quite denounce a NAMBLA advocate on one side and a whole bunch of people who have been victimized over the years for whom Vox Day (whose real name is Theodore Beale) is a savior who is not only affirming the fact that they have been hurt, but is hated by, and reciprocates the animosity of those who caused them so much suffering.
So yes. Some of the people that dislike us, and that Vox Day also dislikes are truly vile pieces of work. I would go so far as to call them monsters.That doesn't mean he should be allowed to define who we are or not be called out by us for espousing views unrelated to child abuse that we not only find abhorrent, but that the left has been slanderously ascribing to us for decades.
Just as many on the left have missed the point that 1984 is a cautionary tale and not a how to manual, so do many of Vox Day's apologists not quite grok the lessons of Faust (or Elric for that matter). The alt-right (which is actually old school, Wilsonian progressivism) currently has an undeniable energy and is riding the backlash against political correctness quite skillfully. However, allying with them comes at too high a price, for these toxic remoras will either drown us by their weight of their odious views, or in the worst case, use us as a platform to spread and legitimize those beliefs. The results of that are not likely to be good, either politically, or morally. I for one won't have it on my conscience.
When fighting monsters it is important to not become one yourself, for that rather defeats the purpose of the exercise.
There wasn't much wrong in that linked transcript, on the part of Vox Day anyway. Or at least I can't see it. I stopped following his blog because he was much too racist a few years ago. It was in the blog posts. But the transcript seems fairly innocuous to me.
I was "what's the hullabaloo all about" until I got to the point where he said that the Holocaust wasn't important because it happened more than forty years before people today were born anyway. Or some such.
When the leftist starts sounding reasonable about Jews, it's generally a warning sign....
I found the whole thing rather tedious reading, but his point about the Holocaust seemed to be "young people don't give a damn about it any more, because to them it's ancient history". I'd say that's a true statement, poorly expressed. The point gets rather muddled when he gets into comparing how long people cared about different massacres and why this one stands out, but that just says that he's not good at live debate and went down a rat-hole.
Personally, I've never seen any reason to pay attention to what he says. The Leftists who created him deserved what they got, and I have no interest in watching them fight it out.
Posted by: J Greely at Thu Jun 2 16:38:07 2016 (CLiR9)
This where I've been on Vox for a while. It doesn't matter that he represents a small faction of people when he is successfully presented as *the* face of Christian Conservatism.
Unfortunately, he's right about the Holocaust. A couple of decades ago I was having a conversation with a friend of mine, and WWII came up. And after a while, his young housmate interrupted us, and in all bright-eyed innocence asked us, "Who's Auschwitz?" He hadn't really been taught about WWII in school, and I can only imagine it's gotten worse since then.
It's seems strange that a generation whose go-to insult is to call someone Hitler has no idea who he actually was.
Posted by: Mauser at Fri Jun 3 19:23:50 2016 (5Ktpu)
I had much the same question asked of me ("What's an Auschwitz?") in a historical methods class...meaning that everyone in the class was a history major, indicating a passing interest in history.
The notion that there is a great lack of any understanding of the holocaust is, in fact true. However, my reading of VDs take on this troublesome development is that it is a good thing, which I find unnerving.
Honestly, at this point it's fair to say that the Republican establishment isn't interested in the principles of the Republican electorate. In those circumstances, a Republican victory is almost meaningless anyway; sure, they might pass one or two pieces of symbolic legislation about the moral issues I don't care about in the first place, and the particular recipients of government boodle might be different, but it won't arrest the degeneration, or even meaningfully slow it at this point.
Cruz might have been more effective than Trump at carefully cutting away the fat and loose skin while preserving more of the healthy tissue. But he was always a long shot, simply because of that - the Republican elite feared the prospect of a Cruz administration more than they did of a Clinton one and acted accordingly. And at this point, things have progressed to the point that a scalpel is less appropriate than a chainsaw.
Trump has one tremendous virtue - he simply isn't afraid of the media. He's not worried about coming out with an unpopular opinion or saying something that will be twisted into an attack ad (or more like, he spits out so many of them that it's practically like chaff at this point - attacking him on policy is difficult because so much of it is obviously blather and media-bait that it's hard to hit anything solid.) And that defuses the Democrats' most powerful weapon. We've gone through years of overspending precisely because the Republicans are too afraid of media perceptions to exercise their power where they have it; against that, Trump is essentially immune.
He's got the potential for vast damage to the Republican party. A lot of that damage is necessary.
- Trump sent a rabidly gay man to judge a beauty pageant (which naturally resulted in a national scandal). There is of course nothing wrong with being gay, just look at Milo. But his fitness to judge beauty pageants was obviously absent. His only qualification was that he belonged into the Trump empire. Ergo, Trump is motivated by tribalism rather than capabilities in personnel choices. Well, most people are like that. But there are limits.
- Before the JFK assasination thing, Trump's campaign tried to smear Cruz with having 5 mistresses.
The one argument in all of this that I do not understand is the "but Hillary is worse" argument. I have yet to be able to convince myself of that. The only statement that leaves room for favor in this regard is "we don't know what Trump will do, but we do know what Hillary will do, and it will be bad." As Brickmuppet pointed out, he reflexively responds as a despot, first thinking of his intention to apply absolute power. NOT ONCE during the campaign has expressed the intent to allow the Congress to do what it's supposed to do, at which point he will either veto or sign and enforce. His expressed intent is to MAKE the congress do what he wants it to do...IF he has to go through Congress.
I have believed that Hillary at her worst would be no worse than Barack Obama. In fact, I have believed that her cowardice and sense an self-preservation would lead her to hide behind Congress as much as possible, while Obama has acted in his own interest and then blamed Congress when people pointed out that his actions did not follow the law. In that regard, I predict that Trump will be *worse* than Obama.
Purely on the grounds of "pick your dictator", I feel that Trump is the worst of the lot, and Hillary will be marginally better than what we've had. I do not debate that she will be miserable; *practically* as bad as Obama, if you will. But then I further consider not only my own conscience, but where any possible gathering of opposition will be situated in four years. Everyone on the right to any degree will carry the stigma of Trump for decades. If doesn't even matter if he miraculously became a great President...he will never become a great man. His soul, if you believe in such things; his legacy, demeanor or aura if you prefer those concepts, is already black. He would have to accomplish something truly great to overcome this extreme handicap. He has shown himself to possess no trait, neither intelligence, nor decorum, nor bravery, nor character, nor wisdom, nor cunning (he has demonstrated that he purchases it in a consultant's bottle; he himself repudiates it and prefers blunder and deceit) that demonstrates any capability for greatness. He must blunder into it or have it handed to him.
Failing that, he will be the death sentence.
I can not vote for Trump, or Hillary. I see no benefit in one over the other, and I refuse to support either the Republican Party or the Democrat Party in this fiasco.
From the RKBA perspective, Trump is incomparably better than Hillary. It is a simple tie-breaker for me. Remember that a President is there to introduce legislation (such as Obamacare) and to appoint SCOTUS justices. I'm not looking forward to Hillary packing the court with libs like "the wise latina" (in her own words), who are sure to replay Keller. We have the ruinous taxes on ammo coming up that we sure to end before the court. So yeah... The two may be alike on most issues, but very different on few critical issues.
Pete, I'll grant that Trump has been consistent, if somewhat simplistic in a "not sure he knows what he's talking about" way. But I find it concerning that all of his properties ban concealed carry, even when it's not mandated or encouraged by local law. And then, of course, he named several anti-second amendment justices as good Supreme Court nominees, before claiming he was joking when this was pointed out, and switching his opinion to a Justice "just like Scalia." I don't trust him. He's lied about everything else; I don't see a reason to support him just because he gets some of the words right on one issue.
Ben's comment #4 is close to where I am, though I disagree that Clinton would be better. She is as much a narcisist as Trump, she is extraordinarily corrupt, hates the military men and women, and is a totalitarian through and through and doesn't much care about the nation. As Pete correctly points out she is worse, possibly far worse on 2A.
There is hope however.
Not a sane rational hope mind you, but the completely improbable notion that all of this madness means that Takumi Yanai is indeed a time traveller so we might get elf chicks out of the deal, in exchange for the death of the republic.
So...aside from America possibly electing Trump, is there any evidence to support this crazy idea? Well...at the intersection of desperation and special pleading there is this story about how the Russians appear to have been doing seminar calls and Tweetsorms for Trump.
Now, a Debbie Downer skeptic might ask, "What the hell does the involvement of Russia have to do with...that?"
Well, doomsayers...there's the little matter of Natalia Poklonskaya.
Yeah...but it's all I've got in the way of cheer-uppery.
I've been called ******* nuts these evening when I patiently explained (for the 100th time) that I wasn't opposed to Donald Trump because I didn't like his toupee. It is not clear to me at all that Donald Trump is a superior choice, regardless of the letter he's choosing to represent himself as. And of course, if I don't believe Trump in the oval office is relatively superior to Clinton, or at least not to any compelling degree, then I just accept the long view and choose not to compromise my ethics. I can make a long-view argument that Hillary will be better for the country in the end, but I'm still not sure how comfortable I am with it.
I've been a Cruz supporter since shortly before Walker got out (and boy was Walker a disappointment), and I've come to the conclusion he'd have been among our best Presidents. Unfortunately, Cruz always had the deck stacked against him. The Elites on both sides of the isle politically and in the MSM have been routinely changing their shorts about the idea of him winning since Rubio bailed. They think they can control Trump better and that a loss by Trump (more likely to happen in their opinion) would discredit the other Republican factions and give them back the reigns of power. I think they are wrong on both counts, Trump won't be controllable in the way they think and he will do better in the general then people are currently willing to credit him, especially against Hillary or Bernie.
Unfortunately I think Trump managed to make opposing Ted personal to a significant segment of the rebellious voter population that Ted needs to build into a coalition. The 'Lying Ted' and 'Canadian' smears are going to stick, damaging Ted going forward and be difficult to shake. Ted also did himself no favors in the end by going for broke on this election by stacking his entire chance on rules lawyering the delegates and appearing to try to make truce with the establishment against Trump. It give him an unfortunate, and I believe inaccurate, air of being just another greedy politician.
Unfortunately I think Ted's, and the country's, best option at this point would be to get him on the Supreme Court as he won't be granted the advantages of being 'next in line' that other Repub candidates have had.
As for Trump, I do think he will be better then Hillary, though that is a low bar indeed. There is at least a chance he could surprise us and be honestly good or great, but no such chance for a known commodity like Hillary. Also, I have little doubt that with Trump we'll at least finally get our wall built. Whether it is a physical Great Wall of China or a virtual surveillance wall remains to be seen, but I have no doubt something will be built which will at least be an improvement over the last 30 years.
Posted by: StargazerA5 at Wed May 4 07:47:55 2016 (5YSpE)
I'm not particularly thrilled by Trump, but it's pretty obvious that he's not interested in fundamentally transforming the country like Obama and Hillary are.
And while I've flirted with the "burn it down" school of thought, in the end I remember that history is replete with examples that what comes later is more likely to be worse.
Posted by: Rick C at Wed May 4 17:57:45 2016 (FvJAK)
All that matters is keeping Hillary out of the White House. If that means suffering through one term of a Trump Presidency, so be it, and with the resulting embarrassment for the Republican Party, maybe they will learn their lesson and things will be better after that.
Posted by: Mauser at Wed May 4 22:01:46 2016 (5Ktpu)
I'll probably end up voting for some joke candidate like Gary Johnson or whomever the Libertarians put up as a clay pigeon, assuming they don't run an actual Satanist or the like, but between Clinton and Trump, I think I'd give the edge to Clinton. I've more confidence that she won't provoke a shooting war with the Chinese, and I have no such confidence in Trump. On the off chance that Clinton turns out to be even more frothingly incompetent at campaigning than she already has shown herself to be, and that orange clown ends up in the White House, he'll have such a collection of re-treads, adventurers, and sly-eyed con-men working for him that you might as well have a magic 8-ball running his policy desks.
Posted by: Mitch H. at Thu May 5 08:56:58 2016 (jwKxK)
That's about where I am, Mitch H. Johnson won't win; I honestly don't think Trump has a change in heck, either. But, Hillary is a very easy target. And while I generally don't support the idea that standing in opposition is better than compromising to win, that's the way I'm leaning this year.
I don't want to get into a fight in the comments here so this is the last I'll mention it, but you are advocating for malice over incompetence. The latter seems better from where I'm sitting.
Posted by: Rick C at Thu May 5 10:17:34 2016 (ECH2/)
Oh...While I typed, the conversation was down here.
Yeah, this is a mess.
I've gotta say that I'm generally inclined to lean towards incompetence than malice. Where it gets complicated is when one throws a malevolent incompetent into the mix as that messes up the equation...and I'm not sure where the greater value of either characteristic lies in this set.
I mean, we've got one person who says "I like veteranss, I just don't want street vendors in front of my classy, snobby building" (which somehow gets turned into "I hate veterans"), again, compared to someone who went out of her way to be rude and demeaning to her Secret Service detail. I can feel that Trump will be less bad for the country while still not actually liking him.
Posted by: Rick C at Thu May 5 14:32:23 2016 (ECH2/)
My rule since the Eighties has been "I only vote for Republicans because Democrats destroy the country faster". I have yet to see evidence that undermines this theory.
Now, if Trump could actually take California in the general election, it would be worth voting for him to watch the head explosions. Otherwise, it doesn't really matter who I vote for.
Posted by: J Greely at Thu May 5 15:15:28 2016 (CLiR9)
Clinton and Trump... it's like they split Nixon and LBJ each down the middle and set all the dials to 11. Clinton got the Machiavellian evil, Trump took the sour populist hatred of the establishment, both of them took a fair helping of petty self-dealing corruption, while Trump ran away with LBJ's incandescent crassness and, I fear, foreign-policy pugnacious recklessness.
After eight years of Obama, either one of them will cement our status as an elective dictatorship. Domestically I suspect it'll be a kleptocratic congealed drift towards the entitlements/debt cliff - whether the congressional Republicans lose their majority or not, the only real difference will be whether Congress joins in on the petty cultural war harassment, or continues to leave it to an increasingly lawless executive. And anyone who thinks Donald Trump has the bureaucratic ability or inclination to keep any of that from happening hasn't been paying attention. Either he keeps within the letter of the regulatory apparatus (I hesitate to refer to it as "law" anymore) and gets rolled by the bulletproof, amorphous eternal bureaucracy, or he tries to play despot and lays about with the firing stick, whereupon he's going to find out just how little traction rule by temper tantrum really has in the face of a skilled and self-interested apparat.
Posted by: Mitch H. at Thu May 5 15:52:04 2016 (jwKxK)
One troubling kerfuffle that is getting short shrift outside of right leaning blogs. involves a small time author who got cut by his publisher because his villains motivations were impolitic. This says more about the publisher than anything else, and it would be a non story, if not for the reports of the very pervasive nature of a monoculture in a lot of the publishing industry.
One argument that I hear regarding stories like this is that it is not news and there is nothing wrong with it because the 'policing' is being done by a corporation and it's not a government doing the censoring, so it's not actually censorship.
By that logic, the Hayes Code and the Comics Code Authority which were instituted not by the government, but by trade associations and agreements between corporations were just peachy keen. Even the Hollywood Blacklist, though initially a reaction to contempt of congress citations, was not a government pogrom but was initiated voluntarily by the studios. If that sort of thing appeals to you then fine, enjoy your homeowners association and live happily in your chosen dystopia. However, for the rest of us, when virtual monopoly that controls a good chunk of public discourse silences viewpoints the effect can be the same in many ways as a government doing it. The differences can be reduced further when these entities quietly collude with the government in suppressing viewpoints. Of course, having the government barge in and force these entities to allow the speech they are banning would unambiguously be a 1st amendment violation. However, the situation as it is developing is deeply troubling. Thus it is wise to ensure that people are aware of these things and encourage alternate venues for online socialization and different outlets for publication.
Even Those On The Side Of The Angels
who take too many shortcuts in pursuit of their goals often end up in a different place than they intended serving different ends than they hoped and may find that they have merely replaced the monsters they sought to vanquish.
First, the thing about the hard left is that while they will form a circle and defend themselves from outside attacks no matter the truth of them, they will form a circular firing squad if they see dissent within the ranks. If you can prod them in the right direction, the fireworks can be spectacular.
That's why they haven't ever managed to completely take over; they are all too ready to eat their own.
Second, those dates for the rise and fall of empires are, basically, garbage. The Roman Entity lasted from 509 BC (the founding of the Republic) to 1453 AD (the last days of the Byzantine Empire). That's nearly two thousand years. Things were rather a mess after the Fourth Crusade in 1204, but even if we discount the Byzantine successor states and the re-establishment (and entirely ignoring the Holy Roman Empire and modern Italy) that's still 1700 years, not ~200.
For Greece he's only chosen the Hellenistic period, ignoring both the Classical and Roman periods (which three periods were culturally a single continuous civilization) and the whole Byzantine period, as well as the earlier Mycenaean and Minoan cultures (fair enough in that case; they essentially disappeared in the Bronze Age Collapse), and also the Archaic period, which presaged Classical Greece, and was a not inconsiderable, if rather loosely-organised, state. The Archaic period ended with the Persian invasion - but the Greeks won that war, so that's hardly a reason to ignore it.
For Britain, he chooses the dates of 1700 to 1950. But while the Acts of Union were passed in 1707, the kingdoms were united under a common monarch since 1603, and a unified England goes back to 1042 - albeit with one or two (or three) hiccups over the centuries. Picking the dates for the rise and fall of Britain and ignoring both Elizabeths seems problematic.
I'm no expert on the Ottoman Empire, but given that it was one of the Central Powers in WWI, while it was certainly in decline by then (and had been for quite some time) I think an expiration date of 1570 is stretching the truth a little.
I think the predictive power of his model is limited at best.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sun Jan 3 09:49:09 2016 (PiXy!)
I've been arguing with a Bernie Sanders supporter for four days. It really brings home how a person with no grounding in civics, physics, or logic would vote. Not that I'm saying all Bernie supporters are like that. I'm sure some of him actually like his record, or maybe just look at the rest of the field and say "what the hell." But this is a kool-aid drinker. This guy is one of the ones who thought Obama was Jesus, and now thinks it may actually be Bernie.
It's an incredibly superficial discussion compared to the content of this blog post, which was fascinating and thoughtful.
Oh, and I was going to post something similar to what Pixy did, although I think the discussion of when one would say Britain became truly representative in nature is debatable. Interesting and worth the discussion, of course.
Pixy, you are in Australia. You're looking at the chart upside down.
The chart and some made from it has been cropping up lately (usually unattributed) and has been referenced occasionally with the chants of "DOOM!" and "Lets cast aside the rules and go down fighting".
I think the possibility of a general collapse is greater than many suppose and more worrisome since the sort of enlightenment we grew out of is rare. However I specifically wanted to use the pre-and post Rubicon Rome (and the omission of Venice) to debunk the notion that the 200-250 year lifespan is inevitable.
On the other hand, all your points are valid Pixy. These are all specific political arraignments more akin to nation states than civilization itself. I swear I had one or two sentences in there quibbling with Spain (which was bankrupt and virtually a spent force after the Armada but did not loose meaningful territory until the 1800s) and the UK, for which we probably should start the clock after the Fall of Cromwell though I've heard other places refer to "About 1700" for the start of the Empire...and I'd really draw the curtain just a bit later (at the Suez Crisis) for the point where keeping it up truly became impossible.
The point you make regarding Eastern Rome is well taken and a lot of people agree with it. Although Byzantium was a distinct entity it was arguably only a bit more so than the Republic/Empire divide for Rome. On the other hand, as I point out, Rome reinvented itself and was certainly Rome before and after the Rubicon.
With the exception of the Western Roman Empire none of those ended with the sort of calamitous dark age we associate with civilizational collapse (and even the chaos of the post Roman period is overblown) so civilizational collapse does not mean to him what it does to most people.
The Mamelukes he mentions (as opposed to three other Mamelukes) were a sort of predecessor to the Ottomans trying to rebuild the Caliphate and based in Cairo...they were succeeded by what we call the Ottomans, though that is a western term and it refers to several dynasties. They were kind of like Spain in that they pretty much were a zombie empire after a debt crisis and military reversal, though I'd put the date at or around the siege of Vienna for their decline.
Persia should not be on the list at all.
Sir Glub makes some good points, but that chart, while probably intended to be a conversation starter is counterproductive. Using the criteria he does you could (with a few exceptions like the Yuan) be talking about Chinese dynasties but that wouldn't fit neatly into the time span Glub has chosen. On the other hand, using numbers that are not very close to the current age of the U.S.A. ie: 100-300 years would involve a TL;DR of a list.
No nation lasts forever but predestination is not a meaningful influence upon history unless a citizenry chooses to believe in it and give up.
China is a good counter-example - dynasties changed, but there's been a recognisable Chinese political entity for 4000 years. Egypt is another counter example - 2800 years of self-rule across 31 dynasties (with a couple of Persian incursions and a mild case of Sea Peoples), and nearly 1000 years of Greco-Roman rule.
France in the late 18th and 19th centuries is an example in the other direction - the government was overthrown from without or within 9 to 12 times (depending on what you count) but at the end of it all, it was still France.
The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, though.... 226 years.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sun Jan 3 18:28:47 2016 (PiXy!)
Anyway, I'd argue that Western civilisation is a single entity; and it's been continuously flourishing at least since 1543 despite the best efforts of various categories of barbarian along the way.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sun Jan 3 18:39:19 2016 (PiXy!)
Although Russia cannot hold a handle to China in this regard, it existed as a nation since 988 A.D. or so, and continues to exist today. Although the Romanov dynasty only lasted for 234 years, the preceding dynasty, Ryuriks, lasted for 736 years (through the Mongol occupation, natch), and the Communist rule lasted for 74 years. So there is quite a range of numbers to pick.
That's only really true if you're taking the Duchy of Moscow to be "Russia". Russia in that era was like Germany, a lot of independent city-states who spoke the same language.
A lot of those city-states were annihilated by the Mongols and that left a power vacuum which the Duchy of Moscow capitalized (heh) on, but modern Russia as we know it doesn't go back that far AFAIK. I'd put the start at Peter the Great, myself.
Yep, which goes back to how arbitrary it becomes. Except in cases like the fall of Rome or the Bronze Age Collapse, you have a lot of leeway about where you draw your lines, and your conclusions are only as good as your justifications for those lines.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wed Jan 6 05:52:21 2016 (PiXy!)
Jaques Barzun explicitly argued in From Dawn to Decadence that European or "Western" culture terminated with the long world war, and that we're in the early stages of a post-Western cultural moment. That's a very Eurocentric point of view - he clearly didn't consider Americans to be part of "Western civilization" - but that list of "civilizations" or even "nations" is pretty dubious. There was a Persia of some sort intermittently for two thousand years, a Rome of some sort for about as long, and Russia existed before the Romanovs and continued under communist bastards after the Romanovs were exterminated. Culture is upstream from politics and all that.
And Japan's been in cultural existence forever and aye - the Tokugawa were a regime, not the nation.
Posted by: Mitch H. at Thu Jan 7 16:01:36 2016 (jwKxK)
If the FEC makes rules that limit my First Amendment right to express my opinion on core political issues, I will not obey those rules.
After many moves, I reside now in the town of my birth.
Today I find myself taking the pledge above; a pledge that in the country of my birth would have been unimaginable due to its redundancy.
"Fundamental transformation" indeed.
The United States of America is one of a few nations that is not defined by an ethnicity. In fact it is not even defined by geography. The U.S.A. is an experiment in facilitating a set of ideals. Take those away and the nation is no more, no matter what the map, or the U.S. code may say.
In October, then FEC Vice Chairwoman Ann M. Ravel promised that she would renew a push to regulate online political speech following a deadlocked commission vote that would have subjected political videos and blog posts to the reporting and disclosure requirements placed on political advertisers who broadcast on television. On Wednesday, she will begin to make good on that promise.
There are thoughts on this by other far more eloquent and prolific than I here, here, and here,
Look Who's Back in the News
Well, it seems that a procedural discrepancy has resulted between one (Washington Post Article) and twelve (Drudge headline) lab techs being exposed to Ebola.
This difference in numbers is not just due to link-baitery on the part of Drudge, it appears that up to a dozen people were in close proximity to an Ebola sample with at least one being closely monitored for the next 21 days.
But wait there's more
The mistake comes after a series of incidents this summer involving the mishandling of dangerous pathogens at the nation’s labs. An incident at a CDC lab in June potentially exposed dozens of employees to live anthrax because employees failed to properly inactivate the anthrax when transferring samples.
Ebola Tan sez: "You know what? I'm really starting to like those CDC guys!"
This grim number provides a useful means to test predictions against results...
A couple of months ago, there were predictions of 1.4 million infected by the end of next month. Of course there are still 36 days to catch up, but that grim forecast is unlikely to be borne out. Thus, one can take comfort from the fact that the doomsayers were sufficiently wrong as to be off by a bit under two orders of magnitude.
On the other hand, as the linked article notes, the doomsayers in question were the CDC.
North Korea and/or affiliated individuals have gotten a film's release cancelled by making terroristic threats. Sony knuckled under and pulled The Interviewafter a computer hack which revealed that Sony employs a bunch of jerks was complimented with a threat to do...something September eleventhy if the company released said film as scheduled.
However, in the larger sense, the implication that terrorism now works quite efficiently in achieving one's strategic (and artistic) goals is likely to be a much bigger issue. While there was concern about such precedents in the wake of the Bergdhal and Innocence of Muslims controversies, these two events are rather unambiguous in the total overwhelming victory achieved by the perpetrators of violence. Sony is not a government, but its actions send a message about the stomach society has for standing up for free speech. This message is unlikely to be lost upon those that would do us harm.
Of course the fruits one gets from resorting to violence needs to be assessed in comparison with how one is treated by peacefully using the political process to support one's beliefs or policy goals.
Only then is a full assessment of the messages being sent by the powers that be be able to be fully appreciated.
I fear today's double dose of Quislingisms will come back to haunt us for years to come.
The Venezuelan Oil argument is very interesting. Although one point about how this could turn out to be a good thing came up on another forum.
Let's say an adventuresome Putin decides to have another go around, and we get Cuban Missile Crisis 2 - Electric Boogaloo. With the current administration, the outcome is much more in doubt. Better to make friends first.
Posted by: Mauser at Fri Dec 19 03:12:45 2014 (TJ7ih)
The freakout is because the illegals are ready pool of the Democrat Party fodder. As soon as they are legalized, they are captured by the welfare state and voila. The myth of hardworking strawberry picker is just a myth: most of them would want nothing better than apply for food stamps. And immediately they become a giant constituency on the dole. Aside from the political angle, they are also expensive.
There have been jokes about a government who was so disappointed with their voters that they dismiss them and elect new ones.
That seems to be what is actually happening here, per Pete's point. Some conservatives have taken to calling them "Undocumented Democrats". For a long time there was discussion on the left about the "emerging Democratic Majority", the idea being that as minorities continued to increase, and as young whites continued to be liberal (or to be indoctrinated in leftism in school) that the Democrats would, eventually, come permanently into power.
That no longer seems possible with the electorate we have, for a variety of reasons, and now the suspicion is that the latest plot to create a permanent Democratic Majority is to add ten million Democratic voters to the nation.
The scary part is that it might well work. And then the US would de-facto become a one-party state, with everything that implies.
I used to live under a total Democrat (equivalent) rule. It wasn't so bad. It was inconvenient in some respects, and the living standards weren't great. The most unpleasant part was the permanent and inescapable high crime levels.
I think a lot depends on how the populace and its culture take to the liberal tyranny. Japan adapted quite nicely, for example. Mexico did not fare so well. In both cases popular movements came about, aiming to overthrow the one-party state -- not terribly successful, all things considered. India is about the same with recent developments, too. Seems like taking about 50 to 70 years for things to boil over. The only one-party state that was more durable than that is China (that I can recall).
BTW, Steven once wrote (on topic of Alberta getting in): once you are in, you are in, and we fought a civil war about it. Well, Russia fought a civil war about it too, and just look at it now.
So, in my opinion that civil war does not matter much. If the permanet Democrat rule is established in around 2024, it will fall in 2090. And when that happens, Texas will easily secede, like Lithuania or Taiwan.
Part of the increasingly negative reaction - even from the reliable center left is that we are well used to this administration telling us that they will only do this or that, but we quickly find out there is much more to this than they say.
Posted by: topmaker at Thu Nov 27 19:13:37 2014 (2yZsg)
Understanding Modern Vocabulary
As the English language leans forward into a brave new world of byzantine nomenclature, some individuals who have not been brought up to speed on the changes in terminology might come to the conclusion that certain recent statements are actually feckless dissembling rather than enlightened and inoffensive specificity.
To address the allegations, we've tracked down one of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Train hopping Linguists to parse the recent statements by the State Department on current events. So, from somewhere along the Masassas Line, here is our expert on exposition.
Dude..This is a [expletive deleted] of [expletive deleted] pollyanish [expletive deleted] newspeak. You interrupted my [expletive deleted] vacation to [expletive deleted] show me the English language being [expletive deleted] up the [expletive deleted] by a bunch of [expletives deleted] incompetents using Orwellian [expletive deleted] to distract from their [expletives deleted]. This [expletive deleted] is why I TOOK the vacation in the first place. I'm gonna [ remainder of correspondence deleted after consultation with standards and practices]
I guess the rest of the post needs to go below the fold...
Lots of copybooks, back in the day when handwriting was something you were expected to pick up on your own, had "headings" (the handwriting you were copying) which were proverbs or maxims. "If you write down a moral statement five hundred times, maybe it will take," was the thinking. So, basically, a shorthand for "the sorts of moral lessons that were expected to be learned by children by rote"...
Many years ago schools in England had what were called copybooks. These were used to teach penmanship and had in addition to their text, many blank (but lined) pages. The printed pages usually contained bits of wisdom from philosophers, the Bible and great historical figures from around the world. The idea was that one would copy the quotes on the blank pages to practice proper penmanship and hopefully gain some of the wisdom in the words via 'osmosis' after copying said phrases innumerable times.
Copybooks fell out of favor in the US in the 20s or 30s but were still in use in the UK in the 1960s (Bill Whittle has mentioned that he was beset by them when he was growing up in the Bahamas).
The poem refers to a fellow going back in time through all of his previous incarnations and noting the great truths that are often discarded as passe or no longer applicable by utopians but inevitably come back to bite the societies that do not heed them.
I Find to my Astonishment That I Do Not Immediately Despise This Plan
The President just gave a speech.
It was rather more direct than usual.
First some background.
ISIS (or ISIL) has been slaughtering, crucifying and otherwise creatively exterminating Christians for some time now. However, they have taken as their latest project the complete extermination of the Yazidi, an ancient community in Ninevah whose faith is an offshoot of Zoroastrianism,. The Yadzidi survivors have fled in an attempt to make for Baghdad but are now besieged and surrounded on a mountain in the desert where starvation and thirst are beginning to take their toll. Thus we are on the verge of a near total genocide.
ISIL has also taken the dam overlooking Baghdad which means they control vast amounts of electrical power a good percentage of the capitals water and can, should they blow the dam, drown thousands of civilians.
Elsewhere, the Kurds are on the ropes and the whole region is becoming an abattoir. Finally, ISIL, has put their territorial gains and the months they have been largely unmolested to good use, having grown from around 10,000 troops to well over 50,000.
The President is in a difficult position and none of the options before him are desirable. This evening he announced that US forces have begin air dropping aid to the Yadzidi and he has authorized what he describes as "targeted strikes" to defend them and a US consulate being menaced by ISIL troops.
As many of you know, I am not in agreement with our President on most maters, but tonight he is faced with a selection of wretched options and he chose what he believes is the least dreadful amongst them. There will be a lot of second guessing on this and in the weeks and months to come erudite and voluminous critiques of the minutia of his decision will be made and judgements will be passed with the profound wisdom and knowledge that comes from hindsight.
But for right now, Barak Obama, our president, has decided to attempt to stop a genocide. There is much to warrant concern, but I for one do not immediately despise this plan.
I have been giving our various administrations a pass on the Middle East since Carter in '76. There never seem to be good options there. Only the best of the worst.
The problem with the current administration is public doubt over motive. When all your decisions are based on politics, the citizens will ascribe political motivations to every thing you do. As Steven pointed out, that seems to be his only motivating factor here.
ISIL has come a long way from the JV league, it seems.
Posted by: topmaker at Sat Aug 9 09:19:31 2014 (i0rVe)
But with Obama's latest decision to launch airstrikes against the Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), the Obama Doctrine has now come into focus: pretend to give a damn about suffering of innocents when it hits the headlines, ignore it the rest of the time.
Because Obama doesn't truly care. At all. He is a master emotional manipulator, capable of achieving effective posturing when it comes to the suffering of innocents. That's why the media constantly swoon at his "tone” and his "attitude” during his press conferences. They repeatedly praise his "anger” or his "determination.” But they rarely ask just what he's doing to fight evil.
Any deployment of power will be short-term and ineffective. Obama will do all he can for innocents up until the moment when he doesn't have to do so. Then he'll leave them to die.
I just read that a second round of airstrikes -- four bombs! -- happened today, following the first round of two bombs.