The Rules

The college mating game is a great illustration of Leftist ideology’s toxicity.

First: Denial of basic biological reality.  I don’t mean how profs constantly celebrate the whole panoply of deviance (though there’s plenty of that).  I mean basic, Darwin-level stuff.  “Males display, females choose” is the rule throughout the animal kingdom.  Human males, then, are just following their programming when they try to figure out what women want, in order to display it to them.

Problem is, human males are hardwired to think in straight lines and hard rules.  The easiest way to receive information from other humans is to ask for it, so that’s what most guys do.  But women don’t want what they say they want.  They’ve been trained all their lives, by the entire cultural apparatus, to say precisely the opposite of what they mean.*

Oversimplifying a bit for clarity, they say they want pajamaboys.  So guys pajamafy themselves.  When that doesn’t work, most guys assume that they’re improperly executing the program, not that the program itself is faulty.  Nate Winchester nailed it in a previous discussion:

Let’s face it, these guys are engineers! Their entire life is built on instruction and following said instructions (because failure to do so will lead to a very bad time) so it’s only natural that they engage in social interactions according to the instructions they have available.

We can swap in “all men” for “engineers,” as STEM guys have stereotypically male brains.  Rule-governed behavior makes instinctive sense to us — I’m as un-STEM as you’ll find, but I naturally grasp the point (if not necessarily all the mathematical arcana) of batting average, quarterback rating, leveling up in video games, tabletop gaming, poker… give a guy, any guy, a set of rules and an objective, and he’ll immediately sit down and start doping out strategies.

Moreover, they’ll keep following the rules well past the point of pointlessness.  Back in the days, for instance, my buddies and I used to play these tabletop strategy games based on World War II.  It was possible to win the whole war with the Axis — if you were really good, really lucky, and your opponent(s) screwed up — but individual campaigns were usually exercises in futility for one side or the other.  Germany vs. Poland, for example.  The Polish army isn’t going to beat the Wehrmacht.  “Winning,” for the Polish player, was to stave off defeat for a little longer than the real Poles did.  Talk about futile! And yet, we passed hours and hours and hours this way.

invasion-of-poland-1939-9dd5ce-h900Now… imagine what would happen if you suddenly took those rules away.  If the Poland player could simply declare, “this unit right here is Sardaukar.  And they’ve got a Voltron suit.  We’re landing in Berlin.”  Or the German player could deploy mecha-Hitler from Wolfenstein 3D. Nobody would play, right?

Such is the situation on most every college campus in America today.  What few rules there are don’t work, because they’re self-contradictory… and meanwhile the egghead brigade is constantly denouncing the very concept of rules as so much CisHetPat evil.

What’s a guy to do?  Well, read ’em and weep (trigger warning: HuffPo):

I am 22 and a pioneer in the early age of internet dating. I’ve trawled the online profiles of Lavalife over the previous weeks, occasionally setting up dates with various eligible women. I remember Katherine’s profile picture vividly: long dark hair, a mysterious Mona Lisa smirk, and the cleverness of her username: WHATSADATE. Answer, written below in first line of her dating profile: A date is a small dried fruit.

(additional trigger warning: the whole goddamn thing is in present tense, because that’s this season’s fashionable literary pretension).

A date is a small dried fruit.  There’s your first problem right there, Chief.  Take it from the old married guy, youngsters — beware the superficially clever girl.  You probably think you want a snarky, quick-witted “gamer” girl, because she’s “into” all the same stuff you’re into, which considerably simplifies the interaction process.  Wrong on all counts.  Geek girls are girls first, and — trust me — “geek” is about 257th on her priority list, even if she looks, talks, and acts like Zoe Quinn (of course, if you’re going after that particular profile, fellas, you really ought to consider the cloister).  You’re far better off going for the hottest sorority sister you can find — you’ll approach her as if she’s an extraterrestrial, which of course from your perspective she is.

Much overwrought, purple-prosed noodling follows, then:

These interactions weighed heavy on my soul. I could not make sense of them. On the one hand, each felt appropriate, life-affirming and needed. Surely these could not be considered “cheating.” What was a kiss anyway? On the other hand, such interactions were beyond the boundaries of our monogamous partnership to which Katherine and I had vowed. In my uncertainty, I waited, hoping somehow the situation would resolve itself.

Dude kisses several stereotypically granola girls at uber-SWPL events like Burning Man.  Feels guilty, because he’s “monogamous.”  And here’s the important part:

“I think we should try an open relationship.” I can’t quite believe the words are tumbling from my mouth. Within the paradigm of the dominant culture, the sanctity of monogamous marriage is supreme.

And yet I feel compelled to reconcile the deeper longings of my desire, haunted by the alternative: the vision of a pleasant but passionless coupledom, like so many marriages that choose the facade of stability instead of the fire of truth.

We’re both good little liberals.  Rules are for squares!  “The paradigm of the dominant culture” is, of course, CisHetPat.  Which is evil.  By staying monogamous, we’re perpetuating the cycle of violence.  We’re guilty guilty guilty (hooray!!!).  We can’t afford not to open up our relationship.

The dam has broken and the next few months are a blur. I begin using words like polyamorous (meaning “many loves”) and non-monogamy in conversation.

Of course you do. That’s your identity now.  If you’d had a stronger sense of self in the first place, you wouldn’t be here.

You don’t need the rest, because the obvious happens: She boffs some other guy; gets pregnant by him; Pajamaboy of course tries to do the “right” thing by being “supportive” and offering to “co-parent.”  Just as obviously, Pajamaboy is not ok with their “open” relationship; feels guilty for not being open about it; blames society and “the myth of The One” for the utterly predictable consequences of his boringly obvious choices.

The rules are for squares, right?  Riiiiight.  There’s no escaping The Rules — they’re hardwired.  Pajamaboy wasn’t rebelling against The Rules when he “decided” he wanted an open relationship; he was following them perfectly.  Guys will always follow the rules (small -r) of conduct they’ve been taught, to achieve the objective they’ve been assigned.  If the rules don’t work, or contradict themselves, a guy will do almost anything to square the circle.

The trick is to make sure that the rules of conduct we transmit to the young square with reality as much as possible.  Monogamy works for lots of reasons, and it’s a key ingredient in society’s glue (name an advanced society, for any reasonable definition of “advanced,” that is polygamous).  Now that our society has been eroded to atoms by half a century of Cultural Marxism, we’re going to have to think about how to reinstall certain basic notions like monogamy.  You’ll never convince our modern pajamaboys to embrace Christianity, so it’ll have to be by other means….

They — we — want hard-and-fast rules.  Someone’s going to give them to us.  Whoever figures that out first is going to go far…. probably much further than we’d like.  Let’s think it over before it’s too late (if it isn’t already).

 

*Whether or not they do this consciously is, I imagine, much debated among the more reflective PUAs.  Personally, I think “consciousness” is too broad a concept — like most human things, one-size-fits-all obscures more than it illuminates.  From what I’ve seen, women are quite capable of fervently holding two contradictory opinions simultaneously.  I think they actually believe — in their heads — that they want pajamaboys, while just as fervently knowing in their hearts that they want badboys.  If any aspiring PUAs among the Four Regular Readers wants to field test this by gaming hardcore feminists, please leave detailed reports in the comments.

#Ferguson

I saw a security video a few weeks ago of a man in a Walmart looking at BB guns.  He picked it up, looked at it, and apparently — as I have done with many items in a store — walked around with it in his hand for several minutes probably still debating in his mind whether to buy it or not.  He returned to the aisle where he picked it up, probably still thinking about it.

In the meantime, somebody apparently called the police and reported that a man was walking around Walmart with a gun, and apparently embellished by saying he was pointing it at people … I say embellished because nowhere on the security tape did it ever show him pointing it at anyone.

While he was standing in the aisle still considering the purchase, police came in the store (this is all on video camera) and, unprovoked, shot the man dead.

This was obviously wrong, and fortunately it was caught on camera so there is no question that it was an unjustified shooting.

I told you that story to tell you this one.

Back in August, according to eyewitness statements that were supported by forensic evidence that matched the description of the event from the officer involved — a young man went into a store, took some things that weren’t his to take, and shoved a smaller man — the store owner or manager — aside when he tried to stop him.

The police were called.  An officer who was on a call in the area responding to a medical emergency involving a child who couldn’t breath, after leaving that scene and hearing the call on the radio came across to young men fitting the description walking down the middle of a street.  He pulled alongside them, probably partially to further verify that these were the suspects — and told them to get out of the street.

The young man who had taken the merchandise and assaulted the owner/manager apparently did not take kindly to being told what to do, and a struggle ensued with the officer still inside the car.  The young man tried to take the officer’s gun.

Presumably, it wasn’t to check it for safety or admire it and give it back.

In the struggle, the gun was fired, inside the vehicle, grazing the young man’s thumb.

The suspect retreated and was ordered to stop.  Eventually he did stop, turn around, and began to charge the officer from whom he had just tried to take a gun … again, probably not to take it to his friends for show-and-tell.

The young man was a large man, physically capable of taking most normal sized men, including the officer.  He had shown a willingness to steal, assault, and if he had a weapon — which he showed a willingness to obtain by force — probably assault with a deadly weapon.  He stole, assaulted a citizen, assaulted a cop, tried to take his weapon, resisted arrest, and was coming back for more, with a vengeance.

So far in this story, who has done anything wrong?

Put yourself in that officer’s shoes.  In a few seconds, a strong, large, angry young man who had just tried to take his gun would be on him and would likely try to take it again, and not, presumably, use it to play a friendly game of spin the bottle gun in the middle of the street.

The officer fired several rounds.  The young man stopped.  He began charging again.  The officer fired some more.   The young man fell, mortally wounded.

Now we are supposed to use this incident to change things for the better, so this never happens again.

Only we are not allowed to talk about the things that would actually make things better.  Like what kinds of moral lessons are taught to kids by what is known and celebrated as “black” culture?  As if culture has a race.  As if race determines culture.  And as if all cultures are equal.

They are not.

Multi-culturalism is a lie.  It is a useful lie for those who want to divide and conquer.  It is a useful lie to those addicted to hits off the crack-pipe of false righteous rage.  It is a useful lie for those who don’t want to take responsibility for the direction of their own lives, but rather to blame others for their position in life.

America was once heralded as a melting pot, which absorbed parts of the cultures of its immigrants over time, but still had an overarching cohesive culture.  If that’s what we mean by multi-culturalism, I’m on board.  But it’s not what the pushers of Multi-Culturalism™ are talking about.  They are talking about multiple disparate cultures within a defined geographical area.  Without an overarching culture, that cannot be a nation.  It is a recipe for implosion.

Enter the race-baiters and community organizers — the first is a subset of the second — who have political agendas — to stir up anger by whatever means necessary.  Repeating stories that support their narratives as fact.  Attacking anyone who doesn’t agree as racist.  Then this attracts the usual suspects.  The anarchists, the communists (who should be mortally opposed in theory, but they do have the common goal of destroying our current system of law so they more often than not appear shoulder-to-shoulder at these things).

Last night after the decision was announced, after the riot started — I saw two young men interviewed.  Both of them talked about other incidents.  Both repeated the “hands in the air” story that the evidence refutes.   One repeated the “shot in the back” story (“…. shooting the whole time”) that the evidence refutes.

They weren’t there.  They heard these stories repeated in the media and believed them because it supports their worldview that white cops are out to get black men because they’re black.  Whic may happen in certain cases — and it is wrong.

But is that what happened here?  This time?  Doesn’t seem to matter to them.  This was to be representative justice for all the times it is the case.  Which is no justice at all.  It is not justice for Michael Brown.  Michael Brown did just about everything he could to ensure he would be shot. It is a tragedy that he did so, but he did. It is not justice for Officer Wilson and his family.  He would likely be dead, and dead because he was doing his job — part of which is finding and arresting people who commit crimes.  Like theft.  Like assault.  Like vandalism, looting, arson.

Justice is prosecuting the police that shot the guy with the B.B. gun in Walmart, and not prosecuting the guy who tragically killed someone in self-defense.

Another commentator kept interjecting that 1 in 3 black men go to jail.  Which may very well be true.  But it’s not because they’re black.  It’s because young black men commit crimes at much higher rates than any other demographic. That is what needs to be stopped.

The way to stop it is not to have more lenient police.  If anything, that would further encourage it.

The way to stop it is for “black culture” to be re-defined.  To once again embrace morals as it did well into the 1960’s. To take pride in the right things — not now big a thug you can be or how many ho’s you can abuse.  To take pride in being fair, and honest, and working hard. To learn what the system is and why it is good, like Frederick Douglas did.  To stop looking at themselves as victims, even when they are victimized.  To take control over the parts of their lives they can take control over. To do the things it takes to overcome the unfair stereotypes that have more and more become self-fulfilling prophecies.

I can hear it now.  “Thank you for ‘Whitesplaining™’ that.”  

Well … you’re welcomed, first off.  But secondly, that’s just another way of saying “Shut Up.”  “I don’t want to hear it.

Well there’s your problem right there.  If an opinion can be invalidated based upon race, then I guess we really do have a long way to go.  If we do have a long way to go, it’s likely because we’re moving in the wrong direction.  Because we aren’t addressing the root problems.

And it isn’t poverty.  There are poor people all over the world who don’t assault and steal and kill each other in tragic numbers.  There are poor people in Ferguson who don’t.  There are poor black people in Ferguson who don’t.  No, it’s not poverty.

It’s morality.

Beauty Pagents

Sun Tanned Sue - Zoë Mozert

Sun Tanned Sue – Zoë Mozert

Yet another haughty disparaging screed against Miss America/Universe/Vogon ….

American needs to lighten up.  Or — I should say, the self-anointed intellectual elite does.  Most of the rest of us never got all heavy about it.

I find it amusing in a sad way that lots of people stumble all over themselves to show everyone how non-judgmental they are by judging others, say, for making judgement they feel should’t be being made, even when people line up to do it voluntarily. “Hey, do what makes you happy. Follow your dreams. Unless it’s THAT!

We have here a bunch of people voluntarily self-selecting to compete in a contest where they will be judged based basically upon their physical beauty. And physical beauty is a thing — it exists in nature, it exists in flowers, trees, dogs, horses, and human beings. It is only one aspect of these things, but it is an aspect.

We have foot races, but nobody competing in a foot race is being dehumanized by reduced to his or her physical speed. You can extend this to pretty much all of track and field. And in aggregate, any sport.

Is the “best” guitar player in the world dehumanized by focusing on his or her ability to play the guitar? No. It’s only one part of the person. But it IS — undeniably a part.

Beauty pageants say pretty much nothing about how women are viewed in America or anywhere else today other than the fact that they are widely considered by people of both genders to be the fairer sex (which is why it is far more widely watched by both men and women than the Mr. America competition — which exists — but virtually nobody whines about). That’s just an aspect of being human — the appreciation of beauty — and both sexes tend to agree on it. The proof is that it is observable in every significant human population anywhere in the world.

Women and men are sums of the many aspects that make each of us up, and physical appearance is one of those aspects. My wife and most other women I know will comment on how beautiful particular women are. To ignore this, in fact, is DE-humanizing.

Women are, everywhere in the human race, valued partially for their beauty by both genders — moreso than men.  Because it is a quality that they, as a group, have more of. Fortunately, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and they are, like men, valued for many other things as well, and we choose our partners and friends accordingly.

It is one thing to sit and publicly pass judgment on random people, though all of us do it privately all the time. But these contests — they aren’t random people. They are there specifically to be judged on their beauty. It’s not like a big shock at the end, “hey, just kidding, we really wanted to know how well you could answer a question where the pat answer is ‘World Peace'”.

They do throw these things in to make sure you’re “not just a pretty face” (or body) but it IS about physical appearance and everybody knows it and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.

“Science” = Goodthink

I’m not above a little schadenfreude.  Or a lot of schadenfreude.  So choke on this, idiot leftists:

Science!!!

Science!!!

There’s also some good stuff about the heliocentric model in there, too.

Yet I don’t want to just gloat.  As Ace notes, and reflected in Philmon’s post below, the liberal’s religious certainty that he’s a bigger, badder fan of science than any of us knuckle-draggers has important consequences.  No, not just Global Weather and related stupidities (“the weather’s getting warmer colder staying about the same existing!  Quick!  Enact massive global regulations!!”).  It’s a more fundamental disconnect than that.

Much like “fascism,” which Orwell described as meaning little more than “something not desirable” as early as 1946 (!!), today “science” means, for many people, little more than “an objection to a certain caricature of religious belief.”  And this caricature is labeled “evangelical,” and it’s recursively defined with “science” — an “evangelical” is someone who doesn’t believe in “science”….

When words become slogans like this, we lose the ability not just to communicate efficiently, but to talk about communication breakdowns themselves.  For instance, despite the clear wording of the study, I don’t really think a majority of liberals think astrology is scientific.  For one thing, as Ace speculates, I imagine some number of people heard “astrology” but thought “astronomy.”  Which does happen, even to the best of us. In many more cases, though, I think respondents were simply presented with two buzzwords.

“Astrology?  Sure, there might be something to it.  [Insert horoscope anecdote + multi-culti blather].”

“Science?  Of course I love science!  I’m a liberal after all.”

And therefore, syllogistically, astrology is scientific.

It’s essential to periodically examine the content of our beliefs.  Especially when they can be reduced to slogans, particularly one-word slogans like “science.”  For instance:

There’s a branch of science called “astrophysics.”  I am literally unable to understand more than the most basic postulates of astrophysics; I can’t grok the math.  Thus, I have no opinion on astrophysics, or astrophysical topics.  More to the point, it would be the height of stupidity for me to claim to be a “fan” of astrophysics, or to declare that I fucking love science, or what have you, based on the fact that I know something called “astrophysics” exists and is studied by people with PhDs in labs with telescopes.  I’m “glad” it exists, I guess, in the loosest possible sense — the limitless ingenuity of the human mind is always neat to see — but this reflects nothing of consequence about me as a person, let alone anything about the correctness of my political beliefs.

If that’s unclear, I’ll put it a different way — my understanding of astrophysics, or lack thereof, is for all intents and purposes exactly the same as my understanding of “angelology.”  Anything but the most basic postulates of this discipline are likewise Greek to me, and always will be, because my brain just doesn’t work like that.  This is no more a credit to my rational “scientific” mind as my inability to understand astrophysics is a knock against my intuitive “theological” mind.  And neither of them has anything to do with whether my opinions on the role of government are good, bad, or indifferent.

What is the actual, substantive content of your “beliefs”?  Do you know?  Can you define, say, “social justice” or “family values”?  If you can’t, you’re just playing with buzzwords… and pretty soon you’ll end up maintaining that astrology is scientific, because you’re not like those idiots who put their stupid blind faith in make-believe.

The Conservation of Misery

Maetenloch at Ace of Spades advances a theory which explains a lot: The Conservation of Misery.

[The] theory of Conservation of Misery which posits that most people have a more or less fixed amount of angst/anxiety/anger hardwired into them.

Now in the past this emotional energy was expended on such real and worthwhile concerns as wolves, starvation, murder, sorcery, and barbarians. But today in a world of vastly more health, wealth and safety we still have this free-floating mass of concern inside us which demands catharsis. So we end up focusing it on ever more trivial and rare (or even non-existent) targets such as global warming, food preservatives, rampant child abduction, people wrong on the internet, and the existence of male-targeted potato chips. Oh THE OUTRAGE!!

Frankly, I’ve always marveled at how much white-hot anger liberals can gin up at the drop of an insufficiently sensitive pronoun.  Which is not to say I necessarily believe them when they proclaim something the Worst Outrage Evar!!11!!eleventy — liberals are, shall we say, scale four types to the bone– but I don’t think I’ve ever been as worked up about anything as liberals are about everything.  Even if we discount this barmy woman’s outrage by a factor of fifty or so (I think that’s reasonable), she’s still got more emotional energy invested in potato chips than I’ve put into a good 80% of my romantic relationships.

Which can’t be good for society.

Just as some of us are shorter or dumber or have slower metabolisms or whatever, these folks just came out of the box with an excess of angst. We need to come up with some way for them to channel it that doesn’t bother the rest of us.  Liberals like soccer, right?  Maybe we can get some “football firm”-type stuff going over here — people who are getting Man U midfielders’ faces tattooed on their bums aren’t going to have much angst left over for global warming.

Cylar’s Memorial Day Message

It’s Memorial Day, and we’re hearing the familiar reminders to “remember the fallen” and “honor the troops” today and all of that. It is often accompanied by pictures of Arlington National Cemetery, plain white headstones with flags next to them, and the like. Some mentions also make it a point to suggest you should financially support organizations designed to maintain memorials, or to help living veterans and their families.

Before anyone objects, let me say that this is not a bad thing. We need to remember fallen warriors, including those who didn’t count on dying that day. (The Navy guys who were asleep in their bunks aboard the USS Arizona during the Pearl Harbor attack, for example.) A lot of servicemen (and yes, women) died horrible and painful deaths in defense of our freedom. Some were wounded in combat and later died of their injuries. It was not always quick and easy for them. I will not elaborate on the many creative ways that enemies of our country have found to kill members of our military over the years.

While many of these service members were probably thinking about survival, their comrades-in-arms, or some combat objective at the time of death (as opposed to high American ideals of freedom, democracy, liberty, self-determination, etc) it can nonetheless be stated that all of them were lost in service to our country in one capacity or another…even those whose missions we never even heard about. I’m going to take it one step further and state that I think we should honor the memory of those who may have been engaged in morally questionable military activity at the time of death.

For example, everyone agrees that D-Day was the right thing to do; the My Lai massacre…not so much. But even those who were participating in such an atrocity still deserve to have their memory honored. As American citizens, we’re still obligated to honor even those who fought in campaigns and conflicts we don’t necessarily support.

I’ll try to get to my point. My only objection to the Memorial Day observances (the parades, the familiar Facebook posts, the blurbs to “remember the fallen” heard throughout the day on various media outlets) is that I think most of them don’t go far enough. I think, along with the reminders to remember the fallen, we need an additional message for the living:

Do not let their sacrifice be in vain.

What do I mean? Okay, did anyone see ‘Saving Private Ryan’? Reference the part near the end of the film, where Captain Miller (Tom Hanks) has been mortally wounded on the bridge, he’s speaking to Private Ryan (Matt Damon), and he says, “Earn this!” It was his last sentence, before succumbing to the injuries he’d just sustained in combat. Private Ryan, of course, survives the war and goes on to lead a long life. At the end of the film, he’s shown visiting Captain Miller’s grave…and he asks his wife to tell him he’s been a good husband, a good father over the years.

I don’t know if that scene actually happened or if it was the creation of some Hollywood screenwriter, but I think there is some wisdom in Captain Miller’s message. “Earn this!” His statement to Private Ryan was simple – don’t let my sacrifice, my death on this bridge, my dying at the hands of the German army we’re fighting – don’t let that be in vain. He was telling the private to lead a worthwhile life after the war, one which would be worthy of the sacrifice of brave men who fought and died. At least that’s what *I* got out of that scene.

What does that mean to us today – not letting the sacrifice of fallen warriors be in vain? I think it means not only to exercise the freedoms they bought and secured for us, but also to be vigilant against anyone who’d try to take them. “Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel,” warned Patrick Henry. Yeah, the “give me liberty or give me death” guy.

Our Founding Fathers made it abundantly clear that those who hold political power are mere men – corruptible, not to be trusted, ever seeking to impose tyranny on the rest of us. They made it clear, through their writings in various publications of the time (The Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution itself, personal letters, and others) that if our country is to remain free – or to have honest government – then the people themselves must be the ones to guarantee that. It means that one of the responsibilities of being an American citizen, is to hold one’s leaders accountable. It means demanding honest and transparent government that respects our rights.

Ben Franklin, for instance, on exiting the Constitutional Convention, was asked what sort of government he and his colleagues had designed, and he is reported to have said, “A republic, if you can keep it.” He meant that it was up to future generations to maintain what had been fought for during the Revolutionary War. It is also said that “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance,” which has been variously attributed. Regardless of who said that, I think there’s a real nugget of truth there.

We simply don’t have the luxury of turning a blind eye to what’s happening to our country, trusting that our leaders know best, or telling ourselves that it’s all going to work out. History has counseled us that those who seek to aggrandize more power unto themselves always have nefarious reasons for doing so. Look no further than Hitler’s Germany for a rather strong example of what happens when people assume that their leaders have the peoples’ best interests at heart. The Russian Revolution of 1917 (which installed Lenin and his communist Bolsheviks in power) is another. Tyranny and destruction always follow such men.

This makes the president’s recent speech at Ohio State all the more disgusting:

Still, you’ll hear voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s the root of all our problems, even as they do their best to gum up the works; or that tyranny always lurks just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, creative, unique experiment in self-rule is just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.

 

A lot of people these days talk about rights of citizenship, but no discussion of rights is complete without a corresponding discussion of responsibilities.They go together. It’s two sides of the same coin.

The president’s foolish speech at Ohio State is exactly the sort of thing our Founders were warning us about. Imploring us to reject “voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s the root of all our problems” is an example of what to watch out for. On the contrary, this just the sort of rhetoric that engaged citizens need to reject. It should be dismissed by those American citizens who are cognizant of their responsibilities to fallen warriors, as well as to themselves and their posterity.

(Understand that I’m not quoting this in order to pick on Obama or other liberals – not today anyway. He simply happens to be the guy in power at the moment.)

I wrote on Facebook today that one way of not letting our military’s sacrifices be in vain, is to pay attention to what your government is doing and to hold your government leaders accountable. This means they should be hearing from us on a regular basis. It means we should be paying close attention and not relying on the media or political pundits to interpret events for us. It means we have a responsibility as American citizens to let our elected and appointed leaders know that they answer to us – that we made them, and we can break them…figuratively and politically speaking. It means that we can and will use our First Amendment rights on the Internet, at gathering places, in forums, at the ballot box, and in court to assert our will.

This is particularly important here in America, because of why our military members went to their deaths on land, sea, and air over the last couple of centuries. There’s a very important distinction to be made between our fallen service members, and those who fought for our enemies, for many other nations/states/empires of history, or for those who fight in the militaries of many foreign countries today.

What distinction is that? Freedom. Our military’s fallen were lost in defense of freedom. I don’t mean to suggest that your average GI at Bunker Hill, Shiloh, Somme, Guadalcanal, Inchon, Khe Sanh, Desert Storm, or Fallujah spent a lot of time thinking about our country’s ideals so much as simply staying alive, watching each other’s backs and getting the job done. I also don’t mean to suggest that whoever the enemy du jour happened to be necessarily thought of themselves as the bad guys (though most certainly were). I do, however, mean to suggest that pretty much all of them were ostensibly deployed in some capacity meant to assure that our nation and its ideals would continue to exist.

If any of those fallen warriors came back to life today, I’d like to be able to look them in the eye and tell them that we hadn’t squandered what they’d bequeathed us. They didn’t bleed just so we can sit on the couch today and watch our leaders give away the store.

Though very little military conflict actually took place on American soil during the 20th and 21st centuries, every time our military was sent overseas it was ostensibly done so in order to protect our interests, and to make sure that no rival power would be able to get into a position to threaten those ideals. Nobody in America wanted to see the British redcoats, the Nazis, the imperial Japanese, the Soviet communists / their allies, Al Queda, or anyone else in a position to assert a real threat to the continued survival of this country, its citizens, or to our way of life.

I happen to think this is important because the American experiment is a unique one in human history. Never before was a country founded from the very beginning on the concept of self-government. Though other countries have been run democratically to one extent or another, never before was a nation set upon a foundation that the people, and not their rulers, are sovereign. Every other republic throughout history to that point had placed limits upon the sovereignty of the people.

Today, there are dozens of countries in which attempting to “petition the government for a redress of grievances” (that’s from the First Amendment in our Constitution) is all it takes to get oneself and one’s entire family thrown into prison or worse. How well do you think letter-writing campaigns by citizens are tolerated today in North Korea, Iran, Cuba, or a long list of other places? How well do you think it was tolerated by Soviet Russia or by the Roman Empire for that matter? Do you think politicians in those places listened to the people and realized they’d better clean up their act…or were goon squads sent out to deal with “troublemakers” and other sources of dissent?

And I don’t think we here in America are immune to our country going down the same path. We are in trouble if we’re more concerned about “American Idol,” keeping up with the Kardashians, and this year’s Super Bowl…than we are with holding our leaders accountable and making sure that they know we aren’t going to tolerate any funny business. It means letting them know – frequently – that we’re happy to vote them out of office and/or use the power of the judiciary to hold them in check. This is absolutely critical to maintaining the rule of law, as opposed to the arbitrary rule of men.

This is not a partisan plea. This transcends Republican or Democratic politics. This has nothing to do with party. While there happens to be a Democrat-controlled administration in the White House at the moment, it’s just as important to be vigilant when the other side is in power…regardless of how you voted in the last election. In fact, it may be even more important when “your guys” are in, since they may be more apt to listen to you if they think they run the risk of losing your support for acting unwisely, illegally, unethically, or irresponsibly. Don’t tell yourself even for a minute that Congress, the President, the governor, the state Legislature, the mayor, the City Council, or the County Board of Supervisors don’t care what you think. If there’s one thing that politicians of every stripe and every level understand, it’s votes.

I assure you that if enough people get exercised about something, action will be taken, by the highest levels of American government. If the Benghazi, IRS, or Fast N Furious scandals were being taken seriously by voters of all stripes (instead of dismissed as a partisan witch hunt), we’d be getting some real answers about what went on in these cases, instead of stonewalling and “I can’t remember, I don’t recall” from the people who may have been involved.

If the Democrats in Congress – and their constituents back home – were demanding a real response from the Obama Administration, we’d get one. But that’s just it – the people who elected these politicians need to be leading the way. Ultimate blame for corruption, incompetence, or malfeasance in government rests with the people, who are sovereign. It’s been said that the American people may not necessarily get the government they deserve, but they will definitely get the worst one they’ll tolerate.

If one good thing came out of the Watergate scandal nearly forty years ago, it should be this: The American people will forgive incompetence and even dishonesty…but they have no patience for a cover-up.

I don’t mean to get off on a lot of finger-pointing; those were merely handy examples because they are current events as of this writing. Everything I’ve said here is also true of developments at the state or local level. I personally vote in every election, of course, and also contact my state Legislative officials from time to time to let them know what I think of their positions on my pet issues. I probably should be doing even more, but as everyone knows, there are only so many hours in the day, with a full time job and a family to attend to. Nonetheless, I consider it my responsibility as an American citizen to let my leaders know that I’m watching them, that I have a voice, and that I’m not afraid to use it. So should you.

I also am happy to let them assume that I speak for thousands of other citizens who couldn’t be bothered to pick up the phone or write a letter that day, but who nonetheless do vote…and who are paying attention to what’s being done with their tax dollars and with the power we’ve entrusted to them as public servants.

These people who serve in government (remember that word) work for us. Not the other way around. We pay their salary and they answer to us, even if they are from some Congressional or Legislative district other than the one we live in. We the people are their boss, and as US citizens, we have a very serious obligation to our fallen warriors to insist on honest and efficient government.

Earn this. Honor the fallen, this Memorial Day and every day. Do not let their sacrifices be in vain.

Basic Life Lessons, #s 1 and 2: Fact and Value; Cause and Effect

It feels weird writing a post with a title like “Basic Life Lessons.”  Especially since I pretty much know the entire readership of this blog personally (their online personae, anyway), and can assure you they need no instruction on life’s basics from me.  But since we hope this site will one day become something of a one-stop shop for the refutation of the most common forms of leftard nonsense, I feel compelled to add a few words about the two biggest barriers to true bipartisanship today.

The Fact/Value Distinction.  Otherwise known as “prescription vs. description,” “the is/ought distinction,” etc., this is a pretty basic idea in modern philosophy.  There are empirically-verifiable observations about the world, and there’s how we feel about them, and there’s no necessary relation between the two.  Or: only facts have logical relationships to other facts.

For instance: There is a marked differential in crime rates between races here in the USA.  That’s a fact.  It might be deplorable.  It might be due to culture.  It might be due to systematic bias in law enforcement.  It might be due to IQ gaps.  It might be due to divine intervention.  But all of those statements, except the first, are hypotheses, subject to further empirical testing.

Rationally, of course, Our Betters know this — we assume they’re not stupid, reluctant as they are to extend the same courtesy to us — but rationality, as it so often does, left the building a few sentences ago.  They really, really, really want those measurable crime differentials to be the result of systematic racism in our nation’s police departments, and so they proceed as if they are the product of racist cops.

At this point, inevitably, Our Betters will try to play gotcha.  They’ll cite studies about “racial profiling” and whatnot.  These, they assure us, are facts.  But: How does someone prove motive?  How do you know the cops are racist?  How do you know you’re not a racist?  Ask any liberal this, and of course she’ll reply that she can’t be a racist — she is, after all, a liberal.  Values trump facts every time.

Cause and Effect:  Mistaking their opinions for facts is bad enough.  It gets worse, though — liberals really do seem to believe that not only does intelligence cause liberalism, but liberalism causes intelligence.

Examples of this are legion, and I’m hardly the first — or the millionth — conservative blogger to point this little truism about Our Betters out.  Because it bears repeating, because so many people are still allowed to get away with it.  For instance, co-blogger Morgan opines on folks who excuse Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s obvious shame deficiency by… wait for it… blaming Bush:

Maybe this is the epiphany that can help heal the divide, though: “But Bush did this other thing” is not a comparison. I don’t think so, anyhow. I think — it’s a loophole. The person mentioning Bush voted for Obama, and you’ve committed this sin of saying something that makes perfect sense and so, therefore, you are accusing them of having elected a psychopath. What they are doing with the “But Bush” thing is merely providing their excuse. They’re not comparing, they’re saying “I’m not a psychopath, even though, as you accurately point out, it looks like I voted for one.” Number 43 did all these awful terrible things, and they just had to replace him with someone.

Ask a liberal if he’s ever been wrong about anything of consequence.  Go ahead; we’ll wait.  Finished?  I’d bet the national debt that you found plenty of liberals willing to admit their error in small things — Our Betters are nothing if not ostentatiously modest — but there’s a world of difference between not knowing where the nearest post office is and misunderstanding the basic mechanisms of the economy.  I was being nice before; I’m pretty sure Sen. Elizabeth Warren really doesn’t know why the minimum wage isn’t $22 an hour.  Their worldview is designed that way — if all smart people are liberals, then only liberals can be smart.  All the best learning comes from making mistakes, but the entire premise of liberalism is that liberals are never wrong.

And that’s why the Obama voter who is disturbed by Benghazi, the various IRS scandals, Fast and Furious, the AP wiretapping business, Pigford, or any of the others on the ever-growing list of administration scandals has to claim that George W. Bush did it, too.  It’s objectively bad behavior, but liberals can’t be bad… therefore such behavior must be characteristic of politicians in general, and of course those guys are all scum.  Why, just look at ’em!  Watergate, Iran-Contra, Operation Iraqi Freedom…. yep, assholes to a man.  And we surely didn’t screw up by voting for another politician; we were lied to! and besides, that’s the system, it can’t be helped.