Archive for April, 2012
24 Apr 2012

“The Constitution Forbids Leftism”

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David Steinberg, at PJM, in my view, does not really pull off the Colonel Kurtz allusion which led me to his editorial, but he does identify the crucial philosophical point: it is impossible to create new (supposititious) rights without violating (real) natural rights. The Constitution was written to protect natural rights by men who believed that they were self evident.

[Y]ou cannot invent a right. The government attempted to do this, and found they could not do so without also violating a right.

Why? Because a “right” to a good or service necessitates a violation of the rights of the provider of that good or service or of whomever is chosen to be stuck with the bill, and further, as the citizen receiving the proposed new “right” is also subject to the violation in different time and circumstance, any new “right” is by definition a decrease in liberty for everyone, and might I add “duh.”

Elsewhere in the field of reality lies a perfect analogy for the Left’s century of affronts to Natural Law:

In all cases in which work is produced by the agency of heat, a quantity of heat is consumed which is proportional to the work done; and conversely, by the expenditure of an equal quantity of work an equal quantity of heat is produced.

This sentence, the First Law of Thermodynamics, represents the end of all inquiries into the creation of a perpetual motion generator. The First Law cannot tell you what form a proposed perpetual motion generator will take; it is, however, unfailingly predictive of the experiment’s conclusion in failure. Of course, that didn’t halt centuries of “mathematical leftists” from attempting to design and construct perpetual motion machines. The builders predating the First Law pursued knowledge in the best tradition of humanity; the builders following the Law belonged to one of three categories: they either refused to accept the Law; were ignorant of its discovery; or were charlatans who knew a great number of suckers resided in the other two categories.

“A right to health care” offers equivalent parallels to the First Law of Thermodynamics and its three categories of opposition: the deniers, the ignorants, and the common schmucks.

Unfortunately for the suddenly uncomfortable, the bigger problem for the left-leaning does not halt beyond Obamacare: can you name many Leftist proposals that do not either violate Natural Law or disdainfully tread on its boundaries? Any? How much of Leftist thought is, and should have been, dead on arrival? How many landmark bills, slogans, teachings, entire executive branch departments?

For the intellectually honest Leftist, today the pupils must widen, lest you mislead yourself and waste another day or life. The Constitution forbids Leftism.

24 Apr 2012

1% of Scots Descend From Berbers and Tuaregs

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Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders charging just for fun. (click on image for larger version)

The Scotsman reports some surprising results from recent Scottish DNA research.

ScotlandsDNA, the groundbreaking research project that probes far beyond the ink stains of family trees by analysing the genetic make-up of Scottish men and women, has unveiled its interim results, which show that 1 per cent of all Scots are descended from the Berber and Tuareg tribesmen of the Sahara.

Read the whole thing.

My own patrilineal DNA results (Excel file) are very similar to the DNA of Somerled, the 12th century Lord of the Isles, from whom descend the various septs of Clan Donald.

23 Apr 2012

Liberalism: Only a Christian Heresy

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One major modern heresiarch

Ross Douthat, in an argument with William Saletan, makes the point that Liberalism, aka Leftism, is merely the same Christianity we are all familiar with, modified into a materialist heresy with the scientific state at the center of the cosmos instead of Jehovah, no afterlife, and all the traditional teachings regarding celibacy and sex reversed.

[W]hen I look at your secular liberalism, I see a system of thought that looks rather like a Christian heresy, and not necessarily a particularly coherent one at that. In [his recent book] Bad Religion, I describe heresy as a form of belief that tends to emphasize certain elements of the Christian synthesis while downgrading or dismissing other aspects of that whole. And it isn’t surprising that liberalism, which after all developed in a Christian civilization, does exactly that, drawing implicitly on the Christian intellectual inheritance to ground its liberty-equality-fraternity ideals.

Indeed, it’s completely obvious that absent the Christian faith, there would be no liberalism at all. No ideal of universal human rights without Jesus’ radical upending of social hierarchies (including his death alongside common criminals on the cross). No separation of church and state without the gospels’ “render unto Caesar” and St. Augustine’s two cities. No liberal confidence about the march of historical progress without the Judeo-Christian interpretation of history as an unfolding story rather than an endlessly repeating wheel.

And what’s more, to me, contemporary liberals’ obsession with the supposed backwardness of Christian sexual ethics—an obsession that far outstrips sex’s actual role in the preaching and practice of Christian faith—reflects a subconscious liberal knowledge that Christianity is their theological mother, and they’re its half-rebellious child. You can see in it the child’s characteristic desire to finally overthrow the last bastion of parental authority, joined to a continued desire for the parent’s approval for their choices and beliefs. …

[T]he more purely secular liberalism has become, the more it has spent down its Christian inheritance—the more its ideals seem to hang from what Christopher Hitchens’ Calvinist sparring partner Douglas Wilson has called intellectual “skyhooks,” suspended halfway between our earth and the heaven on which many liberals have long since given up. Say what you will about the prosperity gospel and the cult of the God Within and the other theologies I criticize in Bad Religion, but at least they have a metaphysically coherent picture of the universe to justify their claims. Whereas much of today’s liberalism expects me to respect its moral fervor even as it denies the revelation that once justified that fervor in the first place. It insists that it is a purely secular and scientific enterprise even as it grounds its politics in metaphysical claims. (You will not find the principle of absolute human equality in evolutionary theory, or universal human rights anywhere in physics.) It complains that Christian teachings on homosexuality do violence to gay people’s equal dignity—but if the world is just matter in motion, whence comes this dignity? What justifies and sustains it? Why should I grant it such intense, almost supernatural respect?

He’s perfectly right. What is modern environmentalism, after all, other than a particularly infuriating recrudescence of Dualism?

23 Apr 2012

“If I Wanted America to Fail.”

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23 Apr 2012

Why Marxism?


C. Bradley Thompson asks: “Why Marxism?”

“Why do men become communists? And more particularly, why do they become communists despite everything that we know about communism? In the last century, as many as 120 million people were murdered by Marxist-inspired regimes. And yet, certainly in the United States and in Western Europe, we have the remarkable spectacle of virtually an entire intellectual class that has been seduced by the allure of Marx’s ideas… It’s not Marx’s labour theory of value [or] dialectical materialism that has drawn people to his philosophy, and it’s certainly not the interminably boring Das Kapital.”

David Thompson aptly summarizes.

[Bradley C.] Thompson refers to Marx’s “angry, spitting moralism” as a chief enticement and in this longer video he elaborates on its idiocies, referring to the result as “a philosophy of malevolence.” It seems to me one can’t explain the appeal of Marxism without addressing the psychological license that it offers, specifically for coercion and petty malice. It’s a golden ticket for a certain kind of sadist. Why Marxism? Start with rationalised envy and a vindictive desire for power over others, wrap it in a drag of altruism, and then take it from there.

23 Apr 2012

St. George’s Day

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From Robert Chambers, The Book of Days, 1869:

Butler, the historian of the Romish calendar, repudiates George of Cappadocia, and will have it that the famous saint was born of noble Christian parents, that he entered the army, and rose to a high grade in its ranks, until the persecution of his co-religionists by Diocletian compelled him to throw up his commission, and upbraid the emperor for his cruelty, by which bold conduct he lost his head and won his saintship. Whatever the real character of St. George might have been, he was held in great honour in England from a very early period. While in the calendars of the Greek and Latin churches he shared the twenty-third of April with other saints, a Saxon Martyrology declares the day dedicated to him alone; and after the Conquest his festival was celebrated after the approved fashion of Englishmen.

In 1344, this feast was made memorable by the creation of the noble Order of St. George, or the Blue Garter, the institution being inaugurated by a grand joust, in which forty of England’s best and bravest knights held the lists against the foreign chivalry attracted by the proclamation of the challenge through France, Burgundy, Hainault, Brabant, Flanders, and Germany. In the first year of the reign of Henry V, a council held at London decreed, at the instance of the king himself, that henceforth the feast of St. George should be observed by a double service; and for many years the festival was kept with great splendour at Windsor and other towns. Shakspeare, in Henry VI, makes the Regent Bedford say, on receiving the news of disasters in France:

Bonfires in France I am forthwith to make
To keep our great St. George’s feast withal!’

Edward VI promulgated certain statutes severing the connection between the ‘noble order’ and the saint; but on his death, Mary at once abrogated them as ‘impertinent, and tending to novelty.’ The festival continued to be observed until 1567, when, the ceremonies being thought incompatible with the reformed religion, Elizabeth ordered its discontinuance. James I, however, kept the 23rd of April to some extent, and the revival of the feast in all its glories was only prevented by the Civil War. So late as 1614, it was the custom for fashionable gentlemen to wear blue coats on St. George’s day, probably in imitation of the blue mantle worn by the Knights of the Garter.

In olden times, the standard of St. George was borne before our English kings in battle, and his name was the rallying cry of English warriors. According to Shakspeare, Henry V led the attack on Harfleur to the battle-cry of ‘God for Harry! England! and St. George!’ and ‘God and St. George’ was Talbot’s slogan on the fatal field of Patay. Edward of Wales exhorts his peace-loving parents to

‘Cheer these noble lords,
And hearten those that fight in your defence;
Unsheath your sword, good father, cry St. George!’

The fiery Richard invokes the same saint, and his rival can think of no better name to excite the ardour of his adherents:

‘Advance our standards, set upon our foes,
Our ancient word of courage, fair St. George,
Inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons.’

England was not the only nation that fought under the banner of St. George, nor was the Order of the Garter the only chivalric institution in his honour. Sicily, Arragon, Valencia, Genoa, Malta, Barcelona, looked up to him as their guardian saint; and as to knightly orders bearing his name, a Venetian Order of St. George was created in 1200, a Spanish in 1317, an Austrian in 1470, a Genoese in 1472, and a Roman in 1492, to say nothing of the more modern ones of Bavaria (1729), Russia (1767), and Hanover (1839).

Legendarily the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George was founded by the Emperor Constantine (312-337 A.D.). On the factual level, the Constantinian Order is known to have functioned militarily in the Balkans in the 15th century against the Turk under the authority of descendants of the twelfth-century Byzantine Emperor Isaac II Angelus Comnenus.

We Lithuanians liked St. George as well. When I was a boy I attended St. George Lithuanian Parish Elementary School, and served mass at St. George Lithuanian Roman Catholic Church in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.

22 Apr 2012

Mock HSUS Commercial

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Hat tip to Shiri Hoshen.

22 Apr 2012

Mark Steyn on Secret Service Scandal

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Mark Steyn is in good form.

What we know so far is this: All eleven Secret Service men and all ten U.S. military personnel staying at the Hotel Caribe are alleged to have had “escorts” in their rooms that night. All of them. The entire team.

Twenty-one U.S. public servants. Twenty-one Colombian whores. Unless a couple of the senior guys splashed out for the two-girl special. “Some of them were saying they didn’t know they were prostitutes,” explained Congressman Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

“Some are saying they were women at the bar.”

Amazing to hear government agents channeling Dudley Moore in Arthur: “You’re a hooker? I thought I was doing so well.” It turns out U.S. Secret Service agents are the only men who can walk into a Colombian nightclub and not spot the professionals. Are they really the guys you want protecting the president?

Congress is not happy about this. “It was totally wrong to take a foreign national back to a hotel when the president is about to arrive,” said Representative King.

It’s wrong to take a “foreign national” up to the room, but it would have been okay if she’d been from Des Moines? We’re all in favor of outsourcing, but in compliance with Section 27(e)viii of the PATRIOT Act this is the one job Americans will do?

21 Apr 2012

One More Time: “Dog Eater”

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21 Apr 2012

Taking the Positive View

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Hat tip to Theo.

21 Apr 2012

Mourning the Now-Neutered Lamborghini

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Jack Baruth describes how it’s not only the modern population that has become demasculinized. The same thing has happened to great automotive brands, and with the arrival of the Urus, it has happened to Lamborghini, alas!

Sports cars and supercars — yes, we are finally getting to cars — used to be real ass-kickers themselves, you know. Think of a Miura blowing down the autostrada at 170mph when the average Italian car couldn’t break a hundred. Or an early short-wheelbase 911 trying actively to kill its driver on the Stelvio Pass. Or a ’69 big-block ‘Vette snarling down Mulholland. Men’s cars. Driven by the men who ruled the world, who had built the world. And created by those men, too. Ferrari himself, sacrificing drivers like pawns and burning the essence of his life to obtain victory. Ferry Porsche, who had to build and engineer a racecar to ransom the life of his own father. David Brown, earning a fortune and then throwing it away so he could put his own intials on the Aston Martin. Ferrucio Lamborghini, who famously started his company because Enzo showed him a lack of respect (or because he found out how much the markup on Ferrari parts was, depending on which story you believe.) These were real men, building appropriate conveyances for other men of means, courage, and accomplishment.

Those men are all as dead as Caesar now. Their famously fragile businesses, which often held together simply on the faith of their workers that “the old man” would find a way to pay them next week, have been plucked from uncertainty and nestled safely within the bosoms of monstrous corporations or the accidentally oil-rich.

And the cars those men made? They’ve been replaced by products, which are branded and marketed to “high net worth individuals”, our infamous one percent, existing within a safety net of corrupt banks, protective governments, and barriers to entry. The “heritage” those men manufactured on the fly has become a precious resource to be doled out by turtleneck-clad designers timidly riffing on the tracks cut by their betters long ago, like a club DJ spinning Parliament in scratches and squeaks because he never learned to play the bass himself.

Worse yet, the “products” themselves have ceased doing the man’s work of the company. Porsche used to live or die by 911 sales, the same way Lamborghini relied on selling the Countach to keep the doors open. No longer. Today, the Panamera and Cayenne drive the business. They trade on the image of the 911 to move the metal, but the 911 itself has become irrelevant. It’s a trophy wife on the arm of the Panamera. It’s there to make the Pano look good.

Read the whole thing. Good article.

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

20 Apr 2012

Proposed Replacement For “Hail to the Chief”

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From Iowahawk.

19 Apr 2012

Dog Days for Obama

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Frank J. Fleming:

Had a few people try and tell me the Romney thing was horrible but Obama dog-eating is nothing. My response: nomnomnom

19 Apr 2012

Latest Good Twitter Meme: Cartagena Hooker Movie Lines

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