Archive for October, 2016
27 Oct 2016

Conservative Intellectuals Finding Their Own Base in Revolt

, , , , , ,

dantedarkwood
Gustave Dore: Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita/ mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,/ ché la diritta via era smarrita.

Ross Douthat, an echt conservative intellectual, argues that conservative intellectuals should blame themselves for the Trumpkin peasant revolt. Firstly, by allying with George W. Bush’s failed presidency, and secondly, by relying on AM Talk Radio (Sean Hannity) and Internet bloggers (Matt Drudge, Breitbart) to do so much of the message communicating.

Every political movement in a democracy is shaped like a pyramid — elite actors on the top, the masses underneath. But the pyramid that is modern American conservatism has always been misshapen, with a wide, squat base that tapers far too quickly at its peak.

The broad base is right-wing populism, in all its post-World War II varietals: Orange County Cold Warriors, “Silent Majority” hard hats, Southern evangelicals, Reagan Democrats, the Tea Party, the Trumpistas. The too-small peak is the right’s intellectual cadres, its philosophers and legal theorists and foreign policy hands and wonks.

The peak is small because conservatives have always had a relatively weak presence within what James Burnham, one of modern conservatism’s intellectual godfathers, called the “managerial class” — the largely liberal meritocrats who staff our legal establishment, our bureaucracy, our culture industries, our universities. Whether as provincial critics of this class or dissidents within it, conservative intellectuals have long depended on populism to win the power that the managerial elite’s liberal tilt would otherwise deny them. …

But now, in the age of Donald Trump, the populists have seemingly decided that they can get along just fine without any elite direction whatsoever. …

History does not stand still; crises do not last forever. Eventually a path for conservative intellectuals will open.

But for now we find ourselves in a dark wood, with the straight way lost.

27 Oct 2016

Tweet of the Day

, , , ,

tweet215

27 Oct 2016

Really!

2016freebeer

26 Oct 2016

Outside Magazine Comes Out Against Campfires (!)

, , , ,

campfiremarlboro

There are two kinds of people. There are people who go to the Out-of-Doors to hunt and fish and to enjoy Nature as an active participant, and there are citified wussy wimp nincompoops who hike or bike or ski or climb in the Out-of-Doors wearing expensive synthetic getups in the same kinds of colors as lifesavers.

Outside Magazine is a publication for exactly those kind of tree-hugging, Obama-voting sodomites. If you want a laugh at just how far up his own posterior one of these eco-snowflakes can insert his head, read this, Wes Siler’s pious screed explaining that campfires are “a dangerous, polluting, wasteful relic of the past,” way too hazardous and unsafe for ordinary Americans to safely enjoy.

[T]he campfire has had its day. With massive wildfires raging all summer long and exhausting state budgets, and with participation in outdoor recreation booming to record numbers, maybe the the negative impacts of the campfire now outweigh tradition and comfort.

26 Oct 2016

Star Chambers and Free Speech Hypocrisy at Yale

, , , , , , , ,

shriekingstudent
Former Silliman College Master Nicholas Christakis told by Shrieking Student to resign. He promptly went on sabbatical and then did resign.

Richard Epstein contemplates the shame of Yale’s sexual misconduct star chamber tribunals along with the hypocrisy of President Peter Salovey’s claim that Free Speech flourishes at Yale.

Salovey takes great pride in noting “the Yale administration did not criticize, discipline, or dismiss a single member of its faculty, staff, or student body for expressing an opinion.” That sentence may be technically true, but it does not explain why Salovey did not mention the unfortunate fate of Nicholas and Erika Christakis, both of whom resigned from Yale under massive pressure after student protestors demanded that Nicholas be removed from his position as master of Silliman College. Why? Because Erika had written an email that took issue with a letter from Yale’s Intercultural Affairs Committee that warned students against various insensitive forms of behaviors, like wearing offensive Halloween costumes. The letter noted, like Salovey’s op-ed, that Yale values “free expression as well as inclusivity.” But the massive level of abuse directed at Nicholas and Erika Christakis reveals how strongly Yale weighs one imperative over the other.

Read the whole thing.

Yale surrendered to the Obama Justice Department’s Russlyn Ali, immediately upon receipt of her infamous “Dear Colleague letter,” which threatened withholding of federal funds to universities which failed to establish
Sexual Harassment Inquisitorial procedures forthwith.

President Salovey announced last Fall that he was firmly behind the Christakises, when outraged student demonstrations erupted after Mrs. Christakis wrote an email questioning the appropriateness of an Intercultural Student Affairs edict warning against students wearing Halloween costumes which could be interpreted as belittling or culturally appropriative: no sombreros, no blackface, no turbans. Both Christakises, nonetheless, were out of the Master’s House in Silliman in short order and out of New Haven. A decent interval, up until the next Mid-Summer, was allowed to go by to save Yale’s face, before Nicholas Christakis’s permanent resignation was announced. Way to go, Free Speech at Yale!

26 Oct 2016

Michael Moore (Pretty Much) Endorses Trump

,

Michael Moore the commie endorsing Donald Trump? Well, he’s not actually supporting Trump, but this presumed excerpt from his forthcoming film “Michael Moore in Trumpland” sure sounds like an endorsement.

It shouldn’t be surprising that so many long-time conservatives like me aren’t supporting Trump. So much of Trump’s message consists of Populism, Anti-Capitalism, and promises of Statist Intervention and Protection for the Workers right out of Michael Moore’s personal Young Comrade’s Handbook of Marxism, combined with exactly the kind of rabble-rousing Nihilism that the Revolutionary Left specializes in. Take away the Nativism and Trump could be running as the candidate of Occupy Wall Street.

Trumpkins will absolutely love this video.

26 Oct 2016

Best Political Ad of the Year

, ,

25 Oct 2016

An 1850’s Cure For Rattlesnake Bite

, ,

western-diamondback-rattles

“A day or two subsequent to the battle of Walker’s Creek, while on our way back towards San Antonio, we reined up, as usual, to prepare our evening repast near the bank of a small stream. It happened that I dismounted by cluster of musquete bushes, and as I struck the ground an enormous rattlesnake bit me on the ankle. I had before frequently witnessed the deadly effects resulting from the bite of these venomous reptiles, I confess, my nerves, which had not failed me in the hour of battle and in the face of death, were now completely unstrung. A sickening dreadful sensation came over me, terrible beyond all force of language to convey –- a sense of sorrow that I had not fallen in the recent battle and escaped the horror of my going to my long account in such an abominable way.

There was a Spaniard among our number who witnessed the incident. He immediately thrust his knife through the serpent’s neck, pinning it to the ground, and instantly began cutting portions of flesh from the still living and wriggling monster, and applying it to the wound. I could feel it draw, and in a few minutes the white poultice thus applied would change to a perfect green. These applications were continued until nearly the entire body of the snake was used. The remedy proved effectual, inasmuch as I suffered nothing from it afterwards save a slight soreness, but from that time forward, I always experienced an instinctive dread on approaching a musquete thicket, far more disagreeable than when charging an enemy.”

Three Years Among the Comanches: The Narrative of Nelson Lee, Texas Ranger.

25 Oct 2016

Australian Spiders Kill Mice!

,

Guardian:

Australia’s litany of fearsome fauna seems to have a new entry. Added to deadly snakes, man-eating crocodiles and poisonous jellyfish comes Hermie the huntsman, a spider so unusually large and strong that it had no problem carrying a sizeable mouse up the outside of a fridge.

Hermie’s feat was captured on film by Jason Wormal, a tradesman from Coppabella in Queensland, who was heading out to work in the early hours of Monday morning when he says he received an offer from a neighbour that he couldn’t refuse.

“So I am just about to leave for work about 0030 and me neighbour says ‘You want to see something cool’ and I say ‘Hell yeah’, he wrote on Facebook.

“So we proceed to his place and he shows me this. Huntsman trying to eat a mouse.”

On the video shot by Wormal a voice can be heard off screen wondering in amazement: “What’s he gonna do with him? Man that is so cool”.

Stills taken of the spider seem to show the arachnid clutching the mouse by its head with its chelicerae while it scurries up the fridge.

Huntsman spider in Wikipedia.

24 Oct 2016

Tibetan Musical Notation

,

tibetanmusic
Tibetan musical score – notation for voice, drums, trumpets, horns and cymbals.

24 Oct 2016

More Mouse Droppings

, , , , ,

mountainmouse
Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. — Horace.

Publius Decius Mus” (Mousey as far as I’m concerned) is back.

Jonah Goldberg, in the course of discussing the disconnection from reality of Trumpkins’ narratives, took the time to casually boot Mousey around the block.

Consider the anonymous writer Decius (whose identity is known to anyone who cares to know it and hidden from the masses of people who couldn’t give a rat’s ass. But I will honor this ridiculous conceit.) Decius’s most famous piece of work — and it was a piece of work — was his Flight 93 Election essay in which he argued that this election poses an existential threat to America’s survival. Either we charge the cockpit and vote for Trump, or the figurative terrorists of the Clinton cabal kill us all. Either you muster the courage to fight the terrorists, or you’re with the terrorists. Moreover, if you don’t agree with his Manichean prescription, it’s probably because you’re acting to protect your status as a member of the “Davos class” or some other phylum of pocket-lining, rent-seeking remoras. I think that argument is grotesque on the merits, and unworthy of the author.

As I explained in a previous G-File, it’s also remarkably cowardly. He invokes the heroism of the passengers of Flight 93. Decius’s pseudonym harkens back to a Roman martyr who bravely gave his life to save the Republic. And yet, he’s unwilling to risk putting his own name on the literary bombs he throws for fear of losing his own Davos-class-worthy lifestyle.

In a more recent essay, Decius attacks my AEI colleague James Pethokoukis for writing a piece titled “A Conservative Case against Trump’s Apocalyptic View of America.” It’s worth noting that Decius had to misrepresent Pethokoukis argument from the outset. The title of Pethokoukis’s piece begins “A Conservative Case” — meaning that it is one argument among many other possible arguments. Decius changes it into the conservative case, suggesting that James is trying to assert that his is the only way conservatives should see the issues. That’s not Pethokoukis’s style, but it is the style of the man who says if you disagree with him about Trump, you’re a sell-out in favor of destroying America. Pethokoukis’s sin, according to Decius, is to even suggest that apocalyptic despair about America might be an overreaction to the current plight of our country. He goes on to write, with no sense of irony:

    I don’t know James Pethokoukis. But I know lots of “conservatives” just like him: eager, even giddy, to throw anyone ostensibly on their side to the Leftist wolves.

    I’m tired of being shot in the back my “friends.” It’s high time to turn around and let them shoot me in the face, in frank acknowledgement that I am their enemy.

I don’t think Decius is my enemy. But he clearly thinks anyone not in lockstep with his worldview is his. Still, I do have one suggestion. If you want your supposed enemies to shoot you in the face, stop hiding behind a pseudonym.

I dwell on Decius here not just because I am appalled by the way he’s been writing in bad faith, but also because it illustrates my larger point. As an actual argument, Decius makes some fine points about the current state of America — many of which I agree with in whole or in part. But in its totality it isn’t really an argument at all. It’s a cri de coeur, a venting of feelings. The passion, no doubt sincerely felt, has taken reason hostage. The correct response to so much of this venting isn’t to rebut his points case by case, but to simply say, “Lighten up, Francis.

Mousey didn’t like it and has penned another of his hyper-pretentious, long-winded essays in reply. I find trying to dissect substantive arguments out of his writings is much like trying to pick up mercury from a tabletop with a pair of chopsticks. There is all that verbiage and all that self-congratulatory triumphant posing, but underneath it there is nothing but the same Alt-Right party-line delusional worldview:

This election is apocalyptic. Conservatives owe Trump support, because this is the Apocalypse, man, and you’re on the Alt-Right Trump side or you’re for Hillary.

The Alt-Right has History’s endorsement in its pocket, because, you see, Conservatism is a) simply a part of a diabolical elite, Davos-based, conspiracy to rule the country for its own benefit, and because b) Conservatism (despite its joint tenure with Progressivism in running things and the accruing benefit of drinking all that Haut Brion around the fire in Davos) has done nothing but lose.

And, finally, when this election is over, and he doesn’t say it, but he means “after Trump loses,” conservatives better fall in line with Trump’s issues, i.e. Nativism, Protectionism, Isolationism, or there will be a split.

Well, Mousey, I’d reply, there already is a split. You and your friends went whoring off supporting an unqualified, unconservative, populist mountebank without a shred of principles, rejecting every qualified, conservative, and electable candidate in the process. If the GOP had nominated any legitimate, respectable conservative, he’d be coming up on beating Hillary in a landslide. You and Trump lost this election. Not Jonah Goldberg, James Pethokoukis, or me.

The Conservative Movement rose after WWII, in defiance of fashion, the received view of history, and the status quo, to dominate the Republican Party; to elect Ronald Reagan president; to defeat the Soviet Union, liberate Central Europe, and win the Cold War; and to establish a sufficiently powerful intellectual opposition to Collectivist Statism that in the 1990s the Left’s candidates in Britain and America both acknowledged openly that “the era of Big Government is over.”

So what has Conservatism done for you lately? says the Alt-Right.

Political reality and political possibility, alas! move slowly and at a ponderous pace, sometimes moved in one direction or the other by Fortune, beyond the immediate control of any collection or alliance of us mortals.

George W. Bush screwed up and allowed the Left to turn public opinion against his military efforts, then Fate handed the Progressive Left both an economic crash weeks before the election and a well-spoken radical candidate with extraordinary symbolic appeal. Meanwhile the Left’s long march through the Culture and the Institutions went on, arriving recently at points frequently downright comedic.

I and the other conservatives I know generally thought that GWB really ought to have done a better job, but he actually was not consulting on a daily basis with most of us. We were supremely unlucky in 2008 and still unlucky in 2012, but frankly I think this year Fate was really getting outrageously out-of-hand.

No one contends that the detailed principles of the post-WWII Conservative Movement are written in stone, but if anyone is going to try to revise Conservatism’s policy preferences and positions, it is going to take better arguments and a better grasp of history than any of either the low-information, big-mouth shitbirds or the pretentious windbags with imaginary togas currently operating on the Alt-Right have so far ever shown.

It is regrettable that the Left dominates the universities, the media, and the Arts. Tell you what, after Trump loses, and the Conservative Movement splits permanently, why don’t you and Pat Buchanan and Mike Cernovich and Vox Day all go take the Culture and the Institutions back? It will give you something to do besides complain about how all the #NeverTrumpers stabbed you in the back.

23 Oct 2016

Asheville: City of Bears

, ,

measuringbearcub
Expert measuring bear cub.

In Atlas Obscura, we find that Asheville, NC has a lot of very large urban wildlife, and the experts (of course!) are studying the issue of just how many bears can live in the city.

Over the past decade, Asheville has racked up all kinds of accolades: according to one list of fawning headlines, it’s “Fantastically Yoga-Friendly,” “One of America’s 12 Greatest Music Cities,” “The Biggest Little Culinary Capital in America,” “#1 Beer City USA,” and “America’s #1 Quirkiest Town.”

Somewhat more quietly, it’s also one of America’s Best Cities for Bears. They hang out near the local hospital, and at the storied Grove Park Inn. Mailmen regularly run into them on their routes. Last August, a bear broke into an Asheville man’s home and stole a stick of butter out of his kitchen trash. As part of its pre-show, the Fine Arts Movie Theater, in downtown, shows a photo of a curious black bear reading its marquee from across the street. “I never saw a black bear until I moved to the city,” Boll says. “Now, I’ll be driving and I’ll go, ‘There’s a bear in someone’s yard!’ or ‘Look at that bear, knocking over that trash can and taking the bag!'”

When we talk about urban wildlife, we’re usually referring to small, deft creatures—squirrels, pigeons, or other standbys that mind their own business and fade into the background. Your average city-dweller might catch a deer in their headlights every once in a while, or spot a raccoon digging through the trash. A bear is something of a different story. A male can weigh 600 pounds. That’s not the kind of creature you get used to seeing on your commute.

Somewhere around 8,000 black bears range around western North Carolina, and many of those make Asheville itself part of their meandering. According to the Urban-Suburban Bear Study, an ongoing project by the state’s Wildlife Resources Commission and North Carolina State University, these bears are very healthy, often well-fed enough to have twice as many cubs as your average scrappy mountain bear, and confident enough to den right outside of town.

After a couple of years of study, the researchers—along with most of Asheville’s humans—are wondering exactly how many bears the city can hold.

The democrats are probably working on registering the bears to vote.

23 Oct 2016

“You’re a Patriot? Did You Ever Think Reagan’s Party Would Become Putin’s Poodle?”

,

2016fridge375

David Frum display his intellectual virtuosity by arguing all the possible conservative approaches to this year’s election. He gets mine pretty accurately.

“You can resolve to live your life with integrity. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.” So wrote Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, one of this century’s bravest voices for human freedom. Solzhenitsyn defied a police state to speak his truth. All that’s asked of us is to vote our consciences.

Your principles reject Hillary Clinton. Your values are offended by Donald Trump. Why choose either?

People sometimes tell you to vote as if your vote were the only one that mattered. But that’s just silly. Your vote is never the only one that matters, not even in Florida in 2000.

Voting is an expressive act. It’s your opportunity to send information to the political elites. Of course, you’ll usually choose an imperfectly good enough choice over a worse choice. But sometimes the two choices are both so bad that you want to send a message to the whole system: Remember me! In 1912, nearly 1 million Americans voted for Eugene Victor Debs for president. Did they waste their votes? Debs was the only candidate promising unemployment insurance, a minimum wage, a half-day holiday on Saturdays, and old-age pensions. He lost. His ideas won. Did the Americans who voted for John Anderson in 1980 or Ross Perot in 1992 waste their votes? No, they changed politics. The Anderson voters punished the Democrats for nominating a candidate who was not liberal enough; the Perot voters punished the GOP for breaking its word on tax increases. Both parties learned their lessons—and did not repeat their mistakes.

For months, Paul Ryan urged you to swallow your distaste and vote for “the nominee” in order to advance a Republican agenda through Congress. Look at Paul Ryan’s face today. He has learned the hard way that Donald Trump cannot be trusted and will advance no agenda except his own.

Worse, Trump discredits and disgraces everything he touches. There likely won’t be a Republican party after 18 months of a Trump presidency, just a tangle of warring factions soon to be swept away by a Democratic wave in Congress in 2018. President Trump will then start making deals with the new Democratic majority, and probably more happily so—he always was a Democrat at heart, as he has repeatedly said over the past 40 years. His only consistent interest is self-enrichment. Since he’s so incompetent at business, his default mode of self-enrichment has become cheating and bilking people. Think of that in the Oval Office! Think of that at the head of the Republican Party.

Maybe you’re pro-life? Trump obviously isn’t, no matter what his surrogates preposterously assert today.

Maybe you take seriously those things you send back in 1999 and 2000 about restoring dignity to the presidency? You’ll be electing Trump despite his own on-the-record confession that he harasses and gropes women.

You recoil from the Clinton Foundation? Trump’s is sleazier—and penny-ante, too.

You’re a patriot? Did you ever think Reagan’s party would become Putin’s poodle?

The Supreme Court? If there’s one lesson to learn from Trump’s career, it is to never trust his word for anything.

Yet you don’t want to empower Hillary Clinton either! A President Clinton will probably face a Republican Congress. She’ll do a super-Obama: act by executive order, subverting constitutional restraints in order to aggrandize government and advance the social and cultural transformation of America. You can’t assent to that.

What you want to do is send a distinctly conservative protest against both Hillary Clinton’s progressive ideology and Donald Trump’s con-man narcissism. The bigger the protest vote total, the more respect your conservative ideas can demand in future. Hoist the “Don’t Tread on Me” banner, and check out who else is on the ballot: Libertarian, Independent, or Constitution Party.

22 Oct 2016

Exorcisms Needed!

, , ,

ramirez51-1

Your are browsing
the Archives of Never Yet Melted for October 2016.

















Feeds
Entries (RSS)
Comments (RSS)
Feed Shark