Sherlock Holmes lecturing Dr. Watson, drawn by Sidney Paget
Christopher Sandford, writing in The (always dubiously conservative) American Conservative, concludes perfectly correctly that Sherlock Holmes was everything The American Conservative is not “a Victorian libertarian—and imperial conservative,” i.e. essentially an older version of that now vanishing American species, the Goldwater Conservative.
Holmes is an individualist. In the best sense of the words, he’s a confirmed loner and an inveterate free-thinker. Holmes is often the only man in the room with a contrary opinion, whether about someone’s character or a set of circumstances. Even in his latest BBC manifestation, it’s hard to imagine him carrying a sign or joining a picket line. Instead, the tell-tale signs of the libertarian are everywhere, from Holmes’s dress-code—essentially respectable but with just that touch of the haphazard to eschew the orthodox—to his famously bohemian lodgings, and erratic but long work hours.
He’s the epitome of the sort of self-sufficient, small-state, freelance operator Margaret Thatcher surely had in mind when she said that there was no such thing as “society” in Britain, merely millions of innately free-willed and aspirational men and women.
Holmes is also a precursor to James Bond—surely another neo-Thatcherite—in enjoying some of life’s more luxurious consumer goodies. He frequently accepts expensive presents from grateful clients in high places, invariably travels first-class, smokes custom-blended tobacco, and takes hits from a jewel-encrusted snuff box, one of numerous gifts from the nobility. …
Here’s how Holmes sets the scene of his retirement in The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane:
[The case] occurred after my withdrawal to my little Sussex home, when I had given myself up entirely to that soothing life of Nature for which I had so often yearned during the long years spent amid the gloom of London. … My villa is situated upon the southern slope of the downs, commanding a great view of the Channel. … My house is lonely. I, my old housekeeper, and my bees have the estate all to ourselves.
Surely this retreat to the heart, then as now, of Tory England speaks to the deep vein of traditionalism that lies under Holmes’s bohemian façade. The final stories may include some of the most outlandish plots of the entire series, but alongside all the veiled lodgers and creeping professors, the obsessive moral theme becomes more than ever the urgent need to maintain a social order under threat both from within and without. There’s no need to look further for proof of Holmes’s profound sense of disquiet than when he’s left in old age with a feeling of having “failed both my clients and myself,” or when he contemplates the coming ruin of the “quiet, ordered, harmonious, well balanced” Britain personified by Queen Victoria and the rise of the “brash, smug, self-regarding generation” yapping impatiently at the old nation’s heels.
“Is not all life pathetic and futile?” Holmes inquires in his 60th and final appearance, The Adventure of the Retired Colourman. “We reach. We grasp. And what is left in our hands at the end? A shadow. Or worse than a shadow—misery.” There speaks the true voice of the British conservative.
Olivia Nuzzi, at the Daily Beast, is a typical example of the commentators going after Trump for declining to reverence John McCain’s POW sufferings, when Trump himself avoided military service in the Vietnam War.
Trump’s decision to criticize McCain’s military record is all the more puzzling given the circumstances surrounding his lack of one.
Trump claimed, in an April interview on WNYW, that he avoided the Vietnam War because “I actually got lucky because I had a very high draft number.” He said, while attending the Wharton School of Finance, that “I was watching as they did the draft numbers and I got a very, very high number and those numbers never got up to me.”
But The Smoking Gun reported that Trump’s draft number was 365, and when it was drawn on Dec. 1, 1968, “18 months after Trump graduated” from the Wharton School, Trump “had already received four student deferments and a medical deferment,” according to records obtained by the publication.
Rieckhoff joked, “He was so interested in seeing the president’s birth certificate, I’m sure he’d be willing to provide the documentation about that.”
Despite his lack of service, Trump, in the post-insult statement, said, “I am not a fan of John McCain because he has done so little for our Veterans and he should know better than anybody what the Veterans need, especially in regards to the VA. He is yet another all talk, no action politician who spends too much time on television and not enough time doing his job and helping Vets.”
It just isn’t that simple, folks.
John Kerry, just for example, graduated from Yale in 1965, before the Anti-War Movement had really developed. John Kerry had been planning to run for president presumably since pre-school, so he naturally did go into the Armed Forces, taking the comparatively safe choice of the Navy.
Kerry wound up serving on Swift Boats and saw minor combat. Kerry then came home with a collection of medals, which some of those who served with him say he had written himself up for, grotesquely exaggerating his alleged valor and falsely describing some accidentally self-inflicted wounds as resulting from hostile fire. Kerry then went AWOL; joined the Anti-War Movement as a principal national spokesman, then testified before Congress that his fellow American servicemen behaved like “Genghis Khan,” burned villages, and routinely killed women and children. Kerry even traveled to Paris in order to participate in private planning sessions with North Vietnamese negotiators.
Someone like Trump, who didn’t go to war at all, deserves to be rated as a whole lot more patriotic than a scoundrel and traitor like John Kerry.
The Vietnam War was grossly mismanaged by two administrations, and — at the time — anybody with an IQ over room temperature could see we were never going to win, all the lives lost would be wasted, and the end was merely going to be withdrawal. By the later 1960s, nobody who was clever or well-connected was going.
John McCain served in the war because he was the son and grandson of Navy admirals. He attended Annapolis, following in his father’s footsteps and simply going into the family business. Graduates of the service academies and members of military families had less choice.
There were all sorts of ways to avoid being conscripted, and since American lives and efforts were obviously being wasted and serving in that war could easily be recognized as futile, I’d say that nobody has any right to reproach anybody for draft dodging.
Reproach Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon for not dropping a blocking force of a couple of airborne divisions somewhere north and west of Hanoi, and then not sending in an amphibious corps of Marines to assault Hanoi and Haiphong. We could have won the War in Vietnam. We needed only to capture the enemy’s government, military high command, principal supply center, and general staff. We always had the military power to do that. We just knuckled under to Soviet and Chinese saber-rattling (the same way we did in Korea), and never did. We fought a limited war, on terms dictated by the enemy, until the left destroyed the war’s legitimacy and our domestic morale, which forced us to give up.
Donald Trump was obviously smart enough to tell which way the wind blows, and he merely took the practical approach of stepping off the tracks and out of the path of the speeding railroad engine of History. A lot of people did exactly the same thing. I don’t think anybody ever had an obligation to be a sucker and have his time, efforts, and potentially his life wasted by venal and incompetent political leaders. Nor do I think that being smart enough not to be used and played, being able to avoid being taken advantage of, disqualifies anyone from political office or participation in later debates of foreign policy.
Deutsche Welle reports that the French Terror Alert Meter has reached the Surrender level.
Charlie Hebdo” editor Laurent Sourisseau has told “Stern” magazine he will no longer draw cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Souriseau’s statement comes six months after a deadly attack on the magazine’s offices.
During an interview with the Hamburg-based news magazine “Stern,” editor of the French weekly “Charlie Hebdo” said he would no longer draw comics of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
“We have drawn Muhammad to defend the principle that one can draw whatever they want. It is a bit strange though: we are expected to exercise a freedom of expression that no one dares to,” Sourisseau told “Stern.”
The editor said that the magazine had done what it set out to do.
“We’ve done our job. We have defended the right to caricature,” Sourisseau said. …
Sourisseau, who owns 40 percent of the company’s shares, survived the deadly terrorist attack on the offices of “Charlie Hebdo” on January 7 by playing dead.
William G. Zincavage, Special Troops, USMC Third Division 1942-1945, Guadalcanal, Vella la Vella, Guam, Iwo Jima
When the last colliery in the Region closed in 1954, my father borrowed several thousand dollars to pay the bribe necessary to gain entry to the Steamfitters Union. The nearest construction work was far away in Westchester County, New York. My father worked on various construction jobs in Westchester, commuting home only on weekends, until he retired in the late 1970s.
When I got to be a teenager, my father was able to pull strings to get me work as a helper on construction. One of the regular journeyman plumbers I used to work with was a thin, depressive Polish guy, named Walter Something-ski.
Walter was always complaining about how rough he’d had it as a prisoner of war in WWII. Walter had been an infantryman in the 28th Division. The 28th Division was roughly handled and finally overrun during the Battle of the Bulge by Hasso von Manteuffel’s 5th Panzer Army, and Walter was one of many Americans who surrendered and became prisoners.
Walter felt that former prisoners of war, like himself, deserved greater recognition for their war-time sufferings. He thought there ought to be a special POW medal. And he was always talking about his terrible POW experiences and complaining about the POW’s post-war lack of status and recognition. Walter felt he ought to be getting a special pension for having been kept in captivity by the Germans behind barbed wire.
My father was the wrong guy to ask for sympathy. And when Walter would start bitching, my father used to rib him mercilessly in response. My father would tell Walter that, “In the Marine Corps, we were told we were not supposed to surrender.” Or, he’d say, “What are you complaining about? You were safe, being fed, living indoors, and nobody was shooting at you.” Or, my father would say, “If you didn’t like it there, why didn’t you do what you were supposed to do and escape?” Walter would exhibit frustration and do a visible slow burn of indignation but, as I expect WWII proved, Walter was not much of a fighter, and my father was a very tough hombre, so Walter never dared to express his resentment of my dad’s remarks in any more direct way.
I was, of course, reminded of my father’s lack of sympathy for poor old Walter by Donald Trump’s unkind recent remarks concerning John McCain.
Luntz had asked Trump about his reaction to McCain’s comment that Trump had stirred up the “crazies” with his candidacy. When Trump attacked McCain, Luntz asked if Trump was comfortable with that kind of criticism of a war hero.
“He’s not a war hero,” said Trump. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
Commentators on the left and on the Right, Republicans and democrats, responded by jumping gleefully on the Donald, declaring his candidacy over on the basis of this particular remark.
Of course, nobody, except possibly Donald Trump himself, has ever expected Trump to become the Republican Presidential Nominee in 2016.
And, despite all the old ladies of both sexes throwing up their skirts over their faces at such an outrageous and unseemly exhibition of indecorum, I expect a lot of Americans find it more than a little refreshing to have one candidate out there who shoots from the hip, who says what he thinks, and who refuses to be careful not cross any controversial politically correct lines.
Yes, I think Trump was being a bit unfair to poor old John McCain who did suffer all sorts of genuine torture and abuse at the hands of those communist bastards in North Vietnam but, after all, a few unkind words from Donald Trump are pretty small potatoes compared to being turned down for the presidency in favor of a community agitator state senator with no actual record of accomplishment whatsoever whose claim to the chief magistracy of the nation was based purely upon the color of his skin. I’d say 69.5 million American voters insulted John McCain a lot more seriously in 2008.
And, then, too, points for John McCain’s Vietnam prisoner-of-war sufferings eventually run out. McCain used them up extravagantly over the years by being the US Senate’s leading Republican sell-out and by betraying Conservatism and the GOP again and again and again in every major legislative confrontation. Personally, I’m pretty much out of gratitude for John McCain’s Vietnam services.
Katherine Timpf, in National Review, reports that sociologists have identified a new class of victims with a long history of oppression and discrimination based upon societal intolerance grounded in traditional religious beliefs.
Sociology researchers are now insisting that we as a society start accepting people who choose to “identify as real vampires” — so that they can be open about the fact that they’re vampires without having to worry about facing discrimination from people who might think that that’s weird.
“Most vampires believe they were born that way; they don’t choose this,” said Dr. D. J. Williams, the study’s lead researcher and the director of sociology at Idaho State.
The study is based on the experiences of eleven “real” vampires — which, by the way, are different from “lifestyle vampires.”
“Lifestylers,” the study explains, are people who just do things like wear fangs and sleep in coffins as lifestyle choices, and although “real vampires” may do these things too, they all also have one major thing in common that distinguishes them from the “lifestylers:”
“The essential feature of real vampirism is their belief in the need to take in ‘subtle energy’ (called feeding) from time to time from a willing ‘donor’ in order to maintain physical, psychological and spiritual health,” the study explains.
“Unlike lifestyle vampires, real vampires believe that they do not choose their vampiric condition; they are born with it, somewhat akin to sexual orientation,” it continues.
LYNNFIELD, MA—In an effort to provide sanctuary for Lynnfield College students exposed to perspectives different from their own, a new campus safe space was dedicated Wednesday in honor of Alexis Stigmore, a 2009 graduate who felt kind of weird in class one time.
Addressing students at the dedication ceremony, parents Arnold and Cassie Stigmore noted that while the college had adequate facilities to assist victims of discrimination, abuse, and post-traumatic stress, it had until now offered no comparable safe space for students, like their beloved daughter, who encounter an academic viewpoint that gives them an uncomfortable feeling.
“When our Alexis felt weird after hearing someone discuss an idea that did not conform to her personally held beliefs, she had no place to turn,” said Arnold Stigmore, standing outside the $2 million space that reportedly features soothing music, neutral-colored walls, oversized floor cushions, fun board games, and a variety of snacks. “God forbid any of you, in your years at this institution, are ever confronted with an opinion you do not share. But if you are, you will have a refuge on this campus.”
“If unfamiliar thoughts are ever provoked in your mind, or in the mind of someone you know, you can come to this place and feel safe again,” he added.