18 Sep 2019

Tweet of the Day

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18 Sep 2019

Why the Latest Kavanaugh Smear?

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John Kass explains, in the Chicago Tribune, now that Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s pancreatic cancer is back in the news, the Left is panicking that its loss of control of the Supreme Court will be lengthened and reinforced, and some of its stolen culture war victories may be reversed.

The strategy of the left is undeniable and clear. It is about the use of force, about relentless pressure and shame, using media as both handmaiden and the lash. It is about those who virtue signal most often about due process, demanding it, yet denying those same due process considerations to those with whom they disagree.

The left’s end game is the delegitimization of the Supreme Court, if justices don’t give them the political outcomes they can’t achieve through legislation.

One way to accomplish this is to sear into the American mind the idea that Kavanaugh is personally illegitimate, and therefore, his reasoning and decisions are illegitimate. Though the allegations against him remain uncorroborated, and most are incredible and fall apart in embarrassing fashion, like the one most recently in the Times, the assault continues.

And not only against Kavanaugh, but also against other justices and future nominees. They are warned that destruction and humiliation await.

So, the left would hang upon his neck an asterisk like some medal of shame, a reminder to future history that everything he accomplishes is illegitimate.

RTWT

18 Sep 2019

America When My Family First Arrived Versus Today

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Clifford A. Brown, at Ricochet:

Collecting Taxes

About $6.23 [$147 in 2016 dollars]: The amount of state and local government taxes collected per person in 1880.

About $4,951: The amount of state and local government taxes collected per person in 2016.

Note that these are not federal tax dollars, but the real growth in the scope of state and local government. In part, federal taxes could not be compared across the same interval as “per person” because the federal income tax was not ratified until 1913. This points to all of us, collectively, voting over and over again for more and more government at every level, in contradiction to the basic assumptions expressed by both sides of the debate back in 1787-1789. We may truly get the government for which we vote!

RTWT

Add the roughly 40% of your income you pay to the Federal Government if you are even moderately successful in life. And don’t forget to add in your own currently $67,000 share in the Federal Debt.

17 Sep 2019

2020 Campaign News

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17 Sep 2019

The NYC Woke Elite Meets the Revolution in Their Children’s Schools

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Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza and Mayor Bill de Blasio announce the abolition of the NYC elite high school entrance exam.

George Packer (Y ’82)‘s poignant essay, in the Atlantic, on haute bourgeois parenting Manhattan-style is simply chock-full of information on the parental aspirations, obsessions, and the heads full of liberal nonsense of the new Upper Class.

The oblivious Packer delivers an appalling look at the world the douchebag elite left of my own generation has made. The characteristic combination of status-hunger, sanctimony, and stupidity of the new Woke Elite leads directly to the totalitarian egalitarian denouement that leaves Packer depressed, conflicted, and confused. What is a pious bourgeois bohemian to do when his children’s future status and the fanatical egalitarianism of the radical left come into conflict?

People of Packer’s ilk inhabit a very insular thought world, entirely molded by fashion, the elite media, and elite Academia. They are intensely competitive and ambitious, driven by their need to have, and to be, the best. They have to attend the best schools, have the best careers, raise the most successful children, eat the best dinner at the best restaurant, all the while having the best values and faithfully taking the most politically correct positions. They have no clue concerning their own provinciality and their own spectacular combination of naïveté and arrogance.

They lead lives of constant struggle and desperation, but they think there could be nothing worse than not being members in good standing of their own type and class.

When parents on the fortunate ledge of this chasm gaze down, vertigo stuns them. Far below they see a dim world of processed food, obesity, divorce, addiction, online-education scams, stagnant wages, outsourcing, rising morbidity rates—and they pledge to do whatever they can to keep their children from falling. They’ll stay married, cook organic family meals, read aloud at bedtime every night, take out a crushing mortgage on a house in a highly rated school district, pay for music teachers and test-prep tutors, and donate repeatedly to overendowed alumni funds. The battle to get their children a place near the front of the line begins before conception and continues well into their kids’ adult lives. At the root of all this is inequality—and inequality produces a host of morbid symptoms, including a frantic scramble for status among members of a professional class whose most prized acquisition is not a Mercedes plug-in hybrid SUV or a family safari to Maasai Mara but an acceptance letter from a university with a top‑10 U.S. News & World Report ranking. …

“If you fail a math test you fail seventh grade,” our daughter said one night at dinner, looking years ahead. “If you fail seventh grade you fail middle school, if you fail middle school you fail high school, if you fail high school you fail college, if you fail college you fail life.”

RTWT

Personally, I’d rather be a free American living in the worst shit-hole in Appalachia with normal ordinary American Trump-voters for neighbors than be a brainwashed zombie living among the kind of nincompoops that would elect Bill de Blasio.

16 Sep 2019

Server Down!

It doesn’t happen very often at all, but today Never Yet Melted’s host servers were down for quite a long time. Sooner or later, it happens to everyone. I’ve seen Instapundit off-line a couple of times.

My apologies.

15 Sep 2019

Third Democrat Debate

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15 Sep 2019

Europe Faces Death by Bad Conscience

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Pascal Bruckner, in a must-read essay in Quillette, describes how Europe is allowing its own virtue to destroy it.

Western Europeans dislike themselves. They are unable to overcome their self-disgust and feel the pride in their heritage and the self-respect that is so strikingly evident in the United States. Modern Europe is instead mired in shame shrouded in moralizing discourse. It has convinced itself that, since all the evils of the twentieth century arose from its feverish bellicosity, it’s about time it redeemed itself and sought something like a reawakened sense of the sacred in its guilty conscience.

What better example of this proclivity exists than Angela Merkel’s embrace of about a million refugees fleeing war-torn Syria in 2015? Even though this gesture that would help replenish a shrinking labor force was not strictly disinterested, for this pastor’s daughter it was also a spectacular way to repudiate Nazism and escape its shadow. After the catastrophe of the Second World War, the Federal Republic would now offer itself as an ostentatious example to the world. Germany would practice open-heartedness in a single country, just as Stalin in the USSR had once practiced socialism in a single country. Already pre-eminent in Europe, Berlin would call the shots, whether exercising toughness or kindness. Merciless with the Greeks in July, when the Chancellery wanted to eject them from the eurozone, but beneficent with the Syrians in September, it could demonstrate severity or an ever so imperial charity. …

Many people are wondering why it is only Europe that feels guilty, not only for its own past crimes, but also for the faults of others? The answer is simple: we dominated the world for four centuries. The empires have collapsed but their memory remains, and this has given rise to an ever-expanding discipline: post-colonial studies. We have become the continent of the uneasy conscience and we wish to show the rest of the world the face of moral law in all its purity. Europe sees itself as a sacrificial offering, through which the entire world can expiate its sins. It offers to assume the shame for every misfortune that befalls the planet: famine in Africa, drowning in the Mediterranean, terrorism, natural disasters, they are all directly or indirectly our handiwork. And when we are attacked—by terrorists, for example—it’s still our fault; we had it coming and are undeserving of compassion. Since we are overcome by such a torrent of sins, all we can do is bear up and attempt to correct and atone for them all, one by one. An unctuous discourse intended to edify is replacing what was once political and historical analysis; an ideal society must replace the existing one of ordinary men, and be cleansed of its impurities. Two areas in particular reveal this delusion of sanctity—immigration and ecology.

RTWT

15 Sep 2019

Nice Photoshopped Prank

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Alas! the ferocious little beastie isn’t real. He’s just been photoshopped from the image below.


Western pygmy possum (Cercartetus concinnus).

14 Sep 2019

Katsujin-ken Satsujin-to

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In dojos offering training in kendo and aikido, the above phrase written in the grass script on a scroll is commonly hung for purposes of admonition and inspiration.

These Japanese radicals are pronounced Katsujin-ken Satsujin-to (sometimes, Katsujinken satsujinken) meaning “The sword which kills is the sword which gives life.”

They are often rendered more explicitly in English as “The sword which cuts down evil is the sword which preserves life.”

This adage is attributed to the masters of Yagyū school, the Tokugawa shoguns’ personal instructors in swordsmanship.

And those Yagyū school sword sensei-s were right. The rightful use of weapons is essential in an imperfect world to defend innocent lives against unjust violence.

A wider commitment to skill at arms and a more common readiness to defend the innocent would be infinitely more effective at saving the lives of victims of attacks by madmen and criminals than a totalitarian program attempting to enforce universal disarmament.

Katsu-tempo satsu-tempo.

In case after mass shooting case, a gun in the hands of the right bystander could have been the gun which destroyed evil and the gun which preserved life.

The latest couple of manifestations of a trend fostered by devoted media coverage and attention resulted again in all the typical expressions of the phobic attitudes of members of our over-domesticated, metrosexual intelligentsia toward firearms.

Guns are regarded as detestable and intrinsically dangerous objects which need to be kept under official control at all times, ideally in bank vaults. Their complete removal from American society is so unquestionably desirable that even house-to-house searches, and the shredding of the Bill of Rights, would be a perfectly acceptable price.

Obviously, this kind of policy proposal represents not a practical response to a real problem, but rather an irrational and emotional outburst, indifferent to benefits and costs, oblivious to process and law, expressive of an overwhelming combination of fear and aversion so profound as to dispense completely with practicality, proportionality, and cause and effect.

This kind of hostility toward firearms, this hoplophobia, needs to be recognized as the kind of irrationalism that it is.

In a sane society, familiarity and skill with arms, possession of the ability to defend oneself and others would be looked upon as essential components of every man’s education.

(A revised posting from 2007.)

14 Sep 2019

This Frog Activated His Hyperspace Drive

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14 Sep 2019

T.S. Eliot Declined to Publish “Animal Farm”

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Lit Hub excerpted from a history of the renowned publishing house Faber some very interesting rejection letters, mostly by none other than T.S. Eliot.

The most indefensible one has to be:

T. S. Eliot to George Orwell Esq., 13 July 1944:

I know that you wanted a quick decision about Animal Farm; but the minimum is two directors’ opinions, and that can’t be done under a week. But for the importance of speed, I should have asked the Chairman to look at it as well. But the other director is in agreement with me on the main points. We agree that it is a distinguished piece of writing; that the fable is very skilfully handled, and that the narrative keeps one’s interest on its own plane – and that is something very few authors have achieved since Gulliver.

On the other hand, we have no conviction (and I am sure none of the other directors would have) that this is the right point of view from which to criticise the political situation at the present time.[. . .]

I am very sorry, because whoever publishes this, will naturally have the opportunity of publishing your future work: and I have a regard for your work, because it is good writing of fundamental integrity.

————————

It is that last paragraph that particularly strikes me: in turning down Animal Farm—essentially because it was being rude about our Soviet allies—Eliot was also turning down the unwritten 1984.

RTWT

——————————————————————

Roz Kaveney detected a pattern in Eliot’s thinking.

When we look at Eliot’s writings on culture, we see a fine critical intelligence allied to a fear of possible consequences that is deeply terrifying in the way that in it elitist arrogance masquerades as humility and passionate concern to keep things as they are as a broadly accepting humanism.

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