Archive for November, 2010
30 Nov 2010

Tolkienian Monarchism

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J.R.R. Tolkien

Over time, David B. Hart finds his personal political philosophy converging with the Anarcho-Monarchism of J.R.R. Tolkien.

If one were to devise a political system from scratch, knowing something of history and a great deal about human nature, the sort of person that one would chiefly want, if possible, to exclude from power would be the sort of person who most desires it, and who is most willing to make a great effort to acquire it. By all means, drag a reluctant Cincinnatus from his fields when the Volscians are at the gates, but then permit him to retreat again to his arable exile when the crisis has passed; for God’s sake, though, never surrender the fasces to anyone who eagerly reaches out his hand to take them.

Yet our system obliges us to elevate to office precisely those persons who have the ego-besotted effrontery to ask us to do so; it is rather like being compelled to cede the steering wheel to the drunkard in the back seat loudly proclaiming that he knows how to get us there in half the time. More to the point, since our perpetual electoral cycle is now largely a matter of product recognition, advertising, and marketing strategies, we must be content often to vote for persons willing to lie to us with some regularity or, if not that, at least to speak to us evasively and insincerely. In a better, purer world—the world that cannot be—ambition would be an absolute disqualification for political authority.

One can at least sympathize, then, with Tolkien’s view of monarchy. There is, after all, something degrading about deferring to a politician, or going through the silly charade of pretending that “public service” is a particularly honorable occupation, or being forced to choose which band of brigands, mediocrities, wealthy lawyers, and (God spare us) idealists will control our destinies for the next few years.

But a king—a king without any real power, that is—is such an ennoblingly arbitrary, such a tender and organically human institution. It is easy to give our loyalty to someone whose only claim on it is an accident of heredity, because then it is a free gesture of spontaneous affection that requires no element of self-deception, and that does not involve the humiliation of having to ask to be ruled.

The ideal king would be rather like the king in chess: the most useless piece on the board, which occupies its square simply to prevent any other piece from doing so, but which is somehow still the whole game. There is something positively sacramental about its strategic impotence. And there is something blessedly gallant about giving one’s wholehearted allegiance to some poor inbred ditherer whose chief passions are Dresden china and the history of fly-fishing, but who nonetheless, quite ex opere operato, is also the bearer of the dignity of the nation, the anointed embodiment of the genius gentis—a kind of totem or, better, mascot.

Hat tip to Bird Dog.

30 Nov 2010

Wikileaks’ Mirror Sites Defy US Authority

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Cade Metz, in the Register, outlines the technological strategy that allows Wikileaks to use host-servers on US soil, while enjoying impunity from interference by federal authorities.

WikiLeaks is hosting its cache of confidential US Statement Department cables on US-based Amazon servers, just as it did with with the classified Iraq War documents it released last month.

According to NetCraft’s records, the whistle-blowing website is mirroring the diplomatic cables on Amazon’s US-based EC2 service and France-based servers operated by French ISP Octopuce. The main WikiLeaks site is mirrored on Ireland-based Amazon servers.

WikiLeaks also uses a US-based domain name registrar (Dynadot) and a US-based DNS service (EveryDNS).

In theory, if the US government decides that WikiLeaks has broken the law in publishing federal intelligence data, it could move to have WikiLeaks booted from such US-based servers. But WikiLeaks could simply fall back on its core servers — presumably still hosted by “bulletproof” Swedish hosting outfit PRQ — and the feds would take a PR hit.

Clearly, this is how WikiLeaks reads the situation, as it continues to use Amazon’s US-based “cloud” service to accomodate extra demand for its data.

In an added twist, the whistle-blower is also using software from Seattle-based outfit Tableau to visually map its trove of leaked diplomatic cables. Tableau grew out of a project run by the US Department of Defense.

30 Nov 2010

HMS Invincible Auctioned on the Internet For Scrap

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The Daily Express notes one more significant milestone in Britain’s retreat from greatness.

She was the backbone of the taskforce that took back the Falklands from Argentina and once boasted Prince Andrew among her crew.

Now HMS Invincible is about to meet a sad end, sold for scrap on an auction website.

Her seller, the Ministry of Defence, is better described as “cash-strapped” rather than as “one careful owner”.

Launched barely 30 years ago, the 10,000 ton aircraft carrier is now just a hulk, her engines decommissioned and her pumps and generators broken.

But as one of Britain’s two flattops in 1982, the ship helped turn the tide after General Galtieri invaded the Falklands.

At the time of the invasion HMS Invincible had been earmarked for sale to Australia for £175million,

Critics claim it was that sale which emboldened Argentina to attack. It was hastily called off after the invasion.

Last month’s decision to scrap Britain’s only remaining aircraft carrier, Ark Royal, nine years before its replacement comes on line, has been criticised by admirals as having the potential to encourage Buenos Aires to again raise a claim over the islands.

HMS Invincible’s decline began in 2005 when MoD chiefs mothballed her 14 months after an extensive refit which was meant to extend her life by 10 years.

Michael Auslin says Admiral Nelson is spinning in his grave.

Imagine if someone had predicted in 1910 the loss of Britain’s position of economic leadership, the abandonment of the Empire, the complete triumph of socialism, surrender of the Royal Navy’s command of the seas, massive immigration of hostile and unproductive non-Europeans encouraged by a Labour government deliberately seeking to change the ethnic character of the British nation, and even a ban on hunting. How thoroughly and utterly destructive the impact of leftism would be could not possibly have ever been imagined.

If someone were able to travel through time and display to the population of 1910 Britain exactly what would become of the British Empire, British institutions, British liberty, and the British way of life in a century, I suspect the population would have risen en masse and slaughtered out of hand every pacifist, every socialist, every trade unionist, every Bloomsbury, and every reformer in the country.

30 Nov 2010

XM25 Video

We’ve discussed the XM25 rifle before.

From Theo Spark.

29 Nov 2010

Most Amusing Leak

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Ramzan Kadryov (center) and friends

New York Times describes a Russian politico who knows how to party.

In a 2006 account, a wide-eyed American diplomat describes the lavish wedding of a well-connected couple in Dagestan, in Russia’s Caucasus, where one guest is the strongman who runs the war-ravaged Russian republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov.

The diplomat tells of drunken guests throwing $100 bills at child dancers, and nighttime water-scooter jaunts on the Caspian Sea.

“The dancers probably picked upwards of USD 5000 off the cobblestones,” the diplomat wrote. The host later tells him that Ramzan Kadyrov “had brought the happy couple ‘a five-kilo lump of gold’ as his wedding present.”

“After the dancing and a quick tour of the premises, Ramzan and his army drove off back to Chechnya,” the diplomat reported to Washington. “We asked why Ramzan did not spend the night in Makhachkala, and were told, ‘Ramzan never spends the night anywhere.’ ”

29 Nov 2010

Most Embarrased

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Spiegel identifies the USA as the most serious victim of the leaked revelations.

The leaks demonstrate that political correctness overcame common sense and allowed a sexually perverted individual to obtain a position of responsibility which he could betray to serve his own personal grievances and agenda. Homosexuals are commonly unethical, emotionally unstable, and hostile to their own country and conventional society. Bradley Manning should never have been in the US Army in the first place, and still less should he ever have been give access to national and international secret communications.

Never before in history has a superpower lost control of such vast amounts of such sensitive information — data that can help paint a picture of the foundation upon which US foreign policy is built. Never before has the trust America’s partners have in the country been as badly shaken. Now, their own personal views and policy recommendations have been made public — as have America’s true views of them.

29 Nov 2010

Most Alarming Leak

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Danger Room:

T]he most worrisome news to come out the diplo doc dump is that North Korea secretly gave Iran 19 powerful missiles with a range of 2,000 miles. The missiles, known as the BM-25, are modified from Russian R-27s, which were submarine-based missiles carrying nuclear weapons. “If fired from Iran,” the New York Times notes, a missile with that range could “let its warheads reach targets as far away as Western Europe, including Berlin.” The BM-25, unveiled in a North Korean military parade last month, may be North Korea’s longest-range missile yet. Ares’ David A. Fulgham observed that its design “is showing second-stage and nose-cone design characteristics associated with Iran’s Shahab 3 missile,” indicating growing missile ties between the two rogue states.

No wonder why European leaders are suddenly so keen on missile defense.

28 Nov 2010

North Korean Artillery Fire Strikes Yeonpyeong Island


Last Tuesday video from South Korean Television:

28 Nov 2010

If Twitter Had Been Around in 1776

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28 Nov 2010

Sex With Asperger’s

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Penelope‘s sex life sounds messy and confused, but I’m not sure it actually sounds as different from the norm as one would have supposed.

27 Nov 2010


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CoalGram is a service allowing customers to send a holiday lump of coal to the person(s) of their choice expressing the view that he or she had been naughty and not nice.

This year CoalGram has created the CoalBama package especially for delivery to political figures including the message: “Please enjoy this lump of holiday coal as a token of my discontent for your political contributions.” Barack Obama will probably be in a position to heat the Oval Office all winter on donated coal.

Each CoalGram costs $10 (shipping inclusive) and the company donates 15% to charity.

Hat tip to Urban Daddy via Elena Shcherbyna

26 Nov 2010

He Survived Thanksgiving

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During the Blue Ridge Hunt’s Thanksgiving Meet yesterday, which started at Long Branch, hounds put up an enormous wild turkey near Bellfield off Swift Shoals Road. Karen managed to shoot a photo of the departing Tom.

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