So Trump it is, then. The dismissive chuckling at the prospect of a Trump nomination emanating from the Nate Silvers and Jennifer Rubins of the world, among scores of others, has trailed off into the animated din of those attempting to appraise the strange and–some would say–unfortunate state of political affairs we presently find ourselves in. There does, after all, come a point at which genuflection to fact is the only reasonable course for even the most prescient. While registering my sympathies with the conservative among us–those who are at present engaged in collective hand-wringing over Trump’s bizarrely consistent successes–I here wish to consider what follows from the apparent fact that Trump’s (stated) values and policies are not as asynchronous with the majority of the Republican voting base as initially supposed. That is to say, if Trump has merely set sail atop a previously latent political undercurrent, in addition to supplying more than a little of his own hot wind, then the problem of Trump’s nomination is more sinister, for it is no fluke.
Conservatives, then, must contend with the reality that, to the shame of the Republican party, a candidate of Trump’s caliber–or anti-caliber, as it were–has by popular demand been given a realistic shot at assuming the highest office in the nation. Yes, that same gentleman and scholar who remarked that “You know, it really doesn’t matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass” (Esquire, 1991), boasted about his phallic proportions in a presidential debate, pretended to be his own publicist, and defended the notion of lethal attacks on terrorist’s families is seeking to be, among other things, Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the United States. Were it not actually the case, this could easily be the beginning of a good joke. Though I have in past elections grown accustomed to being underwhelmed by the results of the Republican primaries, never before have I been so disinclined to associate myself with the Party. One cannot help but imagine a White House emblazoned–perhaps literally in Trump’s case–with a large, gilded “T”–the perfect realization of what had previously been but a Leftist caricature of the GOP. Unfortunately in Trump’s case, however, no caricature is needed; or, rather, he supplies the necessary material himself. Thus, the GOP can no longer pretend that large swathes of its voting base are not as susceptible to cheap populist rhetoric as their progressive peers.
Though these forces have lain dormant for some time–or have at least been politically outmatched–the bloviating businessman’s puerility has apparently been sufficient to induce their emergence en masse from beneath the feelings of disenfranchisement that have heretofore characterized their apathetic relationship to Republican primaries (c.f., Politico). If an unabashedly fluid opportunist like Trump can best unabashed constitutional conservatives, such as Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, the GOP has no choice but to perform its own autopsy with respect to conservatism. Indeed, Trump’s rise has merely confirmed the lingering suspicions of many that a capital “R” following one’s name cannot reasonably be assumed to indicate one’s solidarity with conservatism.
Though, like many of the best medicines, it terrorizes the tongue, I consider this latter effect to be among the positives of Trump’s electoral success. Trump, though a danger to conservatism, may catalyze a schism–and hence a purification–of the GOP, wherein the conservative wheat is separated from the non-conservative chaff. So long as they are all largely in one place, whether the chaff is blown in or blown out makes little difference.
The criticisms elucidated here should not be taken to indicate a tacit preference for Trump’s chief rival to the throne–the former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton; for I am here taking her odious duplicity for granted. Indeed, her history of casuistry is an equine corpse I shall leave for others to beat. Despite this, the common assertion that one must vote for Trump in order to avoid the inevitable calamity of an H.R.C. presidency is a difficult sell on at least two counts. First, because it is not at all clear that the erratic Trump is preferable to a largely predictable, if thoroughly duplicitous, Clinton. The claim that Trump is the solution to the disastrous presidency of Barack Obama, or that he is clearly preferable to Clinton (though he may be) is a tiresome one; namely, because it is naïve. From a conservative point of view, declarations of this kind are akin to the insistence that hemlock is clearly preferable to strychnine if taken with a bit of lemon. (This assumes, of course, that virtue–or, at least, a love of its pursuit–ought to be highly prized in a candidate.) However damaging Clinton’s proposed policies may be, we at least know, by and large, what they are; neither we nor Trump know what he will actually do as President, promises of “walls” and “deals” notwithstanding. Though a case can in certain contexts be made for tactical votes (i.e., votes intended primarily to keep a worse candidate from winning), there must be principled limits to such reasoning–limits which, in my opinion, Trump has far exceeded. (For instance, the candidate being voted for must not have vices which match or exceed the severity of those exhibited by his opponent. But I shall leave this aside.)
Second, insofar as the Trump-or-Hillary-ers began making their case long before Trump was the inevitable nominee, they showed themselves to be disingenuous as to their reasons, this lack of candor following from the apparent implication that, rather incredibly, there was not a single candidate among the very large initial field preferable to Trump. By almost any standard, such a notion is, to borrow Aquinas’ line, “repugnant to the intellect.” (That is, unless one’s standard for endorsement is, like Dr. Carson’s, the likelihood of being given a position in a candidate’s future administration.) Whatever the merits for such an argument now (that Trump is the inevitable nominee), it was thoroughly meritless then, and hence difficult to take seriously, especially since many of its purveyors are responsible for forcing the rest of us into this awkward predicament. As the Indian proverb goes: once you have cut off a person’s nose, there is no point giving them a rose to smell. As exemplary practitioners of this exercise in non sequitur, I have in mind such counterfeits as Sarah Palin and Dr. Carson, whose glowing endorsements of Trump are (to me) sufficient to justify their dismissal from any future conservative round-tables.
Assuming, as I am, that a Trump presidency is likely to be inimical to the values maintained by constitutional conservatives, we see exemplified in Trump’s current political success a potential continuation from the election of President Obama of what may be called the paradox of freedom; namely, that a free people is only truly free insofar as they are able to choose that which undermines their freedom. This point is given lucid treatment in Os Guinness’ A Free People’s Suicide: Sustainable Freedom and the American Future, the thesis of which is that freedom rests on three mutually-dependent legs: “Freedom requires virtue, which in turn requires faith of some sort, which in turn requires freedom. Only so can a free people remain ‘free always.’” If, as I suspect, Dr. Guinness has highlighted a profound insight, what are we to make of a voting public that, when pressed on the importance of virtue or faith in a leader, expends only what little effort it takes to raise its shoulders an inch or two? Though I hesitate to suggest what might be reasonably inferred of a nation of over three-hundred million that pits a Hillary Clinton against a Donald Trump as the two best candidates to don that venerable mantle wrought by the likes of Washington, Jefferson, and Adams, Christian Smith, in his 2009 book Lost In Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood, does not, summarizing what he takes to be the deeply rooted afflictions in American culture, of which the success of a candidate like Trump is now ostensibly a symptom (see The American Conservative):
In short, if our sociological analysis in this book is correct, the problem is not simply that youth are bad students or that adults are poor teachers. It is that American culture itself seems to be depleted of some important cultural resources that it would pass on to youth if it had them — and yet not just for “moral” but also for identifiable institutional reasons, as repeatedly noted above. In which case, not only emerging adulthood, but American culture itself also has a dark side is well.
This analysis strikes me as apropos. For good or for ill, we do indeed get the leaders we deserve. Dylan’s poetic, if technically trivial, observation in 1964 was that “the times they are a-changin.’” Given that a real-life parody like Trump can even come close to attaining the presidency, I say: “changin’ indeed.” If the real problem is not merely a rogue candidate, but rather a culture throughout which vice and ignorance have metastasized, the work we have before us is great, but not impossible. It is the wearyingly slow but vital work of grassroots evangelism, both political and spiritual. For such ailments, there are no quick fixes, no obvious panaceas for which we might campaign or lobby; nor is there some candidate whose election would constitute a remedy, for the malady is pandemic. In view of the vitriol associated with this election cycle, however, I would not be the least surprised to discover an intimate, if indirect, connection between the beginning of a shift in the current paradigm and a widespread loving of one’s neighbor as oneself.
No, not “Cecil”—that unfortunate feline whose death is the recent cause of a global (but undoubtedly faddish) uproar. Cecile, as in Mrs. Cecile Richards—the no less unfortunate president of Planned Parenthood.
This coincidental lexical similarity between the names of two major figures in separate, but heavily reported, current events is in this case more than a mere curiosity, for the apposition serves to illustrate a regrettable reality: a contemporary milieu which—if I may—doesn’t know its head from its ass, morally speaking. Though it is easy to over-generalize in such discussions, there is at least a prima facie truth to the morbidity lurking behind the apparent comedy currently unfolding in the media over the death of Cecil the lion. What is comedic is not the lion’s death, but the resulting overreaction (e.g., here and here); what is morbid is the relative quiet of those same incensed individuals with regard to recent footage (here & here) leaked from discussions with those in the upper echelons of Planned Parenthood and its affiliates, which at least appears to show them nonchalantly haggling over the price of aborted fetal body parts. Whether Planned Parenthood is guilty of such allegations is irrelevant to my point; for if they are even possibly guilty, then the case is worthy of our full attention. In any case, if abortion is in most instances but a particular brand of unjustifiable homicide—as it is in my view—then this latest scandal only renders more egregious the moral aberrations which comprise Planned Parenthood’s standard (and advertised) operating procedure. As aptly remarked by Brit Hume, these latest revelations have “parted the veil of antiseptic tidiness” behind which Planned Parenthood has couched its gruesome operation. But the real problem is not the sale of fetal body parts; it is that there are such parts to sell.
That a large segment of the population exhausts itself in paroxysmal fits over the killing of a large, if impressive, cat, yet barely manages to produce a stifled yawn over the killing (and possible sale) of human babies is nothing less than appalling. Jimmy Kimmel, while quite concerned to defend Cecil, has apparently not seen fit to devote any portion of his show to rousing the moral sensibilities of his audience with regard to the cavalier execution of underdeveloped children. Perhaps among his audience there are few such sensibilities left to rouse. I have no special distaste for Mr. Kimmel; I mention him as but one among a large swath of the population whose attitudes appear to confirm Francis Schaffer’s observation that what was unthinkable a short time ago has not only become thinkable, but commonplace.
Likewise, National Geographic, despite being a longtime advocate for the oppressed around the world, aired a regal portrait of male lion “in memory of Cecil” on its Instagram account, complete with an impassioned plea to stop the hunting of endangered animals—an entreaty any true conservationist could easily endorse. But when synchronically juxtaposed with the chorus of crickets surrounding the ongoing scandal at Planned Parenthood, signing a petition to “save the lions” is worse than hollow; it is evidence of a severe disorder among our moral priorities. If “lions are people, too,” perhaps it is time to remind ourselves of what ought to be a trivial truth: that “people are people, too.” To call this epidemic of moral confusion “unfortunate” insofar as it concerns the murder and mutilation of our young is an understatement on the order of calling Michelangelo’s painting in the Sistine Chapel “nice.”
It is in this vein that I have referred to Mrs. Richards as “unfortunate”: anyone who has convinced herself that an institution offering to screen you for cancer with the left hand and to crush your unborn child into pieces with the right is an important instrument in facilitating the common good is morally debased. Such a person is not to be hated, but pitied. I have no doubts that Planned Parenthood does provide services which are of benefit to various communities. Indeed, Mrs. Richards does not hesitate to remind us of this fact in an article—rife with euphemism of Orwellian proportions—that she penned for The Washington Post, lest we should undergo amnesia amidst all this malicious hullabaloo brought on by “the extremists.” Clearly, however, if abortion is the unjustified killing of a human being—and that is the issue—then there is no other healthcare “service” one may provide such that abortion is rendered morally justifiable. A single abortion is not made acceptable by performing a million successful STD screenings. Even including abortion under the “healthcare” umbrella is a sort of sick joke; for it does little for the health or the care of those aborted.
I wish to make one other point, and that is to register an observation regarding Mrs. Richard’s pejorative use of the term “extremists.” So long as they are willing to put forth an argument, two individuals might civilly disagree over the question of whether unborn humans possess an intrinsic right to life. But if the matter is epistemically unsettled (i.e., we do not know whether unborn humans possess an intrinsic right to life), then it is at least epistemically possible that unborn humans possess a right to life. If it is possible that unborn humans possess a right to life, then it is possible that killing them results in a moral transgression (i.e., it is possible that abortion is murder). In such a case, far from being an “extremist,” the person who maintains that unborn humans possess a right to life chooses the “safe” option; for if he is himself uncertain whether unborn humans possess a right to life, it is clearly preferable in the abstract to choose the option which is least likely to result in a moral transgression.
Moreover, if it is the deceptive methods used to obtain the footage in question that Mrs. Richards considers the criterion of “extremism,” I demur yet again. On the contrary, if a person believes that it is even possible that a moral transgression is taking place in the case of abortion, this is exactly the kind of activity in which he should engage. He should expose the practice for what it is. We laud (and ought to laud) the undercover operations of those involved in liberating women from the sex trade. Likewise, the person who sees abortion as a crime against human individuals has no recourse but to appeal to the moral sensibilities of his peers (if any remain) and to the Almighty. Even if we disagree with the conclusion of such a person, surely we must applaud his motives. Indeed, if an “extremist” is simply a committed abolitionist—someone whose actions reflect a serious commitment to ending the practice of feeding our children to the proverbial lions (or lionesses, as the case may be)—then I count myself among their number.
In our day, it is not only people that are categorized according to race, but ideas. If recent history is any indication, even my attempt to broach the subject of the double-standards common in discussions on racism will be met with (at least) skepticism by some who consider my pigmentation inherently disqualifying. After all, how might a white man understand the plight of blacks (1) who feel ostracized on account of their race? The answer is simple: racism is an ideology, which means it cannot be the prerogative of any particular race, and therefore does not operate in only one direction .
That the U.S. has been guilty of pervasive official discrimination against blacks in the past is an incontrovertible fact, and it is praiseworthy that those unjust legal biases have rightly been eradicated. However, though there still exist fringe groups that openly profess racial prejudice (e.g., the Klu Klux Klan), the kind and scope of persecution alleged to occur against the black community today is, I aver, not of the KKK brand. (Nobody attributes any credence to anything issuing forth from the obtuse mouths of the Klan members, anyway.) I submit that it is not the prevalence of melanin in a person’s skin alone that fosters a tendency to form possibly unjust preconceptions, but that in conjunction with the perpetuation of what is called the “black community” or “black culture” (2). Discrimination against blacks, when is does actually occur, is rarely an aversion to the color of their skin, but often the result of a distaste for the substance of what is understood to be the associated subculture. This is not really racism, but a sort of anti-culturalism. Just what constitutes “black culture,” I do not presume to know; I know only that it is the subject of volumes of literature and consistent media attention, and that if the term were meaningless, it could hardly receive the press it now enjoys.
Even granting that there does exist such a thing as black culture, it is, of course, not technically correct or appropriate for the average person (3) to presuppose of any other with very dark skin their membership within that culture. This is true of any kind of stereotype one might be inclined to attribute to some race. However, recognition of the fact that black culture is the recipient of much positive advertising in the media—particularly from prominent rap and hip hop artists and television (e.g., BET)—ought to diminish the swiftness with which blacks fire allegations of discrimination. Were I to don a tee-shirt emblazoned with only the word “Cornell,” a person might be forgiven for falsely assuming that I actually attended there.
Examples of the deliberate effort to cultivate this cultural distinction are numerous. There are nationally recognized organizations that specifically promote a kind of racial distinction: Miss Black USA, Ebony Magazine, Black Enterprise, and the—dare I say infamous—National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Likewise, at my own undergraduate alma mater, there were at least two black interest groups: the Society of Black Engineers and The Society of Distinguished Black Women. That such groups exist simultaneously with loud efforts to end discrimination makes it difficult to avoid the sense that there is a glaring double-standard. I can vividly imagine the kind of vitriol I would inevitably receive, the innumerable accusations of hatred and prejudice, had I tried to start a parallel group in which I only exchanged the word “black” for “white.”
Though making racial distinctions is not necessarily wrong—after all, there are niche groups for almost everything—it is at least exceedingly counterproductive to the stated aims of such groups as the NAACP. If the ultimate goal is really a pervasive social “color blindness,” it is difficult to see how having a sort of “black pride” is in any way helpful. Such a sentiment is understandable in the context of the 1970s, when America was still plagued by the lingering prevalence of an anti-black milieu, but the circumstances now hardly resemble that unfortunate state of affairs. Having a black president was at that time unfeasible; now, the first black president is well into his second term. Whatever its current manifestations, racism against blacks is hardly what it once was.
The kind of rhetoric bandied about by the Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons of this country would seem to lead one to the opposite conclusion: that racism in America is still as prevalent as ever. Given the great improvements in the understanding of equality that have been made in the public consciousness, one tires of the impassioned speeches that predictably attempt to channel the moral indignation of the honorable Martin Luther King, Jr. The compelling desire to be needed, to spearhead a fight against an injustice which on a grand scale no longer exists, has the unfortunate effect of creating the very problem that needs solving—the purveyance of racism, albeit in the opposite direction. This achieves in effect a sort of counter-racism. Some blacks have even gone so far as to suggest that it is impossible for them to be racist. This is quite simply because racism is in their minds a one-sided endeavor in which they are the sole victims.
The most prominent example of this divisiveness is witnessed in the circumstances surrounding the ongoing trial of George Zimmerman regarding the shooting of Trayvon Martin. In large part, many people (blacks in particular) instantly accused George Zimmerman of having committed a racially motivated crime, well before the full facts of the case had been made public, and have since artificially manufactured the case as a civil rights issue. For many blacks (though certainly not all), Zimmerman is guilty and will remain so in their eyes even if he is acquitted. In a continual barrage of callow extortion taking place in the sophisticated realm of Twitter, Mr. Zimmerman has received numerous open death threats from some blacks claiming to be willing to take justice into their own hands—hardly an effective way to win acceptance in the public eye. If respect and acceptance is truly the goal of the black community, the volatile outrage that Trayvon Martin’s death ignited therein is achieving exactly the opposite effect, and it must therefore be condemned.
Further evidence that the purveyors of black culture are ideologically entrenched can be found in the strained—and, frankly, outrageous—lengths to which some writers have gone to defend Rachel Jeantel’s abysmal testimony in Mr. Zimmerman’s trial. Not only was Ms. Jeantel found to have lied on several occasions (at least once while under oath), her openly disrespectful attitude is hardly becoming. Her genuine ignorance and incivility can certainly be forgiven, but they cannot be respected. In an article titled, “Why Black People Understand Rachel Jeantel,” author Christina Coleman begins, “If ever I thought myself objective and unbiased, the George Zimmerman trial is definitely not that moment.” (I suppose we must thank Ms. Coleman for saving us the trouble of detecting her bias by having to read the entire article.) She goes on:
“But maybe the reason white people don’t understand Rachel Jeantel has something more to do with white privilege then [sic], what they would call, Rachel’s capricious nature. / Let’s for one second try to understand why Rachel is “angry” (read emotional), “hood” (read blunt), and “unintelligent” (read multilingual).”
That Ms. Coleman categorically attributes Ms. Jeantel’s faults to “white privilege” and understands the word “unintelligent” to be synonymous with “multilingual” is, I think, telling. The straw-grasping in an attempt to defend any member of the black community, no matter the apparent transgression, is precisely the best way to undermine any sympathies people may feel towards blacks. If I may be so bold, engaging in constructive criticism or condemnation when it is warranted would perhaps constitute a more effective PR campaign than hurried attempts to wave away any and every apparent vice.
Racism, if it is to go the way of smallpox and Dodos, must be attacked wherever it is manifested. There is no one who may by virtue of their race consider themselves immune to even subtle prejudice or, worse, justified in engaging in open racial hostility. If America is to enjoy the richness that may be had as a result of being a true melting pot, no subculture may consider itself above pointed self-criticism; for by fancying himself invulnerable a man chinks his own armor.
(1) I use the term “black” in distinction to African American, since it is possible to be an American with very dark skin and yet not necessarily be of African decent, as is the case with Belizeans.
(2) It must be noted that, wherever they find their origin, these terms have been adopted and perpetuated proudly by certain demographics within the black community.
(3) A case for racial profiling for purposes of security, as in an airport, can in my opinion be made on the grounds of valid statistics. The success of Israeli security, for example, is in no small part due to the fact that they unapologetically employ profiling techniques.
If it is true that government is at best a necessary evil, then the state ought to be regarded with a wary eye and, likewise, any political party or philosophy that seeks to elevate the state to a position of esteem. And yet, rather than with suspicion, the Progressive confers upon the state a role of immense honor and importance, attributing to it almost salvific powers by which he hopes society’s ills might be cured. Like the Israelites, who pleaded with God to give them a king that they might be “like all the nations”, the Left receives with open arms the ever-encroaching intrusions of the state. But God did not give the Israelites a king as a blessing, but, granting their incessant pleas, as a curse upon their foolishness; and for which they suffered immensely. The state, on the Progressive view, is not merely the reluctant by-product of flawed men, but almost a philanthropic entity all its own – it is not a government but The Government. “Once abolish the God,” wrote Chesterton, “and the state becomes the God.” Indeed, rather than consider some transcendent Authority, acknowledging with humility the inevitable tendency of all men towards a very real moral corruption in positions of power, the Progressive will in nearly every instance exhaust himself in defense of the state, often to the point of absurdity. Take, for example, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews’ likening of the President’s recent divisive inaugural address to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address; or, worse, the ease with which the President’s extraordinarily massive and irresponsible spending has been consistently overlooked and explained away, the blame often being placed on the shoulders of his predecessor. Such examples are innumerable and can be obtained fresh from any cursory viewing of the evening news.
Desiring to make his political and moral infractions more palatable to those forced to abide by his decrees, and effectively providing for his would-be defenders a more plausible ground by which to make their case, a politician need only become an expert in Orwellian doublespeak. (The chicken-and-egg question of whether excellent doublespeakers tend to become politicians or vice versa is a sociological question I shall not attempt to untangle.) So long as the language is appropriately tailored to circumvent the conscience, placing the appropriate emphasis on the absolute necessity of a piece of legislation to secure safety or health or prosperity or some other such collective good, there is no absurd or immoral policy which cannot be foist upon the citizenry. For example, it is very easy to sell such a concept as infanticide – one need only call an unborn child by a different name – a “fetus” – and proponents of the practice “Pro-Choice”; for who would dare oppose a person’s freedom to choose? Convincing a person to surrender his arms is equally as simple – gun-control need only be referred to matter-of-factly as “reducing gun violence”; for who would dare voice opposition to such a proposition? Forcibly taking a man’s money in order to give it to another need only be called “charity”; for surely none of us wishes to be thought miserly? The very term “Progressive” is itself exemplary of an attempt to rebrand old ideas.
Insofar as it concerns the passage of legislation or the attempt to persuade large groups to adopt some particular idea, the master of rhetoric need not be a master of anything else. Though the term “progressive” would seem on its face to suggest otherwise, this is not a new phenomenon. As Plato aptly observed, “In politics we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. When we are ill… we do not ask for the handsomest physician, or the most eloquent one.” The use of language as propaganda is by no means solely a Leftist tactic, but one used by anyone seeking to circumvent the trouble of engaging with detractors. It is the Left, however, that has operated primarily and consistently by a very astute method of language co-option; and it is quite clear that if one is able to demonize his opponents, shaming them into silence, one need not go through the troublesome task of addressing and refuting arguments. Expressing dissent on matters of Progressive policy involving the legalization of gay marriage, entitlement programs, gun-control, and global warming (now, more flexibly, “climate change”) is tantamount to labeling oneself a hateful, miserly, cruel, uncaring, ignorant, “unbelievably stupid” (thank you, Mr. Morgan), child-hating, bigot. It is, unfortunately, a tactic as effective as it is fallacious.
The reason for this apparent tactical difference that seems generally to occur between Conservatives and Progressives is due simply to the fact that the advancement of Progressive goals requires the sale of a host of ideas that often defy reason or conscience (or the Constitution). For example, inclusion among the American Progressive ranks evidently requires that one promote state-funded infanticide, high taxes, federally-controlled (mandated) healthcare, and other such programs which could not be advanced or maintained without the prodigious use of smoke and mirrors to obfuscate from the public eye their many unpleasant aspects.
But the difference between Conservatives and Progressives can perhaps be observed most simply in how each regards the people – those under the domain of the state. Conservatives regard people in an optimistic light, generally believing that people are trustworthy, well-intentioned, astute, ingenious, and capable. The Conservative case for a small central government is erected upon the notion that people ought to possess the freedom to choose what is best for themselves, that the securing of liberty is morally and practically superior to any system that involves reaching into every corner of a man’s life and pocketbook. In stark contrast, rather than as a group of individuals, Progressives tend to view people as a collective mass that requires controlling, herding, restricting, whose hands need and ought to be held at every opportunity. The common man has value, but only when considered as a part of the collective whole. Liberty, on the Progressive view, is only the smattering of crumbs left over after the state has gobbled up the many freedoms it deems necessary to sufficiently control what it regards to be a largely ignorant and volatile populace. Rather than a transcendent principle to be secured, Progressive “liberty” is instead condescendingly granted by the state; rights are demoted to privileges.
The rhetorician has reached the height of his craft when he finds it effortless to say certain words and alter their arrangement and context slightly such that he means something quite different from the way in which they are normally understood. It is precisely an understanding of this keen ability that will explain how President Obama can do everything in his limited power to effectively neuter the Second Amendment, while simultaneously proclaiming his affirmation of it; how he can use words like “together” and “collective” and at the same time, under a façade of unity, deliberately slight swathes of those by whom he is employed. In Progressive hands it is only the language of the Constitution that remains – its meaning and intent is reversed, or at least severely disfigured; and it is by way of such semantic disfigurement, as well as ceaseless appeals to emotion, that Progressives seek to convince us of the state’s beneficence and efficacy, implying that we ought to put our trust in an elite few, bowing low to kiss the rings on the state’s compassionate hand.
It is not self-evident truths that must be couched in the vagueness of language, but only those ideas in which lurks something foul. A people may be led happily to their destruction so long as they are capable of taking the state at its word; but a simple question, uttered firmly and persistently, would undoubtedly be the undoing of the Progressive movement: “What do you mean by that?”
A good critique of common arguments from advocates of gun control.
I didn’t want to post about this, because frankly, it is exhausting. I’ve been having this exact same argument for my entire adult life. It is not an exaggeration when I say that I know pretty much exactly every single thing an anti-gun person can say. I’ve heard it over and over, the same old tired stuff, trotted out every single time there is a tragedy on the news that can be milked. Yet, I got sucked in, and I’ve spent the last few days arguing with people who either mean well but are uninformed about gun laws and how guns actually work (who I don’t mind at all), or the willfully ignorant (who I do mind), or the obnoxiously stupid who are completely incapable of any critical thinking deeper than a Facebook meme (them, I can’t stand).
Today’s blog post is going to be aimed at the first group…
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Quiet and still sits a house on a hill
In wintry white adorned;
With a happy fire by which to retire,
Where none are ever scorned.
Upon the air hangs, crisp and fair,
A scent from the smoky plumes
That through the willows heartily billows
And throughout the forest fumes.
Out of ancient stone, its walls have grown,
The roof out of living lumber;
Its chambers are many; its stores aplenty;
It is a house that does not slumber.
Amidst the trees, who stand at ease
Beneath their snowy loads,
There stirs not a sound for miles around,
Save upon the crooked roads
Where young and old trudge through the cold
Round the smooth and winding lane,
That despite the chill is pleasant still
And leads up to the cottage gate.
The children play along the way
And laugh and josh and giggle,
Running to and fro in the downy snow,
As with glee they shout and wiggle.
While the old and gray ride in their sleighs
Recounting the greatest tales;
In verse and rhyme, they each tell the time
When first they crossed these hilly vales.
Then enter through those happy few
To whom the House is known,
Who plop and slump into wooly lumps,
Their weathered coats upon the stone.
The dancing light the heart excites
Amidst the glistening tinsel,
And illumines there all faces, fair,
Who, gathered round, there mingle.
Full of laughter and mirth there is never a dearth
Of company jolly and good.
You will laugh ’til you cry, ’til there’s pain in your sides
And you’re curled where you once had stood.
There is coffee and tea, and treats for free;
No guest shall ever lack.
There is always a seat and plenty to eat;
Those who enter shall never go back.
“Would you care to dine, or prefer only wine?”,
The Host may gladly inquire.
One or both you may chose, for you cannot lose
In a House that does not ever require.
For those who wane from the blithe refrain
Of the loud and jocund hymns,
There are tranquil lumps of pillows, plump,
That with comfort plushly brim.
Swathed in down, you shall gently drown
Beneath a furry heap;
And in a wooly bundle softly trundle
Into a fathomless sleep.
Silent and askew until morning anew
The guests of the House shall slumber,
And endlessly dream of merry scenes
That flourish without number.
Though times be strange and the seasons change,
The House does yet abide;
For it is eternal and ageless, enduring and changeless,
And its splendor shall never subside.
Of such a Home, precious little is known,
And fewer, still, have found;
For arduous is the way to the festive buffet,
The path of fabled renown.
Though throngs have sought the distant spot
Whereon the House resides,
It’s only the pure, the merry, the sure
Who the Keeper subtly guides;
For they alone will see what it truly means to be
A distinguished and honored guest
In the House of ages, the envy of sages,
By which they will be assuredly blessed.
Should you happen to find yourself inclined
To venture through its gate,
May your happiness abound in the joyful sound
That the halls of the Christmas House make.