Senior educated white male.

Senior educated white male.

Conversation in Washington

 

I have been on the outskirts of DC and in the capital itself for a few days. I have been impressed with the kindliness, friendliness, and efficiency of the American blacks I have had occasion to deal with. The surliness of former decades has gone. “How y’all doin’ today?” has replaced it.

So here is a little interaction I had yesterday with the African American taxi driver, who was about sixty years old.

Him: First day of summer

Me: Yeah, longest day too.

Him: What do you mean?

Me: It’s the 21st of June , the longest day in the northern hemisphere. From now on the days shorten until September 22nd sometime, when night and day are equally long.

Him: You must be some kind of meteorologist. I never heard that before. Hemi-whatsis?, his curiosity aroused.

Me: Hemisphere. The world is a ball. The northern half is having its longest day while the southern half its shortest. The world is tilted at 23 degrees, so the sun doesn’t shine equally on all parts at the same time. Right now it is the shortest day of the year in the southern hemisphere.

Him: My God I gotta tell my wife that. You must be a meteorologist.

Me:I just read. You know when the earth goes around the sun at a tilt, half the year we get more sun than the southern hemisphere, and half the year we get less. That’s why it’s dark and cold around Christmas, which is near the shortest day in the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice.

Him: I never heard that explained so clear. You must have studied your science in high school.

He was genuinely intrigued by this new knowledge. As I trust you understand, I am not mocking, deriding, or condescending. This was just a guy who had never in his life heard anyone describe the linkage between the earth’s motion around the sun and length of days in the year.

Is he exceptional? I have no idea. But that was the conversation yesterday. It is a sad commentary on the level of public school education in Virginia. Nor was he conning me.

At the end of the drive he said the trip normally would have cost $8 but the traffic conditions made it $9, so I did not have to tip him. Naturally I tipped him and we parted as friends.

It is always good to have a specific incident like this under your belt before you agree too much with Fred Reed’s doomist outlook on US race relations. Yes, the discourse between black blamers and white accepters of blame is profoundly corrupt and dishonest. The United States lives with a large group of African-origin people, many of whom are not the sharpest knives in the drawer, and this is apparent to everyone. Yet there are reserves of kindness and decent behaviour between the races that are reenacted and renewed every day. It is vital not to lose sight of actual people in all the abstractions.

 

I am not concerned

 

A long ago friend once entertained a GreenPeace activist at his door. The activist earnestly explained what was going wrong with the Great Lakes. At the end of the spiel, my friend said to the young man, “Thank you very much, but I am not concerned”. The activist was aghast. Appalled. “How can you not be concerned?” “Very easily. I am not concerned” and shut the door.

I keep thinking of that response when the global worry industry finds new concerns to pile on top of the existing ones: global warming, population growth, acidification of the oceans (viz. coral reefs), tobacco, meat, the list is endless .

Today’s concern, for the sort of person who gains something by appearing to be concerned,  is the spread of moss and houseflies in Antarctica. It appears that, as the coldest continent has warmed by some 3C in the past century, life is spreading. The Guardian is alarmed.

More and more invasive plants – mostly non-native meadow grasses and sunflower species – have been found on the Antarctic peninsula and its islands and have required removal. In addition, a paper in Biodiversity and Conservation by Kevin Hughes of the British Antarctic Survey and others, indicates that current biosecurity measures to control these invasions are inadequate.

I will admit there are some things to be concerned about. Whether you or your children will live in poverty. Whether Islam or political correctness or both will prevail. Whether universities will continue to be cesspits of leftism. Whether the US political intelligence establishment will overthrow Trump. Whether the US policy establishment will continue to destroy countries in the Middle East. Whether the 1% will own 85% of all wealth by 2050, or sooner. Islamic refugees in Europe. And so forth.

Can you imagine the sort of comfort zone in which someone must live, that they become alarmed at mosses and insects spreading to colonize Antarctica? A superfluity of concern. A superfluity of comfort from which to look out on the world. It is worthy of Jonathan Swift.

I am sorry, sir/madam, I am NOT concerned.

The Lawyers’ Civil War – Spengler

 

 

Read this:

A considerable portion of America’s permanent bureaucracy, including elements of its intelligence community, is engaged in an illegal and unconstitutional mutiny against the elected commander-in-chief, President Donald Trump. Most of the Democratic Party and a fair sampling of the Republican establishment wants to force Trump out of office, and to this end undertook an entrapment scheme to entice the president and his staff into actions which might be construed after the fact as obstruction of justice. By means yet undisclosed, the mutineers forced Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn from office and now seek to bring down the president for allegedly obstructing an investigation of Gen. Flynn that arose in the first place from the entrapment scheme.

There is more, and it describes what you are seeing and reading in every medium, newspaper, blog, twitter feed, and information source whatever.

If you read nothing else this week, read Spengler’s article: it will save you so much time to be able to understand the nature of what you are observing.

Spengler concludes:

Whatever the outcome, the legitimacy of a political system designed to be litigious and oppositional will be called into question, and the polarization of American opinion will become more rather than less extreme.

 

House of Cards, for real, and in slo-mo

 

 

I was watching an episode of House of Cards last night, in which the villainous President Francis Underwood seeks to engineer an electoral victory in the House of Representatives over the Republican candidate. [The actually voting in November had been halted in two states because of terrorist threats, both of which had been engineered by Underwood]. According to amendment 12 of the Constitution, in the case of a tied electoral college vote the House gets to pick the President and the Senate the Vice President .

As Rebel Yell has made clear, we are witnessing the Deep State and the Democrats seeking to paralyze the government of the United States, and have the President impeached – it matters not why. It is close to sedition; it may even constitute sedition.

The transparency of the means to do this are plain to anyone not yet caught up in the hysteria. Launch an investigation into nothing. When nothing turns up, change the target of the investigation. Trump is now being investigated by special counsel, who is interviewing senior intelligence officials, for obstruction of justice.

 

“The move by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said.”

Translating: Nothing has come up on the Russian interference file so let’s change the subject.

Five people briefed on the interview requests, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said that Daniel Coats, the current director of national intelligence, Mike Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, and Rogers’s recently departed deputy, Richard Ledgett, agreed to be interviewed by Mueller’s investigators as early as this week. The investigation has been cloaked in secrecy, and it is unclear how many others have been questioned by the FBI.

How Deep State can you get?

I recall a very strange conversation last year before the election. A senior Democratic lawyer with an interest in matters of national security was talking about Hillary’s impending foreign policy, as it then seemed. It appeared to involve making Iran prevail against Turkey – for reasons I have never been able to discern – and to maintain the focus on Russia as enemy #1 of the United States. No mention of Islamic jihad anywhere.

I was unable to fathom the reasons for this set of ideas; and I remain completely at a loss to understand them. It is obvious that even to imagine you are living in a world where Turkey must be reduced in influence relative to Iran, and that Russia remains the principal enemy of the United States, involves premises so strange to my way of thinking as to be incomprehensible.

Now I mention this incident because it is possibly an insight into the world view of a larger set of American security officials. Russia might be for Trump a relatively small portion of a foreign policy realignment. But for the inside players, the principle could be that no elected politician should be playing in their sandbox. Strategic assumptions shall not be re-arranged just because you have been elected President of the United States.

Perhaps I am straining to find reasons in all this lunacy. But it seems increasingly clear to me that we are witnessing a slow motion putsch.

“Your electoral choices have no meaning for us”: that is what I am hearing

 

Two books that will make you happy

 

Robert MacNeil  born 1931

 

Most of what is set forth in the papers and their internet equivalents are mirages, imaginary constructs, nothing burgers in the current idiom. The supposed links between Putin’s regime and Trump’s campaign is the foremost example of the hysteria of US political life: the real offence of Trump is to posit that the United States and Russia have common interests in suppressing or containing jihad. The Democrats are doing their best to unseat Trump because he does not have a governing class agenda, or worse, he is not one of us. Therefore his presidency is illegitimate. They imagine we can be made to think that a declining Russia is more of a threat than the Islamic invasion of Europe.

The climate catastrophists perfectly illustrate this further. We are supposed to be in arms against a rise of 1 degree Centigrade over the course of a century, but not about the prospect of being slaughtered like a beast by some jihadist throat cutter as we go out to dinner.

It still surprizes me that about half the population is ready to vote for a party that seems to consider transgendered bathrooms the cutting edge of social progress, in institutions that fail to teach anything but leftist opinionation.

Consequently, one is obliged, that is not too strong a word, to find truth, pleasure and beauty where one can, because only by exposure to the real can one sense the false

I have two books I can warmly recommend as antidotes for exposure to falsity and rubbish. One is the autobiography of Robert MacNeil, the former reader of  the PBS evening TV news. It is called Wordstruck. It recounts his growing up in wartime Halifax and Ottawa, his Navy father, his early acting enthusiasm, and his falling in love with the English language. It will elicit in you a desire to read Shakespeare’s plays and poems, and TS Eliot, and other works of permanent value. It is a book of solid joys, and well crafted.

The second is The Merry Heart, by Robertson Davies. The book is a collection of essays, articles and speeches of his, assembled after his death. Its ruminations are of timeless importance. I can recall that one of Davies’ most important recommendations was to keep a book of poems beside your bed. They tend to become close companions in one’s sleepless hours, from which we all suffer from time to time.

MacNeil published his autobiography in 1989, and Davies’ posthumous collection was published in 1995. They have stood the test of time; they are not books which age.

They are quintessentially English-Canadian. Get in touch with your inner self and read them.

 

Everything’s gonna change, everything but the truthLucinda Williams

Robertson Davies 1913-1995

This is for Allah

 

Dawn brought news of the latest slaughters by Muslims of Christians on the streets of London today. As usual, our political leaders decry this as a perversion of Islam. No, my leaders, this is not the perversion of the religion of peace. Islam promises peace to those who have submitted, who are “muslim”, it promises war to those who have not, which is the rest of us. Dar el Harb, dar el Islam: house of war, house of peace.

Our leadership is trying to understand Islam as if the Koran had not been written. Fifteen centuries of Islamic aggression against themselves and everyone else, and a culture-wide stultification of thought are on record. One has only to open a book and read it. Imagine trying to understand Marxism without reading Marx, or decrying Leninism as a “perversion” of Marx. As the USSR was at one time the only state under the thrall of an officially Marxist regime, perhaps it would be appropriate to read Lenin as if he had some insights into Marx’s doctrines.

Heather MacDonald has written an insightful piece on the Left’s reaction to the Manchester bombing that will apply with equal force to today’s events.

The New York Times editorialized after the Manchester bombing: “It is important to recognize this attack for what it is: an attempt to shake Britain—and, by extension, the rest of Europe and the West—to its core, and to provoke a thirst for vengeance and a desire for absolute safety so intense, it will sweep away the most cherished democratic values and the inclusiveness of diverse societies.” This response is narcissistic. The attack was an effort to kill British girls and their parents, period. The terrorists win every time they pull off such massacres. They are not monitoring the legislative process and plotting how to move the needle on Western security protections in a way contrary to their own self-interest. If a society were exclusively Christian, Jewish, or even Muslim, it would be just as much the target of attack by ISIS or al-Qaida as a more “diverse” society.

You can read the rest of Heather MacDonald’s article to profit and pleasure, but before you do, I want to bring to your attention a most enlightening interview on the Mark Steyn show with a long time ex-Canadian script writer and Hollywood conservative, Lionel Chetwynd. Chetwynd is a man of considerable accomplishments. At one stage of his early life, he was reduced to joining the Black Watch regiment to get his life in order, and his time in the service affected his thinking thereafter.

Much later in his career, he was pitching a movie to be based on the unsuccessful raid of Dieppe, in 1942. The reaction of the potential financiers to his proposal lends insight into the entire liberal mind. After the pitch was made by Chetwynd, the sound of silence in the room, and then the finance person asks: “This is great, but who is the enemy?”. “The Nazis, of course” said Chetwynd. “No, I mean, who is the REAL enemy?” At which point Chetwynd overturned the table.

The poverty of the liberal imagination is such that the enemy: be it Nazi, Islamic, Mexican drug cartels, can never be the REAL enemy. It is always us. Or some corrupted portion of us: stupid generals, Haliburton executives, evil intelligence agencies.

As long as this solipsism persists – there is no real force in the world except ourselves alone (solo ipse) – we will never be able to envisage what evils beset our civilization. The real enemy is, as you might expect, those Americans and other bien-pensants who call themselves “liberals”, the mould in the jam so to speak, that systemically destroys our will to prevail. They are not liberals, they do not deserve that term. But whoever they are, they know who our enemies are, and they are never our real enemies. They are so unfailingly wrong, they are reliable in that sense.

See the anecdote Chetwynd relates at minute 49 of the interview.

We need more people like that Black Watch sergeant, and fewer like Theresa May.

 

Semi-barbaric white culture

Too much time spent in hotel bedrooms on foreign travel has led me to some strange byways of the Internet. I found myself late one night in Brazil near Iguazu Falls sleepless in …Iguazu Falls. I will only lead you into one such youtube by-way, the amazing sub-world of Scottish pipe bands. [ I warn you that one leads to another]. They hail from everywhere: Los Angeles, Simon Fraser University, New Zealand, Western Australia and of course Northern Ireland and Scotland itself. The format is strict. The bands consist of bagpipes, snare drums, tenor drums, and a bass drum. Everyone knows the tunes. They have names like Lord Lovat’s Regret by Robert Drummond, or Jack McWatt’s Strathspey by Stuart McCrimmon. I imagine the bands have to meet in large public parks where they can practice unmolested. I reckon people devote their entire leisure time to the art, which is complex, but it stirs barbaric ardor in my heart.

  • After ten minutes you feel like taking fire and sword to your neighbours.
  • After twenty minutes you feel like taking fire and sword to your enemies.
  • After an hour of this you have reached a cheerfully berserker state.
  • After an hour or so of this, your enemies are starting to slip away from their trenches, as they know an attack is coming and they fear for their lives.

I cannot resist one the great scenes of all time in movies. The Canadians arrive to join a group of Americans in what  became a joint operation, called the Devil’s Brigade.

 

3D Printing

 

The launch of a missile into space is not news. The fact that the rocket was made by a three-D printing process is.

The process is explained (in greater detail than you want to know) here.

The Guardian reports:

Rocket Lab is one of about 30 companies and agencies worldwide developing small satellite launchers as an alternative to firms jostling for space on larger launches or paying around $50 million for a dedicated service. The company said in a statement it has now received $148m in funding and is valued in excess of $1bn.

Rocket Lab’s customers include NASA, earth-imaging firm Planet and startups Spire and Moon Express.

A newspaper rarely carries any actual news. Most of the time the headlines are the equivalent of “Pope says mass at Easter” such as “Muslim kills 30 in bomb explosion”. Today something novel got the through the screen.

Related articles here, and here

more frankly elitist

We were about to sit down to a formal dinner. The lads were hungry, and we had been smoking some excellent weed and sipping beer and wine for some time. We had been listening to ZZ Top’s One Foot in the Blues. The acting guardian of good taste replaced it with Purcell’s Ode for the Birthday of Queen Mary, justifying the decision with:

“We need something more frankly élitist”.

The phrase struck a chord. Today, you need something more frankly élitist. I present two arias from Vivaldi’s opera, Bajazet. First Vivica Genaux, then Elena Garantsa, spelled Garanca.

Bajazet recounts, in baroque Italian operatic fashion, the fate of the Ottoman Sultan and Caliph  Bayezid I when his armies were crushed by the forces of  Timur in 1402 AD. Timur is known to us as Tamerlane.
The Wikipedia article says of him:

Scholars estimate that his military campaigns caused the deaths of 17 million people, amounting to about 5% of the world population at the time.[12][13]

An equivalent warlord today would have to kill or cause the deaths of 5% of 7.5 billion people, or 375 million people. With nukes it could be done. Hmmmn…..