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.

 

Dem candidate Ossoff tries his hand at comedy

Campaign donations for the Georgia special election were as follows.

After losing the most expensive House race ever, in which he had the largest war chest, he opined as follows.

The role of money in politics is a major problem and particularly the role of unchecked anonymous money…. Well, the overwhelming majority of money spent supporting my opponent has come from super PACs in Washington. And the overwhelming amount of money that’s been spent supporting my candidacy has come from small-dollar donors. But there’s no question that money in politics is a major problem, which is one of the reasons that we need campaign finance reform so that candidates and campaigns will spend more time talking to voters and discussing the issues and less time raising money.

The above linked article notes the following.

For example, by the end of May, your opponent, Congresswoman-elect Handel, had spent $3.2M. You, Jon, on the other hand, had spent $22.5M. And then there’s all of that big “out of state PAC” money which Handel was getting. Of the roughly $13M she managed to take in, it was lumped into the category of “super PAC and party committee cash.” Sure, there was some PAC activity on her side just like yours, but NBC reports that the significant majority came from only two sources… the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Congressional Leadership Fund. These aren’t exactly nameless, faceless non-profits popping up in some warehouse owned by George Soros.

With all due respect, Mr. Ossoff, you just lost the most expensive House race the country has ever seen. And you gladly took in and slathered cash all over the landscape in an effort to win it. There’s no dishonor in losing a hard fought campaign, but calling for campaign finance reform on the final day of that spending spree is a bit much even by the standards of lifelong Washington insiders.

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

 

Trump is the anti-Christ, says Warren Kinsella

When you cannot distinguish a tough, vulgar, self-promoting New York liberal property developer from the Anti-Christ, I would say you have poor judgment. When the Wahabist menace to civilization escapes serious scrutiny, but slight departures from political correctness, and a reorientation of American foreign policy, elicit volcanic upheavals of hatred, fear and derision, I would say that some have reached terminal fatuity. Warren Kinsella is not alone in this; he is merely a convenient representative of Trump Derangement Syndrome. It appears to me that many otherwise sensible people have lost their minds; and I exclude Warren Kinsella from the category of “otherwise sensible people”.

Donald Trump is the Anti-Christ

Demonization is not the answer

 

I have  been increasingly concerned for the state of free speech in this country and in the States. At every turn we witness resignations, purges, denunciations, firings, exclusions, bannings and condemnations for the slightest deviation from particular policy lines in every medium of communication.

Not to put to fine a point on it, the heretical expressions concern any attempt to qualify the general guilt of white people for their various actual, historical, real or imagined sins, including especially any attempt to explain why the complaining group ought to tone it down, think another way, or mollify its criticism. I say usually the target is white people. In this exercize of demonization, I would submit that the actual race of the complained-against party is largely irrelevant. If North American society were composed mostly of Japanese people, the rhetoric would be anti-Japanese. Whatever is normal, straight, traditional, reasoned, moderate, and which assigns praise or blame wholly or partly on the basis of the complaining group’s own behaviours, cultures, and manners, is forbidden.

The announcement that Jonathan Kay, editor until yesterday of the Walrus, had felt forced to resign his position because he had come to the defence of free speech in the pages of the National Post, is but this week’s leading example.

There will be more of such events. They seem to be numbered in the dozens a month.  A micro-eruption in an unread art magazine leads to the resignation of a person coming to his defence in a wider-circulation politics and arts magazine. Why? Why was Jonathan Kay’s continuing editorship felt to be untenable?

Amidst the lunacy the article by Conor Friedersdorf in the Atlantic magazine comes as a breath of fresh air. Friedersdorf tries to explain why the political Left is in general, losing the battle (even as it seems to me they are everywhere triumphant).

He cites Andrew Sullivan at one point:

“Among many liberals, there is an understandable impulse to raise the drawbridge, to deny certain ideas access to respectable conversation, to prevent certain concepts from being ‘normalized,’” Sullivan wrote, anticipating the objection. “But the normalization has already occurred — thanks, largely, to voters across the West — and willfully blinding ourselves to the most potent political movement of the moment will not make it go away. Our job in these circumstances is not to condescend but to engage — or forfeit the politics of the moment (and the future) to reaction.”

I saw this once on CBC TV, when during the usual political talking heads round-up,  the NDP spokesman said “we shouldn’t even be debating this!”, when discussing the topic was precisely what needed to happen. The urge to ban speech they do not like is overwhelming them, and generating a deep-rooted repugnance among the sane.

I confess I am getting closer and closer to the contemplation of political actions to oppose the tide of leftist oppression, including: federal government defunding of large parts of illiberal higher education, or the shutting down on entire departments of literature, sociology, women’s studies, and the like. But I digress too soon from analysis to recommendation.

That a serious politician will soon make such proposals is foreseeable; that they will be implemented is conceivable, if the survival of liberal democracy seems to be at stake.

From Friedersdorf again, this time quoting Phoebe Maltz Bovy:

Trumpism isn’t about weaving poor and working-class white men back into discussions of socioeconomic inequality. It’s about declaring whiteness and maleness forms of marginalization.

At last we get to the essence of the matter. The modern form of Leftist discourse – I use the word ‘discourse’ to describe shouting through megaphones- is to place the honest and hard-working people who make the country a success and seek to place them permanently in the wrong by reason of their sex, their race, and their class.

This is racist, sexist, classist and – a lesser sin – utterly snobbish. It is to judge people on the colour of skin rather than the content of character. Making people permanently wrong on these bases is designed to achieve futility and heartache.  Why do it?

I confess I do not know. And I also confess I am less and less concerned with understanding the Left’s psychosis and more and more concerned with how we are going to fight it. I am worried that I am seeking less and less to understand and more and more to have some heads cracked and some people fired.

The range of what is allowed to be said has been shrinking since I left university in the 1970s, but the shrinkage seems to be accelerating.

We in the West badly need glasnost and perestroika, openness and restructuring.

American political hysteria

People I know and like, and people I hardly know, are going out of their minds with Trumpophobia. I have been approached recently on several occasions by people overwrought with fury and consternation about Donald Trump. One fellow even was boasting of a German passport he had recently obtained, saying that he could consider emigrating to the centre of the free world, Frau Merkel’s Germany. I am not making this up. I look forward to his discovering how actually free Germany is, with its tumultuous Muslim problem, its anti-free speech codes, and its thought policing. And as he is probably a Jew, I also look forward to his discovering how well his religion and ethnicity goes over in militantly anti-jewish Muslim circles and with German greenies. But of course he was only posturing; if he acted on his mistaken principles I might actually have respect for his mistaken position.

Other, less virtue-signalling Americans are droning on relentlessly of Trump’s supposed subordination to Vladimir Putin, the fixed election, the calumny, the stupidity, the venality, the awfulness of Trump.

This summer I confidently expect to have to endure the Democrats whining constantly during their summer migration and stay in the village where I have my country place.

I have some advice:

Shut up!

You are being tedious beyond any reasonable limit!

I am fed up with your whining. I am not interested. Go away! If you persist in this,  Trump will drive you into chemotherapy, catatonia, or dementia.

To quote the Master, Oscar Wilde,

-in matters of society, it is not a question of being right or wrong, but of being charming or tedious.-

And you are all being tedious in the extreme. Get over yourselves. Talk by 60 year old seriously privileged white people about -resistance- to Trump is more fatuous than you can imagine.

“In China, you cannot criticize the government, but you can criticize Darwin”

Said a Chinese paleontologist:

“In China you cannot criticize the government, but you can criticize Darwin. In the United States, you can criticize the government, but you cannot criticize Darwin.”

One of the books pushed aside by Whittaker Chambers’ Witness has been “Darwin’s Doubt”, by Stephen C. Meyer, which I have now resumed. I confess that, the more I read into Darwin and Darwinism, and I read a lot about Darwinism, it is evident that:

  • He published two entirely distinct theories of evolution, natural selection and sexual selection.
  • He published “The Descent of Man, or Selection in Relation to Sex” thirteen years after “The Origin of Species”.
  • Accordingly, natural selection is not a complete theory of evolution. A complete theory explains all the facts in its purview. The Origin of Species does not pretend to do so.
  • The fact that Darwin published two distinct theories means that he did not consider that natural selection is a complete theory of evolution. (This is to his credit as a serious scientist).
  • It follows that, if two theories of evolution have been promulgated by the greatest biologist of the 19th century, there may be more mechanisms or explanations for evolution.

The longer you look into the question, as a lawyer examining evidence, the more you are compelled to conclude that the case for the origin of species in naturalistic or purely materialist theories is unproven. The Darwinian case is plausible; it is not proven. Nor can such a thing ever be proven. It can be argued, and argued persuasively, but it is beyond human capacity to prove,

Natural selection cannot be a “fact” in the sense in which that philosophical illiterate Richard Dawkins speaks. It is and will always remain a theory, more or less – I would argue less – plausibly demonstrated. Evolution may be an observed fact, but whether it occurs through natural selection exclusively or by other causes is, as Darwin attested,  an answered question. It occurs by at last two forces: natural and sexual. Whether there is a third or fourth cause of evolution has not been established, but in principle it cannot be ruled out.

And we get this far merely by noting that Darwin promoted at last two theories of the causes of evolution of species.

When will people take account of this obvious fact? If two theories were promulgated by Darwin maybe

a) natural selection was thought insufficient by the Master himself;

b) maybe a third or fourth explanation is equally available

We can get this far without any discussion of intelligent design whatever.

Now you may be ready for this movie.

In the United States, you can criticize the government, but you cannot criticize Darwin. I recall Francis Bacon saying that if he had the ability, he would burn all of Aristotle. I understand now why he wanted to do so. It was not Aristotle, it was the position that the Church had put him in. And Darwin has been similarly quasi-deified by a materialist establishment.

 

Whittaker Chambers 2

Continuing with Witness, I want to cite some of the reasons that Whittaker Chambers cites for the enormous vituperation and calumny that fell on him from all sectors of the American intelligentsia for his denunciation of Alger Hiss as a Soviet spy. My fascination with this case rests upon my belief that, if anyone sufficiently on the inside of the global warming catastrophist conspiracy, published a book saying, in effect, ‘here was where we doctored the evidence, and these were the climate scientists who did it, and this was what we intended to accomplish’, that man would be denounced and vilified in terms akin to the well-organized outrage that greeted Whittaker Chambers in 1948-1950.

Chambers cites two sources of this outrage: snobbery and psychiatry.

In accusing Hiss of Communism, I had attacked an architect of the UN, and the partisans of peace fell on me like combat troops. I had attacked an intellectual and a ‘liberal’. A whole generation felt itself to be on trial – with pretty good reason too, for its fears probably did not far outrun its guilt….The “conspiracy of  the gentlemen” closed its retaliatory ranks against me. Hence that musk of snobbism that lay rank and discrepant over the pro-Hiss faction.”

There was another, less tangible bond between those circles, which, together, accounted for a large part of the articulate American middle class. Both groups lived fairly constantly in the psychoanalysts’ permanent shadow, and few articles of furniture were less dispensable to them than a couch. And they shared a common necessity. Since my charge against Alger Hiss was that he had been a Communist and a Soviet agent, and there was besides, the Grand Jury’s perjury indictment, a good deal of clear and simple evidence that he had been, something, anything at all must be believed rather than the common-sense conclusion. The old masters -Freud and the author of Psychopathia Sexualis – were conned again. No depravity was too bizarre to ‘explain’ Chambers’ motives for calling Hiss a Communist. No hypothesis was too preposterous, no speculation too fantastic, to “explain” how all those State department  documents came to be copied n Hiss’s Woodstock typewriter. Only the truth became too preposterous to entertain.” (p. 698)

Only the truth became too preposterous to entertain.

When a whole generation commits itself to an error of this monstrous kind, such as Communism was and global climate catastrophism is, you may be sure that it will defend itself against self-knowledge by any means possible.

In the book, Chambers discusses an evening spent with a Czech exile after the Second World War, in which American politics was the subject. The Czech exile disagreed with his American host on something, and had occasion to say the following. [I paraphrase]

“Ah! but you have it wrong. The reason for this is that the American working class is Democratic, and the American middle class leans Republican, but the American upper class is Communist”.

An exaggeration, but not by much. There is something about $100,000 or more in a trust fund that causes its beneficiaries to go totally soft in the head. I know of no surer method to make someone ideologically leftist than inherited wealth, which so often engenders feelings that one “owes” society something more than one’s own good behaviour. From those to whom much is given, much is owed – and all that privileged background stuff. It reliably produces a vain self -importance which is dangerous to society in general.

It also leads to the betrayal of that society for its failure to live up to the absurd demands of over-privileged snowflakes.

In the 1920s and 30s the number of people benefiting from unearned wealth were few; nowadays it seems that the leftism which used to be a preserve of the truly wealthy has become a mass middle-class phenomenon.

 

 

Whittaker Chambers

 

Whittaker Chambers (1901-1961) was, from his mid twenties until his late thirties, a Communist and a spy for Soviet military intelligence (the GRU), who departed the Communist Party and his spying, and became a senior editor of Time magazine. He was a very gifted writer, and wrote a truly great book, Witness. His insights into what Communism was, why it nearly succeeded, and the enormous difficulty many Americans had in believing that there was anything the matter with the Soviet Union, are relevant to this day.

Books I read compete for my attention. I keep three or four on the go and more ready to to take up the slack at any time. At the moment, Witness has blown past the other respectable contestants by a furlong and is heading down the track to claim the prize.

People of a certain age will be forgiven for not understanding how much the 20th century was shaped by the Communist promise. It fell like Sauron’s Barad-Dür in 1989, contrary to every respectable opinion leader in western society, except the true hardened east European anti-Communists, to whom no one paid much attention.

Whittaker Chambers remarks that the driving force of Western intellectuals supporting the Party was not a belief in the economic doctrines of Marx, which hardly anyone read, but the promise of an egalitarian society and the end of material want. The age old and senseless suffering of man could at last come to an end, and if it took a few crimes to achieve it, then it was worth it. They had the Plan. No one else did.

It must be recalled that the Soviet Union, betrayed in its alliance with Hitler, took most of the casualties of World War 2. There was deep-rooted appreciation for the Soviet Union and its wartime sacrifices across most sectors of enlightened liberal opinion until at least 1948 and longer. The desirability of central planning of the economy was an assumed truth in almost every quarter of literate opinion. I recall George Orwell reviewing a book by Hayek, the Road to Serfdom. Orwell was aghast at Hayek’s bold denunciation of central planning of the economy. Says Orwell:

Professor Hayek denies that free capitalism necessarily leads to monopoly, but in practice that is where it has led, and since the vast majority of people would far rather have State regimentation than slumps and unemployment, the drift towards collectivism is bound to continue if popular opinion has any say in the matter.

But the vogue for central planning was underlain by a deep seated belief that Communism had the correct blueprint to understanding and acting in history.

Chambers’ view of Communism was that one could serve it for many years, and still not penetrate to its essence. Then, sooner or later, one would hear screams in the night.

Whittaker Chambers wrote:

What Communist has not heard those screams? Execution, says the Communist code, is the highest measure of social protection. What man can call himself a Communist who has not accepted the fact that Terror  is an instrument of policy, right if the vision is right, justified by history, enjoined by the balance of forces in the social wars of this century? Tose screams have reached every Communist’s mind. Usually they stop there. What judge willingly dwells upon the man the laws compel him to condemn to death – the laws of nations or the laws of history? (page xliv)

What provoked my interest was a passage much further along in the book concerning why the vast mass of American bien-pensants  revolted at the notion that Chambers was right in denouncing well-born native Americans who were part of his spy apparatus. Readers of this blog may be expected to have heard names like Alger Hiss or Harry Dexter White but may have forgotten the enormous brouhaha that erupted across the United states when in 1948 Chambers was summoned to publish his  accusations by a Congressional committee. Quite simply, he said these people were part of his spy ring. He knew so because he picked up documents from them weekly for years for the purpose of microfilming and passing on to Colonel Bykov, his GRU controller. Chambers was not believed by many liberals, and was sued by Alger Hiss for slander twice.  Hiss eventually went to prison for espionage. His guilt has been more than adequately proven by subsequent decrypts of Soviet signals traffic.

Chambers had to deal with the enmity of those who believed that Communism was basically a force for good in the world, and that he was wrong or mentally unbalanced for believing otherwise. Speaking of these “liberals”, Chambers wrote:

They were people who believed a number of things. Foremost among them was a belief that peace could be preserved, World War III could be averted only by conciliating the Soviet union. For this no p[rice was too high to pay, including the price of wilful historical self delusion. Yet they had just fiercely supported a war in which one of their ululant outcries had been against appeasement; and they were much too intelligent really to believe that Russia was a democracy or most of the other upside-down things they said in defense of it. Hence like most people who have substituted the habit of delusion for reality, they became hysterical whenever the root of their delusion was touched, and reacted with a violence that completely belied the openness of mind which they prescribed for others. Let me call their peculiar condition… the Popular Front mind.

The Popular Front mind dominated American life, at least from 1938 to 1948….Particularly, it dominated all avenues of communication between the intellectuals and the nation. It told the nation what it should believe; it made up the nation’s mind for it. The Popular Fronters had made themselves the “experts”. They controlled the narrows of news and opinion. And though, to a practised ear, they never ceased to speak as the scribes, the nation heard in their fatal errors the voice of those having authority.  For the nation too, wanted peace above all things, and it meant it could not grasp or believe that a conspiracy on the scale of Communism was possible or that it had already made so deep a penetration into their lives.”

Does that remind you of something?

97% of scientists believe that ….?

Anthropogenic global warming?

Climate change?

I am waiting for the Whittaker Chambers of the anthropogenic global warming movement to write his book on the scale of the deception, the skullduggery and the extent of the conspiracy. It will be resisted to the same extent that Whittaker Chamber’s testimony was, and by the same sorts of people. The AGW thing has not arisen to totalitarian power anywhere yet, but not for want of trying.

In any case, for any number of reasons,  Witness makes for compelling reading, not least because it is a great story well told about the struggles of the 20th century, and of a man and his God.