How the West Was Won

Saturday, December 31, AD 2016

Western Wagons

They went with axe and rifle, when the trail was still to blaze,
They went with wife and children, in the prairie-schooner days,
With banjo and with frying pan—Susanna, don’t you cry!
For I’m off to California to get rich out there or die!

We’ve broken land and cleared it, but we’re tired of where we are.
They say that wild Nebraska is a better place by far.
There’s gold in far Wyoming, there’s black earth in Ioway,
So pack up the kids and blankets, for we’re moving out today!

The cowards never started and the weak died on the road,
And all across the continent the endless campfires glowed.
We’d taken land and settled but a traveler passed by—
And we’re going West tomorrow—Lordy , never ask us why!

We’re going West tomorrow, where the promises can’t fail.
O’er the hills in legions, boys, and crowd the dusty trail!
We shall starve and freeze and suffer. We shall die, and tame the lands.
But we’re going West tomorrow, with our fortune in our hands.

Stephen Vincent Benet

Something for a New  Year weekend.  The theme  song from the movie How the West Was Won (1962).  The death of Debbie Reynolds drew my attention to this film, which featured her in a starring role.  The film itself is an uneven work, but it has a magnificent score which captures something of the spirit of the pioneers.    The settlement of the West, from the Appalachians to the Pacific, is perhaps the defining event in the history of our nation and it receives too little historical comment.  Thomas Jefferson thought it would take one hundred generations to settle the land beyond the Mississippi.  Instead, from the ending of the American Revolution to the census of 1890 which proclaimed that the frontier no longer existed, barely five generations had passed, and there were a handful of Americans at the end still living who had lived through almost all of it.  This epic tale is perhaps too large for the historians and thus today I have picked out two poems written by Stephen Vincent Benet that convey a small fragment of the passion, grandeur, tragedy and wonder  of it all.

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Our Will Be Done

Wednesday, October 28, AD 2015


Quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat



My favorite living historian Victor Davis Hanson has a brilliant post on the rot that infects the West:


Sanctuary cities illustrate how progressive doctrine can by itself nullify the rule of law. In the new West, breaking statutes is backed or ignored by the state if it is branded with race, class, or gender advocacy. By that I mean that if a solitary U.S. citizen seeks to leave and then reenter America without a passport, he will likely be either arrested or turned back, whereas if an illegal alien manages to cross our border, he is unlikely to be sent back as long as he has claims on victimhood of the type that are sanctioned by the Western liberal state. Do we really enjoy free speech in the West any more? If you think we do, try to use vocabulary that is precise and not pejorative, but does not serve the current engine of social advocacy — terms such as “Islamic terrorist,” “illegal alien,” or “transvestite.” I doubt that a writer for a major newspaper or a politician could use those terms, which were common currency just four or five years ago, without incurring, privately or publicly, the sort of censure that we might associate with the thought police of the former Soviet Union.

It is becoming almost impossible in the West to navigate the contours of totalitarian mind control. Satirists can create cartoons mocking Christ, but not Mohammed. If a teen brings a suspicious-looking device of wires and gadgetry to school, he will be suspended — unless he can advance by his religious or ethnic background some claim on victimization.

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6 Responses to Our Will Be Done

  • “Might makes right” sums up the left. Obama, and this pope, are perfect exemplars. There is no objective standard to their moral code. It is just their ability to enforce their beliefs that makes them “right”.

  • “Quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat“
    “Whom God wishes to destroy, He first makes insane.”
    Destruction is imminent for insanity is overwhelming.

  • The alt-right (with uncharacteristic precision and creativity) have coined a term for what he describes: “anarcho-tyranny”.

  • Like a stopped clock, Al Gore recently got right one thing. People are more stupid, see presidential election results 2008 ands 2012. He blamed global warming. I blame public schools and the post-modern academy that traded the truth for the asinine, liberal narrative. For them, truth is that which advances the agenda.
    They start with the premise, say, income inequality was a major aspect of the Roman Republic, and “prove” it by agitated appeals to emotion (not fact or logic), calumnies, distortions, exaggerations, fabrications, false equivalences, fantasies, misdirections, non sequiturs, omissions (ignore it), projections of 21st century amorality, repetitions, spins, unsupported conclusions.

  • Probably not the best example since income inequality was a major aspect of the Roman Republic. Social and economic inequality is the rule and not the exception for almost all of human history.

    But yes, foot-stomping is the preferred method of argument amongst liberals.

Lost Moral Compass

Saturday, August 15, AD 2015

Yes, it’s true…
and I don’t ask for forgiveness… not anymore.
With thee, heresy has come to eden.

John Rhys-Davis (Vasco Rodrigues)-Shogun

I have been a fan of the work of actor John Rhys-Davies since I viewed his over the top performance as the Portuguese pilot Vasco Rodrigues in Shogun in 1980.  In a field dominated by the Left, he is an outspoken conservative and has achieved success through sheer ability as an actor.

In an interview this week, he lamented the current morally lost state of the West:

“There is an extraordinary silence in the West,” Rhys-Davies told Carolla. “Basically, Christianity in the Middle East and in Africa is being wiped out – I mean not just ideologically but physically, and people are being enslaved and killed because they are Christians. And your country and my country (Wales) are doing nothing about it.”

“Why is it so evolved not to judge?” Carolla replied, identifying political correctness as the culprit. “This notion that we’ve evolved into a species that’s incapable of judging other groups and what they are doing, especially when it’s beheading people or setting people on fire or throwing acid in the face of schoolgirls… I like that kind of judging. That’s evolved!”

Carolla added that the U.S. “crushing Hitler” in World War II was a “good thing” that would not be possible now because Bill Maher would be “screaming” about tolerance.

“This is a unique age,” Rhys-Davies explained. “We don’t want to be judgmental. Every other age that’s come before us has believed exactly the opposite. I mean, T.S. Eliot referred to ‘the common pursuit of true judgment.’ Yes, that’s what it’s about. Getting our judgments right, getting them accurate.”

“Why can’t we get the same nations on the same page?” Carolla asked. “There’s a lot of nations that are never going to go down this road with us, but your nation, England, they’re sane. Why can’t we get them back toward sanity?”

“I think it’s an age where politicians don’t actually say what they believe,” the actor replied. “They are afraid of being judged as being partisan. Heaven forbid we should criticize people who, after all, share a different ‘value system.’ But ‘it’s all relevant, it’s all equally relative. We’re all the same. And God and the devil, they’re the same, aren’t they, really? Right and wrong? It’s really just two faces of the same coin.’”

“We have lost our moral compass completely, and unless we find it, we’re going to lose our civilization,” Rhys-Davies cautioned. “I think we’re going to lose Western European Christian civilization anyway.”

Rhys-Davies appeared on Carolla’s podcast to promote the DVD release of his film Return to the Hiding Place, about a group of Dutch youth resistance fighters in World War II.

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3 Responses to Lost Moral Compass

  • But, don’t you realize that more important things need our attention – climate change. We can’t let the poor and poor nations suffer from climate change 85 years from now. We got to do something about this – now.

    The unstated “fact” in man’s concern over climate changed is that God made a mistake when he created the world, plants and animal life based on oxygen and carbon dioxide. Thankfully, we have men who have discovered this dangerous mistake and can correct it before it’s too late 85 years from now.

  • But getting to that period of courage, innovation and deep faith is very painful. Sad thing is, it didn’t have to be.

  • We are losing the fight in our Lepanto. Lack of moral clarity stifles the will.

Sagebrush Rebellion II

Monday, April 21, AD 2014


A perennial issue in the West is the amount of land owned by the federal government and the Clive Bundy confrontation, go here to read all about it, has brought it to the fore:


There’s a modern tea party political element to it, but it goes much farther back to when many western territories achieved statehood in the 19th century, working out deals with Washington (as Mormon Utah did over what adherents at the time called “plural marriages”).

The map accompanying this article shows the difference between the West and the rest of the country. Here’s a list showing percentages of federal land by state, according to the Congressional Research Service. It includes the US Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service, National Parks, and military bases: Nevada 81, Alaska 62, Utah 67, Oregon 53, Idaho 62, Arizona 42, California 48, Wyoming 48, New Mexico 35, Colorado 36.

State lawmakers say they’re better prepared to manage such lands, both for the environment and for regional economies.

“There is a distinct difference in the way federal agencies are managing the federal lands today,” Sen. Fielder said. “They used to do a good job, but they are hamstrung now with conflicting policies, politicized science, and an extreme financial crisis at the national level. It makes it impossible for these federal agencies to manage the lands responsibly anymore.”

Utah has led a legislative charge to demand relinquishment of title to certain lands that exclude national parks and wilderness study areas, reports the Deseret News in Salt Lake City.

The “Transfer of Public Lands Act,” signed into law by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert in 2012, set the stage for a formal showdown with the government by demanding action under threat of lawsuit, the newspaper reports. Other states are exploring similar options.

Often, the political fight centers on some hapless species of plant or animal threatened with extinction and protected under federal law – like the northern spotted owl in Oregon or the desert tortoise in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. Sometimes federal agencies are caught in the middle, trying to apply the “multiple use” doctrine to lands in dispute.

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9 Responses to Sagebrush Rebellion II

  • I am not sure why the Federal government should own any of it, unless it is something like a military base, etc. Even the parks like Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Isle Royal, etc. Surely they can be managed better by the State governments. (I am not sure they would do worse.)

  • Observation from the lower classman; It seems to me that the government can and has been used by shameful individuals to financially support their own agendas. F D A with Monsanto exec. (formerly) then posted as FDA czar. This lack of oversight relating to conflict of interest is a NORM in D.C.
    Could it be happening in this rancher case and the “China” interest?

  • Even the land that we do own is subject to so many Federal regulations that if that really want it, or want to keep you from using it the way you want, they can go after it and cause you all kinds of problems.

  • Government of the people, by the people and for the people is more than poetic allusion. Why does the government not pay taxes? Because the government constituted by the citizens operates at the will of the people, for the people, and by the people.The government, all government is created to serve the people as set forth in the Preamble to The Constitution for The United States.
    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
    “We, the people “provide for the common defence”. We, the people own the government , federal, state and local. We, the people own the military bases made up of our citizens, operated by American citizens and paid for by the people.
    However did the federal government, itself a creature of the people, create bureaucracy and laws that violate the real property of the people? And without the people’s consent?
    The real estate, as opposed to authority and/or sovereignty, belongs to the people. This fact ought to have been included in the by-laws of every bureau. Every function of the government proves this fact. Criminal prosecution must be done where the crime is committed, not only because the state must punish the wrongdoer but because the state and its people did not prevent the crime, therefore, the people of the state must prosecute the crime.
    If someone comes into one’s home and tells them how to operate their home, that person has transgressed himself and the home. The government and all of its created agencies operates at the will of the people.
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.” From The Declaration of Independence.
    The above citation is represented here for finer interpretation especially for those office holders in government who choose to abuse their elected office.
    The trouble with Gaia is that she, or it, or whatever, is not a real person, but the construction of another person’s imagination. Kind of like Mickey Mouse or Minnie or Zeus. It is important to recognize that our God is three Persons in one Supreme Sovereign Being. Jesus Christ is the Revelation of the Person of God.
    Gaia has no sovereignty. Any sovereignty over persons by Gaia is tyranny, pure and simple, akin to bank robbery. “You do what I tell you or I will hurt you…tyranny.”
    Aren’t public officials forbidden to use their office for personal gain? Even one dollar of gain or influence? See Abscam.

  • Harry Reid is a person, a creation of God. Government is a creation of sovereign citizens, a creation of man. A person who cannot tell the difference between himself, as a person, and his office as his obligation and duty deserves neither.

  • *blink*

    Well, that explains a lot of the BS I get from friends that grew up back east– they have no idea what the stupid “unimportant” regulation stuff is about.

    Oh, and according to the Western Livestock Journal from April 14th, the BLM was trying to ship the cows to Utah to auction…without any of the required paperwork.

    Hope the Utah take back the land law works out.

  • A typical Washington bureaucrat would see it this way – that Washington should be controlling the land in the rest of the country like it does out West.

  • Pingback: It's Still Christian America - God & Caesar
  • I am told that in Communist countries, the “federal” government owns quite a bit of land.

Sister Blandina and the Original Billy the Kid

Friday, October 12, AD 2012

Rose Marie Segale was born on January 23, 1850 in the small village of Cicagna in Italy.  When she was four she and her family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, part of the initial wave of immigration from Italy to America.  From her earliest childhood she was determined to be a sister and frequently told her father that she wanted to join the  Sisters of Charity as soon as she was old enough.  She began her novitiate at the age of 16.  When she professed her vows she took the name of Blandina Segale.  She taught at Steubenville and Dayton, and in 1872 she was ordered to Trinidad for missionary work.  Initially she thought that she was being sent to the island and was thrilled.  Instead, she was sent to Trinidad, Colorado in the western part of that state.

What she found when she got there, was a town that was frequently visited by outlaws and where lynchings were common.  A fairly rugged environment for a 22-year-old sister!

Nothing daunted, she began to teach.  Soon after she got there she stopped a lynching by convincing a dying man to forgive his assailant, the father of one of her pupils.  Sister Blandina and the sheriff brought the accused killer from the jail where he was being held to the bed of the dying man, through the midst of an angry lynch mob.  The dying man, very generously I think, forgave the man, the lynch mob dispersed, and the man’s fate was determined by the court and not the mob.

One of the many outlaws who terrorized the area was Arthur Pond aka William LeRoy, sometimes known as Billy the Kid, and who was celebrated as the King of American Highwaymen by the “penny dreadful” novelist  Richard K. Fox who released a heavily fictionalized biography of him immediately after his death, conflating his exploits with those of the more famous Billy the Kid.  (Sister Blandina in later life confused LeRoy with William H. Bonney, the more famous Billy the Kid, who operated in New Mexico a few years later.  Sister Blandina had known the outlaw only by his nickname and didn’t realize that there were two Billy the Kids, who died within months of each other in 1881.)  A member of his gang had been accidentally  shot by another member of his gang and left to die in an adobe hut in Trinidad.  Learning this from one of her students, Sister Blandina went to the outlaw and nursed him back to health, answering his questions about God and religion.   When Billy the Kid showed up in Trinidad one day, intent on scalping the four doctors who refused to treat the man Sister Blandina had been caring for, he thanked Sister Blandina and at her request reluctantly spared the physicians.

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