Trump Beating Trump

Wednesday, August 10, AD 2016

My favorite living historian, Victor Davis Hanson, gives us the grim details of the recent political malpractice of Donald Trump:
All of the above was doable and could have ensured Trump the election, despite the unethical and historically unprecedented entrance into the campaign of a contrite Barack Obama, the institutional prejudices of the media, the usual big-city voter fraud, and even the withdrawal of the Republican elite who could not countenance Trump’s innate vulgarity, swashbuckling style, and demagogic appeal to the white working classes. We are, after all, in a war between the National Enquirer and NPR, Marlboro Man against Pajama Boy, Clint Eastwood versus Tom Hanks, amateurish fantasies opposed to established, polished lying.
Instead, here we are with less than 90 days before the election, and Trump may be lucky if he finishes within 5 percentage points on Election Day.
To negate Trump’s advantages, the Democrats had a simple strategy: bring out the demonic Trump. Hillary Clinton would simply lie about her e-mail records ad nauseam. In possum style, she would snore about the economy. She would avert her eyes from the world order’s breaking apart. She would ignore the populist furor with a corrupt Washington and media establishment.. Against this stultifying backdrop, the ego-driven Trump would be allowed to grab the headlines, and the headlines would be petty and embarrassing.
Democrats would seed the summer and autumn election battlefields with new and updated models of politically correct IEDs. They used this technique very effectively in 2012 to render a decent Mitt Romney as a tax-cheating, greedy Wall Street vulture, who ignored his regular garbageman, beat up kids in prep school, and strapped his terrified dog to his car top. Four years earlier the Democrats had blown John McCain to smithereens and left him little more than a closet racist and an adulterous and senile coot, who could not remember how many estates he owned nor the shenanigans of his pill-popping spouse. To avoid the rain of shrapnel, Romney had to battle both the moderator and his opponent in a presidential debate while contextualizing his own personal success and fortune. McCain, meanwhile, swore off referring to the racist personal pastor of Barack Obama and to Obama’s own litany of “typical white person” and “get in their face.” We forget that long before the wild man Trump, the most un-Trumpian, sober and judicious McCain and Romney were flattened by bogus charges against their spouses and false claims, respectively, of adultery and tax-cheating — and were completely unable to defend themselves from such smears and slanders.
Instead of staying on a winning message and avoiding the subterranean traps, Trump on cue tramped right through this progressive minefield. The explosive result was predictable. He wasted precious hours rudely taking on a Mexican-American judge — who, to be fair, had foolishly joined a “La Raza” lawyers’ organization (imagine a white counterpart as a member of a local legal organization with “The Race” in its name) — or jousting with a Gold Star family, indifferent to the fact that the father was an immigration lawyer who logically would oppose Trump’s immigration moratoria.
So when all these mines went off, Trump in theory always had some sort of legitimate counter-argument: Yes, Megyn Kelly was not commensurate in her sexism questions, in that she did not ask Hillary Clinton to account for her own sexist past, whether laughing over aspects of a case involving a rapist client, or demonizing Bill’s victims of coerced sex. And, yes, it was also a fact that bombastically inviting Putin to find Hillary’s missing 30,000 e-mails could not be a breach of security if they were truly about yoga and Chelsea’s wedding.
But such legitimate counter-arguments against explosive devices do not matter. Words are not as loud as Semtex and C-4. As Trump blew himself up on these mines, campaign time was irrevocably lost.
No one was asking Trump to go mute when Obama or Clinton attacked him in unprecedented fashion. The key instead was circumspection. Strike back quickly and only at major targets, to create deterrence against future smears, and then after 30 seconds get back on topic — and never step on a Democratic landmine out of curiosity whether it would really blow up. Translated, that means ignore assorted journalists eager for five minutes of cable-news attention, political flunkies, private citizens — both heroes and scoundrels — grieving widows, the disabled, the underage, and the elderly — in other words, all the cover plates that supposedly moral progressives use to mask their explosives. Is it too late for Trump?

So far, what he has thrown away in the polls Hillary so often seems to give back.

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31 Responses to Trump Beating Trump

  • Reference the recent blog here on press bias. There is nothing Trump says that cannot be twisted or used by a biased press. Let’s hope the voters can see what is happening. I for one will be contributing to the NRA legislative action agenda.

  • There is no need for the media to twist Trump’s words, as he usually supplies his own rope.

  • . I believe Trump ( who I hoped would win just for his SCOTUS choices) will keep getting bogged down in these lesser battles because also he thinks it brings him free media coverage as in the primary but now it’s hurting him because he’s giving the impression that his presidency will get nothing done…that he is not really a worker but a kibitzer who loves constant media fights be it twitter or tv fights. Aquinas said, ” The great man is concerned with great things and not little things”. You can use that by the way when your wife asks if you put the garbage out. Trump has the reverse concern structure….he really loves the little things and not the great issues as though he is tired of making big things like golf courses and casinos and just wants to fight little fights with the media. This second amendment bomb was Trump replacing one fiasco…Khan…with the next fiasco…before it ends he’ll have another bomb by Friday which will help the previous shooting of Hillary bomb go away. But even followers are getting worn out because the feeling is that of being on a roller coaster every month and maybe four years of this. There are points of similarity between Pope Francis and Trump…endless talking and you don’t know what’s going to happen next but you suspect that it won’t be ideal.

  • Mac, 100% correct, but . . .
    .
    We were bass fishing in ME. Passed through NH both ways. “Live Free or Die.” is the NH state motto. Incitement to violence! Call a whambulance!
    .
    Unbelievable as it may appear, my maniac (as far to the left as I am to the right) ex-twin brother is voting for Trump. Our first agreement on politics in 50 years! He is big-time #NeverHillary b/c of the Clintons’ record of 40 years of doing millions of things worse for both right and left. For one, he faults them on the Bosnia campaigns and screwing up the break-up of Yugoslavia.
    .
    Paul, to say Trump promoted violence is prime example of what they do: distort, fabricate, exaggerate, ignore Hillary’s weaknesses and her campaign having the anti-gay terrorist mass-murderer’s father sitting front-row, repeat-repeat-repeat, spew out false equivalency, outright lie, etc. The spin machine put out their propagandistic (it’s all lies all the time) interpretation, and the destroyers of our way of life, and low-information and allergic-to-the-facts imbeciles go nuts.
    .
    What will you do when Hillary’s packed court outlaws the First Amendment?
    .
    I’m upset and disappointed that Obama-enabler Ratso Ryan won his WI primary election.

  • My mother-in-law T. Shaw lives in Kenosha and I am quite familiar with that Congressional District. Ryan was never in jeopardy being highly popular in his district.
    In regard to your ex-twin brother I think it is significant that both Democrat and Republican prognosticators think their is a hidden Trump vote that doesn’t show up in the polling. My guess is that it may be 3-5%. Trump has been so demonized by both the right and left that it is understandable that some of his supporters are reluctant to say that they will be voting for him/

  • We were given a large group of quality candidates, representing a large ideological spectrum.

    Trump won handily. He is exactly what Republicans want. They like it when he makes comments about the “Second Ammendment People”, (“Heck yeah!”)

    What he is doing now is not a bug. It is a feature of who Trump is and it is exactly what Republcans want. It may trouble many readers of this blog, but not the majority of those who selected him as their candidate.

    Trump will not change. He is speaking to his base. This is how he will govern. And I contend it will get much, much worse once he faces real pressure and real conflict with real power at his disposal.

    Whatever one may say about Hillary, no doubt she is as bad or worse, this is true about
    Trump.

    And that is the current condition of America.

  • “What he is doing now is not a bug. It is a feature of who Trump is and it is exactly what Republcans want.”

    No more than maybe 35% of Republicans. Much of Trump’s strength comes from independents and Democrats. Other Republicans go along because he is now the nominee, but he is within the party the most unpopular nominee that I have seen in my lifetime.

    As for Trump as President, I think he will be a bad one, but perhaps not. I have found in my 34 years at the bar that successful businessmen are the most flexible people I know, having to be adaptable to changing circumstances. As President Trump may decide to modify himself to meet his new circumstance, or perhaps not. I think not is most likely, but I am not entirely sure. Of course it is also entirely possible that any modification would be for the worse. Trump gives deeper meaning to the phrase “wild card”.

  • Looking closely at what Trump said, I believe he made a bad joke. He was speaking in past tense, as in Clinton was already elected, and he added “I don’t know,” which is not the affirmative, victorious speak a candidate uses in explaining how supporting him will change the course from mentioned dire possibilities. An appended “I don’t know” is a Trumpism for “I believe this to be so, but don’t hold me liable for saying it.”
    .
    Trump needs to immediately call off his campaign against himself and begin his campaign against Clinton.
    That will be insufficient. He needed to be arguing for his policies, the principles which drive them, if any exist in Trump’s world, and reinforce those principles by aligning them with the ideals of the republic. For a man that reveres the National Enquirer more than the U.S. Constitution, that’s not going to happen. And time is too short.
    My guess is Trump is betting almost everything on the debates. He is a showman after all. Good luck.
    .
    I am not a tin foil hat person, but I’m starting to consider the theory Trump is a plant to make sure Hillary wins might be true. The headlines were ready to be dominated by the Orlando shooter’s father sitting so close to Hillary at a rally when Trump decides to deflect and make it about him, and not in a good way.

  • TAC, I hear what your saying. It’s just that he won the Primary by a landslide. Outside Cruz, he had no competition. He is what Republcan voters wanted far more than anyone else. He speaks for thos who vote, regardless of what polls say.

    I have also seen flexible people in my line of work; those of high intellect who are light on their toes and can adapt to circumstances. I don’t see that quality is in DJT, either the intellect or the flexibility.

    I won’t beat a dead horse. He is who he is. Now we just wait and see.

  • Yes, I read with eagerness VDH’S column yesterday, referenced at RealClearPolitics.com.

    Would that Mr. Hanson (or Newt Gingrich. Or Michael Barone. Or…) could have been the campaign message manager for Trump..but I am always the dreamer.

  • I’m still planning to vote for Trump. The Clintons are just too bad. Kaine too. Biden too. If trump wins it will be a miracle given his campaigning faults
    But they are publicity and campaign faults. Clintons are slicker campaigners for sure, but their behavior says “rotten to the core”. Trump is no saint but he is not rotten .
    Plus he is getting some input now from conservatives and I think he is “evolving”.

  • He doesn’t even need to focus exclusively on his policies – Clinton is so bad, he has plenty to shoot with just pointing out who she really is. It is possible he is a plant, or cut a deal with Hildebeast to throw the election if he wins the GOP primary (in exchange for what, who knows). He was brilliant turning “I’m with her” into “I’m with you!” He needs more of that, and less of going after sideshow hangers on like the Kahn. For crying out loud, she had the Orlando shooter’s dad sitting right behind her at her rally! Obviously, “She’s with him.”

  • Let’s backtrack to Pope Francis regarding Trump’s policy to build a wall between the US and Mexico. An excerpt from the New York Daily news, “A spokesman for Pope Francis says the pontiff’s characterization of The Donald’s call for a Mexican border wall as “not Christian” was not a slap at the GOP presidential candidate.” Pope Francis apparently thinks Trumps policy on this issue is “not Christian.” To joke about “2nd Amendment people” doing something to stop Clinton and the Supreme Justices she might select–is not funny. It’s like inciting people who are the fringe (not 2nd Amendment advocates) to assassinate Clinton and Supreme Court justice nominees. Is this Catholic? Is this Christian? I’m not here to defend Clinton; however, I cannot understand how people keep defending the idiotic things that come out of Donald Trump’s mouth. Some of his policies are far-fetched like the Great Wall between the US and Mexico, as though he were trying to make a spinoff of the Great Wall of China. If people are not happy with Clinton or Trump, there are third- party alternatives. I predict support for third-party candidates will soar. Perhaps that is the best way to make a statement to both the DNC and Republican parties. I think voters deserve more choices.

  • My guess is Trump is betting almost everything on the debates. He is a showman after all.

    Then there won’t be any debates.

  • Ernst,
    Kind of like the debates in the GOP primary, lots of low brow shots and empty rhetoric. I remember enjoying the one debate Trump skipped.

  • “He is what Republican voters wanted far more than anyone else.”

    Not necessarily. Many of Trump’s primary victories were in states with open or partially open primaries that were not limited to registered Republicans only. There may have been, and probably was, a considerable amount of crossover voting by Democrats or unaffiliated/independent voters. Cruz tended to do better in “closed” primary states, in which only voters on record as registered Republicans could vote in the GOP primaries.

  • The state in which I’m registered to vote has open presidential primaries. Although I always vote Republican, I refuse to register as a Republican. I do not “self identify” as an independent. The VA June Rep primary had 13 candidates on the ballot. After the ballot was printed 4 of the 13 withdrew from the race but they were still listed on the ballot and received votes. Trump won. Rubio was behind him by 29,000 votes. Cruz behind Trump by almost 186,000. With Rubio a close second I’m not sure that there were many crossovers.
    George H. W. Bush and Dole were bland and had Perot siphon off votes. McCain and Romney had poorly run campaigns. The Dems started framing Romney’s public image about 6 months plus out from his nomination. McCain, Romney were about taking the high road, as was “W” after he was elected. Trump does not; he’s no gentleman and that’s why he has a chance of winning in Nov if…..he has a 1 hour delay button on his twitter feed; sticks to his script for speeches, etc, etc. as mentioned above.

  • Trump cannot call of the campaign of the media against him. If the media can’t find any faults in Trump–they will make it up. Typical politics.

  • Analysis and reality aside I still go with Trump. Like DRM says, as a businessman he will figure out how to manage the various situations he will confront. Hillary, no way. By the way, Trump and his buddies need to buy the New York Times before Jeff Bezos gets to it.

  • Hillary needs to take people’s attention away from Her and Obama’s policy disasters. She (and the media) cannot allow anybody to review the facts. You’d never vote for her if you weighed the distasteful truth.
    .
    Today, compare Hillary’s more and more (Einstein’s definition of insanity) economics of Obama (you didn’t build that/businesses don’t create jobs) class envy and mass poverty to Trump’s economic pathway to prosperity.
    .
    Generally, Democrat candidates avoid revealing their true superstitions on gun control because NRA voters (“Second Amendment people” if you will) destroyed more Democrat political careers than any other civil rights group.
    .
    Rhetorical question(?): If “the Second Amendment people will know what to do” is incitement to violence, what is the proper “label” for Hillary’s strenuous promotion of “black lives matter” which is producing a growing list of dead and wounded police officers in addition to Obama’s desultory guerrilla war on America?
    .
    Don’t believe a word you hear/see in the media it’s either 100% dishonest or completely erroneous.

  • “rhetorical question” ?
    Apparently Hillary doesn’t want the endorsement of police union. In some ways Hillary defeats Hillary too.

  • Joe Scarborough called for Trump to step down on his show after Scarborough revealed that Trump had asked a foreign security expert, “Why can’t we use nuclear weapons?” Of course Morning Joe and his sidekick Mika went to GQ and other members of the drive by media foresee nuclear Armageddon if Trump is elected. http://www.darientimes.com/72843/rickards-why-donald-trump-is-smarter-than-joe-scarborough/ is a thoughtful essay on why Trump was intelligent in asking questions about the use of nuclear arms.

  • I appreciate that link CAM

  • “I am not a tin foil hat person, but I’m starting to consider the theory Trump is a plant to make sure Hillary wins might be true. The headlines were ready to be dominated by the Orlando shooter’s father sitting so close to Hillary at a rally when Trump decides to deflect and make it about him, and not in a good way.”

    With the things that are currently taking place in our country, I am keeping my tin foil hat on my head! Especially when it involves the Clintons. With that said let me point out that there is absolutely nothing about Trump’s character or history that would indicate he would be willing to lose to anyone of any reason. Period. I do not believe that Trump started this to lose on purpose.

  • CAM, I read your link at Darien Times on Trump’s philosophical speculations on the use of nuclear first strike options. The money quote: “Asking how and why nuclear weapons might be used shows a subtle appreciation of U.S. military doctrine.” Yes, the author paired Trump to the word “subtle” in his ponderings on, “Why Not?”, use First Strike Nukes.

    Subtle is not what I see with Trump in the White House Captain’s Chair with his red button, top left corner of the desk. I picture George C. Scott in Dr. Strangelove, the classic movie subtitled, “Or How I Learned To Love The Bomb”. The moral of that story? It takes one key person, just one, to burn the world to hell.

    Subtle? A subtle candidate would never speculate on such terrible, apocalyptic, world ending things in public and would feel the weight of such a worrisome burden in his bones. He would convey this with force. We must never use nukes. No one can. Life depends on it.

    I lik the description P.J. O’Rourke of Trump: “The Lord Of The Flies in a 757”.

  • Brian I didn’t take it that the author thought Trump was being subtle, but that his question showed an insight or understanding that is sub or under the surface.

  • .Anzlyne, however you wish to interpret the author, Trump’s audition for the most powerful position on the planet has demonstrated one thing clearly to everyone; Trump is not subtle. Nor does he live in the land of keen insights and subterranean intellectual streams. Placing his judgement and microscopically small anger and retribution fuse in charge of our Nuclear arsenal and First Strike Deterrant policy is THE most terrifying thing about this man. It still boggles my mind that he sits atop the ticket.

  • Brian: “A subtle candidate would never speculate on such terrible, apocalyptic, world ending things in public and would feel the weight of such a worrisome burden in his bones. He would convey this with force. We must never use nukes. No one can. Life depends on it.”

    That sequence of thoughts, that seem not coherently connected, makes no sense to me, esp. ending up with “We must never use nukes. No one can. [etc]” First of all, the later statement is untrue: Others can, and at a future time, if they see fit and it is to their overwhelming advantage, will do so. China’s defense philosophy is predicated on a first-strike destruction of the US. (Cf. the research that Kenneth Sewell accumulates in “Red Star Rogue: The Untold Story of a Soviet Submarine’s Nuclear Strike Attempt on the U.S’. The account is not fiction: a true story of a rogue commander who nearly launched WW3 in 1968.

    Add to that Russian Army General and Defense Minister’s assertion in 2014 that Russian Defense planning is to allow for a 1st-strike action against the US and NATO:

    http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Russian-pre-emptive-nuclear-strike/2014/09/04/id/592739/


    To eliminate officially, as Obama has virtually done, even the possibility that the US may use maximum force—remember, most nuclear weapons are now tactical and strategic as well—to preserve the nation—is an important deterrent.
    ..
    As for Trump being reckless and a mad man, well, that is buying into the fraud that one of the most detestable, dishonest, and anti-American organizations in US history, the oxymoronically-named Democratic Party of the USA, wants you to believe. Same deal they did with Barry Goldwater. Same with Nixon, Reagan, even poor old John McVain.

    Funny, no one alleged that Trump was mentally unstable until about 4 or so months prior to possibly winning the US presidency.

  • Steve Phoenix, I only really started caring about Trump’s mental stability when it appeared he had a serious path to power. I DO care now. This is personal, since I have a precious young boy (and girl) who is of draft age with a bright future. And others are on the way, behind them.

    It is highly irksome to constantly hear Trump supporters contend the only reason Trump is misunderstood is DNC propaganda; Mainstream Media propaganda. Only Trump supporters and followers of Fox and Drudge and Rush see the Truth. Those who disagree must be just dumb cows.

    The Truth about Trump is obvious to everyone. What one does with that is an individual choice, but everyone sees the man clearly for what he is. You’re fine with him. I’m not.

    BTW, in regards to nuclear policy, strategic and tactical, I’m certainly no expert, but I do pay attention and read widely. I also have military aviation operational experience in my past and am well acquainted with your nuclear strategy summary. I participated in a leg of the Nuclear “Triad”. This also is not a new thing. Most people get this stuff.

    I say again, Mutual Assured Destruction Must.Not.Happen. Unsheath that sword and you have truly unleashed hell. I want my President to approach that topic with all due seriousness, as if countless lives, and human civilization itself, depended upon him. Perhaps we must launch. But GOD FORBID!

  • Part of what Brian said made sense, but then he lost me at the tirade part (“Only Trump supporters and followers of Fox and Drudge and Rush see the Truth. Those who disagree must be just dumb cows…”).
    Hard to dialogue when categorized as Nietzsche’s “herd”.

    However, two relevant stories regarding nuclear first-strike broke in the last 48 or so hours: Russia is preparing for the next war, and they are convinced it will be nuclear, according to security expert Dr. Mark B. Schneider:

    “Russia is getting ready for a big war which they assume will go nuclear, with them launching the first attacks,” said [former Pentagon defense analyst Mark B.] Schneider, now with the National Institute for Public Policy, a Virginia-based think tank.
    “We are not serious about preparing for a big war, much less a nuclear war,” he added.
    Additionally, Russian officials have been issuing nuclear threats.”

    http://freebeacon.com/national-security/russia-building-new-underground-nuclear-command-posts/

    Schneider has been sounding the alarm for some years about Russia’s accelerating violations of the START and other treaties, making them empty shell documents which, just like the 1920 Washington Naval Treaty, only bind the US while its enemies arm up.

    For more detail, cf. “Russian Violations of the INF and New START treaties”, Aug. 15, 2016:
    http://www.nipp.org/2016/08/15/schneider-mark-russian-violations-of-the-inf-and-new-start-treaties/

    These aggressive armament developments by Russia long-preceded Trump’s rise, and if anything, were likely precipitated by the Clinton-Obama diplomatic maneuvers

  • Now from the sublime to the very ridiculous:

    Trump is not safe with the nuclear-strike decision, but we are perfectly secure with “Don’t-Let-‘Er-Blow”Joe Biden and Golf-Pro Hussein in charge (The Golf Pro was somewhere—somewhere—around the vicinity of Martha’s Vineyard, for his over-300th golf round Monday—nearly a year of his 8-year presidency—where he has spent time strategizing how to keep the world safe, out on the back 9. Somewhere).
    ..
    During a Hillary rally Aug 14th, Joe Blow declaimed—shockingly, a very helpful security lapse for China and Russia nuclear-strike strategists—that:

    “There’s a guy that follows me right back here, has the nuclear codes,” Biden said, turning and pointing. “So God forbid anything happened to the president and I had to make a decision, the codes are with me.”

    (He apparently pointed in back of him to someone in back of the podium. Joe: Why not do a selfie with him? Post it on Facebook for Putin and the Chinese High Command?)

    ” Biden bragged about how the nuclear codes were with him, he said that Trump was “not qualified” to know the nuclear launch codes.” (From Breitbart News)

    http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/08/15/joe-biden-exposes-military-aide-nuclear-codes-campaign-rally-hillary/

    ..
    Of course, US security experts and allies were shocked at the security lapse, once again, by Joe Let-Er-Blow: remember back in March 2009, Joe Blow revealed the hidden doomsday bunker underneath the Naval Observatory, to be used in the event of a nuclear-first-strike—virtually assuring that now that location is useless and the primary target of a thousand bunker-buster Chinese and Russian weapons when the first-strike occurs.

    But Trump is a mad man of course. Couldn’t change things at the top. Would be too unstable. And the Chinese and the Russians are our friends. Look at all the deals they’ve cut with Hillary’s Clinton Foundation. Of course, we are safe.

Trump v. Clinton: Pass the Popcorn

Wednesday, June 29, AD 2016

 

 

My favorite living historian Victor Davis Hanson has some predictions about what is to come in the presidential election campaign this summer.  As I do, he understands that the normal political rules simply do not apply this year:

 


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17 Responses to Trump v. Clinton: Pass the Popcorn

  • Lock both of them in a darkened room armed with straight razors… whichever walks out alive is the Prez. Sell tickets and wipe out the national debt. At this point all we can do is sit back and enjoy the carnage,

  • Trump is a Democrat? Then so are John McCain, Mitch McConnell and Mitt Romney. Social views have NO impact in this election season. Pro lifers have been dumped on by the GOP, which has long held a pro abortion stance among its elite. How much does the USCCB care?

  • “Pro lifers have been dumped on by the GOP”

    Completely false as attested by all the pro-life legislation that the Republicans have gotten through at the state level. But for the Democrats, legalized abortion would now be a bad memory. As for Trump, he is merely a liberal Democrat who has donned a Republican disguise for this election. Compared to the orange haired fraudster, McCain, McConnell and Romney are Reagan Incarnate. Support Trump if you will to be beat Hillary PF. I can understand that. Do not for a moment deceive yourself as to what he is.

  • I want Trump to win not because I like Yrump but because I want to hear the Democrats howl in disbelief that they lost.

  • “Completely false as attested by all the pro-life legislation that the Republicans have gotten through at the state level. But for the Democrats, legalized abortion would now be a bad memory. As for Trump, he is merely a liberal Democrat who has donned a Republican disguise for this election. Compared to the orange haired fraudster, McCain, McConnell and Romney are Reagan Incarnate.”

    When I look at the current Washington GOP Establishment, I disagree completely with you. I include in that the current House Speaker who agreed to fund Planned Parenthood. There is a gulf between the state GOP (in almost every state) and the DC GOP Establishment.

    I have no illusions about Trump being a great conservative. On social issues, there is little difference between him and the Hildebeast.

    The situation is that the Hildebeast is a criminal…and so is her husband IMHO. Nothing Trump has done measures up to them. Los Alamos, criminal perjury, the beginnings of the subprime mortgage mess, the rise of Al Qaeda, the USS Cole and the bombings of the embassies in Africa….on Bill Clinton’s watch. Hilary….classified emails, Benghazi…..the Clintons are rotten to the core, backed by a supporting media and entertainment establishment, and a GOP establishment (especially the Bush family) unwilling to say a peep about them.

  • “I include in that the current House Speaker who agreed to fund Planned Parenthood.”

    That’s humorous that you would mention that since the Republicans in Congress are making yet another effort to end funding for Planned Parenthood.

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/06/29/senate-democrats-block-zika-funding-doesnt-fund-planned-parenthood/

    Now, as in the past, the Democrats in Congress make passing such a bill almost impossible because we do not have 60 votes in the Senate. Since they have the Presidency such a bill would be vetoed in any case. All the while the media will be spinning this feverishly against the Republicans, Finally, when they can’t do the impossible without being blamed for another government shut down, the Republicans will be attacked by pro-lifers. It astonishes me that they are even willing to try this again and again with those odds stacked against them.

    If the orange haired fraudster gets in, I guarantee you he will insist upon funding Planned Parenthood that he praised during the primaries.

  • “I want Trump to win not because I like Yrump but because I want to hear the Democrats howl in disbelief that they lost.”

    If Trump wins, the howls of liberal despondency would be music to my ears!

  • Do we all agree there is nothing worse than a Hillary presidency? Accordingly, a vote for Trump is permissible.

  • I hope we can all agree with you Michael.
    Sitting this one out because Trump is not, kosher, is not enough reason to bury a vote.
    I will vote Trump in the high hope Helliry finds herself in the gutter. That’s an insult to gutter dwellers everywhere, but I never did get the “political correctness” thing, so tough up and make room for your new arrival.

  • I hope we can all agree with you Michael. Sitting this one out because Trump is not, kosher, is not enough reason to bury a vote.

    I will, with a very clear and easy conscience, not vote for either of the egotistical, sociopathic, leftist authoritarians from New York.

  • Defects in character?
    Trump comes in second.
    Professional political sociopath vs. Professional business sociopath?

    Taking the vote out doesn’t change which sociopath wins, but voting for the one ( out on a limb here ) that would do less harm seems to be a reasonable option.

    Hillary I’m sure about.
    The duck?
    Uncertain future at best.
    I will not support Hillary, and not voting for her challenger seems like a vote for her.

    Write in’s?

  • and not voting for her challenger seems like a vote for her.

    This is both logically and mathematically incorrect. As for which is worse, there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference. They are foul and effusive in different ways. Neither of them is a constitutionalist, and both of them represent an authoritarian, statist strain of thought that threatens our freedoms. That there is an infinitesimal chance Trump is superior to Clinton is not enough to justify a vote for the clown, especially when there’s a chance that, somehow, he will be worse.

  • Is it just illogical to see a threat that wishes to harm your family and Country and sit on your hands while the threat gains control?

    Is it mathematics or brazen hatred for liberty that one of the presidential candidates has made a statement that Religions need to change their views on abortion.

    Come on Paul.
    I detest Trump, but Hillary is a threat that is known and respected by a class of people that have adhered to Saul Alinski’s playbook..and they are participating in it as they support Hillary. Worse yet, they will adopt this methodology, rules for radicals, for their success. The Trump threat is nebulous compared to the history or track record of Hillary Clinton.

    A thread of hope is better than giving up.

  • Is it just illogical to see a threat that wishes to harm your family and Country and sit on your hands while the threat gains control?

    No, it is illogical to dismiss one person as an equally malignant threat because that individual happens to have an -R next to his name. You can use all the buzzwords you want, Philip, but it is simply wishcasting to pretend Trump represents anything resembling hope when it comes to choosing presidential candidates.


    A thread of hope is better than giving up.

    I’m not the one giving up – quite the opposite. I merely refuse to support one authoritarian over the other.

  • Thank you Paul for your explanation.

    I’m cringing when I contemplate November and the baby killing machines gloating over their goddess.

    Sitting out a vote is difficult for me to consider, however I can appreciate your views.

  • Paul–
    “I’m not the one giving up – quite the opposite. I merely refuse to support one authoritarian over the other.”

    St Thomas Aquinas would suggest, in a case like this, that distinctions must be made. While you are correct about both being authoritarian shouldn’t we try to determine which of these seemingly inevitable choices would be the best for orthodox Catholics.

  • I’ll let Joe Cunningham of Red State have my final word on the matter.
    http://www.redstate.com/joesquire/2016/07/01/lesser-two-evils-election/

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.

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Victor Davis Hanson

Saturday, January 17, AD 2015

Multiculturalism

 

 

A multicultural approach to the conquest of Mexico usually does not investigate the tragedy of the collision between 16th-century imperial Spain and the Aztec Empire. More often it renders the conquest as melodrama between a mostly noble indigenous people slaughtered by a mostly toxic European Christian culture, acting true to its imperialistic and colonialist traditions and values.

In other words, there is little attention given to Aztec imperialism, colonialism, slavery, human sacrifice, and cannibalism, but rather a great deal of emphasis on Aztec sophisticated time-reckoning, monumental building skills, and social stratification. To explain the miraculous defeat of the huge Mexican empire by a few rag-tag, greedy conquistadors, discussion would not entail the innate savagery of the Aztecs that drove neighboring indigenous tribes to ally themselves with Cortés. Much less would multiculturalism dare ask why the Aztecs did not deploy an expeditionary force to Barcelona, or outfit their soldiers with metal breastplates, harquebuses, and steel swords, or at least equip their defenders with artillery, crossbows, and mines.

For the multiculturalist, the sins of the non-West are mostly ignored or attributed to Western influence, while those of the West are peculiar to Western civilization. In terms of the challenge of radical Islam, multiculturalism manifests itself in the abstract with the notion that Islamists are simply the fundamentalist counterparts to any other religion. Islamic extremists are no different from Christian extremists, as the isolated examples of David Koresh or the Rev. Jim Jones are cited ad nauseam as the morally and numerically equivalent bookends to thousands of radical Islamic terrorist acts that plague the world each month. We are not to assess other religions by any absolute standard, given that such judgmentalism would inevitably be prejudiced by endemic Western privilege. There is nothing in the Sermon on the Mount that differs much from what is found in the Koran. And on and on and on.

Victor Davis Hanson

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20 Responses to Quotes Suitable for Framing: Victor Davis Hanson

  • An interesting trivia point.

    The Spanish weapons really were not superior to the Aztecs. Half the men were equipped with pikes (cutting edge technology at the battle of Marathon,) the other half had match lock muskets. Despite the noise and smoke these had a shorter range slower rate of fire than a bow and arrow.

    Without local allies to more than even up the fight, Cortes would have be a foot note in history.

  • Horses and artillery were quite helpful. The Spanish also were magnificent melee fighters especially since they knew being captured meant being the human sacrifice du jour. Finally, Cortez was a good combat commander and always projected an aura of optimism that the Spaniards would win no matter what the odds. Finally the Spaniards viewed the conflict as a crusade, often reporting that Saint James Matamoros appeared to aid them in their fighting.

    The Spaniards were also more adaptable than their adversaries as indicated by their adopting the quilted cotton vests of their adversaries which were better “armor” than their metal breast plates in a tropical climate.

  • The best account that I have ever read of the conquest was by Bernal Diaz del Castillo, one of Cortes’ soldiers. It puts things in a very different light than the multi-culturalist story one usually hears.

  • It is a good account BM, Diaz giving a warts and all telling of the Conquest in which he took part as a gentleman ranker.

  • The reality is the more extreme the Christian, the more peaceful the “radical.”

    Only by not following Christian principles do we end up with the Koresh’s of the world or a badly acting Christians.

  • Jim Jones had a titular affiliation with the Disciples of Christ, but AFAIK his theology bore little relation to anything recognizably Christian. Up until the very last days, Jones and his votaries were not a problem to anyone but themselves and family members alienated from their relatives consequent to Jones’ capture of them. The Koresh sect was a weird offshoot of Seventh Day Adventist congregations, so recognizably protestant after a fashion. Again, they were a danger to themselves and a cause of grief for their relatives, but not much of a problem for the larger community. The career of Janet Reno had a number of obtrusive fiascos for which she completely escaped accountability (bar from some critiques from George Will and National Review); that one was the bloodiest.

  • As Sowell has said in other connections (and in a sophisticated elaboration), multiculturalism (like red haze discourse generally) is a self-aggrandizing exercise. It’s verbalizers congratulating themselves for not being their ancestors and not being ordinary Americans.

  • In other words, there is little attention given to Aztec imperialism, colonialism, slavery, human sacrifice, and cannibalism,……..Brings to mind the age-old but oxymoronic concept of the “Noble Savage”. From Tacitus to the elites of the progressive multicultural movement marches the myth that civilization corrupts the otherwise altruistic aborigine. I recall reading, in “Bell of Africa”, about W.D.M. (Karamojo) Bell negotiating with a local African chief, the hiring of porters to staff Bell’s ivory hunting expedition. This occurs in the early nineteen hundreds, not so long ago. After arranging the assignment of a compliment of sturdy young men, the chief offers the sale -yes, sale – of a young African teenaged woman. The chief advertised the qualities of the young slave about as follows: She is strong and works hard. She cooks and cleans and will be good company in bed. And, if you tire of her, you can always eat her. Bell bought her instantly, and dropped her off at the first Christian mission he came upon. It is the same for the primitive person who does not know Christ as for the civilized person who rejects Christ. Cannibalism and human sacrifice on the one hand, embryonic stem cells and abortion on the other. Christ makes the difference.

  • “The Koresh sect was a weird offshoot of Seventh Day Adventist congregations, so recognizably protestant after a fashion. Again, they were a danger to themselves and a cause of grief for their relatives, but not much of a problem for the larger community. The career of Janet Reno had a number of obtrusive fiascos for which she completely escaped accountability (bar from some critiques from George Will and National Review); that one was the bloodiest.”
    .
    There were rumors of Koresh sleeping with minor children. (This too, is what Jim Jones did) It would have been proper for Koresh to give a good account of himself, in the open, and spare himself the assault on his compound. It was the public’s opinion that if Koresh was sexually abusing minor children, then the assault would proceed.

  • I have read a lot about the Spanish conquest of Mexico. The Aztecs were absolutely HATED by the other Indian tribes they ruled over. The Aztecs were all in on human sacrifice and cannibalism. The Tlaxcalan Indians were ferocious fighters who saw Cortez and his army as the allies they were looking for.

    The Azters were an empire that had achieved the highest they were capable of and could do no more. They had no written language, no knowledge of the wheel, did not know what a horse was, did not make steel, did not build ships to navigate the oceans, did not have the arch for use in architecture…in short, they were behind the Egyptians of centuries past. The Aztec Empire was doomed and it would have been worse for them if the English had set upon them first. Don’t think so? Ask the Indians of the United States.

    Through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico was converted and human sacrifice was ended. Spanish supplanted Nahutal and the other Indian languages.

  • yes- William Walsh “It is the same for the primitive person who does not know Christ as for the civilized person who rejects Christ. Cannibalism and human sacrifice on the one hand, embryonic stem cells and abortion on the other. Christ makes the difference. ”
    Mary said “if Koresh was sexually abusing minor children, then the assault would proceed.” yes that was my opinion too. watching the news about American Sniper makes us think of how to make the decision as to when and how to intervene.
    .
    I don’t agree that the “collision” of Christian Spain and the Aztec was a tragedy. I agree that multiculturalism puts the emphasis on the wrong syllable, but I don’t think you help that misunderstanding by trying to Relativise it all.
    .
    Maybe like childbirth, fraught with difficulty and danger but a net good result. I like Penguin’s words reminding us that it is not just a human encounter but a spiritual one– which is of course the basis for everything. that The Queen of Heaven intervened and I add..for all her children- she not only impacted the native peoples, she impacted the Spanish.

  • Mary/Anzlyne: Recalling Koresh and the Waco affair, why did they not just pick up Koresh on his way back from the barbershop some afternoon? I think of it as a hideous and stupid error. Are the various adults who somehow survived still in prison? Save for being “religious”, they were probably no more out of line than many a nonreligious hippie commune, and probably less so. Government is a necessary evil that needs be kept small and closely watched.

  • I don’t and didn’t really know what happened at waco- I was not as interested in politics, not well informed about what was going on in those days- but my opinion at the time was one of concern for what I thought was women and children being held and abused by a Charlie Manson like character. My reference to American Sniper was just about how to make decision about intervention– obviously we need true information. I agree that government should be small and closely watched!

  • . I recall reading, in “Bell of Africa”, about W.D.M. (Karamojo) Bell negotiating

    I’m jealous. That’s a book I’ve wanted to read since I read the chapter on Karamojo Bell in Capstick’s Death in the Silent Places.

    If you happen to possess a copy, you wouldn’t want to sell it, would you?

  • Ernst, my copy is a gift from a lifelong friend, inscribed with a personal message, and thus a keepsake which I still reread from time to time. We’re both getting long in the tooth so I want to keep it. Nonetheless, I appreciate your interest. It is still available here: http://www.amazon.com/Bell-Africa-W-D/dp/0940143267 and elsewhere: http://www.waterstonesmarketplace.com/Bell-of-Africa-with-appendix-on-rifles-and-shooting-W-D-M-Bell/book/626278 The latter link includes books with an appendix on rifles and shooting which may be quite interesting from an Englishman in Africa perspective. Bell shot 800 elephants with a Rigby made rifle chambered in7 m/m Mauser. Most hunters would have grave trepidations using such a small bore cartridge on such a large and dangerous beast but Bell had a different approach. I hope you succeed in your quest. It’s a tale of another and, in many ways, better day.

  • Thanks. Maybe I’ll pick that up along with Jungle Man.

  • William P. Walsh: I remember there being a problem of Koresh not leaving the compound. It was some weeks before the decision was made to storm the compound because of constant complaints that child abuse was going on.
    .
    It is incumbent upon the individual, the citizen, the person to give a good account of himself.

  • Mary, Thank you. Your memory is probably better than mine. It’s all so easy to taint recollection of things leading up to an event by how they turned out. I may be doing that.

  • If the BATFE was so concerned about the welfare of the children, why didn’t they show up at the front door in plain clothes to execute their search warrant? Or better still, hand the case over to an agency that actually deals with child welfare?
    .
    That is, instead of showing up all SWATted out and effecting a tactical entry through a second story window.
    .
    With a camera crew in tow, no less.

    It was, as Mr. Walsh said, “a hideous and stupid error.” But that’s par for the course for what was and is a hideous and stupid agency.

  • We leave the dead to God’s mercy but what of the various surviving adults who were trundled off to prison and to my knowledge remain there incommunicado? I am not aware of any released or publicly quoted.

Evil on the March

Monday, September 8, AD 2014

My favorite living historian Victor Davis Hanson wonders if we are living in a world today where the orcs are winning.

Tolkien’s literary purpose with orcs was not to explore the many shades of evil or the struggle within oneself to avoid the dark side; he did that well enough in dozens of once good but weak characters who went bad such as the turncoat Saruman the wizard, his sidekick Wormtongue, a few of the hobbits who had ruined the Shire, and, best of all, the multifaceted Gollum. Orcs, on the other hand, are unredeemable. Orcs, goblins, and trolls exist as the tools of the even more sinister in proud towers to destroy civilization, and know nothing other than killing and destruction. Their reward is to feed on the crumbs of what they have ruined.

In the 21st century we are often lectured that such simplistic, one-dimensional evil is long gone. An ubiquitous civilization has so permeated the globe that even the worst sorts must absorb some mitigating popular culture from the Internet, Twitter, and Facebook, as if the sheer speed of transmitting thoughts ensures their moral improvement.

Even where democracy is absent, the “world community” and a “global consciousness” are such that billions supposedly won’t let Attila, Tamerlane, and Genghis Khan reappear in our postmodern lives. To deal with a Major Hasan, Americans cannot cite his environment as the cause, at least not poverty, racism, religious bigotry, nativism, xenophobia, or any of the more popular –isms and-ologies in our politically correct tool box that we customarily use to excuse and contextualize evil behavior. So exasperated, we shrug and call his murdering “workplace violence” — an apparent understandable psychological condition attributable to the boredom and monotony of the bleak, postmodern office.

 

******************************************

 

Evil is ancient, unchanging, and with us always. The more postmodern the West becomes — affluent, leisured, nursed on moral equivalence, utopian pacifism, and multicultural relativism — the more premodern the evil among us seems to arise in nihilistic response, whether it is from the primordial Tsarnaev brothers or Jihadi John.  We have invented dozens of new ways to explain away our indifference, our enemies hundreds of new ways of reminding us of our impotence. I suppose we who enjoy the good life don’t want to lose any of it for anything — and will understandably do any amount of appeasing, explaining, and contextualizing to avoid an existential war against the beheaders and mutilators, a fact well-known to our enemies.

The Europeans are shrugging that Ukraine is lost and will soon sigh that the Baltic states are a far-off place not worth risking the coffee shops of Amsterdam to defend. Westerners lament beheadings but then privately mutter that journalists know just what they are getting into when they visit the Middle East. Murdering and abusing a U.S. ambassador on video is not such a big deal anymore and is worth only a second or so mention on Google News.

So we wait behind our suburban Maginot Lines, arguing over our quarter- and half-measure responses, refighting Iraq and Afghanistan as if they were the Somme and Verdun, assured that we can distract ourselves from the horrors abroad with psychodramas about Ferguson, the president’s golfing, his lectures on fairness, and which naked celebrity photo was hacked on the Internet.

Meanwhile the orcs are busy and growing and nearing the ramparts…

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16 Responses to Evil on the March

  • Our Lady foretold a third World War of unimaginable proportions. For a people who have abandoned their creative powers of imagination in pursuit of the seven deadly sins, for a people who make war on God, truth and Justice, for truly the innocent among us are entitled to truth and Justice, the evil is upon us.

  • Mr. McClarey.

    Excellent post sir. So true. So sad.

    In the end, a new heaven and a new earth. Minus the orcs!

  • Oh there are Orcs on the world and yes, they are on the march!

  • “Even where democracy is absent, the “world community” and a “global consciousness” are such that billions supposedly won’t let Attila, Tamerlane, and Genghis Khan reappear in our postmodern lives.”

    I don’t get what this means.
    Postmodern folk won’t allow Attila, Tamerlane, and Khan into our lives?
    Do you mean by force of war? That, postmodern times would have people fighting back an Attila?

    I’m confused.

    Because later in the quoted piece Hanson is saying that people won’t fight against that which is unjust.

  • ‘The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” Tertullian, Apologeticus, Chapter 50
    .
    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” Thomas Jefferson
    .
    Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.

  • “Our Lady foretold a third World War of unimaginable proportions…For a people … in pursuit of the seven deadly sins, for a people who make war on God, truth and Justice,..” Mary De Voe.

    I stay awake some nights thinking about this exact same thing, more frequently the last year, esp. here in this jaded bacchanal-lovers’ paradise called California. How long can this go on, and God, who Our Lady has already said was so greatly offended by sinful human actions (1917 revelation at Fatima), who the Psalms say will not stay His hand forever but will arise and punish (Ps. 94), how long can He stay His hand in response to her remonstrations? I do not know…

  • Don’t forget, Orcs can’t make themselves; they have to be carefully corrupted from good, and don’t survive long on their own.

    More use to keep an eye on what force is guiding them, and counter specific attacks. (In my always own view.)

  • From the story-
    Apparently he did not think that anything from his contemporary experience might allow him to imagine reforming or rehabilitating such fictive folk.?

    Really wish he’d done a bit of research… Tolkien DID think about it. That there weren’t any reformed bugged him.

    Oddly, it doesn’t bug me– at least in one version, they’re corrupted elves (and possibly others)– shattered ones, destroyed people to be used as footmen.
    You may as well look at a collection of “shattered eggs” and complain that not a one isn’t broken beyond repair.
    Alternatively, any that might not be totally evil– being made by a bleeping superpower of darkness— are destroyed before they’re finished.

  • Reblogged at http://wearethenewbarbarians.blogspot.com/

    Thanks so much for the very thought provoking reading.

  • Pingback: When Catholic Leaders Abandon the Faithful - BigPulpit.com
  • A culture that is blind to evil and ignores it will not survive,the more immediate problem is not Islam but our leaders,the media,and our schools

  • “We are about to have a costly lesson on what foolishness that truly is.” -D.McClarey

    Giving witness to others on behalf of Our Father Our Brother Jesus and The Holy Spirit is your bow arrow and never failing shield. The Holy Martyrs faced the orcs of their day in Holy confidence.

    On Eagles Wings…On Eagles Wings!

  • “We fully regard civil wars, i.e., wars waged by the oppressed class against the oppressing class, slaves against slave-owners, serfs against land-owners, and wage-workers against the bourgeoisie, as legitimate, progressive and necessary.”
    —Lenin, Socialism and War (1915)

  • Steve Phoenix: “We fully regard civil wars, i.e., wars waged by the oppressed class against the oppressing class, slaves against slave-owners, serfs against land-owners, and wage-workers against the bourgeoisie, as legitimate, progressive and necessary.”
    —Lenin, Socialism and War (1915)”
    .
    If there is no oppressed class, Lenin will create one.

  • Hanson is a Good German in relation to the Unborn Holocaust. He is on the side of the orcs.

    God save his soul from hell and all of our souls because we don’t fight a war against the people who are responsible for the murder of millions, now billions of unborn children.

  • Where in the world did you get that idea? From a recent column by Hanson:

    “Late-term abortions used to be justified in part by an argument dating back to the 1970s that fetuses were not yet “human.” But emerging science has allowed premature babies five months old or younger to survive outside the womb. Brain waves of fetuses can be monitored at just six weeks after conception. Such facts may be unwelcome to many, given the political controversy over abortion. Yet the idea that fetuses are not viable humans until birth is simply unscientific.”

    http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2014/03/06/left-is-selective-about-when-it-embraces-science.html

A Moral Crisis

Thursday, July 10, AD 2014

 

 

Victor Davis Hanson, my favorite living historian, has long thought and written about the problem of illegal immigration into the US.  Go here to read some of his earlier thoughts about the issue.  He agrees that what is happening currently in the “children’s crusade” to effectively eliminate our southern border is a moral crisis:

 

 

Mexico strictly enforces some of the harshest immigration laws in the world that either summarily deport or jail most who dare to cross Mexican borders illegally, much less attempt to work inside Mexico or become politically active. If America were to emulate Mexico’s immigration policies, millions of Mexican nationals living in the U.S. immediately would be sent home.

How, then, are tens of thousands of Central American children crossing with impunity hundreds of miles of Mexican territory, often sitting atop Mexican trains? Does Mexico believe that the massive influxes will serve to render U.S. immigration law meaningless, and thereby completely shred an already porous border? Is Mexico simply ensuring that the surge of poorer Central Americans doesn’t dare stop in Mexico on its way north?

The media talks of a moral crisis on the border. It is certainly that, but not entirely in the way we are told. What sort of callous parents simply send their children as pawns northward without escort, in selfish hopes of soon winning for themselves either remittances or eventual passage to the U.S? What sort of government allows its vulnerable youth to pack up and leave, without taking any responsibility for such mass flight?

Here in the U.S., how can our government simply choose not to enforce existing laws? In reaction, could U.S. citizens emulate Washington’s ethics and decide not to pay their taxes, or to disregard traffic laws, or to build homes without permits? Who in the pen-and-phone era of Obama gets to decide which law to follow and which to ignore?

Who are the bigots — the rude and unruly protestors who scream and swarm drop-off points and angrily block immigration authority buses to prevent the release of children into their communities, or the shrill counter-protestors who chant back “Viva La Raza” (“Long Live the Race”)? For that matter, how does the racialist term “La Raza” survive as an acceptable title of a national lobby group in this politically correct age of anger at the Washington Redskins football brand?

How can American immigration authorities simply send immigrant kids all over the United States and drop them into communities without firm guarantees of waiting sponsors or family? If private charities did that, would the operators be jailed? Would American parents be arrested for putting their unescorted kids on buses headed out of state?

Liberal elites talk down to the cash-strapped middle class about their illiberal anger over the current immigration crisis. But most sermonizers are hypocritical. Take Nancy Pelosi, former speaker of the House. She lectures about the need for near-instant amnesty for thousands streaming across the border. But Pelosi is a multimillionaire, and thus rich enough not to worry about the increased costs and higher taxes needed to offer instant social services to the new arrivals.

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49 Responses to A Moral Crisis

  • Tragically, the tens of millions of surplus, resentful/wrathful and ignorant/unintelligent people continues to increase.
    .

    They overtly tried it seven years ago: 6/28/2007: “When the U.S. Senate brought the Amnesty bill back up this week, they declared war on the American people. This act created a crisis of confidence in their government. Thankfully, the American people won today,” said Senator DeMint. “This is remarkable because it shows that Americans are engaged and they care deeply about their country. They care enough for their country to get mad and to fight for it, and that’s the most important thing of all. Americans made phone calls and sent letters, and convinced the Senate to stop this bill.”
    .

    “The Senate rejected this bill and the heavy-handed tactics used to ram it through. Americans do not want more of the same – amnesty and broken promises on the border. Americans want legislation to be written in public – not in secret – and they want Congress to engage in an open and fair debate.”
    .

    “There is a better way forward without this bill. The President has said that the border security measures can be implemented over the next 18 months, and they can be done under current law. Now the Administration needs to prove it and stop holding border security hostage for amnesty.”
    .

    “Once we have secured the border and restored trust with the American people, we can begin to take additional steps.”
    .

    .

  • If what I have gathered from various sources is correct, this whole thing is being orchestrated by “The Cartels” – the Mexican crime syndicates – for whom a primary source of income is being threatened by a very-likely legalization of marijuana in most of the country within the next 3-5 years. They control the pipeline – the roads and crossings through which the stream of both pot and Central American kids is flowing.
    .
    Illegals of all ages have come across the border for decades, but a concentrated and purposeful approach by tens of thousands of children is not “just another day along the border.” On the few occasions I’ve seen the “news” on television, the fact that this swarm is mostly kids doesn’t seem to be eliciting any kind of remark. Neither does the seeming absence of Mexican children seem to be noteworthy.
    .
    Given the tightly-woven familial structure of Latin cultures, it is difficult to believe that families would let their children attempt this trip, and all the exposure and abuse it certainly guarantees, unless there was coercion, pay-off or other more menacing impetus to do so. And certainly, only the Mexican syndicates have the kind of money and power to nullify at will the draconian Mexican immigration structure; it is to wonder whether “No ninos Mexicanos” was part of the deal . . .
    .
    My just-slightly-educated guess is that this is a shot across the bow; the Cartels are demonstrating their dissatisfaction and telling the Obama regime that they’d better not think about doing anything “rash” regarding marijuana laws. If there is a statement about “rethinking” legalization or a reversal of the lax enforcement of Federal law shortly, then, as the comedian says, “There’s yer sign.” It won’t happen until this crisis has dissolved into the shadows of the next, but once some back-channel “agreement” is reached, suddenly the tide will stop and a couple of weeks later, some “announcements” will emerge.
    .
    Just putting 2 and 2 together . . .

  • Here’s what I’m wondering…

    What if we emulated Mexico and just started shipping the illegals all straight to Canada?

    Oh come on, you know it’d be funny!

  • Waal, this makes plain where we are. By and large, the metropolitan professional-managerial set are not curators of communities or of the country at large. Obama and (in the course of her adult life) Pelosi are derived from that stratum and manifest its vanity and its thoughtlessness. The rest of us are…employees. We are expected to accept without complaint management’s agenda.

  • Nate,

    A bunch of Canadians are not amused.

    5/15/2008: “A couple of weeks back, Statistics Canada reported that, after adjustment for inflation, Canadian wage-earners are earning less than in 1980. For example, in British Columbia the median wage-earner earns 11.3% less than a quarter-century ago. The media flew into a dither about all the usual fixes — increase taxes on the rich, etc — until one lone columnist, Trevor Lautens, pointed out the obvious:
    ‘In recent decades immigration, especially in British Columbia, has massively swung away from Europe to the less-developed (awful phrase) world… The plucky (another vanished word) of any nationality can overcome anything, as many praiseworthy immigrants have. But any immigrants to Canada without English, notoriously hard to learn and internationally valued — see the April 28 New Yorker story on Li Yang, who literally shouts what he calls “Crazy English” to his students in China — or French, are likely to settle into ethnic ghettos where they are vulnerable to exploitation, including lousy under-the-table wages…’
    “So it’s not surprising that, as a group, immigrants for decades have dragged down Joe and Jane Median’s income.
    “When advanced economies admit ever larger numbers of unskilled workers (plus a chain of relatives through “family reunification”), they are importing poverty. The President says this is to do “the jobs Americans won’t do”. For the sake of argument, take him at his word. So why won’t Americans do them? Because they’re a great way to ensure you live in poverty. So we import foreigners to be our poor people. Can we import just the right number to ensure that poverty doesn’t “grow”? Unlikely.
    “There are arguments to be made both for and against immigration, but you can’t be in favor of mass unskilled immigration and then pledge to fight the “war on poverty”. It’s like spooning out a bathtub with a thimble while leaving the faucets running.” And, you all can again repeat, “The monstrous Repubs hate poor people!”

  • Because 12 million strangers and their exploitive employers decide it is economically beneficial to remake the law.

  • If this is so, it is an illustrative case of a structure of sin being errected. Individual sins multiplied across society to produce an unjust structure. I wonder if the social justice crowed is paying attention.

  • I imagine some laissez-faire economists would argue that bringing down wages, like any other cost reduction, will also bring down prices.

    Certainly, that was the argument for allowing the importation of cheap foreign food and the consequent damage to the incomes of domestic producers.

    And I suppose in a world of perfect competition it would work.

  • MPS – That also is the position of the Chamber of Commerce wing of the GOP. And, the progressives/liberals are either simpletons or want to complete the destruction of the evil, racist United States.

    My economic stratum places a high value on low wages we pay for unskilled labor.

    There are more important issues than my personal ease and net worth.

    Obamnesty is a disaster for blacks, Hispanic Americans and the rest of us, including 92,000,000 working-age Americans who are unemployed or forced out of the labor market.

    Again, Friedman: You can have a welfare state or open borders, but not both.

  • “If this is so, it is an illustrative case of a structure of sin being erected. Individual sins multiplied across society to produce an unjust structure. I wonder if the social justice crowed is paying attention.”

    Exactly right. The problem is that the social justice crowd (an unfortunate but accurate term, as we should all be for social justice, but never as part of an unthinking crowd) sees U.S. immigration law as the structure of sin, and refuses to see these foreign structures of sin that have been erected in opposition to U.S. law and society. They are a classic case of spouting off on the color of the pot and ignoring the kettle.
    If everyone who sees the inequalities in Latin America were to cite them to our bishops as what needs to change, and not our laws – indeed, changing or not enforcing our laws simply enables and perpetuates Latin American inequalities – then perhaps they might change their tune on this issue.

  • A partial repost of a comment from two days ago.

    It is unbelievable that so many people from Latin America, and in particular Central America, are sending their children north in this manner, especially when many do not support international adoption of their children. What does it say about them as parents? The best thing is ‘desperate’, but others less kind come to mind. Furthermore, what does this say about them as citizens of their counties? It says that they have decided their countries are failures, that their only hope for their children is to go to a better place, but they lack the humility to say so publicly and to do the only honest thing, which would be to get their leaders to apply for U.S. statehood. There are many options for them, but their pride keeps them from doing all but the trafficking.

  • “And I suppose in a world of perfect competition it would work.”

    Of course it would. I can’t wait to practice law in Scotland, I’d bet I’d make more money than what I do in the U.S. and the average Scot would pay less for legal representation. It should only take me about 2-3 years to get up to speed with the law. Can’t wait! Oh, there’s barriers to free trade? A bar association? Immigration laws? How bigoted! And I’m descended from some McLanes to boot, so I have a right to enter Scotland!

  • Certainly, that was the argument for allowing the importation of cheap foreign food and the consequent damage to the incomes of domestic producers

    Grain and fruit are grain and fruit. They do not generate social abrasions or create policy dilemmas through their mundane conduct. Neither are grain and fruit an electoral army which can be mobilized against domestic populations by The Regime.

    That aside, it is characteristic of every single affluent country that the share of the population earning a living from agriculture has undergone a drastic decline over more than two centuries. There is no exception to this rule. New Zealand is the only occidental country in which the share employed in agriculture even made it into the double digits at any time in the last 40-odd years. (Not that the real value of agricultural production has suffered). You have liberal trade in foodstuffs, and your product mix changes to specialty crops or to those most amenable to mechanized production. (From yesterday, I take it you have a particular issue with the timber industry). The net effect of a mess of trade restrictions, cartels, and subsidies in agriculture is the promotion of rent seeking behavior. There is no analogue to this problem in the labor market.

  • It says that they have decided their countries are failures, that their only hope for their children is to go to a better place, but they lack the humility to say so publicly and to do the only honest thing, which would be to get their leaders to apply for U.S. statehood. There are many options for them, but their pride keeps them from doing all but the trafficking.

    Can we not have arguments which depend on rhetorical gamesmanship?

  • “Can we not have arguments which depend on rhetorical gamesmanship?”
    Thought we were, considering the economic and legal facts that most Central Americans would be better off as U.S. citizens – Costa Rica excepted. Prove otherwise Art (except with the “but they’ll never apply for statehood so it’s silly” argument, which would only prove my point) and I’d concede some rhetorical sin. Given the lives that are involved it is no game.

  • I am disgusted more at the response of the Church in the United States to all this – enabling the continuation of illegal immigration and exacerbating an already horrible situation – than I am at the Obama Administration for selectively enforcing the immigration laws that do exist. My wife’s daughter (a registered nurse in the Philippines) and her son (a construction worker with lots of electrical experience) can’t get a visa to visit let alone immigrate, and both speak perfect English (besides of course Tagalog). But if they were Mexican illegals unable to speak or write English and on the government dole, then the Church would say it is a moral issue to not welcome them with open arms.

  • Paul, to be fair the Church does favor immigration laws and procedures that allow for family reunions such as that sought by your wife. The unfairness is that such stands are taking a back seat to people who are really impoverished and whose poverty is causing the Church to turn a blind eye to illegality.

  • Wasn’t this law regarding these Central Americans passed by the Bush regime? Why can’t they just repeal it?

  • Egon Wolff, one of the darlings of the Left, who is heavily studied and hugely influential in Mexico and throughout S America and its enclaves of socialism (a Chilean by birth; son of a German Jewish couple who emigrated there) sowed much of this concept, the invasion of the US, in his play Los Invasores (“The Invaders: A Play Within a Dream”):

    “Egon Wolff’s Los invasores (1962) deals with an invasion—
    the invasion and conquest of a city by the poor people or harapientos who
    live on its outskirts. The conquerors, obviously bent on exacting vengeance for
    the oppression they have so long endured, quickly destroy all vestiges of the
    capitalist way of life and impose a rule which, although it has anarchic overtones,
    is essentially socialist in nature. The destruction of capitalism and imposition
    of socialist doctrine is exemplified by the confiscation and melting down of
    silverware, jewelry, and other precious items to make tools, the equal division of
    clothing among all the people, and the fact that every woman, regardless of background, is sent to do manual labor in the hills.” —Leon F. Lyday, preface

    I have long been haunted by the glee expressed by those who have loved this nightmarish story, and longed for its realization as the emotional expression and the wish-fulfillment among many “educated” Mexican- and South American literati, a wish for the destruction of the USA, The play’s influence on the ruling elite and generations of students especially in Mexico City cannot be underestimated. Mexico’s bitterness over the loss of her northern boundary states is a living poison, bubbling for decades in the so-called educated elites, and now they are “living the dream.” And for us it is a true nightmare. And make no mistake: it is entirely a deliberate act by Mexico to facilitate our destruction.

  • Friedman: You can have a welfare state or open borders, but not both.

    What a dumb statement by Milton ‘turn on the printing press’ Friedman. El Salvador/Honduras/Guatemala have some of the lowest taxes and government spending in the world. In no way could any of them be described as a welfare state. Doesn’t seem to have stopped the mass poverty that makes parents send their kids to the much more welfare statish United States. Do people like Friedman actually check statistics before they write such drivel?

  • “Do people like Friedman actually check statistics before they write such drivel?”
    He was referring to the US Tom. Here is a video so you can understand what he was saying:

  • I value Milton Friedman’s words more than yours, Tom D.

    Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras have been wretchedly poor nations since they broke away from Mexico two centuries ago.

    Notice that Mexico never bemoans the loss of her southern territories that became the Central American nations.

  • Thanks for the video link Donald. While he makes a good case for restricting immigration when you have a welfare state, I don’t think he makes a case at all for open borders without a welfare state. Like I wrote before, there is no welfare state in Central America and they have some of the lowest taxes and government spending in the world. Does anyone think the solution to their problems is open borders?

  • Steve Phoenix that is horrible.
    Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. We do need to exalt the Lord, repent abortion, seek HIs forgiveness and guidance.
    ISAIAH 56:1 Thus says the Lord: Observe what is right, do what is just, for my salvation is about to come, my justice about to be revealed. 2 Happy is the one who does this, whoever holds fast to it: Keeping the sabbath without profaning it, keeping ones hand from doing evil.

  • I don’t Tom. I think the million legal immigrants we allow each year is more than generous.

  • Penguins Fan, I think you meant to reply to Tom M, not me. True?

  • Mexicans who self describe as La Raza “covet” the improvements in their former American territories (ie, California) which generate so much wealth for so many. What they don’t acknowledge or appreciate is that modern day California didn’t just happen; it is the fruit of the Protestant work ethic and an American exceptionalism whose genius is not easily replicated. California’s vineyards, movie industry, high tech computer industry, naval bases, and agricultural output are the products of hard work and scientific innovation.
    .
    La Raza members may discover that when and if they reclaim California, they will not be able to sustain it. Mexico has never proven itself capable of the sort of creativity, innovation, or sophistication necessary to birth and grow wealth generating businesses or a flourishing and well functioning state.
    .
    Hence, La Raza’s infiltration of California may prove the adage that capturing and killing the goose that laid the golden eggs merely causes the production of the golden eggs to summarily end; a pyrrhic victory indeed.

  • Some of these posts remind me of Sidonius Appolinaris predicting the ruin of Gaul by the Franks, the Burgundians and the Goths, or St Gildas, so shocked by the incursions of the Angles, Saxons and Jutes that he quit Britain for the Celtic enclave of Brittany. To Romans, or to Gauls and Britons Romanised, it must have seemed the end of civilisation as they knew it.

    What would Europe (or the United States) be today, without the Volkswanderung of the Germanic peoples? The great story of the West begins with the anointing of Clovis and the coronation of Charlemagne. All that had been effete and decadent was swept away by that human deluge and all that was great in the Roman order not only survives, but flourishes. Their jurists are our lawgivers and rule the descendants of the barbarian conquerors from their graves.

  • “To Romans, or to Gauls and Britons Romanised, it must have seemed the end of civilisation as they knew it.”

    It was.

  • “All that had been effete and decadent was swept away by that human deluge”

    What utter and complete rubbish. Read the History of the Franks by Gregory of Tours for a useful corrective to this rose colored view of the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West. A little Chesterton is instructive also:

    For the end of the world was long ago,
    When the ends of the world waxed free,
    When Rome was sunk in a waste of slaves,
    And the sun drowned in the sea.

    When Caesar’s sun fell out of the sky
    And whoso hearkened right
    Could only hear the plunging
    Of the nations in the night.

    Centuries of human misery stood between the collapse of the Empire in the West and the High Middle Ages. It is hardly something to wish to emulate. Of course the barbarian invasions bear no relationship to this attempt by fatheads in this country to erase our southern border for political, economic and misguided humanitarian reasons that are directly antithetical to the laws and the wishes of the American people.

  • Right, Mac.

    They don’t call them the Dark Ages for nothing.

    Maybe them German peoples weren’t wandering, they were being pushed by more savage peoples from the east.

    The progressive agenda will result in a tragic fiasco.

  • I’d be rooting for Chile in Sunday’s soccer game.

    Steve Phoenix- Thanks!

    Tom D, I’m sorry you feel that way.

    I am not an academic or an economist. I think (klaxons!) Dr. Friedman was a really bright guy: one of the miniscule number of academics with an iota of an appreciation for reality.

    From 3/2/2010: WSJ: “How Milton Friedman Saved Chile” Bret Stephens synopsis –

    .
    In 1973, the year the proto-Chavista government of Salvador Allende was overthrown by Gen. Augusto Pinochet, Chile was an economic shambles. Inflation topped out at an annual rate of 1000%, foreign-currency reserves were totally depleted, and per capita GDP was roughly that of Peru and well below Argentina’s.
    .

    Chile had intellectual capital, thanks to an exchange program between its Catholic University and the economics department of the University of Chicago, then Friedman’s academic home. Even before the 1973 coup, several of Chile’s “Chicago Boys” had drafted a set of policy proposals which amounted to an off-the-shelf recipe for economic liberalization: sharp reductions to government spending and the money supply; privatization of state-owned companies; the elimination of obstacles to free enterprise and foreign investment, and so on.
    As for Chile, Pinochet appointed a succession of Chicago Boys to senior economic posts. By 1990, the year he ceded power, per capita GDP had risen by 40% (in 2005 dollars) even as Peru and Argentina stagnated. Pinochet’s democratic successors—all of them nominally left-of-center—only deepened the liberalization drive. Result: Chileans have become South America’s richest people. They have the continent’s lowest level of corruption, the lowest infant-mortality rate, and the lowest number of people living below the poverty line.
    .

    Chile also has some of the world’s strictest building codes. That makes sense for a country that straddles two massive tectonic plates. But having codes is one thing, enforcing them is another. The quality and consistency of enforcement is typically correlated to the wealth of nations. The poorer the country, the likelier people are to scrimp on rebar, or use poor quality concrete, or lie about compliance. In the Sichuan earthquake of 2008, thousands of children were buried under schools also built according to code.

  • TomD wrote, “Maybe them German peoples weren’t wandering, they were being pushed by more savage peoples from the east”

    Of course. There was a steady settlement of the lands west of the long, porous Danube frontier by tribes under pressure from fiercer rivals to the east, notably the Huns.

    Then again, there were large contingents of barbarians, serving as auxiliaries in the Roman army, under their own chieftains (Clovis was the third generation of such commanders) and willing to support any victorious or mutinous general who offered to reward them.

    Finally, there was a large servile class, of the same races, ready enough to throw in their lot with any adventurer who might ameliorate their condition.

    There were no “barbarian invasions.” Clovis commanded a force of 5,000 men and with these he conquered a population of, perhaps, 2,000,000 Gauls? Really? The fighting, such as the battle of Vouillé (where Clovis had Byzantine allies), were between rival generals of auxiliaries. The real barbarian invasions, Mongol, Norseman, Arab, were all repulsed.

    Chesterton’s gloomy picture is a caricature. My parish church in Paris (I have a little studio apartment off the Bd Raspail, near the Luxembourg Gardens) was build by Childebert, King of the Neustrian Franks, the son of Clovis and St Clotilde. He built it to house the holiest of his relics, the stole of Saint Vincent of Saragossa. It was consecrated in 558, in the middle of the “Dark Ages.” It contains the tombs of other notable benefactors of the church and abbey, all patrons of religion and learning: Chlothar II, King of all the Franks, who died in 629 and the assassinated Childeric II, together with his wife Bilichild and their five year old son, Dagobert, who died with him in Livry forest in 675. The abbey school was the nucleus of the University of Paris.

  • There were no “barbarian invasions.”

    Rubbish. If Clovis was not a barbarian the term is devoid of meaning.

    “It would seem as if the episode of the celebrated vase of Soissons were an incident of the campaign against Syagrius, and it proves that, although a pagan, Clovis continued his father’s policy by remaining on amicable terms with Gaulish episcopate. The vase, taken by the Frankish soldiers while plundering a church, formed part of the booty that was to be divided among the army. It was claimed by the bishop (St. Remigius?), and the king sought to have it awarded to himself in order to return it intact to the bishop, but a dissatisfied soldier split the vase with his battle-axe, saying to this king: “You will get only the share allotted you by fate”. Clovis did not openly resent the insult, but the following year, when reviewing his army he came upon this same soldier and, reproving him for the defective condition of his arms, he split his skull with an axe, saying: “It was thus that you treated the Soissons vase.””

    That Clovis and his father had Roman military appointments in the dying empire is precisely of the same significance as calling a dog’s tail a leg: the name of a thing does not change the substance of a thing. The late Roman armies in the West largely consisted of barbarian war bands and barbarians, bearing Latin titles of office from feeble Emperors, usually led them, this military impotence being one of the chief elements in the fall of the Western Empire.

    The barbarian invasions of course had been a gradual process for centuries prior to Clovis. That civilization took a massive hit by the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West is denied only by those who lack any understanding of the period. Demographically, culturally and technologically this was a disaster, and the aftermath took centuries to climb out of.

  • Mexico has never proven itself capable of the sort of creativity, innovation, or sophistication necessary to birth and grow wealth generating businesses or a flourishing and well functioning state. –

    Deducting natural resource rents and applying a fudge factor to correct for Mexico’s abnormally skewed income distribution, standards of living in Mexico are similar to those of the United States about 90 years ago, which is near to the global mean of our time. Life in the 1920s was in places hardscrabble in ways we can scarcely imagine anymore, but there was quite a bit of mass affluence as well. Mexican crime rates are wretched. However, Chicago was not exactly tranquil ca. 1922 (and a number of Southern cities were in worse shape than Chicago).

    As for the Mexican political order, there has been complete legal-formal continuity since 1920. There was a sanguinary civil war during the period running from 1913 to 1920, but the country has not had a military coup since 1913, nor since 1915 any head of state drawn from the institutional military, nor since 1946 any head of state with a history as a partisan officer. The political machine which ran the country for 80 years lost its monopoly in stages over the period running from 1983 to 2000.

    A succession of governments over the last three decades has liquidated much of the country’s portfolio of state enterprises and common property. What remains if I understand correctly are PEMEX, some public utilities, and ejido lands. There’s also been considerable deregulation as well. The country suffered a sharp economic contraction in 2008 and 2009, but not a disaster of abnormal dimensions.

  • Bush said America could be a “lawful society”. A “lawful society” of lawbreaking illegal aliens? How is that possible? The influx of minor children who must be supported until they are emancipated is created by foreigners who know full well that they are violating our borders and our laws. Weren’t American citizens targeted in recent history and accused of “stealing” Guatemalan children and smuggling them out of Guatemala? Now, all of a sudden it is OK?
    Government does not get to dictate the virtue of charity for the citizens.

  • Michael you and I have apparently read different accounts of history.

  • The Irish saved civilization.

  • Art Deco,

    I have visited Mexico approximately 5 times; once to Tia Juana on the west coast and four times to Tulum on the east coast (the Yucatán Peninsula).
    .
    What I observed in Tia Juana in 2000 was an incalculable level of poverty that was beyond anything I had ever witnessed. People were living in homes that appeared to be made of cardboard boxes and children begged for food, money, or anything of value. I could not reconcile what I witnessed in Tia Juana with the world I had just left behind in San Diego where the poorest resident appeared almost rich by comparison. The persons who were suffering so profoundly in Tia Juana appeared to be native Indians.
    .
    On the east coast, Tulum was beautiful with architectural remnants of a great and mighty Mayan (pagan) civilization. The local residents of this area were also primarily Indian, and very poor, making a pittance from work in and about the tourist areas of nearby Cancun supporting hotels which catered to tourists. All of the local people with whom I came in contact were gracious, kind, and appeared to be Catholic. They were, however, dependent for their well being on a political elite who controlled the economy by keeping native Indians living on subsistence level stipends. It was patently obvious that there was an existing class structure that excluded native Indians from its elite brotherhood and barred them from the bounties of the land just because they were Indians.
    .
    Also very obvious was a strong military police presence in Tulum with approximately four or six uniformed police riding in the back of pick-up trucks with exposed rifles or machine guns (I am no gun expert) held aloft as they drove through the villages.
    .
    I will defer to you on what occurs in places such as Mexico City but what I saw on the coasts was scary and I feel great compassion for the native Indians who are treated as second class citizens in their native land by corrupt overlords. The fact that so many American businesses, seeking cheap labor, would set up shop in this milieu is disturbing.
    .
    As to my observations regarding those who comprise the liberal nationalist group “La Raza”…I found comments by “Victor Davis Hanson and The Conservative Forum” to be informative. See, minutes 1:16 and forward at http://youtu.be/E1NnxsOMG70

  • T. Shaw writes, “The Irish saved civilization.”
    .
    Probably not…but we (their descendants) like to think so. : )

  • The Mexican military is contextually small. That’s bog standard for Latin America. They also have malintegrated labor markets and abnormally skewed income distribution. That’s also quite unremarkable for Latin America. You’re going to see deep pits of poverty there you will not in other countries of similar levels of mean affluence (the metrics I refer to above were comparisons of the middle 80% to correct for that skew). Also, the commodity mix available to people of similar real income levels changes drastically over time.

    Latin American crime rates are exceptional. You do not see anything like it anywhere outside of southern Africa, and, again, the social stratification is weird and distorted in a way you find elsewhere only in quondam pigmentocracies like South Africa.

    For the most part, though, Mexico is about average for the human race. Those places on the globe more affluent would be the occidental core (Western Europe, North America, and the Antipodes), Asian tigers, some post-Communist countries in Eastern Europe, and (if you do not bracket out natural resource rents) a mess of oil prinicipalities. There is a list of about 18 others whose income levels exceed Mexico, but most of these are ministates (like Malta) or have income levels of which Mexico is within striking distance (like Argentina).

  • What’s going on our border is not a moral crisis, it is a political one. The alignment of borders of different countries opening and closing at will, of security and police forces standing down to permit entry and transgress through sovereign territories, is not orchestrated by poor workers.
    .
    It is a coordinated crisis by political and no doubt economic leadership within America, Mexico, and various Central American countries to tear down walls/borders and flood the United States with peoples from all over the Americas. .
    It is the fulfillment of a political promise made to the international community by President Obama’s in his Berlin address of 2008.

  • The evil, unjust United States are being destroyed. It is not accidental.

    End welfare/free hospitalization for invaders. Secure the border without firing a shot.

  • “It is a coordinated crisis by political and no doubt economic leadership within America, Mexico, and various Central American countries to tear down walls/borders and flood the United States with peoples from all over the Americas. . It is the fulfillment of a political promise made to the international community by President Obama’s in his Berlin address of 2008.”

    Slainte–so true. Recall how Clinton and Obama in 2009 supported a leftist despot who, through Honduran law and its constitution, had to be forcibly removed from office as he sought complete Chavez like power in his country. More recently the US did nothing as the drug cartels aided and abetted a hate filled Marxist in the El Salvador elections. The US withdrew support under Obama for any intermediary broker let alone opposition in Venezuela and has withdrawn aid and assistance as the Central American countries sought to fight the criminal overlords seeking to control their countries. We now have Chavez like regimes spreading throughout Central and South America all with the same ideology possessed by our own President. All this is done with the intention of destroying this country, destroying the civic and church and political institutions which promote liberty, and remaking America.

  • Lord Paddy Ashdown comments on “the Global Power Shift” as an evolution from a Lateral model of government (sovereign states) to a Vertical model of government (one world government) with an accompanying system of laws to regulate “global governance”. In this vertical model, traditional alliances between nation states give way to identifying new “common interests” which drive the formation of new alliances to meet those interests.
    .
    See, Lord Ashdown at http://youtu.be/zuAj2F54bdo
    .
    Noticeably absent from Lord Ashdown’s commentary is a failure to address the concerns of Lord Acton (10 January 1834 – 19 June 1902), who opined, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely…”
    .
    Where in the world does one go to protest abuses which arise from a global world government and its absolute leadership?

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour, I didn’t write “Maybe them German peoples weren’t wandering, they were being pushed by more savage peoples from the east”, T.Shaw did.

    T.Shaw, I didn’t write anything against Milton Friedman, Tom M did

  • Art Deco
    You could have included in your summary that, in 1982, the Mexican economy effectively went into bankruptcy and had to be bailed out by the IMF, and international banks, with the support of the US government.
    In 1979, the oil price had risen from $2 to $3 a barrel to $40 a barrel, following the fall of the Shah of Iran. In a fit of hubris, Mexico went on a huge spending spree, borrowing enormous sums of money, backed by the assumption that the price of oil would remain in the $30-40 range until the end of the 20th century without interruption. In the event, in 1982, the price of oil fell to around $10.

  • TomD – Sorry, a slip of the pen.

  • Spero News reports that:
    .
    “…Obama Seeks To ‘Destabilize’ the United States….A ‘Dear Colleague’ letter sent by Senator Sessions to all 535 members of both houses…accuses President Obama of a ‘breathtaking’ usurpation of power. Obama ‘threatens foundation of our constitutional republic’
    .
    Sessions is further quoted as saying in his Dear Colleague letter that:

    “….The action the President is reportedly contemplating would be a nullification of the Immigration and National Act by the Executive Branch of government. Indeed, it would be an executive nullification of our borders as an enforceable national boundary. By declaring whole classes of illegal immigrants beyond the reach of the law, it would remove the moral authority needed to enforce any immigration law, creating the very open-borders policy explicitly rejected by Congress and the people. And it would guarantee that the current illegal immigration disaster would only further worsen and destabilize….”
    .
    Source: http://www.speroforum.com/a/SWNRKOIWOH49/75034-Obama-seeks-to-destabilize-the-United-States-says-Republican-senator#.U8YJzJRdWSo
    .
    Ugh….sort of makes you want to have a drink…anyone for a Margarita?

Humanities Replaced by Banalities

Wednesday, January 29, AD 2014

In fine, I have written my work, not as an essay which is to win the applause of the moment, but as a possession for all time.

Thucydides

 

 

I recall as a boy the first day I made the magic acquaintance of Thucydides who unlocked for me an enduring love of ancient Greece.  I then passed on to Herodotus and Plutarch, and next to Plato and Aristotle.  As a boy and teenager in Paris, Illinois the great historians and philosophers of Greece, and then Rome, became my favorite instructors.  Looking on the way in which most colleges and universities ignore this priceless heritage today is painful.  My favorite living historian, Victor Davis Hanson describes the magnitude of the loss:

 

 

If the humanities could have adopted a worse strategy to combat these larger economic and cultural trends over the last decade, it would be hard to see how. In short, the humanities have been exhausted by a half-century of therapeutic “studies” courses: Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies, Post-Colonial Studies, Environmental Studies, Chicano Studies, Women’s Studies, Black Studies, Asian Studies, Cultural Studies, and Gay Studies. Any contemporary topic that could not otherwise justify itself as literary, historical, philosophical, or cultural simply tacked on the suffix “studies” and thereby found its way into the curriculum.

These “studies” courses shared an emphasis on race, class, and gender oppression that in turn had three negative consequences. First, they turned the study of literature and history from tragedy to melodrama, from beauty and paradox into banal predictability, and thus lost an entire generation of students. Second, they created a climate of advocacy that permeated the entire university, as the great works and events of the past were distorted and enlisted in advancing contemporary political agendas. Finally, the university lost not just the students, but the public as well, which turned to other sources—filmmakers, civic organizations, non-academic authors, and popular culture—for humanistic study.

The way this indoctrination played itself out in the typical humanities class was often comical. Homer’s Odyssey was not about an early epic Greek hero, who, with his wits, muscle, and courage overcomes natural and human challenges to return home to restore his family and to reestablish the foundations of his community on Ithaca—a primer on how the institutions of the early polis gradually superseded tribal and savage precursors. Instead, the Odyssey could be used to lecture students about the foundations of white male oppression. At the dawn of Western civilization, powerful women, such as Calypso and Circe, were marginalized and depicted as anti-social misfits, sorceresses on enchanted islands who paid a high social price for taking control of their own sexuality and establishing careers on their own terms. Penelope was either a suburban Edith Bunker, clueless about the ramifications of her own monotonous domesticity, or, contrarily, an emancipated proto-Betty Friedman, who came of age only in the 20-year absence of her oppressive husband and finally forged outlets for her previously repressed and unappreciated talents. The problem is not necessarily that such interpretations were completely untrue, but that they remain subsidiary themes in a far larger epic about the universal human experience.

Students were to discover how oppressive and unfair contemporary life was through the literature, history, and culture of our past—a discovery that had no time for ambiguity such as the irony of Sophocles’s Ajax, or the tragedy of Robert E. Lee. Instead, those of the past were reduced to cut-out, cardboard figurines, who drew our interest largely to the extent that they might become indicted as insensitive to women, gays, minorities, and the poor of their age—judged wanting by comfortable contemporary academic prosecutors who were deemed enlightened for their criticism. To the extent that these dreary reeducation seminars were not required as part of the General Education curriculum, students voted with their feet to pass them up; when enrollment was mandatory, students resigned themselves never to suffer through similar elective classes in the future.

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4 Responses to Humanities Replaced by Banalities

  • Not surprising that Hanson nails it, but he really does nail it. History requires humility. It requires you to not judge by your standards, but to step back and attempt to judge by universal standards. Without the former, it’s advocacy like Hanson condemns. Without the latter, it’s the relativism which proceeded the modern advocacy. You can’t learn anything by saying that Homer doesn’t comply with the current modern standard of, say, sexuality. But you can learn from him, maybe get another datapoint for appraising your own era and his.

  • “Money” quote: “A liberal arts education was once a gateway to wisdom; now, it can breed ignorance and arrogance.”

    I would have deleted “can.”

  • ~1970:
    The professors of current professors began to “be cool” in manner. Classic classrooms with now sought after as antique wooden desk front and center (if not raised on a platform) became the chair for his grubby jeans or the stool for his feet to scratch. The self-proclaimed humanists, ironically, were meticulous about forming amorphous circles for students to be able to be on the gritty floor after pushing the chairs an desks out of the way. Communications were no longer sent by raised hand and surrounding silence. Interruptions of first person experiences were indulged as the clock ticked and weeks and months passed. It would be interesting to study the evolving syllabi and course titles from that time to present in the path to a Bachelor of Arts degree.

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Lepanto

Monday, October 7, AD 2013

 

This year on Sunday October 13, 2013, Pope Francis will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Go here to read all about it.  My parish is gathering together at noon CST on October 13 to pray the rosary at the exact same time that the Pope consecrates the world to the Mother of God.  What better preparation can we have for that wonderful day than to remember today another victory of the Rosary.

On October 7, 1571 the forces of the Holy League under Don Juan of Austria, illegitimate half brother of Philip II, in an ever-lasting tribute to Italian and Spanish courage and seamanship, smashed the Turkish fleet.  This was the turning point in the centuries-long struggle between the Christian West and the forces of the Ottoman Empire over the Mediterranean.  The Holy League had been the work of Pope Saint Pius V, who miraculously saw the victory in Rome on the day of the battle, and he proclaimed the feast day of Our Lady of Victory to whom he attributed the victory.

For a good overview of the battle of Lepanto read this review by Victor Davis Hanson here of  The Victory of the West: The Great Christian-Muslim Clash at the Battle of Lepanto by Niccolò Capponi.

Before the battle Don John of Austria went about the ships of his fleet and said this to his crews:  ‘My children, we are here to conquer or die. In death or in victory, you will win immortality.’  The chaplains of the fleet preached sermons on the theme:  “No Heaven For Cowards”.    Many of the men were clutching rosaries just before the battle.  Admiral Andrea Doria went into the fight with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe aboard his ship.  Back in Europe countless Catholics were praying rosaries at the request of Saint Pope Pius V for the success of the Christian fleet.

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5 Responses to Lepanto

  • So happy to hear your parish will be praying the Holy Rosary at noon on the 96th Anniversary of the Fatima miracle.

    Our village in Cedar Michigan will have Legion of Mary and KofC members praying the Holy Rosary in a public square for America’s conversion. To date there is 11,200 other cities around the globe praying the exact same prayers for the exact same intentions. All of this on Oct. 12th Saturday at noon.
    Check out ANF.org Public Square Rosary campaign.
    Join in won’t you. Saturday or Sunday you will help to defend our freedoms and help crush the serpents head.

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  • In his famous vision of the future victory of the Church over her enemies, St. John Bosco saw the Pope tie the church to two columns. One had our Lady on top with the word “Lepanto” written underneath. The other had the Eucharist oh top. When the Pope accomplished this, the enemy boats in the vision were sunk both due to a storm and the ongoing battle. There are those who believe that Pope John Paul II was the pope of this vision. Although he was “killed,” afterwards, by the intercession of Our Lady of FATIMA (n.b. reference to the name of Mohammad’s daughter), the Pope is “resurrected” to take up his job anew. If Pope John Paul was in fact the pope of the dream, the tying of the Church would have been the year dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary and the other year dedicated to the Eucharist. Without a doubt, since then the Muslim “fleet” has descended into chaos and confusion (e.g. the Arab spring and the Shiite-Sunni conflict).

  • We too are gathering on Oct 12 at noon to pray the rosary in public at an area park.

  • Jeanne R.

    Great!
    I’m recalling the end of Chpt. 12 book of Revelation……verse 16 or 17; and the serpent waged war with Her offspring, those who abide by the commandments and give testimony of her son Jesus.

    I’m on coffee break, so my quote might not be perfect, but its very close.

    We are making up the heel to crush the head of satan. It’s happening and God knows when it will be finalized.

    Keep on praying your Holy rosaries.
    🙂

Elites v. The Rest

Monday, July 8, AD 2013

 

 

 

 

The older I get, the more I comprehend that one of the ways of understanding how contemporary American politics works is  the vast gulf that often exists between elite opinion and motivations in this country and the opinions of most Americans.  Case in point, illegal immigration.  At a time when the American economy is on the rocks and we have a federal debt that can never be repaid short of debt repudiation or ruinous inflation, which is another name for debt repudiation, the political class is focused on a Senate bill to give illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, amnesty.  Leaving aside the merits of the bill, which I suspect is one with Nineveh and Tyre  as far as the House is concerned, it is an odd priority until one looks at it as elite opinion does in this country.  My favorite living historian, Victor Davis Hanson, does so in a recent column:

Take illegal immigration. On the facts, it is elitist to the core. Big business, flush with cash, nevertheless wants continued access to cheap labor, and so favors amnesties for millions who arrived without English, education, or legality. On the other end of the scale, Jorge Hernandez, making $9 an hour mowing lawns, is not enthusiastic about an open border, which undercuts his meager bargaining power with his employer.

The state, not the employer, picks up the cost of subsidies to ensure that impoverished illegal-immigrant workers from Oaxaca have some semblance of parity with American citizens in health care, education, legal representation, and housing. The employers’ own privilege exempts them from worrying whether they would ever need to enroll their kids in the Arvin school system, or whether an illegal-alien driver will hit their daughter’s car on a rural road and leave the scene of the accident. In other words, no one in Atherton is in a trailer house cooking meth; the plastic harnesses of missing copper wire from streetlights are not strewn over the sidewalks in Palo Alto; and the Menlo schools do not have a Bulldog-gang problem.

Meanwhile, ethnic elites privately understand that the melting pot ensures eventual parity with the majority and thereby destroys the benefits of hyphenation. So it becomes essential that there remain always hundreds of thousands of poor, uneducated, and less-privileged immigrants entering the U.S. from Latin America. Only that way is the third-generation Latino professor, journalist, or politician seen as a leader of group rather than as an individual. Take away illegal immigration, and the Latino caucus and Chicano graduation ceremony disappear, and the beneficiaries become just ordinary politicians and academics, distinguished or ignored on the basis of their own individual performance.

Mexico? Beneath the thin veneer of Mexican elites suing Americans in U.S. courts is one of the most repressive political systems in the world. Mexican elites make the following cynical assumptions: Indigenous peoples are better off leaving Mexico and then scrimping to send billions of dollars home in remittances; that way, they do not agitate for missing social services back home; and once across the border, they act as an expatriate community to leverage concessions from the United States.

Nannies, gardeners, cooks, and personal attendants are increasingly recent arrivals from Latin America — even as the unemployment rates of Latino, African-American, and working-class white citizens remain high, with compensation relatively low. No wonder that loud protestations about “xenophobes, racists, and nativists” oil the entire machinery of elite privilege. Does the liberal congressman or the Washington public advocate mow his own lawn, clean his toilet, or help feed his 90-year-old mother? At what cost would he cease to pay others to do these things — $20, $25 an hour? And whom would he hire if there were no illegal immigrants? The unemployed African-American teenager in D.C.? The unemployed Appalachian in nearby West Virginia? I think not.

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35 Responses to Elites v. The Rest

  • In general, I think he is right, but the notion that Mexico has one of the most repressive political systems in the world is bizarre. I do not think you could find any authority which systematically tracks the elements of civic and political life (and Freedom House is the most trustworthy) who would offer that judgment.

  • I wouldn’t call Mexico one of the world’s most repressive political systems either Art, although I think it would score high on any measure of governmental corruption. That they have fostered illegal immigration both as a steam valve and for the money the emigrants send home is on target. Crashing demographics in Mexico and the lousy Obama economy have greatly lessened the number of illegals heading north.

  • The Mexican government provides written literature in cartoon format to those citizens wanting to make the trip across the border. They have a guy named Carlos Slim who is either the richest guy in the world or one of the richest, yet, they can’t provide for their less fortunate. It is easier to prompt them to come here and have us take care of them. We need to close the borders, once and for all time. When we choose to have people come across, it should be our decision. That is what real countries do. No gang of eight immigration reform until the border is secured.

  • So, Donald do you still think Marco Rubio ship;d be the GOP standard beare?

  • Yes as to the Marco Rubio who will introduce the no abortion after 20 weeks bill in the Senate passed by the House. No as to the Marco Rubio who is pushing the Gang of Eight immigration bill.

  • Problem is the latter reveals more of the real Marco Rubio than the former.

  • Do you really have to ask that question? Which has Rubio been willing to invest more political capital into?

  • Rubio has been anti-abortion throughout his political career, and you can bet that making this a front and center issue for him will destroy the good press that he has been receiving in the liberal media for immigration. It appears to me that will destroy any political capital he has gained through his immigration stance.

  • We’ll see about that.

  • The republicans have been putting the life issue front and center since Reagan. It is pure pandering to us for our votes. Eventually, we may wake up and realize we are being duped. Reagan, Bush the Elder and young Bush all had control either one or both the Senate or the House during their terms . Pandering is too nice a term, BSing or hypocritical better describes them. Rubio lost all his creds when he threw in with the gang of eight. At one time I had high hope for him.

  • Well Ray what magic wand did any of those Republican Presidents have to reverse Roe? A constitutional amendment requires two-thirds of both the House and the Senate, something the Republicans have never had since the days of Calvin Coolidge. Your cynicism ignores that fact, the Hyde Amendment, the partial birth abortion ban, a torrent of anti-abortion state legislation where the Republicans are in control and the fact that the Democrats are lock step in support of abortion. Being angry at the Republicans over abortion when they are confronted with not only a party that is pro-abortion, but also the media, academia and the entertainment industry that are wildly in favor of abortion strikes me as absurd. Especially since the alternative are third parties that measure their votes on the national scene at under 200k.

  • Thank you for the VDH article, Mr. McClarey. I say he’s put his finger on
    it exactly.

  • There have been a litany of bills passed in the states, especially in the last few years, that have slowed down the abortion industry. The Hyde amendment has been made obsolete by the current administration ruling by executive orders and mandates that bypass the Congress. I will never vote again for a republican, as I did in 2012, because he was less evil than the other major party candidate. I not only wasted my vote by doing this but I compromised my moral underpinnings and values. Served eight years in the military and don’t need anyone including you telling me I’m wasting my vote if I don’t agree with your reasoning. Usually, I’m in full accord with your writings Mr. McClarey but not on this issue. I for one and only speaking for myself am a Conservative and have no allegiance to either party. Henceforth, my votes will mirror my convictions.

  • Jorge Hernandez, making $9 an hour mowing lawns, is not enthusiastic about an open border, which undercuts his meager bargaining power with his employer.

    This seems doubtful.

  • And the AmChurch bishops back this because they will get more Catholics (new evangelization?) without telling the non-Catholics outside of the Church, there is no salvation…you know, Catholic dogma…

  • “This seems doubtful.”

    Why?

  • “What evidence is there that low-income Hispanics oppose immigration reform? VDH certainly doesn’t offer any.”

  • “I not only wasted my vote by doing this but I compromised my moral underpinnings and values.”

    People can vote however they please but I have never understood this line of reasoning. The only candidate I ever voted for who I whole-heartedly supported was Ronald Reagan. Every other candidate I ever voted for I did so because I found him or her less objectionable than their adversary. On the national scene there are only two parties that will have any say on abortion laws in the foreseeable future: The Republican party and the Democrat party. That alone is enough to keep me voting Republican, although additionally my views are normally much more congruent with the Republican candidate on most other issues than the Democrat candidate.

    I didn’t think much of either McCain or Romney, and I said so frequently on this blog. However, compared to Obama, either of them was the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan. If there was a viable third party with views more like mine than the Republican party I would consider such a third party. No such viable party exists today or is likely to exist in the future as far as I can tell.

  • “What evidence is there that low-income Hispanics oppose immigration reform? VDH certainly doesn’t offer any.”

    There actually is a fair amount of polling evidence that most Hispanic voters care little about immigration “reform”.

    http://dyn.realclearpolitics.com/printpage/?url=http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/06/28/the_gop_and_hispanics_what_the_future_holds_119011-full.html&showimages=1

  • I have very seldom given to political candidates, but future primary challengers to M. Rubio and K. Ayotte will be receiving a cheque from my household. John McCain and Lindsey Graham have long been indifferent to law enforcement (for reasons I have never been able to fathom) and Susan Collins is a temporizer as a matter of routine, but Rubio and Ayotte quite self-consciously defrauded their own electorates; Kelly Ayotte, juris doctor, endorsed a bill with whose provisions she was unfamiliar and Marco Rubio went on a sales tour that would have made the fictional Prof. Harold Hill blush. There is always a certain amount of artifice in social interactions, there is often a great deal of embarrassment and its progeny, but there should be zero tolerance for that sort of sociopathy in public life.

  • I’m with Art. If nothing else, McCain and Graham have been consistent. Rubio out and out lied to his constituency, and to add insult to injury, has been played by a snake-oil salesman from New York. His sycophants can play all the ads they want on conservative talk radio, but he sunk his career before it even started.

  • Sometimes a single act is sufficiently terrible that I cannot reasonably support the individual in other endeavors.

    No one who voted for this bill should be retained in office due to anything they have done or promise to do. The bill is that awful.

    If you wish citations, I will give you a list of pages and lines. In general though: the bill says that DHS “shall” and then modifies it with the equivalent of “if the Secretary wants to” in so many areas that it is a fair assessment to say that there are no enforcement mechanisms with teeth in the bill. It forgives all fraud – whether proven in court or not – prior to enactment. It waives virtually all criminal grounds too. It duplicates authority across a spectrum of agencies – bloating the civil service farther and guarenteeing chaotic enforcement. It laughablyproclaims that providing aliens with counsel at government expense is a “cost savings ” measure. It forbids DHS from holding fraud – even in filing for amnesty – against an alien in any proceeding and makes critical biographic data unavailable for adjudication or enforcement. It creates a safe haven of healthcare, religious, cultural, and educational facilities – free from all manner of intelligence gathering and enforcement without a warrant – virtually guaranteeing terrorist attacks.

    Now it is my experience that every time I think I’ve noticed the novel or articulated things in a particularly clever way, others noticed it and said it better. I assume that US Senators have folks on staff smarter and more clever than me. I assume, therefore, that Rubio knows all of these things and that he decided to go ahead anyway, that he decided to destroy immigration enforcement and render a decade of intelligence gathering and soft enforcement waste. The question is, “why?”

    The most immediate answer is that he has higher regard for short-term political gains than national sovereignty, the rule of law, or national security. No man with such screwed up priorities should be in public office or entitled to the public trust in any way.

    Similarly, Sen. Casey knowingly betrayedhis oath by supporting this bill. (I say “knowingly” because I sent a page and line analysis to his office, just to be sure he had put it together. It would be unjust to hold a Democrat Senator accountable for his actions. He may, in fact, be incapable of reason.). He should be drummed out of office with every other person who supported this bill.

    The bill really is this bad.

  • John “Complete the Dang Fence” has been far from consistent as this campaign video from 2010 demonstrates:

    My view is that legalization is a fairly minor problem compared to the economic issues facing the country. The Gang of Eight Bill is a bad bill because it does not seal the border from illegal immigration. (Short of another Mexican Revolution I doubt we will see again the mass immigration from Mexico that we saw from 1990-2005, but that is another issue.) Some form of legalization process for illegals makes sense only if we can be certain that this is the ending of a problem and not exacerbating an old one.

  • Forgive me for saying so but “securing the border” is a red herring. It was a catchy phrase, tossed at the Right to get us to ignore immigration enforcement, to set aside instincts properly leaning on the rule of law in favor of a bold and obvious lie. The bill is so flawed that the failure to secure the order ranks as low as the bill’s title in importance.

    Oh, make no mistake that Rubio’s supporters will talk in flowing terms about political necessity, and greater good, and compromise, and demographics, but his support for this bill amounts to nothing greater than political prostitution. He has lain down on a dirty matress and no amount of cologn can alter the stench of that perverse act.

  • In regard to the ending of mass immigration from Mexico, Victor Davis Hanson commented on that in 2010:

    “HANSON: Well, in Mexico what we’ve really had is a perfect storm creating pressures for pushing labor out the door and towards the United States. The first part of – the first ingredient in that storm was the tanking of Mexico’s economy in the early 1980s, associated with debt problems, poor macroeconomic management and an international environment which was pretty hard on the country. But as important, if not more important were demographic changes going on in the country that were the opposite of what had been going on in the United States. So as we all know, after World War II, the U.S. had a huge baby boom, increasing birth rates up until about 1960, and then those birth rates really dropped off. What that meant was fewer workers entering the labor force in the 1970s and early 1980s. In Mexico, what happened was a baby boom that kept roaring right through the 1960s and into the 1970s. And that meant large numbers of young people looking for work in the early 1980s right as the economy fell apart.

    CAVANAUGH: And, Professor Myers, you categorize the idea of a baby boom in Mexico, and more mothers and more children surviving causing that baby boom, as part of a demographic transition. Explain what that is for us.

    MYERS: Well, historically in the world there’s been a transition where, really, it was high mortality, lots of deaths, and high fertility and they balanced out. But over time, starting first in Europe and the U.S. the death rates really fell and after a lag of a couple generations, then birth rates fall. And in the in-between period you have an explosion in population because there’s too many babies relative to deaths. But in the – in Europe and the U.S. death rates came way down, then the fertility rates fell. Now, developing nations are falling behind that trend and they are slower to drop the death rates but they are dropping. And Mexico is now engaged in this dramatic transition where they have lower deaths and now finally are lowering the birth rate. The extraordinary thing, in 1970, there’s 6.8 babies for every Mexican woman. 6.8 babies. Now, 2.1 is kind of break even, balancing the population. Today, Mexico is moving down close to that break even point for the first time. But that transition from 6.8 to 2.1 has not penetrated the American consciousness. We still think Mexicans have 6.8 babies.

    CAVANAUGH: Exactly. So we haven’t kept up with what’s been changing in Mexico, is what you’re saying.

    MYERS: Yeah, and that surplus number of babies was coming across the border to meet the labor demand that Professor Hanson just outlined. And now, today, as those kids grow up, there won’t be that surplus and we’re not going to have this number of people clamoring to come into America.

    CAVANAUGH: I’m speaking with Dowell Myers. He’s professor in the School of Policy, Planning and Development at USC. And Gordon Hanson, professor of Economics at UC San Diego. We’re talking about changing demographics in Mexico that may have a profound affect on the future of immigration to the United States. Our number, if you’d like to comment or if you have a question, is 1-888-895-5727. So, Professor Hanson, in a nutshell, what you both seem to be saying is that for about 20 or 25 years, a little longer than a generation, we’ve had what I believe was characterized either by you or someone else in the article I’m referring to, as a perfect storm of population and economic factors that have been driving immigration from Mexico to the U.S. Would you agree with that, Professor Hanson?

    HANSON: Absolutely. And what we’re going to see over the course of the next decade or two is that one of the elements of that storm, those population pressures, are really going to start to ease. The impact of the changes in fertility patterns in Mexico that Professor Myers just outlined, those don’t show up in terms of how they impact immigration until 15 to 20 years after these declines in birth rates occur. That’s because that’s how long it takes for those babies born to grow up and enter the labor force. So the declining Mexican fertility is just starting to hit in terms of lowering numbers of young people entering the labor force and looking for work. So from here on out, we’re going to see a dramatic – a reduction in those labor supply pressures for immigration from the country.

    CAVANAUGH: Well, why is it that we haven’t heard that much about birth rates plummeting in Mexico, Professor Myers? I mean, I think that you have been lecturing on the subject for a while but it really hasn’t, as you say, sort of entered the consciousness of the American debate about immigration.

    MYERS: Well, there’s a great paradox here, Maureen. We, like everybody else, we’re very self-centered and focused on our own view of the world and yet we can’t even see ourselves. So we’re looking at these others, these others being the Mexicans and viewing them the way we looked at them 30 years ago and not seeing any differences. But we’re not looking at ourselves at the same time and we, ourselves, in the last 30 years have become 30 years older. All of us who were born then are now 30 years older, including the large baby boom generation. And so what’s happening right now is the Mexicans are changing and we can’t see it. We, ourselves, are changing and we can’t see it. And they’re going in opposite directions. So the Mexicans are now going to be subsiding in the growth pressures to come across the border and we, ourselves, are going to be retiring from the labor force creating a shortage of workers in the U.S. which we’ve never seen before. And we – And so these two trends are in opposite directions and yet we can’t see it because we’re so self-centered. It’s very odd.

    CAVANAUGH: Now, Professor Hanson, the idea that the last, as I say, the last 25 years or so has been this big wave of Mexican immigration driven by demographics and economics, is the decline that we’re seeing now in birth rates in Mexico also maybe just another fluke? Another wave, or is there a solid change that’s going on?

    HANSON: No, it really looks like a permanent shift. And to echo something that Professor Myers just said, what we’ve seen in Mexico is this, what social scientists call, a demographic transition. It’s similar to what we’ve seen in many other countries. As countries get richer, as they urbanize, as girls go to school and get educated, what you see is that families have fewer children and invest more in them. And in Mexico, that process of declining fertility was just more dramatic than we’ve seen in other places but it’s very consistent with broader international patterns.”

    http://www.kpbs.org/news/2010/jul/08/perfect-storm-mexican-immigration-coming-end/

  • I have no objection to regularizing status for many of the unlawfully present. I’ve been an immigration officer for a long time. I am not surprised to find unlawfully present persons I’d happily marry to my children and citizens born here that I’d ship to Mars for their day-to-day behavior.

    Regularize status. Do it because we think it will make Hispanics join the GOP, or because we think there are too many people here without status, or because we think immigrants are willing to do jobs people born here won’t, or because the USCCB thinks the only reason Hispanics are becoming Evangelicals in droves is because the Church hasn’t helped them. Do it for whatever reason but THIS bill is a travesty and so obviously so that no supporter of it should be other than sent packing!

    I don’t object to regularizing status, I object to being lied to and manipulated. I object to stripping Intelligence and law enforcement of the powers they need to preserve the State, the rule of law, and our lives.

  • Only vaguely related to the title…

    GUYS, GUYS, WE GOT LINKED BY MR. POURNELLE!!!! HE WROTE THE FIRST THING EVER I READ THAT SUGGESTED A GEEK CULTURE!!!! Besides that’ he’s awesome!</i

  • I saw that also Foxfier! I have almost all the books ever written by Mr. Pournelle in my personal library. It is a true uber geek moment for TAC!

  • The bottom line needs to be that we love our neighbors even if they don’t have papers.

  • Which of course works both ways. I would expect my Mexican Catholic neighbors to love me. I would not expect that would give me a license to ignore the fairly draconian immigration laws of their country.

  • Milton Friedman said, “You can have your welfare state or you can have open borders, but not both.” In other words, I think, Margaret Thatcher, “You run out of other people’s money.”

    One does good works/Corporal Works of Mercy with one’s time and treasure, not with OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY.

  • The bottom line needs to be that we love our neighbors even if they don’t have papers.

    We may want the best for our neighbors though the adolescents in their households commit crimes. You still have to enforce the law.

  • Interesting article, but he momentarily lost me with the dig at “violent video games.” Is there a particular need gun supporters feel the need to throw something under the bus to deflect blame from guns?

Hypocritical Prudes

Monday, April 22, AD 2013

Hypocrisy

 

Horace Walpole once famously observed that the world is a comedy to those who think and a tragedy to those who feel.  The times in which we live certainly gives support to the sometime accuracy of that maxim.  My favorite living historian, Victor Davis Hanson, helps buttress the point:

What explains these contradictions in our wide-open but prudish society? Decades after the rise of feminism, popular culture still seems confused by it. If women should be able to approach sexuality like men, does it follow that commentary about sex should follow the same gender-neutral rules? Yet wearing provocative or inappropriate clothing is often considered less offensive than remarking upon it. Calling a near-nude Madonna onstage a “hussy” or “tart” would be considered crude in a way that her mock crucifixion and simulated sex acts are not.

Criminal sexual activity is sometimes not as professionally injurious as politically incorrect thoughts about sex and gender. Former New York governor Eliot Spitzer — found to have hired prostitutes on a number of occasions during his time in office — was given a CNN news show despite the scandal. But when former Miss California Carrie Prejean was asked in the Miss USA pageant whether she endorsed gay marriage, she said no — and thereby earned nearly as much popular condemnation for her candid defense of traditional marriage as Spitzer had for his purchased affairs.

Critics were outraged that talk-show host Rush Limbaugh grossly insulted birth-control activist Sandra Fluke. Amid the attention, Fluke was canonized for her position that federal health-care plans should pay for the contraceptive costs of all women. Yet in comparison to Fluke’s well-publicized victimhood, there has been a veritable news blackout for the trial of the macabre Dr. Kermit Gosnell, charged with killing and mutilating in gruesome fashion seven babies during a long career of conducting sometimes illegal late-term abortions. Had Gosnell’s aborted victims been canines instead of humans — compare the minimal coverage of the Gosnell trial with the widespread media condemnation of dog-killing quarterback Michael Vick — perhaps the doctor’s mayhem likewise would have been front-page news outside of Philadelphia.

Modern society also resorts to empty, symbolic moral action when it cannot deal with real problems. So-called assault weapons account for less than 1 percent of gun deaths in America. But the country whips itself into a frenzy to ban them, apparently to prove that at least it can do something, instead of wading into polarized racial and class controversies by going after illegal urban handguns, the real source of the nation’s high gun-related body count.

Not since the late-19th-century juxtaposition of the Wild West with the Victorian East has popular morality been so unbridled and yet so uptight. In short, we have become a nation of promiscuous prudes.

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30 Responses to Hypocritical Prudes

  • The fact is that private insurance companies deem it less expensive to pay for contraceptive coverage than pay for increased abortions and births. Are we now going to allow religious institutions to decide what is covered and what is not? People who complain about government telling private health insurance companies (Sandra Fluke’s coverage was private, not government paid) now want the government to tell private insurance companies what they should cover. Is there any modicum of consistency here?

    What’s telling is that for many Christians these days morality is only about sins you commit with no pants on. One never hears this outrage about the fact that 10’s of millions of Americans have no health coverage.

  • “What’s telling is that for many Christians these days morality is only about sins you commit with no pants on.”

    No Michael the term of art for those who believe that morality does not apply to sex is “pelvic morality”. In that rubric they include the slaying of innocent kids in abortion.

    You seem to long for Big Government to take care of everything, including requiring others to pay for Sandra Fluke’s contraceptives. That is not only immoral, but foolish to the nth degree. Government can’t do it, something that should be obvious to anyone as the welfare states grumble before our eyes. When Government attempts to it usually destroys the character of those it attempts to reduce to the status of children, dependent upon the government for everything. A good life as a government serf is an illusion.

  • I work a BS in-between job and I get health insurance. Where is this alternate dimension where good folks with plenty of skills and responsibility do not get the same simply because of greedy crony capitalists? If only Big Daddy Government galloped in and saved the day for us!

    No, some people just suck at life and no matter what wealth redistribution scheme someone comes up with, life will never be equal, or fair or anything of the sort.

  • Donald – My argument was the converse of big government taking care of everything. Sandra Fluke’s coverage was not through government. It was through a private insurance company that would rather cover contraception than pay for extra abortions and births and you want government to tell private companies what to do.

    If you were making the point about Medicare or Medicaid you would have a point but this is private health coverage paid for by the students withe their premiums.

  • Michael, an aspect of the ‘Affordable Care Act’ was a legal definition of template plans which required the inclusion of contraception.

    And you are forgetting the stupidity incorporated into all of this. The point of insurance is ‘risk-pooling’, which is to say replacing unpredictable demands on household resources through regular and predictable payments (assessed according to actuarial models) so that one’s expenses are amortized over time by distributing risk over a collectivity. Regular and discretionary expenses for Trojans do not constitute and assumed ‘risk’. Contemporary plans for medical insurance’ are nothing of the sort. They are rococo schemes for contracting for pre-paid medical services. (It is doubtful the President has any conception of the difference). Let that insufferable Ivy-League t**t shell out for the 28 boxes of condoms she is using every month and not socialize the cost over her co-workers and her employer’s shareholders.

  • “Sandra Fluke’s coverage was not through government. It was through a private insurance company that would rather cover contraception than pay for extra abortions and births and you want government to tell private companies what to do.”

    Actually her testimony was in support of the HHS Mandate that would force all employers to provide “free” contraceptive insurance coverage for all employees. There is no meaningful distinction between the government providing a benefit and the government requiring a third party to provide a benefit gratis.

  • Art Deco – Besides your contempt for Ms Fluke and possibly women, or at least educated women in general, I assume then you would not cover pregnancy as normal healthy is a choice and not a risk.

    It’s a good job you’re not a Christian as your attitude and language is deplorable.

  • Donald – Actually the private insurance companies want to cover that cost as it’s cheaper than the alternative. The only other alternative would be to also say the private companies do not have to provide abortion and birth coverage.

  • Then the issurance companies can work that out with purchasers of their product, sans government intervention. The insurance policy I purchase for my family has always covered pregnancy and never covered contraception as a result of the choices I made when I purchased the coverage. Sandra Fluke was not testifying for liberty of contract, but rather for State intervention to compel all employers to be forced to provide such coverage free of charge in any insurance policies they purchased.

  • “It’s a good job you’re not a Christian as your attitude and language is deplorable.”

    MIchael, you are new here so I am going to cut you some slack in this instance. Nothing gets someone banned faster on this site than calling someone else not a Christian.

  • Donald – Well I assumed any one who described a women as ” insufferable Ivy-League t**t ” would not want to admit to being a Christian. Cut me all the slack or not you want because I am an atheist and would not want to sink to your moral level.

    I’m out of here. In the mean time if you’re Catholic (as I once was) go to confession.

  • And there goes Michael proving VDH’s point. It’s ok to be a tart, it’s just not ok to call someone that.

    Stunning catechesis you received there, btw.

  • Former Catholics make the bitterest atheists Michael. Considering your apostacy your fulmination against Art Deco’s Christianity is the stuff of comedy.

  • Mr. McClarey, thank you for your succinct description of what Ms. Fluke and
    her ilk are actually demanding. For all Michael’s sound and fury, he did not
    address those points. He reminded me of an octopus, which when threatened
    will create a distraction with its ink rather than engage.

    I also appreciate your point about the perpetual twists and turns in what passes
    for PC. When I think back over my years in college, I recall constant shifts in
    what was deemed acceptable. I think the eternally moving goalposts of PC
    exist for two main reasons: firstly, to provide a PC enforcer with a cheap frisson
    of moral superiority (“I can’t believe you call that group ‘____s’. Everyone knows
    we say ‘____s’ now. I’m deeply offended”). Second, constant shifting of the PC
    newspeak distinguishes fellow-travelers from the great unwashed. Who else
    but a true believer can flawlessly navigate the Byzantine ways of PC? It’s like
    some of the more labyrinthine etiquette of the Victorian upper class, existing
    mainly to distinguish those that ‘belong’ from the non-U.

    Speaking of Victorians, it’s interesting that in those days, death was freely
    discussed. One had one’s dead photographed, and wore locks of their hair in
    mourning jewelry. Such customs would be deeply taboo today, and might
    invite unwelcome attention from mental health professionals. Yet in those
    days, anything remotely to do with sex was shrouded in euphemism in ‘polite
    company’– sort of a PC of its day. As Ms. Fluke could tell you, that particular
    set of PC goalposts has been moved to the opposite end of the field.
    The prudery and the hypocrisy remain.

  • The real stumper in Michael’s comment was this:

    “What’s telling is that for many Christians these days morality is only about sins you commit with no pants on. One never hears this outrage about the fact that 10′s of millions of Americans have no health coverage.”

    Catholicism invented health care. Catholicism has done more practical work in the life-saving arts than any institution since the beginning of time. Ditto education. Ditto care for the poor. Catholicism is also unmatched in its care for the human spirit, denouncing every kind of sin, including those that are most popular in any particular culture.

    J. Christian is right that Michael does prove VDH’s point. In our society, there are no sins that can be committed with your pants off, only with a suit and tie on.

  • Art Deco – Besides your contempt for Ms Fluke and possibly women, or at least educated women in general, I assume then you would not cover pregnancy as normal healthy is a choice and not a risk. It’s a good job you’re not a Christian as your attitude and language is deplorable.

    I put the Comstockian asterisks in because some people (e.g. the proprietors of the Fellowship of St. James’ fora) object to plain language. If Sandra Fluke wishes to be referred to by some other term, she can order her life differently and pick a different set of causes. She is most notable for the following:

    1. Using the considerable discretion she had in such matters (acquired how I do not know) to choose, at the age of 28, to attend law school at an expensive private institution.

    2. Choosing to attend a residually Catholic school to have a forum and gain legal standing to harass the school’s administration into abandoning one of the components of its residual Catholicism.

    3. Making a public spectacle of herself (in cahoots with elements within the Democratic congressional caucus) at a legislative pseudo-hearing arguing that employers should be coerced into purchasing insurance which covers discretionary expenditures on products vended at pharmacies. The products in question provide a facility for her own decadence and that of others (My old pharmacy sells Heath bars, which I fancy, but which are usually not covered by insurance plans).

    4. Telling cock-and-bull stories of women in her social circle spending on the order of $250 a month on contraceptives. If they do, they are running a Mayflower Madam enterprise. Sidney Biddle Barrows had an appealing sense of humor. Not so “Ms.” Fluke or her public defenders.

    The context of this is Sandra Fluke’s own life. Lot’s of people have personal shortcomings, personal failures, and problems in living, including me. She attended Cornell University, not a school which undercharges its clientele, and spent a third of her time taking courses for a degree in ‘Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies’. She also apparently earned a degree in a program which requires considerable study of statistics, though she never used that degree. It is not clear what she did for a living for six years, but she appears to have been employed by some advocacy group at one point and at a philanthropic agency that ran women’s shelters. That can be decent and thankless and commendable employment, but (I would refer you here to the writings of Stephen Baskerville and Glenn Sacks) those agencies are also shot-through with malicious ideologues (e.g. the sort of people who fritter away their time taking courses in ‘gender studies’). Past 30, she is employed as a college student, has no domestic life bar a ‘boyfriend’ who evidently had the means to send her on a European vacation during the whole controversy, and appears to have eschewed the sort of temporary office work that law students take to begin to learn their trade.

    Everything about this women suggests she has more intelligence than she knows how to put to good use, has devoted her life to activities predicated on a false and deeply jaundiced view of human relations, and desires (for reasons obscure) to punish cultural adversaries. Not to pleasant, and a fitting object for a certain amount of ridicule.

    Equal respect is the abolition of respect. If Sandra Fluke wanted respect from me, she would have lived her life quite differently and be quite differently disposed to others. I have no clue what Sandra Fluke’s activities and blunt commentary therupon have to do with any assessment I might have of the genus ‘women’ or ‘educated women in general’. Evidently, the way your head works, caustic remarks about Fluke mean I despise my grandmother, who certainly counted as an educated woman. There a a mess of people in this world (e.g. the Mary Winkler jury) who cannot abide someone on the distaff side ever being held responsible for anything or subject to plain assessments of their dispositions and conduct. I do not respect that either, coming from you or anyone else.

    Pregnancy is to be expected in the course of conjugal life. Its timing is not predictable and neither are medical complications therein. Paying for a hospital and obstetrician’s services on unpredictable intervals is not analogous to coughing up $14.50 each month so you can go on banging your boyfriend without messy complications.

    Actually the private insurance companies want to cover that cost as it’s cheaper than the alternative.

    Rubbish. No sort of coverage mandate is in the commercial interest of an insurance company unless it prevents a competitor from gaining an advantage. That aside, insurers do not lose from coverage of procedures. They lose from coverage of procedures of a frequency and character not anticipated by their models (and incorporated into their charges) or for which they could not make antecedent adjustments due to regulatory considerations. You expect us to believe that an increase in the frequency of pregnancy (within a given actuarial pool) attributable to the failure to subsidize a $14.50 a month purchase is going to generate unexpected costs to the insurer. (Which they somehow anticipate, accounting for their inclusion of the pills).

  • Donald – Well I assumed any one who described a women as ” insufferable Ivy-League t**t ” would not want to admit to being a Christian. Cut me all the slack or not you want because I am an atheist and would not want to sink to your moral level.

    A personal note: my ‘moral level’, good, bad, or indifferent, is not something about which you know squat.

  • Art, I don’t know about anyone else, but I consider the word t**t to be outside the realm of decency. Michael’s wrong about a lot of things, but I can’t fault him on that.

  • Art, I don’t know about anyone else, but I consider the word t**t to be outside the realm of decency. Michael’s wrong about a lot of things, but I can’t fault him on that.

    And you have both confused being virtuous with being dainty.

  • Well, it appears the troll succeeded in hijacking this thread. All future comments should deal with the substance of the post please.

  • “Not since the late-19th-century juxtaposition of the Wild West with the Victorian East has popular morality been so unbridled and yet so uptight.”

    The area in which I see that contrast most starkly nowadays is with regard to laws/regulations regarding food and tobacco. Certain members of the liberal intelligentsia who would never presume to criticize or condemn women (or men, particularly gay men) for their sexual behavior and who demand that they be allowed (at public expense) to indulge their every appetite in this area without consequence, seem to have no problem whatsoever with condemning smokers and overweight people and demanding that something MUST be done about THEIR appetites because they “harm others” and “drive up the cost of healthcare for everyone.” Yes, smoking and overeating are bad habits with potentially serious health consequences. Anymore, however, it seems (at least based on comments people make on news stories online) that taking up more than one seat on an airplane due to one’s weight is a far greater sin than adultery; and some who would never apply the word “hussy” or “tart” to a promiscuous woman have no qualms about calling an overweight woman a “cow”.

  • Not to mention the fact that some people who want schools to ban soda and candy vending machines, teach healthier food choices, expand physical education and hammer home strong anti-smoking and anti-drug messages (all of which are, IMO, good things) will at the same time insist that teaching sexual abstinence “doesn’t work”.

  • Elaine,

    You’ve hit the nail on the head!

  • Great point Elaine. I made a similar observation in my last Catholic Stand post. http://catholicstand.com/theres-an-app-for-that/

  • Don – Please pull this comment if you wish. I’m not trying to stir up trouble. In fact, I’m trying to resolve it.

    Art, what does “t**t” stand for? In my mind, and maybe in Michaels, it means “twat”. Looking over this thread, I’m wondering if you used it to mean “tart”. If I’m wrong about this, or if I’m reigniting a closed debate, I’m sorry. I’m just hoping that this all has been a misunderstanding.

  • “My favorite living historian, David Victor Hanson…”

    I’m partial to Victor Davis Hanson myself.

  • Corrected, and considering that I own and have read every book he has written I am astonished that I made that error.

  • You can fill in the blanks however you care to. ‘Twit’ works just as well.

    This women spent twenty years of her life in the Pennsylvania countryside about a half hour from a small city, Altoona. Then she spends three years or so in Upstate New York. Then she spends a half-dozen years in or around New York City. At the age of 28 and considering law school, you think she might select a practical option, which is to say one of the five public law schools you can find in New York and Pennsylvania, one of them an hour and twenty minute drive from where she grew up and one of them a train ride out to Queens. If she insists on cachet, there are quite a mess of private law schools proximate to her residence in 2008, including one at Columbia University, one at New York University, and, if these reject her, one at Fordham University (a residually Catholic school to boot). She could also move back Upstate and enroll at her old alma mater, Cornell. These schools have roughly similar admissions standards to the place she did select. While studying law, she could find a summer clerk’s position helping a working lawyer with his daily tasks. What does this 28 year old amateur social worker do? She pulls up stakes and moves to a high rent district where she is a stranger in order to enroll at a school for the added purpose of giving its administration a hard time for not coughing up $14.50 a month for rutting women among its student body (and spends her summers working for the Center for Women’s blah blah blah). Referring to her naughty bits is off center, but the list of insults one could legitimately lob at such a person is as long as your arm (starting with ‘officious jack-wagon’ and ‘fanatic’).

Interesting Times

Thursday, January 3, AD 2013

 

 

My favorite living historian, Victor Davis Hanson, has a new post in which he details bad signs aplenty of scary times ahead:

 

Read the News and Weep

That is not conspiracy talk, but simply a distillation of what I read today. On the last day of the year when I am writing this, I offer you just three sample op-eds.

A journalist, Donald Kaul, in the Des Moines Register offers us a three-step, presto! plan to stop school shootings:

Repeal the Second Amendment, the part about guns anyway. It’s badly written, confusing and more trouble than it’s worth. … Declare the NRA a terrorist organization and make membership illegal. Hey! We did it to the Communist Party, and the NRA has led to the deaths of more of us than American Commies ever did. …Then I would tie Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, our esteemed Republican leaders, to the back of a Chevy pickup truck and drag them around a parking lot until they saw the light on gun control.

Note the new ease with which the liberal mind calls for trashing the Constitution, outlawing those whom they don’t like (reminiscent of “punish our enemies”?), and killing those politicians with whom they don’t agree (we are back to Bush Derangement Syndrome, when novels, movies, and op-eds dreamed of the president’s assassination.)

What would be the Register’s reaction should a conservative opponent of abortion dare write, “Repeal the First Amendment; ban Planned Parenthood as a terrorist organization; and drag Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi from a truck”? If an idiot were to write that trash, I doubt the Washington Times or Wall Street Journal would print such sick calls for overturning the Constitution and committing violence against public officials.

Ah Yes, Still More Redistribution

Turning to a column in The New Republic, John Judis, in honest fashion, more or less puts all the progressive cards on the table in a column titled “Obama’s Tax Hikes Won’t Be Nearly Big Enough” — a candor about what the vast $5 trillion deficits of Obama’s first term were all about in the first place.

Here is the summation quote: “But to fund these programs, governments will have to extract a share of income from those who are able to afford them and use the revenues to make the services available for everyone.”

Note that Judis was not talking about the projected new taxes in the fiscal cliff talks, but something far greater to come. He understands well that the “gorge the beast” philosophy that resulted in these astronomical debts will require enormous new sources of revenue, funds “to extract” from “those who are able to afford them” in order to “make services available for everyone.”

That is about as neat a definition of coerced socialism as one can find. Implicit in Judas’s formulation is that only a very well-educated (and well-compensated) technocratic class will possess the wisdom, the proper schooling, and the morality to adjudicate who are to be the extracted ones and who the new “everyone.”

The Constitution — Who the Hell Needs It?

The third item in my year-end reading was the most disturbing. A law professor (could it be otherwise?) named Louis Michael Seidman enlightens us with “Let’s Give Up on the Constitution” — yet another vision of what the now triumphant liberal mind envisions for us all:

As the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.

Did Madison force Obama to borrow a half-billion dollars to fund Solyndra and its multimillionaire con artists?

Note Seidman’s use of “evil,” which tips his hand that our great moralist is on an ethical crusade to change the lives of lesser folk, who had the misfortune of growing up in America — a place so much less prosperous, fair, and secure than, say, Russia, China, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Spain, Greece, Italy, or Japan and Germany (in the earlier 20th century history) . When I lived in Greece, traveled to Libya, and went into Mexico, I forgot to sigh, “My God, these utopias are possible for us too, if we just junked that evil Constitution.”

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13 Responses to Interesting Times

  • More eliminationist rhetoric from this vile, lying scumbag (Donald Kaul):

    “Declare the NRA a terrorist organization and make membership illegal. Hey! We did it to the Communist Party, and the NRA has led to the deaths of more of us than American Commies ever did. (I would also raze the organization’s headquarters, clear the rubble and salt the earth, but that’s optional.) Make ownership of unlicensed assault rifles a felony. If some people refused to give up their guns, that “prying the guns from their cold, dead hands” thing works for me.

    “Then I would tie Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, our esteemed Republican leaders, to the back of a Chevy pickup truck and drag them around a parking lot until they saw the light on gun control.”

    Instapundit: “This kind of talk makes me want to buy an assault rifle. Or twelve. And really, dude, the fact that you’re angry doesn’t give you some sort of a pass from the norms of civil society. Or, if it does, be prepared to tolerate a lot of things that you’ll find intolerable. Because, you know, a lot of people are angry.”

    And, this is selective stigmatization: It’s as if the NRA, GOP leaders, and 50 million law-abiding gun owners killed everybody that ever was shot.

    Let us be consistent in stigmatizing: “What about the Children?!?!?!”

    “What is the gun community going to do the Sandy Hook tragedy?

    I dunno.

    What is the gay community going to do about the massive (2,500,000 new AIDS cases each year) AIDS epidemic and about Penn State football abuses?”

    What is the Islamic community going to do about 10,000 media-ignored massacres since September 2001?

    The gay and Islamic communit are off-limits despite the deviant and predatory behaviors of their hundreds of thousands.

    PS: I was about to refer to Judas. You beat me to it.

  • Forbes: “Assault Weapon” is just a PR lie used to agitate gullible, Obama-worshiping imbeciles.

  • Regarding the fiscal cliff excrement sandwich:

    Victor Davis Hanson, “These are the most foreboding times in my 59 years. The reelection of Barack Obama has released a surge of rare honesty among the Left about its intentions, coupled with a sense of triumphalism that the country is now on board for still greater redistributionist change.”

    Ross Douthat quoted at Instapundit, “If a newly re-elected Democratic president can’t muster the political will and capital required to do something as straightforward and relatively popular as raising taxes on the tiny [what 2%?] fraction Americans making over $250,000 when those same taxes are scheduled to go up already, then how can Democrats ever expect to push taxes upward to levels that would make our existing public programs sustainable for the long run?

    “There is a significant constituency among Congressional Democrats that was already uncomfortable with the $250,000 threshold and wanted to push it higher — all the way to a million dollars, if a certain influential New York Senator had his way — and the possibility that these Democrats might go wobbly in a post-cliff scenario gave the White House a reason (or an excuse) to concede ground that Obama had once promised to defend unstintingly. Nor is this tax-wary caucus likely to grow weaker with time: It exists because many Democratic lawmakers represent (and are funded by) a lot of affluent professionals in wealthy, high-cost-of-living states, and that relationship is only likely to loom larger if current demographic and political trends persist.”

  • We live in interesting times. Prayer, mortification and action in converting the Public Square.

  • “And who that thinks with me will not fearlessly adopt the oath that I take?”

    May all of us adopt your oath of long ago since the lava of bondage once again spews from the Washington White House.

    Donald. Where is our Lincoln of today?

  • Awesome!! Great! Standing up and clapping!

    “… moralist is on an ethical crusade to change the lives of lesser folk, who had the misfortune of growing up in America — a place so much less prosperous, fair, and secure than, say, Russia, China, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Spain, Greece, Italy, or Japan and Germany (in the earlier 20th century history) . When I lived in Greece, traveled to Libya, and went into Mexico, I forgot to sigh, “My God, these utopias are possible for us too, if we just junked that evil Constitution.”

    Thank you Donald McClarey. How can we get Donald Kaul to read this?

  • “Donald. Where is our Lincoln of today?”

    Standing in the wings, waiting for his cue from History to proceed on to center stage.

  • “Standing in the wings..”

    Your right. “Where sin abounds Grace abounds much more…”

    The friends of tyranny ( many of Todays left )
    make me wonder about the future Lincolns, and when they will step on to the stage.
    Staying optimistic in the face of the above columns is an art form that I must practice.

  • Our nation is more threatened now than it has ever been in my 85 years.

  • Years before the national debt rose to $16 trillion (103% of GDP), the Chmn of Joint Chiefs stated that the gravest threat to the USA is the ruinous national debt.

    Thank God we are in this World we are not of the World.

    They hate the Constitition because it was an effective check on unlimited government and abusive power. But, their intentions are “pure.”

  • Victor Davis Hanson’s point about the abuse of offering tenure without merit is spot on.
    His 1,000 student per yr. example effecting the lives of 30,000 in a negative way is realistic if not conservative. He spoke briefly on unionized campuses. An eye opening documentary titled: Waiting for Superman, shines some light on the entitlement epidemic sweeping across this great land.
    Thanks Donald for the clip above.

  • that the cause approved of our judgment, and adored of our hearts, in disaster, in chains, in torture, in death, we never faltered in defending.

    Well, therein lies the rub. No doubt Obama and the left feel as strongly for their cause, and it is no less approved of their judgment. The difference between the leadership of the left and that of the right is the left is far more convinced of the rightness of their judgment. And I don’t know if it could ever be different – one characteristic of true conservatism is a natural distrust of power, because of a natural distrust of man’s ability to wield it correctly (a distrust proven correct time and again). The left suffers from incurable hubris. Rather than a Lincoln, I think I would prefer a Cincinatus.

Age of Unbelief

Monday, October 22, AD 2012

 

 

 

Tying in with my co-blogger Dave Hartline’s post, which may be read here, my favorite living historian Victor Davis Hanson has a brilliant column today on the cynicism towards government that has justifiably grrown like Topsy during the period of Obama’s presidency:

Do you believe any more that some of our Secret Service agents — once the most esteemed of all professionals — on presidential assignment will not get drunk and womanize in their evening spare time? Do you believe that the grandees at the GSA — once the stern penny-pinchers that frowned when bureaucrats wanted a new bookcase — won’t flaunt the waste that they incur? Do you believe that the government will never sell assault rifles to drug lords? Or do you believe what the president, the secretary of state, and the director of national intelligence will say to us when the next embassy is hit? And do you believe that there were “shovel-ready jobs” and “millions of green jobs” that arose from the “stimulus”? And what is a “stimulus” anyway, but borrowed money, in the manner likewise of “investments”? Did any of you believe that Solyndra was the wave of the future?

We don’t even believe that a commission on presidential debates will ensure us unbiased moderators, or that the candidates will have equal time in speaking, or that the supposedly quiet crowd won’t boo or clap to affect the tempo of the exchange.  From now on, will debate moderators bring preselected transcripts to the forum, wait for a key moment, interrupt one of the speakers, and then wave a piece of paper to proffer authority to contradict him — eliciting applause from the supposedly neutral and silent audience, and affirmation from the president? Do you believe First Lady Michelle Obama — of “never been proud/downright mean country” infamy — when she accuses Republicans on talking down the country?

Do you believe that the Department of Labor always assesses its data and offers disinterested conclusions? I don’t.  I suspect partisan grandees, perhaps in California, will massage the data on the principle of the ends justifying the means. The same is true of Libya: the noble idea of a reset Middle East, appreciative of the unique heritage and ideology of Barack Obama and his bold attempt to reformulate America, was simply too precious to be imperiled by al-Qaedist thugs who hate us as much as ever and will kill until stopped.

********************************************************************************

I also never believed in a “war on the women” simply because mostly upper-class, liberal, highly educated white women seemed to be angry that Catholic institutions d0 not wish to include free abortion and contraceptive pills among their generous benefits packages. Did I miss something? Who were supposed to be oppressed, and how and why? Could Ms. Fluke — who addressed an audience of ten in Nevada this weekend — and her partner not split the cost of a pack of ten-dollar prophylactics? Are not more women graduating with BAs than are men? To the degree there is a gender crisis, I think it may be more young working-class men without college degrees who simply cannot find jobs in the muscular industries and for whom society apparently has little need. Is the “war on women” what the long road from suffrage to equal pay has come down to — a psychodrama of the most privileged generation in civilization’s history?  So I simply do not believe that there is a war on anyone, much less women. To the degree there is a war, it is on fiscal responsibility, a war on paying bills and keeping solvent — something lost last week in more of binders, Big Bird, the war “in Iran,” Joe Biden’s continued gesticulations, and “Romnesia.”

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3 Responses to Age of Unbelief

Victor Davis Hanson Remembers Gore Vidal and John Keegan

Wednesday, August 8, AD 2012

 

 

Last week Gore Vidal and John Keegan died.  I recalled John Keegan in a post which may be read here.  Gore Vidal I did not recall.  Although I enjoyed two of Vidal’s novels, Julian and Creation, I could not write a post about him without violating the maxim De mortuis nihil nisi bonum.  Fortunately my favorite living historian, Victor Davis Hanson, does not share that inhibition:

Among those guests in 1964 was Gore Vidal, who was not yet 40. I was about eleven and remember him as a stylishly dressed non-stop hair-toucher. He was also vain and condescending — and a big hit at his lecture with the conservative rural crowd. In those days he acted what was known as “witty.” I recall asking my dad whether he was “English,” given that his nose was angled upward and his accent did not sound American (and that he did not seem to like the U.S.). My dad, in the Swedish fashion of honoring work for work’s sake, answered that I should respect any man who could crisscross the country, giving 30 lectures in 30 days.

Vidal certainly had an instinct for saying outrageous things with such erudite authority that we yokels found him fascinating rather than repulsive. As I remember (it has been 48 years since that evening), Vidal spoke for about 30 minutes, but then he wowed the crowd to a standing ovation in the question-and-answer period (his forte), as he advocated the legalization of drugs and prostitution and went on rants about “small town” values.

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3 Responses to Victor Davis Hanson Remembers Gore Vidal and John Keegan

  • I am a fan of Mr. Hanson, and I am grateful that he wrote this wonderful tribute to John Keegan. Keegan’s books are a joy to read, and should be required in every 11th/12th grade and college history class.

    As for Gore Vidal–an interesting character, but he always seemed shallow to me.

  • This post raised in my esteem both JK and VDH. I am familiar with KJ’s excellent (I am no judge) “Face”, “Mask”, and “Six Armies” books Thanks!

    As for Vidal, “Never speak ill of the dead.” Being older and close to the VN War, I mainly avoided with heavy drinking the TV Buckley and Vidal “debates.” When I saw them, I wished Bill would throttle the man.

    I missed the press release as I was chasing bass and beer in Canada. Thanks for the news of M. Vidal’s demise. It didn’t make Barron’s.

  • Vidal was the single most respected truther in the American left. Who will come out of the closet to replace him? This is the perfect opportunity for some more evolution.

Most Important Under Reported Story of the Year

Thursday, December 8, AD 2011

 

My favorite living historian Victor Davis Hanson puts his finger on one of the most important developments of the past few years which has received little press coverage:

There is a revolution going on America. But it is not part of the tea party movement or the loud Occupy Wall Street protests.

Instead, massive new reserves of gas, oil and coal are being discovered almost everywhere in the United States, due to revolutionary methods of exploration and exploitation such as fracking and horizontal drilling. Current prices of over $100 a barrel make even complex efforts at recovery enormously profitable.

 
There were always known to be additional untapped reserves of oil and gas in the petroleum-rich Gulf of Mexico, off America’s shores, and in the American West and Alaska. But even the top energy experts never imagined just how vast was the energy there — or beneath far more unlikely places like South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. Some studies suggest the United States has now expanded its known potential gas and oil reserves tenfold.

The strategic and economic repercussions of these new finds are staggering, and remind us how a once energy-independent and thereby confident American economy soared to world dominance in the early 20th century.

America will soon again be able to supply all of its own domestic natural gas needs — and perhaps for the next 90 years at present rates of consumption. We have recently become a net exporter of refined gas and diesel fuel, and already have cut imported oil from OPEC countries by 1 million barrels per day.

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20 Responses to Most Important Under Reported Story of the Year

  • Is there a moral element to this story that needs discussing? One commentator makes this observation: “Evidence has mounted that earthquakes in Arkansas have resulted from using this method of gas recovery. Polluted water has harmed animals as well as humans. Some fracking has caused exploding wells.”

    http://ncronline.org/blogs/eco-catholic/br-david-andrews-morality-fracking

    Should Catholics urge caution on this type of oil exploration and recovery?

  • No more so spambot than we should have preached caution in regard to putting the horseless carriage on the road. Any rough patches can be smoothed over eventually through legislation and litigation. However, in our modern desire to create a completely safe world I think too often we can come up with 10 good arguments against any new development in the economy and end up doing nothing as a result. The energy rush of 2011 is just what our stagnant economy needs and I hope that the naysayers, and eco worshippers will not throttle it.

  • There is also a virtually limitless supply of thorium and uranium available to fuel our civilization for tens of thousands of years, all without pollution.

    World Uranium Reserves by James Hopf, Nuclear Engineer
    http://www.americanenergyindependence.com/uranium.aspx

    Increase In Thorium Reserves: Alternative To Uranium For Nuclear Power Generation by Linton Levy
    http://nuclearstreet.com/nuclear_power_industry_news/b/nuclear_power_news/archive/2009/03/17/increase-in-thorium-reserves-alternative-to-uranium-for-nuclear-power-generation.aspx

    Quotation therefrom:

    “The U.S.G.S.’ latest estimate of 915,000 tons of thorium ore reserves within the claims held by Thorium Energy, Inc., in Idaho and Montana compares to the previously published U.S.G.S. estimate of 160,000 tons for the entire United States as stated in the U.S.G.S. Mineral Commodity Summaries 2008.

    “The October 2008 U.S.G.S. update states that, ‘The thorium and rare-earth deposits in the region were initially studied by the U.S. Geological Survey (Sharp and Cavender, 1962; Staatz, 1972, 1979) and others, including the Idaho Bureau of Mines and Geology, Idaho Energy Reserves Company (IERCO), a subsidiary of Idaho Power Company, the Idaho Geological Survey (Gillerman and others, 2003), Tenneco Oil Company, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, and the U.S. Bureau of Mines. Total reserves of the deposits are 915,000 tons of ore.’

    “This confirms that Thorium Energy, Inc.’s total Idaho and Montana thorium resources and reserves are the largest in the United States. Furthermore, the company is not aware of any larger, professionally documented reserves of high-grade thorium anywhere in the world. According to the current U.S.G.S. statistics, the next highest estimates of thorium ore are for Australia with 300,000 tons and India with 290,000 tons. It must be noted that the Idaho and Montana deposits are of high-grade thorite and thorianite rather than low-grade disseminated deposits as in India, for example. ”

    —–

    By the way: ALL – I say again, ALL – of the uranium-233 generated by neutron-induced transmutation of fertile thorium-232 IS fissile, whereas in nature only 0.7% of uranium is fissile uranium-235 with the rest being fertile uranium-238 (from which plutonium-239 can be produced, again by neutron-induced transmutation). AND thorium-232 is 30 times more plentiful than uranium.

    We do NOT lack for fuel in these United States. We do NOT have an energy crisis. We have a crisis of political corruption and corporate socialism (otherwise known as croney capitalism).

  • PS, Dr. Bernard Cohen of the University of Pittsburg, PA wrote a book in 1990 entitled, “The Nuclear Energy Option.” There is some dated material, but it’s well worth reading. The reader may find it here (be patient as you navigate through the sub-links to individual chapters and sections within this important work):

    http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/BOOK.html

    And at this web link Dr. Cohen discusses a number of topics relating to radiation, risk, radioactive waste, etc.:

    http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/

    Again, there are lots of sub-links, and lots of good information. Now don’t believe me. I am a grunt nuclear engineer / technician (with emphasis on the Neanderthal “grunt”) having only 30 plus years of training and experience. Rather, believe a bona fide Doctor of Science who knows what he’s talking about. And put on your thinking cap. 😉

  • The most obviously ignored story of the year on conservative blogs will be the news today that the Obama Administration has blocked the sale of Plan B to minors.

  • “…the Obama Administration has blocked the sale of Plan B to minors.”

    God allowed King Manasseh to be dragged away into capitivity with a hook through his nose by the Assyrians for his crimes of sexual perversion and murder.

    Obama had better watch his step, because that same God is watching him, and unlike men, God does not change in how He views and punishes evil.

  • RR: Actually the regime did not block the sale of the abortion pill to minors, they not end the requirement to first obtain from an abortionist a written prescription, which can be electronically forwarded, in nanoseconds, from the baby murder facility.

    Is that newsworthy because it serves the party of class hatred?

    Here is my nominee for most important under-reported story. Hundreds killed as Obama and Holder arm Mexican drug gangs to advance the anti-freedom agenda.

  • Shorn of the colorful language which is his trademark, T. Shaw is correct. Minors under 17 may still get the human pesticide if they have a doctor’s prescription. All today’s decision means is that 16 year old and younger girls may not purchase the human pesticide over the counter like aspirin. The Left will be enraged, but color me underwhelmed.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1211/70076.html

  • Catholics should applaud Obama’s decision if for no other reason than to encourage more such decisions. But the other side has a point when they say that too many people don’t know what they’re talking about. Plan B is a contraception, not an abortion pill. It prevents ovulation and fertilization. There is no person to abort. You don’t need a prescription for it. Currently, it’s available to anyone 17 or older. It was recommended that it be made available on the shelves to anyone. The Administration decided against that and the left is universally criticizing Obama for it.

  • “Plan B is a contraception, not an abortion pill. It prevents ovulation and fertilization.”

    Still reasonable concern that it prevents implantation of the fertilized ovuum and thus acts as an abortifacient. The medical court is still out on that but one cannot in truth categorically make the statement that it only prevents ovulation and fertilization.

  • All this “pomp and circumstances” is based on the fact that Obama-worshiping MSM journolistas define news as that which serves Obama and the agenda.

    The news serves the party ergo it is truth. BARF

  • Human pesticide it is RR. I no more applaud the administration for this than I would applaud an edict from the Obama administration opposing cannibalism for those 16 and under. Obama is obviously attempting to head to the center for the 2012 election and the Leftists are alarmed. Silly Leftists, he means none of this! Rest assured that whatever crumbs of moderation he tosses to the public will be rescinded if he wins re-election.

  • “Rest assured that whatever crumbs of moderation he tosses to the public will be rescinded if he wins re-election.”

    Donald, you were more optimistic about the chances of his losing previously. Has that changed?

  • No Paul I remain completely optimistic that Obama is electoral dead meat. The fact that in a recent poll Gingrich is ahead of him in Ohio is a clear sign of his plight. Back in January of 80 by comparison Jimmy Carter was ahead of Reagan and the rest of the Republican field by a sizable margin in polls taken at that time.

    http://www.harrisinteractive.com/vault/Harris-Interactive-Poll-Research-CARTER-NOW-FAR-AHEAD-OF-BOTH-REAGAN-AND-BUSH-1980-01.pdf

    Obama is fighting against a very bad economy, and in American presidential politics that is almost always a political death sentence.

  • The most obviously ignored story of the year on conservative blogs will be the news today that the Obama Administration has blocked the sale of Plan B to minors.

    Wow, really nailed that one. Other than, you know, all the blogs – including this very one – talking about it.

    Did you also buy Citrix stock in March 2000 and natural gas shares in August 2008?

  • “Back in January of 80, by comparison, Jimmy Carter was ahead of Reagan and the rest of the Republican field by a sizeable margin in polls taken at that time.”

    I suspect that it was the Iranian hostage crisis (particularly the failed rescue mission) and the Administration’s response (or lack of it) to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that really did Carter in. Both of those developments were still pretty new in January ’80. Only after they had dragged on without resolution for months did they become fatal to the Carter campaign. The persistently poor economy with its high inflation and fuel prices hadn’t been enough, on its own, to take down Carter at that point.

    Likewise, I am not sure that the poor economy we have today will be sufficient to defeat Obama or to overcome the instinct of many people to stick with the devil they know over the one they don’t. It will take some kind of new domestic or foreign crisis (or both) to truly seal his electoral fate. And even then, never underestimate the power of the GOP to shoot itself in the foot. After all, Don, you were equally confident last year that Gov. Quinn was “electoral dead meat” and we are stuck with him still.

  • “After all, Don, you were equally confident last year that Gov. Quinn was “electoral dead meat” and we are stuck with him still.”

    True Elaine, but I believe you agreed with me at the time, along with virtually every pollster who looked at the race. The outcome surprised virtually everyone.

    In regard to the Iranian hostage situation that actually helped account for Carter’s high poll numbers early in 1980, as he was the beneficiary of a “rally around the flag effect”. That lasted long enough for him to fend off a primary challenge from Ted Kennedy. However the effect did not last, as Carter quickly showed that he was as incompetent at rescuing the hostages as he had been about virtually everything else he tried to do as President. It was the economy which did Carter in. I recall the roars of approval that met Reagan’s stump speech line: A Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A Depression is when you lose yours. And Recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his!
    Reagan clobbered Carter in the one and only debate shortly before the election with this absolutely devastating closing line:

    “Are you better off now than you were four years ago? Is it easier for you to go and buy things in the stores than it was four years ago? Is there more or less unemployment in the country than there was four years ago? Is America as respected throughout the world as it was? Do you feel that our security is as safe, that we’re as strong as we were four years ago? And if you answer all of those questions yes, why then, I think your choice is very obvious as to whom you will vote for. If you don’t agree, if you don’t think that this course that we’ve been on for the last four years is what you would like to see us follow for the next four, then I could suggest another choice that you have.”

  • “I believe you agreed with me at the time”

    Yep, I did, so my political prognostication abilities are far from infallible. Also, the 2010 Illinois governor’s race vote was extremely close and I would not be surprised if the POPULAR vote in the POTUS turns out to also be very close (1-2 percentage points).

    If Obama does win reelection it will be by the skin of his teeth in both the popular vote and in the Electoral College.

  • If Obama wins, then this country is doomed. It cannot recover from another four years of Obama.

    First, the destruction and havoc he is wreaking on the moral sensibilities of the nation is intolerable. Yes, the infection of post modern neo-paganism existed long before his rise to power, but he has single handedly raised it to a national epidemic. Open homosexuality in the military and exportation of the abortion culture abroad are simply a few of the many examples.

    Second, elimination of access to cheap energy (which as I recall is the topic of this particularly bog entry) destroys the ability to fuel a highly technical society. Obama has opposed energy from fossil fuels (with more and more EPA regulations, and more and more denials of access to drill) while touting useless green energy schemes, giving these schemes hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars (e.g., Solyndra), and has appointed the most anti-nuclear person yet to be Chairman of the US NRC – Gregory Jackzo – who himself has declared that there will be a slow down in licensing new nuclear build. Imagine that! Why would you appoint to the Chairmanship of the US NRC a man who worked for Representative Ed Markey against the continued operation of the Vermont Yankee and Pilgrim Nuclear Power Stations, and who worked for Senator Harry Reid against the Yucca Mountain spent fuel geologic repository? Why? Yes, there is a whole history behind this that I can spend pages describing, but the bottom line is this (in my opinion): Obama is anti-American and hates anything that’s truly American.

    PS, when Clinton was President, he appointed a university particle physicist – Shirley Ann Janckson – as US NRC Chairman. The whole tone and tenor of the NRC changed from being a regulator ensuring safe OPERATION to being a regulator intent on shutdown. She even gave a speech once that she envisioned 50% of our nukes would be shutdown and replaced with natural gas. Imagine how the CEOs for natural gas reacted! Then Bush became President, Nils Diaz was NRC Chairman, and Bush started GNEP and we begain talking about a rennaisance. Then when it became inevitable Obama was going to get elected, the NSSS companies (GE, Westinghouse, etc) began layoffs and Jackzo ascended to the nuclear throne. Now here we are. Plenty of fuel – fossil and nuclear – and no way to use it.

    If we do not get Obama out of office, then we are doomed. I now have to get back to nukes’R us.

Egypt and the Obama Doctrine

Friday, February 11, AD 2011

 

 

I was inclined to cut the Obama administration some slack initially in regard to the crisis in Egypt.  It is a tough situation and it was difficult to see anything that the US could or should do.  Mubarak has been a friend to the US during his 30 years in power, faithfully kept the peace with Israel, and worked with our intelligence agencies against Islamic terrorism.  However, there is no doubt that he is a dictator, albeit one of the best of a very bad lot in the Middle East where dictatorship is the norm outside of Israel, Turkey and Iraq, and no American can weep for his fall.  However, what replaces him could be far worse.  A tough situation and not a whole lot the US can do to influence events.  Therefore I was initially sympathetic to Obama’s dilemma.

However, the utter cluelessness of his administration throughout this mess has ended my sympathy.  Endless, feckless posturing, combined with impotence, is not a foreign policy but rather a vaudeville act.  This was on full display yesterday when Leon Panetta, CIA director, stated publicly that he had reports that indicated Mubarak would be stepping down yesterday. This was completely erroneous as events proved, but it made worldwide headlines.  It then turned out that Panetta was not basing his prediction on intelligence gathered by his spooks, but rather on media reports.  I can think of few better illustrations of the level of amateurish bungling that has been the hallmark of the Obama administration in regard to everything they have touched.  The Obama Doctrine consists of the following elements:

1.  Speak loudly and carry no stick.

2.  Watch a lot of tv to find out what is going on in the world.

3.  Make endless statements to the press and, never, ever, have a plan as to what to do if you actually have to back up the statements.

4.  Always remember to never let a crisis go to waste and attempt to get maximum positive press coverage out of it, because that is what all crises are truly about.

5.  Obama needs another Nobel Peace Prize to keep his first one company.

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12 Responses to Egypt and the Obama Doctrine

  • Panetta’s cluelessness was pathetic. Still bleary and without coffee to clear the cobwebs, I woke up Thursday knowing that Mubarak would effectively tell Obama to butt out. For 30 years, Hosni did our bidding, took our money, enriched himself and was a good boy. Now he is no more the useful idiot.

    Consider: 80 million people and 0.5% gather to demonstrate — a rabble at best — and this is supposed to be the spark of democracy, which has become the running media narrative. Had tens of thousands of protesters, fed up with high taxes and inflation, surrounded the White House and called for Obama to step down, they would have been branded Tea Party radicals and, not leaving and growing more restive, would have been arrested and hauled off to Gitmo for questioning.

    OK, an exaggeration, but the point being that it is palpably true that Presidents, past and presidents, pick and choose which dictators to support or oppose (Allende, Pinochet, Castro, Musharaf, The Shah Ahmedinejad, etc) solely on the basis of “national interest.” So what is the “national interest” in Obama pushing a known ally, Mubarak, out the door, in favor of an unknown person or entity. Such a power vacuum would not only be filled by radicals (Muslim Brotherhood, bent on destroying Israel, our best Mideast ally), or lead to civil war, which could have dire economic consequences if the Suez Canal is shut down. Talk about a world economic collapse!

    As I write this, CNN and all the other networks are broadcasting live shots of mobs chanting anti-Mubarak slogans, sticking microphones in some camel driver’s angry face, eliciting more invective, which purports to reflect the “mood of the people.” Egged on by the likes of Richard Engel of NBC, Ben Wedeman of CNN (both fluent Arabic speakers), ginned up by the anchors back home, hoping for some “action” – some blood would be good for starters but the best would be to see Mubarak dragged from the palace and be strung up like Mussolini. Can you imagine the ratings?

    “We warn viewers about the graphic images they are about to see. If you have children in the room you might want to tell them to leave. We’ll have exclusive new video of the Egyptian President’s gruesome death after this commercial break.”

    Turn off the TV cameras, let the Army restore order and by September Mubarak will be gone. But then that would ruin the show, wouldn’t it?

  • Panetta should’ve kept his mouth shut. But events have unfolded as the Obama Administration had planned. Mubarak screwed up his announcement, maybe intentionally.

  • On closer inspection, maybe the angry mob has lots of Steeler fans upset by the no-call on Big Ben’s failed 4th-down pass. : )

  • None of this makes sense if you think in a rational context. It makes a heck of a lot of sense if you consider that Obama and his minions are revolutionaries and use the power they have to instigate ‘change’. This smells a lot like 1789.

    Should we be surprised? The petrodollar oil regimes, the global financiers, the socialist/Marxists have been in control of the ‘education’ of Western bureaucrats, journalists, academia, think-tanks, private ‘philanthropic’ foundations for over 20 years. The level of indoctrination makes the Western view of Middle-East murky at best. What do the jihadists, autocrats, socialist/Marxists all have in common?

    The fear of American inspired democratic processes toppling the current order. Whether they want a Caliphate, a personal wealth enriching dictatorship, or a Marxist revolution is irrelevant so long as American ideas might gain ground. They intend to take out the common enemy, us, and then battle it out for domination. Unfortunately, we have been infected by a parasite at the highest levels – we have more Marxists and jihadists running things now than at the height of the Communist infiltration during the Cold War.

    American ideals and Marxism and Jihadism are not compatible. One or the other must win. How do you win a fight if you won’t acknowledge that you are actually in a fight?

  • I dunno. There’ve been some sloppy moments, but I don’t think President Obama has made any bad plays. There weren’t a lot of options.

  • Announcing that Mubarak is definitely stepping down, right before he says that he isn’t going anywhere, NOT a bad play?!? Please elaborate, this should be interesting.

  • It seems that the dog has caught the car. Now the dog has to figure out what to do with it. Tremble.

  • Did the President himself ever say that, other than in an open-ended way in reference to Mubarak’s statement that he’d step down after future elections? If he did, I missed it.

  • The chief executive is responsible for the public statements of those he manages and directs. Whether he said it directly or not, he certainly didn’t correct anyone who did say it.

    Voting ‘present’ may work for an Illinois state Senator, but it is not permissible for the chief executive.

  • It’s funny how Obama found out about today’s resignation (2-11-2011 AD) of Mubarak, which reflects Obama Doctrine #2 2. Watch a lot of tv to find out what is going on in the world..

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2672229/posts

    How feckless.

    I’ve haven’t seen feckless leadership like this since Cardinal George vacated the USCCB presidency.

  • Well at least the teleprompter wasn’t the one that told him.

  • Folks,

    Obama is an idiot with an ego just like the rest of the useless Democrats. And nope, I don’t put my faith in the RINOs either. Vote Constitution Party. At least their platform more closely conforms to Christian principles, and even though they can’t win, by voting for them you’re conscience will be clean.

Cynical Brilliance

Sunday, August 22, AD 2010

My favorite living historian, Victor Davis Hanson, hails the brilliance of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the man behind the “Cordoba Initiative”, the group seeking to build the Ground Zero Mosque.

1.  First the name of the group takes advantage of the historical illiteracy among the chattering class elites of our society:

Start with the notion of a “Cordoba Initiative.” In the elite modern Western mind, Cordoba has been transmogrified into a mythical Lala Land of interfaith tolerance. To invoke the city is to prove one’s ecumenical credentials. Just ask our president, who, in his June 2009 Cairo speech, fantastically claimed that the Muslim city taught us tolerance while Christians were launching the Inquisition (1478) — quite a feat two and a half centuries after most of the Muslims of Cordoba had fled, converted, or been cleansed during the city’s fall (1236) to the Christian forces of the Reconquista. But no matter, we got the president’s drift about who was supposedly tolerant and who was not.

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4 Responses to Cynical Brilliance

War Crimes

Tuesday, August 10, AD 2010

As the New York Times remembers Hiroshima, Richard Fernandez asks us to name the two greatest losses of civilian life in the Pacific war. (“Hint. In both cases the civilian casualties were greater than Hiroshima’s. In one case the event took place on American soil.”)

Meanwhile, Donald Sensing (Sense of Events) thinks it’s past time for Western churches to stop treating Japan as victim every Aug. 6 and 9:

I refuse on principle to pollute God’s ears with prayers dedicated only to Hiroshima Day and the dead of those cities while ignoring the tens of millions of Japanese-murdered souls who cry for remembrance, but do not get it, certainly not from the World Council of Churches and its allies who have no loathing but for their own civilization. If the prayers of the WCC’s service are to be offered, let them be uttered on Aug. 14, the day Japan announced its surrender, or on Sept. 2, the day the surrender instruments were signed aboard USS  Missouri. Let our churches no longer be accessories to Japan’s blood-soaked silence but instead be voices for the  millions of murdered victims of its bloodlust, imperialist militarism.

(HT: Bill Cork).

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97 Responses to War Crimes

  • Excellent post Christopher. Apparently Pius XII wasn’t as certain initially in his condemnation of the bombings as those members of Catholic blogdom in this country who engage in the self-flagellation ritual of spitting on the grave of Harry Truman in the annual August bomb follies. When the chief diplomat of the US mentioned an editorial of L Osservatore Romano that criticized the US for the bombings Pius responded that the editorial had not been authorized by him. I truly pray that those swift to condemn Truman never have to deal with making a decision that would kill hundreds of thousands, or likely kill millions if they do not make the decision. The cry of “consequentialism” is of course useful on Catholic blogs, and fairly useless when dealing with grim realities that constantly arise in war.

  • Sitting in Truman’s seat I may well have made the same decision. But I would not have tried to defend it before my Creator. The intrinsically evil nature of the act is not altered by either its good intentions or beneficial consequences. Some sins are simply more forgivable than others. While I’m willing to defend Truman I am unwilling to defend his decision, even though I certainly sympathize with his predicament. As wrong as his decision was, Truman is a far more morally sympathetic character than most of his vain and self-righteous critics.

  • Thanks for this post, Christopher. The last two paragraphs–yours and Michael’s–pretty well sum up where I am now.

    My sons and I visited the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force last month, and one of the exhibits is the original “Bockscar,” the B-29 which dropped “Fat Man” on Nagasaki. I posed my sons by a Spad XIII (the same model as flown by Eddie Rickenbacker) and by an F-86 Sabre (Korea). I refused to do the same with Bockscar. I explained to my oldest (I was trying to keep my youngest from touching every. single. aircraft. in the museum) what it was, and also said that it killed thousands of innocent people, and was dropped by a Catholic cathedral. If nothing else, I think he’ll remember that and understand the horrid complexity of war, even when the war itself is necessary.

  • It’s true that the Japanese army committed atrocities during WWII with a greater death toll than Hiroshima, but when was the last time you read an article trying to justify the Rape of Nanking?

  • I’m not sure what VDH’s point was about the Tokyo raids. Because we had done much worse, Hiroshima is not bad?

    The correct moral decision is clear enough. The fact it would be difficult to follow through on it is no real surprise. Doing the right thing is rarely easy.

    I have no desire to villify Truman for dropping the bomb; but I don’t consider him a hero either.

  • The firebombings of earlier in the war both in Europe and Japan were clearly nothing more than acts of terror deliberately calculated to demoralize civilians… and Dresden was a particularly horrific example of this barbarism (cf., http://www.rense.com/general19/flame.htm).

    “Bomber” Harris, the Brit commander behind Dresden and similar attacks, also memorialized in Britain by a statue in his honor, famously said he did “not personally regard the whole of the remaining cities of Germany as worth the bones of one British Grenadier.”
    And,
    “the aim of the Combined Bomber Offensive…should be unambiguously stated [as] the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers, and the disruption of civilised life throughout Germany.”

    And,
    “It should be emphasized that the destruction of houses, public utilities, transport and lives, the creation of a refugee problem on an unprecedented scale, and the breakdown of morale both at home and at the battle fronts by fear of extended and intensified bombing, are accepted and intended aims of our bombing policy. They are not by-products of attempts to hit factories.”

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki were only extensions of this immoral military doctrine. The Brits, who during Germany’s V-2 campaign suffered a small fraction of the casualities they themselves would inflict on a supine German civilian population, should have known better.

    Truman should also have known better.

  • I am not able to argue against any of the comments posted by Tom so I will not attempt it. To give the military the benefit of the doubt for their actions, many soldiers had to act on the notion “kill or be killed” – which is totally different than our plush civilian lives.

    Many soldiers did not know who they could trust and saw death because of it. Leaders tried to keep their soldiers alive. Many were battle weary from long months of fighting in extreme conditions. We take the emotinally scars of these individuals for granted.

    This was war. We were attacked. Japan would not surrender and contiuned torturing people. Truman was obligated to defend this country and our allies and wanted to bring the troups home. I am not sure that we now are qualified to make a judgement statement such as “Truman should also have known better”.

    The dropping of these bombs was a tragic event. With the determination of Imperial Japan, what would have stopped them? Should we consider additional bombing raids that would have killed more people any less evil? Would sending our soldiers into certain-death situations be less evil since many were physically and emotionally drained? Are we supposed to consider self-defense and defense of others as evil?!

  • I am not able to argue against any of the comments posted by Tom so I will not attempt it. To give the military the benefit of the doubt for their actions, many soldiers had to act on the notion “kill or be killed” – which is totally different than our plush civilian lives.

    Many soldiers did not know who they could trust and saw death because of it. Leaders tried to keep their soldiers alive. Many were battle weary from long months of fighting in extreme conditions. We take the emotional scars of these individuals for granted.

    This was war. We were attacked. Japan would not surrender and contiuned torturing people. Truman was obligated to defend this country and our allies and wanted to bring the troups home. I am not sure that we now are qualified to make a judgement statement such as “Truman should also have known better”.

    The dropping of these bombs was a tragic event. With the determination of Imperial Japan, what would have stopped them? Should we consider additional bombing raids that would have killed more people any less evil? Would sending our soldiers into certain-death situations be less evil since many were physically and emotionally drained? Are we supposed to consider self-defense and defense of others as evil?!

  • My opinion: liberal, left-wing catholics resurrect this uncharitable (“He who is without sin . . . , etc.) opinion each August in order (I think) to salve their consummate consciences for voting for abortion: because America Hiroshima is evil, don’t you know? But, it’s not evil to vote for abortion.

    BARF!

  • T. Shaw,

    Most, if not all of us who frequent here are adamantly opposed to abortion and I have never voted for anyone who supports the killing of the unborn (whether the candidate has a D or R after his name).

    This is not Vox Nova.

    But evil is evil, and wrong is wrong. I agree with the others that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were evils, as well as Dresden, etc. It should be no surprise that even generally good people can do evil things.

  • Of course, our national flirtation with war-crime-as-policy began with Lincoln, who unleashed Sherman on the civilian population of the South:

    Quoth Sherman,
    “The Government of the United States has in North Alabama any and all rights which they choose to enforce in war – to take their lives, their homes, their lands, their everything . . . . war is simply power unrestrained by constitution or compact…. We will . . . take every life, every acre of land, every particle of property, everything that to us seems proper.”

    Not rebellious southern civilians alone were subject to this policy, but the Indians too:

    “It is one of those irreconcilable conflicts that will end only in one way, one or the other must be exterminated . . . . We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to the extermination, men, women and children” … “The more Indians we can kill this year, the less will have to be killed next year… They all have to be killed or be maintained as a species of paupers.”

    There’s no ambiguity about it: deliberate targeting of non-combatants and their homes and property is flat out immoral. I hope The American Catholic continues to rank the noun above the adjective.

  • Of course, our national flirtation with war-crime-as-policy began with Lincoln, who unleashed Sherman on the civilian population of the South

    Er, no.

    That hypothesis would be news to the Iroquois, who referred to George Washington as the “burner of towns” for his dispatch of John Sullivan to root out the pro-British tribes in 1779. Sullivan performed his mission with gusto, obliterating at least 40 Iroquois villages.

    Washington was actually rather disappointed with the results, truth be told.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sullivan_Expedition

  • There seems to be a great deal of confusion in the use of the word “moral”. The Church quite clearly teaches that morality is a personal attribute. A nation, an institution, a group cannot sin. It has no soul, no free will.

    [Likewise, the Church did not commit the sexual. They were acts of individuals. And again the Church did not cover up the acts. Those were decisions by individual bishops].

    The question then becomes “whose was the sin?” Who should be put on trial?

    There is a great deal of the disingenuous in those who point to others as the sinners. It is just a tad too easy at a distance of 60 years. And there is a touch of discerning the mote in the eye of others.

    Should not those who so quick to condemn the bombings, to condemn the war, be willing to give up all the benefits they enjoy as a result of the war?

    It seems to me that we Americans did what amounts to acts of contrition by rebuilding Germany and Japan after the war, and ridding those countries of the brutal regimes which oppressed them.

  • I think that several of the comments here misunderstand the upshot of the original post. Is it possible to hold both that

    (1) the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and other bombings of non-combatants, both in WWII and after, is an intrinsically evil act

    and

    (2) the agents responsible for committing those acts were in all liklihood not possessed of a desire to commit an intrinsically evil act, but by a desire to do the best thing possible in a very bad set of circumstances.

    Sometimes holier-than-thou-types seem not to understand that holding (2) does not remove the force of (1) but, if anything, testifies even more strongly to how pervasive sin is in the world: sometimes what seems to be the very best thing to an already compromised ethical agent (and who is not already compromised) is intrinsically evil.

    I take it that there exists an analogy between Truman and his desicion and the sister in charge of medical ethics at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, who ordered the D&E on the woman who appeared to be dying from priaclampsia [sic?].

  • Of course then we would have the burning of Chambersburg by the Confederates after the citizenry were unable to come up with the monetary ransom requested by the boys in gray.

    http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/1973/5/1973_5_36.shtml

    Then there is also the fact that the Confederate States decreed death for all former slaves in the Union Army and the officers who led them.

    “3. That all negro slaves captured in arms be at once delivered over to the executive authorities of the respective States to which they belong to be dealt with according to the laws of said States.

    4. That the like orders be executed in all cases with respect to all commissioned officers of the United States when found serving in company with armed slaves in insurrection against the authorities of the different States of this Confederacy.”

    http://www.history.umd.edu/Freedmen/pow.htm

    Neo-Confederate apologists for the Confederacy have a lot to explain when they want to take Lincoln to task for “total war”.

  • One element I would like to raise in this thread is the alternatives to what Truman did. The opponents of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki also oppose the fire bombing of Japanese cities which was the only way to destroy from the air the spread out Japanese industries. Presumably they would also have opposed an air tight blockade of the Home Islands, probably going on for years, in order to starve Japan into surrender. Of course while this was still going on Japan would have still controlled a large part of Asia and continued to kill, on average, some 300,000 civilians each and every month. An invasion of the Home Islands would have led to a mammoth death toll of civilians. During the battle of Manila in March of 45 MacArthur restricted the use of artillery and air power in order to attempt to spare civilian casualties. Some 100,000 civilians died anyway, some deliberately slain by the Japanese, but most simply dying as a result of being caught in the cross fire of two armies battling in an urban area.

    So, critics of Truman, you are in his shoes. What do you do? (I do hope that no one brings up the truly fatuous idea of inviting the Japanese military to observe a test of the bomb. The Japanese didn’t surrender after Hiroshima. A test of a bomb would have had no impact upon the Japanese government.)

  • I understand that the bombing of Dresden was immoral. It was (as far as I know) a civilian, not a military, target. But does that distinction apply to Hiroshima and Nagasaki? The Japanese civilians were doing machine work in their houses; the families were trained for combat. Granted, they weren’t uniformed, and who knows if they would have resisted or surrendered, but I don’t see how they can be classified as non-military.

  • Oh – let me add, “unless I’m wrong”. I’m no ethicist or historian.

  • Hindsight may be 20/20, but war crimes are forever.

  • Don, if I were Truman, I would not have insisted on unconditional surrender.

  • Actually Pinky Dresden was rather heavily involved in the German war effort. A good revisionist look at that bombing is linked to below:

    http://www.amazon.com/Dresden-Tuesday-February-13-1945/dp/0060006773

    In regard to what an invasion of the Japanese Home Islands would have entailed the most recent study is linked below.

    “Giangreco, a longtime former editor for Military Review, synthesizes years of research in a definitive analysis of America’s motives for using atomic bombs against Japan in 1945. The nuclear bombing of Japan, he concludes, was undertaken in the context of Operation Downfall: a series of invasions of the Japanese islands American planners estimated would initially cause anywhere from a quarter-million to a million U.S. casualties, plus millions of Japanese. Giangreco presents the contexts of America’s growing war weariness and declining manpower resources. Above all, he demonstrates the Japanese militarists’ continuing belief that they could defeat the U.S. Japan had almost 13,000 planes available for suicide attacks, and plans for the defense of Kyushu, the U.S.’s initial invasion site, were elaborate and sophisticated, deploying over 900,000 men. Japanese and American documents presented here offer a chillingly clear-eyed picture of a battle of attrition so daunting that Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall considered using atomic and chemical weapons to support the operation. Faced with this conundrum, in Giangreco’s excellent examination, President Truman took what seemed the least worst option.”

    http://www.amazon.com/Hell-Pay-Operation-DOWNFALL-1945-1947/dp/1591143160/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1281467655&sr=1-1

  • “Don, if I were Truman, I would not have insisted on unconditional surrender.”

    What terms would you have offered Japan restrainedradical? Here are the terms Truman offered.

    Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender
    Issued, at Potsdam, July 26, 1945

    “1.We-the President of the United States, the President of the National Government of the Republic of China, and the Prime Minister of Great Britain, representing the hundreds of millions of our countrymen, have conferred and agree that Japan shall be given an opportunity to end this war.

    2.The prodigious land, sea and air forces of the United States, the British Empire and of China, many times reinforced by their armies and air fleets from the west, are poised to strike the final blows upon Japan. This military power is sustained and inspired by the determination of all the Allied Nations to prosecute the war against Japan until she ceases to resist.

    3.The result of the futile and senseless German resistance to the might of the aroused free peoples of the world stands forth in awful clarity as an example to the people of Japan. The might that now converges on Japan is immeasurably greater than that which, when applied to the resisting Nazis, necessarily laid waste to the lands, the industry and the method of life of the whole German people. The full application of our military power, backed by our resolve, will mean the inevitable and complete destruction of the Japanese armed forces and just as inevitably the utter devastation of the Japanese homeland.

    4.The time has come for Japan to decide whether she will continue to be controlled by those self-willed militaristic advisers whose unintelligent calculations have brought the Empire of Japan to the threshold of annihilation, or whether she will follow the path of reason.

    5.Following are our terms. We will not deviate from them. There are no alternatives. We shall brook no delay.

    6.There must be eliminated for all time the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest, for we insist that a new order of peace, security and justice will be impossible until irresponsible militarism is driven from the world.

    7.Until such a new order is established and until there is convincing proof that Japan’s war-making power is destroyed, points in Japanese territory to be designated by the Allies shall be occupied to secure the achievement of the basic objectives we are here setting forth.

    8.The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out and Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine.

    9.The Japanese military forces, after being completely disarmed, shall be permitted to return to their homes with the opportunity to lead peaceful and productive lives.

    10.We do not intend that the Japanese shall be enslaved as a race or destroyed as a nation, but stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals, including those who have visited cruelties upon our prisoners. The Japanese Government shall remove all obstacles to the revival and strengthening of democratic tendencies among the Japanese people. Freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought, as well as respect for the fundamental human rights shall be established.

    11.Japan shall be permitted to maintain such industries as will sustain her economy and permit the exaction of just reparations in kind, but not those which would enable her to re-arm for war. To this end, access to, as distinguished from control of, raw materials shall be permitted. Eventual Japanese participation in world trade relations shall be permitted.

    12.The occupying forces of the Allies shall be withdrawn from Japan as soon as these objectives have been accomplished and there has been established in accordance with the freely expressed will of the Japanese people a peacefully inclined and responsible government.

    13.We call upon the government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces, and to provide proper and adequate assurances of their good faith in such action. The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction.”

    http://www.ndl.go.jp/constitution/e/etc/c06.html

  • So, critics of Truman, you are in his shoes. What do you do?

    If I were Truman my priority would have been to end the war quickly so as to prevent Soviet entry into the war (the fact that the Allies actually encouraged Soviet entry is one of the more boneheaded moves in all of diplomatic history). If ending the war quickly meant accepting something less than unconditional surrender (say, by letting the Japanese keep their Emperor), then it would have been cheap at the price.

    If you were going to use the atom bomb, I don’t see why you couldn’t have dropped it on a strictly military target (such as the troops at Kyushu). That would have achieved the same effect as Hiroshima without incinerating tens of thousands of women and children.

  • Arguing from counterfactuals is rather unhelpful in this instance. Our knowledge of what *may* have happened, given a different decision, is so slight as to provide no reason for acting. This is, by the way, why moral absolutes are important for Catholic theology. One does not have to provide an (impossible) answer to McClarey’s question–it is all just speculation at this point, anyhow–in order to determine that Truman’s act was wrong.

  • “If you were going to use the atom bomb, I don’t see why you couldn’t have dropped it on a strictly military target (such as the troops at Kyushu).”

    The Japanese located their military units in urban areas in the Home Islands.

    For example:
    “At the time of its bombing, Hiroshima was a city of considerable military significance. It contained the headquarters of the Fifth Division and Field Marshal Hata’s 2nd General Army Headquarters, which commanded the defence of all of southern Japan.”
    http://www.japaneselifestyle.com.au/travel/hiroshima_bombing.htm

    In regard to the Emperor, prior to Hiroshima, Japanese advocates of a negotiate piece assumed that such a peace would have to entail, at a minimum, no occupation of Japan, no dis-arming of Japan and Japan keeping some of its overseas conquests. Japanese militarists laughed at such peace advocates and assumed that Japan could stop an American invasion and cause the US, sick of war and high casualties, to withdraw from most of Asia and the Pacific. A negotiated peace is a fantasy.

  • “One does not have to provide an (impossible) answer to McClarey’s question–it is all just speculation at this point, anyhow–in order to determine that Truman’s act was wrong.”

    Wrong. Catholic moral theology has never simply thrown up its hands in regard to the real world. If Truman hadn’t dropped the bombs there would have been consequences, almost certainly terrible consequences. Condemning Truman without owning up to those consequences and accepting them, is to pretend that we live in a pacifist dream world rather than a world where the leaders of nations sometimes have to make decisions that will end up killing lots of people no matter what they do or not do. Condemning is easy, thinking through the consequences of acting or not acting is much harder and less pleasant, but must be done if moral theology is to be something more than a bat to swing in Catholic comboxes.

  • The Japanese located their military units in urban areas in the Home Islands.

    To suggest that the bomb couldn’t have been dropped on a military target in Japan without resulting in 95% civilian casualties is just silly. Dropping the bomb on the assembled forces at Kyushu would have had the same effect as Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but without the massive civilian loss of life.

    In regard to the Emperor, prior to Hiroshima, Japanese advocates of a negotiate piece assumed that such a peace would have to entail, at a minimum, no occupation of Japan, no dis-arming of Japan and Japan keeping some of its overseas conquests.

    I would say these were the maximum expected demands, not the minimum. However, even if the above were what it would take to end the war without incinerating tens of thousands of women and children, I think Truman should have accepted them.

  • “I would say these were the maximum expected demands, not the minimum. However, even if the above were what it would take to end the war without incinerating tens of thousands of women and children, I think Truman should have accepted them.”

    Which of our Asian allies would you have advised to “suck it up” BA and continue to live under the Rising Sun? How do you think the American people would have reacted to the idea that the nation that brought them Pearl Harbor was going to retain some foreign conquests, not be occupied, not be disarmed and probably be ready for another go at the US in twenty years. Your suggestion might fit some fantasy world. It certainly could not have been implemented by any US President in 1945.

  • Oh, and BA, Hiroshima had 43,000 troops in it when the bomb was dropped.

  • Donald,

    You’re right, I’m sure America never would have stood for China or Korea living under oppression.

    Actually the Chinese wanted to make peace with Japan at the beginning of 1945, but didn’t out of deference to America. The idea that Truman bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki because he was concerned about the plight of the Chinese is the real fantasy.

    And as far as I can tell you have no answer as to why the bomb couldn’t be dropped on the troops at Kyushu.

  • Oh, and BA, Hiroshima had 43,000 troops in it when the bomb was dropped.

    And how many were there in Nagasaki?

  • Good way of completely avoiding the question of which of our Asian allies you would have thrown to the wolves BA. The idea that such a thing would have been entertained by the US government is a tribute to the absurdity that usually surrounds the August Follies. In regard to China making a separate peace with Japan, unless you can cite chapter and verse, I will also assume that this is a fantasy of yours. The Japanese army had actually gone on the offensive in 44 and 45 in China and controlled a huge amount of China.

    http://cbi-theater-1.home.comcast.net/~cbi-theater-1/lantern/lantern050445.html

    There was zero prospect that Japan was going to willingly withdraw from China absent surrender by Japan. As a matter of fact, several overseas commanders after Japan surrendered contemplated carrying on a war.

    As to your odd assumption that there were large military units in Kyushu out in the open waiting to be bombed, the military units of Japan were subject to conventional bombing like everything else in Japan. They were dispersed, with most of them located in urban centers, as was the case in Hiroshima.

  • And how many were there in Nagasaki?

    I don’t know how many strictly military folks there were, but I know the Japanese lady at Sasebo’s indoc mentioned that it was their primary Navy shipyards. (Sasebo became the largest afterwards.)

  • Presumably they would also have opposed an air tight blockade of the Home Islands, probably going on for years, in order to starve Japan into surrender.

    One thing about the blockade – it takes a lot longer (as you admit, years) and it can be reveresed, as well as regulated to allow certain subsistence amounts in (and refugees out, if you are so inclined), and the repeated opportunity to surrender, change minds, etc. With the bomb, it’s all over in an instant, and there is no going back.

  • Mitsubishi shipyards, if anyone wants to research.

  • I don’t know that a blockade would have taken years. Like Britain, Japan was and remains a net food importer, and our submarine force was annihilating their merchant marine at will. I don’t think their navy would have been able to escort sufficient convoys to keep them going for very long.

    Then again, famine and the attendant diseases can’t be flipped off like a light switch, either. I can easily see the civilian death toll from a blockade leaping into the high hundred thousands, if not more than a million, in relatively short order, even given a surrender.

    And as to subsistence blockades–well, that certainly hasn’t hurt the Kim tyrants in North Korea. That ratchets down the likelihood of surrender, I think, and ups the likelihood of continuous conventional bombardment.

  • The famine would have hit in the Spring of 1946. MacArthur only avoided the famine historically with huge shipments of food that he insisted be sent to Japan from the US. Needless to say, sending food to Japan was not popular. MacArthur in response to opposition said that he was responsible for keeping the Japanese alive and that he would resign rather than allow mass starvation on his watch. It was Mac’s finest moment in my opinion.

    I have my doubts that even mass starvation would have caused the Japanese to capitulate, absent intervention by Hirohito, something he was unwilling to do until after Nagasaki.

  • FWIW, there was a similar discussion here on Kiwiblog.co.nz a few days ago.

    Most opinions were that “The Bomb” was the right decision under the circumstances, for all the reasons above mentioned.

    This will be debated for many years to come, by those who will moralize and condemn those who had this truly terrible decision to make, in the dispassionate comfort of their safe armchairs.

    Does the end justify the means? No.
    Was this means justified? If the END was to prevent the continued destruction of human life, and in bringing the war to an abrupt end, prevent the killing of many more millions than “The Bomb” would kill, then yes, the MEANS was justified.

  • The only non-negotiable I would insisted on would have been withdrawal from occupied lands. Some disarmament would probably have been necessary too. I may also have insisted on a reparations fund.

  • Intrinsically immorlal means can never be justified by good ends/consequences. Truman was wrong. But he was still a good man trying hard to do the right thing. This is not all that different from the Sister Margaret McBride, who when confronted with the choice of directly taking a life (via a direct abortion) versus allowing that same life and that of another (the mother) to die did what most sensible and well-intentioned people would do — choose to have one person to survive rather than none. Very understandable. But still very wrong.

  • After Nagasaki, Japan agreed to all terms except removal of the emperor. It was rejected and conventional bombing continued, killing thousands more.

  • Your understanding of those events is faulty restrainedradical. Here is actually what was said on August 12 by the Allies:

    “From the moment of surrender the authority of the Emperor and the Japanese government to rule the state shall be subject to the Supreme Commander of the Allied powers who will take such steps as he deems proper to effectuate the surrender terms. …The ultimate form of government of Japan shall, in accordance with the Potsdam Declaration, be established by the freely expressed will of the Japanese people”

    The Allies heard nothing from Japan on August 13, and ordered a resumption of bombing for August 14, previously halted by Truman, the date when Hirohito, finally, eight days after Hiroshima and five days after Nagasaki, addressed Japan and ordered the capitulation:

    “Despite the best that has been done by everyone—the gallant fighting of the military and naval forces, the diligence and assiduity of Our servants of the State, and the devoted service of Our one hundred million people—the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest.

    Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, not only would it result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.

    Such being the case, how are We to save the millions of Our subjects, or to atone Ourselves before the hallowed spirits of Our Imperial Ancestors? This is the reason why We have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the Joint Declaration of the Powers.

    The hardships and sufferings to which Our nation is to be subjected hereafter will be certainly great. We are keenly aware of the inmost feelings of all of you, Our subjects. However, it is according to the dictates of time and fate that We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is unsufferable.”

    American bombing was halted after Hirohito’s address. Japanese units on the Asian mainland continued fighting for several days after Hirohito’s address.

  • Donald,

    You are misunderstanding my point–which is also the point of Catholic moral theology. To say that one need not provide answers to any of your multitudinous counterfactuals in order to determine that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was evil is just to say that the intentional killing of civilians is *intrinsically* evil. To say this, however, is not to say what you appear to think it says, that I–and the Church–are throwing up our hands with respect to “the real world.” Quite the contrary, the structure of reality, as revealed by Christ and his Church, is precisely what is being respected in the confident determination that some acts are so destructive of the imago dei that they can never, under any circumstances, be permitted–come what may. The intentional killing of innocents has always been regarded as such an act, and for good reason.

    From the perspective of Christian moral theology, it would have been better for Truman–and for any who were cooperators in this act–that the Japanese were militarily victorious than that he should have committed such an act. That is the hard truth.

    Now, you may disagree with the Christ and the Church’s teaching here–many do, Christians and non-Christians alike–but let us not be deceived by a sophistry which attempts to lessen the gravity of this evil act by appeal to a set of conjectures which remain just that, conjectures. From the perspective of Catholic moral theology, it is you, and not I, who are ignoring the “real world.”

  • Don, it’s not incumbent on one who is pointing out the immorality of intentional targeting of civilians to solve the problem of “what other course was there?”

    But the “other course” here would have been to continue the conventional war and perhaps pursuing something other than unconditional surrender.

    Oh, and with regard to the confederates, Bobby Lee in his forays north expressly forbade the type of tactics Sherman expressly adopted.

    Chambersburg should not have been burned, but by 1864 the Confederates were responding to Yankee war crimes, specifically in this case, Hunter’s devestation of civilian targets in the Shenandoah.

    Such is the logic of “total war”– it tends to suck in those who would otherwise not want to practice it.

  • One other thing: from the perspective of the civitas dei, which is the perspective that all Christians are exhorted to conform themselves to, it matters very little who wins what wars, what kinds of polity we are subject to here below, etc. For the Church, there are good things and bad things that accompany *any* political regime, and it is a dangerous, and finally idolatrous, mistake to believe that the defense of any particular civitas terrena–whether it be America in the 20th century, Rome in the 5th, or some future city–is worth the commission of an intrinsically evil act, which destroys one’s participation in the civitas dei.

    None of this entails pacifism. But it does entail our willingness to call a spade a spade.

  • From the perspective of Christian moral theology, it would have been better for Truman–and for any who were cooperators in this act–that the Japanese were militarily victorious than that he should have committed such an act. That is the hard truth.

    I’m not clear that “it would have been better” scenarios along these lines are all that useful. Frankly, from a perspective of Christian moral theology, it would be better if one no had earthly responsibilities for anyone else. Paul, after all, enjoins people not to even marry (and thus take on the responsibilities of a spouse) and for spouses to be celibate (and thus not take on the responsibilities of children) because earthly responsibilies tend to turn us away from true eternal priorities. And yet, we as Catholics also recognize that it is necessary that we as a human community have marriage, have children, have rulers and law, etc. Greater earthly responsibilities invariably distract people from their eternal destinations — something which I think Dante well summarizes the thinking of the Christian tradition on in Purgatorio. And yet, there is also a sense in which it is necessary that a portion of society make the sacrifice of focusing on earthly responsibility. Why?

    One other thing: from the perspective of the civitas dei, which is the perspective that all Christians are exhorted to conform themselves to, it matters very little who wins what wars, what kinds of polity we are subject to here below, etc.

    It seems to me that this misses an obvious issue, which is that the environment in which people find themselves often affects their ability to live in accordance with the the civitas dei. Look at conflicts such as the French Revolution or the Spanish Civil War in which one side was actively invested in stamping out the Church and perverting the order of society. To be sure, such situations offer the opportunity for martyrdom, but for most they offer the opportunity for apostacy, collaboration and corruption. I’m reminded similarly of some of the pieces I’ve read about the archives which are now open in Germany of East German secret police files, where people were constantly encouraged to inform on each other and rewarded for betraying of friends and family. Surely such an environment is destructive to many souls.

    Without question each society presents its own temptations and corruptions, and if anything I lean heavily in the direction of Christians seeking the path to God in their own societies as they exist rather than embracing a revolutionary ethic of overturning the social order in order to make society “more holy”. And armed struggle has a tendency to corrupt all sides. But I can’t see that complete indifference is the right response either.

  • Darwin,

    I mean “would have been better” in the strict sense that it is always better not to commit an intrinsically evil act than to commit one. I do not mean to say, nor is it true that, marriage, law-making, etc. fall under the same category. I am assuming here a post-lapsarian condition.

    As for your second comment: fair enough. I am more Pascalian in my outlook than most, and I am well aware that certain regimes produce certain evils that are on first blush more destructive than the evils of other regimes. (I am not so certain, however, that collaboration, apostasy, etc. are not equally prevalent in the West. There are more lapsed Catholics in American than any other denomination, they say.) But would you at least acknowledge that if my position leads to a skeptical indifferentism, it is nonetheless within the bounds of orthodoxy, and in fact corresponds nearly exactly with Augustine’s own view, whereas the danger in becoming too tied up with the “justness” of a particular regime on earth leads rather quickly to unorthodoxy and idolatry: one excuses intrinsic evils committed by that regime in order to ensure its own continued existence, rather than admitting that such an act has been committed?

    I fear that I discern something of this in McClarey’s hand-waving about the behavior of the Allies–and America in particular–in WWII.

  • Like Darwin, I can’t go so far as to say that it matters little who wins wars… Certainly there are just wars, and WWII was one example. It’s the old Thomistic distinction between jus ad bellum, whether a war is just in the first place, and jus in bello, whether a war is conducted in accordance with moral principles.

    Collateral damage is inevitable in modern warfare, but where the Allies went wrong was in aping the evil done by the Axis powers, i.e., deliberately targeting civilians and non-military targets for the purpose of “demoralizing” the populace.

  • (I am being especially procrastinatory today.)

    Tom,

    First, I agree that yours is a perfectly viable interpretation of where the Allies went wrong in WWII. I agree with it, in fact, and, as I said, nothing in my own position commits one to pacifism.

    But I still think that it is *also* true that, at least according to Augustine and several other thinkers in the Augustinian tradition, it *still* makes little difference what regime a Christian lives under, for the reason that *every* regime is dominated by the libido dominandi, and so, from the perspective of the civitas dei, they are all equal.

    Thomas, and the Thomistic tradition more generally, has a less skeptical view. One that, I hasten to add, is perfectly legitimate. It seems to me that the Church, within the bounds of orthodoxy, allows for a range of opinion on this matter.

    I am not so much bothered by any disagreement here as I am by the hesitancy to call a spade a spade.

  • Don (Kiwi)

    You seem to contradict yourself. First, you say that the ends cannot justify the means, and then you do precisely that – you state the end of ending the war justified the means of dropping the bomb. Am I missing something?

  • “The intentional killing of innocents has always been regarded as such an act, and for good reason.”

    Actually it depends on how you define intentional. Papal armies in the Middle Ages routinely besieged cities, a normal military operation of the time. The cities would be caused to surrender usually through blockades that produced starvation, and, inevitably, disease would usually explode in the cities. If any pope ever breathed a word against sieges as a method of warfare, I am unaware of it. This is quite a bit more of a complicated area than it seems at first glance.

  • That papal armies acted or did not act in certain ways with or without the permission of popes is immaterial. Are you denying that the slaughter of innocents has not always been regarded as an intrinsically evil act?

  • c matt.

    Re-reading my comment, I appear to do as you say. However, in the context of what was occuring – a war costing huge casualties on both sides, a stark choice became presented. Do we continue as we are, and lose many millions of lives, or do we introduce a new stratagem, and save arguably millions of lives which would otherwise be lost? ( the other choice was, as Wj said earlier, to lie down and be conquered, which to me , would be unacceptable)
    I guess the choice was therefore, a lesser of two evils. No doubt it can be debated whether or not a less evil choice is the correct moral choice in view of the principle, that the end does not justify the means.
    Quite a connundrum, isn’t it?

  • All ends are achieved by a means.

    But the end does not (necessarily) justify the means.

    Some means are justifiable, others are not.

  • Are you denying that the slaughter of innocents has not always been regarded as an intrinsically evil act?

    I think you mean “are you denying that…has ALWAYS been regarded as an intrinsically evil act,” or “are you CLAIMING…has not always been regarded as an intrinsically evil act.”

    Perhaps a better tact might be to find out when it was first enumerated as an intrinsic evil?

    DonTK-
    I think the situation is significantly more complicated than folks are willing to consider– even with folks that I KNOW are honestly trying to just figure it out, there’s incredible simplification.

    Does it matter that there was warning given so the population had a chance to leave?
    Does it matter that military operations were moved into civilian areas, even into family dwellings?
    Does it matter that “aiming” with bombs in that day was more an art than a science?
    Do prior tactics of the Americans matter?
    Do prior tactics of the Allies matter?
    Does our responsibility to defend the innocent that WEREN’T in those cities matter?
    What effect does the (possible) Japanese military stopping civilians from evacuating have on the morality of it?
    How much information did they have about what was going on at ground level, and how much could they reasonably be expected to have?

    (stuff like this is probably why a lot of folks think morality should be restricted to philosophy, not the real world– it’s just not as simple IRL, even if it is still black and white)

    I know full well I don’t have nearly enough information to make an informed, binding judgement on these actions that happened before my parents were born. Luckily, I don’t have to; it’s useful to try to figure out, in case a similar case comes along, but it’s also important to keep in mind that it’s not cut and dried.

  • “That papal armies acted or did not act in certain ways with or without the permission of popes is immaterial. Are you denying that the slaughter of innocents has not always been regarded as an intrinsically evil act?”

    I think the praxis of the Church is always of importance, especially when that praxis went on for centuries. I am denying that the Church has condemned all military operations which, by their very nature, were bound to take quite a few innocent lives.

    Let’s think this through. Hiroshima is bombed from the air, either fire bombed or nuked. Bad, intrinsically immoral. Hiroshima is taken by the US in a ground assault in the spring of 46 which, in a house to house fight against the Japanese Army, kills most of the civilian population, who are caught in the cross fire. Morally acceptable. I assume the difference is one of intention, but I find that argument weak. A military man would have to be brain dead not to realize that large scale combat in an urban area is going to kill huge numbers of civilians. If mass casualties are foreseeable in a ground assault, how does that materially differ from mass casualties caused by an air assault? The current Church stance may be an argument for pacifism, but I do not think it adequately addresses that other measures taken in military operations, presumably morally licit, may kill just as many civilians, if not more, than the measures condemned.

    I might also note that in the spiritual realm popes have been quite willing to take actions which have had adverse impacts on innocent parties. A good example would be the Interdict which prevented the dispensing of the sacraments in nations or regions. Imagine a pope saying that a dying innocent could not have the comfort of the Last Rites. However, it was done, and not infrequently, for reasons that the popes employing it deemed good and sufficient. The last use of the Interdict, in a fairly mild form, was by Saint Pius X in the early years of the last century. The idea that innocents have an all-embracing immunity is one that is popular in the Church today, but it is rather a novel one.

  • Now you are just obfuscating. For who would not agree with your following assertion? (I certainly don’t disagree with it.)

    “I am denying that the Church has condemned all military operations which, by their very nature, were bound to take quite a few innocent lives.”

    We don’t need to go through the motions of explaining how the doctrine of double effect applies in ius in bello scenarios on this blog. I’ll just take it for granted that most people reading here have a working knowledge about how unintentional though foreseen civilian casualties, for example, are a different kind of thing than INTENTIONALLY DECIMATING A CIVILIAN TARGET.

    Most ALL military operations involve the unfortunate killing of innocents, and if the Church is to have a doctrine of just war at all, which she most assuredly does, then it is basic to such a doctrine to differentiate foreseen but unintended evils from evils intentionally committed. So while, for example, the intentional slaughter of women and children has always been rightly condemned by the Church–which is not to say that she has not at times engaged in this practice against her better lights (thereby proving true what she has to say about sin)–the unfortunate killing of innocents as a result of some other strategy which does not *directly* target them is a more difficult scenario to parse. There is an entire casuitical literature on this and related topics. We all know all the moves here.

    What you are now doing, in fact, is redescribing the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as if this weren’t the intentional killing of civilians. But, on any plausible account of intentional acts (i.e. Thomas, Anscombe, Suarez, etc.), the bombing most clearly *was* an intentionally, and not merely foreseen, attack on noncombatants. Which is, as I said before, intrinsically evil.

    Either you do not understand or you do not agree with the distinction between foreseen and intended consequences–a distinction which is basic to Catholic moral theology. Which is it?

  • By the way, there is one other theological assumption in your response that I take issue with.

    1. The fact that the Church in the past–yea, even for centuries in the past–did or did not intentionally target or unjustly allow a disproportionate number of civilians to be killed in any of her wars is immaterial to the issue at hand. Why? That the Church acted one way or another in the past has, apart from her explicit teachings on doctrine and morals, no bearing on the normative status of that action. For centuries the Church abused the theology of indulgences; from this it does not follow that we, in the present, are supposed to be okay with the selling of indulgences on the grounds that the Church did it in the past. You are conflating two very different kinds of “tradition” and how they have normative bearing in Catholic theology.

    Of course, if you deny the distinction between an intended and a foreseen end, then you are a consequentialist. But if you are a consequentialist, then you have a problem with the decalogue. Do you have a problem with the decalogue?

  • I apologize for the somewhat heated and exasperated tone. If I had known that you denied the difference between an intended and foreseen end, I would have found your defense of the bombings much more intelligible–though not, I am afraid to say, any less repugnant.

  • “Either you do not understand or you do not agree with the distinction between foreseen and intended consequences–a distinction which is basic to Catholic moral theology.”

    My problem WJ is that what is considered as unforeseen in war in regard to civilian casualties is predictable as night follows day. Two corps battling each other in an urban area will produce large amounts of civilian deaths. A siege of a city will produce a large amount of civilian deaths. Foreseeability in this area seems like a very frail reed on which to make categorical distinctions. Because of the technology of the day, bombing an urban center in World War II was going to produce quite a few civilian casualties no matter what was done. My point is that if it is intrinsically evil to ever intentionally engage in the targeting of civilian populations in war, why is it not intrinsically evil to engage in actions in war which, completely predictably, will lead to civilian deaths? Hiding behind foreseeability in this area strikes me as exalting form over substance.

  • No sweat WJ. This is an area which people get passionate about. I certainly am in that category.

  • Donald, I think this response of yours points the way toward a difficult and important issue in the theology of Just War. At least we are now down to brass tacks, as it were. I am enjoying this quite a bit. You write:

    “My point is that if it is intrinsically evil to ever intentionally engage in the targeting of civilian populations in war, why is it not intrinsically evil to engage in actions in war which, completely predictably, will lead to civilian deaths?”

    The short answer to this is that the intentional targeting of a civilian is murder, and murder is always wrong. Why is it wrong? Well, even Augustine, who was not, I have to admit, terribly worried about civilian casualties, views murder as the sort of action which destroys the imago dei in the soul of the person committing it. (Indeed, murder is like any violation of the decalogue in this respect.) So the intentional targeting of a civilian is wrong not *only* because of what happens to the civilian (as you point out, the civilian may well be killed unintentionally via another strategy) but also what happens to you.

    In the second case, the military commander is intending to engage a lawful combatant, and he foresees that as a result of his action some number of civilians will die. This is not *intrinsically* evil, first, because there are some circumstances in which it is permitted; in a less tautological sense, it is not *intrinscially* evil because the ACTION in question is not murder, but some other action describable in a different way, and so the commander in question is not deprived of grace.

    Of course, it way well be the case, at least according to Just War Theory, that at some point the unintended yet foreseen civilian casualties issuing from some or other military strategy outweigh the good that is to be rationally expected to result from that strategy, and in this case the unintended yet foreseen killing of civilians is evil, though not intrinsically so. Some of Pope Benedict XVI’s skepticism as to whether any modern war can be “licit” (cf. interview with Zenit in March of 03 I believe) derives his beliefs that most contemporary wars cannot but fail to be just in their in bello execution. This is an important and complex issue, and it is not one about which I am certain.

    But can I ask a clarifying question? Do you deny the difference between an intentional and a foreseen end per se, or only the validity of this difference as it applies to actions in war?

  • As a follow up: I am not a pacifist, but it has always seemed to me that one of the strongest arguments for pacifism from a strictly theological point of view has to do with the *near impossibility* of ensuring that even the most just war from a ius ad bellum perspective will be able to be fought successfully and justly in bello. Many of your examples seem to support this view. I guess one can go one of two ways here. One can view the near impossibility of ius in bello conduct to constitute a strong argument for a practical, if not principled, pacifism, or one can argue that the Church’s understanding of ius in bello conduct has to be changed or expanded or loosened in some way.

  • “Do you deny the difference between an intentional and a foreseen end per se, or only the validity of this difference as it applies to actions in war?”

    Depends entirely on how likely a foreseeable end is. An artillery barrage is made of a grove of trees. Tragically some lumberjacks are killed. Clearly different from intentionally targeting the lumberjacks.

    A division of enemy troops are in a city filled with civilians and intermingled with the civilians. The artillery unit is told to attack the enemy and civilian deaths results. I don’t view that much differently from intentionally targeting the civilians, since their deaths are entirely predictable. Of course the artillery men didn’t want to kill the civilians, they were merely in the way of accomplishing the goal of winning the war. This area is tricky and filled with moral land mines. Whenever double effect is trotted out, I listen very carefully, but am rarely convinced by it.

  • If you hold that “of course the artillery men didn’t want to kill the civilians,” then you hold that they didn’t intentionally kill them. It seems to me that this is entirely different than the artillery unit intentionally targeting the civilians. Does it not seem so to you?

    I wonder what you make of double effect as it applies to abortion. Do you see the moral difference, that is, between surgically removing a mother’s fallopian tubes, knowing that the child inside them will die as a result of this procedure necessary for saving the mother’s life, and flooding the fallopian tubes with chemicals intended to kill the child? (There are any number of other scenarios, which all share the same structure.)

    The reason I ask is that in both cases the death of the child is entirely foreseeable.
    and directly killing

  • “It seems to me that this is entirely different than the artillery unit intentionally targeting the civilians. Does it not seem so to you?”

    Only if intention governs all. In that case why do the airmen of the Enola Gay not get a pass since they most definitely were not intending to kill civilians but rather to convince Japan to surrender? How does this differ materially from the artillery men intending to win a battle in a city, not intending to kill civilians, but knowing that civilians will be killed in large numbers by their bombardment?

    Frankly in the abortion case where the child cannot survive I see no problem with the desperate necessity of removing the fallopian tubes in order to preserve the mother’s life since the child simply cannot survive in any case. I pray for the day when technology will eliminate this sad quandry.

  • The answer to the first question is that you can’t separate intention from the object of the act. You can’t for example, burn your neighbor’s house to the ground and then say that your “intention” in doing so was to stop him from playing loud music. No, pretty clearly you intended to burn his house down with the further end in mind of ceasing his loud music. But this further end in mind does not mean that in burning his house down you acted unintentionally. So with Truman. The intention was clearly to kill large amounts of Japanese civilians with the further end of bringing the war to a speedy halt. This further end–bringing the war to a speedy halt–does not evacuate the intentional structure of the prior act. If you don’t mind a recommendation here, I suggest you read Anscombe’s classic work “Intention.” She demonstrates all this quite persuasively.

    Indeed, in the latter case, the whole point is that the removal of the fallopian tubes is a *different* act than the direct killing of the child. Which is why it is licit.

  • The intention was clearly to kill large amounts of Japanese civilians with the further end of bringing the war to a speedy halt.

    I have to disagree on the “clearly” part of that — you do NOT warn people to leave and give them time if you are trying to kill large numbers of them.

  • “The answer to the first question is that you can’t separate intention from the object of the act.”

    Ah but that is where foreseeability rears its ugly head. The artillery men bombarding the city filled with enemy troops know that large numbers of civilians will be killed. As a matter of fact Hiroshima had 43,000 Japanese troops in it. Once again, I do not think this is simple at all.

  • What is often ignored by Catholics who spill ink on this issue ignore is 1) The pertinnent Catholic moral principles involved and 2) The actual circumstances within Truman made his decision.

    With respect to the use of atomic weapons, Catholic moral theologian Father Heribert Jone defined them this way:

    The fourth condition required for positing an action that has an evil effect that there be a sufficient reason, i.e., a proportionate resulting good, to permit the evil effect. The morality of using either the atomic or hydrogen bomb as a weapon of war is therefore, not a question of principle, which remains unchangeable, but a question of fact, and the fact questioned is whether there can be a military objective so vital to an enemy, the destruction of which would be a sufficient reason to permit the death of a vast number of civilians who at most contribute only remotely and indirectly to the war effort. We think this proportion can exist 1) because today’s concept of “total war” has greatly restricted the meaning of the term “non-combatant”; 2) because in modern warfare the conscription of industry, as well as manpower, greatly extends the effort on the home front; and 3) because it is difficult to set limits to the defense action of a people whose physical and even spiritual existence is threatened by a godless tyranny. Therefore, while use of atomic weapons must be greatly restricted to the destruction of military objectives, nevertheless, it may be justified without doing violence to the principle of a twofold effect. (Moral Theology #219 pp. 143-44 1961 Edition)

    Unfortunately, all of the of Catholic moral theologians and writers who condemn the bombings demonstrate no knowledge of the circumstances involved. The most horrendous and despicable example, in my view, is the recent piece written by well-known Catholic author and senior apologist at Catholic Answers Jimmy Akin.

    The objections these people raise is that the atomic bomb drops cannot be justified because they targeted innocent civilians. To be sure, there is no moral justification for deliberately killing innocent people regardless of how noble your end purpose is. The ends do not justify the means. You cannot do evil so that good can become of it. True enough.

    However, this was not the case with atomic bombings. In WWII Japan, the meaning of the term non-combatant was not only “greatly restricted” it was completely obliterated. William Manchester, in his biography of General Douglass Mac Arthur states:

    Hirohito’s generals, grimly preparing for the invasion, had not abandoned hope of saving their homeland. Although a few strategic islands had been lost, they told each other, most of their conquests, including the Chinese heartland, were firmly in their hands, and the bulk of their army was undefeated. Even now they could scarcely believe that any foe would have the audacity to attempt landings in Japan itself. Allied troops, they boasted, would face the fiercest resistance in history. Over ten thousand kamikaze planes were readied for “Ketsu-Go,” Operation Decision. Behind the beaches, enormous connecting underground caves had been stocked with caches of food and thousands of tons of ammunition. Manning the nation’s ground defenses were 2,350,000 regular soldiers, 250,000 garrison troops, and 32,000,000 civilian militiamen, a total of 34,600,000, more than the combined armies of the United States, Great Britain, and Nazi Germany. All males aged fifteen to sixty, and all females ages seventeen to forty-five, had been conscripted. Their weapons included ancient bronze cannon, muzzle loaded muskets, bamboo spears, and bows and arrows. Even little children had been trained to strap explosives around their waists, roll under tank treads, and blow themselves up. They were called “Sherman’s carpets.” This was the enemy the Pentagon had learned to fear and hate,a country of fanatics dedicated to hara-kiri, determined to slay as many invaders as possible as they went down fighting. [William Manchester: American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964, pg. 510-511)]

    The mass conscription of “all males ages fifteen and all females ages seventeen to forty-five” is practically the entire adult population. With this, the entire country of Japan became a large military base and no longer a civilian, but a military asset, and therefore, a legitimate military target.

    This idea that the bomb drops were a deliberate attack on innocents is flat out false.

    Furthermore, given the alternatives, either an invasion or blockade would have killed more Japanese, not to mention caused more than a million Amreican casualties in the case of an invasion, the most merciful thing Truman could have done was to drop the bombs. He most certainly could have justifiede it before his creator.

  • Donald,

    I have to get to bed–not a night person–so I’ll conclude by reiterating a distinction which you seem to deny (why? I can’t understand). There is a difference between the object of an intentional action and the foreseeable consequences that follow from that action. If I burn my neighbor’s house down, there will be smoke. I foresee that the act of burning my neighbor’s house down will necessarily produce smoke, and yet the production of smoke is not my intent in burning his house down. My intent is simply: to burn his house down.

    Greg,

    I don’t understand you. Is your claim that there were NO innocent Japanese (as you argue in the first half of your longish post) or that there were in any case LESS (innocent) Japanese killed as a result of the bomb than through other means? If the first, then I don’t see why you mention the second; if the second, then everything I’ve already written here applies to that argument. (I don’t think you’ll get many people agreeing to your first claim, though.)

  • Greg.

    Very interesting, and confirms my thoughts and understanding of the situation.
    Thankyou.

  • Wj.

    If I burn my neighbour’s house down, there will be smoke………”

    INO, applying this thinking is obfuscation of conscience.
    You know that you wish to burn down his house and you know fires create smoke. You therefore cannot claim that the creation of smoke is non-culpable, while the burnng of the house is.

  • Just because an action is or may be the lesser of two evils (dropping the atom bomb vs. all out ground invasion of Japan) doesn’t make it good or justified, or a precedent to follow in the future. The lesser of two evils is still an evil. However, this being a fallen world, sometimes a lesser evil is the best we can do. Unfortunately, what often happens is that instead of simply making the least bad choice possible and asking God’s forgiveness for any sin involved, we try to paint that choice as being entirely good.

  • WJ:

    I did not say there were no innocent Japanese. What I said was that the line between combatant and non-combatant had been erased due to the mass civilian conscription and therefore we were not TARGETING innocents.

  • “If I burn my neighbor’s house down, there will be smoke. I foresee that the act of burning my neighbor’s house down will necessarily produce smoke, and yet the production of smoke is not my intent in burning his house down. My intent is simply: to burn his house down.”

    Your example WJ illustrates precisely where the diffculty in this area lies. Intention either always determines the morality of an action or it does not. I think neither at Hiroshima nor my artillery against a city example is the goal to kill civilians, rather the killing of civilians is a necessary part of the action being undertaken to reach another goal, winning a battle or a war. The difference you would raise between them is that the bomb was directed against civilians while the artillery men only kill civilians accidently. This distinction is of cold comfort morally I think when the deaths of the civilians from the use of the artillery are completely predictable and foreseeable. If the goal is allowed to make the action moral in the case of the artillery barrage, I am uncertain why the same logic is not applicable in the case of Hiroshima.

  • Going to have to agree with Greg M. that the notion of “civilian” took a rather major beating in this situation– probably why the Gen. Conv. spent so much time hammering out who is a civie and who isn’t.

    Is someone standing by the soldier and reloading a valid target?
    Are you not allowed to fire at a foxhole that’s trying to gun you down, because you can see they’ve got a red cross worker trying to patch them up?
    Can you destroy a yard full of military ships under construction or repair?
    Can you bomb the not-formally-military staffed bomb factory?
    If it’s required for someone to be a formal military to be a military target, how do you deal with informal attacks? (getting a bit to close to modern issues, so I’ll stop there)

  • Well, despite the best efforts of bombing apologists, we’re left at the end of the day with the fact that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were obliterated, not because of their military value (which was slight and certainly less than many other potential targets), not because the civilians there were a threat (regimes like Japan’s always threaten that their civilians will rise up against any invader… they don’t), but because our bombing policy was, as I stated before, identical to “Bomber” Harris’ vision of demoralizing CIVILIAN populations.

    Thus, all this talk of Hiroshima’s bombing being justified either because of its military use or the ridiculous notion that the little old ladies and kids were armed threats to our forces, is bunk.

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki were wiped out in order to terrorize the populace and thus break the will of the military to resist.

    That END was produced immediately by the MEANS of purposeful destruction of innocent lives, NOT as a by-product or collateral result of legitimate bombing. Why can’t folks here acknowledge simply what everyone, especially Truman, knew at the time– the bombings were done to terrify the Japs so completely at our ability to incinerate civilian centers that their military would capitulate?

  • I think the evidence supports Tom’s contention. And I think the application of Catholic teaching yields a rather clear cut answer. That said, his moral error notwithstanding, Truman is still a far mor sympathetic character than many of his self-righteous critics.

    A man might deliberately kill his comrade in arms if that comrade is dying and in agony. Such an act is murder and intrinsically evil. Yet, I would hardly make it my business to scold him. All sins are forgivable of course — but some certainly more than others. Truman’s act was not heroic; it was wrong; but it was certainly understandable and forgivable.

  • Tom, you’re entitled to your own view, but not your own facts, and what you’re claiming as “facts” are far from proven.

    Feel free to call me whatever you like– heaven knows I can’t stop you– but your OPINIONS of what was true are far from persuasive, and should not be stated as if they are objective reality.

    (On a side note, I’m so sick of being one of the folks who has to say “hold up a sec, we don’t actually KNOW X, or Y, and Z is totally wrong.” Even when I agree with a conclusion, or don’t disagree, it’s a bad idea to let incorrect claims stand.)

  • Foxfier:
    It is completely appropriate to bomb a bomb factory, even knowing that some civilians will likely be killed. That is because a bomb factory is a military target. An entire city is not.

  • Mike-
    Military bases are sometimes cities. (Zip code, hospital/power/stores/water, own police force, civilian families, schools, etc.)

    Military bases, since they are military bases, are military targets.

    Thus, it’s clear that entire cities CAN be a military target.

  • Fair enough I suppose, but are you seriously suggesting that H or N were military bases? If so, then no need for further discussion since we occupy different universes.

  • Mike-
    Not going to fight this, because– like I said way up above– I don’t think we have enough information to do a decent job of it.

    My rough limit is basic damage control on the BS I _know_ I’m going to have to deal with in the next five years, in the form of “X who is (or was) a Catholic said Y, so it must be true, defend it.” Generally in the middle of family reunions or parties with geek friends.

    If you can’t make your argument off of facts, why on earth are you trying to state it as fact? Just throw in an “I” here or there, maybe in conjunction with “think” or “reason” or “believe,” refer to sources for your claims and bada bing: no conflict.

    Shoot, you could even say “I don’t see how it could be justified to bomb an entire city, because cities are not military targets” and it’s no longer something I, or some poor idiot like me, will have to defend. It’s your educated belief from the facts as you know them and your understanding of Catholic teachings. (Anybody talking Catholic theology with a half-dozen highly intelligent folks who have little to no use for organized religion, let alone the Church, needs to have their head examined. No offense to the real Catholic apologists among us.)

  • Foxfier,

    It’s not exactly as if there is no considered stance on this issue by the overwhelmingly vast majority of bishops, theologians, popes, etc. over the past fifty years. The only people who pretend as though this is somehow a difficult question for the Church to address are a handful of American Catholics.

    It is much better to do as Donald does: reject the reasoning of the Church forthrightly. It is no good pretending as though there is an epistemic difficulty here where there is not one.

  • Yay, appeal to authority, and total missing of the point.

    Have fun, I’m out.

  • “reject the reasoning of the Church forthrightly.”

    Questioning is not rejection, especially in an area such as this where we are not dealing with revealed truth, but rather the application of hair splitting logic.

  • (Same way I duck out when folks start bringing out “but all these guys say that the death penalty isn’t needed anymore! So I win!”)

  • Mike.

    Check the anecdotal historical evidence of who were in occupancy in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the military operations and indusctrial complexes attached to those cities.

    One could arguably conclude they were military bases.

  • I’m out after this one as well.

    Don, I didn’t mean to be inflammatory. I take it that you do reject the distinction between foreeseable consequences and intended ends *in certain instances*; but perhaps you only question their analytic efficacy. Fair enough. I think your position commits you to consequentialism (or at least some kind of proportionalism, a la McBrien, et. al.), which I don’t think you want to be committed to, but that’s a different topic. It is an important conversation to have, though.

    Foxfier, I wasn’t so much “appealing to authority” as showing that what you take to be a difficult, perplexing, epistemically vague scenario appears only to be so for a subset of American Catholics and not for the universal Church as a whole. This is an empirical claim.

  • Don the Kiwi,
    Sorry about the oddly abbreviated post above. I am well aware that both H and N contained both military operations and industrial complexes attached to the war effort. Same for Chicago and Detroit. And targeting those operations and complexes would have been morally licit, even if done quite imperfectly. But that is not what happened, and the evidence is quite clear that Truman knew exactly what he was doing. As I said earlier, I don’t really blame him — even if I can safely conclude from my comfortable perch that he were morally wrong. But I refuse to reason backwards either. Just because I’m sympathetic, actually very sympathetic, to the consequences, does not mean that the means were morally acceptable. They weren’t. Pretty much all of us do bad things for good reasons, and that does not make us bad people — just sinners.

  • Fortunately we don’t have to speculate on why Truman chose Hiroshima and Nagasaki and whether it was because the cities were military targets.

    His own press release states that the Potsdam ultimatum was issued to Japan (calling for their unconditional surrender) “to spare the Japanese people from utter destruction.” NOT the Japanese military, NOT the Japanese industrial ability, but the Japanese people themselves.

    Besides, the US had already joined in the British practice of terror bombing by helping in the destruction of Dresden and by firebombing Tokyo, a practice which indiscriminately killed thousands of civilians.

    As Doolittle’s raid early in the war demonstrated, it was entirely possible to target industry and military targets without wiping out entire cities.

    We simply adopted the Brit practice of firebombing, and ultimtely, nuclear bombing, to demoralize the civilian populaces of our enemies, not to advance a military objective.

  • Actually Tom Truman referred to the “military base of Hiroshima” when he announced the Hiroshima bombing. You can say that was incorrect, but that is how Truman looked at it.

    The firebombing of the cities of Japan wasn’t undertaken for terror purposes, but because that was the only way to take out the Japanese industries that tended to be located within residential areas. Precision bombing of Japanese industries was attempted until around March of 45 and had proven completely ineffective.

  • The Doolittle raid was a propaganda operation in 42. 15 of the 16 B-25s were lost, along with 80 airmen. The damage to Japan was completely negligible. From a morale standpoint in the US it was a success. From a military standpoint it was a disaster.

    The technology of the day made precision bombing usually a wistful dream rather than a reality.

    “In practice, the Norden (bombsight) never managed to produce accuracies remotely like those of which it was theoretically capable. The Royal Air Force were the first to use the B-17 in combat, and reported extremely poor results, eventually converting their aircraft to other duties. USAAF anti-shipping operations in the Far East were likewise generally unsuccessful, and although there were numerous claims of sinkings, the only confirmed successful action was during the Battle of the Philippines when B-17s damaged two Japanese transports, the cruiser Naka, and the destroyer Murasame, and sank one minesweeper. However these successes were the exception to the rule; actions during the Battle of Coral Sea or Battle of Midway, for instance, were entirely unsuccessful. The USAAF eventually replaced all of their anti-shipping B-17s with other aircraft, and came to use the skip bombing technique in direct low-level attacks.

    In Europe the Norden likewise demonstrated a poor real-world accuracy. Bombing was computed by assessing the proportion of hits falling within 1,000 feet (300 m) and 2,000 feet (600 m) circles about an MPI (mean point of impact). To achieve a perfect strike, a bomber group would have to unload all its bombs within the 1,000 ft circle. By the spring of 1943 some impressive results were being recorded. Over Bremen-Vegesack on 19 March, for instance, the 303d Bombardment Group dropped 76 per cent of its load within the 1,000 ft ring. Under perfect conditions only 50 percent of American bombs fell within a quarter of a mile of the target, and American flyers estimated that as many as 90 percent of bombs could miss their targets.[5][6][7] Nevertheless, many veteran B-17 and B-24 bombardiers swore by the Norden.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norden_bombsight

  • There is an ongoing myth that the British were primarily interested in terror bombing for the heck of it since they could not bloody the Germans in any other way. This is the received wisdom after Vonnegut and Irving. But it makes very little sense for the British to lose all those highly trained men of the Bomber Command (55,000 killed) and spend all that money to build a large strategic force merely to terrorise the Germans. The bombers were the British contribution to the continental war, as they lacked the ability to insert their forces into the field in a decisive ways. A much fairer assessment is provided in this book .

  • Harry S Truman was a 33° Freemason, an enemy of the Catholic Faith, which may be why Nagasaki, the center of Japanese Catholicism, was targetted. (More Catholics were killed on August 9th, 1945 than in four centuries of brutal persecution.)

    General Tomoyuki Yamashita was executed for the atrocities committed in the Battle of Manila (the “one case [in which] the event took place on American soil” mentioned in the post), despite the fact that said atrocities were committed by troops who had disobeyed his order to withdraw from the city to avoid civilian casualties.