I trace my addiction to news/politics to exactly twenty years ago – my final semester in college - and the blatant media assist to elect an unworthy man to our nation’s highest office. That team…"a crooked president and [his] corrupt and reactionary administration" (1) along with allies and cheerleaders in the media…proved quite the warm-up act for the current shameful American travesty. And just like 1996, I suspect the "questionable" influence of foreign contributions to the re-election of the undeserving will again be ignored into oblivion by their reliably incurious media (see "no controlling legal authority"). Have campaign finance laws finally been so summarily ignored that they have reached the same comic absurdity of House/Senate Ethics Investigations?
Anyway, since retiring for the evening on November 6, I have essentially tuned out the sound of American politics…and I expect this will continue for quite some time. Yes, I still get some quick news with daily scans of Drudge-Instapundit-Powerline-Ricochet and I do come through Redstate but, to be honest, its more out of habit, I don’t read much of the stuff here anymore. Cable news and talk radio…even the late night stuff that I really started liking (Red Eye Radio and The John Batchelor Show) have all gone silent. At home and in the car, my free time – which I have minimized to the benefit of wife and kids – has turned more fruitfully to history books of the paper and audio variety. (Yes, paper. I vow to never convert to eReading!)
A few notes from the tuned-out…
Perspective on Demise
Sitting here twenty years later I must admit two things about President George H. W. Bush that I did not sufficiently appreciate at the time. The first is his re-election campaign message centered on "family values". Hell, today I’d settle for anything truly worthy of the name "values" but it is now more clear to me than ever that cultural values…or the lack thereof…have a much stronger pull on the vote-coveting whores in politics and their policy initiatives than the other way around. On this front we’ve lost and, therefore, "We’re Lost" (2). (Follow the referenced link for Thomas Sowell and a poignant statement about our demise by adhering to mere symbolism and the loss of common sense at the ballot box.)
Secondly, Mr. Bush was the first person I can remember who pushed the theme and inserted the term "demagogue" into the modern political discourse. Unfortunately, the term was correctly used against his opponent in 1992 so the media and the opposing candidate were forced to ignore it into irrelevancy (for our own good, of course). Today, that term would be even more appropriate. The power of this demagogue and his loyal band of Dadaistic supporters will now fundamentally transform America…and few will enjoy the outcome.
I now reject any notion that we are not a nation in decline. Period. And then something interesting comes across my screen:
"AN ENDLESS CYCLE OF success leading to self-destruction. Just remember: The so-called Dark Ages were a period of great creativity. Though scribes and bureaucrats recorded the fall of Rome with horror — because it was terrible for scribes and bureaucrats — the average person’s caloric intake went up. I recommend reading Joseph Tainter’s The Collapse of Complex Societies." [emphasis added] (3)
I’d never really thought of it that way. As a very diverse and divided country with an ever expanding bureaucracy to serve our despicable ruling class over our interests, we are on very different timelines. We are now staring the unknown horrors of the coming Golden Age for Modern American Scribes and Bureaucrats square in the face. I cannot wait for their "dark ages" that necessarily must follow.
Incidentally, I’ve added that book recommendation to my Amazon wish list if you’re looking for a Christmas gift for me.
Expanding the Base by Abandoning Assimilation
Sticking with the themes of "we’ve lost" and demagoguery, I’ll now turn to the irresponsible position on immigration that our current American Progressives promote to our detriment…one they can only cynically hold and maintain because they are sure that we will continue to hold a (slightly) more principled and responsible opposing one. This continued base-expansion through infantile bribery really is brilliant short and medium term electoral strategy as long as you have the adults demanding some level of token sanity. Unfortunately, that game…I fear…is now just about over and the results will probably not be as stable and…well, American…as you think:
"Or it may be that…demographics is destiny and, absent assimilationist incentives this country no longer imposes, a Latin-American population will wind up living in a Latin-American society." (4)
You’ve won. Now enjoy your prize…you’ve earned the society over which you will now rule. But, as Dave Carter said on a different topic, "You earned it. But my children and grandchildren didn't earn it, yet you've foisted that awful and ghastly fate on them as well. For that, you have my undying contempt." (5)
While listening to Founding Brothers (by Joseph J. Ellis) for the second time (the first was in 2004), the author recounted the specific insult - among many – from Alexander Hamilton that led to the duel with Vice President Burr. (For what it’s worth, Burr is the only number-two to top Mr. Jefferson on Ntrepid’s list of Worst Vice Presidents in American History.) In what appears to have been a very well understood slight at the time that seems to have lost its punch via my public school education, he slammed Burr as the "American Cataline" referring to the politician of the Roman Republic variety.
This has stimulated my interest in Cataline beyond Wikipedia. Any book referrals on subject would be greatly appreciated.
Our sermon last Sunday instructed me that I cannot allow differences (political, religious, etc.) to divide me from others. There was no wiggle room…and I’ve struggled with this all week. My rambling above could be boiled down to nothing more than petty American politics but, when you think through the implications of what blue state America wishes and the effects on the world that my kids will grow up in, it is much more. I cannot think of the taking of the American birthright from my kids as anything less than evil and, thus, the contempt expressed above cannot be that easily wiped away. It still stands…and I fall short once again.
But is that really evil? In a more blood-boiling example of falling short, last week the Gen. Patraeus scandal led Micheal Yon to re-link to a 2007 story that explains "true evil" in our world:
During a meeting, an Iraqi official in the room—who asked to remain anonymous—provided a narrative of how al Qaeda took control of Baqubah and much of Diyala Province. The paragraph that generated controversy follows:
The official reported that on a couple of occasions in Baqubah, al Qaeda invited to lunch families they wanted to convert to their way of thinking. In each instance, the family had a boy, he said, who was about 11 years old. As LT David Wallach interpreted the man’s words, I saw Wallach go blank and silent. He stopped interpreting for a moment. I asked Wallach, "What did he say?" Wallach said that at these luncheons, the families were sat down to eat. And then their boy was brought in with his mouth stuffed. The boy had been baked. Al Qaeda served the boy to his family.
I sit writing these words in Diyala Province just a short drive from where the self-proclaimed leader of al Qaeda in Iraq was killed by a bomb delivered by a US warplane. Al Qaeda: the organization that gleefully bragged about murdering roughly 3,000 people by smashing jets full of civilians into buildings and earth. Al Qaeda in Iraq: who proudly broadcast their penchant for sawing off the heads of living breathing people, and in such a manner as to ensure lots of spurting blood and gurgles of final pain, in some cases with the added flourish of the executioner raising up the severed head and squealing excitedly.
In the more than two years since that awful day in May 2005, I’ve witnessed innumerable instances of the work of terrorists of many stripes. One clear indicator of just how bad a terrorist group is, is when battle-hardened soldiers—and writers like me who travel with them—don’t find it hard to believe a story which purports that al Qaeda had baked a child and set his roasted body out as the main course at a lunch for his parents.
People at home might find it incredible, improbable, even impossible. Yet here in combat with al Qaeda, the idea is no more improbable-sounding than someone saying "The chicken crossed the road." Maybe the chicken crossed the road. Maybe not. The veterans I’ve been talking with here have no difficulty imagining the chicken crossing the road, or al Qaeda roasting kids. Sickening, yes. Improbable, no. (6)(7)
As I said: "true evil"…and obviously orders of magnitude more physically violent that the previous example. But both American Progressives and Radical Islamists are evil…they both wish violence on my liberty…and both are "them" to me…and I remain divided from them.
For nearly four years now I’ve been pretty "vocal" around here about the dark clouds ahead and much smarter people than I continue to point that out to much bigger audiences. I already see it very clearly.
So for now I’ve put the political world on mute until further notice.
Proud Redstate Member since April 2006…?
(1) Preface of No One Left to Lie To by Christopher Hitches, 1999