Thursday, August 20, 2020

Our problem with the presidency

Dear M,

Paul Johnson says, in his biography of Washington, that in 1789, the only monarch with powers as wide as the President's was the czar.  All the other ones were hemmed in by regulations.  Johnson doesn't go too far into detail about it; but why take his word when we can see it right in front of us?  In the last eight years we found the President can put grown men into little girls' locker rooms; that he can pay enemy states hundreds of billions in ransom cash; that he can flood our states with millions of Africans and Middle-Easterners; that he can make or unmake the border at whim; that he can grant citizenship to illegal aliens; that he can pardon scores of drug dealers; that he can veto almost every bill; that he can station troops in any town; that he can put off the payment of payroll taxes; that he can effectively bribe the unemployed with hundreds of dollars a week; that he can bomb people in countries we're not at war with; that he can spy on the next presidential candidate and walk away scot-free; and that, according to Democrats, he can lock the country down and not allow anyone "inessential" to run a business.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

To save America, defund the schools

Dear H,

I've just been informed by a friend that school's closed this year, but you can send your kid to daycare -- in the closed school.  For money.

There are online classes, of course; but why?  They're terrible for children; and we know, now, that the disease itself isn't the issue.  Matt Walsh reports that kids are three times more likely to die of the flu than COVID-19.  So we know schools aren't being closed for their safety.  We heard that childcare costs hundreds a month, per kid, which we know parents can't pay, since many of them are too poor.  We heard that teachers are essential, and then were told, by the teachers, that they're inessential.  LA County told us they'd take the children back -- if we could stop all "police brutality," and adopt universal healthcare, and mail-in voting.  I would personally rather not send them.    

Friday, July 17, 2020

In these troubled times

Dear H,

I don't think we're built for the news.  At least not the way it's run nowadays.  Just think that, maybe not even six-hundred years ago, we'd hear only snippets of the world.  Not a constant barrage of injustices and outrages every second of the day, but hearsay, only here and there.  The weight of the world was for rich men and kings -- heavy is the head that wears the crown.  Today we have the weight of the crown but not the substance.  We have the knowledge and lack the wisdom, the will, the ability to do things.  When men knew all they wore crowns made of gold.  The Age of Information?  From this view, more like a crown made of thorns.      

We were engineered by God for ignorance.  There is too much to know and too much to fit together and too much to emotionally process.  So we brought ourselves out of the grime and found out that "omniscience" was a bitch*.  We ate the fruit of knowledge and were surprised God evicted us from the Garden of Eden.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

For the love of God, stand up for yourselves!

Dear readers,

How do you feel in the third week of black lives mattering?  That is, now that your white friends and fellow churchgoers, parents and coworkers, siblings and grandparents, lovers and spouses, your friendly neighborhood policemen, your founding fathers and saints, your ancestors and your children have all been mercilessly kicked, slandered, threatened, in many cases surrounded and violently beaten -- now that the police who protect you in major cities have been defunded; now that your businesses have been looted; now that Merriam-Webster says it's impossible to be racist to white people; now that you've been called names, made fun of all over Facebook and Twitter, told you're a problem because of your skin color; that you don't deserve what you have; that you're a robber and an oppressor; that you have it easier than millionaire celebrities like Don Lemon and Lebron James; that the future doesn't belong to you; that no matter how many black squares you posted and how much sympathy you showed and how much you marched, you are still never enough -- how do you feel?  Do you feel like you're on top of the system?  Do you feel like Black Lives Matter is about all races living with equal dignity and freedom?  Do you feel like these leftists can ever love or respect you -- really?  Do you think that at some point you'll ever be clean in their sight?  Not guilty -- for the sins of others?  That you and your children won't be sacrificed at the first chance?  That every step they tread on your rights, your dignity, your very body, isn't a prelude to another? 

Monday, June 8, 2020

What do they really want?

Dear H,

Imani Bashir, writing for the New York Times, says that Living abroad is my way of prolonging my black son's life.   It's actually the title of the article.  She says she's been living abroad for years now, in places like Cairo and Poland and Malaysia and Wuhan (yes, that Wuhan), and that the bills are piling up and they're eating at her soul.  Still she won't move back to America.  She sees her son's face in every black person the police kill*.  She's stuck in Florida for the moment, and waiting for the borders to ease up so she can go anywhere else.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Apologies to President Obama

Dear H,

Trump Derangement Syndrome is real, but we on the Republican side have yet to develop an immunity to Obama.  Nothing the man said, in office, would please us.  And how could it?  We could sniff his hijinks out for miles.  He was throwing us under the bus on the first day.  Going on apology tours and bowing to enemies.  Talking about how he was going to personally roll back the oceans, about Americans clinging to our guns and our religion, about how the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.  He said Obamacare would be debated publicly and then rammed it through behind closed doors. 

Monday, May 18, 2020

Portrait of a people-pleaser

Dear H-,

I believe in nothing less than in "self-esteem."  Everything I am, I am through others.  So I think I'm a good lover.  But what do the ladies say?  So I think I'm a good builder.  Do people like living in my houses?  I live not as myself but as myself in a series of relations.  When I come in contact with others I become a new organism -- not me, but me plus; a new hybrid.  We mix and mesh and out of this new recipe comes a new flavor.  We judge these relationships as an art critic judges a painting.  The more tasteful the gist of it, the more frequent the tastefulness, the higher my rating is.  I see others not as objects to be gotten over, but almost as expressions of myself -- each and every one of them draws parts of me out into the open.  They make my definition possible.  The object becomes me as I interact with the object.  I like or dislike others as others make me like myself.  If they draw nothing good out of me, I want nothing to do with them.    

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The Great Shame

Dear M,

When I was a small boy I was told about a coming judgment.  Mom said that God was the judge, but what stuck with me more forcefully was the idea of how He would do it.  There would be a great TV in the sky with all our deeds on view -- all of them, large and small -- and everyone would see what kind of life we lived.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Can a leftist write great history?

Dear Hannah,

Richard White says he wrote The Republic for Which it Stands for the money, and because he said it he deserves our praise.  He could have written anything else in the preface and saved face*; anything like he did it for minorities (which is likely), or for his children (which is unlikely), or for the plain fact that what he wrote about was interesting.  For his own sake he could have even just kept his mouth shut and avoided a preface.  But Richard White didn't; and what we got is a history book, concerning Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, that not only fails to appear politically impartial, but which in its partiality is also extremely interesting.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Notes on the pandemic

Dear H,

At some point last week, in the middle of this pandemic, I realized the inevitable.  The chance that my personal favorite barber would remain open into the foreseeable future was nil.  This led me into one of two options.  I could resolve to just get on with life, and when worst came to worst, to shave my head.  But the angel with golden flowing locks on my shoulder said hell no.  He kicked into high gear and gave a suggestion.  "Why not call her up and work out a deal?"  So I did.  She was in the barbershop but not working, according to the receptionist, so I asked if I could speak to her.  When she answered, I got to the point.  "Look, Kim, I'm a vain man.  I can shave my hair any time and do fine, but why should I when I've got you?  So just in case the shop closes down, how about I get your number and we arrange something ourselves?"

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Black Elk Speaks: a review

Dear M,

Black Elk Speaks is supposed to be a spiritual classic for American Indians.  Not just for his tribe, but for all of them.  It's so far advanced in this direction that now, almost a hundred years after its first publication, it's beginning to get its own schools of theology, and a horde of uninspiring idiots argue about its more obscure passages.  But this is how it goes.  Inspiration leads to confusion leads to policy.  The Spirit gives life, and the letter kills it. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Black Republicans

Dear H,

Candace Owens, Queen of Blexit
In America, a black intellectual only joins the human race by joining the right wing*.  I had almost said when he votes Republican.  Nearly all the other black "thinkers," their writers and other disseminators of ideas, excluding maybe Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama, are too caught up in the black question to join the rest of us.  Thus the majority of their works, if not all of them, are focused on black people and the police, or black people in history, or black people in business, or black people in politics.  There's no Thomas Sowell, who's known primarily for his works on economics, or Voddie Baucham, known primarily for his lectures on Jesus and Homeschooling, or Ben Carson, known primarily for his work on brain surgery.  Instead we get a slew of one-trick-ponies and racial narcissists, the likes of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brittney Cooper, Shaun King, Al Sharpton, James Baldwin, Jesse Jackson, and Michael Eric Dyson.  The only way a black man gets ahead in the Democratic Party is by cutting himself off from the rest of humanity; by whittling himself down to something so small, so specific, so niche, that it can only appeal to black men such as himself, or to white people looking to glorify themselves for loving black people.  A huge market, really, but the biggest one only to spiritual and intellectual midgets.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Some Athenian euphemisms

Dear T--

My position on r------d people* is exactly the same position on everyone else: the good ones I keep, and the worst ones I hate.  I've had more than one r------d enemy, in fact, and some of them are so brutal, so treacherous, and so incapable that I find no use for them; and I think the best use for them is the exercise we'd get running them out of town.  There are autistic people I've enjoyed, day after day, and been happy to see, and others who threatened my friends.  Some of them are sweet and others are rapists.  Some of them are silly and other ones are spoil-sports.  But J, some say, they can't help it!  Can the rest of us?  Are we really so different from them?  Are any of these categories I mentioned things we don't experience ourselves?  So what if we can think things through -- many of us still make bad decisions, rotten statements, and horrible messes, especially when acting in groups**.  We give the handicapped a pass because most of us could do better.  But I doubt in many cases we could.  A personality is something set in stone.  A sourpuss, a loser, a cheater and an idiot will be what he'll be, and many times was born that way.  God has given us our trajectory -- in most cases, our job is to act it out, not to change it***.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

A commie worth reading

Dear H,

I have great respect for Peter Kropotkin, not so much for what he preached as for when he preached it.  He was born an aristocrat in 1842 but ended up an activist by 1872.  He went from a gilded cradle to a filthy prison.  His landmark treatise on anarcho-communism, The Conquest of Bread, is well-written and innovative.  It's worth a read, but not before you've read Rand or Mises or Bastiat or Hayek.  It would have made a commie of me, but it's too late -- I've seen how the trial runs went, and I prefer to not die in a gulag. 

Friday, January 31, 2020

Midsommar: an analysis

Dear T,

Before getting along with this essay I want to give my recommendation.  If you're a devout Christian, or a grandma, or a respectable person in general you need to see the Horatio Hornblower series.  It's full of great morals, top-notch acting, lovable characters, and lessons about life.  For the rest of you, the Christians-in-name-only, the teenagers with no direction, the jaded hipsters, the people who saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show without wincing, and other people who don't like their souls spotless, I recommend Midsommar*.  The rest of you can stay away, and if you dare to disregard my warning, you deserve what you get.  This thing is filthy and disturbing, and if you watch it you can lay the blame anywhere other than my feet.  Blame Satan.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

So you want to be a manly man?

Dear M,

Smiling on the front lines
I don't consider watching sports a necessary prerequisite to manhood. Depending on the sport, playing them is more like it. I consider knowing sports stats and knowing Pokemon stats to be exactly the same man-stat.  So for those of you who keep calling my Man Card into question every time not watching football comes up, here are a list of things I think make a man really manly, and sometimes even godly.  I fit a good chunk of these, but I want to fit them all.

Monday, January 13, 2020

The rise and fall of Mark Driscoll

Dear H,

Up until Mark Driscoll I had never considered getting a full-time job.  I was a playboy and a loser at heart, had never read a serious book, and had lived in a kind of perpetual childhood.  Then I heard him speak.  A stocky, round-faced working-class type, he caught me off guard because he was funny.  A pastor who was actually funny.  Unheard of, in those days, and in fact most days, as Christianity and humor are in an eternal fight to the death (neither sex nor laughter are mentioned in Heaven).

Friday, January 10, 2020

On the death of Cato

Dear T,

This week we've been waiting for World War 3 to start.  At least that's what everyone's been telling us.  It started about a year ago, actually.  A little event nobody even noticed that turned into more events and got us to here.  And if you want, you could say it started a lifetime ago.  Donald Trump put the squeeze on Iran last year because they put the squeeze on President Obama.  They put the squeeze on President Obama because the Ayatollah took over in 1979.  He took over because Mohammed's followers couldn't agree about who takes over for Mohammed.  And Mohammed only took over because nobody could decide who really spoke best for Moses.  So you could say this was four-thousand years or so in the making.

Monday, January 6, 2020

In defense of Hollywood

Dear H,

Ricky Gervais, hero
I hate the poem First They Came, but I have to admit it has kind of a point.  Once you go down some roads you have to ask who's next?  Thus once Ricky Gervais told the actors to shut up (hats off to him), why not the professors?  Once the professors, why not the musicians?  Why not the cashiers, the mechanics, and the nurses? Why not the street-sweepers and garbagemen, the bus-boys and Uber drivers, the mail-men and the waitresses?  None of whom, by the way, have anything to do directly with politics, or are specialists in any field related to government or social policy, and few of whom, in the end, have ever read a serious book on economics, or law, or civics, or foreign policy. 

Friday, January 3, 2020

In defense of Pope Slappy

Dear M,

I'll confess up-front, for the sake of dramatic effect, that I think Pope Francis is a slimeball.  Nearly everything he does in the news makes me sick.  We caught him washing Syrians' feet.  He told us to let them all in -- an act which even the Dalai Lama, out of respect for Western Civilization, is against.  The next he says we can't judge perverts, while likening Donald Trump to the baby-killer King Herod.  He hates the death penalty, and even life imprisonment for murderers.

I could go on here, but unnecessarily.  He's for life if you're a lowlife.  If you're doing well, or a patriot, or innocently wealthy, or you just won a war against the Hun, you'll be last in line for a foot washing.  Like nearly all leftist Christians, he says to love your enemy and care for the outsider.  Like nearly all leftist Christians, he forgets that this is subjective, and that the "outsider," the "sinner," the "woman at the well," the person you're "not supposed to judge," is the person you are personally offended by.  He ought to eat his words and wash Trump's feet.