Blogs, Democracy, free speech, and The Joker

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Recently, I banned a commentator from this blog. It was the first time that I’ve ever had to do this. And I recently boycotted another blog, which I have commented on for several years, and run by a friend of mine,because the same person I banned trolled there to the extant that the posts were monopolized by hatefulness, repeated and unwarranted antisemitism, as well as personal attacks on other frequenters of the blog. I declared that I would no longer comment on the blog until the offender was banned.

Several people who frequent my blog expressed disgust at the offender, who goes by the screen name, apollonian. Some hinted that I should ban him, and another poster stopped posting after apollonian stated he hoped they “suffered”. That’s when I decided to deploy the ban hammer.

I felt badly about boycotting my friend’s blog. First, I like several of the other posters, who also comment on this blog. I learn a lot from them. I do not blog and comment on other blogs because I think I know everything, even though my blog covers a wide variety of topics–more than on which anyone could be called an expert. I blog and comment to learn. Sometimes I will have a growing interest in a topic, and blogging becomes a way to learn by teaching, which is widely considered an excellent way to learn. Mostly I blog to make myself less stupid. Secondly, I felt badly because in some way it could appear that I am trying to force my friend’s hand in banning someone he does not wish to ban (he has a no ban rule).  However this is not the case. It is perfectly accepted practice to walk out of public forums in protest to what one party feels is an abuse of the forum itself. All the way from town hall meetings, to UN councils, this is standard practice.

Even in democratic forums, not everyone is welcome.  Democracy is not the abolition of common sense in exchange for tolerating all behavior. Democracy is rule of the majority, and to say it is anything else is to expect too much. Democracy is quickly hijacked by forces of idiocy and evil when those on the other side view force as inherently evil.  Some people refuse to ban others from blogs out of a “democratic spirit”. In the case of apollonian, this kind of thinking is like Batman letting the Joker run Gotham out of a sense of fairness, while everyone is begging the Dark Knight to take action.  The Dark Knight Returns and The Dark Knight Rises,  are two of my favorite movies of all time, for several reasons.  They analyze very well how democracy needs someone who’s going to step up, even when it means they won”t be popular and what can happen when envy takes hold and the mob rules.

And besides, a blog or forum is not a democracy. Allowing people who are disruptive, hateful, or senseless to run rampant out of a sense of ideology just ruins the experience for everyone else. I used to play a lot of table top wargames while growing up. Entire summer days were spent in this manner, and everyone had fun. If someone showed up that lessened the fun for everyone else, that person wouldn’t get invited back. A blog should not be taken so seriously as to equate to the politics of a nation. No one’s freedom is being denied them when they get banned from a blog.

We can see what this attitude of “open mindedness” has wrought for America. For decades now, those who fundamentally opposed what made America so strong, its industrial and military might, its meritocracy, its familial bonds, those people have been allowed to run rampant and spread the propaganda that all ideas and cultures have equal value.  But I’m going with Carlyle’s Great Man Theory. Great societies are not created and maintained by the random actions of a directionless populace. At some point, the Imperator is called to do his duty. That man is the one others look to emulate and set the example. America was fortunate enough to have been founded by a quiver full of great men who knew that liberty requires action. I believe the Founding Fathers would be appalled at the level of tolerance we show in America. Even Jefferson, that man of the people, knew when crushing action was needed, just as is recorded when he decided to take a military course against the Barbary Pirates. Jefferson writes:

protect our commerce & chastise their insolence—by sinking, burning or destroying their ships & Vessels wherever you shall find them


Bread and Circuses

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Americans have cast their vote. And I won’t sit here and type out some cliche’ lines about the wisdom of the American people or how we all just need to get along for the next 4 years, come together, hold hands, and make it all better. Because I believe this was a stupid choice and that the last 4 years were the result of an administration that has no direction and has already weakened the American character.

Our nation is withering, but it is not because of Barack Obama, it is because of that sacred animal of democracy, “The People.” No longer is it the man that fights the good fight, that presses on despite the odds, the strong individualist who sharpens his knife, oils his rifle, and cuts his own firewood, that draws the media’s camera and the adoration of Americans. No, the greatest person in America today is “The Victim.” The man who can’t get things done is our hero. He is a victim of the system, of the weather, of his race, of his gender, of his sexual orientation, of bad genes, and of the evils of corporate empire. It is difficult not to find a victim in every man these days, and so every man is a hero of sorts, unless you run a successful business; a business man is obviously out to make victims of everyone else, and thus he is no hero.

It is not “anti-government” to say that a government can either do a few things well, or a lot of things poorly. We have chosen a government that is involved in every aspect of our lives, and we choose this both locally and nationally. We are well on our way to becoming another Greece. And what happens when a government runs out of money and tells its people that programs have to be cut? Do the people band together in unity and peace and carry on? Some maybe. But the ones that get the media attention riot and spew hatred because their bread and circuses have been taken away.

This is the perfect example of how empires die. They are rarely killed from the outside. With few exceptions, they kill themselves.

And so I do not believe in the sanctity of the people. Democracy works just fine when a democratic nation is composed of intelligent, unselfish, and strong people. We are no longer that. What was Obama’s biggest selling point to the American people? That he will give us more stuff. Is that not the tacit message? We certainly don’t want a president that will tell us we’re too fat, too stupid, and too infatuated with Kim Kardashian. Which we are. As Rush Limbaugh said, “In a nation of children, Santa Claus wins.”

Unlike others, I am not hopeful for America. I have witnessed our decline for the last 20 years, and it has been inexorable. We are teenagers with Daddy’s credit card. The values that held our society together for two centuries are all but gone. Some will say, “times change and we must change with them.” But we are exhibiting habits with which no culture has prospered for long.

As for myself, I’ll continue to cling to my guns and religion, just as did real men like Davey Crocket and Daniel Boone. The rest of America can worry about what underwear Pink is wearing this week and continue shambling toward irrelevancy.

Women and attention

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Over the years I’ve noticed something about women: they require an incredible amount of attention compared to men.  Years ago when I was regularly playing men’s slow pitch softball, several men on my team would not be able to play in weekend tournaments or would say that they got into an argument with their girlfriend or spouse over the games.  The woman did not want her man to play.  No plans were cancelled because of the tournaments that I can remember.  She simply wanted the husband or boyfriend to “be around”.  And please know that in Maine where I played, the softball season is quite short and there are not many tournaments, even in the summer.

Even today I see examples of women who get angry at their husbands if their attention wanders from the woman.  For instance, if a man plays video games, or wants to read a book, or even just have some coffee with a buddy, many of these women become quite upset.

This is an extraordinary need for control and attention.  If the roles were reversed, and a man were telling a woman what she can and can’t do with her time, it’s easy to imagine the cliche’ responses from the woman’s friends.  Obviously everyone needs attention, but I have seen cases where a woman will create a need right after her husband becomes distracted by something other than her.

All of this leads me to believe that the feminist movement didn’t in fact make many women independent.  It may have made them more powerful, but this is something different than independence.

I believe much of this is the result of the massive changes in our culture over the last 50 years.  What is the “role” of a man and woman in the family environment?  In Army parlance, what is their lane?  Lincoln stated, “A house divided cannot stand.” What for instance, is the mechanism for dispute resolution in many of today’s households? It is separation and divorce.  In my grandmother’s day, that was not the answer.  When she and my grandfather disagreed on something, my grandfather was the final arbiter on what flew and what didn’t .  Today, many disputes result in persistent conflict because there are no cultural rules as to how they are resolved.  Divorce rates have skyrocketed in the last 100 years of our county’s history, though they have co0me down a bit in the last couple of decades.

I once heard someone say: “No one knows how to be a parent when their first child is born.”  And they are mostly correct.  However, people used to know how to be parents, because they were taught how things ought to be from a very early age.  Now, we reinvent the wheel with every birth and we’re paying dearly for this.  We have witnessed the advent of the adolescent adult.  Men don’t grow up until they’re 40 in some cases.  And so it is with how women act now.  There are no rules.  They make it up as they go along.

I meet more and more men who just don’t want to be in relationships anymore.  Most of them have come to the conclusion that if the relationship is not going to make their lives better, what’s the point?  The result is fewer marriages and fewer children, and more unhappy people in my opinion.  Despite everything, women are more unhappy than before the onslaught of Second Wave Feminism. 

Militant egalitarianism is making us miserable.  No organization can succeed if there are no rules and everyone is in charge.

The Crip Walk at the Olympics

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Recently, after winning the gold medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics in tennis, Serena Williams dances the “Crip Walk” in celebration.

Williams defended herself by saying that she didn’t plan the dance, but that the joy from her victory overcame her and she began to spontaneously dance.

For those of you whom like me, didn’t know what the Crip Walk is, it is a dance created by the Crips street gang from Compton, California.  The dance is associated with the violent and criminal lifestyles of gang members throughout California and has been banned in Los Angeles schools. MTV will not play videos (does MTV play videos anymore?) that display the Crip Dance.

While many are critical of Williams’ display, others defend her, saying that she should be able to celebrate in any manner she wants.  Her defenders appeal to absurdity.  Consider the response if a medal winner rendered the Nazi salute in celebration.  And then defended themselves by saying it “just happened”.  The fact that it happened spontaneously may speak worse of the person, since the act is obviously ingrained in their subconsciousness in some manner.

Others will say that the Crip Dance is “just a dance”, and that no harm was done.  Again, ignorance.  Perhaps a KKK hood is “just a pillow case”.  Clearly symbols mean something.  The Nazi swastika communicates a message because we know the world view of those that created it.

Gang violence in some places in America is a scourge.  Murder, drugs, robbery, destruction of property are part and parcel for areas infected with gangs.  There is nothing to be celebrated there.  If people think they are celebrating black culture by celebrating the rituals of violent gangs, well, that ought to tell us something.  The fact that Williams pulled this on a world stage is an embarrassment to our people.  We all bear the shame.

Is the West Doomed?

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Last night I caught a clip of Fareed Zakaria’s show on CNN.  I’d been watching much more important things–pro football–but I can’t stand the ads on AFN (American Forces Network) so I channel surf when I have to.  I’ve had mixed thoughts about Zakaria, primarily because i felt he pandered a bit to the Left when things were going badly in Iraq.   All in all though, I think I like him and appreciate his opinions.

Zakaria was talking about the current state of world economics.  He listed three factors that have complicated the problems America and Europe Face.

1)  An aging population.  As people in Western nations age and retire, they need ever increasing money from the retirement system.  The amount of young people in the work force whom pay taxes which support those retirement systems are dwindling.  The crisis in Greece resulted from primarily two factors:  The death spiral birth rates which cannot replenish the workforce and a lack of any economic growth.

2) Advancing technology.  Zakaria contends that technology improves efficiency to such a degree that employers no longer need to employ as many people.  I’m not convinced this is the issue that Zakaria believes.  First,  the unemployment rate in the US effectively doubled in about three years.  This had nothing to do with advancing technology.  Secondly,  while it may take fewer people to make a single pair shoes than it used to, manufacturers  make more pairs of shoes.  Then those shoes make their way to every corner of the world, something that could not happen before technology multiplied the power of the individual person.  Technology, in my opinion, has not lessened the need for workers, because more production and distribution is now required and expected of the individual–and that’s because of technology.   Corporations look not only for efficiency, but more production.  As I used to joke when I was a police officer:  The advanced technology available to police did not make their jobs easier, it only upped the expectation for productivity from the department and increased the amount of evidence required to get a conviction.

3) Globalization.  Globalization allows employers to outsource labor.

While all of these things have some impact, I think that Zakaria skips over the cultural shift occurring throughout America.  The cultural war inside the US is tearing it apart; the “have-nots” now expect success be handed to them.  Moreover, multiculturalism is instigating conflict.  The West is now like a man who walks around grinding his teeth all the time, but he can’t figure out why he does it.   He feels an internal stress that he finds inexplicable.  That stress is the breaking down of trust, the great binder of all societies.  Samuel Huntington said that culture is made up of two things:  Religion and language.  These two things breed trust.

The economists can see the technical reasons for the financial problems in the US and Europe.  But as our culture rips apart, the experts will find it more and more difficult to implement the changes necessary to prevent self-destruction.  Europe will disintegrate before America, but the weakening of America will accelerate Europe’s insolvency.  The Demographic numbers in Europe are undeniable–and they cannot be changed in our lifetimes, or in  the next.  Germany’s birthrate per woman is 1.42, [CIA World Fact Book, 2010] which is a world away from the 2.1 births per woman required merely to sustain a population.  But 1.42 doesn’t tell the whole story, because that number is significantly bolstered by immigrant birthrates, particularly Muslim birthrates on the order of 7 per female.  The Germans brought in many Turkish people in the 1970s because the workforce was significantly undermanned.  Such is the case throughout Europe, where Thatcher’s prediction of government running out of other people’s money have come true:  more old people on the retirement system and fewer young people to work and provide taxes.  Greece’s birthrate’s are even lower and the country imploded.  Italy is next:  Witness that country’s anemic 1.32 birthrate.  Bye bye bistro.

Democracy is a tool for change and in Democracy, anything can change.  Voters whom bring third or second world cultural views to Europe will change Europe.  They already have.

We are living the classic Chinese curse.  We are living in interesting times.  We can now see for ourselves how Rome fell, and recognize that it fell on its own sword.  The problems in America are evident in everything from America’s economic woes to it’s inability to defeat a band of toothless dirt farmers in Afghanistan.

The election of Barack Obama has hastened America’s demise, but it is not the cause.  His election was a symptom of the changes brought upon the country.  As Pat Buchanan will outline in his upcoming book:  The Suicide of a Superpower, America and Europe are fracturing upon racial lines.  Blacks in America voted for Barack Obama at a 24:1 ratio, primarily because of his African American heritage.  The more we have talked about race in America, the more racially divided we have become.  While laws do protect minorities more than they did in the past, the level of distrust along racial divides is as great as ever.

As the culture shift occurs,  the new demography continues to vote itself a bigger chunk of the welfare pie.  And it’s only just begun.  The birthrate issues in Europe are virtually irreversible.  There is simply no arguing the math.  The only argument is that people can change the way they think and vote.  But if we think that entire cultures suddenly change the way they think without a catastrophe as the motivator,  we should look over our history books again.  The decline of the West is inevitable at this point.  The question is, What does that mean for the rest of the world?  It is not the death of democracy we are witnessing, only it’s little talked about dark side.

Television and my return from war

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This is my second full day back from Afghanistan, back with my family in Germany.  Needless to say, it feels great to be home.  Only one thing has marred my return experience: television. 

In Afghanistan, I did have access to television, but very little.  Sometimes a tv was on in my office, but the sound was usually off. Mostly, though, I didn’t watch any television. 

My first night back, my wife was watching tv while I read at the kitchen table.  The show airing was a reality show starring Shaquille O’neal’s ex-wife; apparently she feels the need to broadcast her dating habits to the whole world.  More than likely, though, she needs more money, as surely the millions she scored in the divorce settlement aren’t enough to support her shopping habits.  It was also very important that she repeatedly point out how young the males she’s dating are.  Every fourth word or so uttered by the men needed to be beeped out by the television editors; todays 20 year olds’ vocabulary is quite limited and populated mostly by expletives. 

After about 10 minutes listening to the destruction of my culture on television, I decided to lay down in bed and continue reading. 

The next evening, MSNBC refreshed my memory as to why I feel like throwing a boulder through my television anytime that station shows up on my television.  Some far left-winger was carrying on.  Again, I chose my bed and a book over the blast radius of television noise. 

I’ve decided that I missed very little from missing television for a year.  The sensationalization and outright corruption in the media is an abomination.  After my return from Afghanistan, I have little patience for such nonsense.  Not that I’m against all television; today I fell asleep on my couch with my daughter while watching the Yankees play the Devil Rays.

My grandfather once said that television was going to destroy America.  While that was an overstatement, it’s obvious what he was trying to say.  And it’s obvious to me that my grandfather was right.

Facebook idiots endorse douchebag’s crime spree

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You probably know by now that the 19 year old Colton Harris Moore, otherwise known as the “Barefoot Bandit” was arrested yesterday in the Bahamas.  

Disturbingly, the miscreant had 60,000 fans on Facebook. People have also had T-Shirts printed, promoting  Harris-Moore’s freedom. It is indicative of the downward spiral of our culture. That spiral looks like the water in a flushing toilet.

It’s pretty obvious why Harris-Moore chose a life of douchebaggery: His mommy thinks the world is being too hard on him. Quoting from the above-linked article:

“Harris-Moore’s mother, Pam Kohler, has said that he had a troubled childhood. His first conviction, for possession of stolen property, came at age 12. Within a few months of turning 13, he had three more.

Kohler has defended her son, saying the allegations against him are exaggerated. She previously told the AP that she hoped he would flee to a country that doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the United States.”

See, Mrs. Kohler, we have a name for your son, here in the military: Shitbag. Yes, that’s right, a bag of excrement. That’s a word for someone who has no honor, no code, no sense of right and wrong or duty. Just like your son. I’m sorry his father didn’t beat him enough. I’m sorry that his father was also a shitbag. But how are you helping in any way when you say you hope your son gets away with committing felonies? Please, go back to eating your government cheese and smoking 4 packs of Virginia Slims a day. Yes, I know. Film rights are in the works and you’ll probably make a bundle off your son’s idiocy. Such is the way of our world now. Being an idiot can make you famous and with fame comes money that the idiot didn’t have to work for. And with that money you can buy yet more cigarettes and malt liquor.

Actually, a bag of crap would do much less damage than your son has done, Mrs. Kohler. And yet, somehow you still believe the world owes him something. It does. It owes him a giant boot in the ass.

But this article isn’t written for Mrs. Kohler or for the Barefoot Bandit. It’s written for Harris-Moore’s 60,000 friends on Facebook. You are even worse than he is. I suspect, that in the deepest crevice of Harris-Moore’s dark heart, even he knows what he’s done is wrong. You on the other hand, think it’s a big joke. And for that, I do hope that every one of your houses is burglarized by a shitbag of Harris-Moore’s caliber.

When it comes to the Middle East and Latin America, we should settle for good enough

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Democracy is an end-state not a cure-all. American officials need to get used to the fact that countries like Iraq and Brazil won’t make the same choices as Americans do, just because they’re allowed to vote. Their culture won’t let them.

We should settle for a government that provides food, electricity, adequate security and education. And if the government doesn’t plunder the people’s money, that’s a big plus, too. To ask more of democratic elections will urge intervention in unalterable and dangerous places, like Afghanistan.