The Book!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Solution for Detroit



Detroit is about to go bankrupt. The repercussions for other American municipalities, and other American levels of government, could be disastrous. Who will then want to put their money in municipal bonds?

But I have a simple and obvious solution.

Sell Detroit to Canada.

Granted, the Detroit debt is bad enough that you will probably also have to throw in Michigan's Upper Peninsula to sweeten the deal. But Canada has shown interest in the past: during the War of 1812, she occupied both Detroit and Michilimackinac. True, the fur trade was a bigger deal then than now, but it's not as if the Hudson's Bay Company is not still in operation. Maybe Canada could recoup by charging tolls on ships passing between Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair, or between Lake Huron and Lake Superior.


New Detroit Via Rail Station.

And, while Detroit might look like a frozen rust belt city to America, too cold to keep elephants in their zoo, to Canada it would be the southernmost and almost the warmest city; a desirable retirement destination, almost a Canadian Florida. Unlike Americans, Canadians might even be persuaded to actually live in the Upper Peninsula.

Of course, Canada would not want the actual population of Detroit. Detroit's problems are due to corrupt government. One might think that transfer to another country would fix this, but the problem is that both the US and Canada are democracies. The population of Detroit has voted in those corrupt governments, and they would presumably do the same under the Canadian flag. So the deal would be for sovereignty over the land, not a transfer of any citizenships.

Nor need this mean that anyone loses their property. No—foreigners have full rights to own property in Canada. Titles would not pass, unless voluntarily at fair market value, which is almost zero in any case. Canada, magnanimously, might even choose to allow permanent residence to US citizens owning and residing in real estate in Detroit at time of transfer, as a good will gesture.

So what would change? Simple: all the present residents, as foreign nationals, would lose the right to vote. Any new government would be voted on only by any Canadians who chose to take up residence.

Within a few years, Detroit should look just like Windsor: low crime rate, orderly traffic, tidy lawns, and decent beer. And financially solvent. And nobody loses.

Good Lord, I almost think I'm serious.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Ten Best Rock and Roll Songs of All Time



And the nominees are:

My Generation, The Who

I Want You, Bob Dylan

Satisfaction, The Rolling Stones

Memphis, Tennessee, Chuck Berry

Down on the Corner, Creedence Clearwater

Great Balls of Fire, Jerry Lee Lewis

Every Move You Make, The Police

Night Moves, Bob Seger

All the Day, and All of the Night, The Kinks

Heartbreak Hotel, Elvis Presley

The best rock and roll song is not necessarily the same as the best pop song; rock and roll is a more specific thing. There is also an important distinction, I belive, between rock and roll and heavy metal. A good rock song has got to tick over almost by itself, with lots of rhythm; heavy metal is forced, like iron on an anvil. “Layla” made an earlier version of this list, but on reflection, it is more heavy metal than rock and roll. Ditto Hendrix's “Hey Joe.”

For my money, there are at least a helf dozen Rolling Stones songs worthy to be on this list. They really are the World's Greatest Rock and Roll band. I can think of one or two other Who songs, and one or two other Creedence Clearwater songs, that I'd like to put here. But I have arbitrarily limited it to one for each band/performer in order to give some range.

Another note: a good bass line makes all the difference in rock and roll. Bill Wyman, Bob Dylan said, was the one thing that made the Stones more than just a typical bar band. John Entwhistle's bass was the strongest thing about The Who.

Is it solipsistic in here, or is it just me?

This had me laughing out loud repeatedly. Why is it always funnier if it feels like an inside joke?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Eight Reasons Men No Longer Want Marriage

The Need for Fathers

http://www.christianpost.com/news/from-father-knows-best-to-father-doesnt-matter-98666/

There is a basic principle here: mothers were created to provide for the child's physical needs. Fathers were created to provide for the child's spiritual needs. No father means a catastrophe for the soul.

The Racist Deep North

Helpess Asian Primitive

Sadly, Canada is a racist country.

Not the sort of racism you may think.

A liberal friend, in a recent column, took Canada to task for its treatment of native peoples. But there is no good evidence of racism there, so far as I can see. He condemned the rest of us, first, for banishing Indians to “remote” reserves, and then for the “cultural genocide” of the residential schools. But there are only two ways a sub-group in a larger population can go: either it segregates, or it integrates. My friend is condemning both. And unjustly blaming the rest of us for what must, one way or the other, have been the choice of the native people themselves.

There is a general principle here that is always forgotten, and always worth remembering: any group that has the government on its side is necessarily not being discriminated against. That's pretty much a matter of definition: if those in power are on your side, you are the beneficiary, not the victim, of discrimination. So much the more so if the media are on your side as well.

So it goes without saying that there is no discrimination in Canada against blacks, or women, or native peoples. The very thought is laughable.

Nevertheless, my Filipina wife finds the racism so fierce she is not sure she could ever stand to live in Canada. She has no such problem in the countries of the Arabian Gulf, and did not experience anything as bad in Korea—both societies that, to be frank, are far from paragons of racial equality. Still, Canada is a good deal worse. Her Filipina friends who have been ascross the Pacific make the same complaints. Moreover, I have seen it myself, not just with her, but with my first wife, who was Pakistani.

The racism is against Asians—perhaps especially Asian women. And the perpetrators are not Canadians generally, but overwhelmingly, Canadian women.

Helpless Asian primitive

It's the feminists.

I think this can be objectively demonstrated. Consider all the controversy about Arab women covering their heads in Western countries. Note that observant Muslim men also follow a dress code: they cover their heads and wear untrimmed beards. Yet who is upset about such attire? Who is seeking to ban it? Who is silly enough to claim the poor men are “forced” to do it, and have no choice in the matter? The point, though, is a blanket condemnation of a non-European culture: all the men are evil bullies, and all the women are helpless victims in need of rescue. This is, chapter and verse, the justification for colonialism everywhere. It was also the historical justification for slavery.

So too the common falsehood that East Asian (i.e., Oriental) women are “subservient” to men. Hence, Asian culture as a whole is condemned. All Oriental men are evil bullies, and all Oriental women are hopeless primitives in need of guidance and control. So too the general campaign against “arranged marriage,” the cultural norm in South Asia. While there are legitimate objections, no doubt, to child marriage, circumcision male and female, and honour killings, the real nature and prevalence of such practices has been consistently distorted in the media as if to foment “extreme feelings of opprobrium and enmity against a racial or religious group”--to use the language of the Canadian Supreme Court.

Helpless Asian primitive.

Some years ago, I came across a Canadian government-funded study that asserted that all marriages involving European men and Asian women were cases of “human trafficking.” Which should, presumably, be prosecuted. As miscegenation always was in the Old South.

Indeed, more and more, to my eye, the New Canadian North is looking like the Old American South.

Note too that the practical result of all the affirmative action programmes is quite specifically to set a quota on the number of Asians admitted, hired or promoted. Studies suggest that, if the quotas were removed tomorrow, the number of “whites” would stay the same. The number of blacks and aboriginals would drop. The number of Asians would rise. 

Helpless Asian primitive

The precise parallel is to the quotas set on Jews in the past.

Note too that it is feminism that is doing all this.

If it were really just the men, foreign and domestic, that the feminists were going after, this, of course, would not make it okay-- this would just make it sexism instead of racism.

But this is surely either euphemism, or a conscious lie. It is ridiculous to think that all non-European women want to be rid of their cultures, their religions, their mores, their husbands, and their families. It is ridiculous to think they did not choose their own husbands, or their own clothing. It is ridiculous to think that they are eager instead to be told what to do in personal detail by Western European women. From the point of view of any self-respecting non-European woman, as well as any self-respecting non-European man, this is all extreme racism.







Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Don't Taze Me, Teach!



A friend sends the following piece about a student who won a court case against a bullying teacher.

http://news.yahoo.com/student-booted-class-saying-don-t-accept-gays-123034366.html


The case is not egregious—the school board itself ruled in the student's favour. I do wonder if the matter would have turned out so well in Canada, where freedom of speech is far less well respected. Moreover, it needs to be said straight off that the student is ill-informed about his own Catholicism. Catholicism certainly does not reject gays. In my experience, gays often make the best Catholics.

But it does illustrate a few interesting points. First, how "anti-bullying" programmes are so easily turned by any teacher already inclined to bullying into an ideal bullying opportunity. If you want to reduce bullying, you do not give more power to those already in a position of authority. Yet this is exactly what anti-bullying programmes do.

Next, the fact that the students seemed to stand up against this bullying speaks well of them. We hear a lot of complaints from teachers—and parents, for that matter—about today's students being harder and harder to discipline. But I wonder how much of this supposed growing problem with discipline in the schools us really due to the fact that we increasingly put people at the heads of classrooms that the students innately cannot respect, because they are genuinely not worthy of that respect. And how much of it is because the schools are trying to push political correctness and indoctrination instead of clear thinking and real learning?

In such a circumstance, the only intelligent and honourable response is to argue back and to rebel. Would we really want our kids quietly accepting this? Do we want our schools to turn out "Good Germans"?

I wonder how much less our supposed classroom discipline problems would be if we went back to the common-sense method of teacher recruitment: selecting teachers on the basis of 1) subject knowledge, and 2) good moral character.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

It's a Small, But a Good Thing

By mentioning St. Joseph right after Mary, the Pope's revised formula for the mass reminds us all of the importance of men and of fathers. A lesson that has been sadly too much lost.

Lies Your President Told You

A woman's right to choose.

It's often not all that hard to tell who the bad guys are, if you listen carefully. They're the ones who are lying; and their lies are often pretty artless, even self-contradictory.

Consider, for example, the Obama Administration's statement on a new abortion bill, just passed by the US House of Representatives, which seeks to ban abortion after 20 weeks except in cases of incest or rape:

The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 1797, which would unacceptably restrict women’s health and reproductive rights and is an assault on a woman’s right to choose. Women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care, and Government should not inject itself into decisions best made between a woman and her doctor. 
Forty years ago, the Supreme Court affirmed a woman’s constitutional right to privacy, including the right to choose. This bill is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade and shows contempt for women’s health and rights, the role doctors play in their patients’ health care decisions, and the Constitution. The Administration is continuing its efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies, expand access to contraception, support maternal and child health, and minimize the need for abortion. At the same time, the Administration is committed to the protection of women’s health and reproductive freedom and to supporting women and families in the choices they make. 
If the President were presented with this legislation, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto this bill.

The very first statement of any kind here is that retricting abortion would restrict women's health. But abortion obviously has nothing to do with women's health: a baby is not a disease. Indeed, there is some evidence abortion is a health risk for the woman; it is obviously pretty bad for the health of the foetus. Which has a good chance of itself being female. On top of this, the last thing the opponents of abortion want is to tie abortion to the health of the mother.

Ergo, calling it a women's health issue is the opposite of the truth. A lie, and a crude lie, so that the listener must actually be complicit not to call them on it.

As an aside, even if abortion were a matter of women's health, how would that make restrictions on abortion illegitimate? We have restrictions, after all, on the use of medicine and any other surgery.

The next assertion is that restrictions on abortion would violate “reproductive rights.” But reproductive rights are not in fact involved in abortion, unless it is compulsory: with or without abortion, any woman can still choose to have or not have children. 

Reproductive rights.

Moreover, if women have “reproductive rights,” men do too. Yet the current regime of unrestricted abortion denies men these rights. A man cannot refuse to allow his child to be aborted. This the memo from the White House refuses to recognize: it asserts that the decision is “between a woman and her doctor.” No father is mentioned.

So, once again, the truth is the opposite of what is being said: unrestricted abortion is a violation of reproductive rights.

Now we come to a “woman's right to choose.” The lie here is simple: there is no such thing as a “right to choose.” We do have free will, which implies a moral freedom to choose—to choose good or evil. If this is intended, though, it is a tacit admission that abortion is evil. And, of course, governments can and do legitimately restrict our ability to choose evil. Do we have a “right to choose” our neighbour's car or house? Do we have a right to choose to kill our neighbour? No more do we have a right to choose abortion, simply because it is a choice.

“This bill is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.” Another lie. In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruled, rightly or wrongly, that the government could not restrict abortion during the first trimester, but had a legitimate interest in restricting it after that. This bill restricts abortion after the first trimester.

This makes the claim that the bill shows contempt for the constitution equally dishonest.

Embryo at 18 weeks.

In its ringing conclusion, the administration claims it is working to reduce abortions by “supporting child health.” A very crude lie, deliberately forcing the listener to aid and abet the crime: after all, what could be worse for child health than abortion? It then refers to “minimizing the need for abortion”--obviously implying that abortion is somehow necessary. Among other issues this raises, it directly contradicts the prior claim in the same document that abortion is a choice. If abortion is a necessity, there is no “right to choose.”

In sum, it is obvious to a careful listener that the advocates of abortion, such as the Obama White House, know perfectly well that abortion is immoral. The inborn human conscience is too strong, in the end, to be trifled with.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Narrow Way

This piece by Captain Capitalism confirms my own experience completely. Real life is off the beaten track every time.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Truth about Oedipus



Dad grabs a midnight snack.

It’s a very strange thing that nobody seems to have noticed, but Freud obviously got the Oedipus complex wrong. He claimed that every man secretly had an urge, like Oedipus, to kill his father and sleep with his mother.

But, in fact, Oedipus had no such urge. He killed his father and slept with his mother by mistake.

On the other hand, it is the exact opposite motif which dominates in Greek mythology: that of parents killing their children.

Starting with Oedipus.



"Are you my Mommy?"

Oedipus was left by his parents on a mountainside to die in his infancy. Whether or not it ended up that way, it was very much their intent to kill him.

Moreover, this practice was a standard feature of Greek culture; patricide was unheard of.

Nor is this motif confined to the Oedipus cycle. It is, arguably, the primordial Greek myth: Saturn, the original ruler of gods and men, devoured his own children as they emerged from the womb. For more examples of the motif, see Tantalus and Pelops, or Agamemnon and Iphigenia, or Romulus and Remus.

Nor is this motif confined to the Greeks. It is the story of Abraham and Isaac; it is also the central story of the New Testament, the story of God the Father and God the Son. The Hebrews inherited the land of Canaan from the Canaanites as punishment for their custom of infanticide. It seems to be the central moral issue of the entire Old Testament. Perhaps the Hebrew practice of circumcision was a sublimation. The Phoenicians, the Philistines, the Babylonians, and the Carthaginians all practiced ritual child slaughter. According to the Bible, so did the ancient Egyptians. So did the Aztecs and the Inca in the New World; infanticide was also accepted as standard practice, if not a religious ritual, in pre-modern China, India, and Japan.




Freud, they say, thought of his patients as if they were his own children.

Wikipedia: ‘Laila Williamson notes that "Infanticide has been practiced on every continent and by people on every level of cultural complexity, from hunter gatherers to high civilizations, including our own ancestors. Rather than being an exception, then, it has been the rule."’

In other words, parents willing to kill their children is a familiar human experience. We see it in the political inviolability of abortion today. Children wishing to kill their parents is a rare and almost unthinkable anomaly.

Nor should this be surprising. Paternal or maternal instincts to the contrary, children necessarily represent, as they did to Kronos, the parent’s mortality, and the reality that they are not, after all, the most important thing in the universe. Not everyone is prepared to accept this.

Of course, putting all the emphasis on the latter, the idea that the child indeed wishes to supplant and kill the parent, is a useful projection, because it neatly sanctions the unholy impulses so many parents have in any case.

Which was no doubt to the great advantage of Sigmund Freud in getting his theories widely accepted in his day.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A Teacher Resigns on YouTube


A friend sends the following video, posted on YouTube by a resigning teacher:




I think I can endorse everything she says from what I have seen myself, though I am not in the public schools.

The fundamental problem with the schools since the turn of the 20th century has been that they have tried to reduce students to objects and education to an assembly line. The current supposed "reforms" are not reforms, but further steps in this continuing process. The new emphasis is on standardized assessment because it makes it all look "scientific" and "efficient"--more like a factory. But this is entirely cynical--we know perfectly well in scientific terms that such assessments are relatively meaningless.

It is amazing that any good, honest teachers make it into the profession any longer; if they do, they are driven out. Leaving the field to those who are there either for as much money as they can get given their limited talents, and/or for the opportunity to bully. The worst of these naturally move up into administration, where the money is better and where the bullying opportunities are greater. And once there, they throw their weight around as much as they can, because that's who they are--bullies. This is why office politics are worse in "education" than anywhere else you can think of. This is why administration in the schools has been growing by leaps and bounds. This is why kids now get expelled from schools for such things as saying "Bang! Bang!" during recess.

And this is why the costs of education are skyrocketing without any improvement in results: because people who go into teaching now are not there for the kids, but for the money.


Michelle Rhee, former DC schools commissioner.

This is also why the current forms of "teacher evaluation" are designed, just as this teacher says, never to reward good teachers or good teaching, but rather to give administrators as much arbitrary power as possible. Like the wrongly celebrated Michelle Rhee in Washington. Which they will naturally use first on the best teachers. Because the most sincere teachers care more, they make the most satisfying victims.

I think the system is beyond saving. Certainly, there is no real possibility of reform from within.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

The Homeschooling Advantage


Interesting article on the boom in homeschooling from Breitbart.


Some of the main points:
  • Homeschooled students consistently do better on standardized tests:
those who are independently educated generally score between the 65th and 89th percentile on these measures, while those in traditional academic settings average at around the 50th percentile.
  • Homeschooled students do better in university.
  • Homeschooling comes at only a small fraction the cost of public schooling:
the average expenditure for the education of a homeschooled child, per year, is $500 to $600, compared to an average expenditure of $10,000 per child, per year, for public school students
  • There seems to be no “socialization problem”with homeschooled students. Schools do not, after all, socialize in any natural way.
Now, what would we say about any other profession that produced consistently worse results, at a vastly higher cost, than can ordinary laypeople? Isn't it simply urgent to get rid of it as swiftly as possible?

The words "quack" or "mountebank" don't begin to do it justice. More like "conspiracy against the public interest."

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Why They Hate Us

Spanish woman, 1922

If there was one thing we in the West could do to encourage peace with Islam, it would be to simply return to our own Christian traditions. This would automatically make us much more like Islam. We look instead like a bunch of godless infidels, because, well, that is what we have become.

But not that long ago—say, a hundred years ago—we were a lot more like Muslims. Women up until a little after that time would have covered their hair in public as a matter of course, and a well-bred woman would never have revealed a leg.




Italian woman, early 20th Century.

St. Paul:

“for a woman to pray or prophesy with her head uncovered shows disrespect for her head; it is exactly the same as if she had her hair shaved off. Indeed, if a woman does go without a veil, she should have her hair cut off too; but if it is a shameful thing for a woman to have her hair cut off or shaved off, then she should wear a veil.”

When Europeans dealt with the rest of the world, they saw such modest dress in women as the ultimate mark of civilization. As it is. And I suspect most men would actually prefer it if most women dressed that way. It is so much more feminine.

A hundred years ago, any sex outside marriage would have been a crime. No respectable woman would be found alone with a man to whom she was not married. Catholics, like Muslims, fasted regularly, and, also like Muslims, prayed at several set times a day—the liturgy of the hours. Church bells used to ring the times, just like the Muslim call to prayer. When do you hear church bells ringing any more? In those days, there would have been much less trouble integrating Muslims into Western society; they would have fit right in.

How a lady dresses: Queen Victoria, 1880s.

As it is now, though, when Muslims recoil at Western culture, they recoil for most of the same reasons serious Christians do. If we respected these traditions of our own, it might be easy to negotiate the remaining differences. And, in any case, we would have the moral standing to do so. One cannot honourably negotiate with the devil.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

The End of the World News




The end of Western civilization began just ninety-nine years ago, when Gavrilo Princip fired at Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo.

But what was the world thinking in that summer a hundred years ago? Back when everyone still believed in the indevitable progress of mankind; was there really any premonition of what was to come?

Happily, we now have newspaper archives easily available on the Internet—we can follow the news day by day from exactly 100 years ago.

So what was the news on the front pages of June 6, 1913?

In Winnipeg, the city of tomorrow, the fabled Free Press headlines a Highways Bill being debated in the Senate, and a meeting of the Canadian Grain Commission. “Empire and Foreign News” iss relegated to page 10.

The main item there is the “sheer imbecility” of the actions of one Miss Emily Davison, who attempted to halt the Derby by “grabbing the bridle of King George's entry,” in the name of women's suffrage. The Free Press was not impressed. It reports that Miss Davison is still alive in hospital, and is able to take some nourishment. Doctors feel there was some hope of a recovery, and, if she recovers, she is likely to be prosecuted.As is rarely reported of the incident these days, the King's jockey was also in serious condition with a concussion of the brain.

Mr. Churchill

The Marconi scandal, implicating the Liberal whip at Westminster in possible insider trading, is grinding on. Suffragettes shouted down Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, as he attempted to speak at a lecture on the Antarctic. In other admiralty news, the Canadian senate has turned down a British request to fund three new dreadnoughts. They are being built anyway, at British expense.

In foreign, as opposed to Empire, news, the lead item is the resignation of the Hungarian premier and cabinet. To maintain order, the parlament has been locked down and is guarded by soldiers at machine gun implacements. During the melee in the house, a former premier was struck with a sabre. Another item, headlined “Bulgarians still making trouble,” implies a serious danger of a further Balkan war because of Bulgarian intransigence in negotiations with Greece. Not the Balkan War we ended up with, though: this one would be Bulgaria and Romania against Greece.

The Wilson Cabinet

Meanwhile, the San Francisco Call is demonstrating that city's bohemian traditions by reserving a part of its front page to note the funeral of the British poet laureate, as well as the death of a surviving descendent of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. President Wilson is in negotiations with Japan over naturalization law—presumably having to do with the right of Japanese to emigrate to the US. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan announced that Germany had signed on to his proposal for universal peace, joining twelve other nations. All that remains now is to draw up the formal treaty. Italy has appropriated $400,000 for their participation in the Panama-Pacific Exposition scheduled for San Francisco in 1915. The Southern Pacific Railroad is floating a bond issue of $30 million, partly to fund its own participation.

The Call has its own news of the buregeoning women's movement. It reports that Miss Vernie Goff, Joplin, Missouri's new “police matron,” has made her first arrest. It is of a man who greeted her in the street with the phrase “Hello, kid.” The charge is “mashing.”

Darned good thing, that universal peace agreement. Should be a great exposition, too.

HMS Dreadnought

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Another Sign that Political Discourse May Be Becoming More Civil

Salon prints a piece by a college professor who has discovered that a "white supremacist" student is actually human.

I am reminded of that supposed quote from Mahatma Gandhi: "first they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you have won." Isn't this just the parabola we have been watching regarding the treatment of the right by the dominant left over the last twenty years or so? Hasn't the very violence and unreasonableness of the left's responses for some time suggested fundamental weakness, rather than strength, on their side?