Playing the Indian Card

Saturday, October 31, 2020

A Trump Endorsement


Time to say it straight out. This US election is a contest of good against evil.

Those inclined to pshaw will pshaw. We adults are not supposed to think in these terms, are we? Where’s our civil discourse, if we are going to demonize our opponents?

But the demonization is already well-advanced, by the side I would identify as the axis of evil. It is they who first declared this war. Never mind references to “deplorables.” Never mind cheap accusations of racism. The Biden camp has apparently now released a campaign video depicting Trump as a Nazi.

If the curtain were ripped away, we would see that this universe is always a war of good against evil. Not good men against evil men; not most times. We speak of spiritual forces, of powers and principalities, warring across as well as among human hearts.

But at this moment, the sides seem to have strangely parted and coalesced. The forces of destruction and giving in to animal urges are all to one side. Ranged behind Biden are voices supporting chaos in the streets. Voices threatening and trying to silence any voices with which they disagree. Voices supporting killing the unborn. Voices spreading slanderous falsehoods, “fake news.” Voices subverting the democratic system seemingly in any way they can: with voting that is obviously open to fraud, and likely to result in a contested result. Suppressing news. Threatening to stack the Supreme Court, undermining any public trust in it. Calling for defunding the police. Calling for statues to be torn down. Calling for the constitution to be abandoned. Calling to elect a man who is senile, as if they deliberately want a power vacuum and nobody in control—or to pass the seat of power to some unknown force. It all looks like an urge to destroy for the sake of destruction: a satanic urge.

The left now aggressively endorses all kinds of sexual promiscuity; now at last seeming to semi-openly include pedophilia. Surely we all knew this was coming; Jeffrey Epstein was their prophet. They are increasingly hostile to religion, targeting it as their enemy, trying to limit or end religious freedoms and freedom of conscience. They are now increasingly open about being antisemitic: the ultimate historical litmus test of evil.

Some will counter, of course, that Trump is personally immoral. 

It is traditional too for his defenders to apologize for this and admit that he is an imperfect vessel. I will not; I do not care. Abraham was an imperfect vessel. King David was an imperfect vessel. Winston Churchill was an imperfect vessel. Moses was an imperfect vessel. Mother Teresa was an imperfect vessel. I am an imperfect vessel, and so are you. What matters is not our personal sin, but that, when the clarion calls, we form up on this side or on that in the cosmic battle.

I make no predictions as to the upcoming election; the Holocaust is ample evidence that God will let evil have free rein. 

On the other hand. If he were to let Trump miraculously win decisively—it might be shocking enough to begin to turn the culture around.

Happy Hallowe'en.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Does the Dragon Wake?

My Chinese colleagues tell me there is currently a huge demand there for extracurricular education in public speaking and debate.

This strikes me as significant, because the current top-down regime allows relatively few opportunities for public speaking or debate. Things are decided, mostly, behind closed doors by inconspicuous bureaucrats.

It perhaps suggests that many Chinese parents expect this to change soon, and are preparing for a different future.

Guns Don't Kill People; Doctors Do

 The following is absolutely not mine. It was forwearded by a friend. I do not know who is the author. But I love the playfulness of the logic.


(A) The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000

(B) Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year are 120,000.

(C) Ratio of accidental deaths per physician is 0.171

Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.

Gun owners:

(A) The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000

(B) The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups, is 1,500.

(C) The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is .0000188

Statistics courtesy of FBI

So, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.

Not everyone has a gun, but almost everyone has at least one doctor.

This means you are over 9,000 times more likely to be killed by a doctor as by a gun owner.

Please alert your friends to this alarming threat. We must ban doctors before this gets completely out of hand.

Out of concern for the public at large, we withheld the statistics on lawyers. The shock could cause people to panic and seek medical attention.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

On the Third of Two Debates


Clockwise from top: Trump, Biden.

Does anyone else notice how much Donald Trump resembles Muhammed Ali?

Watching the US Presidential debate last week, I thought Biden was leading in the early going, but then Trump came on strong and won on points.

Perhaps this was a “rope-a-dope” strategy. Biden obviously easily gets tired. So, it made sense to save the best ammunition for later, when Biden could be expected to lose focus and be less able to effectively respond. And that’s the way I thought it played out.

In retrospect, though, I increasingly think Trump did better than win on points. He murderated da bum. I think he scored several knockdowns and three virtual knockouts. And still looked pretty doing it.

The first knockout was when Trump brought up the recent revelations from Hunter Biden’s laptop, Biden turned to look straight into the camera, and said:

“There's a reason he's bringing up all of this malarkey. He does not want to talk about the substantive issues. It's not about his family and my family. It's about your family and your family is hurting badly.

“You're sitting at the kitchen table this morning. We should be talking about your families, but that's the last thing he wants to talk about.”

And Trump responded with the uppercut on the outthrust jaw: “That’s a typical political statement. ’Let's get off the subject of China and let's talk about sitting around the table.’ Come on Joe, you can do better than that. I’m not a typical politician. That’s why I was elected.”

Trump here reminded everyone why he got elected. Because he cut through the crap, and promised to drain the swamp. I think he jarred a lot of memories, and cast Biden, convincingly, as the ultimate swamp creature. Are people really ready to go back to that—when they were so fed up with it?

He seemed to follow up with other responses. “All talk, no action.” “If this is a great idea, you’ve been in Washington for 47 years. Why didn’t you do it?”

I think that volley was unanswerable. 

Biden thought he had a counter to the Hunter Biden laptop revelations in claiming, as the media has, that it was “Russian disinformation.”

Trump was ready for that one. He could have made the logical argument that it hardly matters where it came from if the accusations are demonstrably true; and there is no evidence Russia was involved. But many voters might be unable to follow the logic. Trump has a talent for the quick jab. That is why he loves Twitter: “Russia, Russia. So that’s how he’s going to play it. Now we’re back to Russia.”

To my mind, it tellingly made Biden look intellectually limited, like a stage humour with a fixed idea he can’t get beyond. I think it reinforced a lot of people’s concerns about Biden. A talking suit, not a leader. And a liar, who just makes things up. This was on top of swiping away any power the “Russia” claim might have had to counter the Hunter Biden revelations.

Biden did not openly manifest and incoherence. Nevertheless, I think his dementia caused him to land at least two devastating blows on himself, in the later rounds. He was getting tired.

Challenged on fracking, he insisted he had never opposed it, and idiotically doubled down by defying Trump to post the video showing he had. That was remarkably stupid, since he knew Trump could. 

This may have been a manifestation of Biden’s narcissism. M. Scott Peck observes, of narcissists, that when challenged directly they seem to become delusional; he calls them “ambulatory schizophrenics.” For that brief moment, Biden may have sincerely imagined he had never opposed fracking, and there was no such video.

Trump, of course, next day sent out a highlights clip of multiple examples of Biden and Kamala Harris saying they would end fracking. Just as had been advertised in advance by Biden.

Proving to all beyond all reasonable doubt not just that Biden opposed fracking, but that that Biden is a bald-faced liar. Undermining everything else he has ever said, and exposing him again as just another corrupt politician who will say anything.

This was the second knockout blow, although the full effects were not seen until the next day.

I think Biden realized soon after he said it that he had gotten himself in trouble; that the next day the video would inevitably be there and the truth would come out. And I suspect that buffaloed him into making his next damaging statement, in a vain hope it might cover his anterior portions. He then said straight up that, yes, he did in principle want to end the entire oil industry. “Over time.”

Of course this is true, and evident to anyone who looks at the Democratic platform. But many or most voters might not have known it, and Biden might have danced away from the point, unpopular in several critical swing states, had he not already compromised himself with the lie about fracking.

All Trump had to do was to then point out how significant this was.

Had there been no early voting, I think this too would have been a knockout: this would have ended Biden’s chances in Pennsylvania or Ohio, probably needed to win. Because there has been a lot of early voting, he may survive. But reportedly “can I change my vote?” has been trending on Google.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Facing the Heat


I have been recently asked on a Mensa discussion list to comment on climate change. Can we all get it together before we fry?

Long-time readers of this blog may know my position on this.

The concept of global warming, or climate change, is based on expert predictions of the middle to distant future, using computer models.

The important thing to understand about computer models is that they are only as good as the data and assumptions: GIGO, as computer programmers used to warn the overly-reverent.

The important thing to understand about expert predictions of the middle to distant future is that they are usually wrong. Studies show they are less reliable than random chance, than flipping a coin, or than asking the average man in the street.

There are reasons for this. In the real world, most times, things go on as they have been going on, in more or less a straight line on a graph, or with regular oscillations, without changing radically. But if an expert says this, it has no news value. Nobody will be very interested, and nobody will see much use in their expertise. If, on the other hand, they forecast a dramatic change coming soon, it attracts attention—it attracts business.

Better yet if they forecast a pending catastrophe, that can only be averted by strenuous investment in their special expertise.

So there is a built-in incentive to forecast outcomes that are worse than what is likely.

This is reinforced by the human tendency to forget any dramatic predictions that did not come true, and only remember those surprising ones that did. So experts can afford to be wrong, repeatedly. Astrology works the same way.

Back in the Sixties, the experts were telling us we were going to run out of food and clean water within twenty years. In the Eighties, we were less than a decade away from “peak oil,” and a collapse of the world economy from a lack of energy. Also in the Eighties, we were all going to die of AIDS. Remember the hole in the ozone layer? The sky has been falling for a very long time.

The really dire predictions about global warming may be true, but what are the odds?

The thing we call “climate change” or “global warming” is a set of assumptions, not just one. At least, if you reject any one of them, you are a “climate change denier.” We do not have the expertise nor access to the data to evaluate these for ourselves; we must rely on experts.

1. That the earth is getting warmer year by year.

2. That this is on balance a bad thing.

3. That human beings can realistically do something about it.

4. That the cost of doing something about it is less than the cost of letting it happen.

5. That we, as individuals or as a nation, can realistically do something about it.

6. That some technological advance will not eliminate it without government intervention.

Now let’s put aside the observation that expert predictions are usually wrong, and just give them all fifty-fifty odds. Then, for all of them to be true, the odds are 1.5 out of a hundred.

How much money are we prepared to invest on a 1.5% chance of coming out ahead?

Friday, October 23, 2020

The Real Roots of Racism


Scott Adams made a vital and often misunderstood point in his latest YouTube video: he makes the necessary distinction between “white supremacist” and “white racist” by observing that people are never racist because they think they are inferior to the group they hate. Racism comes from thinking you are inferior, or at least threatened.

I think the same may go for hatred and discrimination in general.

Hitler and the Nazis and the Germans who supported them hated the Jews because the Jews seemed to run everything; they did not really think the Jews were inferior, although that might have been their alibi. The South African whites, in the days of apartheid, hated the blacks because they were vastly outnumbered. Moreover, the Zulus were famously fierce and effective warriors, who had not long ago “broken the British square.” 

Black slavery in the US South was probably nothing personal, and not really about racism. It was about money, and cheap labour. The hostility to blacks after the Civil War probably had to do with the fact that freed slaves constituted half the population; and they had, at first, the aggressive support of the federal government. They looked like a constant danger; whites no doubt feared being raped or murdered in their beds.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

A River in Africa


Someone on a social group email list to which I belong asked yesterday if anyone liked Trump.

I volunteered that, were I an American, I’d probably be prepared to crawl over the proverbial broken glass to vote for him now.

He responded,

“I can understand that some might prefer Trump over Biden, but not to such an extent. Is there a particular issue where you think it so important that Trump wins over Biden? How do you envision that life in America would be so much worse under Biden?

Just asking.”

I responded to the invitation with a list of points.

Might as well reprint them here:

There are several issues.

To begin with, the mobs in the streets. The Dems have been calling to defund the police, and Biden will not denounce Antifa, let alone Black Lives Matter. People are losing livelihoods and lives, and this is liable to devolve into civil war if it continues. We must restore order, not encourage the mobs.

Next, the growing climate of censorship and blacklisting. This is coming from the left; the political right is being shut down. For the sake of democracy, this must be resisted in any way possible; so there is a moral obligation to vote for the right.

Next, the fact that a cabal of media, big tech-social media companies, and elements within the civil service have been prepared to ignore all the rules, and even risk their own reputation, business, or career in order to defeat Trump, is alarming. It looks again as though there really is a swamp, that they are in process of seizing complete control of government, and supporting Trump is the only way to stop them.

Next, Trump has promised to give all American families school choice. This could at a stroke dramatically improve race relations and reduce poverty for future generations, and reverse what seems a general civilizational decline. And Trump has a track record of keeping his promises.

Next, Biden seems senile. It seems wildly irresponsible to vote someone suffering from dementia into the presidency.

Next, it was clear even before the recent revelations from his son’s laptop that Biden has long been in the business of selling his office. It is bad enough that he had been selling out to the banks and insurance companies, but it is alarming that he has been selling out to foreign interests and perhaps foreign powers. America is currently in a dangerous struggle for dominance with China. They dare not have someone compromised at the helm.

Next, until COVID appeared, either an Act of God or of the CCP, Trump was presiding over the best US economy in memory. I suspect this had something to do with his push for deregulation and his renegotiation of trade deals. There is reason to suspect the economy would not do so well under a different regime.

Next, Trump’s approach in foreign policy has been effective: no new wars, ISIS erased from the map, now Arab-Israeli peace deals. There is every reason, on past performance, to expect that much of this momentum toward peace would be lost under Biden.

And my interlocutor responded with one line: “What a complete crock of s***.” 

No counter to any of the arguments. All he can do is swear in response.

Isn’t this what we have seen more generally? Those opposed to Trump, the left generally, do not engage, but just shout. They do not want to hear facts or reasons.

The problem is the problem of denial. They are spiritually ill. They are in headlong flight from truth.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Naked and Afraid


Francis Dashwood, founder of the Hellfire Club

Rumours are rife on the Internet that Hunter Biden’s abandoned hard drive includes images of him not just smoking crack, but having sex with underage girls.

When, during his recent “town hall,” Trump was asked to unequivocally denounce Q-Anon, he avoided doing so. He claimed he did not know that much about them, but that they were against pedophilia. And so was he.

That sounds as though the rumours are true. If Trump knew that there were photos of Hunter Biden having sex with underage girls that were soon going to come out, he could not say Q-Anon was entirely wrong.

It seems weird that so many powerful men would have a thing about sex with underage girls; yet we know already about Jeffrey Epstein’s pedophile ring. We know many prominent people were involved. And we know, surely, that Jeffrey Epstein did not kill himself. That implies a powerful conspiracy.

We know there were things called Hellfire Clubs in the past. Prominent people would meet for various scandalous activities; we do not really know who or what, but we know the clubs were real. The facile assumption is that they did this because they could get away with it; perhaps also to show that they were above the law, and so above the common rabble. But this also would build an intense group identity, with ample opportunity for blackmail should anyone stray from the fold.

It seems only too probable that such a group would form in any elite at any time. Only their individual consciences would prevent it, and any who lack such a conscience could quickly take over from those who had one, thanks to their ability to work secretly together.

If this is real, this would explain Trump Derangement Syndrome: the problem would be that Trump was never a member, and so cannot be controlled. And may expose them all.

How could such a conspiracy last for very long without someone blowing their cover, you object?

But then, we know this has happened in the past. And perhaps somebody has blown that whistle. Isn’t that what Q is claiming to be doing?

I wonder whether that was something Stanley Kubrick was doing, too, with Eyes Wide Shut. Pity he died immediately after finishing that film …

This would explain why the anti-Trumpers have been going to such extraordinary measures to defeat Trump, and now to suppress the Biden revelations. They are spending a lot of their credibility here. It makes no business sense for the social media platforms to be acting as they are: they are driving away content creators and consumers, and almost demanding regulatory authorities come in and legislate. What could be worth it? High-ranking civil servants are compromising their cushy positions to battle Trump—violating their expected ethic of self-preservation at all costs. Mainstream media are squandering the coinage by which they trade, that people can trust them for the news.

It looks as though only the need to suppress some major scandal in which many of them are implicated could be worth this.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

A Journal of the Plague Year


A Journal of the Plague Year


From my walkabout today, evidence of the growing climate of racism. Most of this is indecipherable, but the last line is "no deal with white guy."

Shapes of Things to Come

It is interesting and informative that all of the charges the Democrats level against Trump are true of the Democrats, and untrue of Trump.

They accuse Trump of habitually lying. In fact, the foundation of Trump’s popularity is that he is a straight talker who does what he says he will do. In the meantime, Biden’s entire campaign, by his own account, is based on a blatant lie: that Trump called neo-Nazis “fine people.”

They accuse Trump of racism. Yet what he has garnered record-high support for any Republican among both black and Hispanic voters.

They accuse him of antisemitism. Yet he has moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem, and brokered two Arab-Israeli peace deals that involve no new concessions to the Palestinians. In the meantime, the left has grown increasingly antisemitic. Orthodox Jewish meetings are being harassed in NYC, for example.

They accuse Trump of not caring about the poor, and only governing for the rich. Yet Trump was voted into office by the working class, who understand him as their champion. By contrast, the rich technocrats of Silicon Valley are trying to suppress all Republican messaging. Bloomberg is trying to buy votes in Florida. Biden is pulling in record-high campaign funding. The wealthy elite is clearly desperately opposed to Trump. One must ask why. In the meantime, the Democrats are insistent on keeping the economy shut down. The rich can weather this, and are apparently even becoming richer during the shutdown. The poor need to work, or they cannot eat or pay the rent.

As Nancy Pelosi shows off her well-stocked wall-sized home freezers on video.

They accuse Trump of profiteering off of the presidency. Yet Trump’s net worth has gone down as a result of being president. Biden’s net worth, during his years of public service, mysteriously rose to multimillionaire level. Go figure.

They accuse Trump of colluding with Russia to swing the 2016 election. That charge suspiciously came up, as I recall, on the night Trump won. We now know, through the Durham investigation, that the Clinton campaign was colluding with Russia at the time. In the meantime, after exhaustive investigation, there is no evidence of collusion from Trump or his campaign. I, for one, suspect the Clinton involvement with Russia was far greater than we yet know—why was she failing to secure her emails? Mere incompetence does not seem like a sufficient explanation. Why was she storing her emails in a server in the Ukraine, of all places?

And why a large payment to Joe Biden’s son from the wife of the mayor of Moscow?

They impeached Trump over supposedly trying to influence the government of the Ukraine for his own benefit. For a routine-sounding phone call, for which the transcript was released immediately. We now know, from the newly released Hunter Biden emails, assuming they are legitimate, that the Bidens were involved deeply in influence peddling in the Ukraine, and in influencing Ukraine government policy for their own benefit.

They are rioting in the streets, night after night, and blaming Trump for the rioting in the streets.

All this illustrates an important point about human evil. When one commits to evil, one spontaneously begins to say the opposite of the truth, because it feels safest to stay as far away from the truth as possible. At the same time, it becomes urgent to scapegoat someone else for the very thing you are guilty of. Ideally, you want to scapegoat the one person least guilty of it. That absolves you most completely, after all. If a sinless man were to appear, your instinct would be to crucify him as the worst sort of criminal.

Every value is turned upside down.

The same tendency, within a family, is what produces mental illness in family members—within the family, every value is turned upside down, and a sensitive child will be aware of the loss of equilibrium, whether or not he or she becomes the designated scapegoat. As is almost certain to be the case.

When it happens in the body politic, the entire country can go mad. It happened in Weimar Germany, or in China before and during the Cultural Revolution.

It seems an urgent matter that Trump win re-election in a few weeks. As looks unlikely to happen, based on the polls. If he does not, things are liable to get very unpleasant in the US, and perhaps for the world.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Third Person Singular


While languages find it natural to assimilate new words for things—content words—the grammar is pretty fixed. It is the grammar, for example, that identifies English as a Germanic language, although most of the actual vocabulary is Latinate. When the French-speaking Normans poured in, the vocabulary changed, but the grammar was more resistant to political control.

It is because it violates grammar that a term like “ain’t” has never been accepted as correct, even though it has been common for centuries. Or “youse.”

A standard current text on teaching English vocabulary notes:

“Content words are an open set: that is, there is no limit to the number of content words that can be added to the language. Here are a few that have been added recently — airbag, emoticon; carjacking, cybersex, quark. Grammatical words, on the other hand, are a closed set. The last time a pronoun was added to the language was in the early sixteenth century. (It was them.)”

This throws into stark relief the extremism, indeed the absurdity, of the current demand, by Canadian governments, for everyone to use an unlimited number of new pronouns.

It would be hard to come up with a more extreme intrusion on the culture.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Sex as Original Sin

Friend Xerxes interestingly simply assumes that the sin in the Garden of Eden was sex. He is not alone. As another friend of mine used to jape, “It wasn’t the apple on the tree; it was the pair on the ground.”

There is no textual warrant for this. Whatever “eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” might mean in literal terms, there is no reason to see sex there. One would presumably need to assume that the Bible follows a strict Victorian morality, insisting on speaking of sex only very obliquely.

This is anachronistic. The Victorians were historically quite unusual in their prudery. And, after all, Genesis has no trouble naming the act in Genesis 4.

More significantly, there is the obvious point that, for any Jew or Christian, there would have been nothing sinful about Adam and Eve having sex. Their union had been formally declared before God. What conceivable moral system would object?

I suspect that this nonsensical association of sex with the original sin is a Trojan horse—pun not intended― to justify general immorality. Precisely because Adam and Eve having sex would be perfectly innocent, the implication is that all sin is really okay.

Xerxes himself goes on, ominously, to assert that the existence of sin is entirely God’s fault. He complains of “sins that grandpa God set up in the first place.” Note the plural.

Then Mr. X objects to the notion that God would play favourites in war. God has no righteous reason, then, to fuss over whether Hitler won World War II, or the South won the US Civil War. He presumably would not or should not take sides, either, if some gang breaks into your home to rape and steal. Or he is just being a troublemaker.

One can perhaps see from this, in miniature, why we have rioting and looting in the streets in the US right now, and where this all came from. We can trace it back through the sexual revolution of the 1950s, to Freud’s application of Darwinism to the human soul.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Uninformed Commentary on the Uninformed


I have a basic rule for this blog: unless I have some special insight, I do not comment. Why waste your time?

I’m breaking that rule right now.

I have no idea what is going on with the polls in the US right now. They all show Biden winning handily. It makes no sense to me.

The favoured explanation on the right is “shy Tory” voters. Voters afraid to admit they like Trump, in this current climate in which admitting as much risks losing your job or getting shot. But even if the polls are somewhat wrong, I can’t see why Trump isn’t walking away with this election.

I had long thought that Biden was the wrong candidate to run against Trump. You shouldn’t run a buffoon against a buffoon. If people want a buffoon, Trump is best at it. If people want a return to normalcy, you want a candidate who suggests quiet competence.

You might respond that the Democrats don’t have any such candidates. Sure they did. These are the very candidates their establishment turfed out of the race: Tulsi Gabbard and Andrew Yang. Mike Bloomberg might have worked. But Gabbard or Yang could also have contrasted with Trump on youth versus age.

On top of being a bad contrast to Trump on persona, Biden is evidently senile. How can anyone responsibly vote for a senile president?

On top of that, there are the allegations of groping and rape against Biden. I have always felt that sexual misconduct is irrelevant to public office. Nevertheless, how to justify the double standard? Whatever happened to #Metoo?

Biden has barely been campaigning, while Trump is holding mass rallies. When Biden does show up, few voters seem to. At a recent event in Arizona, featuring both Biden and Harris, campaigning together for the first time, nobody showed up. Trump gets large crowds. How does this tally with the polls?

Nobody is paying much attention to Biden’s platform. Nobody can really know what he will do in office, because he has changed many positions even since the primaries. If he has broken all previous promises, why would you expect him to keep any now? Voters are essentially giving him a blank cheque.

Biden will not even give a position on packing the Supreme Court. “You’ll find out after I’m elected.” In other words, he and the Democrats are actually explicitly demanding a blank cheque. How can a responsible voter accept this?

Biden offers no sense of unifying vision or theme. No “hope and change,” no “make American great again,” no “morning in America.” Nothing, at least, that resonates. He has “build back better.” Which is mostly an appeal to the past. It seems to be only “vote for me, and return to the status quo ante, because I’m not Trump.” By the standard rules of political persuasion, this should not work. People want optimism and a sense of purpose.

Studies of the positions of the two parties show that the Democrats have moved away from the centre and further left over the last few years. The Republicans have not moved, and are on the whole closer to the centre. If Biden is fairly moderate, Harris is not, and Biden is not obviously in command of his party. By all the standard assumptions of politics, this should mean the Democrats lose support; they should not have gained support since 2016.

Trump won in 2016, many say, because he broke the taboos of political correctness. And people were fed up with it. Political correctness has become more demanding since, and polls show the general population is at least as opposed to it as ever. So why would the general population turn against Trump now?

The core reasons Biden gives to justify his candidacy are that Trump is a racist, and that Trump botched the response to COVID-19.

But neither of these charges are coherent.

Biden’s evidence that Trump is racist, at least his core example, repeated often, is that Trump called neo-Nazis and white supremacists “fine people” after the Charlottesville demonstrations. Yet Trump actually said that neo-Nazis and white supremacists “should be condemned totally.” There is video; there is a transcript. How is he getting away with this? How has this not been generally exposed, and why has Biden’s campaign not imploded as a result?

Meantime, Trump is making an open play for black and Hispanic votes, and reputedly doing better than any other Republican among them. He is pushing school choice, the ultimate solution to the plight of African-Americans, and something most African-Americans want. He has moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem. How can this charge of “racist” stick?

Biden’s second charge, that Trump botched the response to COVID-19, also makes no sense. Nobody knew what we were dealing with or how best to respond. Why would Biden have done better? Biden’s stated plan for dealing with the virus is actually, in all details, the same as Trump’s. All Biden has is the slogan, “listen to the experts.” But the experts disagree on everything, and their advice changes by the week.

Biden and allies have made much of the Woodward revelation that Trump “knew” the virus was airborne and highly infectious already in early March, and did not tell anyone. This is nonsensical, because the CDC and WHO still will not confirm that it is airborne. If they do not know now, how did Trump have some privileged information then? Where did he get it, if not from them? How would he have known more than Congress, or the CDC, or the WHO? Or if they all did know this, why was it incumbent on him to tell everyone, and not on them?

Can’t anybody think any more?

Until COVID hit, Trump’s record was impressive. Despite unprecedented harassment from the House of Representatives and the “deep state,” the Russia hoax and the partisan Ukraine impeachment, Trump has presided over a great economy and record low unemployment at home. Abroad, he is the first president since Carter to engage in no new wars. Despite this, he wiped out ISIS as a territorial entity in weeks, without a single US casualty. He has cut new trade deals with Canada, Mexico, and China, apparently improving the US position. There are signs of a breakthrough to general peace in the Middle East.

Objectively, aside from partisan considerations, who has ever done a better job in their first four years?

It should be obvious to anyone that Trump bears no responsibility for COVID itself: it came from China, and everyone in the world has been hit. It makes no sense that COVID should change our perception of this record. Yet Biden has actually accused Trump of responsibility for every single American who has died of COVID. How can he get away with it?

There is widespread disorder in the streets. Biden and the Democrats have been, on the whole, encouraging and supporting it. They have called for defunding the police. Trump is calling for a reimposition of order. I cannot fathom how people cannot be alarmed by this. Why are they not supporting Trump on this basis? How can Biden get away with blaming Trump for violence against Trump? Are Americans really going to vote for a protection racket?

There are reports and poll results showing Trump with record levels of support, for a Republican, among African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans. Why does this not show up in the general polls? Is it really plausible that he is losing, at the same time, a larger number of white voters? Are white people who voted for him last time really less likely to vote for him this time? His personality has not changed; and his record since seems to be one of accomplishment.

If this is all explained by “Shy Tory” voters, they must be present in unprecedented numbers. But perhaps they are: we have never before seen a climate as poisonous as this one, for those who do not toe the “progressive” line. At the same time that the “progressive” line has grown narrower. The times are unprecedented.

It might also be that those opposing Trump are low-information voters, unengaged and unaware. They haven’t really been paying attention; they are only reacting to finding Trump’s manner abrasive, or to what they hear everyone on the mainstream media telling them they are supposed to think. They may not even have seriously looked at Biden.

There are signs the Democrats are making this assumption. For example, when Biden actually refuses to give his position on the issues because this would be a “distraction.” And the cynical ploy of redefining “pack the court” to simply mean appointing judges. They seem to be assuming their supporters are not going to know the difference, or bother to look it up.

It is terrifying, and an indictment of democracy, that such voters might determine the election. If they can determine this one, they presumably determine all of them. And they are easily conned.

I have never understood the idea that people should be urged to get out and vote, or should consider it their civic duty. It seems to me the opposite is true. If you do not have a good command of the issues or the candidates, your civic duty is to abstain.

On the hopeful side, this type of voter is indeed less likely to actually get out and vote. They may show up in the polls, but not at the polls. Especially given the fear of COVID.

New rules have expanded the ability to vote by mail instead. This is an awful idea on several levels; but the process for doing so correctly is apparently complicated. This may also weed out careless or uninformed voters.

I have no insight here.

It looks something like a national IQ test; and, sadly, as someone once said, you never go broke by underestimating the intelligence of the general public.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Gods of Clay

Atheists seem always to refer to the Judeo-Christian God as an old man sitting on a cloud, a divine father. It is this God that they usually reject. They usually seem to make a point that it is this God that they reject, generally as “childish.”

But this is not the Judeo-Christian God.

Christianity has this thing called the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The father figure is only one. You are equally free to envision God instead as a friend, or a baby, or a bird, or a flame. All except as a friend are purely symbolic representations: it is as a friend that he chose to reveal himself to us. The point is to develop a personal relationship of love with God; use the image that works best in this way for you. It is no more intrinsically correct to imagine God as a father than as a lover: a metaphor found in the Song of Solomon, in St. John of the Cross’s Dark Night of the Soul, and in devotional Hinduism’s Krishna Gopala cycle.

If atheists insist on seeing God as an angry father, and themselves as a child, this probably says something about their family relationships growing up; and perhaps our society’s devaluation of fatherhood; not about Christianity.

As for Judaism, conceiving of God an old man with a long grey beard is blasphemous. God himself is beyond our comprehension, and we must have no images of him.

Feminists, of course, make much of making God feminine; a divine Mother. They miss the point. Unless they are lesbian, Christian women have the traditional advantage. It is sick narcissism to think that it is about gaining power by making God in your own image.

How much power did Christians gain by imaging God as a crucified criminal, then?

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Wild Geese


Dulac: Beauty, of "Beauty and the Beast."

Our civilization is collapsing because we have been failing to pass it on to succeeding generations.

When we left the land and moved en masse to the cities, we cut the roots of the extended family: no grandparents around helping to educate the children. Then we decided that all mothers should enter the regular workforce: now nobody had time to tend to the children’s upbringing. They were abandoned entirely to the professional “educators.”

The educators, meantime, have not just abandoned any attempt to pass on cultural wisdom: they teach against it. Not just denigrating our history, as in the 1619 project in the US, or the myth in Canada that Sir John A. Macdonald was an anti-Indian racist. There is also a very systematic movement in critical pedagogy to subvert all the old stories, the fairy tales, to make the dragon or the ogre the hero, and the heroic knight or princess the villain.

Not so long ago, nobody went to school. These old tales, along with the Bible and the Catechism, were what passed on all the wisdom of civilization. They were our guides to life. By reversing valences, children are being taught to act like ogres, poison apples, and jump into pots of boiling oil.

This is the way you destroy a civilization. And here we therefore are, with rioting in the streets, rising suicide and drug addiction, and no shared norms we can unite around.

In the meantime, with the cutting of the ties of the extended family, a lot of retired people are feeling abandoned.

Some have found that it does old folks in retirement homes a world of good in terms of their morale if a pet is introduced: a dog or cat. But this is only a weak substitute for what nature obviously intended: to have young children around. Old people are often bursting with wisdom they want to pass on before they die; doing this is their function in almost any other society. And they are being warehoused and ignored at the very same moment that young people are dying for lack of direction.

I propose enlisting a volunteer corps of retirees to simply read aloud the old traditional stories, unexpurgated and unaltered, to neighbourhood children after school. The stories just as they are, in Grimm, or Perrault, or Andersen. With the life lessons fully intact. Surely schools, local libraries and community centres would cooperate; or could be forced to cooperate.

Or we might arrange for the same in retirement homes: kids could come in for it.

I call it the Mother Goose Militia.

The progressives will inevitably object that this is all indoctrination in “white supremacy” and “the patriarchy.” They will object in principle to any attempt to preserve and pass on civilization, because to them civilization is by definition “white supremacy” and “patriarchy.” Even though these tales are always of someone who is oppressed winning through.

They must be ignored.

They will object that it is all “white” culture. But the fairy tales are from all over, and essentially the same tales are found all over the world. Cinderella’s plot can be traced to ancient Egypt, and is familiar in China or the Yucatan. The heroes in the Thousand and One Arabian Nights are obviously not European. I have spotted an incident from Jack the Giant Killer in a collection of traditional North American Indian tales.

It is artificial in any case to claim it makes a difference if the setting is Iran or Atikokan: fairy tales take place in fairyland.

Who’s with me?

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Auf Wiedersehen, Mein Herr Trump


I was watching videos of Liza Minelli singing the title song from Cabaret; Christopher Isherwood had come up in a work connection. Then it occurred to me to also recap “Tomorrow Belongs to Me.”

We are, after all, living through a similar time. The analogies with the Weimar Republic are overwhelming.

First a period of libertinage; “there is no right and wrong.” Then some organized group emerging, and asserting power for the sake of power.

My sister observes, “beautiful, if you’re not Jewish.”

The two songs are not just ominous for Jews. Most of the people the Nazis outright murdered were not Jewish; and this does not include the tally from the war, not just of combatants but of civilians. Millions died in places like Leningrad or Silesia of starvation. Millions were seized as slave labour. And, had the Nazis won that war, uncounted millions more would have died. The Germans themselves suffered as much as anyone; those young people we hear singing might all be dead within ten years.

But that’s what makes the songs so powerful: because we know how it all turned out. We know where Elsie and Sally’s attitude to life is going to lead, and we know where the young Nazis’ dream led. True beauty is not pretty or pleasant. It must include the sublime. High art must always have an element of sheer terror.

Compare Cohen’s “Dance Me to the End of Love.” The reference is to the bands the Nazis had playing as they herded people into the gas chambers.

What makes the cherry blossoms so beautiful is knowing that in a week they will all have rotted.

But I digress. The poignancy is especially powerful now because we are now seeing the Nazis rise; in America, a far more consequential nation than Germany in 1933. And not only in America, either.

The parallels are astounding, and everyone is sleepwalking through it all.

No, it is not that Trump is Hitler. He is more Churchillian, conservative, gruff, passionately hated by many for his bombast, with many public vices. Hitler, by contrast, was a radical, an obscure figure, the opposite of a conservative, and had no visible vices. Incorruptible, vegetarian, apparently celibate. He was not hated so much as not taken seriously. Who could be seriously frightened by a little Austrian tramp with a moustache like Charlie Chaplin?

Biden is not Hitler either: he is a Hindenberg, or a Petain, a doddering old figurehead behind whose reassuring familiarity the consequential business of conquering and controlling the government apparatus can be done without interference.

Not, I suspect, by Kamala Harris. She not as Hitler either. She is too corrupt to be dangerous. She is perhaps a Goering or a von Papen, someone prepared to hire out her reputation to Hitler’s cause, for some emolument or chance for graft. Biden can be handled, and she can be bought.

By whom? 

The Hitler will emerge from relative obscurity; he usually does. As Hitler did. Probably someone no one saw coming, some faceless bureaucrat with no particular record like Putin, or some lower-ranking officer like Gaddhafi. Someone obscure enough that no one thought to defend against them. He or she is probably already in position and pulling strings. Someone engineered the nomination for Biden. Something has been going on behind the scenes in the FBI. Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself.

Antifa and BLM are, of course, the military wing, the stormtroopers, sowing the discord in the streets. Germans in 1933 figured that the way to stop the chaos was to vote for their political masters. Many Americans in 2020 seem to be making the same calculation, and backing the Democrats to stop the rioting. The instincts of the average man seem always to run to appeasement.

We live in interesting times.

Thursday, October 08, 2020

The Terminator


Basically too busy to blog today. Which is a good thing.

Just a quick note that Pence won the debate last night. Harris did nothing wrong, but Pence gave the strongest performance I have ever seen in a political debates. The man is a lethal machine. He murderated her.

Will it matter? It might.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Political Poetry in Fredericton

Jenna Lyn Albert

There is a controversy in Fredericton over the city’s poet laureate, Jenna Lyn Albert. She recited to city council a poem describing an abortion. Some councillors found it too political.

The poet laureate herself admits it was political in intent:

“With the impending closure of Clinic 554 … I felt it was really important to share a poem about the importance of abortion access."

She is also quoted as saying “Poetry is inherently political. It would be lacklustre if you were to take that aspect out of creativity and of the art form away from it."

She is wrong to say that poetry is inherently political. Take the example of Leonard Cohen, Canada’s preeminent poet. Does anyone really know his politics? Or take Shakespeare. Perhaps in his superheated environment, he did not find it safe to reveal his political opinions. Regardless, he managed to produce a respectable body of work.

What are the politics of Al Purdy’s “The Country North of Belleville”?

Can you cite a famous poem that is overtly political? Perhaps Yeats’ “Easter 1916”; but only in the sense that it refers to a political event. In the poem, Yeats’s own opinion on the event is ambiguous.

Poetry surely has the right to express political opinions. It is just not a good idea. Poetry is an attempt to speak of truth and the eternal. Political issues are transitory and about power. They are more or less incompatible. Write a political poem, and it is probably not going to be that successful; and not likely to endure.

We have, moreover, an endemic problem in Canada currently, that poetry and the arts in general have been coopted for political purposes by one side of the political debate, the left. It is difficult to imagine a strongly anti-abortion poem being read in Fredericton City Hall; or published in any major poetry journal. This one-sidedness is poisonous to our political discourse, and poisonous to art. It is probably largely why the general public has lost in poetry. It is no longer very good. It has not just that poets rise within the craft not for ability, but for espousing the right opinions. It is also that the poems they produce become predictable, repetitious, and without new insight. As Orwell has aptly explained in “Politics and the English Language,” political sloganeering is the opposite of insight.

Moreover, it seems obvious that a poet laureate does not have the right to express partisan political positions in that official capacity. Even if poorly paid, the poet laureate is on the public purse: he or she is an unelected public official. It is therefore improper for him or her to express opinions on political issues of the day just as it would be for the Governor-General, a Lieutenant-Governor, or for any other public servant.

The poem was pretty weak, too.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Chronicling the Collapse of Civilization

Or that is how it is beginning to feel.

Item: two leading Italian newspapers report that Cardinal Becciu, recently dismissed from his Vatican position by Pope Francis, actually put 700,000 Euros of Church funds into bribing witnesses to get Cardinal Pell of Australia charged and convicted of child sex abuse. This was because Pell was in charge of cleaning up Vatican finances. It was to get him out of the way.

If true, it sounds as though the Mafia had taken over the Vatican. It seems good news that Becciu was ousted, but disturbing that he got this far. We have discovered recently that we cannot trust even cardinals: they are entirely likely to be criminals.

But at least we can trust the Pope, right?

Pope Francis’s recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, while perhaps theologically unobjectionable, looks very political in its interests: “The document focuses on contemporary social and economic problems.” It calls for a world government and open borders. It calls for reform of the UN. Francis writes, disapprovingly, “Certain populist political regimes, as well as certain liberal economic approaches, maintain that an influx of migrants is to be prevented at all costs.” And the timing looks like an attempt to influence the US election.

This reinforces a growing sense that Francis’s primary concerns are political, not spiritual. He is a politician, not a religious man. And his politics lean left—in an essentially irreligious direction.

Monday, October 05, 2020

The Parable of the Tenants


The Stone that was rejected.

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people:
"Hear another parable.
There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,
put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower.
Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey.
When vintage time drew near,
he sent his servants to the tenants to obtain his produce.
But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat,
another they killed, and a third they stoned.
Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones,
but they treated them in the same way.
Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking,
'They will respect my son.'
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
'This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?"
They answered him,
"He will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times."

Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures:  
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes?  
Therefore, I say to you,
the kingdom of God will be taken away from you
and given to a people that will produce its fruit."

The obvious interpretation of the parable is that it is directed towards Jewish authorities who rejected Christ.

But this is not satisfactory; if so, it would hold no meaning for us today. It must also apply to Christians, or there is no reason to include it in the Bible.

Each of us is given our various gifts: intelligence, fortunate birth, physical beauty, athleticism, and so on. Since we are not responsible for this, they are on lease from God. God gave them to us, rather than someone else, for a purpose. If we fail to return the owner’s share of the produce, if we fail to use them to bear fruit, we are like the tenants in the parable.

This surely means something more profound than simply tithing or giving to charity. It means that our overall intent must be the greater good; that whatever our special circumstances or talents are, these are applied to making the world a better place.

A second significance: whoever is being beaten, killed, and stoned, for their own morality—these are the servants of God, and our duty is to support and respect them. These are the cornerstones on which God is building the New Jerusalem. This echoes the Beatitudes: “blessed are you when you are persecuted for my name’s sake.”

No doubt many think and hope they are doing this when they support “Black Lives Matter,” or feminism, or “Idle No More,” or gay or transgender rights. This is delusional. Demonstrably, African Americans are not being persecuted, women are not being persecuted, and aboriginals and gays and transvestites are not being persecuted, in North America. Governments are mobilized to their advantage. More or less by definition, the persecuted will not have governments or popular opinion on their side.

So who are the persecuted? Who is actually being punished because they are acting morally? Think about it.

One way most of us can build a better world, most obviously, is in parenting. In that one situation when we are most responsible for the wellbeing of another.

Hence perhaps the appearance of the landlord’s son.

This need not refer only to Jesus: every child born is a child of God, leased to their biological parents as wards. How we treat our children is the ultimate test: are we passing on what we were given, or trying to keep it all to ourselves?

The issue of abortion springs to mind. The issue of child abuse. The issue, in particular, of parents possibly punishing children for acting morally or for their innocent faith.

How much care have we been taking to educate our children properly, especially in religious and ethical matters? Especially with both parents working, as is now the rule?

The civilization that does not devote its greatest effort to raising the next generation in its religious and ethical traditions is a civilization in decline. That vineyard will soon be given to other tenants.

Sunday, October 04, 2020

The Growing Menace of White Supremacists under Our Beds

Enrique Tarrio, leader of the Proud Boys

In her farewell speech to the Green Party convention, Elizabeth May warned of the need to stay alert to the growing problem of white supremacy. Trump was asked by the moderator during the recent debate to denounce “white supremacists.”

This to me sounds delusional; while Black Lives Matter and Antifa are burning and looting American cities night after night, complaining of “systemic racism,” the problem is “growing white supremacy”? In recent years, I have never even seen a white supremacist sentiment stated publicly. Or, I think, spoken privately. If there are such things as white supremacists, they have been conspicuous by their absence in the recent rioting, or, if you prefer, for the sake of argument, “mostly peaceful demonstrations.” If they were really such a danger, and such a major group, you’d expect them at least to be out there cracking Antifa and BLM heads in response.

A clue to the puzzle is that, when asked by Trump to name a white supremacist organization, Biden said “The Proud Boys.”

Proud Boys are explicitly not white supremacists.

From what appears to be their official website:

Proud Boys‘ values center on the following tenets:

Minimal Government
Maximum Freedom
Anti-Political Correctness
Anti-Drug War
Closed Borders
Anti-Racial Guilt
Pro-Free Speech (1st Amendment)
Pro-Gun Rights (2nd Amendment)
Glorifying the Entrepreneur
Venerating the Housewife
Reinstating a Spirit of Western Chauvinism

Though these are our central tenets, all that is required to become a Proud Boy is that a man declare he is “a Western chauvinist who refuses to apologize for creating the modern world.” We do not discriminate based upon race or sexual orientation/preference.

Totally and explicitly nothing to do with “white supremacy.” In fact, the opposite.

In part, what appears to be happening is that those on the far left are simply labelling anyone to their right as “white supremacists.” Just as they use the term “fascist.”

At the same time, they are conflating culture with race. Anybody who believes in the overall superiority of Western-European culture is a “white supremacist.”

This is a dangerous, indeed an essentially Nazi, thing to do. It leads directly to such conclusions as that black people are genetically incapable of making decisions for themselves, Asians are unsuitable as immigrants, and Jews are not fully human.

The racists have simply redefined terms to make racism mean anti-racism, anti-racism mean racism, and anti-fascism mean fascism. 

Saturday, October 03, 2020

No Trump

Since it is the big news, a word on Trump’s contracting coronavirus: I expect him to make a full recovery. It was caught early, he has access to the best treatments, and he seems to have a strong constitution.

More concerning are some of the public reactions: people openly applauding the fact that he is ill, and even hoping he will die.

I had hoped at the beginning of the COVID epidemic that it would bring us all together against a common enemy. Those hopes were obviously vain.

My conclusion is that the Bible is right, and all else is denial: there are good people, and there are people who deliberately embrace the wrong. These latter abandon all humanity.

It is no doubt wrong to call them irredeemable; but they willfully refuse to be redeemed.

Resolved: Philosophy Is Racist

Hegel, hapless victim of his own racism.

We suddenly find ourselves in the belly of the beast: an essay explaining why philosophy itself is racist: “Philosophy’s Systemic Racism.”

Or at least it seems to claim to. Then it focuses on Hegel. So that the case, even if made, would appear to be not systemic racism, but individual racism.

But the inconsistencies or confusions of terms do not end there. The author calls “explicitly racist” the postulated view that “Black and Indigenous peoples the world over were savage, inferior and in need of correction by European enlightenment.”

Only one element of that statement implies racism: that black or indigenous people might be “inferior.” Savagery is not genetic; neither is being in need of correction. Yet these are all thrown together, as though one’s culture and one’s system of government were racially determined. An ideal justification for colonialism or indeed slavery, coming from the present author.

Does he go on to make a case that Hegel considered black or indigenous people inferior?

“Hegel certainly was an explicit racist. He believed, for example, that Black Africans were a ‘race of children that remain immersed in a state of naiveté’. He further wrote that Indigenous peoples lived in ‘a condition of savagery and unfreedom’. And in The Philosophy of Right (1821), he argued that there is a ‘right of heroes’ to colonise these people in order to bring them into a progress of European enlightenment.”

Nothing here implies racial inferiority. It implies that their social organization, their government, is inferior. By this logic I would be guilty of anti-black racism for saying the black slaves in the antebellum US South were being held in a state of unfreedom. And if I do not support the government of Michigan, I am an anti-Michigander racist. “Explicitly.”

At the same time that he condemns Hegel for supposedly thinking that indigenous social systems or culture were inferior to European ones, and calls this “racist,” he condemns Rousseau as “racist” for thinking that indigenous social systems or culture were superior to European ones. “Unlike Hegel, however, he thought that he was reading about people leading idyllic lives.” He then condemns Schiller as racist for thinking that European and indigenous cultures simply had characteristic strengths and weaknesses, and could learn from one another through contact.

On this basis, the only possible conclusion, surely, is that “racist” is simply for this author a synonym for “European.” Or, to use the racist term beloved of racial theorists, “white.” 

Friday, October 02, 2020

There Are Children in the Morning


There seems to be a common belief out there that Leonard Cohen is politically on the left. After all, he’s an artist, isn’t he? All artists are on the left. As Andy Warhol once put it, perhaps plaintively, “artists just can’t be Republican, can they?”

There is immense pressure on artists to support the left. There has been since the 1950s, probably as a reaction to the McCarthy witch hunts, and it has only grown since. Today, anyone who admits a stray right-wing thought risks their livelihood. It is rarely worth it for an artist; their commitment is to their art, and politics is a minor concern for most by comparison.

We need an artists’ liberation movement. But the current cancel culture and blacklisting is probably soon going to swing everything around, because it is just like McCarthyism, yet worse.

As a result of this pressure, we can assume anyone not openly left-wing is secretly right-wing. Along with some who are openly left-wing.

And Cohen has always played his politics close to the vest.

It is clear, nevertheless, that he opposes abortion, and has always opposed abortion.

“Teachers,” from his first album:

“Some girls wander by mistake
Into the mess that scalpels make.”

“Story of Isaac,” from his second album:

“You who build these altars now
To sacrifice these children,
You must not do it anymore.”

“Diamonds in the Mine,” from “Songs of Love and Hate”:

“And the only man of energy, the revolution’s pride
He trained a hundred women just to kill an unborn child.”

“Dance Me to the End of Love,” from “Various Positions”:

“Dance me to the children who are asking to be born.”

And finally, “Thanks for the Dance,” the title track of his last, posthumous album:

“Thanks for the dance
I hear that we're married
One, two, three, one, two, three, one
Thanks for the dance
And the baby you carried
It was almost a daughter or a son.”

It has in fact been an abiding concern. I suspect it was, for Cohen, a core concern.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

Insects of the World, Unite!

Anyone else remember “Bringing Up Father”? It was one of the old Sunday cartoon strips. It came up recently in discussion with a friend—as the origin of the Newfoundland traditional meal called “Jiggs’ Dinner,” aka corned beef, boiled potatoes, and cabbage. 

But do you remember that the common theme of the strips was how Maggie bullied Jiggs? Up to and including frequent spousal abuse? She would club him with whatever weapon was at hand, and shout “Insect!” 

Can you imagine a strip showing a man doing that to a woman today? Indeed, can you imagine a strip showing a man doing that to a woman then? Equally unthinkable. Immediate imprisonment; loss of children, house, reputation, income.

Yet such abuse of men was apparently considered common enough, and laughable.

And come to think of it, it wasn’t just Maggie and Jiggs. Remember “Blondie”? Blondie and Dagwood? The original story was that Blondie was a flapper with expensive tastes and no love of housework, and Dagwood was a wage slave trying to keep her happy. She was always rousing him from the couch for chores on his day off. 

Or “L’il Abner”? Do you remember who dominated in the senior Yokum home? It was clearly Mammy. She could wrestle bobcats, and was entirely prepared to slug Pappy too. Men in general were understood as prey; remember “Sadie Hawkins Day”? Marriage existed for the benefit of women.


Same theme, for that matter, in “Snuffy Smith” or “Our Boarding House.” The wife was dominant. 

This seems to support the unconventional thesis that, contrary to what feminism has long claimed, family life before the present time was at least as often as not dominated by the wife.

Was this, perhaps, simply a comic reversal of the usual situation?

Perhaps; but surveys consistently show that, in less developed, more traditional countries, women are happier than men. A man’s life is dirty, dull, and dangerous. A woman gets to stay safe and sheltered at home. That happiness gap, and a parallel gap in life expectancy, actually closes for the developed, post-feminist world. 

I can also personally attest that in the case of my grandparents, on both sides, it was indeed the wife who was dominant in the home. She made the rules; the paterfamilias might be required to step out onto the porch if he chose to smoke. The same was true for my great-uncle and his wife. If you visited, he rarely was allowed to talk.

Perhaps the illusion of a former patriarchy is due to most of us not remembering anything before the Second World War. The war and postwar period was a special time, when people were in a party mood and the regular rules did not always apply. In part, I suspect the male of the species gained a good deal of prestige then, for the sacrifices and the heroism of the war. Women could see for a moment the value of men as protector. And as cannot fodder. At the same time, improved modern conveniences made it possible, for the first time, for young men to live comfortably without a woman present. Hugh Hefner claimed he invented the concept of the “bachelor pad” and the bachelor life, in the 1950s. Before that, it was, as the comics also attest, “Our Boarding House.” 

Women, if only briefly, lost or surrendered their traditional power over men. And, in the longer term, there was hell to pay.

Reparations, anyone?