Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Moscow rules


Russian President Dmitri Medvedev did the unthinkable the other day.

Following the suicide bombings in the Moscow metro in which 38 passengers were blasted apart and ripped to pieces by shrapnel, and 60 others injured, Medvedev called the plotters "beasts" and said, "We will find and destroy them all."


Prime Minister Vladimir Putin struck a similar note:
"We know they are lying low, but it is already a matter of pride for the law enforcement agencies to drag them out of the sewer and into broad daylight."


What they did not say:

"We will arrest those responsible and bring them to justice."

"As terrible as this tragedy is, it would be worse if our diversity became a casualty as well."

"Lord, all those around us search for motive, search for meaning, search for something, someone to blame. That is so frustrating," an Orthodox minister told a group of about 120 people gathered at the Moscow Cathedral. "Lord, teach us to love and pray for those who rise up against us and pray for those who do us harm. We pray for these bombers."

I hardly admire Putin, although in realpolitik terms he is probably as good a leader as any that Russia could come up with, considering its history of authoritarian rule. I'd even go so far as to say that if a large majority of those living in Chechnya and the other rebellious provinces want independence, let them have it; who needs 'em? But I respect Putin and Medvedev for refusing to equivocate concerning the killers of Russian people.

Of course, the AP writes the story from its usual template.
The old Vladimir Putin is back, confronting a terrorist attack in Moscow by using the same kind of coarse and colorful language that helped him win the presidency a decade ago. …

The choice of the gutter language recalled Putin's famous threat to "wipe out the Chechen rebels in the outhouse" after they were blamed for a series of apartment building bombings that terrorized Moscow in 1999.
"Gutter language"? Almost a hundred innocent people are dead or wounded, and the AP is shocked that the prime minister uses "coarse" and "gutter" language? (Putin could undoubtedly have come up with even more, er, colorful terms to describe the bomb plotters.)
Now in his second stint as prime minister after serving two full terms as president, Putin has an excuse to revert to the tough line that shored up his authority following past terrorist attacks.
An excuse? What next from this dopey AP writer, Lynn Barry? "Now that five American cities have been attacked by nuclear 'dirty bombs' and 10 shopping malls blown up, extremists have an excuse to call for an end to Muslim immigration."

The rest of the story writes itself. Ms. Barry probably has a macro in her word processing software for the usual clichés: "raising fears that civil liberties may be further sacrificed under the pretext of fighting terrorism"; "address the root causes of the terrorism in the Caucasus, where deep poverty, rampant corruption and heavy-handed tactics by security forces have provided fertile ground for Islamic militants"; "Many say the Kremlin can no longer ignore the social and economic problems of its southern fringe"; " 'The question is whether there will be accomplishments with social development to give people an alternative to blowing themselves up,' said Sam Greene, a political analyst with the Carnegie Moscow Center. "

Fascinating. Sam Greene is upset about the terrorists blowing themselves up. I wonder if he had anything to say about the metro passengers.

And of course the usual cry from a Victim Group member:
Lidia Yusupova, a Chechen rights activist, was more alarmist.

"The system will have its hands untied completely," she told The Associated Press. "There will be a crackdown on all walks of life. We have no rights now, but we will have even fewer soon."

Meanwhile, the president of the Union of Soviet Socialist States put aside his distaste for diplomacy with a capitalist country. Barack Obama called Medvedev to "personally convey" his condolences, and offer help in "bringing to justice" those responsible for the attacks.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In the realm of the Census

UNITED [stop laughing!] STATES CENSUS 2020


START HERE Click for translation into any languge

How many people without a permanent place to stay are in your household? _______

How many (if any) with a permanent place to stay? _________

How many total living in this house, apartment, mobile home, tent, dugout, or packing crate? (If more than 10, use form U.S.C.28-34b, Undocumented Immigrants) ________


Name _____________________________

What is this person's sex? M [ ] F
[ ] G [ ] L [ ] B [ ] T [ ]

What is this person's origin?
[ ] Mexican, Mexican Am., Chicano
[ ] Puerto Rican
[ ] Cuban
[ ] Dominican, Colombian, Nicaraguan, Salvadorean, etc.
[ ] African
[ ] Middle Eastern
[ ] Imperialist American

What is this person's race?
[ ] Black, African Am., or Negro
[ ] American Indian or Alaska Native
[ ] Asian Indian
[ ] Chinese
[ ] Filipino
[ ] Japanese
[ ] Korean
[ ] Vietnamese
[ ] Native Hawaiian
[ ] Guamanian or Chamorro
[ ] Samoan
[ ] Other Pacific Islander
[ ] Haitian
[ ] Hmong
[ ] Laotian
[ ] Pakistani
[ ] Afghani
[ ] Iraqi
[ ] Cambodian
[ ] Somali
[ ] Kenyan
[ ] Nigerian
[ ] African (specify)
[ ] Other

Does Person 1 sometimes live somewhere else?
[ ] No [ ] Yes — Mark X all that apply.
[ ] Jail
[ ] Al Qaeda training camp or United Kingdom
[ ] Al Qaeda underground cell or United Kingdom
[ ] Border tunnel
[ ] Mental rehabilitation facility (sometimes referred to as "madhouse")
[ ] All of the above

Please complete this questionnaire for all other members of the household.

Congratulations! You have helped your tribe get all the entitlements it can get!


Sunday, March 28, 2010

No longer a free people?

Lawrence Auster, who has in the past generally been upbeat about the possibilities for reversing America's slide into a Euro-style, velvet-glove tyranny, is uncharacteristically gloomy:
For the first time in my life, I feel that I am not a free person, and that we are not a free people. When I say that we are not free, I obviously do not mean that we cannot (at least for the moment) say what we want and do what we want and go where we want. I mean that we are no longer living under a constitutional representative government, flawed and overreaching and swollen to gargantuan size though it may be; we are living under a lawless regime of power holders who are hostile to us and ruthlessly seek greater and greater control over us.
I understand. If there is such a thing as mental nausea, I often experience it these days reading news stories -- no, make that "news" stories, since the long-established journalistic sources have willingly debased themselves to become propaganda outlets for the radical Left. The levers of power are now operated by people who want to remake the country in their image through redistribution, open borders, social engineering to favor their cherished victim groups, using educational institutions as indoctrination centers, subverting American military capability, and bending the knee to foreign governments.


Beginning with mostly reasonable reforms in the Franklin Roosevelt administration, the Left has gradually extended its reach institutionally and ideologically. It's had a few setbacks, mainly in the Cold War years when its Communist ties and sympathies tainted its domestic ambitions. Since the Soviet Union self-destructed, however, its "long march through the institutions" has been rapid and successful.

Newton's Third Law of Motion says that "every action has a reaction equal in magnitude and opposite in direction." What is true in physics, however, is not necessarily true in politics. Aggrandizement of the state, forced race replacement, and restrictions on free speech and individual liberty have not produced an equal reaction in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the European Union.

How can that be? It could be argued that most of Europe has never really had much love for the individual, that hierarchy is in its DNA, and that the EU is just the latest avatar of feudalism and royalty. Not so Britain and Canada. They have had their traditional freedoms bred out of them in a couple of generations.


A Marxist or quasi-Marxist takeover has certain realities always going for it.

1. Most middle-class and professional people are so wrapped up in their work lives that they have only a thimble-full of time and energy to study the political overview. And once the Left occupies the ideological heights, speaking or -- especially -- acting against it is perilous for a career.

2. Modern societies are steeped in entertainment of countless types, easy and usually inexpensive to access. For most, entertainment fills up such leisure hours as are available outside work, to the impoverishment of serious political thought.

3. About 90 percent of people take their opinions as received from the culture. Thinking is too much work, and why do mental work when so much fun is available? Besides, getting ahead financially or just making ends meet is a job in itself.

It is true that the United States is unique in some ways that offer a serious barrier to Marxist penetration: geographic dispersion, relative prosperity in most of its history, and a streak of individualism in its indigenous population. The Tea Party movement is one manifestation of stubbornness in defense of liberty -- although it remains to be seen whether the movement will be co-opted, the Tea Party population becoming no more than a Republican adjunct, foot soldiers for Fox News.


I can see two possibilities that could shake up the New World Order thoroughly and encourage a turnaround against creeping Statism.

The first is economic. The United States was bankrupt even before the Bad Medicine bill was passed. Federal government now functions like a massive home equity loan: borrowing money against our assets, mainly the longstanding asset of being a "safe haven" for money because of the once-so-solid dollar. The rest of the world has built up for many years a habit of thought, believing that their money is protected when loaned to the U.S. Our two largest creditors are China, followed by Japan. For the moment it suits the government of China to keep the Treasury bonds it owns, but that can't be counted on.

When and if the Chinese and others decide that it's no longer in their interests to keep lending money to a bankrupt, the Treasury will have no choice except to raise interest rates drastically to attract buyers, if it can attract any on a large scale. High interest rates will weigh heavily on the U.S. economy; a default will send it into the tar pit like an unwary dinosaur.

A Greater Depression will either cause Americans to acquiesce in an authoritarianism that promises to save them through rationing and central planning, or it will cause a revulsion against the financial irresponsibility in both parties and whatever Left powers are in place at the time.


The second real, if incalculable, possibility is another domestic terrorist act, on a far larger scale than any so far. If it can be traced to Al Qaeda or any Muslim organization, it's game over for open borders and a Mus-symp president.

I hope it is needless to say that neither of those factors is to be wished for. Realism tells me, however, that one or both are most likely to create the ideological shift that will drive our domestic masters from the temple. Will that involve a new birth of freedom, or an even greater submission to authoritarianism? The answer is not in the stars, but in ourselves.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Don't look prosperous in Charleroi

Charleroi, Belgium. Wear your overalls and
look like you could use a good meal.

Charleroi is a town in the Belgian region known as Wallonia, where French is the main language.

A cyber-friend who lives in France sent me
this story. The EU is no friend to individual liberty, and if you want a sample of how far parts of Europe have descended into Jacobin tyranny, here it is.

The news article says (my translation, with a little help from my friend):

“The rich must not be surprised at being attacked in Charleroi”

For justice, it is not reasonable to display signs of wealth in a run-down region

The civil tribunal of Charleroi has just dismissed the victim of several acts of violence on the grounds that he himself was responsible, the judge considering it unreasonable to display signs of wealth in a run-down region like that of Charleroi, several newspapers reported Tuesday.

Judge Geneviève Denisty ruled against a businessman of the Wallonia region who was carjacked and had his home invaded three times by armed persons at his residence at Rensart, ruling that the victim had merely received what he deserved.“It is not reasonable to attract attention to oneself by driving in a Jaguar and living in a ‘beautiful house,’ ostensibly showing off his prosperity or a certain prosperity in a region economically poor and derelict like that of Charleroi,” wrote the magistrate in a judgment that has just been issued to the victim of the aggressions.

Cue the tumbrils. Get those guillotines out of the museum and set them up in the Place de Ville.

Is it bad taste to flaunt one's wealth in a poor area? Perhaps. Then again, maybe the businessman in question came by his wealth honestly, through his own initiative and hard work. It's not even clear that he was a plutocrat — maybe it was a used Jaguar, and the "beautiful house" he lived in was just … a beautiful house.

Never mind, the judge in the Marxist heart of the EU considers that he deserved being a crime victim for such inflammatory acts.

I would like to think no such judgment could ever happen here. But a famous ex-football player was acquitted of a double murder, which he almost certainly committed, to the cheers of his co-ethnics. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld, in Kelo v. City of New London, the city's taking a resident's home to give the land to a private developer. And, in case you hadn't noticed, the Obama crime family is dedicated to community organizing against malefactors of great wealth and is leading a shout-out for redistributionism.

Anyway, if you ever have an itch to visit Charleroi, look very downmarket and drive responsibly. A 30-year-old Deux Chevaux with broken seat springs should not get you carjacked and in trouble with the local Robespierres and Robespierrettes.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Visiting day at the Belmont Club

As you can tell from my placing it in the Gold Standard of my blog roll, I greatly admire Richard Fernandez's Belmont Club. Not having time to write a posting today with any pretenses to quality, I would like to quote a few comments from the day after the Bad Medicine Bill was passed. (Many of the following are excerpted from longer discussions. Names of commenters precede their words; Wretchard is Richard Fernandez.)

k. paul boyev md: Never again will anyone have to make that AWFUL choice between spending the last of their money on medicine or on another pack of Camels.


Matt Beck: Missing from the Democrats’ jubilation is any awareness that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are all already broke; that all the governments of the developed world are already deeply in debt, and there is no way to pay for this; that we are already fighting two wars in the Middle East, and may soon be fighting with a nuclear Iran; that a burgeoning trade war with China is just heating up; that the US economy is not coming back any time soon, if ever; that the unique demographic conditions that made American post-war prosperity possible in the first place are played out (as Mr. Fernandez mentions); or, most puzzlingly, that the electorate is steadfastly against them and that their own political necks are in the noose.


Lifeofthemind: John Edwards was right. At least he convinced Barack Obama to follow his ambulance chasers model of America. There are Two Americas, one is full of productive people who are generally pretty healthy and often do not need much in the way of non-catastrophic insurance. The other is both unproductive and addicted to every conceivable pathology that the mind of man can conceive. …

The constituents of the Democratic Party are the people who elected John Conyers and John Dingle. They are the retirees of the UAW. To save them from the consequences of destructive behaviors that were chronicled by Arthur Hailey in Wheels the Democrats first stole two of the Big Three auto companies and gave them to the union. Then they attacked Toyota in an orchestrated campaign to reduce competition. Now they have chained the rest of the country to pay for the health benefits of these people and their supporters.


Wretchard: Always trust the math. Whenever you hear the words “too big to fail” it is really someone arguing that they are exempt from operations of arithmetic. …

Obama’s only chance to square this account is to hope the math changes, that the coefficients are altered by technology. Otherwise subtract abortion from the numbers of new labor entrants, add illegal immigration, divide by higher taxes and multiply by entitlements and see what you get. Does it work? If it does then fine. Otherwise no amount of spin can save it.

My worry is that the numbers don’t work. If so it’s not a question of if, but when the smash will come. But for those long accustomed to simply having things happen it’s inconceivable. Perhaps it is only in politics that one can say, “I want to be the next FDR, to make my mark on history,” with a straight face. Those things are not dished up to order like room service.


Josh: My worry is that the numbers don’t work.

They don’t. In that way, this is the biggest fraud ever. Bernie Madoff, you’re pardoned, go home. AIG, pikers. Citibank, pikers. Fannie and Freddie, pikers. Greenspan, you’re a punk.


Leo Linbeck III: Watching a fair chunk of the festivities last night, I guess I finally understood why Obama and Pelosi were doing what they were doing. … They want to be remembered as the Lyndon Johnson or Franklin Delano Roosevelt of their time. Men who, in their minds, stood strong against a tide of hatred and atavism to enact the two greatest government programs in US history: Social Security and Medicare. …

But here’s the punch line: they’re right, but not in the way that they think. Unless dramatically changed, Social Security and Medicare are destined to bankrupt our nation. Together, according to the Federal Reserve, they have an unfunded liability of – steel yourself – $90,000,000,000,000. Ninety trillion dollars. That is $300,000 for every man, woman, and child in the US. And given that the total private assets of US businesses and households is only $250,000 per person, these two programs alone have, quite literally, made the United States technically bankrupt. …

Mr. President, Madame Speaker: enjoy the party while it lasts. I’m sure that in the final weeks before he was discovered to be a fraud, Bernie Madoff threw some great parties. But now he’s just another cheat who got the crap beaten out of him for crossing the wrong guy in prison.


Lifeofthemind: The general consensus of the discussion here seems to be that three things are likely to happen, although the order may vary.

1. The enrollment of 15-20 million new citizens through an Amnesty process, with a similar number to follow under relaxed immigration rules including “family reunification.”

2. A severe reaction by the voters, the belief in which is justified both by recent special and gubernatorial elections as well as historical off year patterns, at the midterm elections that cost the Democrats at least control of the House and conceivably the Senate.

3. A series of disasters and humiliations that will befall America including economic trauma and foreign aggression.

The question seems to be as to whether the effects of the first and third events will be used to ensure a series of measures that place political control beyond the reach of the current moderate conservative majority.


Joe Hill: The real story of the events of the past week, the significant thing unreported and uncommented upon is that our political system is broken. In overwhelming numbers the public passionately opposed this legislation and still the legislature passed it on the narrowest of partisan votes. How does that happen in a democracy? The answer is it doesn’t. We have seen our elected representatives turn into oligarchs with many of the most extreme in sinecured seats gerrymandered to ensure lifetime tenancy and there they sit trading the public purse for votes. What faith can a nation have in system such as that and what happens when the people lose faith in the government they have?

The whole posting and comments are recommended reading.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Our house is your house

Light housekeeping is the order of the day
for the immigrant community.

In Peterborough, England, some homeowners find themselves running guest houses. The thing is, they didn't invite the guests.
Groups of immigrants have moved into the gardens of at least six properties since November last year, leaving a trail of cider bottles, bags of human waste and drugs needles behind them.

Though homeowners have appealed for help, the police and council say they cannot arrest the trespassers - who have no passports and are mostly from Eastern Europe - because they claim it is a civil, not a criminal matter.

Trespassing and occupying someone else's house is "not a criminal matter" in today's Marxist U.K. You don't like having your house requisitioned by illegal immigrants, hire a lawyer and sue them.

This is good to know. Next time I'm in London, if there is a next time, I will sneak into Buckingham Palace and choose a suitable room for my stay. "Sorry, your Majesty, but I've decided to kip down here for a couple of weeks. You don't know how expensive London hotels are these days. Now, begging your pardon, your Majesty, I'm a bit fatigued at the moment, and that Regency four-poster bed is looking jolly inviting. Please shut the door as you leave."
Ian Treasure, 41, one of the homeowners affected by the camps, said a man named Joseph from the Czech Republic was living in his garden coal shed.

Despite six phone calls to Peterborough City Council pleading with them to evict the immigrants and remove the mountains of dumped rubbish, he could not get the man to leave.

Mr Treasure said: 'The area has become overrun. It is disgusting and the worst thing is that nobody is doing anything about it. Every day it gets worse. It all started in November. I was looking out of the window and I saw a mattress in my coal shed. I went out and it turned out I had a lodger there.

'I'm not sure how many there are because I try to stay away from them but I'm fed up because they regularly drink in our gardens and take drugs.'

Come along, Mr. Treasure. Don't you know no human being is illegal? And what's this "private property" lark? Your government exists to spread the wealth around. Why should you be entitled to a house when these immigrants, not doing the jobs English people won't do, have none? Where's your compassion?

Another chap took a more proactive stance.

Ricky Smith, 23, attempted to remove the squatter in his shed after catching him defecating on his lawn on Wednesday night.

He said: 'I slung all his belongings into a pile and told him to get out. I haven't seen him since so hopefully he has got the message.' I caught him defecating on my lawn, where my dog plays. I had to build a fence to keep him out of that part of the garden so my dog doesn't get ill playing in his mess.'

That would be taking the law into his own hands. If there were any law.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire police said that the makeshift camps were not a criminal matter. He said: 'Anybody is allowed to use reasonable force to stop people trespassing and get them off their property - much like a bouncer in a pub or club.

'If there is some sort of confrontation then we can step in and prevent a breach of the peace, but we cannot act directly against the trespassers.'

So, if Ricky Smith gets into a discussion with his lawn-fertilizing tenant, the Bill can step in and make an arrest. Of Smith.

A spokesman for Peterborough council said: 'We are aware of a number of people who are sleeping in these gardens.

'We will be working to help them access the services which are available to them.'

Now that's the spirit. Who says government isn't responsive to the needs of the people? The town council is at this moment finding ways Mr. Treasure's and Mr. Smith's guests can "access the services which are available to them." Should be a matter of a few days when the immigrants can be set up in a council flat, rent free, and on the dole.

Once that particular immigrant community has moved on, the homeowners can get busy tidying up the place for the next guests.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Congratulations, Comrade Obama

It looks like, for the moment, the shady deals and obsessive-compulsive speechmaking by our Commissar-elect have had their intended effect.

It will be a Pyrrhic victory.


Forgive me a little anecdote: it does bear on our text for today.

Way back, shortly after the Earth's crust cooled, I was at my first job as an advertising copywriter. One day a discussion took place in the creative department about how bland modernism seemed to be triumphing in graphics, architecture, everything. This was the '70s, when sans serif "Swiss style" typefaces were all the rage, barbaric raw concrete architecture was hip, etc.

The art director said: "If I were appointed dictator, I'd pass a law that every street and store sign had to be in Helvetica." We gasped. "What the hell, I thought you said you didn't like this modernist strait-jacket."

The art director continued: "Yes, Helvetica would be the rule, anything else outlawed. Before long, designers would abandon it on principle and use anything but. Townspeople who'd never thought about lettering styles would start grumbling, 'Hey, wait a minute. We have a local tradition … .'"

Comrade Obama has achieved something that a hundred editorials, ten thousand bloggers, and countless books could not have brought about. He has forced Americans en masse to think about the U.S. Constitution, about the meaning of liberty, and about whether they want a federal government with a hand in every aspect of life, large and small. By pushing through a ghastly expansion of Washington's bureaucracy that will require mega-taxation, drain funds from Medicare, probably produce out-of-control inflation, and add more oceans of red ink to the budget — while we already have a deficit of $13 trillion and counting — he has forced millions of formerly apathetic citizens to consider the dire consequences of spending borrowed money unto infinity.

He has made it socially acceptable to ask why the dwindling middle class must be bled white to support a class of welfare recipients and Third World immigrants.

Americans by the millions who haven't thought about the founding principles of the nation since they left school are now researching those principles for themselves. They are finding parts of the Constitution and Bill of Rights that suddenly mean a great deal in our times; for example, the 10th Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Comrade Obama has supercharged the Tea Party movement.

He has ensured that he will lose his majority in Congress this year and will be the most loathed president ever to hold the office when he is booted out.

He has awakened a sleeping giant, the American people who never expected they would have to struggle to protect individualism, liberty, and limited government, and who now understand preserving those values is up to them.


Friday, March 19, 2010

From opposition to resistance

The Obama coup d’état is no longer a matter for opposition. Opposition implies a normal political process, with various preferences and interests given their due. Our president and his running dogs, Reid and Pelosi, have abandoned the constitutional mode of government that has served the United States since 1789. He has thrown off the mask that he wore during his campaign, to reveal himself as an ideological fanatic with an unquenchable desire to fill his inner emptiness by the only kind of achievement he can relate to — transforming the nation into a Marxist superstate.

Opposition must move on to the next stage: resistance.

This politician with the mentality of a Chicago mob boss must not be allowed to undo the work of many generations of free Americans. History calls us to honor our past and defend our future. The Obama pathology must be resisted by every legal means possible — yes, legal means, even though our would-be overlord wants to pass his healthcare takeover by tactics that are, at best, of dubious legality.

It isn't just the healthcare bill that Obama would inflict on us against the wishes of the majority of citizens, through bribing members of his own party with taxpayer money and making an end run around the Constitution's clearly stated procedures for passing legislation.

He has shown again and again he is beyond foolish in matters of national defense, catering to hostile regimes while alienating allies.

He is once again crafting plans to legalize border jumpers who entered the country illegally.

He is creating his own force of malleable youth and ex-convicts.

He is restoring funds for ACORN, the voter intimidation and fraud squad, while ignoring Congress's ban on the funding.

He was only narrowly thwarted — and perhaps temporarily — in conniving with his attorney general's plan to give the organizer of the September 11 attacks a civilian trial in New York, a few blocks from the scene of the carnage. Obama does not believe we are at war with Muslim fanaticism. As far as he's concerned, 9/11 and other attacks are mere offenses, like large-scale littering.

He has given the cold shoulder to, even insulted, Israel — a tiny enclave of freedom in the midst of millions of Muslims who want it wiped off the map.

There's more, but all the other examples are just further evidence of Obama's perpetual identity crisis and disloyalty to the oath he swore on taking office.

He is a everything the collectively brilliant and liberty loving minds who created this country sought to make impossible. We, unlike Obama, will remain honorable, but resist.



Wednesday, March 17, 2010

America has bloody borders


The most quoted sentence from Samuel P. Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations is, "Islam has bloody borders." Too right. But so does Mexico. And because Mexico is adjacent to the United States, the U.S. also has bloody borders.
Escalating violence in Northern Mexico fueled by the region's seemingly intractable drug wars are being blamed for the weekend murders of a U.S. consulate worker, her husband and another man. Kidnappings, violence and lawlessness have long scourged Ciudad Juarez, a hardscrabble border city just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas. … U.S. officials have cleared government workers to pull out of Mexico's border areas, and Canada issued a travel warning against visiting Ciudad Juarez.
I visited Ciudad Juarez several times when I lived in Santa Fe. Once I went with a friend who was buying ceramic tiles for a house renovation, at a fraction of what they would have cost in Santa Fe. Another time — this was about 20 years ago — I drove with my girlfriend and we spent a night at Juarez's best hotel, the Lucerna. It wasn't up to much by first world standards, but comfortable enough. There was an odd scene in the elevator. A young woman and a man were escorted by two hotel guards, who left once the couple entered her room. Away from the scene, I wondered aloud what that was about. My companion gave me a look that pitied my naïveté. "It was a prostitute and her customer," she said. "She pays off the hotel for protection."

Driving around Juarez, we got lost somewhere near the bull ring. Until then we'd seen the "soft" side of the city that partly catered to Yanqui turistas. This was different, sordid, vaguely threatening. My girlfriend was all for getting away from the neighborhood posthaste; the trouble was, we were lost. To be honest, I was as nervous as she. But nobody bothered us, and eventually we made it back to the hotel and the next day, to the Estados Unidos.

We had fancied a taste of foreign culture, and did we ever get it in Juarez. I suppose in retrospect I'm glad to have had the experience, since it added to my knowledge of the world. But needless to say, I would never go back.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, is asking the Obama administration to send help in the form of predator drones for surveillance and 1,000 National Guard troops.

"How many Americans will have to die before our federal government takes serious action along the Texas-Mexico border?" Perry said in a statement. "For years, they have failed in their vital duty to secure the border, resulting in escalating violence." Perry noted that 4,700 homicides were committed since January 2008 in Ciudad Juarez, a city of about 2 million.

Here's another sampling of stories about the blood-soaked borderland of narcotics gang wars.

Ralph Peters:

The bloodbath on our border's going to get a worse before it gets better. Death is on our doorstep -- and no country's more important to our security, society and economy than Mexico. What are we thinking?

Oh, please. I am so sick of reading multi-culti globalizers banging on about how important Mexico is to our economy. That gets it backward. We are important to Mexico's economy. Mexico exports its surplus population to America and counts on a huge money transfer in the form of remittances. We don't "need" Mexico. There are 150 other countries in the world we can export to, in so far as we have anything to export. U.S. companies have cheap-labor factories in northern Mexico, where the workers do the jobs they don't want to pay Americans to do. Good for the companies' bottom line, bad for America. They don't deserve to profit that way.

The Mexican Revolution of 1910 disintegrated into one of the last century's ugliest struggles. A hundred years later, our southern neighbor, with its 111 million people, faces the most under-reported crisis of our time. The Mexican border towns where I partied as an Army lieutenant are combat zones. Mexico's casualties have been more than three times our KIA losses in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. And the action's coming north.
It probably is. What to do? Peters says, "This is no longer just about border security. It's about our national security. And Washington's been taking a siesta."

That's the end of his article. What
should Washington do if, against all the odds, it wakes up from its siesta? Stop Mexican immigration? Deport illegals and jail them if they return? Perish the thought. Ralph Peters is another Viewer With Alarm who is afraid he will lose his perch in the quasi-conservative media if he emits a peep about any serious solution.

The US consular killings are the latest brutal proof that prohibition is a deadly option
There are two main reasons why Mexico finds itself in this predicament. The first is that in the drug business, like any other, closeness to the customer is a paramount advantage.

In the late Eighties, America’s drug warriors shut down the island-hopping route across the Caribbean previously used by Colombian drug barons. The Colombians began sending their cocaine through Mexico to the US. At the same time the Mexicans grabbed control of its distribution in many American cities, giving them the upper hand over the Colombians.

What American cities would those be, where Mexicans "grabbed control" of cocaine distribution? Cities like Los Angeles, El Paso, and San Antonio, that are now Mexican colonies thanks to our government's feckless lack of immigration control?
Second, Mexico’s police forces were long corrupt and ineffective — a legacy of seven decades of one-party rule that ended only in 2000. [Mexican President] Calderón chose to make the security issue his top priority, partly to stamp his authority on the country after winning a narrow and disputed election. His officials accept that they cannot end drug trafficking — as long as Americans snort coke that would be impossible.
"His officials accept that they cannot end drug trafficking" — because Mexico is corrupt, its police forces bought or intimidated by death threats, and the drug dealers know that unofficial policy in Washington is to keep the border open, while making pro forma arrests of a few illegals from time to time as cover.

"As long as Americans snort coke that would be impossible" — baloney. Mexico is a lawless country that can't control its own criminals, so it and its U.S. appeasers pretend it's our fault because blow is popular among some elements of the population (how many of them are Mexicans?) and The Times pundit goes tsk-tsk because we don't have the kind of gun prohibition that has made English people pushovers for burglars and worse.

But I'll agree with one of his conclusions: "Watching this war without end against the drugs mafias, many Latin American political leaders are starting to call for drug legalisation. They are right: Mexico’s suffering shows that prohibition is far deadlier than drugs."

Investor's Business Daily:
[Mexican drug cartels] form a critical monetary and organizational lifeline to their Mexican compadres, making them part of the war.

Last year, there was an authentic cartel hit on a Los Angeles highway in broad daylight, signaling that business as they do it in Mexico has moved here. Lawmen report big drug centers in Chicago and other places outside the Southwest, a sign cartels are getting comfortable here.

They've even moved entire growing operations here, making them less a smuggling operation than fully illegal businesses. Large swathes of national parks, national forests and Indian reservations have reported armed camps of marijuana growing operations run by cartels and guarded by illegal immigrants.

The kidnapping rate in Phoenix, currently the highest outside Mexico City, is another sign of cartel operations. Most go unreported, because most victims are part of the drug underworld. All of these, and more, are signs that cartels are already operating here with near impunity.

IBD, which often uses common sense and sound judgment, is wide of the mark here. After declaring the situation a war, it wants to treat the problem as one of law enforcement (sound familiar?). IBD is uncharacteristically politically correct, afraid to print a Forbidden Thought, viz., we should shut the damn borders, stop Mexican immigration, and kick every illegal out.

Meanwhile, after wasting years and $billions on a super-duper, cutting edge high-tech border fence that has yet to be built, our rulers have scuttled it. Given our national government's priorities, it was probably designed as a political plum for incumbent-friendly contractors rather than a serious border hardening effort.

The immigration-loving beanbags in the media, including so-called "conservative" media, want to sell us the idea that a border fence must be an action-movie fantasy — "mobile surveillance equipment, thermal imaging devices, ultra-light plane detection systems, mobile radios, cameras and laptop computers for vehicles used by Border Patrol agents." In fact, all you need is an ordinary fence with concrete barriers and land mines on both sides. It could probably built in a year.

Naturally, the usual ninnies will whinge that we can't mine the border, since Mexicans have a right to sneak across without risking life and limb, as if there should be a level playing field between illegals and the Border Patrol.

An organization called proposes a slightly higher-tech, but relatively simple solution.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Spiritual malnourishment

The Huffington Post is concerned for the spiritual welfare of its readers. It offers them guidance from "Dr. Susan Corso, Omnifaith Spiritual Expert." Dr. (in what? Omnifaith Studies?) Corso shares her expertise with us in a posting called "Beware the Ides of March." Key words include:
Alice In Wonderland, Aquamarine, Ash Wednesday, Bloodstone, Crocus, Daffodil, Dr. Seuss, Easter, Equinox, Fath [sic], Tuesday, Ides Of March, Inernational [sic] Women's Day, John Philip Sousa, Julius Caesar, Lent, March, March Hare, March King, March Madness, Mardi Gras, Mars, Narcissus, National Reading Day, Pisces, Red Cross Month, Spring, St. Patrick's Day, The Inner Life, William Shakespeare, Women's History Month, Living News.
Impressive free association for a single blog post, Dr. Corso, but you left out The March of Time.

In case her spiritual welfare caseload doesn't get the reference in the title, she explains: "Today is the Ides of March, that infamous occasion marking the murder of Julius Caesar. The line of my title is from William Shakespeare's play of the same name, Julius Caesar." Thanks!
One of the ideas that struck me about the Ides is that it's two weeks, give or take, before the end of the first quarter of the year. For a lot of businesses and people, that's one-quarter way through the calendar year. Maybe we could use the Ides to preview our end-of-first-quarter progress? How about a middle day of reckoning?
I was going to have a little sport with her — "Actually, Dr. Corso, it's one-quarter of the way through the calendar year for for everyone" — but not according to the Chinese and, I believe, several other calendars. She's right. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, I am previewing my end-of-first-quarter progress and demanding a recount. My day of reckoning has already come and gone (unlike the Ides for Julius Caesar), multiple times.
March's birth flower is the Narcissus which signifies egotism in my little book. Perhaps a warning to that original Caesar to beware excessive self-contemplation. I could go on and on because the associations are endless.
I don't think Brutus and Co. stabbed Caesar because they were concerned about his excessive self-contemplation. But thanks for your restraint from going on and on, Dr. Corso.

The Huffington Post adds: "For spiritual nourishment, visit Dr. Susan Corso's website and blog, Seeds for Sanctuary." Seeking further spiritual menu items, I did, and learned from her that

And it is what it is!

She offers a Not to Do list — get it? A Not to Do List! Don't:
Make war
Lose your temper
Snap at others
Whine or complain or criticize
Hit anyone
Discount the good
Neglect God/dess

And those are just off the top of my head! … And, because I, like you, know that humans don’t not do things very well, I have to add that every single one of these items would be easy to check off if we all just made a commitment to inner peace.

Yup, that's my trouble all right. I just can't commit. Nevertheless, in the spirit of not making war, not whining or complaining or criticizing, not judging, etc., I thank Dr. Corso for her insight. And let me leave you with this thought, from the heart: Have a nice day.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Endgame for the government debt crisis?


While all eyes are riveted to the Machiavellian strategies of the Obama Mob to kick Americans' teeth in and shove health care "reform" down their throats — scratch that; Machiavelli was a smart politician — it won't do to forget about the backdrop. Namely, the government debt deluge that in varying degrees threatens to wash away every Western nation's economy.

No one, obviously, knows for sure how it will play out. All you can do is pay attention to a range of opinions, and decide what you tentatively believe and how you plan to protect your life, your honor, and your sacred fortune if the expected scenario goes down.

In that spirit, I offer the views of Christopher Wood, publisher of the newsletter Greed & Fear (which I am not familiar with) and apparently a respected Asia-Pacific financial strategist. (Tip o' the hat: Credit Writedowns.) I am not endorsing his ideas, and even if I were, it would make no difference because I lack qualifications in international finance. But I believe it is important at least to listen to people like him.

In a CNBC interview, he says:

My view is that there is an inevitable endgame as a result of all this massive spending of taxpayer money in the West and Japan to bail out bankrupt banking systems, so in my view unfortunately the end game will be systemic government debt crisis in the western world.

It will probably happen in Europe and will climax in the U.S., and I am expecting on a five year view the collapse of the U.S. dollar paper standard.

He does not appear to be saying the dollar will become virtually worthless, only that it will no longer be the world's "reserve" currency, the international standard of value, as it has been at least since World War II. Not everyone agrees.

Wood thinks the U.S. will be the last man standing … until it, too, can no longer violate the financial laws of gravity.
The key reason why that’s the endgame is that this credit crisis we saw in the west in 2008 and 2009 has simply been deferred, because 95 percent of the so-called government policy solutions to deal with this crisis have simply been to extend government guarantees.

So the problem’s been transferred from the private sector to the public sector. It’s just a matter of time before investors revolt against these sovereign guarantees … . The crisis is going to happen first in Europe. It’s going to climax in the U.S.

It's pretty clear that, so far, all the government bailouts and alleged fixes have not restored the economy, except for banks, who have been happy to take the public coin and use it to reward themselves, not start lending it to get the wheels turning again. Maybe a lending time out is a good thing — after all, madcap borrowing for consumption helped get us into this pit — but many businesses have a legitimate need to borrow for capital spending, and citizens for mortgages.

For investors, Wood advises overweighting Asia and underweighting the U.S. and Europe. But it's probably best not to put too much stock (pun intended) in that suggestion. As the managing director and chief strategist for an Asia-Pacific financial services company, he — like every other investment professional with a strategy — stands to benefit if people heed him. As the expression in the brokerage business goes, he's "talking his book."

Here's the clip from CNBC — I don't know why the screen has so much blank space around it, but scroll down. (Why can't the talking heads doing interviews shut up long enough for their subject to complete a thought? Do the producers and directors think viewers will tune out if there's a second of "dead air"?)


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Hurt Locker

I probably wouldn't bother to write about The Hurt Locker except that I happened to be watching it — via DVD — on Oscars night. That wasn't because of any prior planning; it just happened to come up in my Netflix queue and arrived last week. Since The Hurt Locker won the gongs for Best Picture, Directing, Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Fingernail Trimming, it is no doubt being much discussed at the moment. Given human nature, there will probably be a backlash against it.

For what it's worth, I thought the film was memorable in parts, but in view of all the talent that went into it, it should have been a heck of a lot better.


First, credit where due. Most of the action scenes — and the movie was basically a series of action scenes strung together like a necklace — were gripping and felt authentic.

authentic because I don't know what bomb disarming special ops are actually like. But seeming realistic is all you can ask a film to do. Most of the action scenes because the extended chase through buildings and alleys about 3/4 of the way through was like what has been beaten into a wad in dozens of cop movies.

Kathryn Bigelow's direction? You know, back when I was reviewing movies for the weekly rag in Santa Fe, around 1990, I gave her early Blue Steel three stars (out of five; I disliked assigning star ratings but it was the paper's style). I was impressed that she made the routine genre film surprisingly polished, and got a very fine performance from Jamie Lee Curtis. That was the last of her movies I had seen before The Hurt Locker.


As to the latter, her work was, well, professional. I don't know how much control she had over the casting — possibly complete, since this was touted as an "indie" — but in any case she seems to work well with actors. The leads, all previously unknown to me, left nothing to be desired. And Bigelow probably deserves kudos for the unusually involving action takes. Still, with due respect, the film industry has action down to a science, since that's what most movies consist of these days. That she didn't mess them up (except for the previously mentioned chase) is an achievement, but not a particularly outstanding one.

I'll skip the editing and sound, which are hard to evaluate because you don't know what options were rejected or not thought of, except to say that, again, I didn't find anything either exceptional or clumsy. Oh, one thing: the sound mixer resisted the temptation to make the rifle shots and explosions too loud. Good going.


Giving Mark Boal the Oscar for best screenplay was fatuous, unless all the other nominees were worse, which is possible. What screenplay? The scenes looked mostly improvised, and not always to good effect. The connective tissue between the explosives and shooting bits, where the team members "fought" and "bonded" (in quotation marks because neither was very convincing) were almost embarrassing.

The dialogue largely consisted of constant obscenities (again, likely ad lib). Now I don't object to the obscenity as such — it is probably how soldiers on bomb disposal duty talk. The trouble is that there wasn't much else; hardly a line in the whole picture was a keeper.

Nor was there any real plot building, story arc, character development, whatever you want to call old-fashioned storytelling virtues. Just episodes that became more familiar and less effective as they went on. To be fair, there was one strong scene near the end where a wired up suicide bomber repented at the last minute and asked to be relieved of his explosives before the timer detonated him. If only more of The Hurt Locker had that kind of quiet but intense drama.

By the way, I kept waiting for a line of dialogue to pay off the title, but if it was there I missed it.


Monday, March 08, 2010



I've been puzzling over something for a while. If you have answers to offer, please comment.

Why didn't the concept of a single, unitary God appear in Western history until late in the classical world? Why not in ancient Greece and pre-Christian Rome?

Greek civilization was hardly incurious. Its philosophers, from Socrates through Plato to Aristotle, as well as less famous names, seem to have pondered everything about the nature of the universe and mankind's relation to it. Their great playwrights -- Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides -- took soundings of the human soul as no other dramatist except Shakespeare did. At least the first two were concerned with the individual's relation to the gods, even if by the time of Euripides a certain skepticism was creeping into the Greek world view.


Still, the religious ideas of ancient Greece strike us as puerile. Zeus, Hera, Hephaestus, Poseidon and many of the others are like cartoon characters. And even if they had had more dignity (by our standards), they were multiple.

The Roman Republic and early Empire were arguably practical-minded and un-philosophical, though there were exceptions like Lucretius and Ovid. And as a whole the Roman aristocracy at least had the ideal of gravitas, or taking life seriously: they would have agreed with Longfellow: "Life is real! Life is earnest!"

But the Romans were hardly indifferent to the unseen. They had gods and ceremonies for virtually every aspect of life. Birth, marriage, death, the household, planting, harvesting, going to war,
the hearth, crossroads, streams, you name it. They had no religious doctrine or creed as we understand it, but they took their religious observances to heart. A ritual or sacrifice had to be done in exactly the right way or, if there was a mistake, done over. The Romans were so scrupulous about observing the proper rites that in late classical times they continued to honor obscure gods and conduct practices that originated so far back in time that no one could explain their meaning or purpose.


H.J. Rose, a professor of Latin and Greek and surely one of the most learned students of the religion of antiquity, wrote in Ancient Roman Religion (London, 1949):
It is clear that in all this [the Romans' relationship with their gods] there was an element of sheer magic; there was also a strong element of bargaining, for the Romans were a legal-minded people who understood excellently the obligations of both parties to a contract. So on occasion they made contracts with gods, drawn up by skilled clerical draughtsmen and providing for all manner of contingencies. A very famous one has come down to us.

When it became evident that the Second Punic War was to be a long and hard-fought struggle, with Hannibal in Italy and threatening Rome itself, Juppiter [Rose's spelling] was appealed to and promised a sacrifice of the whole increase of the flocks and herds for a year if by that year, half a decade ahead, he put the Roman people in a satisfactory position. The deed, when drawn up, was approved by the Assembly.

But in return for so great a gift, the god was to waive certain rights which he might normally insist on; the Romans were considered to have done their part even if irregularities were found in the method of sacrificing, if the offering were made on the wrong date or even by an unqualified person, and also to be quit of responsibility for any beasts who might die or be stolen before the time came to offer them.
This kind of crude bargaining with the gods sounds absurd or distasteful to us, but before we get too condescending, we ought to recall the numerous churches and monasteries built in the Christian era of Europe as thanks for battles won and plagues survived.


But to return to the main point: how could there have been two great civilizations in the ancient world, lasting over a millennium between them, that developed no idea of One God until Rome's armies and rulers encountered a certain sect on the fringe of the empire, in Palestine? And even then failed to accord it, or its derivative religion of Christ, any respect for many generations?

Surely both Greece and Rome had their share of mystics and contemplatives on whom the Spirit descended. How can we doubt that some who had received knowledge of the transcendent could no longer be enchanted by polytheism? Why did they have, as it appears, zero influence on "official" classical religion? Why was the idea of one God ignored, or abhorred, until Constantine recognized Christianity in the fourth century?

True, that was a troubled period, and spirituality is said to be the daughter of adversity. But Rome had gone through plenty of sticky patches before -- the Gauls overrunning the city, for instance. Athens had its debacle with the Peloponnesian War. Yet the old gods held their ground.


For that matter, other than Islam, no major religion with a concept of one supreme God has emerged anywhere in the world. Buddhism finds it a waste of time to talk about God, preferring to speak of Enlightenment. Hinduism does have a mystical side that could be said to be monotheistic, but popular Hinduism continues to have a variety of deities.

Something very strange and profound happened in the Mediterranean world of late antiquity. Why then, and not before?


Thursday, March 04, 2010

My alternative right is more alternative than your alternative right

Alternative Right, which has been in business now for four days, is already a 7.5 on the conservative Richter scale. Two bloggers on my "Gold Standard" list have enthusiastically registered their feelings: hopeful (Dennis Mangan, here and here) and contra (Lawrence Auster, here).

I've checked out Alternative Right — not read everything posted there, but enough to get an impression of what it's on about. My response, which has to be tentative considering the site is still a pup, occupies the No Man's Land somewhere between Mangan and Auster.


Before getting down to cases, a little preface: Most of us who vaguely identify ourselves with "traditionalist" or "classical" conservatism are dismayed by what passes for conservatism in the mainstream media, the halls of Congress, and many intellectuals' gray cells. At its most superficial, opinion identifies conservatism with the Republican party, business, even globalization. And of course "conservatism" has opened a branch office, neo-conservatism, dedicated to bringing enlightenment, capitalism, and democracy to the Middle East at gunpoint.

In King Obama's moribund administration, conservatism should have a rallying point. Unfortunately, the right is divided, watered down, unsure of what it stands for. And the growing popularity of libertarianism further muddies the view.

So bang from the start, I am somewhat skeptical about introducing yet another "alternative." The problem is not that there is no alternative, but that there is no end of alternatives.


However, let's see what Alt Right has on offer.

It calls itself an "online magazine." The editor is Richard Spencer, formerly editor of the Greek socialite and Web publisher Taki's site. The second-chair editorship includes Peter Brimelow of VDare. I have long thought that VDare is useless and counterproductive, recycling essentially the same immigration horror stories month after month without doing anything concrete to change the system and draining contributions that would be better sent to the lobbying organization NumbersUSA.

Richard Hoste, whose own blog is HBD Books, explains "Why an Alternative Right Is Necessary."
It's because of so-called "conservatives" like [Dick] Cheney that an Alternative Right is necessary.

Besides our disagreements with mainstream conservatives on the issue of foreign policy and the relative importance of fighting terrorism, there is the topic of race and, more broadly, IQ and heredity. We've known for a while through neuroscience and cross-adoption studies--if common sense wasn't enough--that individuals differ in their inherent capabilities. The races do, too, with whites and Asians on the top and blacks at the bottom. The Alternative Right takes it for granted that equality of opportunity means inequality of results for various classes, races, and the two sexes. Without ignoring the importance of culture, we see Western civilization as a unique product of the European gene pool.
Bringing human biodiversity into mainstream conservatism, if Alt Right can pull it off, is good. "If," because it is not clear to me why HBD should become respectable just because of Alt Right. There are plenty of pre-existing HBD sites, but mainstream, soi-disant conservatism will have no parley with the heathens on this subject. Water wears away rock, but the time span is measured in millennia.
I'm no scientist, but I would guess that nuclear technology, like all technology, is going to get progressively less expensive and more widely available. Muslims have never failed to use against their enemies any type of arms they could get their hands on . They also tend to fight those whom they live amongst.

One would think that the odds of a major terrorist attack happening would depend on how many Muslims are allowed to live in the United States. Reducing Islamic immigration in the name of fighting terror would receive widespread public support, be completely practical in a way installing a puppet regime in Afghanistan wouldn't, and not lead us to kill or torture anybody.

Yet the "Conservative of the Year" [Cheney] whose entire raison d'être has been "keeping us safe" acts as if such a thing isn't even possible. The idea that nothing must be done to stop the March Of Diversity is so entrenched in the minds of those considered of the Right that they will defend America policing the entire planet, torture, indefinite detentions, and a nation on permanent war footing but won't mention immigration restriction or racial profiling.
Good again. Still a Forbidden Thought in pseudo-conservative dialogue, and it needs to be said. Once again, though, how much use is saying it? Lawrence Auster has vociferously advocated a policy of separationism between Islam and the United States for years without any noticeable influence in the political sphere.


But Hoste also seems to advocate one of the stupidest of all "conservative" ideas, that whites should indulge themselves in a breeding contest with other races.
We may lament the low European-American birth rate, but the fact that it's even near replacement level in such a feminist and anti-natalist society is a testament to natural sex differences.
I do not lament the low European-American birth rate; I'd like to see it become universal. It's true that as long as we keep importing high-procreation ethnic groups (which Hoste says he's against), then whites are in a demographic graveyard spiral. Whites trying to outbreed other groups is not a sane answer. Even if it could be achieved — doubtful — it would merely accelerate the pace of the overpopulation that is at the root of virtually every environmental problem. There's an "alternative" view for you.


Robert Weissberg writes on "The Siren Song of Diversity," criticizing the diversity industry's grip on business and government organizations. It's well written, although there have been articles and books by the carload in the past two decades on the subject. Still, he does have an interesting take on how "affirmative action" and all the rest of the official tribal favoritism has actually, in the large picture, worked against the interests of American blacks.
Walter K. Olson’s The Excuse Factory observes that employers can run afoul of anti-discrimination laws by insisting on employee traits that are so obvious, so pertinent to the job that they are never put in the official job description. These include traits like a pleasant attitude, a willingness to follow instructions, being neatly dressed, an outward enthusiasm for the position and being law-abiding, among many others that define “a good worker.”

In today’s upside down world, this too-obvious-to-warrant-saying policy invites legal trouble: since possessing an agreeable disposition is not formally part of the job advertisement, and not a specified must-have part of the job, a sullen, foul-mouthed applicant with a “’tude” can insist that he was turned down on racial grounds since nothing was actually said about his obnoxious demeanor. Obviously, since no job description can be exhaustive, a litigation-prone black applicant can always claim that it was race, and only race that lead to him not being hired.
Faced with anti-discrimination pressure carried to crackpot extremes, a company may well choose to avoid the persecution through equally extreme measures.
When costs and risks are fully calculated, it often makes economic sense to move to North Dakota (or India), sub-contract out as much as possible, automate the tasks or just exit the market. … Ironically, the traditional and relatively cheap solution to addressing impossible-to-meet regulations—bribing the building inspector, for example—is unavailable when confronting ideologues who fervently believe that they are helping the less fortunate by making them impossible to hire.
What to do? Weissberg has an answer, and it is witless.
Now, compare the benefits of hiring Juan, a Mexican (of uncertain legal status), who desperately wants to return home and buy a pick-up truck, to John, an African American with a hyper-sensitive sense of racial injustice. Though both enjoy equal legal rights, Juan is unlikely to exploit them.
And so on, with his own siren song about the comparative value of hiring Hispanic immigrants. Right out of the "jobs Americans won't do" and "family values don't stop at the Rio Grande" playbook of George W. Bush. A strange inspiration for an "alternative" right publication.


I don't think Weissberg is a conservative of any stripe. He is, if you want to group him, a libertarian. And it appears from this article that he has the typical libertarian blindness to any values other than economic ones. It's fine with him if the United States becomes a Latin American country, as long as it is more "efficient" and improves the Gross National Product.

Which brings up something else. Nowhere in this "magazine" — why call a Web site a magazine? It strikes me as pretentious — do I find, so far, the slightest notice of spirituality. God is dead in this "alternative." What kind of conservatism leaves out any sense of a higher, non-material realm and source of moral behavior? This kind, I guess.

Atheists and scientific materialists can be genuinely conservative on various issues. Their unbelief does not make them bad people. I think I understand their intellectual objections to spirituality, and in many cases it does them credit: they're rejecting dogmatic religion. The thing is, intellectual objections to the call of Spirit are just that, intellectual. The rational mind is not the way to God, although it can be useful in guarding against fanaticism and power trips justified in the name of spirituality. Knowledge of God, which is bound to be an on-and-off thing, seen "through a glass darkly" for most of us, comes from an inner transformation of consciousness, not from the intellect.


But I digress. On the basis of its short record so far, Alt Right may be worthwhile as one more gadfly buzzing around the left. Its views are well expressed, even when I disagree with them. But its brand of conservatism appears to be partly a product of unexamined assumptions derived from what Auster calls "right liberalism."

Every political movement, to be effective, has to strike a balance. It needs to accept enough differences on one point and another so it doesn't break into factions and splinter groups. Yet it has to be principled as well, and not water down its message unto blandness. More than that, it must energize its followers to act, not just nod at debater's points. We will see what, if any, influence Alt Right can contribute along those lines.