New Submission Rules

by the Editor7/26/16

New submission rules for this site:

#1) No article will be accepted that merely regurgitates the day’s headlines and in effect says “shame on them.” No article will be accepted that sounds as if it is talking about broad political philosophy (a subject that is not at all taboo) but, in effect, is about regurgitating the day’s headlines and saying “shame on you.” The only political articles accepted (and encouraged) will be those that are more journalistic or activist in nature. I want to read about reports of what you (or someone you know…or someone you’ve read about) are doing to materially promote the conservative/Christian/American world view and/or are doing to oppose the Left. No article will be accepted there is purely analysis, for we conservatives are truly a victim of that old adage of “paralysis by analysis.”

You needn’t expunge current events, broad political philosophizing, or analysis from your articles. But such things should exist to highlight and reinforce the real-world (firsthand or secondhand) events that you are writing about. If your child (or the child of someone you know, or a specific report of a child, say, from Australia) gets in trouble in school for pointing a Pop-Tart at someone and saying “Bang,” then by all means write about it. We need to know what’s going on out there in the real world (and the world of Washington DC is not the real world, so few of us need a blow-by-blow account of the latest outrage).

But even in case of the Pop-Tart gun from some region not of your own home town, it would be far better to write about a local school board meeting, PTA meeting, or teacher-student meeting that you actually attended where you directly heard nonsense views from a school official and/or responded to those views with opposing views. It would be highly instructive in such a case to then tell us how that all went, what tips you might have for opposing those views, etc., for that is the real weakness of the conservative movement. We are too much a debating society and not enough an activist one. Make broad use of pseudonyms all you like. I understand that the truth can be dangerous. Change names to protect the innocent. Whatever.

#2) Think about opening your wallet and contributing even $5.00 for the maintenance of this site. I don’t think it’s fair to “soak the rich” in this regard, not that either Pat or I are rich. We are not rich accept in family and friends (he far more than I). But I think it’s high time that some of you had some skin in the game. And having some skin does not guarantee that your mediocre article will be published. If you want to buy influence, go see Donald Trump for advice on that.

#3) Pat Tarzwell (our Koch Brother…he purchased the press) and Annie (a StubbornFellow) are exempt from these rules, but I encourage them to write about real-word stories (as Pat has done regarding his Big Adventure at the GOP convention).

#4) The Editor is free to break these rules if a submission is singularly concise, clear, relevant, and engaging.

If you have questions, let me know. No one is being singled out or picked on. These rules apply the same to the Editor as they do to Glenn the Greater. And the Editor may or may not have (or take) the time to personally correspond with you about why your article didn’t make it. If I had a staff (a dream I long ago gave up), that would be different. But I don’t have a staff. I have to carefully manage my time, such as I ever really do.

Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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115 Responses to New Submission Rules

  1. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:


    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:


      Same as “anti-libertarian.” You have to have rules in order to enforce some kind of order. One might ask, Are you trying to weed out contrary opinions? No, just boring ones. Are you trying to save yourself time? No, it will now take me more time because I’ll have to actually read your articles before submitting them…something I almost never do. There’s simply never been time. So hopefully most of you can stick to the guidelines and I can eventually go into automatic mode again.

      Is it because you want to be more like American Thinker? Good god, no. I consider that site porn for “thinkers.” It’s full of navel-gazing and endless pointless philosophizing and structured bitching. Let’s at last recognize that much of conservatism has been a convergence of a book club (good for the book sellers) with people who have simply made a daily drama out of their conservative views but rarely, if ever, try to forward them in the marketplace of ideas where it counts. Review a book or write about how you stood up to the local Stalin in your home town. But don’t simply stride the middle and pretend that endless philosophizing is the same thing as doing. It might make you feel better, but that’s a large part of the problem. We live now in a culture where we try to make every little uncomfortable feeling go away. But to forward conservative values inherently is going to mean discomfort because we are surrounded by Stalinists.

      I see from bullet point #2 that you must then be in it for the money. You’ve sold out. I’m still waiting for the real Koch Brothers to offer us, say, $500,000, which I could then sock away for retirement by itemizing it as expenditure for “consultants” and then claiming poverty to all of you. Isn’t that politics as usual? Why should I be held to a higher standard than Trump? So screw you. But, really, the answer is I just don’t want to lose money on this site. If it could at least pay for itself, plus some incidental expenses (upgrading software, etc.), I’d be happy.

      So how long until you cave and start something dumb like having a StubbornCruise up the Columbia River where you fat cats will sit around eating caviar and turning your nose up at the plebs? After all, your new standards seem pretty elitist in that you expect actual reality instead of more mental maturation. (Or have I got that backwards?…Doesn’t matter now…with Trump as head of our party, facts and logic are expendable.) A cruise would be a good idea, but I was thinking more along the lines of a rowboat and fish-n-chips. And anyone who doesn’t buy into the now predominant culture of Progressivism is inherently marginalized, which could be interpreted as being in an elite of sorts.

      Okay, Mr. Kung. I thank you very much for giving me that Q&A list via mental telepathy. That worked very well.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Focus on the swinging pendant in my hand. You are beginning to feel drowsy, your eyelids are becoming heavy, it is difficult for you to keep them open, you, you, you, zzzzzzzz

  2. pst4usa says:


    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Does “TYRNC” mean this?

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Probably does to many Trumpkins.

      • pst4usa says:

        Just the new way to spell tyranny. It makes more sense as tyRNC, but I thing Mr. Kung has it right, it probably does to the Trumpertantrum crowd. I do find it funny how they have come up with a new idea, sore winners!

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Sore winners. Hahaha. No kidding. I was thinking today. What if your child had the ethics, manners, and behavior of Donald Trump? Wouldn’t most people actually be appalled and think they were in need of serious reform…maybe even a spanking?

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            But they’d probably overlook it if the kid was a billionaire.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              A local conservative talk show guy, Todd Herman, was bemoaning the fact that the presidency has gained such stature. Perhaps it was inevitable given the nuclear button they necessarily hold now.

              Clear heads would want a president of good character, and one with a fairly detailed sense of American history, culture, and virtues. That president might campaign on this or that issue, but given the nature of politics (they’re all liars to some extent), what we at least hope to end up with is a president who can handle, with wisdom and a steady hand, the unexpected problems that show up. And they always do.

              Given that one candidate is corrupt and the other is of very bad character, we’re not going to have that steady hand in either case. And if the Beatles were correct that money can’t you you love, surely money can’t buy you character and wisdom either.

  3. Anniel says:

    I intend to be bound by the same rules as everyone else, and I promise if I ever become a fatcat I’ll forego the red Ferari and endow riches where they are deserved. You have earned gratitude from all. – Annie

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I don’t know Annie. A red Ferrari is pretty hard to beat. At least rent one and drive it around town.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Annie, you have the freedom to do what you want. I expect you only to do your best no matter the format you choose. We can’t be too buttoned-down. You have earned the privilege. You should use it.

      But I do think it’s simply more instructive and better for the soul to actually play the part of a journalist (or activist) and inform people what you are materially doing in your community or what you know that someone else is doing. It’s a terrible threshold because of the Ostrich effect (everyone has the tendency to stick their heads in the sand when the rubber hits the road and their butt is actually on the line). Bitching and prognosticating is thus easy and has the tendency to be mistaken for actually doing something useful.

      Maybe I’m wrong to argue with people I meet. I’ve even thrown (verbally) two people out of my office. I ran into one of those guys (a black friend of mine) the other day and he reminded me of that. I just laughed (and he deserved it). Good god, this guy was on Black Lives Matter steroids times two. Just really kooky beliefs. Unhinged. But otherwise we’ve known each other for years and have always gotten along. The rot of grievance politics got him. It’s a shame.

      So right there is a small little report from the front lines, the kind I think are more useful than endlessly sifting through this political garbage as they do on talk radio. We are human beings with souls. We are not, and should not try to be, vote-i-cons, a purely political machines who parse everything through a political lens. People are more important than politics (I can hear Mr. Kung cringing because it’s just the kind of stupid thing Obama would disingenuously say). But it’s true. We conservatives don’t want to win the culture war in order to take a victory lap. We want what is best for people and it is terrible, for instance, to see so many black lives damaged by the politics of racism and grievance.

      These new rules (which I have always espoused in one form another) are meant to tear apart the stodginess and paralysis-by-analysis. If someone actually does have a good analysis and think it is A+ rated, then send it and tell me that you’re hoping this is good because of some important event that just occurred. Some things (such as major events) need to be analyzed to a certain extent.

      But enough. We need boots on the ground. You are all out there seeing and hearing America as she groans under political correctness and progressivism, but rarely do we hear any personal stories. If you’re afraid of exposing yourself to the Stalins out there, fine. I get that. Then create a pseudonym. But give us fair, accurate, and poignant reporting from the front lines. And be creative. Have some fun. We don’t have to be as dour as the sad-sacks on the Left who are never happy unless they are unhappy. Your bear story, for instance, is the kind of stuff that makes this site. Now THAT did not sound like it came off of the typewriter of Charles Krauthammer.

  4. Rosalys says:

    I prefer your new rules, rather than you following through with your threat to let my favorite website expire at the end of August!

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Yes, that would have been most unfortunate. I don’t think I’ll have too much trouble with the rules, since most of what I write is book reviews anyway.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thanks, Rosalys. Frankly, I’m just tired of the rut that the entire conservative media is in. Either report on something material or don’t do anything at all. And think of it this way. I’m absolutely convinced that the only way to persuade people is to cite personal examples of the abuses of the Left. Don’t give affirmative action or any of their ideas a free ride. Tell about specific cases of the damage they are doing.

      I think one of the reasons that pointless bitching is so easy and popular is because it is risk-free. To actually report on the baloney the company you work for is doing entails risk. But no one is going to be persuaded by the hifalutin endless fine-point parsing of theories and analysis that is so typical in the conservative online media. We must learn to be much better marketers. We must learn how to do the equivalent of rolling up some old lady on stage in a wheelchair and announcing to the world that Democrats want to starve her.

      There have been articles like that. Both Deana and Glenn have published splendid articles, for example, on their experiences in education, often citing precise anecdotes. This is the stuff we need.

      What’s happening in your church? What is the pastor saying or not saying? What is the buzz around the water cooler at work? Yes, I know that “serious” conservative media doesn’t typically do this (although the best writers such as Jay Nordlinger and even Jonah Goldberg do a lot of it). But typical conservative media is pretty useless.

      Make it personal. By all means, read and understand the Constitution and absorb it into your bloodstream. But you’ll not persuade anyone of anything by arguing in hifalutin philosophical terms. We need to humanize these ideas and make them relevant.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I intend to be bound by the same rules as everyone else…

    Annie, here’s why you’re special. You’ve done something here that few others have attempted. You’ve told real stories. You’ve dared to be a person rather than a persona.

    Your son met me a week or two ago (a charming fellow). Did he think I was some entirely different person or the spittin’ image of what I write and present here? I hope the latter. I’m pretty sure the latter.

    People are crazy, cruel, and hostile, and to open yourself up online isn’t for the feint-hearted. But that’s what real writers (as opposed to bitchers and complainers and over-analyzers) do. I would no more constrain you than I would tell Leonardo which colors he could use.

    Most other people sound (to my ear) like some variation of Charles Krauthammer as they put on the persona of wise political prognosticator. I’m still working on Rosalys to come out of her shell because I think she has a story to tell and wisdom to share. But baring it online in front of an often hostile (or just plain vulgar) internet mob is not easy to do. We’re far less mobbish here, but you have to be willing to put up with unfair and pedantic criticism.

    With this new policy, this site will either commit suicide in regards to politics (most likely) or we’ll be leading the way. But the status quo sucks. We can do better. We will do better even if it’s a matter of quality not quantity.

  6. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Pat, thanks again for the generous contribution that was certainly a vote (the deciding one) to keep this site going. I’ve received exactly zero contributions from all other sources in probably the last six months if not longer. Maybe I need a new brand of deodorant.

    But I’m okay with that. I never felt better about a decision. It’s time for conservative writers to piss or get off the pot. Analyzing things to death has to finally be seen as having contributed nothing to the cause of fighting the Left. I would rather have quality than quantity on this site, so if you can’t get outside the bubble of conservative navel-gazing then I can live with that. Truly. I so much enjoy doing book and move reviews, if I never heard the name “Trump” or “Clinton” again, I would be pleased.

    Plus, there is a bigger game being played here. People are adapting to Progressivism and then getting online to bitch about the latest offense of the Left. But are they really doing anything to change the game? Bitching isn’t changing the game. Analyzing isn’t changing the game. It might make *you* feeling better for caving to the Left (which is what doing little but bitching is all about). But it doesn’t contribute to pushing back the Left and presenting an alternative vision for this country. (Hillary is right in some regards about the GOP being a party of “no.”)

    I’ll be the first to admit that there are many times I just smile at the nonsense, shut my mouth, and move onto the next subject, especially when doing business or trying to keep the pieace with a particular friend wherein there are specific reasons I don’t want to piss him or her off. What I won’t do, which I think many of you are doing out there (thus the mindless Trump support), is shifting with the Left. Perhaps it’s a small or meaningless difference between pretending and believing, but I think it’s obvious that we must all pick our battles. My point is to pick a battle. Do so or see you later, it’s been fun.

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Proving what women have always known, that nagging is effective, 😀 I want to thank RS for the very generous donation and for the words of encouragement as well.

  8. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I don’t know if Alinsky tactics from the right are the way to go. My first thought is that it wears the track deeper. But this is the thing I want to read about regarding politics (all other topics are exempt from this rule) — either your experience first-hand or your reports second-hand regarding material events that actually oppose the Left. Kudos to American Thinker for publishing this. Why it isn’t at the top of the page, I’ll never know. The rest of the articles are just white noise compared to this: Gender Political Correctness Causes Feminists at Michigan State to Whine.

    In essence, someone is petitioning the university regarding the inherent sexism of setting aside a woman’s lounge when there is no men’s lounge. Lifson writes:

    Professor Perry is a member of an important new conservative faction: The Alinsky Right. Conservatives who apply [some of] the tactics advocated by Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. In this case, RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

    The Left is now the ruling class, so the tactics of an insurgency are the natural mode for conservatives now. One way is to, as the Marxists used to say, “heighten the contradictions” of our foes.

    It’s an academic question whether or not the sense of Progressive “fairness” ingrained in people can accommodate actual fairness. The “fairness” engrained now assumes that women and other “minorities” are victims of white, heterosexual, capitalist, Christian, hard-working males. The metric as it is now, usually (but not always) unspoken, is that it’s okay to discriminate against white males because of supposed past abuses.

    I would suspect that queers and other gender anarchists would have a better time burning their jockstraps and taking down female hegemony. But who knows? I think we should expand this site’s revenue potential by taking bets on things like this. We skim off a percentage and perhaps donate it to a worthy charity. But doesn’t the betting instinct in you wonder whose ox is gored this time?

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Feminists are also running into transgender problems. After all, the Vagina Monologues is no longer (to liberals) a sufficiently inclusive play, having no place for women without vaginas (i.e., sexually confused men).

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Trump supporters who are pining for a comeuppance ought to go out into the field and either instigate this stuff or report on those who are.

        In my heart of hearts, I think there should be a men’s lounge added. Let the women’s lounge stand. And anyone role-playing various gender identities should cordon off a space for their kind(s) in the drama department. Whether they need a “with vagina” sub-section and a “without vagina” sub-section will be totally up to them. Let these queers and wackos reenact a sketch from “Life of Brian” as they fuss over this stuff.

  9. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    It takes French a little while to get rolling, but read this and understand where I’m coming from with this new policy. A highlight:

    Core conservative voters tend to delegate their activism. They vote for and support champions — people who will go to Washington or march into court and set things right. But when it comes to their business lives or even their charitable endeavors, they will leave their politics at home. Not so with committed progressives: They take their core values into every sphere of existence.

    Have you ever served on a board or a commission with a committed progressive? Have you ever sat on a hiring committee where committed progressives have a voice? At all times and in all ways, they are putting their political thumb on the scales. Each and every institution they belong to can (and will, given enough time) become an engine for social justice. And it’s a mistake to believe that they do so as dreaded “scolds” and “social-justice warriors.” Yes, you’ll find those folks, mainly on campus and online. But the most effective progressives also happen to be among the friendliest, most engaging people you’ll meet. Even apolitical colleagues find their idealism infectious.

    That’s how you get local bar associations celebrating Earth Day, or third-grade classes doing a whole semester’s worth of art projects on climate change, or corporate HR departments running extended, celebratory profiles of transgender employees. It’s the agenda, always and everywhere.

    Conservatives roll their eyes at the “nonsense,” but often keep their values to themselves. Why? If we believe that our ideas about liberty, individual responsibility, and the value of the family are the ideas most likely to revitalize our communities, why is our own thumb not constantly on the scales? Why aren’t our jobs also platforms for our activism? Why do we not live as if our values are exactly as important as we say they are?

    Scripture could not be more clear that you should, “Put not your trust in princes.” Yet the political movement most likely to invoke the Bible consistently puts its trust in princes, delegating the most critical cultural fights to a class of leaders that can’t possibly do all it’s asked to. The result is a crisis, and a sense of pervasive despair where there should be sober reflection, then repentance, and then action.

  10. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Clearly one of the differences between conservatives’ and progressives’ activism is that conservatives, find no religious fulfillment through social activism. The get such fulfillment from religion.

    For the Left, their “religious fulfillment” comes from progressive politics and everything is politics to them.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      This is why a say that liberalism/leftism, like Islam, is a political cult. It mixes politics and religion.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Read what I wrote below, Timothy. I agree that the Left mixes their politics with religion and then labels it “secular” and thereby cleansing it (if only rhetorically) of religion.

        Even so, it’s not exactly news that the right is very religious. So why aren’t they as motivated? I think I’ve partially answered that question. The right has been intimidated into staying inside their box. Or perhaps staying inside this box is a convenient way of avoiding espousing one’s values. Whatever the case may be, erase religion from this entirely. It cancels out because it’s on both sides.

        So the Left is kicking our ass and all we got was this stupid t-shirt. That’s where we are right now. Trump has been a wake-up call. But who will wake up?

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I agree that’s part of it, Mr. Kung. But I think it’s also become a bad habit of boxing ourselves in. It’s easy for conservative to come to believe the propaganda of the Left that the right’s values need to stay private and inside a box. The Left has won the argument (at least they live rent-free inside the minds of conservatives) that their “secular” values are neutral and thus appropriate to society at large while the right’s values are based in religion and thus illegitimate outside the personal sphere.

      Or it’s just cowardice. Whatever the case may be, do not think me impolite when I say I don’t want another article submitted on politics that is simply rehashing history or obsessing on how many Jeffersonian angels can dance on the head of a Constitutional pin.

      Everyone who says, “Gee, Brad, your rules seem unclear” is going to be sent to that David French article for a gut-check. We’ve all been involved in little more than mental masturbation about this stuff, if only because we like to hear ourselves talk. And I’m okay with that in regards to creative writing. Write a poem. Write a story. Whatever. But let’s leave politics our of our mechanism for drama. DO SOMETHING or, frankly, shut up.

      I think French is just one step behind me, but he said it so much better. My shorthand is to call the conservative media little more than a book club that serves the right’s grievance…a grievance that is not a first step toward activism.

      And I think I know where many are coming from in regards to Trump. Instead of taking time to do the hard work of standing up for what you believe, we have, as David French so eloquently put it:

      Core conservative voters tend to delegate their activism. They vote for and support champions — people who will go to Washington or march into court and set things right. But when it comes to their business lives or even their charitable endeavors, they will leave their politics at home.

      That’s the reality. Our own Koch Brother, Pat Tarzwell, is the exception to this rule. And Mr. Kung has reported on being active in his precinct or area at times. I run a damn web site that is free for your use. Can’t get on the front page of National Review? Few can (and perhaps many would not want to). But you can get published here. The deal is, no more lazy shit. No more mental masturbation. No more forever parsing and analyzing. Become a reporter. Become a journalist. Become an activist. Or just go somewhere else. I’m fine with that. I’d miss some of you, but let the chips fall where they may. We may not do much but we will be on the path going through the narrow gate (the one, I suppose, whereby Trump is not considered to be anointed by God).

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        “Mr. Kung. But I think it’s also become a bad habit of boxing ourselves in. It’s easy for conservative to come to believe the propaganda of the Left that the right’s values need to stay private and inside a box.

        I couldn’t agree more with you. I have for years pointed out how the Left has pushed to make any political discussion which contained “religion” illegitimate. They have, largely, succeeded.

        And in the USA, this has been done on a lie, i.e. that the Constitution requires separation of Church and State. I believe I have previously pointed out that there are only two mentions of “religion” in the Constitution and neither precludes “religion” influencing governance.

        One clauses mentions that there will be no religious tests for holding office. The other is in the first amendment any it simply states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

        The progressives have bent, twisted and deformed this sentence beyond recognition. And conservatives have let them.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          One way they twist that portion of the First Amendment (and usually ignore the “free exercise” part) is by never quoting it. I’ve noticed this about liberal commentaries on religion: they will talk of the “wall of separation” but never mention the actual words of the Constitution.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            I sometimes ask people, who spout this nonsense about how the Constitution bans religion from government, to please quote me the clause which demands this. Of course, they can’t and they don’t even know what the first amendment says.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              Well, one needs to understand it’s not the Constitution that governs Progressivism. In the eyes of a Progressive, the Constitution is an ancient document meant to protect the power of the slave owners, capitalists, and other ne’er-do-wells. It’s the mother of all White Privilege documents.

              So it’s irrelevant to the Progressive world view whether or not the Constitution bans religion from government. Progressivism does. Well, it at least bans other religions (starting with Christianity, of course). It will get around to Islam when it has served its purpose as a subversive force (if there is anyone left alive, of course, to then deal with Islam).

              And nearly all parts of the Constitution, including the First Amendment, can be easily reinterpreted to suit the cause of the Left. Given White Privilege, systemic racism, and the evil of capitalism as a given, they place different limits on free speech other than “yelling fire in a crowded movie house.” For the Left, simply making people feel “unsafe” is reason enough to shut you down. A simple difference of opinion becomes (to the cause that wants a unified one-party totalitarian state) the equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded move house.

              Much of this, quite frankly, is driven by the female (not feminist, per se) mindset. Women have a completely different idea of law than men do. Men have their flaws, but one of them is not their ability to have a clearly-defined principle or idea and then stick to it despite a momentary flood of emotions.

              This is why the marginalization of men (feelings over standards) is so important to the Left. The bold, courageous, logic-oriented, and law-oriented mindset of the man must be erased. Granted, we’ve certainly seen a lack of that as men have been degraded like everything else in this culture.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            It occurs to me that Trump isn’t a particular friend of the First Amendment either.

            The “Wall of separation” exists in the sense that the Federal government is not to favor one Christian denomination over another. I don’t think the Founders saw Judaism as a force to be reckoned with, and certainly not a subversive force of any matter. Had they understood better the nature of Islam, they might have better worded the first amendment by noting it doesn’t include the protection of totalitarian ideologies which have a religious sub-component such as Islam.

            And how could they have foreseen the great atheist movement of “secular” Progressivism which is as highly religious as any force on earth but claims to be completely outside of religion (which it considers inherently evil unless bent to the agenda of “diversity”)?

            If someone wants to write a clear, concise, and eloquent article on how educators, businessmen, politicians, and just plain mothers and fathers can address this issue, then have at it. There is nothing in the new submission rules that exclude education. But if that education includes “Danbury Baptists” understand that you’re just likely going to cause a lot of eyes to glaze over. We’ve heard all that. And it has had exactly zero effect on the culture. God bless David Barton and his cause. But he’s losing.

            Maybe we need to create a First Amendment app that somehow enlightens people on the issue. One could certainly sidestep religion, per say, and talk about natural law, common law, and such. And that’s all well and good. But you’ll simply be preaching inside the conservative bubble. What do you say (similar to what Mike Adams is saying to his college student) that will be clear and reach people?

            I’m not saying there are any magic words to get people to immediately change their opinions that are the result of long indoctrination in the Religion of Leftism. But a concise contrast such as what which Adams provides seems a good start.

            But an article simply outlining the abuses of free speech by the Left accomplishes nothing. Something should write something (if they are going to address this subject at all) that can be printed out and taped onto refrigerators and lunch counters and distributed widely. In fact, if someone does provide such an article, I’ll be glad to turn it into a handsome pdf one can then download and print out.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Given that the teaching of basic philosophy and logic seems all but dead, it’s very easy for the Left to get away with these Kindergarten distinctions.

          Thank god for artificial intelligence which might make up for that shortcoming. Or maybe not. Read this hilarious article about Microsoft’s teen chat bot, Tay, which was dispensing racist tweets such as “Hitler was right I hate the Jews” and “I fucking hate feminists and they should all die and burn in hell.”

          But I digress (but just had to share that humorous bit of news). I would say atheism reigns, even within Christianity. Dennis Prager takes another justified shot at the goofball Leftist Pope Francis. Isn’t it fair to say the ultimately it’s Marxist-derived atheism informing his morals, not Catholicism?

          So when I say I’m a religious heretic, I think clever fellows such as you (who understand irony, understatement, sarcasm, parody…all the advanced human traits beyond Kindergarten) know what I mean.

          Christians are a spent force in our culture. I agree with Prager that Leftism, not Islam or Christianity, has been the most influential movement of the last hundred years:

          Leftism has taken over the world’s leading educational institutions, the world’s news media, the world’s popular entertainment, and it has influenced Christianity (and Judaism) far more than Christianity (or Judaism) has influenced anything.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            I think it may have been in my response to Prager that I observed that “Is the Pope Catholic?” is no longer a rhetorical question.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              LOL. No kidding. In this highly consumerist culture where everything is marketed, and then the marketing can change on a dime and a product can be something else, I think never has it been truer that “perception equals reality.” So stick a funny cap on an old man and he a “Pope.” Put an “R” next to some dimwit’s name and he is a reform-minded Republican of the party of Lincoln.

              And offhand I can’t remember where I read it, but someone noted that Trump is more a product of branding than reality. That is, he has his name on a lot of buildings he didn’t build. Oh, her it is. It’s from Kevin Williamson: Trump’s Big Tax Hike:

              Donald Trump does not understand this, because he isn’t a real businessman — he’s a Potemkin businessman, a New York City real-estate heir with his name on a lot of buildings he doesn’t own and didn’t build and whose real business is peddling celebrity and its by-products. He’s a lot more like Paris Hilton than he is like Henry Ford or Steve Jobs. Miss Hilton sells perfumes and the promise of glamour, Trump sells ugly neckties and the promise of glamour. By Trump’s own reckoning, his brand — meaning the cloud of celebrity that hangs around him — is worth more than his actual assets, which ought to tell you something about the nature of his business model, i.e., that it’s show business.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Town Hall has a short piece on someone in your own area striking back suitably against the liberals. The Bremerton football coach fired for praying at the end of each game is suing to get his job back. This is exactly what should be done: always fight back, use their own techniques against them, never let them win by default. The link is:

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I was at one of the school board meetings (and reported on it…somewhere).

          In most school districts now you can glorify various forms of sodomy and perversion. But DO NOT DARE PRAY TO GOD! Glorify a man’s asshole? Sure. But the Almighty? Too divisive…or something.

          To tell you the truth, Timothy, this is the first I’ve heard about the lawsuit. I don’t subscribe to the pathetic liberal rag that purports to be our hometown newspaper. But let’s all say a prayer right now for this brave coach and wish for his success — and perhaps gain a little inspiration and courage from him as well. There aren’t many non-girly-men left.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          always fight back, use their own techniques against them, never let them win by default.

          Absolutely!!! But this is difficult as these people always use the government and public money to try and silence their opponents.

          This doesn’t only pertain to social issues. The Left and monied interests often work together to change zoning and other laws to change the nature of a city or town. To organize citizens to fight against such interests is difficult, but it can be done. It generally starts with signatures on a petition and ends in a court.

  11. Timothy Lane says:

    Sally Kohn, attacking The Donald’s varying strictures on Muslim immigration, recently tweeted that Shariah supporters included some of the nice, moderate, even progressive Muslims we all are supposed to appreciate. The Daily Caller has an article on the response: a petition urging Kohn (an open lesbian) to visit any country where Shariah holds sway for a week without bodyguards to prove how nice they are to sexual perverts. It includes a link to the petition (which I signed). The article link is:

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      Wow! “Sexual perverts” Wow! Where is your respect?

      Sally Kohn is another of these fanatical perverts who give normal perverts a bad name.

      After listening to her other-worldly mutterings, one wonders how she got through school. But then one remembers that in order to do well in the Bureau of Propaganda that is today’s university education, a “student” must only spew back to the Bureau’s functionaries the lies which the functionaries first spewed to the “students.”

      Yes, I would like to see a nice Jewish lesbian atheist like Kohn spend a vacation in any number of scenic spots where shariah holds sway.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I hate lesbian hair. Kohn has that in spades. It’s as if lesbians are stuck in a 60’s sitcom, at least concerning hair.

      I hate the hair but I don’t necessarily hate lesbians. Besides, I finally figured out where they’re coming. I met a couple, shall we say, bulldog lesbians at Starbucks the other day. They were nice. We exchanged pleasantries while waiting in line.

      But they both had these stupid butch Mohawk-like haircuts. It was then that I discovered that women turn to lesbianism to give themselves license to have bad hair days every day.

      And license to wear tattoos.

      And lots of black.

      And to act man-like (in the cause of rejecting everything feminine, I guess).

      Moderate Sharia. Good luck with that, dyke.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Another attack by the queer Nazis aimed at religion and Western Culture.

        These fanatics will never stop. But never forget, we must be respectful and display understanding for their vicious non-stop attacks on our culture and freedoms.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          We must also realize that preserving what’s left of our freedom of religion depends, unfortunately, on judges and especially the future composition of SCOTUS. Given “Jusetice” Kennedy’s proclivities, it may already be too late.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          One of these days this site might have to cave to the Pink Mafia. The way things are headed, it’s worse than lighting kittens on fire to criticize the homosexual agenda.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            Be afraid, be very afraid.

            These people are fanatics and have lots of money and media behind. (They make up a large portion of the media in any case.)

            And perhaps most importantly, there are millions of “useful idiots” who support the Pink Mafia. Wanting to appear “nice”, they fall for the lies and perversions the Pink Mafia propagate.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              The way I see it is that we live in an age where there is no moral framework. And by “moral framework” I mean in the sense of the idea of certain behaviors being prohibited. And there are good and bad moral frameworks, of course. Despite some idiot dyke’s opinion of it, Sharia is a very bad moral framework. Nazism was a bad moral framework. Maoism is a bad moral framework. Black Lives Matter is a bad moral framework.

              But the idea of a moral framework is the idea that not all is or should be allowed…a bit of human wisdom that has been with us like (said with a Valley Girl accent) forever.

              Although the homosexual agenda is generally thought of by the useful idiots as a function of equality or equal rights (aka “marriage equality” or non-discrimination), I believe the driving influence is simply homo economicus. We’ve become not a moral culture but a market culture — for better or for worse. I’m not making a judgment on that at the moment. It just is what it is.

              In a market culture, having more choices and being open to new things (novelty) is the reigning paradigm. This is, of course, a core aspect of the Church of Progressivism as well. And it’s likely the primary reason that Libertarianism has never made much ground. This core liberalism of “choice” uber alles already belongs to someone else. About all that Libertarians can thus do to try to differentiate themselves is by fixating on legalizing all drugs.

              But legalizing all types of sex has come first. In the age where the word “choice” is a powerful enough word to cover the murder of the unborn, it’s more than powerful enough to excuse any and all sexual practices…with some few exceptions which are even now being eroded away by the Pink Mafia and their allies.

              We laughed at the idea of gay marriage not long ago. And those same people insist that pedophilia could never become mainstream. But when “choice” and “openness to all things” (the true root of the lack of resistance to Islam or illegal aliens) are the driving force, there is little reason to believe that, except for the small sins such as smoking, that the Church of Progressivism will find its prohibitive aspect.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                Anyone familiar with NAMBLA knows that eventually pedophilia will be a mainstream liberal notion. The only question is which of the perversions is next.

  12. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Anyone familiar with NAMBLA knows that eventually pedophilia will be a mainstream liberal notion.

    Timothy, I hate to sound like a pessimist, but the only attraction such matters have left for me is the sportsman’s wager.

    We on the right who are at least marginally informed understand that people such as Hillary Clinton have long championed the legal rights of children, even over and above their parents. We see that with the abortion issue, for example, where in many cases a child does not require parental consent…but would for much more trivial things, such as signing up for a softball team.

    The Left will expand its sexual “choices” to that of consenting children who are already viewed as needing and deserving the legal status of adults. And the Left idolizes all things yute. Where once there was a time when our seniors were respected, those days are gone in Western Culture. Seniors offer little more than a financial and lifestyle burden to those ensconced in “marketplace choice” and for whom the sating of every desire is the point to living.

    Again, it may sound as if I’ve come down from on high to hurl fire-and-brimstone at those notions. I haven’t. It just is what it is. The fact is, particularly with Trump in mind (but not just Trump and not just the pseudo-Pope Francis), I don’t believe there is a Christian and/or conservative movement that has any power or real desire to oppose this stuff, thus this situation has been reduced in my estimation to merely “a sporting interest.” I no longer think there is a significant faction who “has my back,” if you will.

    Writing articles and stating opinions online is not the same as actually materially opposing any of this stuff, thus the gist of the entire thread. I refuse to be an actor in this farce any longer. If someone wishes to actually oppose these things, or knows of someone else who is, then please do share your thoughts and experiences.

    It takes a while for people to get used to things. But the acceptance of homosexual “marriage” came rather quickly once the groundwork was laid. And that groundwork was laid in large part in the entertainment industry where every queer was always a nice queer or had some redeeming characteristic. He was funny. He was smart. He was successful. But he was rarely reality. Gay marriage is based upon the Ken & Ted sanitized version of homosexuality, not what homosexuality really is.

    Some of the groundwork for man-boy love is being laid in such movies as L.I.E. which, apart from the subject matter, is a fairly entertaining movie. I would suspect that the pedophilia movement will start first with “teen rights” or something of the sort which would lower legal age for consent to thirteen…but it could also be twelve or eleven.

    Again, I’m going to sound like a cruel parker for stating this so bluntly, but I think it’s just a matter of how and when, not if. The one and only thing that could (and has, in some places) interfere with those plans is the spread of Muslims to the West. It’s this clash that is most of interest to the sportsman. And I’ve got to go with Islam in the long term.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Note that parental consent is needed for a school nurse to give any medicine to a child — but not for an abortion. And what if some medicine is needed after (or during) the abortion? I doubt any “pro-choice” liberal cares.

  13. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    For anyone wondering about the essence of the new submissions rules for political stuff, read this rare good article at American Thinker by Susan Stanton: How Voting Really Works: An Eyewitness Account.

    Rather than sitting in her armchair pontificating or intellectualing or analyzing ad infinitum, she’s writing about the real world in a meaningful way. You learn something. Her writing isn’t fancy. She’s certainly not trying to sound all hifalutin as if she’s begging for a spot on a Fox News panel. She’d just writing about real-world reality regarding an important subject: the security of voting.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Once Oregon and Washington went to mail-in balloting, I wrote them off due to the likelihood of fraudulent voting. Evidently the situation in Washington is even worse than I thought.

    • Rosalys says:

      I am happy to say that Rhode Island has early voting only in the form of the absentee ballot, and one must have a reason, and apply for it – no automatic sending out of ballots. Who knows how long it will continue? RI has also passed a voter ID law. We also have a paper ballot – one that can be read electronically, but remains in evidence for reading by hand when necessary. It doesn’t stop all voter fraud – for instance, in the last election, many people went to the polls, only to be told they had already voted (mostly in Providence) – but it’s a start. We’ve got to retreat from continuous voting. Election Day should be a day. Countable by hand, paper ballots only. And the voting rolls have to be continuously updated, and crosschecked, and whatever else necessary to ensure their accuracy. Buses unloading “voters” at polling places should be photographed and treated with suspicion. And no states should adopt voting practices simply for the sake of saving money. If ensuring the validity of elections costs twice or three times as much, it is money well spent!

      Allen West’s article that Susan Stanton links to is a good one also.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Rhode Island put in its voter ID law several years ago because a black Democrat state legislator had gone to vote and discovered she “already had”.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I’d be okay with secure electronic voting, but I agree that it should be a day and not spread out like this. Those with special circumstances may request a mail-in ballot.

        • Rosalys says:

          I don’t believe there is now, or ever will be, such a thing as secure electronic voting.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            I tend to agree with you.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Ever buy anything on the internet? I do. Yes, fraud and theft are possibilities. But billions of dollars change hands and somehow this is secure. But when it comes to voting, suddenly all the software and safeguards used for others types of transactions are moot?

            We’re conservatives, not Luddites. Or are supposed to be. Whatever the means, one of the biggest obstacles to security is the politics of it. For some, fraud is a benefit.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              Ever buy anything on the internet? I do. Yes, fraud and theft are possibilities. But billions of dollars change hands and somehow this is secure. But when it comes to voting, suddenly all the software and safeguards used for others types of transactions are moot?

              The analogy is not perfect. When a business sets up a business site on the web, its interest is to do business as efficiently and securely as possible.

              The question is not can it be done, it is who can we trust to actually set up and oversee this type of thing? Unlike your business analogy, the two sides are not working to develop the best system, but the system which suits them the best.

              Also, how are you going to insure that the person on the internet is the actual person who should be voting? Issue a personal voting card? After seeing the trouble Texas is having with the Supreme Court on a picture ID, I think that might be a problem.

              And as to the amount of actual fraud which occurs on the internet, I would not be surprised if it amounted to something like 5% of all purchases. I believe that used to be the amount of credit card fraud some years back. This number is built into the p/l calculations of the credit card companies. They adjust their interest rates accordingly. This cannot be done in voting. Even if the amount of fraud was only 1 or 2% it would potentially have a huge effect on the outcome of elections.

              Of course, voter fraud is also possible with paper ballots, but it is more difficult if you have a Republican and Democrat overseeing the physical counting of such ballots.

              I would be quite happy to see the whole vote counting process slowed down, giving every precinct 24 hours to tally all votes and then for all tallies to be delivered to a central location in every state. Only once that was done would the state wide votes be announced at one time. No possibility for late votes to appear from Cook County to make up for shortages in the Dem numbers.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Contrast that with, “How are things working now?”

                I don’t see electronic voting as a panacea. After all, it’s a sure bet that a large majority of voting data is already counted by, and then stored in, computers…before or after the paper ballots. But if I can buy things securely on the internet (which must establish my identify), then why can’t I vote online?

                Again, I’m not confusing means with ends. You can have the best means in the world and if there are principals with an interest in fraud, any system can likely be abused. And, really, this points to the thrust of any system dealing with this: It’s too keep the politicians and party hacks from cheating.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                I’m not confusing means with ends. You can have the best means in the world and if there are principals with an interest in fraud, any system can likely be abused

                But the ends have to be considered. If properly set up, it might be possible that an internet based voting system could work very well. Although I still have problems with identification of the person who is supposed to be voting.

                But given the principles presently involved, I would never trust such a system. First, any voting system should be relatively simply to understand and check. This is no longer the case even with the present electronic voting machine. Your average citizen voting judge cannot open it up and see a physical vote. He cannot also not confirm this or that vote is actually valid. This would only be exacerbated by internet voting. We are not all computer geeks and I don’t trust computer geeks any more than I trust anyone else in any case. This is why I am for the “simpler the better” in such things.

                Trust in the system and the ability to verify votes is extremely important. And we are seeing this trust crumble. Our political representatives should be doing all they can to improve things, but they aren’t.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                In Virginia it appears they are preparing for voter fraud the old fashioned way.


              • Timothy Lane says:

                A quarter of the mass provisional ballots going to Loudon County? Somehow I think that’s a giveaway to McAuliffe’s goal, which is no surprise for a typical Clinton Gangster.

              • Rosalys says:

                I second everything you said here!

            • Timothy Lane says:

              My concern in buying things on-line is the possibility of information getting hacked. There have been a number of serious examples — and after all, I had to switch e-mail names because the old one got hacked.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Timothy, I read a really interesting book on hacking. I believe it was Kingpin. Times have certainly changed because technology moves fast. But this hacker noted that most credit card numbers at the time were gained from cash registers (swipe machines, I guess) that stored the numbers (they weren’t supposed to). Single credit card transactions were not the bread and butter. But obviously if you can hack into some company’s database (as has happened more than once recently), you can catch a lot of fish with one hook.

                Whatever the case may be, I recommend this book as a light and entertaining read.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      It appears Mark Steyn is taking your advice.

      One of the things I have always liked about him is his interest in the theater and arts. He knows and understands them.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        What an evisceration of the Clintons by Steyn in that article at the top. Holy cow. Almost makes you feel sorry for them, it’s that well done.

        I hope Trump wins, if only because it is arguable that Hillary would be worse. If Trump starts WWIII through his incompetence, then I reserve the right to change my mind. But I’m far from singing the praises of this demagogue.

        I am as guilty as anyone for letting the shortcomings of my little life live through political and social bitching. But the Mr. Kung rule has been instructive: If you want things to change, don’t just talk about them. Change them.

        I fear that “the right” has become very practiced at doing little but bitching if only because we see the writing on the wall: The Left has been enormously successful in capturing the culture and redefining every single core issue. The right is left to crow about those instances (and Timothy points out that there have been many across the country) where we have slowed down the culture creep of the Left.

        But reverse it? I don’t see that happening. And as Darth Vader said in “Field of Dreams”:

        The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

        We should not be cheering for anything to remain static in America, even as I reach into my collection of 78s from the 1920s-40s and celebrate Frank Sinatra. It is not true that there is nothing but social progress and the perfectibility of society and mankind in our future. That is an illusion fed by the quite obvious progress in science and technology.

        But mankind pretty much stays as it is: frail and stupid with some people aiming for art, industry, and high culture rather than war and pestilence. I appreciate that Steyn is not a one-note polemicist. I am laying down my bitch-a-thon baton. I’ll save it for special occasions. Whether or not I’ll get out there and stump for real change, I don’t know. But I will no longer be a mindless drone of the Daily Drama.

  14. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I read part of the free Kindle sample of “The Benedict Option” last night. I may have mentioned some of this stuff before. If so, bear with me.

    First, let me say that the world is full of Christians writing books about how all other Christians have it wrong. And then they often proceed to spout Kumbaya gibberish, seemingly not aware that this junk is the problem in the first place.

    Rod Dreher, being a nice guy, does not call it “Kumbaya Christianity.” He has a another word (or Smith and Denton do). But I think we’re talking about the same thing:

    Even more troubling, many of the churches that do stay open will have been hollowed out by a sneaky kind of secularism to the point where the “Christianity” taught there is devoid of power and life. It has already happened in most of them. In 2005, sociologists Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton examined the religious and spiritual lives of American teenagers from a wide variety of backgrounds. What they found was that in most cases, teenagers adhered to a mushy pseudoreligion the researchers deemed Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD). 3 MTD has five basic tenets:

    + A God exists who created and orders the world and watches over human life on earth.
    + God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
    + The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
    + God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when he is needed to resolve a problem.
    + Good people go to heaven when they die.

    . . . MTD is not entirely wrong. After all, God does exist, and He does want us to be good. The problem with MTD, in both its progressive and its conservative versions, is that it’s mostly about improving one’s self-esteem and subjective happiness and getting along well with others. It has little to do with the Christianity of Scripture and tradition, which teaches repentance, self-sacrificial love, and purity of heart, and commends suffering— the Way of the Cross— as the pathway to God. Though superficially Christian, MTD is the natural religion of a culture that worships the Self and material comfort.

    . . . MTD is the de facto religion not simply of American teenagers but also of American adults. To a remarkable degree, teenagers have adopted the religious attitudes of their parents. We have been an MTD nation for some time now.

    I think these points are valid although one could, of course, go into more detail. And “MTD” could also be called “The Religion of Leftism with incense and stained glass superficially layered on top.” And I think there are some other huge missing bullet points (such as feminism).

    But I’m not pointing this out to talk religious philosophy, per se. The reason I post this is because Dreher has put into words something I’ve struggled to articulate.

    Not only have we lost the public square, but the supposed high ground of our churches is no safe place either. Well, so what if those around us don’t share our morality? We can still retain our faith and teaching within the walls of our churches, we may think, but that’s placing unwarranted confidence in the health of our religious institutions. The changes that have overtaken the West in modern times have revolutionized everything, even the church, which no longer forms souls but caters to selves. As conservative Anglican theologian Ephraim Radner has said, “There is no safe place in the world or in our churches within which to be a Christian. It is a new epoch.”

    Basically his recipe is do to what St. Benedict did after the fall of Rome when he found that the guts of civilization had been rotted out (at least in the western part of the empire). Benedict retreated to a cave for three years (instead of following a cushy civil service job in Rome). He then later, of course, founded an order that would not only be an island in the storm but a safe harbor from which to teach others what they needed to know and that had been forgotten or intentionally dispensed with.

    I’m not St. Benedict. But if you read this free sample part of the book, you will understand where I’m coming from. For this next quote, expand beyond Christianity to include Constitutionality, the free market, freedom, wisdom, intelligence, moral sobriety, and the preservation of the finest things of Western Civilization:

    We Christians in the West are facing our own thousand-year flood— or if you believe Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, a fifteen-hundred-year flood: in 2012, the then-pontiff said that the spiritual crisis overtaking the West is the most serious since the fall of the Roman Empire near the end of the fifth century. The light of Christianity is flickering out all over the West.

    . . . Nobody but the most deluded of the old-school Religious Right believes that this cultural revolution can be turned back. The wave cannot be stopped, only ridden. With a few exceptions, conservative Christian political activists are as ineffective as White Russian exiles, drinking tea from samovars in their Paris drawing rooms, plotting the restoration of the monarchy. One wishes them well but knows deep down that they are not the future.

    What gave me good reason to believe this guy wasn’t just another kook was this paragraph:

    Today we can see that we’ve lost on every front and that the swift and relentless currents of secularism have overwhelmed our flimsy barriers. Hostile secular nihilism has won the day in our nation’s government, and the culture has turned powerfully against traditional Christians. We tell ourselves that these developments have been imposed by a liberal elite, because we find the truth intolerable: The American people, either actively or passively, approve.

    This may be a difficult truth to accept, but that’s also where I think we are. (Thus if you actually do want to contribute to keep this site going, do so while criticism of the established order is still allowed.)

    Providing further proof that this gentlemen is not a pie-in-the-sky ideologue or deluder, I was astonished to read this:

    Could it be that the best way to fight the flood is to . . . stop fighting the flood? That is, to quit piling up sandbags and to build an ark in which to shelter until the water recedes and we can put our feet on dry land again? Rather than wasting energy and resources fighting unwinnable political battles, we should instead work on building communities, institutions, and networks of resistance that can outwit, outlast, and and eventually overcome the occupation.

    You’ve just read the raison d’être of StubbornThings. Either do something to actively oppose the Left or help build the ark. But don’t think for a moment that endless bitching and analyzing is doing something. That’s just “drinking tea from samovars in their Paris drawing rooms, plotting the restoration of the monarchy.”

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Sooner or later there will be a backlash, a revival (at least partial) of traditional virtues. Whether it will come in time for us to witness it, I don’t know. But one useful thing we can all do is help inform the public about the consequences of the current lunacy. It’s too late for most people to understand that one’s “gender” doesn’t change moment by moment, or day by day, or ever (with extremely rare exceptions caused by genetic abnormalities). But by pointing out actual abuses, one can show why it’s unwise to require others to pretend that the delusion is real.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I’m all for writing pieces that inform, especially if they are written with the eye toward education. The mindset would be that you know there could be someone out there who will respond to it. It’s like being Johnny Appleseed. You throw a few seeds out and hope they take root.

        We have to assume that there are others who are fed up with this junk. I understand the frustration. I certainly understand the desire to gripe about it. But I’m tired of pointless bitching and analyzing. We can be a virtual monastery of sorts preserving the best of Western Civilization and presenting it thoughtfully as an alternative to Communism.

        When someone does a thoughtful and somewhat in-depth review of a classic (or just very good) book or movie, they are highlighting something that is good and worth preserving. And, frankly, simply having an adult conversation that is not entirely politicized or the product of politicization is a triumph of sorts.

        Let’s illuminate some virtual manuscripts. And it need be nothing particularly profound. I still envision something as basic as a travelogue, a description of on one’s visit to a museum or noted landmark, would be a great way to enrich oneself and lay down a few goods seeds.

        And if anyone is having trouble distinguishing between “pointless bitching” and Johnny Appleseed, I’d be glad to write further thoughts on the subject.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          But I’m tired of pointless bitching and analyzing. We can be a virtual monastery of sorts preserving the best of Western Civilization and presenting it thoughtfully as an alternative to Communism.

          For some reason, your comments made me recall an old ditty we used to hear in years gone by.

          Bitch, bitch,
          Bitch and complain,
          Ever since the baby came,
          When are we going to get married?

          Perhaps this is more pertinent now than ever.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Never heard that one, Mr. Kung. It’s pertinent.

            Mr. Kung, you know my mind far better than most. I’m not sure it’s so easy to break out of the fog of the Daily Political Drama to get what I’m saying. Like I said, people should download that free Kindle version of “The Benedict Option.” Although times are different (and perhaps not so bad), I think the analogy is apt.

            I would be happy if some did a monthly column, perhaps in alphabetical order or keeping some order that links them all together. Perhaps one day they take a look at the definition of “liberty.” Perhaps the next subject they tackle (#2 in our series on Preserving Western Civilization) the meaning of “equality.” I don’t mean the usual laundry list of grievances and abuses. One should think with the mind of sowing an apple seed. Present the case fairly and honestly, perhaps even doing as Thomas Aquinas did which was to present the arguments contrary to his ideas in likely a far more eloquent and clear way than anyone else could.

            At the end of the day, is the point to simply feel better because you’ve been “drinking tea from samovars in their Paris drawing rooms, plotting the restoration of the monarchy” or because you’ve provided a resource, no matter how small and humble, that could steer someone else in the right direction?

            And none of this is about method (it’s not a request for namby-pamby). It’s about purpose.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            I haven’t heard that ditty before, but Allan Sherman had a nice take in his version of the “Riddle Song” (I have a version of the actual song by Carly Simon). His love responds to receiving a baby with, “But when you give a baby, there’s just one thing. You ought to give at least an engagement ring.”

  15. pstmct says:

    I do not mean to bitch, I just wanted to give some supporting context to this
    book or article, you are referring to.
    Social Justice is a Christian Tradition, Not A Liberal Agenda. (?????) I think this article is a perfect example of the left’s progress towards the destruction of the Christian faith.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      That’s painful junk to read, Mr. Tarzwell. To abscond with Jesus as the leader of a Marxian movement that parses the world into victims and oppressors (with “sin” being a political notion-of-the-moment at the service of the victim-of-the-moment) is an abomination.

      No doubt Jesus would have looked kindly on men hacking off their balls to become women. No doubt Jesus would have looked at the poor man drunk in the gutter and declared him a victim of “the rich” instead of pointing out that his own sins had most likely gotten him to where he is.

      “Social Justice” is forever about external villains. Never is there an emphasis on people getting their own acts together. This man is either evil or stupid. I think the latter. There is no doubt that Jesus would like to us be good to each other, to help the poor, etc. But unlike the Social Justice Mafia, Jesus did not apparently see avoiding poverty as the overriding and only point of society or of goodness.

      Anyone who claims to speak for Jesus and yet white-washes the dark underbelly of something like “Black Lives Matter” is just an idiot. Jesus would want us to love one another and take little or no notice of superficial things such as skin color. But the Jesus of Social Justice thinks it a high crime not to define people based on their skill color or their group identity. The idea of judging people personally via a universal standard is not only the furthest thing from their mind, but it is evil to their mind, for after all, who is Jesus to tell anyone how to live?

      So if you don’t believe in objective standards and in Jesus as a human incarnation of God, then fine. I’m not thoroughly convinved myself. But then don’t run around pretending to be a Christian. You are nothing but a pernicious fraud spreading destructive “feel-goodism” that simply facilitates people staying rotten…or making them worse.

      And if you have time, Pat, I’ll open up and tell you what I really think.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        One crucial, obvious error of the SJ pretend-Christians is simple: they confuse voluntary charity with government charity. Ebenezer Scrooge, pre-visitation, took the same view.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          One of the hardest things for me to do, Timothy, is actual prayer. That said, I find a persistent and prolonged semi-meditative state to be practically my normal state-of-mind. The point is, one makes an error of superficial proportions when one confuses mere labels (government) with real things. Government might do some good here and there. But it also does a lot of wrecking of lives as well. You have to try to make these discernments outside of the poisonous cloud of The Daily Drama.

          I saw a (okay….no one’s eyes better glaze over) a recent episode of Babylon 5 in which an ultra-superstitious (religious?) alien couple forbids a simple surgery on their son because “only animals are ever cut open.” They think this would not only reduce their son to the status of an animal but destroy his soul. (This episode is not *quite* as mind-rumblingly pro-science, anti-religious as you might think. It’s stupid in some aspects, but I’ve seen far worse.)

          When we are superstitious about government and ascribe to it some kind of mystical status, we have made an idol of it…something Christians, in particular, are to avoid. If we are to do some good via government we must also weigh the bad we do or may do. And that, to my mind, separates the self-indulgent, narcissistic idolizers (or often outright charlatans in the case of politicians) from those who actually want to help for goodness’ sake. They refuse to believe that unintended consequences are even possible, such is the power they ascribe to their good intentions. There is very little desire of self-reflection.

          And to my way of viewing things, you’ll never know the difficult of discerning what the Goodness really is if you make a superstitious idol out of government and become lost in the cloud of your own supposed superior righteousness.

          And that’s a good point about Scrooge…a point lost on most people today. Let us do good to people but let us be aware that other people are not toys for us to play with. They were not put on this earth to show how supposedly damn “nice” we are. I totally agree with Pat, for instance, that any charity should have an obligation that comes with it…washing some dishes, taking out the trash, or even just sitting still for a moment and being preached to. This is not done to punish anyone but to make sure that they are not harmed by idolatrous “do-gooderism.” We can only pray that more people come to understand this.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            I have long believed that a big motivation for many of those who are so in favor of government welfare programs, is that it gives them the soothing excuse of not having to personally deal with the real problems of society, yet the ability to say they are doing their fair-share. Heh! I pay my taxes!

            In fact, they are shirking the social responsibilities which they claim to champion.

            Having to follow Pat’s formula would be too much bother for these types.

      • pstmct says:

        You said it very well Brad. a friend sent this to me, and I jumped down his throat, and if he thought this was a good thing for Christians to read or to agree with in any way. I had grossly misjudged his character. He said he though he would use this to give to give to pastors to read so they would understand why pushing the anti boys in girls locker room petitions was an OK thing for pastors to do. Again I came unglued, he may never ask me a question again, but I told him I am truly sorry for him if he buys into any of this garbage. (I was not nearly so eloquent or nice as you were)

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Pat I opened the link to read the article and saw “Sojourners” and I stopped.

          This is the group founded by that radical left-winger Jim Wallis who claims to be a Christian, but from what I have seen of him over the years, I doubt it.

          The man’s religion seems to be leftism.

          • pstmct says:

            That makes perfect sense, I did not know that. Thanks Mr. Zu. Why my friend sent this to me may remain a mystery, I may have pissed him off with my reaction.

  16. pstmct says:

    I do not know the author, so it is hard for me to give the pass of just being stupid, but I suppose that is a possibility. I agree with Timthy that these SJ Christians are just that, pretend, but I don’t think they are confused, feminized or emasculated maybe, brainwashed, maybe some, but if they are going out and writing articles, I don’t think so; they are commies and working the useful idiot Christians out there to destroy absolute truth.
    I agree with Mr. Zu that a great deal of the useful idiot Christians, like the idea of helping the poor just as long as they do not have to do anything. I have heard this from David Barton that the Bible mentions government, in terms of what it should do for the poor, only once; and that is where the Bible says, Do not favor the poor over the rich man in court, treat them equally.
    Sorry, I did not mean to start a discussion about this crappy article, I just thought it dovetailed in to what Brad had written as to how far Christianity fallen.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

      I do think that a large portion of the “niceness” we see is of this kind.

      “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

      And my favorite quote regarding this issue:

      “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

      Nowadays, if it isn’t posted on Facebook for all to see, it didn’t happen.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        This is much like the ostentatious liberals who will sleep one night on a heated grating in a sidewalk — or the Marin Countiers who, as The Almanac of American Politics once put it, go to the store in cashmere sweaters and barefoot to show solidarity with the poor.

        But it’s also always important to remember that the liberal most loves being generous — at someone else’s expense. This is one reason why they prefer the government dole to private charity. It’s paid for by taxes that they evade as much as possible.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          The more I think about Ebenezer Scrooge, the more I like him in his pre-Kumbaya mode. He worked hard, provided a living for others, and provided a needed service to customers. He was, by all accounts, a law-abiding man.

          But for liberals, this is never enough. You must join the Cult of Niceness. And there we run into the dark underbelly of liberalism, for what inevitably happens is that genuflecting in the ways of “nice” — putting on the exterior of the Cult of Niceness — is all that matters. The reality beneath (including unintended consequences) do not matter. This becomes a social interactive force that gets drunk on its own airy fumes as it floats above reality.

          We can cheer Mr. Scrooge’s transformation because it was a personal one (certainly prompted by some strange and powerful things). But it could never be said that we has just going along to get along, that he was mindlessly joining the choir of sappy shit-eating-grinners of niceness. The man was genuinely transformed.

          Still, it’s just a story, and a quite Marxist one at its core, for the solution to problems is just a matter of the rich not hoarding their stashes and giving it to the poor. Victims and oppressors. The rich are always mean-spirited and the poor are always nice, long-suffering family men such as Bob Cratchit. The ghosts are mere prompts for a guilty social conscience, not needed for anything deeper.

          But I love the story. I’m just not of that distinctly socialist British mindset. We ought to be a charitable people. And the greatest charity we can give is to give someone an honest job. For those unable to work, or in special circumstances of misfortune (determined after some vetting), our hearts and our wallets should open.

          But this current society is long past making even the most modest discernments. We now sport a Kindergarten mind.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            I wouldn’t call it a Marxist tale. Scrooge remains in business, and his post-visitation generosity is actual personal charity and kindness. Note that he had already (if reluctantly) agreed to let Cratchit have Christmas off even though he would be paid for a normal working day — and pointed out that Cratchit wouldn’t like it if Scrooge made him work a day without pay.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              But one must never forget that Dickens was a darling of latter-day Marxists and the Soviet Union. They praised him for his literary stance on workers and the “down-trodden.”

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              I’ll abide by the Mr. Kung rule, Timothy. “Life is complicated,” as is this story. I love the story. But I would love the next Dickens to write a story of the exploitation of “the rich” by the moochers, Occupy Wall Streeters, and those (as I read recently of employees at the EPA) who make good money watching porn all day on their computers.

              In that context, Dickens’ story is a straightforward tale of the exploitation of “the workers.” And do workers get exploited? Hell, yes. Does a bear shit in the woods? But do not government workers exploit as well? Is the Pope Catholic? (Well, no, but that’s another story.) We see the filter applied. And I expect no story to be all things to all people. There are bosses who are villains. But wouldn’t it be nice to have a few tales (especially these days) noting the exploitation of the whiners, complainers, moochers, vulgarians, and freeloaders? Yes, for me, it would indeed. Maybe I’ll write that for this Christmas, perhaps a kind parody of Dickens’ story.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            I have to admit that, as I have grown older, I have found “A Christmas Carol” to be less and less appealing.

            My reasons for this are much the same as yours.

            I have also found, “It’s A Wonderful Life” less wonderful over the last few years. Rich men are always the Mr. Potter’s of the world, and the blue-collar guys are always models of American manhood. But I have to admit, that I have met some really sorry examples of humankind who are blue-collar types and some wonderful people who are rich. Hum????

            The last few times I watched “It’s A Wonderful Life”, I had little sympathy for George. Did he think simply being nice would get him through life? In my opinion, he deserved the hard lesson he was taught, before his friends and neighbors bailed his ass out. How could he allow his hair-brained uncle to handle the most important commodity for a Savings and Loan, i.e. the money? Frankly, George was negligent as a bank manager.

            OK, I still like the overall film, but it is a liberal fairy-tale.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              Many years ago, the Wall Street Journal had an article in which various bankers commented on It’s a Wonderful Life. At the time I hadn’t seen the whole movie, but at any rate they had a lot of criticisms of Bailey’s operations. I think some of them dealt with that inept uncle.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              But I have to admit, that I have met some really sorry examples of humankind who are blue-collar types and some wonderful people who are rich. Hum????

              You see the inherited and persistent bias, especially in movies these days. “The rich” (unless they are some billionaire who has given his fortune to “social justice” or perhaps invented an advanced form of body armor to kick some corporate ass) are the bad guys.

              What you and I understand is that there are villains at all levels and if the “rich” guy is villainous, at least give him credit then for creating a product or service (and plenty of jobs) on his way to rich villainy while “the poor” guy often excels at nothing but complaining.

              One of my favorite movies is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” It’s been a couple years since I’ve viewed it although I own it on Blu Ray. I’ll come to Bailey’s defense because he opposes Potter through competition. He hasn’t gathered a group of urine-smelling unshaved yutes to stage a sit-in on Potters’ doorstep in protest of “the exploitation of the masses.”

              George Bailey works hard. He goes to college. He fights the good fight in Bedford Falls even though, unlike his brother Harry, he is not seeing the wider world that he so wanted to see. He soon grows bitter despite having a wonderful business, a great wife, and a wealth of children. It begins to gnaw at him that he *isn’t* the financial success that Potter is. (Yes, and certainly he was partially driven to this crisis by his own bad judgment….trusting Billy to deposit a wad of cash seems a bit risky in retrospect.)

              And that’s where this movie diverges from the usual Marxian creed. Bailey is a capitalist himself. He thrives by simply offering people competition and a better deal. That he is particularly kind in his dealings is a bonus and is another reason for his success. And in the end, he comes across a very Christian message: There is more to life than how much money you earn.

              His life is, of course, an anomaly in today’s world. George Bailey wasn’t an egotist and he thus wasn’t aware how much his own decency had positively affected those around him. In his Bedford Falls, under his parents’ ethic, doing the right thing was the normal and expected thing. There were no gold stars handed out, no trumped-up accolades for simply doing what any decent American ought to do.

              But the real world doesn’t go away just because one may be a better part of it. George’s heart grew weary. He began to hate the things dearest to him. His final temptation took place in Potters’ office where he was offered the chance to become another Potter. He was directly on his way to becoming a liberal, unable to be happy and to appreciate the bounty of his life, but at least he’d be materially well off.

              And then Clarence bitch-slapped him with a reality check. Oh, he was a kindly, somewhat unremarkable angel. But in this case his method work. What would life be in Bedford Falls if he had never existed?

              It’s a humbling (even insulting) lesson for the rest of us because, indeed, it’s quite possible the world would turn around just fine, thank you, without our presence. But in this idealized story (somewhat more believable because it is a small microcosm of a town) it works. And although our FRAXA donations may have lagged, the spirit in the hearts of those whom Bailey touched (particularly with his biblical “the right hand not knowing what the left is doing” in his hidden redemption of Mr. Gower’s error) was appreciative, and demonstratively so. They filled up that basket with hard cash and pronto.

              There are people such as George Bailey and there are people such as Mr. Potter. (Do we ever learn his first name?) There are Uncle Billys and Ernies and Berts and even Mary Hatches (and plenty of Violets as well). What we don’t seem to have enough of are Clarences who can bail us out when we’ve gotten too far off track. But these types of stories can act as an inspirational substitute.

              And I’d rather work for Scrooge than Potter any day. Scrooge was just cheep. Potter was corrupt. (He basically stole that money from Uncle Billy and he was a bit too pleased to run a degrading monopoly of slums).

              • Timothy Lane says:

                One can say that the basic key to George Bailey’s life was duty. Time after time, he faced the choice between what he wanted to do and what he thought his duty was. He always chose the latter.

                I will note that a similar theme was made, very explicitly, in Richard Powell’s novel The Philadelphian. Again, we have a very imperfect person who chooses duty over the easy path. The movie version The Young Philadelphians is fine, but doesn’t make that point.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Yes, I think duty was a big part of it. But as Islamist sticks to duty as well.

                I would say in George’s case the operating principle was two-part:

                + Noble duty
                + Delay of gratification

                Modern movie makers simply couldn’t conceive of a character such as George Bailey. A modern Bailey would have more likely blown that honeymoon money on hookers in Vegas than stemming a bank run.

              • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

                I completely agree with you that Scrooge is a better man than Potter, who is simply a thief. Furthermore, Scrooge did not try to create a monopoly (at least there is nothing indicating that in the story) where Potter did his best to do so.

                George is a good man who is trying to do the best he can. A man who has sacrificed his dream of college and world travel to do right by the people of Bedford Falls and his father’s memory. That shows character.

                One can understand George’s despair, and it is wonderful to see his friends and neighbors come to his rescue. But….

                Do not misunderstand me. I get as sentimental as everyone else at the ending of the movie, but one still wonders, did George learn his lesson as regards business responsibility when dealing with OPM?

  17. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    did George learn his lesson as regards business responsibility when dealing with OPM?

    I would love a quality sequel to this movie just to play out these what-ifs, Mr. Kung.

    What’s interesting is that George was the beneficiary of a bail-out….by his customers and friends, in this case, not the government. That’s certainly something to contemplate.

    I think little Zuzu went on to open a chain of florist stores called, of course, “Zuzu’s Petals.” Harry is murdered under mysterious circumstances with George being a prime suspect because of his lingering grudge against him as best articulated here:

    But when the big day comes what does slippery Harry do? After letting his brother sacrifice his best years to honor the deal, Harry comes home and announces: “Meet the wife!” Whuuuh? No wedding? Why not even a telegram? There’s a reason for Harry’s secrecy of course. George learns through Harry’s new bride that he’s already lined up a sweet job with her father’s company. In a brazen demonstration of sleaziness, Harry pulls George aside and says all guilt-ridden: “You’ve been holding the bag here for four years…and, well, I won’t let you down, George. I would like to talk—” Whamo! The older Bailey’s face reveals a man whose soul is ripped out and splattered onto the floor. Great brother, huh? He springs a heretofore unknown wife on an unsuspecting George and uses her presence to renege on their deal after four years of expectations that his purgatory was at an end. George reluctantly stays at the Bailey B &L. Harry, with his his degree in hand (the one originally intended for George remember) is free to move onward and upward and live a wonderful life.

    George is cleared and it turns out that Harry was killed by Soviet agents. Harry had actually been an agent for the CIA. His job with his wife’s father was just a cover.

    Mary opens a bookstore and soon enjoys doing weekly lectures on the books she reads, mainly mysteries. Her place becomes the social center for many housewives of the day.

    Mr. Potter dies soon after the events of the original movie. During the reading of his will, it is found out that most of his wealth was gone, mortgaged, or lost on a string of loose women (not including Violet).

    Violet herself married a man of modest means, had three children, and generally lived a happy middle class life in Brixton Square (about 20 miles south of Bedford Falls). When the children had grown up she spent her time helping street girls find a better path in life.

    Ernie and Bert, of course, when on to become famous in the Children’s Television Workshop. Mr. Martini is retired. His children took over the business and expanded into home delivery, doing quite well.

    George, after finally saving up some money, left his elder son in charge of the building and loan and took an extended tour of Europe. On the way back he was blooded and beaten by airport security guards. The stewardess had asked him to put away his plethora of travel brochures which were laid out in around him blocking the aisle. George refused and was dragged away.

    He sued and won enough money to buy his own plane. He now is retired and travels the world, writing an ongoing travelogue for a small blog that specializes in Americana. Due to the beating by airport security, he can now, for some reason, hear perfectly well out of both ears. It really is a wonderful life.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      My second belly laugh today! You need to get serious and write something like this.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), this would be a rather anachronistic sequel. As of when I last flew (back in 1992), airline service was still decent enough. Our decision to drive rather than fly to Maine in 2002 was based on the antics of the TSA, not airline service. I don’t think George would have lived so long. Besides, he probably traveled by boat. With his luck, he was on the Andrea Doria when it sank.

      Now, if George’s uncle were murdered, he really would be an excellent suspect.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Now, if George’s uncle were murdered, he really would be an excellent suspect.

        My third belly laugh for the day!!! We are on a roll!

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Now, if George’s uncle were murdered, he really would be an excellent suspect.

        Very funny, Timothy. And not all that far from the truth.

        The town readily forgave George Bailey for his part in what would be called “Billy Gate” (based on closing the gate after the horses having bolted or something like that). But as you learned from your college professors, in the heart of small-town flyover-country middle-class America lurks a heart of darkness. In this case, it was true for a number of years. Billy was shunned. He was a broken man. He never could in those first years after the incident forgive himself either.

        Mr. Potter was a crotchety old man and he doubled-down on his bitterness seeing George Bailey bailed out despite himself. But even Mr. Potter was a product of that small Bedford Falls town where angels do not in the least fear to tread. He knew he had stepped over the bounds of mere crotchety. But we can become stuck in our sins, too ashamed to face the music and set things to right.

        But when Mr. Potter passed on five years later, George Bailey received an envelope with his name on it from the executor of Potter’s will. Inside was a sum of money that just happened to be the amount (without interest, of course) that Uncle Billy had lost that fateful day. George being the smart one in the family knew what this meant as did everyone else. The chain of events was reckoned out even after all these years. When Uncle Billy got the news his eyes immediately brightened and off in the distance a bell could be heard.

        Uncle Billy’s memory continued to decline. His wife having passed on, he moved in with George and Mary. George had a habit of reading to him every night, often from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Billy could hear the same words over and over and it did not matter to him. He was as pleased and comforted as ever. Billy died in his sleep at the age of 74. Before being buried, they noticed a piece of string around his finger. They left it there. The local jest was that it was to remember that the name of the man at the gate was Peter.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Very nice. Perhaps someone with some real skill could put together a sequel combining these elements. I’m afraid that isn’t me; my writing is more informational than entertaining (a journalistic style, as my 10th grade English teacher observed).

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Maybe I could do it or I couldn’t do it. But it’s nice to channel Frank Capra (and the other writers), if only for a moment. But if I get my creative juices flowing, I’d rather write an opposite version of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” where it’s the government employee downloading and watching porn all day who is visited by the various ghosts (one of them being the Ghost of Ayn Rand, although she was scary enough in real life).

            Oddly enough, this 1946 classic (“It’s a Wonderful Life”) has become a holiday favorite. That too will pass. But it’s heartening to know that these basic, decent (although not perfect), small-town virtues still resonate with a significant portion of the population. And that’s what a movie like this is founded upon. You can’t enjoy it unless you understand the virtues as virtues and the vices as vices.

            That’s why I think this movie, like Fox News, will quickly fade from significance. But at Abbey StubbornThings, we are tasked with preserving such things in spirit (hopefully the physical aspect is in good hands by some film preservation society).

            As for writing styles, I suppose the trick is to have something worth saying. I’m running out, myself. One look at the headlines and it’s no better out there. But silence is still a virtue at Abbey ST.

            • Timothy Lane says:

              I can see what you mean by Rand being scary even in real life. An interesting take on that is Elegy for a Soprano by the libertarian mystery writer Kay Nolte Smith. J Neil Schulman’s Alongside Night at one point shows up one of Rand’s weaknesses as a writer.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                And you may choose our model for a monastery. There are many. Some of the Christian monastaries built in Greece’s Metéora are quite nice.

                I’ve been accused of being a one-note thinker (mainly by myself). And if Rand had a weakness (classically speaking…monomania can be greatly advantageous, particularly for leaders and demagogues) it was not in her emphasis on free markets. It was her “Objectivism” which was a simplistic doctrine that she (and others) tried to stretch further than is practical. You see strains of this monomania in libertarianism where the point seems to be Having a Simple Doctrine Set Against the World. Here’s a summary of Objectivism in her own words:

                My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.

                This sets one up as a Scientologist of sorts, for any criticism of these ideas puts you on the side of the socialists who use “selfishness” as a critique of freedom (and free markets). Rand used these often weak (or self-created straw-man arguments) of “selfishness” as near proof of the virtue of her basically hedonist philosophy. And if you don’t agree, well then you either are a Communist or a facilitator of Communism.

                Thus we see the roots of the anarchic nature of libertarianism which scoffs at the need for underlying order and sees society as just an atomized bunch of independent agents seeking happiness through personal contracts with each other. In her philosophy (likely consistent with her cold, hardly maternal demeanor), there is not even room for the kind of inherent sacrifice that parents (particularly mothers) make in the act of having and raising children. And we see in liberalism this same ethic playing out as more and more people see “happiness” as the be-all, end-all of existence. Children (as we might all acknowledge) are often a impediment to that single-minded pursuit, although they have their own rewards.

                Aspects of Objectivism and libertarianism can be a healthy part of a good society. But when you try to make the whole, it is inadequate and, I would say, ought to be seen as self-evidently so by its advocates.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                The particular flaw that Schulman deals with is her black-and-white view of people. Those on her side are good in every way; those on the other side are bad in every way. At a key scene in Alongside Night, we are reminded that the bad guys can be competent and loyal.

  18. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    The particular flaw that Schulman deals with is her black-and-white view of people. Those on her side are good in every way; those on the other side are bad in every way. At a key scene in Alongside Night, we are reminded that the bad guys can be competent and loyal.

    I can’t find a Kindle version of Alongside Night, Timothy. But here’s the paperback for sale on Amazon.

    There’s also a graphic novel version of it which is available on the Kindle for $.99. There’s also a movie edition (paperback and audio).

    One reviewer says that the book “tries to be the Atlas Shrugged of agorism.” I hadn’t heard of “agorism” before. A Wiki article defines it as:

    Agorism is a libertarian social philosophy that advocates creating a society in which all relations between people are voluntary exchanges by means of counter-economics, thus engaging with aspects of peaceful revolution. It was first proposed by libertarian philosopher Samuel Edward Konkin III.

    Assuming that is a reasonable definition, you can see the fallacy inherent in the wordplay of “creating a society” and “voluntary exchanges.” How do you “create” (aka “enforce”…and libertarians must never, ever use coercion) a society of voluntary exchanges? First off, not everyone is going to want that society. What do you do with those? And even if most do, many will not and one very bad apple (Hitler, Mao, etc.) has the capability of spoiling the whole utopian barrel if there are not realistic checks.

    And wouldn’t you need lots and lots of rules and government to police those exchanges? Disputes will arise, even honest ones. You’ll need lawyers and courts and then judges and prisons for those who disobey the law. You will need government.

    “Agorism” or libertarianism is a rhetorical device whereby you can put together certain words that, on the surface, seem to offer a fool-proof formula. But even the barest scrutiny reveals it is little but a rhetorical device rooted, if anything, in another kind of utopianism or at least materialism. Libertarianism/Objectivism/Agorism seem to be philosophies (much like liberalism) that say the greatest thing to fear are morals because they produce limits on one’s “heroic being” and are impediments to “productive achievement as one’s noblest activity” (or “equality” or “social justice” or “gender rights,” or whatever the utopian goal is of the moment).

    Consider this: If libertarians are really so opposed to Big Government (as I am), they need to recognize that their “anything goes” attitude is exactly the kind of LGBT-based thinking that is killing our freedoms. If happiness and personal fulfillment are the point of life, well, then just look at Europe which is dying (and becoming oppressive). And if one wonders how and why our own government has gotten so big, consider that about three-quarters of the expenditures of that government (and thus the power) consist in dolling out various entitlements…entitlements demanded by a libertarian or liberal populace for whom “eat, drink, and be merry, for today’s entitlement debt will be paid for by somebody else” is the reigning paradigm.

    Utopia is the belief that a perfect society can be made. Some see (with much better justification, I think) that it will take a totalitarian government to control people to the extent that it can be so (which, of course, then would be “utopian” only for the appetites of the controllers). Others think that no (or almost no) government at all is the way to unleash a utopia (using cagey words such as “free market” to disguise this fact). This would, of course, unleash hell on the less powerful or connected as “individual rights” would only extend to one’s lawful right to form a contract while the egoistic, self-fullilling Super Men congratulated themselves on being so smart. (Atlas Shrugged is, after all, simply a screed about how others hold down or do not otherwise acknowledge and appreciate the Super Men of our culture. And with all things libertarians, there is, of course, some truth to this.)

    Although it’s all well and good to push limits and to try to build today what seemed impossible yesterday, this, at best, is a paradigm for technology, not an organizing principle for society. And I don’t think people have come to grips with this difference. Or want to. Bruce Jenner, for all intents and purposes, is the George Washington of this “no limits” kind of thinking. Bemoan it all you want (as I do) but libertarians and others should least understand where it comes from.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Rand was no anarchist; she realized that government would be needed for national defense (unless the whole world adopted her philosophy, of course), police, and the courts. Many libertarians took an anarcho-capitalist approach and assumed that national defense was unnecessary because free people couldn’t be conquered. (Harry Browne, in one of his books, demonstrated this view most egregiously in a short fantasy about a libertarian country called Rheingold. This fantasy was one reason I never considered voting for him.) David Friedman expertly showed the flaw in this thinking in The Machinery of Freedom.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        No, I don’t think Ayn Rand was an anarchist any more than Dick Van Dyke was a Communist. But one can hold “useful idiot” ideas, principles, and ethics that green-light those things.

        How to sum up the American Experiment? Well, it’s a huge project with many facets, particularly not forgetting one of the founding principals (not “principles”) which were the various highly religious communities in which very few people would want to live today (unless voluntarily). But they helped to get America off the ground and set her on a virtuous course.

        America was also the Wild West. And everything in between that and the stodgiest part of Old Europe. But our creed is individual liberty and individual rights within a framework of ethics and virtues primarily derived from Moses, not Marx. Inherent in that framework were duties, responsibilities, limitations, and sacrifice — as well as abundant opportunity.

        This is a viewpoint diametrically opposed to the new Jenneresque worldview of self-fulfillment, 24/7 entertainment, guaranteed security and happiness, and an idea that I think ranges far past “self-fulfillment” and has become self-idolizing. There is very little sense of an Eastwoodian “A man has got to know his limitations.” Instead we now bizarre concepts such as “gender fluidity.”

        We live in a rabid culture that both does all that it can to stir up a sense of dissatisfaction (both in politics and in commercial marketing) while upping the ante in terms of expectations of fulfillment and satisfaction. And we mind-fark and delude ourselves about this quite unsustainable state of affairs by hyping “sustainable” this and “sustainable” that regarding everything but us. We have a hundred such dodges to keep us from owning our own craziness.

        Again, it’s not mere rhetoric when I say that the culture were living in now is in a large degree socially insane.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        David Friedman expertly showed the flaw in this thinking in The Machinery of Freedom.

        A reviewer of this book states:

        This book is the best book to explain the benefits of Anarcho-Capitalism. Moreover, Friedman outlines a society distinct from Rothbard’s version. Rothbard would have a common legal system agreed upon by all first, and then have private enterprise provide the rest. Friedman explains how even the justice system can and should be subject to competition!

        He gives pragmatic arguments for the crucial part: getting from here to there. This is why you will see that Anarcho-Capitalism is the only logical conclusion of a belief in freedom and free markets. Every other (failed) Utopian political book never describes how to actually get to the utopia. They just assume it’s possible to give everyone what they need and that “someone” will provide it for them. Friedman convincingly shows how his system is the ideal one.

        The definition that I found for Anarcho-Capitalism is:

        Anarcho-capitalism (also known as “libertarian anarchy” or “market anarchism” or “free market anarchism”) is a libertarian and individualist anarchist political philosophy that advocates the elimination of the state in favor of individual sovereignty in a free market.

        You can see the pie-in-the-sky thinking at the root of all these types of philosophies: We don’t need morals. We don’t need government. The free market will solve all.

        It’s like saying in order to get from A to B, all you need to do is walk. Let’s not think only about the complexity of the shoe, the desirability of flat and safe roads or sidewalks to walk upon, but also of the enormously controlled and organized system that is the human body that allows this ambulatory function in the first place.

        “If you want to go some place, just walk” would be a libertarian creed without the slightest acknowledgment of the true complexity of what they have just asserted.

        It’s like saying, “To get along, all we need to do is get along.” As always, the devil — and most likely some form of restrictive government — is in the details. One wonders if libertarians don’t crave utopia as much as they do the status of Super Men for whom the normal rules of society do not apply.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          I had an anarchocapitalist phase myself in the 1970s. But that never made me totally unrealistic. Perhaps because I was an army brat, I always knew national defense would be necessary.

          Browne’s fantasy what when the Nazis came along, there was no government to surrender to them, so that they just stole some cheese and moved on. Apparently he didn’t let himself realize that the Nazis set up their own administrations, even in places (such as Poland) where no government surrendered to them. He had the Americans behaving the same way (i.e., moral equivalency), presumably not letting himself realize that the Allies didn’t occupy neutrals such as Andorra, Monaco, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland.

          Friedman had a different answer to that idiocy. His idea was that if, say, the Soviet Union invaded, they would simply start blowing up cities until they got some surrenders. It probably wouldn’t take many examples.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            I had an anarchocapitalist phase myself in the 1970s. But that never made me totally unrealistic. Perhaps because I was an army brat, I always knew national defense would be necessary.

            There’s a reason, unlike me (sometimes), you’re not a walking, talking one-note ideologue (in the bad sense). It’s because you had “phases.” And a “phase” implies not phasers (although those are cool, too) but a transitory state. You did not, for all intents and purposes, get stuck in your high school philosophy like a dinosaur in the tar pits.

            But it’s not bad to have those phases. I had a “phase” where I learned some German although it’s of little practical use now. But during the “phase” of anarcho-capitalism you might have been taught one of their seemingly core doctrines (from what I can gather) that government is superfluous because the free market, via competition, could take over all those services.

            That obviously runs into Lincoln’s maxim regarding the purpose of government:

            “The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but can not do at all, or can not so well do, for themselves – in their separate, and individual capacities.”

            Let’s set aside for a moment that demagoguing nitwits such as Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi think people need help whipping their own asses (or buying their own contraceptions, etc.) No principle can be written in such a way that dishonest or power-hungry people can’t twist it for their own uses.

            But Lincoln might point out, “What free market is going to take on the role of national defense and do so effectively?” Oh, much like Neo-Darwinism, I’m sure you could present a just-so story so it all works out, at least on paper. But it’s readily obvious that there are many functions in society (if it is a society worth living in) which are not things any individual or group of individuals is likely to take up as a business opportunity. And even if they did, would you want the safety of yourself and home to be at the behest of a profit/loss statement?

            That said, we ought to have this anarcho-capitalist phase in order to inform our minds to be on the lookout for things that could be run by private industry. Sometimes cities have their own garbage service. Sometimes they contract with private businesses. The latter is much preferred for a variety of reasons.

            The principle of competition and the free market is sound. But so is the principle of government as a vehicle, as Gouverneur Morris wrote,

            …in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…

            A man (or woman) stuck in their high school philosophy where everything is so simple may like staying in his or her phase. Thank goodness our founders moved on and by doing so learned a great deal. And I hope to hell we can dump the “idiot politician as entertainer or social justice warrior” phase we are in now. It’s killing us.

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