Parting Shots at 2016

2016by Brad Nelson12/27/16
Thomas Sowell is retiring. Here is his Farewell Note in which he writes:

It was very fulfilling to be able to share my thoughts on the events unfolding around us, and to receive feedback from readers across the country — even if it was impossible to answer them all.

Being old-fashioned, I liked to know what the facts were before writing. That required not only a lot of research, it also required keeping up with what was being said in the media.

During a stay in Yosemite National Park last May, taking photos with a couple of my buddies, there were four consecutive days without seeing a newspaper or a television news program — and it felt wonderful. With the political news being so awful this year, it felt especially wonderful.

Yours Truly, being on the cutting edge of noticing societal transformation (Hey…I can read Glenn’s articles as well as anyone), saw a whole lot of things come to a head in 2016, especially when we elected a demagogue to conquer all the previous demagogues we had let through the gate. The daily drama must roll on. But I’ve cut back.

I see people living and obsessing on Facebook, Twitter, and online “social” (many seem quite anti-social to me) media and I don’t wonder that Thomas Sowell, or anyone else, tires of trying to pass on the wisdom of the ages to Precious Little Snowflakes who think they already know it all. In an accompanying Random Thoughts article, Sowell recommends that people read Churchill’s The Gathering Storm, as if those gathered here needed further reinforcement of the idea that sweet delusions will lead to destruction, as it did in the interwar period in Europe.

I would like StubbornThings to be real instead of drama, light instead of lightning, honesty and humility rather than ego and bluster. I feel like a schoolmarm at times cajoling people to extend themselves (or at least to peek their head above the Kultursmog) and get to the real and the meaningful rather than just complaining and noting the bloody obvious (such as that, yes, the Left engages in double-standards as a way of life and we don’t need to be reminded of this every five minutes).

At times I’ve been too harsh, holding perfectionistic standards. But if you sit on the park bench and don’t notice that you’ve sat in pigeon droppings, I’m going to point it out. Do the same for me, please. But praise also to those writers here who are capable of meaningful and educational essays. I’ve filtered things down in the last year and it was a necessary thing or else I would have followed Sowell into retirement. I just can’t take the superficiality and triviality of the daily drama anymore.

I would love to see more real-world reports and essays about what’s going on out there in the trenches rather than just regurgitated the daily drama. And some have, which is why Annie became our first StubbornFellow, a rare and valuable privilege. Annie, your gold-plated certificate is in the mail, I promise. 😉 Mr. Kung is our second anointed StubbornFellow for his rare gift in being able to dial-down the baloney and get to the essence of things. That may sound like small praise, but for me it is very refreshing. BS detectors are in short supply these days.

Praise also be to Deana, Glenn, and others for, in particular, being able to articulate the moral and intellectual undergirding of the pre-snowflake West, which is highly rooted in a Christian world view. And I believe they are effective (or at least literate) because they believe it. I was having breakfast the other day with a friend who has become disillusioned about her faith, seemingly because of the liberalized, if not outright bastardized, ways of some of her friends. She spoke of one influential author who said that the way to spread the faith was to re-package it in the lingo of whatever subculture you are dealing with.

I can certainly understand her affliction. This is the rampant affliction of our times. Imagine if you overheard a mathematics professor tell a colleague that the way to teach math was to “reach out” to the way people already understood numbers. Therefore if some subculture thought that 2 plus 2 equals 5, you would start from that point of view and accommodate your message to it.

Boy, does that not sound like the typical Establishment Republican? But it is the sign of our times. Nearly vanished is the idea that those who have gone before have objective truths to teach us, mathematical or otherwise. I told this friend that it was a near certainty that at the root of all this “reaching out” and “compassion” was simple disbelief. If you don’t actually believe in the Christian message then of course you’re going to adopt relativism, for who are you to tell another person what is best for them?

Mr. Kung, for instance, is an exceptional writer in regards to defending Western Civilization because I believe that he actually believes in it, and with good and documented reasons.

But, I have to admit, the torch has been passed. Or perhaps its better to say that the torch of Western Civilization has burnt out for lack of keeping the flame. The Snowflakes are now set on their course with destiny and there is very little we can do about it. They will eventually (and likely soon) find and empower their Hitler, Stalin, or Mao. And these Snowflakes have almost no chance of becoming any sort of Greatest Generation unless you measure that generation by good intentions.

The above may sound pessimistic. But I think it’s just realistic. Take measures to protect yourself and your family in 2017. Things could indeed get better in the short-term. No one can foresee the future. But its a fair bet that nonsense will reign in 2017 as it did in 2016. Perhaps our function is as written in Matthew 5:13-16:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.”

I’m under no illusions that the Snowflakes are listening. Still, no one knows when the shadows will let in a little light, so keep the flame burning. Write something meaningful, jovial, educational, or just plain entertaining, for Western Civilization houses an entire potpourri of arts, sciences, wisdom, and other things. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Have some fun with this. The daily drama isn’t going away, but approach things in a new way if you can. Let the spirit (if only the earthly muses) renew your thoughts and attitudes.

Stay of good humor even while you help to meltdown a few Snowflakes. Have a wonderful 2017.


Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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9 Responses to Parting Shots at 2016

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    I read (and commented on) Sowell’s final article. I noticed that most of the postings (like mine) simply expressed regret at his retirement as perhaps the best pundit of all. I rather like your description of the torch of Western civilization going out. Many people have thought this before, and have already proved wrong. Time and again it declines, only to be saved. But each time the torch is weaker, and eventually it will fail if that doesn’t change. Is it this time?

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      College campi are already the hothouse for Stalinesque thinking. We are raising generations of intolerant zealous kooks who think that their “niceness” empowers them to do anything to anybody. No wonder the Snowflakes are melting because of Trump.

      As Mr. Kung has mentioned to me, Trump is lucky enough at the moment to have all the right enemies. With the Left having a severe hissy fit (but they are not “melting down,” for to suggest so would be to get caught in short-term delusions…these people are not going away), makes it a very tough atmosphere for “Never-Trumpers” or just anyone with the healthy American attitude of “Show me, don’t just tell me.” The right is in bliss because their enemies have their panties in a bunch. Whether or not a program for reform is implemented remains to be seen. But Trump indeed right now has all the right enemies.

      Regarding the torch of Western Civilization, I’m of the mind that it is already all but out, barely a glowing ember remains. And I’m of a thoroughly Mark Steynish belief that the torch going out doesn’t mean there will not be an America. It will still have a zip code, as Steyn notes. It just won’t be recognizable as America.

      I think the odds are one-in-2500 that there is any kind of “meltdown” of the Left going on, the political correctness has reached is nadir, and that common sense will assert itself. But that is the belief amongst many. We’ll just have to see how 2017 plays out.

  2. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Or perhaps its better to say that the torch of Western Civilization has burnt out for lack of keeping the flame

    Days before the outbreak of WWI, the British Foreign Minister said to a friend,

    “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time”

    One wonders if they will ever be re-lit in the U.S.A.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Not surprisingly, I thought of that line, too. He was wrong then — eventually the lamps were re-lit, though if one says that this awaited the end of the Cold War then his “in our lifetime” was accurate. But if one says that they were re-lit at the end of World War II, I would say he was a bit pessimistic.

  3. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I scan the headlines daily at American Thinker and realize that there are snowflakes on each side. The counterpart to the Leftist the-end-is-near snowflakes are the endless pro-Trump articles that remind me of a dog humping his master’s leg.

    So it was refreshing to read this heartfelt and non-hysterical article by Julie Kelly: Yes, 2016 Was Awful — but Not Because of the Election

    God bless the families of these stricken people. And may both snowflake drama-queen constituencies get a grip. Stop humping that leg and stop being chicken little.

    This article isn’t good because it’s sad. A glad article is a welcome read as well. It’s good because here is a person who has peeked her head above The Daily Drama and gained some perspective. She has informed rather than (as with the Left) thrown gas on the fire or (as with the Trump leg-humpers) engaged in ugly chest-thumping.

  4. Stuart Whitman Stuart Whitman says:

    Sad to hear that Mr. Sowell is hanging it up. A bright light indeed. And hope to contribute this year per your request. Conservatism has been on defense so long folks seem to have forgotten how to advocate for it and embrace the inherent optimism liberty brings. There are many ways in which our culture of personal responsibility, opportunity, and community are thriving. Its hard to hear over the noise of those seeking relevance but I will try to make the point. Thomas Sowell typically restored my faith in common sense. And usually by ridicule of the left. But we’re not a minority anymore. It’s time to go on offense and help people see the light about the freedoms they enjoy before they are extinguished forever. Thank you for the opportunity Brad.

  5. David Ray says:

    Thank God we’ll have his books in print. I’ve given them as gifts – to freshmen students and fellow Marines.

    Do keep in mind that it hasn’t escaped my notce that conservative books have disappeared from the Richardson library or had their audio version scratched. (Liberals do love to “edit” books, and yet constantly accuse us of “buring” books.)

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Remember that projection is a liberal tactic. Whatever they accuse us of (whether rightly or wrongly) is what they’re doing.

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