Wednesday, April 16, 2014

White Envy

You won't need pencils and paper for this one-question pop quiz.

All people and all groups are equally smart, talented, industrious, honest, inventive, deserving of respect and so on except one. So, here is the question.

What group is it perfectly acceptable – even encouraged – to denigrate in movies, advertising, jokes, academics and any other way?

Think real hard before answering because this is a real head scratcher. If you answered “white men” you scored 100 percent.

Everybody has his own ideas about what motivates other people, but I think it can be agreed that envy is near the top of the list, along with pride, which is probably number one. People tend to tear down their superiors, it's human nature. Mention to your wife or girlfriend that Helen of Troy was a beautiful woman and see how fast she can find fault with Helen's hairdo or the way she talks or that dress! that makes her look fat. Some will agree with you, but many will find defects.

This is why white men are the targets of ridicule in popular culture.

Think of how life would be different without the telephone, airplane, FAX machine, television, movie camera, light bulb, automobile, steam engine, electric motor, air conditioner, screw propeller, internal combustion engine, nuclear reactor, power loom, jet engine, refrigerator, transistor, microchip, magnetic clutch, phonograph, metallic cartridge, washing machine, radio, drive belts, reaper, interchangeable parts, pneumatic tire, farm tractor, modern rocket, submarine, roller chain, chainsaw, elevator, escalator, moveable-type printing press, bread slicer, electric mixer for cooking, toaster, arc welder, tapered roller bearing, centerless grinder, telescope, microwave oven, RADAR, aqua lung, auto pistol, revolver, machine gun, mouse trap, sewing machine, hydraulic brakes, disc brake, radial engine, water heater, battery, solar cell, generator, alternator, piano, electric guitar, electric clock, weed eater, airbag, helicopter, parachute, vacuum tube, microscope, zipper, rifled barrel, intermittent wiper switch, autogyro, seat belts, electron microscope, sleeve valve engine, Wankel engine, stirling engine, typewriter, photocopier, dynamite, boxer primers, matches, toilet paper, electric drill, ball bearing, electrical fuse, safety razor, stainless steel, swivel chair, electric razor, universal joint, pressure cooker and cell phone, to name a few inventions. What all these have in common is that they were invented by white men, not black men or white women; white men.

Pointing this out is now considered racist, sexist, or perhaps unimportant, as though any other group even comes close to comparing favorably. The above list only enumerates the invention of physical things and doesn't encompass advances in law, philosophy, medicine, science, music, mathematics, engineering, exploration, botany and so on.

Camille Paglia wrote an article recently about the importance of men – not specifically white men – for which she probably had opprobrium heaped upon her for even thinking. It's the worst taboo to even imply that modern civilization is an invention of white men, but if you were to eliminate only the inventions enumerated above, civilization would be cast into the pre-industrial age. There would be no motorized transport, no music unless you made it yourself or went to a performance somewhere, no way to communicate other than face to face or by letter, no efficient mode of printing, no hot water unless you heated it over a fire, not even an efficient way to plow or hunt game.

European countries that used to be almost all white have experienced a flood of immigration from non-white countries. This is really strange if white men are as stupid, self-centered, prejudiced and boorish as portrayed in movies. Maybe the proffered stereotype is inaccurate.

It is a sad state of affairs when the group most responsible for modern Western Civilization is the most denigrated by those in that civilization. C. S. Lewis might have been referring to what American children are taught in schools on up to college when he wrote, The claim to equality, outside the strictly political field, is made only by those who feel themselves to be in some way inferior. What it expresses is precisely the itching, smarting, writhing awareness of an inferiority which the patient refuses to accept." *

* The Screwtape Letters – Screwtape Proposes A Toast

Monday, April 14, 2014

Iran - A Rogue State

Washington DC is all abuzz over an Iranian drone strike on a dissident in McClean Virginia yesterday. The target was an Iranian by the name of Shapour Bakhtiar who the Iranians classify as a “terrorist.”

Mr. Bakhtiar was attending a wedding when a missile exploded, killing him and several other guests. The total number of those injured is not yet known, but several people were blinded and at least three paralyzed by the blast that seemed to come out of nowhere. One of those killed was Bakhtiar's 16 year-old son who had no involvement in terrorism.

The Obama Administration has called it an act of war and has demanded an immediate meeting of the UN Security Council to condemn the attack as a breach of international law and an act of pure barbarism.

Iranian spokesman Mohammed Mosaddegh told Mendax correspondent M. R. Pahlavi that the attack was completely justified and within the accepted practice of the United States. Tehran sources tell Mendax that Bakhtiar was wanted for making false and inflammatory statements against the legitimate government of Iran and aiding terrorists.

A State Department press release called the murder of Bakhtiar “The act of a criminal, lawless, rogue state that does not recognize national borders nor limits on its authority.” Iran has tried to justify its villainy by claiming a moral equivalence with U.S. attacks on genuine terrorists in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Iraq, Egypt and perhaps other places undisclosed.

Defense Department and CIA personnel were taken by surprise that Iran had the capability to build drones until it was learned that Russian and Chinese engineers have been working with the Iranians to build a fleet of drones similar to the Lockheed RQ-170 that they captured on December 4, 2011.

Tehran has claimed that all those killed and injured were terrorists or were providing aid to terrorists. United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power issued a statement saying, "My government emphasizes that this blatant and unprovoked air violation by the Iranian government is tantamount to an act of hostility against the United States in clear contravention of international law, in particular, the basic tenets of the United Nations Charter."

Tehran has responded that Iran had issued warrants against Bakhtiar, but that the United States was harboring him and refused requests to return him to Iran. The Justice Department acknowledged that Tehran had made an extradition request, but the U.S. has no extradition agreement with Iran.

White House sources said that President Obama, a former community organizer, was disappointed that Iran had resorted to unacceptable behavior and that it bore the earmarks of a KGB operation, thus casting suspicion on Vladimir Putin, a former KGB Colonel. Veteran State Department officers expressed apprehension – confidentially – about a community organizer trying to match wits with a KGB Colonel.

Iran expressed regret over the collateral damage, but has remained defiant and threatened more drone strikes on Iranian dissidents in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied any connection to the Iranian policy and has called for a moratorium on the use of drones. Washington has rejected any cessation of drone usage, but said that rogue states must not be allowed to have them.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Supporting Your Enemies

I have been a member of The National Rifle Association off and on since I was about twelve years old and a Life Member for about the past twenty years. The management of the organization takes the members for fools. There are better and more aggressive organizations such as Gun Owners Of America and Jews For The Preservation Of Firearms Ownership to name two, but as somebody said years ago, gun owners are like fleas on an elephant and must go where the elephant goes because the other organizations don't have the clout of the NRA.

Wayne LaPierre once famously referred to agents of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms as “jack-booted government thugs.” I don't know about their footwear, but they are thugs. The problem with the NRA and many other organizations is that they think certain agencies are bad, but the government overall is good. They're all thugs. Many issues of The American Rifleman will have some kind of laudatory article about some cop, military man, sheriff, FBI agent or some other government hack who is trained to follow orders. The BATF is the bogeyman because it is the agency charged with enforcing the firearms laws. If it were the FBI, the FCC or the EPA that enforced the laws they would be the ones wearing the jack-boots.

The February 2014 issue of The American Rifleman has an ad on page 73 seeking bequests to the NRA with the caption, “Where Do You Want Your Estate To Go?”: “To the government?” (with a very unflattering picture of Obama and Biden) “Or freedom's future?” (with a picture of a guy coaching a woman with a shotgun). This is all fine, but why is “the government” bad when it's Obama, but good when it's Sgt. Doright of the First Cavalry or the Podunk Sheriff's Department? Obama is not the one who is going to kick down your door for violating a gun control law; it's Sgt. Doright that will handle that. You are probably never going to be in any danger from Obama. It will be one of his agents who kills you, seizes your property, breaks into your house, hauls you off without charge, prohibits you from flying, spies on you, prevents your leaving the country, and on and on. Almost all of these outrages will be perpetrated by a person wearing a government uniform of some kind.

It's not just the NRA that propagates this sort of Zoroastrian/dualist view of the government; it's the gun manufacturers and advertisers too. One manufacturer has an ad for its product that shows an entry team of cops preparing to break in a door with the caption in boldface type, “BUILT FOR THOSE WHO REQUIRE NO INTRODUCTION.” Well, actually they should require an introduction, otherwise called a search warrant issued upon “oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” Hardly any “dynamic entries” are ever justified. When the police are confronted with real danger, they usually cordon off the area as in school shooting cases or burn the place to the ground as in the case of Christopher Dorner, Gordon Kahl, MOVE in Philadelphia or the Branch Davidians in Texas.

There seems to be broad support for the military even though the Founding Fathers feared a standing army and would not even authorize funding for one for longer than two years at a time.

It is easy to see why a standing army is a danger to society when you consider how easy it is to get ordinary people to obey authority with very little coercion. This was demonstrated by Stanley Milgram in his experiments and chronicled in his book Obedience To Authority. If ordinary people are so easy to command, it is a fortiori the case that young boys who have been through obedience training known as boot camp or police academy will follow commands like trained dogs after their personal judgment and individuality have been reduced or destroyed.

There are plenty of products sold only to government agencies that John Q. Public is not allowed to have. Why manufacture a product – other than for money, or course – that is going to be turned against you? Why, in a nation founded upon the idea of unalienable rights and popular sovereignty is the government permitted to have weapons that are prohibited to the individual? This is exactly backwards; it is the government that should be prohibited certain weapons. The government is the agent, not the sovereign.

Remington used to market a folding stock for the 870 shotgun that had “For law enforcement only” stamped into the side of it. Why? There was nothing illegal about anybody having it. Why provide your government customers products that you deny to non-government buyers?

I used to joke about – although not entirely in jest – forming a company that sold weapons and equipment that stated in its ads, “Civilian sales only.” We would all be better off if the government feared the people instead of the other way around.