Sigh

Yesterday at work the radio was on. An earnest young lady was extolling the wonders of how Mr. Obama could make a treaty without the approval of the Senate. The host was either neutral or mildly in favor.

A twenty year-old at work asked what they were talking about. I told her.

“Is that good or bad?”

“The President may be trying to rule without Congress.”

“Is that good or bad?”

It depends. Do you believe in democracy?”

“Should I?”

I breathed deeply and tried to think charitable thoughts.

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My Problems

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I have problems with Islam.

I cannot accept a world view which defines women as half the value of men.

I cannot accept an ideology as an ideology if it has a concept – taqiyya – to lie to outsiders about anything for political advantage. A propaganda, yes; an ideology,no. I once heard an Ayatollah claim that word “Infidel” doesn’t occur in the Koran. OK. but the arabic word “Kafir” sure as shooting does. Open inquiry my pretty floral bonnet!

I cannot accept a religion which says Christians must submit to humiliation – dhimmi – , convert, or die. And all others must convert or die. [Jews used to be allowed the Christian option as “people of the book.” Doesn’t seem to happen any more.]

I cannot accept an outlook where the supposed intellectuals – they who have a book – seek to destroy history from before their prophet. The Tomb of Jonah, the Monumental Buddhas.

I cannot accept a law code that sentences all women up to the age of 54 to clitorectomy. [Why, for God’s sake 54?] Just last month ISIS did this.

I cannot accept supposed learned men who call Alexandria by the name of “the Iskandria” because they think the “Al” part was an article.

I cannot accept a society so closed that it sentences writers to death for referring to well known legends in the presence of foreigners.

I cannot accept as the infallible “Word of God” literature dictated by a fallible angel, to a fallible illiterate man [See the Satanic Verses] who had no secretary but declaimed the verses to a crowd which did not write them down. The verses of which were not written down until after a battle where many of the witnesses were killed. And where they were put down in no rational order, but rather in the order of longest to shortest chapters. And where all copies of this book were recalled once or twice to be re-edited and re-released. Where the outlawing of translation condemns the mass of followers to not read their putative beliefs.

My fantasy is that we oppose ISIS and other crazies by releasing free vernacular copies of the Koran arranged in chronological order on some sort of kindle device. This might cause a small renaissance. It might cause people to analyze their own world view. It might allow other books to be on the device under the acceptability of scripture. At the very least, it would allow a much kinder interpretation of other religions to those readers who only get through the first half.

The Treason Of Kipling

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Recessional
June 22, 1897

Rudyard Kipling

GOD of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine
Lord God of Hosts be with us yet,
Lest we forget – lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget – lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget – lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget – lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word
Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!

In 1897 Britain was the largest, wealthiest, healthiest, most just empire the world had seen. People, armies, and navies from across the world gathered to celebrate the glorious Queen Victoria on her throne. Her name was accurate. Gloriana was eclipsed by Victoria. There was no sign of rot in the empire.

One of her greatest – and most loyal – poets was disturbed by the hubris. Perhaps Kipling’s colonial background informed him. Maybe it was history. Perhaps the vapidly inane people of the upper classes warned him.

Kipling did not sell this poem to the great magazines of his day. He paid to publish it in the Times. Almost an ad. Many thought it was disloyal. Lèse-majesté

A generation later the empire of three centuries was a broken husk. Victoria was long dead. The fruit of the empire lay dead on the poisoned battlefields of a pointless war.

This poem is now seen a a great statement of a great poet….

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A wise man would have posted this poem in America fifteen years ago.

Our rot is visible now. Fifteen years of pouring our wealth into the sand of Iraq and the hills of Afghanistan in the form of money extracted from our sweat and blood extracted from our best. We have not succeeded on creating Iowa in either land. It was hubris to expect we could.

We see what has happened to peaceful rule by consent of the govern in the streets of Missouri.

Civil comity and accord, indeed.

Yet the future is not written. We have recovered from worse. What Man has built Man may surpass.

Judge of Nations, spare us yet.

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For those who want the cheat sheet:

http://www.kiplingsociety.co.uk/rg_recess1.htm

I’m All Right, Jack.

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News has caused me to review my beliefs.

2008 AD The average American household was worth  $8.6e4.
2013 AD The average American household is worth       $5.6e4.

I thought I was poor. Turns out I am RICH!

Is this what the kulaks felt like under Lenin?

The old ideal was for society to be run by people of moderate means. And to pull everyone into this class. “Power enough to choose.” as the philosophers said. Wealth enough to afford freedom of conscience, but not enough to dominate. Freedom , doncha know. Especially when a healthy society was based on education and religion rather than on competing social dominance.

Sociopaths And The Professors Who Love Them

Odd things anger me.

I was listening to one of the Yale University open courses. The one on the Early Middle Ages. The part of the Middle ages that can be called the dark ages because our sources are so sparse and civilization was in deep decline. The Professor said that “We don’t use the word awesome much, But he should be called Diocletian the Awesome.”

I despise Diocletian. Diocletian ended the right of Roman citizens to appeal to the Emperor. He ended the fig leaf of pretending to be the First Citizen and the First Speaker of the Senate. He called himself Lord and God – Dominus Et Deus. One could not stand in his presence. He made a fetish of himself. He demoted the Senate to the City Council of the city of Rome. In short he eliminated the last pretense of and aspiration to Republic. He was a Stalin with delusions of godhood.

But I primarily despise Diocletian be cause of his reforms. For a century the emperors had undermined the currency. It was so bad that the Roman tax collectors wouldn’t accept it any longer. [ We’ve only been destroying our currency for eight decades. Gold coins worth $20/ounce were in circulation when my father was born. ] Taxes were collected in kind. Whatever you produced. Unpleasant or difficult jobs were made hereditary so people couldn’t migrate to better professions. If your father was a pig butcher so were you. No uppity people. Farmers were bound to the land. To enforce this, lords could preemptively punish or restrict tenants. Some taxes were raised by extracting forced labor. Of course those on the farms were disarmed. Else they wouldn’t accept this. Diocletian tried to fix the price of everything in the empire and seal the status quo in amber.

Of course this didn’t work well. Or at all. And note well, the free Roman Citizens had been converted to serfs.

I still shudder when I hear of collectivist tax reform. Sometime it means government gangsters.

Idiot professors such as the one at Yale celebrate this man for preserving Rome. At the cost of all Rome once stood for. For only 150 years. Rome hadn’t been an exemplar since Julius Caesar. It hadn’t been worth the candle since Marcus Aurelius. They should have let the hulk die and be rebuilt. Stalin, Napoleon, Sargon….Is there any mass murderer that some professor doesn’t hold as an idol?