Tag Archives: Culture

The Benefits of Democracy

27 Feb

The chief benefit of any nominally Democratic form of government is not that it gives the Common Man his say – he is all too often a fool and frequently also a swine –  but the characteristic most commonly named as its major defect; it is inefficient. Not even the most hysterical of rabble-rousers can force it to move swiftly for long, and often they cannot persuade it to move at all. Consequently, many of the worst ideas loose among the chattering classes never move far beyond the college campuses and coffee houses where they are born. Those that do mostly collapse of their own stupidity long before they pose any serious danger to the public at large.

This may seem a fantastic statement, seeing how much Left wing nitwittery we have weighing us down in these modern times, but consider the fate of countries that have – or had – more efficient governments. In Russia and mainland China there were no checks and balances to hinder the visions of the State. The consequences of this efficiency can be counted in millions of deaths, and in widespread poverty, despair, and environmental ruin.

In the United States we are raised to think of the purpose of government to be the safeguarding of the common good, but historically this has never been the case. The purpose of government is, and always has been, to transform the will (and all too often, the whim) of the Head of State into reality, both practical and impractical. The history of this shows clearly that the average Head of State can no more be trusted with planning the future of his people than a five year old can be trusted with a gallon of nitroglycerine. Therefore it can be said that an efficient government is an authentic public menace.

We in the United States have escaped this menace. As we observe the fate of places like Russia or Cuba that did not, we should give daily thanks.

An Excess of Space

20 Feb

It has come to me that one of the issues that plagues the Art World these days is an excess of museum (or performance hall) space. Tax money is spent on a great many museums, and one of the consequences is that there is actually space available for exhibits of sophomoric “Statement” Art like Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ.

Now, I don’t want to censor Mr. Serrano’s little anti-Christian temper tantrum; if he wants to travel the country at his own expense, putting on art shows, more power to him. And if some trendy Intellectuals want to band together to defray his costs, more power to them, too.

But, at least to my mind, the fact that space was found in tax supported museums for this, and other notably vulgar displays indicates that there is too much of such space available. Surely if museum curators had to decide whether to display Piss Christ or a treasured Van Gogh, the Van Gogh would be hung, and Serrano could go hang.

Stupid Argument

13 Feb

I recently caught a segment of a local radio talk-show featuring an argument that has, by my own count, been going on for at least a decade. It apparently comes around every year: the question of whether hunting is, or has ever been, a sport.

Now, the argument that hunting deer includes no trace of fair competition has some basis. But, regardless of what modern language has done with “Sport”, my understanding is that Sport originally almost always had to do with killing animals, or trying to kill people. Hunting or training for war. All less bloody sports came later. That’s simply how it is. Until very recently a “Sportsman” was a man with a gun (or a crossbow) over his arm.

So, can we debate whether hunting deer is humane? That’s an argument with two sides that actually make some kind of sense. Leave whether it is “Sporting” out of it. It may be that “Sport” has come to mean something else, but its origins were bloody. If the people arguing that deer hunting is bad were saying that it isn’t a sport as we now understand the term, it wouldn’t bother me so much. The assertion that it has NEVER been a sport betrays the encyclopedic historical knowledge of a mollusk. It is the kind of smug, ‘don’t you understand that I’m smarter than you?’ argument I am used to from certain elements of the Left that enrage me because they reveal the appalling ignorance of the speaker and taint a serious issue with idiocy.

The First Amendment Is Offensive

23 Jan

The problem with believing firmly in the First Amendment is the company it keeps. There is a blogger in jail in Alabama. I’m not going to name him, because his personal situation isn’t what I want to talk about. From everything I have read he is a raving twit who makes hysterical accusations against anyone he dislikes. He has been sued for that. Further, he has been uncooperative with the Judicial process, to the extent of not showing up for a hearing or hearings. Nevertheless, as matters stand he should not be in jail.

He was jailed because he defied an injunction ordering him to cease blogging about the plaintiff in the suit against him. Mind you, the trial has not taken place. When it does I have scant reason to doubt that this pillock will lose, and will have behaved badly enough that a jail sentence is a real possibility. But the trial has not yet taken place. The Injunction he is in jail for defying is attempting to prevent his from publishing what has not YET been ruled to be defamatory and actionable. The Injunction is clearly a violation for his First Amendment rights.

It’s tempting to just dismiss this. The blogger in question is a poisonous little twerp. The content that the fuss is over seems unlikely to be true, and likely to be found outside of the umbrella of opinion. The dweeble deserves to be in jail or fined. He’s in jail. What’s the problem?

The problem is that prior restraint of free speech does not just keep dweebles from posting fake stories about infidelities they fantasize that their enemies commit. It keeps perfectly decent people from exposing government wrongdoing, before the exposure of a trial. And if you wait until the people whose First Amendment rights you are defending are perfectly decent people, you will be behind the curve and wrestling against a weight of case law put in place to “get” dweebles, and other offensive jerks. A First Amendment that does not protect offensive speech is worthless, if only because it is almost always possible to find somebody who is offended at anything.

So we who care about Freedom of Speech end up defending jerks like Larry Flint, the KKK, The American Nazi Party (can you imagine the door prizes?), and this blogger from Alabama. And washing afterwards.

 

The Crank answers the pressing questions of the day….#3

16 Jan

“Why haven’t there been public inquiries into the banking collapse, to properly fix the blame?”

Because, since the Government started the whole mess by telling banks to lend money to people who couldn’t pay it back, the Government is deathly afraid that if it holds public hearings on who is at fault, it is likely to get told….in public.

Witch Hunt

9 Jan

One of the keystones of the Liberal version of 20th Century history is the 1950’s Anti-Communist Witch Hunt. Books have been written about it, films made about it, children are taught about it in school. It is an important part of the Liberal/Progressive collective self-image.

It is also largely bushwah.

The public perception of the Salem Witch Trials is based largely on the play THE CRUCIBLE in which teenage girls make baseless accusations against innocent people and cause their deaths. In point of fact the actual historical Trials had both more complicated causes and more complex endings. But THE CRUCIBLE, which was deliberately written to echo the author’s perceived persecution at anti-communism hearings, is routinely taught in public schools, and thus strongly influences the public perception of the Trials.  When something is described as a “Witch Hunt” it is tacitly understood that no actual “Witches” exist, and that anyone caught up in the hunt is an innocent victim. We Modern Educated People are invited to feel superior to those stupid Puritans who believed in witches, and to make the jump to believing that in the modern “Witch Hunt” we are being asked to condemn, there also isn’t any actual quarry. And in the case of the “Anti-Communist Witch Hunt” that simply isn’t so.

Under Stalin, the USSR’s intelligence apparatus ran dozens, possibly hundreds, of agents in the United State both during and after the Second World War. This is irrefutable; we have proof from Soviet era records as well as from contemporary intelligence intercepts. The American Communist Party was substantially funded by the USSR for years. Anger Hiss and the Rosenbergs were demonstrably guilty. Many, if not all, of the “victims” of the “Hollywood Blacklist” were passionate Stalinists who worked seriously, if probably ineffectually, for a Communist Revolution.

This isn’t to say that Senator Joe McCarthy was a hero. He was almost certainly a political bully and general jackass and any damage he may have done to International Communism seems likely to have been accidental. But to the Political Left he was an absolute gift. If he hadn’t been real, they would have needed to invent him.

Because, you see, without the myth that the hunt for Communist agents in the United States was an unjust persecution of enormous proportions the Left would have to face the fact that the Communists of that era were a selection of moderately stupid dupes of a genuine Monster. That, in turn, might force them to examine the stupidity of the later dupes who fell headlong for Mao, who was , if anything, an even bigger monster. And much of their cherished air of Moral Superiority would evaporate like morning mist on a hot summer’s day.

The facts are that there was some justification for various Leftist Socialist delusions at the beginning of the 20th Century, but that by 1950 anyone who wasn’t at least dimly aware that the USSR was a brutal dictatorship was ideologically blinded, or exceptionally stupid, or both. The Intellectual Left embraces Communism and related impositions because such systems hold out the mirage of a society run by Intellectuals. And never mind that the Intellectual Class of any nation that suffers a Communist Revolution is almost instantly liquidated by the thugs and psychopaths that always seem to end up actually running things.

The Western Intellectuals have been allowed to wrap themselves in false Moral Superiority for far too long. They are no improvement on any other self-selected elite of would-be aristocrats. They have not, in the West, ever, suffered anything like the persecution they deserve for promoting a system that spreads death and misery the way Communism does. They should be told in no uncertain terms that their Witch Hunt narrative is hogwash, their Moral Superiority bushwah, and their suitability to tell other people how to live as illusory as a syphilitic Bishop’s.

Some thoughts about Christmas

2 Jan

OK. By now the shouting has died down. The shop clerks have stopped trembling from Holiday Overload (and started drinking from Returns Hell). The batteries in that screeching toy that Grandma sent (to get back at you for not visiting for a whole month in August) have run down. In a few days the first bars of Jingle Bell Rock won’t inspire homicidal fantasies. Lets talk about the true meaning of Christmas.

I do not refer to the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Most Biblical scholars agree that, so far as it can be pinpointed, he was born some other time of the year, possibly in summer. Christmas is a political holiday, placed in the dark of the year to supersede Pagan holidays … and if you’ve ever really thought about Woton’s character, I think you will agree that that was A Good Thing, even if you are an atheist. So, Christmas is what we have made it over the centuries.

Overall, I like the family gatherings (in sensible moderation), the general good cheer, and the slight falling off of the levels of Sex and Violence blared at me from every surface that can be made to support a flatscreen TV. And, of course, the presents. But I have learned, over the years, that GETTING presents, even presents you desperately wanted, is nothing compared to the pleasure of GIVING presents, when you have picked the right ones.

I don’t remember how old I was when I first gave a present that really had an impact; sometime in my teens. I DO remember what the present was, and who I gave it to. My Father was primarily a scholar, but he was also a woodworker as a hobby, and he loved good tools. For years my Mother and I had conspired to get him a few good tools every year, and they were always a hit. One year, though, I was seized by the idea of getting him a knife. He had a penknife that he used all the time, but it was a fiddly little thing. I had seen a Buck Folding Hunter, with wood inlay, and I could just about afford to get it with my own money. If I had gone to my mother, she would have been happy to give me the money to buy it for him, but I decided I wanted to buy this all on my own. He was delighted. He kept that knife by him for the rest of his life, and used it every day. It gave him real pleasure, and that showed. I still have that knife. When he passed, just a couple of years ago, I made sure that it didn’t get lost in the shuffle. It lives in my tool drawer, and whenever I see it, it makes me happy to remember that Christmas.

Every year I try to give presents like that. I don’t succeed every year, or even every five years, but the effort is great fun in itself, and the occasional success is just wonderful. This year I have started to ask “Did you give any good presents?” instead of “Did you GET any good presents?”. It perks people right up. Even if they don’t have a story from this year, they frequently have a treasured success they want to share from years past.

I’m not against gift cards, mind. We get a number every year, and use them happily, and try to remember to tell people what we got with them. But I think I pity the people I run into who only give gift cards. They are missing so much.