Freedom Is a Tricky Thing

 

“The Republican Party is broken,” writes Brandi Love, a self-identified “Conservative PornStar who writes for the Federalist,” according to her Twitter bio. Brandi was an attendee of Turning Point USA’s Student Action Summit. A conservative gathering for the young, hip, and constitutionally-minded designed to galvanize future conservative leaders. The summit features many of the stars of the conservative movement from the Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles to Dr. Ben Carson.

According to the TPUSA website:

Turning Point USA’s Student Action Summit is an invite-only event primarily intended for students between the ages of 15 and 26. If you are an adult wishing to attend, we have a limited number of adult tickets available.

QOTD: Psalm 63

 

Something I like to do during my devotional time is praying through a Psalm. This morning, I was on my way to Psalm 43 when I flipped past Psalm 63; it caught my attention, so I decided to focus on that one instead! It was a real encouragement to me, so I thought I would post it here in the hopes that I could pass some of the encouragement along.

God, you are my God; I eagerly seek you.
I thirst for you;
my body faints for you
in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water.
So I gaze on you in the sanctuary
to see your strength and your glory. 

Battle of Appomattox: Understanding General Lee’s Surrender

 

The Battle of Appomattox Courthouse is considered by many historians the end of the Civil War and the start of post-Civil War America. The events of General Robert E. Lee’s surrender to General and future President Ulysses S. Grant at a small-town courthouse in Central Virginia put into effect much of what was to follow.

The surrender at Appomattox Courthouse was about reconciliation, healing, and restoring the Union. While the Radical Republicans had their mercifully brief time in the sun rubbing defeated Dixie’s nose in it, they represented the bleeding edge of Northern radicalism that wanted to punish the South, not reintegrate it into the Union as an equal partner.

Celebrities Change with Society

 

George Bernard Shaw

In a remarkable coincidence, four prominent men share a birthday on this day, June 26th : George Bernard Shaw, Carl Jung, Aldous Huxley, and Mick Jagger.  Let’s briefly consider these men, in the order of their birth, and the enormous impact they’ve had on modern society.

What’s More Powerful? #MeToo or Capitalism?

 

My favorite singer has had a really rough year or so. Ryan Adams is a soulful singer who honestly is a wreck in his personal life; it’s part of what makes his craft as moving as it is. Recently, he was #MeToo’d; a pretty devastating piece appeared in the New York Times about Ryans’ manipulation and cruelty towards women, including his ex-wife Mandy Moore. The Times reported,

Equal parts punk-rock folk hero and romantic troubadour, Adams, 44, has 16 albums and seven Grammy nominations to his name. He has overseen music by Willie Nelson, written a Tim McGraw hit and recorded with John Mayer.

Alexei Navalny Speaks from Moscow

 

The German newspaper Die Zeit is politically left in its outlook and editorial policy. Nevertheless, it is well-written and occasionally surprises this right-wing social conservative reader with real gems. This one, admittedly, was not written by any of the paper’s staff or contributing writers. It was translated from Russian and is an excerpt from a forthcoming book by Alexei Navalny. It is part of his concluding statement given before the Municipal Court of Moscow on the 20th of February 2021:

So, I am supposed to give my closing statement now–to speak my closing words before this court. I don’t really know what I should say, your honors. Should I tell you about God and salvation?  Set the “pathos” switch to maximum? The thing is, I am a believer. In the Anti-Corruption Foundation…the people there are mostly atheists, and I was one, too, once, and a rather militant one at that. But now I am a believer and that helps me in what I do. It makes everything much, much easier. I worry less. I have fewer dilemmas in my life. It’s not always easy to hold myself to it, but by and large, I try. It makes doing politics in Russia easier.

Joe Selvaggi talks with Harvard Business School Professor Vincent Pons about his recently released NBER paper on the effects of strict voter ID laws on voter behavior and fraud across the United States over 10 years, examining the results of the 1.6 billion observation dataset by age, race, gender, and party affiliation.

Guest:

Police Reform Passed in Washington State

 

The last legislative session in Olympia passed a package of “police reform” measures, supposedly designed to “undo racial inequity” in policing in the state. The effects of this reform package can be easily predicted. The article at KOMO today lists some of the changes to law enforcement in the State of Washington.

The laws constitute what is likely the nation’s most ambitious police reform legislation. Supporters said they would help undo racial inequity in the justice system — “a mandate from the people to stop cops from violating our rights and killing people,” said Sakara Remmu, of the Washington Black Lives Matter Alliance.

Poland: Land of the Free and Home of the Brave

 

Wilfredo Leon is widely considered to be the best volleyball player in the world. He is 6’8”, athletic, and explosive. He was born and raised in Cuba and has spoken of the difficulties of everyday life there. He had to work 8-12 hours per day, while not getting enough calories to train as an athlete after work. After a three-hour practice, if he wanted to bathe, he had to carry a bucket from his fourth-floor apartment to a nearby pond and back up to his apartment. He hurt his shoulder and was denied surgery. He finally left Cuba and is now the highest-paid volleyball player in the world.

And where did he emigrate to find freedom? Poland. For some reason, that makes me so happy. Isn’t it wonderful that there are places that have recovered from Communism? Formerly oppressed countries that are now free? Hungary is another example.  There are others.  Could Cuba be next?

Isn’t it wonderful that someone flees the misery of communism in Cuba, and finds happiness and prosperity in Poland? He has a wife and two kids, and says it is his greatest dream to win a gold medal for his country – Poland. He says this would be the greatest moment of his life. He loves his country and says so every chance he gets. And why would he not? Good for you, Wilfredo. And more importantly, good for you, Poland.

Masks?

 

In the midst of renewed calls for universal masking in the name of Covid-19, can we have a reasoned, data-oriented discussion of how well universal masking prevents Covid deaths? Universal masking harms people and harms society. To justify such harms, I expect strong evidentiary support for the theory that universal masking prevents a significant number of Covid deaths.

Universal masking harms people. Many mask wearers experience anxiety, increased blood pressure, difficulties breathing. Universal masking cuts off much if not most interpersonal communication for many people, and interferes with the ability of children to learn and to develop social skills.

Well, We Got Something Right

 

Every once in a while the Army gets it right. After the media and political debacle of the Niger Ambush in October 2017, the Army made SSG J.W. Johnson and SGT La David Johnson honorary Green Berets. The article description of the battle is slightly off but I will give them some slack. And, coincidentally, I was able to visit and pay respects to La David Johnson returning home from Boss Mongo’s funeral service. I would sure like to talk to him about this.

Turning a Corner: the Road to Healing

 

Life does not unfold in a straight line: it meanders, stops us in our tracks, surprises us, delights us, and frustrates us. Anyone who thinks he or she can control his or her life is wildly misguided. (That’s one reason why you see so many angry Leftists.) When we come to terms with the unexpected appearing in our lives is when we can appreciate the entire process as a whole.

This discovery is not new for me. I seem doomed to learn this lesson, over and over again. That’s okay; I assume that each time I learn more about riding the rapids, the better I will ride my way through them the next time. But I’m also aware that I will never fully conquer them; life (or G-d) has a mind of its own.

Much to the consternation of Team Delingpole and Team Toby, our intrepid duo are back in the saddle and riding again. Like meat and potatoes, or salt and tomatoes or the Lone Ranger and Tonto, somethings just go better together.

That means there’s a lot of catching up to do – from Toby’s interrupted holiday in Wales to the results of “Freedom Day 2021.” We go over the doomsday predictions of Professor Neil Ferguson, Toby’s Spectator article on footballers taking the knee and his visit to Loftus Road to watch his Queens Park Rangers take on Manchester United in a preseason friendly.

When Teachers Were Proud to Be Teachers

 

Do you remember the phrase, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach”? I was thinking about this cynical comment, attributed to H.L. Mencken, and wondered if the teachers who chose to be teachers in the 20th century were aware of his statement and if their decision to become teachers was affected by it.

Nowadays, I wonder if teachers appreciate being in the profession. Was there a time when they were genuinely proud to be teachers? Did the requirements of the profession drive them away? Did the types of students they had to try to manage make teaching too difficult? In my exploration, I found that teachers joined the profession for a wide assortment of reasons, and they also left for just as many. I also thought about recent posts I’ve written about the teachers’ unions that were making outrageous demands for their members, and that the teachers didn’t necessarily agree with what they were demanding, but didn’t know what to do about it. What I know at this point, however, is that teachers were highly regarded at one time, and their reputation as a profession has taken a beating. So I wanted to know why at least some of them signed up, and why others decided to leave.

I remember the time when parents would almost always support a teacher over the complaints of their children, especially if it was obvious that the children were probably misrepresenting what the teacher had done or said. The parents insisted that the teacher had the last word and that the children should straighten up. Although it’s unclear whether a parent should have always sided with a teacher, their reaction to a child’s protest demonstrated that the teacher was held in fairly high esteem.

David French and the Dialectic

 

The left moves, and has long moved, by dialectic. The activist-academic class introduces a concept or word into the public debate and shoves with all its might, taking its own logic to its flashiest conclusion. This conclusion being nonsense, pushback inevitably follows, prompting the activists to scamper back to their safe, warm mottes. But things don’t snap back to the way they were. No. The terms, ideas, and slogans introduced by the activists stick around. They’re subsumed into the broader culture, their edges rubbed off. They become part of the scaffolding of political debate — the mental furniture of the American mind. It is by this process that figures like David French (who is no longer a conservative) will come, mark my words, to defend transgenderism against the onslaught of transhumanism sometime in the 2040s. It is because of this process that conservatism is all but a myth. Conservatives cannot conserve — not in our current culture, at least.

That David French is no longer a conservative will come as a surprise to nobody. I say this not because of his anti-Trump writings (there are perfectly good reasons to dislike Trump — I voted for him, and I can recognize that), but because David French, like the jolly band at The Bulwark, has shown himself eager to accept the terminology, framing, and general worldview of the cultural left. Just today, he published a piece titled “Structural Racism Isn’t Wokeness, It’s Reality.” French writes:

Quote of the Day: Do the Next Right Thing

 

The Frozen movies are weird. On the one hand, Elsa’s “Yay me! Let my inhibitions go!” song–as she nearly destroys an entire country with an unnatural winter–is a terribly odd anthem for a character who’s supposed to be a heroic Disney princess.  And then there’s the metaphysics of Frozen 2, which is among the most poorly explained things in film history.  Was the voice some higher goddess form of Elsa, and what exactly would that mean anyway?  Or was it her mother, and if so why didn’t Elsa say, “Oh my gosh, hi Mom, it’s been so long”?  Or was it something else?

On the other hand, Anna is a good depiction of selfless love, and Olaf even more so.  Olaf is like Sam Gamgee, Neville Longbottom, and Ricochet’s @peterrobinson: He’s just the best.  And then there’s the good advice from that little Troll: “Do the next right thing.”

Watching the Olympics Through the Looking Glass

 

As I do every four years, I’ve spent the weekend watching countries I don’t care about play games I don’t care about.  It’s not as boring as it sounds, although it’s certainly, um, surreal.  I mean really, really weird.  I’ll try to explain with a few observations, in no particular order:

  • Ping pong is a strange sport. Sorry; table tennis.  And in a development which surprised no one at all, the gold medal game will be between China and Japan.
  • The American corporations who buy advertising time on the American TV stations to promote their products to Americans apparently believe that there are very, very few white people in America.
  • Water polo looks brutal. I wouldn’t play that sport without a life preserver, a football helmet, and SCUBA gear.  Actually, I still wouldn’t play that sport.  Those people are nuts.
  • Simone Biles may be the best athlete I’ve ever seen.
  • I’d never seen dressage before. It’s a competition in which horses sort of prance around slowly, nearly dancing, while carrying a person wearing ridiculous clothes.  This is what happens when you give white people too much spare time and way too much money.  The longer I watched, the more I thought that perhaps wealth taxes aren’t such a terrible idea…
  • The commercials are following today’s trend of featuring average-looking people, better to identify with their target audience or something. If there is a truly beautiful woman in an ad, she will be black.  And if there is somehow a truly beautiful white woman in one of these commercials, she will have a crew cut and a tattoo of a snake on her neck.
  • I thought I had played badminton before. Apparently, I have not.  Holy crap.  It’s nearly violent.  And they’re not drinking beer while playing.
  • It’s my understanding that most cities that host the Olympics lose money. Not always, but usually.  I wonder how the books look for Japan right now?  No fans at all.  Beautiful, enormous, brand-new stadiums, purpose-built for each individual sport, with 15,000 empty seats in every single one.  Restaurants and hotels are empty.  Zero ticket sales.  Can you even imagine how much money Japan is going to lose in this deal?  Oh my God.
  • Since the Russian Olympic Team was found to have widespread egregious violations of drug policies over the past several Olympics, Russia was not permitted to participate in this Olympics. So the Russian athletes are participating as the “ROC”, or Russian Olympic Committee.  They don’t have a Russian flag on their uniforms.  That way, the athletes have not doped up steroid monsters now.  Much better.  I’m sure that the athletes from the other countries are glad that the Olympic Committee resolved that issue.  Whew.
  • I can’t imagine working my entire life to have the opportunity to compete in the Olympics and then performing in front of empty, quiet stadiums. How heartbreaking.

All that adds up to a surreal viewing experience.  Watching sports I don’t know anything about, with athletes I’ve never heard of, with commercials that appear to be filmed for a foreign country, with announcers trying to build enthusiasm for games that nobody is watching in empty stadiums.  It is really weird.

A Doctor’s Advice on Living a Long, Healthy Life: “No idea!”

 

Hilton Head is an odd place to practice medicine.  No one is from here.  They all spend their lives somewhere else (usually Midwest or Northeast) working hard enough to make enough money to retire in a place like Hilton Head.  Then they move down here and begin their long-anticipated life of leisure.  They sleep until they’re hungry and they eat until they’re sleepy and after a few years of this they notice that they don’t feel very well, their pants don’t fit, and they’re on more BP meds now than they were when they were stressed out and working so they decide to get in shape.

My patient Jim followed this path and reached the point where he decided to rededicate himself to his health.  I tell him that’s a great idea.  He says he’s going to buy a bicycle; I tell him that’s a bad idea.  I tell him that bicycles make you healthier but they don’t make you live longer.  I’ve seen horrible accidents over the years.  I mean horrible stuff.  I have four close friends who either died or were crippled by bicycle accidents.  Jim figures that I’m just being a typical overly cautious doctor (which was probably true), and buys a bike.  He rides a lot, starts losing weight, and feels much better.  We even stopped some of his meds.

Then, he wiped out.  He wasn’t going very fast (he says less than 10mph), and he thinks maybe he hit a pine cone or something.  Anyway, he broke his pelvis in two places plus various other bones.  Very serious injuries for a 68-year-old man.  The surgical repair went well, but he developed pneumonia in the hospital.  We treated that, sent him home, and he came back a week later with a blood clot.  The next year was a brutal journey of one setback after another, being transferred from nursing facilities to hospitals to rehab centers and back again, but he eventually overcame everything, and a year later was nearly back to normal, although he had a lot of back pain at that point.  Since his wife now takes a similar view of his bicycle as I do, he’s looking for another way to get back in shape.

An Arthurian Tale in a Science Fiction Future

 

In the far future, civilization experienced a catastrophic collapse in the centuries-ago past.  Jon of Dun Add is reforging isolated pockets of human habitation into a unified and civilized whole. His Hall of Champions is a tool in this effort. This fellowship enforces justice across Jon’s realm. Pal is one of Jon’s newest knights, and one of the most respected.

“The Serpent” by David Drake is the third novel Drake’s Time of Heroes series. It presents Pal’s adventures in this possible future. It follows “The Spark” which introduced Pal and “The Storm,” which showed Pal maturing into his current role.

She Fenced Like a Champion

 

Lee Kiefer celebrates winning a gold medal in women's individual foil

As the sporting world navigates any number of contentious issues, there are athletes that labor in obscurity. They are not as well known as athletes in other sports, but they work just as hard to succeed.

Lee Kiefer became the first American woman to win a gold medal in the women’s individual foil event and earned Team USA’s first fencing medal of the Tokyo games. She defeated reigning Olympic champion Inna Deriglazova 15-13 to capture her first career Olympic medal after finishing fifth in London.