Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
It is idle to talk about preventing the wreck of Western civilization. It is already a wreck from within. That is why we can hope to do little more than snatch a fingernail of a saint from the rack or a handful of ashes from the faggots, and bury them secretly in a flowerpot against the day, ages hence, when a few men again dare to believe that there was once something else, that something else is thinkable, and need some evidence of what it was, and the fortifying knowledge that there were those who, at the great nightfall, took loving thought to preserve the tokens of hope and truth. — Whittaker Chambers
* I don’t recall the exact age when my paternal grandfather stopped caring what the rest of the world thought of him, but I do remember the ebullient freedom with which he would announce whatever happened to be on his mind at any given moment, often to hilarious effect. I once brought a young lady over to meet him and at the conclusion of our visit, as we were leaving, he took her by the hand, smiled warmly and said, “You sure do talk a lot.” As with many things, his observation was absolutely spot-on, though it would have been nearly suicidal for me to agree with him at that particular moment. He winked, I winked, and she kept on talking.
* Now, whether owing to my own age, or the psychological fatigue one experiences when witnessing the unraveling of a free and civil society — or perhaps I’m still on some sort of patriarchal high in the afterglow of Father’s Day — I find the sort of bracing candor that was once the hallmark of my grandfather and other free men to be wonderful bracing and imperative. Very well then. What follows, in no particular order, is a collection of candid observations regarding recent events:
* It’s that time of year again, as American citizens hold their collective breath while awaiting word from the Supreme Court on exactly how much of their liberty they get to retain. The principal catastrophe in all this is less the possibility that the Court will pluck from the Constitution a heretofore unknown federal prerogative to redefine marriage, or that it will reaffirm Chief Justice John Roberts’ mental gymnastics in support of the constitutional right to life, liberty, and the Bronze Healthcare Plan, but rather that a free people are reduced to being led by the nose by a robed oligarchy that is answerable to exactly no one.
* Pamela Geller’s Mohammed drawing contest might be impolitic, but she seems to be doing a better job of flushing radical Islamic barbarians into the open than all the efforts of the NSA gathering your phone records or the TSA fondling your junk.
* Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond (and the political spectrum), the Daily Mail reports that the Oxford University Press is banning all references to sausage, pigs, or pork in children’s books, for fear of offending those adherents to the religion of peace whose heightened sensitivities cause them to lob off offenders’ heads. And so it is with great deference and tolerance that I pass along the following for those to whom the mere mention of anything pork-related becomes a grave offense:
So this pig and a Louisiana Cajun walk into a bar and the bartender says, “Why does your pig have a wooden leg?” And the man says, “Mais dis is a very special pig! Why, did you know he once run real fast into a burning building and save ma life?”
The bartender replied, “That is special indeed, but why does the pig have a wooden leg?” And the man says, “Me I’m telling’ you, dis is a very special pig! Did you know that when my boat flip over, dis pig swam out in da bayou save ma life again?”
The bartender replied, “That is incredibly special, but why does the pig have a wooden leg?” The man answered, “An when ma house collapse during de hurricane, dis pig make crawl into da house and save ma life some more!”
And the bartender said, “Look, I grant that the pig is incredibly special, but why does he have a wooden leg?” “It’s simple,” said the man, “a pig dis special can’t be eaten all at once.”
* The candidacy of Donald Trump is, in large measure, the creation of a Republican leadership so feckless, so cowardly, so spectacularly inept and dishonest with its own base that voters have turned to a political novice, but one who at least jettisons the language of marble-mouthed equivocation in favor of plain language that actually reflects the will of the people. That Americans have turned to a captain of business to get away from a party leadership that has become a subsidiary of the Chamber of Commerce speaks volumes about an opposition party that has ceased opposing anything except its own base of support.
* “When I look at young British Muslim women, I see myself,” said Michelle Obama who traveled the globe last week, picking up where Natalie Maines left off, pausing here and there to heap scorn on the heads of Americans who financed the whole extravaganza in the first place. Who knew that the First Lady, who lives a life of royalty while constantly seeing herself in the faces of the downtrodden, spent her formative years as a captive of the systemized misogyny of Sharia law, where female genital mutilation is practiced, and where women and girls may be beaten or murdered by their husbands and fathers for anything from being raped to converting to another religion?
Of course she’s endured no such thing, but she wears her persecutions comfortably these days, as comfortably as a designer dress in fact, easily making her the most expensive victim America has ever pampered and subsidized. “Maybe you see the news and see people talking about your religion, and wonder if anyone will ever see beyond your headscarf,” she told the young ladies, thus taking yet another backhanded swipe at America while remaining confidently ignorant of the fact that any number of Muslim men who see beyond those young ladies’ headscarves will likely beat them to death, it being considered a crime, corporeally punishable, for a female to be uncovered. But never mind. Let her jet across the world, emerging long enough to whine and complain and shop if she wants, but must she do it on our dime?
* In the seven days following the horrific murder of nine people in Charleston, South Carolina, 18 people have been shot in Chicago, 14 of them dying from their injuries. Has the President spoken on this? Reverend Al? Reverend Jackson? While we’re at it, I note that the 21-year-old killer in South Carolina posed for photos while holding the Confederate Flag, which has the mobs calling for the flag’s removal. At what point can we expect similar demonstrations in favor of banning whatever music or related regalia might have influenced the Chicago killers?
* And since we are now being urged to decontaminate the nation of all cultural and historical impurities, what about all those buildings and highways and God knows what else in West Virginia that bear the name of man who once wrote, “I shall never fight in the armed forces with a negro by my side,” a man who recruited 150 other men to join him in the KKK? Launching his political career from the ranks of the KKK, Senator Robert Byrd’s accomplishments include such highlights as filibustering the 1964 Civil Rights Act. But he was a Democrat, so don’t hold your breath waiting for the mobs to storm the many Robert Byrd Memorial Whatevers that dot the West Virginia landscape.
* Then again, as long as we’re calling for the banishment of that which cultivates racial division and hatred, when do we get around to banning the New Black Panthers? And pray tell when will Hillary Clinton be asked to return her Margaret Sanger Award to Planned Parenthood? The award, after all, is named after a woman who wrote that, “We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” Can someone explain why, in the 21st Century, liberals continue to beatify that racist?
* Did I mention pork?
* If Barack Obama had a son, a comparison he is prone to make when politically beneficial, he would look like the guy that called Cincinnati police last Friday and reported that someone was walking in his neighborhood, gun in hand and, “getting belligerent.” The caller, Trepierre Hummons, then waited for the police to answer his plea for help. Officer Sonny Kim, an immigrant from South Korea, dutifully responded — at which point Hummons shot him dead. Other officers responded and Hummons opened fire on them as well. Hummons died in the gun battle, prompting his family to express shock that he had died in a shootout with police, no premonitions having occurred to them from his arrest record, which includes burglary, assault, and sexual battery.
Where are the protests on Officer Kim’s behalf? Quite the contrary, Trepierre’s friends took to Twitter to offer posthumous congratulations, including one “Lapierre and Tha Divas,” who wrote, “Rest up Trepierre, you was a cool [n-word]!” These are not the kind of events that trigger the Pavlovian condemnations of the left, but they do give one cause to wonder why one murderer is rightly condemned as evil, while another is praised as “cool.” That sound you hear, by the way, is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spinning at about 1,400 rpm in his grave.
* Instead, President Obama took the occasion of the South Carolina murders to make a couple of points, both of them wildly out of phase with reality. 1) His point that, “We, as a country, have to reckon with the fact that this type of violence does not happen in other advanced countries,” could be refuted by 11 people at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris, and by five Jews in a French marketplace, and by nine people in the Czech Republic, or 13 teachers in Erfurt, Germany, or by 14 people in the Serbian village of Velika Ivanka, or by 6 people in Russia, let alone the 12 people in England, the 12 children in Rio de Janero, and the 22 children and 29 adults in China. As I say, the President’s moronic claim could be refuted by all of these people, except that they are all too dead to refute it, having been killed in mass murders in advanced countries around the world within the last two years.
But facts are only minor distractions to Mr. Obama, who glides serenely to point 2), which again (and forever more) revolves around gun control, the premise of which is that good people will somehow be made safe when they are rendered helpless. Fine, Mr. President. If there is virtue in defenselessness, as you maintain, then lead by example. Otherwise, please spare us any more of your sanctimonious hypocrisy.
* “This little piggy went to market” — and did NOT blow the place to smithereens in an effort to kill as many innocent people as possible. This proves that there is hope, because if swine can do it, then even radical Islamists, with a great deal of effort and sacrifice, may someday attain the level of civility and sophistication of the noble pig.
* I can no longer blame any police officer who, upon receiving a call for assistance in a high-crime part of town, replies, “Gee thanks, but everyone from the President to the Attorney General to my own mayor says I’m the problem. The residents view me as the enemy and so they will likely refuse to comply with whatever measures I have to take to restore order, at which point utter chaos will ensue and I’ll be lucky to get out with life, limb, or paycheck intact, so the hell with it. They’ve created a special hell in that neighborhood. Let them figure it out.”
* Of course, the seeds of that special hell were planted many years ago, when Uncle Sam moved into the neighborhood and began dispensing other people’s earnings like so much candy, fostering dependence, subsidizing illegitimacy, and rendering fathers and husbands superfluous. From Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society forward, a subculture has been created in the black community in which, to use Jeffrey T. Brown’s formulation at the American Thinker, “…there is self-segregation, hostility to other races, paranoia, anger, resentment, bitterness, victimhood, entitlement, crime, poverty, disinformation, deception, exploitation, broken families, destruction of religious faith, and failure.” Put succinctly, after trillions of dollars and decades of failure, liberalism has germinated a culture that can’t even pull up its pants, let alone govern itself.
And so what does one do when the precepts and values that built the freest, most prosperous nation on Earth are anachronized to the point that society simply disintegrates? Was Whittaker Chambers right that the West is dying from within? Sadly, I suspect he was, which relegates many of us to the status of walking anachronisms, curious relics of a time when free people overcame incredible hardships and their own demons in pursuit of a country where their children and grandchildren could rise as high as their talents and efforts would take them. What made America exceptional was not anything in the DNA of one race or another, but rather the humble recognition that it is not the place of any man — or group of men — to infringe on the rights that God Himself has granted to the individual. Rather, it is the duty of truly representative government to secure those rights, nothing more, and nothing less. That these ideas should today be regarded as curious antiquities, or even as seditious words, speaks to how far we have fallen.
So like Sisyphus, forever condemned to push the boulder uphill only to see it roll down again before renewing his labor, our work continues. There are myths that need exposing, egos of little despots that need gleeful puncturing, and the remnants of an enlightened philosophy and culture that need preserving in the hope that at that “great nightfall” enough tokens will be preserved in the hope that, perhaps years from now, someone blessed with the thirst for knowledge will find those fragments of hope and truth, and the fire of freedom will burn anew.