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So we built the wall and the whole wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.
– Nehemiah 4:6, NASB
It may come as a surprise that there is an entire book of the Bible dedicated to building a wall, but that is the story of Nehemiah.
With God’s help, Nehemiah re-builds a wall around Jerusalem. (He even gets the Persian emperor to pay for it!) In the process, he also rebuilds the self-respect of the people of Israel. Running throughout the book is the rejection of Israelites just being another people, for that way lies cultural suicide. He actively drove out foreigners and re-instituted the religious traditions and obligations of Israel. You can start to see the reasons there are still Israelites to this day.
Now, it’s also interesting that much of the book is driven by the demand that people take responsibility for their nation. Many, many times they are asked to pitch in labor for the wall, resources for the temple, and otherwise step up. There are lists of people who stood up for Israel thousands of years ago, memorialized for all time in the most widely printed book ever. I doubt they expected such recognition, but they were not working in purely human endeavor. Unlike modern walls, this wall protected Zion, where the temple to the Creator of the Universe was located – the only place on Earth where you could worship Almighty God. Guarding that was certainly worth recognition.
I think we can all agree with the last recorded words of Nehemiah.
Remember me, O my God, for good.
And everyone was saying, “It’s a conversation.” But it is not a conversation. It’s a one-sided….belief? And there was no room for discussion. It was just arguments; trolling; bullying.
Where was this stated? Can you guess what it was about? A political discussion board? YouTube comments? r/pol? It was said by a yarn dyer regarding a controversy over knitting on Instagram.
In essence, a bunch of ultra-woke knitters created a social media mob over a knitter’s deep desire to go to India. Eventually, they forced her to recant, denounce herself, and prostrate herself before Social Justice. Said yarn dyer was faced with a mass boycott by hordes of outraged social justice warriors and those swept along with the flood. For Social Justice is a jealous and pitiless god, far worse than any atheist’s stereotype of Jehovah.
Every hobby is being infected. Comics? Science Fiction? Computer Games? Sports? Everywhere you look, there are SJWs demanding that we express maximum wokeness at all times.
Our own @She addressed this topic before with politeness and dignity, but I am lacking in those attributes, so I will address this more directly:
“What profession has the most inherent aversion to escape?”
“Jailors.” — Exchange between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien
The problem with denying people escape from the political struggle is that a foe is most dangerous when cornered. When the enemy shrugs his shoulders and realizes he is dead anyway, then you can expect the fiercest fighting. It’s only a matter of time until you or someone you care about faces the psychopathic abomination that is Social Justice. Being a polite, good person will not save you — these inquisitors are just as fanatical as the average ISIS member. Fight back. Grant them no concession and remain on the attack. Keep the outrage on them — how dare they bring politics into this?
This is a stressful strategy, but there is a supportive cheering section all around you. If there is anything I could imagine would unite Ricochetti, it’s standing up to political correctness police, woke zombies, and the Social Justice cultists. We’ve got your back.
“Ad calamitatem quilibet rumor valet.” (Every rumor is believed against the unfortunate.) — Syrus, Maxims.
“Extemplo Libyæ magnas it Fama per urbes:
Fama malum quo non velocius ullum;
Mobilitate viget, viresque acquirit eundo;
Parva metu primo; mox sese attollit in auras,
Ingrediturque solo, et caput inter nubilia condit.
* * *
Monstrum, horrendum ingens; cui quot sunt corpore plumæ
Tot vigiles oculi subter, mirabile dictu,
Tot linguæ, totidem ora sonant, tot subrigit aures.”
“Straightway throughout the Libyan cities flies rumor;—the report of evil things than which nothing is swifter; it flourishes by its very activity and gains new strength by its movements; small at first through fear, it soon raises itself aloft and sweeps onward along the earth. Yet its head reaches the clouds. * * * A huge and horrid monster covered with many feathers: and for every plume a sharp eye, for every pinion a biting tongue. Everywhere its voices sound, to everything its ears are open.” — Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), IV. 17
The power and potency of a rumor were well-known to the ancients. (I invite the classically trained to correct these translations if it is necessary.) In an era before any real form of mass communication, we witness the destructive power of rumor and its spread like a virulent plague. Note that Virgil was highlighting this in his national epic, a story all Romans would know. I distinctly remember the destruction unleashed by rumors running rampant in the classical literature I read. Perhaps these sources from two millennia ago have something to teach our modern pundits and journalists. Then again, rumor is the majority of their business.
Especially relevant to the Covington Catholic situation is the quote of Publilius Syrus, a former Roman slave who earned his freedom through cleverness and wisdom. I read this as a reference to how people mobilize against the scapegoat, the outgroup, the person on hard times. Someone goes from possibly socially awkward to a member of the Nazi KKK that dines exclusively on kittens and puppies. The false story spreads faster than the truth because people want to believe it.
I think everyone here is on the record denouncing the leftist outrage mob and conservatives who assumed every person in a MAGA hat was like the Nazi trolls they saw on Twitter or otherwise deplorable. It was an act of stunning evil and should prompt some serious introspection.
Just keep in mind how dangerous rumor and social contagion can be so that you yourself do not help the monster take flight…
“A whole lot. And a whole lot more [expletive] human battleships,” he says. “And every single one of ’em is crewed by the angriest, most [expletive] off, most fanatical, most vicious humans you’ll ever run into. They call themselves Texans.” — Tnk’rkr The Wise, as written by Oshay
One of my hobbies is writing in a collaborative story/strategy game called From the Ashes. One part weaponized spreadsheet, one part role-playing game, one part writing project, and 100 percent geek, it is one of my main forms of relaxation. Most of the players are college-aged or older, several have kids of their own, and the group is fairly fun to hang out with. As you can imagine, the language is a bit rougher than around here at Ricochet. The link above is definitely not CoC-compliant.
People write stories of nations and heroes in a space opera setting. Some write stories that are more grounded, some discuss intricate plots, others do stories that have a fair amount of wackiness. I write the story of an explorer for hire — imagine Captain Kirk, Inc. It’s a nice break from real-world politics.
Some of the writing is pretty interesting, especially given it is done for free. Oshay, in particular, writes fairly decent military science fiction. In the snippet above, a Chelonian (turtle-like alien) admiral is describing their human allies, and I figured our resident Texans would enjoy knowing that even in the 25th century, you don’t mess with Texas.
“It is a profound and necessary truth that the deep things in science are not found because they are useful; they are found because it was possible to find them.” — J. Robert Oppenheimer, opening quote of Richard Rhodes The Making of the Atomic Bomb
Science is a profoundly amoral exercise. Scientific merit has nothing fundamentally to do with morality. Basic research is driven primarily by what can be done, not what should be done. This has largely always been the case. Even in the modern world, the fundamental questions are decided less by patronage or granting agencies or moral concerns, since no one knows the full application yet. Some people might be researching something revolutionary right now, while people mock their work for being impossible.
It is something to keep in mind when people treat science as a religion or magic wand to wave around — “I Freaking Love Science,” etc. Science tells you how, it does not tell you why.
On the other hand, applied science is much more under control of whoever is doling out patronage. If you provide ample funding for research that supports your view, it should not surprise you that research will be done according to your desires. Climate science is especially notable for being driven by politically desirable results. The only solution to global cooling or global warming or whatever is letting government have all the power. Similarly, we are being told that science says sex and gender are completely unrelated, despite the massive correlation that we observe — well over 90 percent of XYs identify as male and show predominantly male characteristics. Same for XXs being women. This is an easy conclusion, but people press away from it.
In essence, the best science can aim for is to be an amoral quest for knowledge, but that is quite worthwhile. It brings to mind one of Oppenheimer’s other quotes:
“Science may not be everything, but science is quite beautiful.”
All political media is rich with sources of outrage. It’s a constant drumbeat of people showing horrible behavior. Democrats and <insert Republicans I disagree with here> plan to do all kinds of evil. America’s enemies act blatantly, we have insane socialists with plans to destroy our way of life, and representative ready to nuke us. I’m vigilant and well aware of what is going down — I live in Obamastan, after all, surrounded by people who would despise me if they knew what I was.
What the hell am I supposed to do about this? I’m flooded with outrage like high-pressure steam, ready to act on an object, but I can’t see anywhere to apply it. So it builds and builds, growing hotter and more violent without any outlet. So, when I read yet another damned story about Democrats making the law their slave and selling out the country, what am I supposed to do with this outrage?
Vote? Already did. Where I am at, the Democrats will win almost every single office thanks to zombie voters and demographics. Besides, the outrage is constant, not just in election season.
Write my congresscritters? None of them would care — they get elected repeatedly despite doing nothing — thank the Machine and racial block voting.
Talk with and persuade people? I try, but I have to be careful or I could lose my job. Worse, I might need some co-workers to have my back in a hazardous situation. If they think I am a Nazi or something, would they still back me up while going into a toxic area? So many people are bathing in the opposite side’s rage.
Donate? I did, for the first time this election. I’m not able to actually influence some politician — I am well-off, but not loaded.
This is a legitimate question — I’ve got no answer. I’m debating avoiding all news and political blogs whatsoever, but that feels like surrender. I despise surrender. If you have an answer, please tell me before I decide to become a democrativore…
The wise statesman (and the Count of Södermöre certainly earned that title – he was respected across all Europe) rapidly realized that many of the leaders of the world are fools, even more so than oneself. This realization is alternately a relief and utterly horrifying.
Even the people laying the groundwork for the modern nation-state had their share of morons, although 370 years later we can see this folly demonstrated much more rapidly.
“Nothing in the World can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” — Attributed to Calvin Coolidge (Unverified).
“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.” — Winston Churchill, speech at Harrow School, Harrow, England, Oct. 29, 1941.
Two interesting quotes from Ricochet favorites. Coolidge may not have uttered this quote, but it was printed on the program for his funeral. I have seen and encountered the first quote in my own life. It is certainly true that many conflicts boil down to a question of will and dedication — who wants it more? How many movies have the hero down on the ground, with defeat staring him in the face, and then something gives him the determination to press on toward victory. Maybe they see someone they love, or something reminds them of the stakes? I think this is honestly mostly a dramatization — real heroes either resolve those doubts in a moment of thought or have already done so before their hour comes.
More to the point, developing relentless perseverance is the primary benefit of suffering. I reject the idea that suffering is a good thing, but avoiding all suffering and hardship is the source of snowflakes and whiny crybully social justice thugs. There is a path between endless agony and living in a bubble. By all means avoid suffering, but if it is the difference between success and failure, be willing to endure to achieve.
There was something bothering me about the first quote, which I think the second quote addresses. Dedication and resolve do not help if they serve a foolish or evil end. Terrorist scum can be quite persistent, after all, and our own mob of angry unemployed lefties seems to keep at things without ceasing. I’m sure Silent Cal would agree that Wilson’s persistence in implementing progressive policy and supporting the League of Nations did not help matters. So there are times when honor (morality/ethics) and good sense (rationality) tell you that you are aimed in the wrong direction. However, that is the only good reason to back down.
Otherwise, hold the line, do not surrender, do not bow down, do not give way.
This double-header Quote of the Day is brought to you by the iron will of Brett Kavanaugh, and Mitch McConnell’s resolve.
“The Fates are just: they give us but our own;
Nemesis ripens what our hands have sown.”
John Greenleaf Whittier, To a Southern Statesman (1864)
This quote would seem trite and pitiless at the first glance. We all know many who have suffered through no fault of their own. No doubt the author had known more than one young patriot from Amesbury who now lay in a grave far from home, and as an abolitionist, he no doubt felt the horrendous injustice of chattel slavery was undeserved by those unfortunate souls trapped in bondage. Life is not fair to people.
What did he mean, then? I believe the key is in his audience and the context. He is writing to a Southern Statesman who has witnessed the ruin of his way of life. Any man could feel the tide of war shift toward the Blue and against the Gray. Could they see what was to come, with the Radical Reconstruction and years of occupation government? And it started with the choice to depend on slavery and make it a focus of their culture.
Whittier was referring to the fate of nations and groups. The United States of America, and especially the states rebelling as the Confederacy, had sown with hubris, and Nemesis came calling. Eventually, the contradictions of a nation half-slave and half-free could not be sustained. Then began the greatest slaughter of Americans in history and the crushing of the Southern Way of Life.
When we see the Left stoking the flames of civil unrest and political violence, does it ever cross their minds that the Birkenstock may someday be on the other foot? They are legendary in their hubris — it is already coming back to haunt them. Civility in politics, if it was ever alive, is most certainly dead now. If people in America give up on elections and the government, they will turn to less pleasant means to change the political leadership. Once people believe their livelihoods and families are no longer safe, the greatest power of the Left will evaporate.
And as Nemesis comes closer to them with the sound of gunfire, will they wonder at how they fell from such heights of power?
“The Optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds, the Pessimist fears it is true.”
I first saw this quote in a book of quotes in high school, attributed to J. Robert Oppenheimer. As I had written my high school paper on the nuclear bomb test at Trinity Site, and I revered explosive devices, this was a natural choice for my yearbook quote. It played into my natural cynicism as a teenager – the world was broken, and everyone was an idiot. (The level of cynicism displayed by most people in my high school had would make Fake John Galt blush)
Looking from twice that age, I can still value in it. People clearly see the world completely differently. People look at Trump and see completely different things. Some people see him as the best world leader of the last century, others see him as the source of all evil in the universe past, present, and future. Obama was even more famous for being something people projected their own worldview onto, seeing him the way they wanted to see him (Obviously I think my perspective is correct – if I thought it was wrong, I would change my perspective).
I have a good friend from Singapore who thinks democracy is insane and the only way forward is rule by a bureaucracy. Actually changing what the government is doing is impossible. I could only imagine how alien life would see the world.
Now, this is not the end of the story, since this quote was not made by Oppenheimer, but was instead by James Branch Cabell, a satirical fantasy author. His version of the quote was even better from the know-it-all, above-it-all adolescent:
Creeds matter very little… The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true. So I elect for neither label.
How many times have you we heard people proclaim their transcendence of simple categories? Beyond left and right, they represent a higher plane than all of us grubby partisans. Almost without exception, this is a Trojan horse for their ideology, usually left-wing.
Now, Oppenheimer did have a fairly cynical view of the world, as the below quote demonstrates, but it was tempered by a certain conservative skepticism of magical solutions to all of our problems:
It is perfectly obvious that the whole world is going to hell. The only possible chance that it might not is that we do not attempt to prevent it from doing so.
“Poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on mine.” — Bob Carter
When you consider American conservatism, self-reliance always comes to the forefront. The classic conservative American ideal is the self-made man, the person does not need to rely on others. Now, this is not exactly accurate — we are not islands isolated from each, we are social creatures — but the principle is there. We do not celebrate, barbecue, and launch fireworks for Dependence Day.
There is a harsher side to this focus on self-reliance — the fate of those not self-reliant. This brings up the classic fable of the grasshopper and the ant. The grasshopper partied while the ant kept busy storing up resources and digging a burrow, and when the winter came the grasshopper starved and froze to death. Harsh, yes, but that was the way of the world for centuries. Pity and charity are fundamentally luxuries — if you do not have abundance, the unprepared starve. There is no obligation to help others at a cost yourself except moral principles. It is noble and a deeply respected tradition to offer hospitality to the traveler, even if he was unprepared for the journey. Regardless, there is no formal duty to aid others.
I am not a believer in Ayn Rand’s Objectivism, with its hatred of altruism — I serve the King of Heroic Sacrifice — but the modern culture of dependence and refusal to prepare for future misfortune is leading us off of the cliff. Perhaps it is time to bring back a dose of cold reality to our modern grasshoppers.
“Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, raise the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” — H. L. Mencken
The idiocy of a million morons gets under your skin. Hordes of people willing to toss everything away over a triviality (sellouts! traitors!) or unwilling to stand up to the Left, Jihadis, and other enemies (pathetic cowards!). People ignore the evidence of the coming apocalypse that could be prevented. Even worse, some just give up and wait for the end. Profanities are muttered under your breath — or louder. Your gaze hardens on the present source of outrage and deep in the recesses of your mind a vision of brutal, savage, yet cleansing violence appears…
Many of us have had this experience. H. L. Mencken, cynical satirist that he was, certainly had moments where his disdain for the great unwashed went beyond what his wit could convey. Some experience it every time they watch the news — that why I bailed on Ricochet and political media during the latter stages of the 2016 election. I’ve always had a tendency toward furious rage, and I have found that is best to act quickly when the red haze starts to descend.
Why is this? I believe it is the result of outrage without an outlet. Outrage is a phenomenal motivator. It can give you the will to resist a tyrant or stop a criminal enterprise. It is the motive of many heroic tale. Much like pressurized air or steam, it possesses a vast quantity of energy. However, outrage without any proper outlet is just as dangerous as confined pressure. One of the first rules of process safety is “Never heat a fluid without providing relief,” because rising pressure inside an enclosed container is more commonly known as a bomb. All that potential energy looking for a chance to escape is not a workable situation, either in process chemistry or in mental health.
Avoiding this scenario can take a variety of approaches. The most ideal is obviously to turn the outrage energy into useful work. This is very hard in with political rage, as most things that are useful do not make use of rage. I could certainly imagine standing guard outside a business while Antifa is acting up would be a constructive use of outrage. There is also the aspect of limiting exposure to political outrage. This becomes steadily harder as the Left demand all things serve a political purpose (another reason why that plan is likely to end in blood), but it can be done to an extent.
Avoiding the news is not necessarily a bad strategy. Avoiding social media relating to politics is even better. A final option is to relieve the pressure. For example, many post on Ricochet are more for venting than actual political persuasion. I personally recommend a good heavy punching bag for venting political stress. (I will not deny that I sometimes imagine political opponents inside of it.) Regardless, it is a good idea to have a relief path planned before turning up the outrage. Otherwise, you may end up with a bloody cutlass in your hand and the black flag flying overhead…
We on Ricochet may be divided on Donald Trump, but there should be one thing that unites us — a white-hot hatred of our despicable and anti-conservative (or just utterly spineless) Congress.
Leaving aside the budget that gives the Democrats everything, and only gives us money to fund the military, despite controlling Congress, there have been repeated failures to enact conservative legislation. It’s not Trump standing in the way, it’s Congress breaking promises repeatedly. No repeal of Obamacare, despite running on that issue and having passed a repeal bill under Obama that died in the Senate. Numerous conservative nominees stalled in committee or waiting for approval.
Where is the conservative agenda? Do people think Trump is not going to sign bills that carry out conservative policies? We have a rare opportunity to enact an agenda, which will probably be ending soon. Even if Trump is a horrible human being, he will sign these bills — just give him the wall and some immigration enforcement, which are conservative goals last time I checked.
If this is what we get for voting Republican and donating time or money, why bother? This was a Pelosi-Schumer budget, plus the military. Why can’t we pass a budget just with Republican votes? Start lean, and add just enough pork to get it to pass. Maybe try following regular order like you promised? Then again, maybe the Republican Party is no different from the Democrats except for piously invoking Reagan and preaching about civility while robbing us blind. It’s almost like the Scoop Jackson/Harry Truman Democrats are now running the GOP.
If you think that Trump being kicked out of the Solar System would solve this, ask what that would change about this budget from hell, delivered by Congress? If we build an android that exactly duplicated Reagan as of 1980, how would he handle this Congress differently? (Would he prefer Tip O’Neill to Paul Ryan?)
So, Ricochet: can we stand united in denouncing this abomination of a budget? It’s not like we don’t already know exactly what arguments each person would use regarding Trump, without actually persuading a single person. Can we demand that Congress step up and start controlling spending? “Either work with Trump or outflank him on the right, but act instead of just virtue signal. Don’t bend over and act like a masochist being whipped by Schumer and Pelosi — you have the majority. Use it. If you don’t, the Democrats certainly will.”
If we shift from the tired debate on Trump, which by now is a vaguely horse-shaped smear on the ground, we might be able to target the sellout Republicans who were behind this Betrayal Budget. Get a Congress that is consistently conservative and the GOP will stand for more than just Trump.