Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Sometimes the Small Details Are the Most Impressive

 

Last weekend, I picked up a copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator. The best way I can describe it is jaw-dropping. There are some problems, especially when looking at natural wonders. Take for example Devils Tower. I’ll let you make your own Close Encounters jokes.

However, it is still great for visiting places you haven’t been in decades.

Sometimes, it’s finding a small farm in the middle of nowhere that is most impressive.

That farm may only be significant to a few people, but it is that level of detail and the knowledge that it covers the entire world is the most impressive.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Were…

 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.

I have recited the words above many thousands of times. It often does not work. Somewhere deep inside there lurks an opposite sentiment, an anti-serenity prayer to self. “I hate [insert adverse circumstance/condition/outcome here] and I resent that I do not have the power to change it.” In this formulation, discernment and wisdom have no role.

Ever since Eve thought if I were to eat that apple and gain knowledge and power and her idiot husband went along, there has been a flaw in each of us such that we refuse to affirm the gift of being part of reality and instead imagine a state of being we cannot have and should not really want.The Antifa/BLM phenomenon, for example, is a kind of anti-serenity prayer: I hate this reality and I resent that I do not have the power nor the vision to transform it so, if I had the power, I would destroy it all.

If I were … [something other than I am now]… Imagination is not evil. It depends on who or what it works for. I can imagine myself making far better use of my time, being more cognizant of others. A competent planner might imagine how some village could be cleaner and safer. Someone could imagine that he/she could improve life by starting a new business venture or simply living healthier and stronger. A gifted storyteller might imagine a complete new world. I could use mind powers granted me by aliens to become rich and seduce runway models. All but one of these thoughts could give rise to beneficial actions and would not be a waste of mental space and time by indulging it.

Kids should pretend to be pirates or cowboys or on a quest. Imaginary realms are places to feel out unfolding virtues, ambitions, and personhood. An escape into well-crafted stories in novel settings that explore life’s truths is helpful at any age. While reality usually does intrude when healthy imagination mutates into something less healthy, an attachment to a wrong wish born of a denial of who, what, when, and where we are can linger and fester.

Some economists opine that the rate of growth has stalled because the pace of innovation has stalled. I don’t know whether that is true but if there is an underlying societal shift away from imagination and action towards wishing and resentment that would be a frightening turn. If young men were to stop trying to get the attention of the prettiest girl in school and instead stay home and imagine trysts with a warrior princess in a video game, if we all were to start to live avatar lives in isolated immersion in entertainment media and if the American people were to wish for some instant (impossible) transformation of society rather than cherish the freedom to first imagine and then actually bring new things to life, that would be a spiritual, political, and social disaster.

Knowing the difference between wondrous possibilities on the one hand and delusions that feed narcissism and denial on the other should not be all that hard, should it? But in ways large and small that wisdom appears to escape many or most of us often. (Well, it certainly has often escaped me, anyway.)

When I was much younger, I liked to fantasize about time travel but now that I am getting old, it is much harder to do because I instantly worry that anything I do while visiting the past might undo the chain of events leading to my children and grandchildren. It kinda wrecks the fantasy. Having to accept the fact that I can’t edit out or revise past pain without undoing or harming what really matters should be some kind of lesson, some learned wisdom about the real price of joy, meaning, and love and the critical role of acceptance. I admit I don’t really have that kind of wisdom yet but now I am pretty sure it exists and I will recognize it if I ever get there–kinda like physical fitness or fiscal responsibility. I can already hear that inner voice that tells me that the menu of life was never going to be a la carte, you were always going to get whatever else is on the plate, grasshopper.

I had hoped that wisdom would be easier and more fun (sorta like what the serpent said about eating that apple). But, maybe, if I were wise, it would be.

[Done for Ricochet September Group Writing]

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Were Your Writing Coach, I Would Advise a Different Point of View

 

I critique a fair number of works of art before they are seen by the public. While I have critiqued works of visual and industrial art, my forte is in the written word. I have helped other authors develop poems, short stories, novellas, novels, and even non-fiction works. I often come across the same issues in the works of many authors, especially those who are amateurs or just trying to break into the profession. This conversation will highlight one of these common issues and errors. I may do more as time allows.

In most short works, such as a short poem, say a sonnet, point of view is not a big deal. The point of view may be the author of the work, or it may be a character made up for the occasion. When we start writing longer works, especially works of fiction, point of view becomes much more important. It seems that most beginning authors attempt to write from the point of view of an omniscient narrator. This is usually a mistake.

The Omniscient Narrator (ON)

An omniscient narrator knows everything. He knows what all the characters are thinking and feeling. He knows what is going to happen. He knows what the characters did and what they should have done. Omniscient narrators are often used in fairy tales. And that’s great, if you’re writing a fairy tale. But if you’re writing an action/adventure or science fiction novel, it seldom works out well, especially in the hands of an inexperienced writer.

The major problem is that since the omniscient narrator is in all heads if the author is not very, very careful about antecedents, then the reader can get lost as to which head they happen to be in at the moment.

A second problem is that there is nothing hidden from old ON. If the girl likes the guy, ON knows. If the guy likes the girl, ON knows. If not handled very well, it can spoil all the mysteries of life in the story. The reader is left thinking, “Okay, get on with it. If the two just sit down and have a conversation and, you know, communicate, this story is done.”

A third problem is that ON is probably not unreliable. Unreliable narrators are one of the tools that authors have to help hide elements of the plot.

Can omniscient narrators work? Of course, they can. But few inexperienced writers manage very well. Let’s look at some examples where they do work.¹

The Princess Bride—In both the movie and book, there is an omniscient narrator. I suspect more people are familiar with the movie, so let’s stick to that version. First, The Princess Bride happens to be a fairy tale, a genre where omniscient narrators are the default. In the movie, the story is presented within an envelope story of a kid’s being sick at home and his grandfather comes to visit and brings him this book. The grandfather becomes the omniscient narrator, someone who has heard and read the story many times before. This allows him to stop and reassure his grandson or to skip the boring parts. Obviously, the story he is reading also has an omniscient narrator, whose part he reads. In this case, the ON is normal for the genre and also goes a bit meta for fun.

The Great Gatsby—Here, the ON is Nick, a guy somewhat peripheral to the story. He knows everything only because he’s telling it in hindsight. He inserts some things that he found out later as to what was really happening. In this case, the ON is a character in the book who has reason to know everything as he is looking back on the events and reports on them. All of the action happened in the past. A similar thing with an ON character looking back is sometimes done with noir-style detective novels.

Fishing with John—This was a prospective TV show. I am not sure if it ever was actually on TV, but it was later collected as and sold as a DVD. It has a narrator. The basic premise was that John Lurie would go out fishing somewhere with one of his friends, like fishing for sharks with Jim Jarmusch. I believe there were six episodes created, each about half an hour. The first show or two was fairly normal. By maybe the third show, the narrator is throwing in things like, “Can I have a bite of your sandwich?” By the show with Willem Dafoe as guest, the narrator declares that Lurie and Dafoe died in the wilds of Minnesota while ice fishing. At the beginning of the next show, the narrator says something on the order of, “I was just kidding about their dying.” In short, the narrator is totally unreliable. By the final episode, you know he is just making stuff up.

The three types of cases we have looked at with omniscient narrators that work are fairy tales, where the ON is a character looking back on events, and where the ON is a bit meta and possibly unreliable. They might also work for a non-fiction show about animals or planets like Pluto.²

But making it work in a regular action/adventure or science fiction tale is much more difficult. Instead, if one investigates most professionally-published novels, what one finds is the use of Point-of-View Characters.

Point-of-View Characters

A point-of-view character (POVC) is simply a character through whose eyes you see the action. Some novels use one point-of-view character, often the protagonist, sometimes in first person. Some will have several POVCs. Some have only a few who switch off, perhaps in alternating chapters. There are any number of ways to do it, depending on the novel and genre.

Now, the type of omniscient narrator who is a character looking back on events, as in The Great Gatsby, is an example of a point-of-view character. It is one character always speaking in the past tense. There is no switching off between characters in this case, although there could be. Imagine a novel or story formed like an after-action report, or maybe as a series of statements from different characters in a police report. One would not know whether any of the POVCs were unreliable. Or, one might have to determine who was and who was not reliable.

Still, with most novels that use multiple POVCs, it is because characters can’t necessarily be everywhere. They certainly can’t be in two places at once, let alone four or five if the action is taking place across the world. It can be a tool to expand the scope of a novel. It can also help get away from a lot of exposition. If the author only has one POVC, and something happens where the POVC is not present, the author has to find a way to relate what has happened. Sometimes, that starts with the POVC character saying, “I found out…” and then the book is on to telling rather than showing, another weakness many writers have, often summed up against by writing teachers with the rule, “Show, don’t tell!” Another was that this information might be conveyed is through a conversation. Another character tells the POVC what happened. Again, “Show, don’t tell!” Now, it’s not a sin against writing if the summary of what happened elsewhere is short, but the longer it goes on, the more chance that the reader is going to lose interest. Kind of like this essay.

The Point-of-View Character and the Classical Unities

The Classical Unities were developed in the Greek period for their plays.¹ Every scene should be at one place, time, and united also in the action. With a novel, one can play with the old unities a bit, but there should be one more unity added: Unity of Point of View. The author should make it very obvious when a point of view changes. My own preference is to have one point of view per section within a chapter. How do we make sections of chapters? Usually with some sort of marker, such as a graphic or something as simple as “***.” For instance here is the end of one section and the beginning of the next from a short story where the young Gabriela is looking for a husband, so her brother takes her to a party where a lot of noblemen can be found:

The duke rolled his eyes, and then said brightly, “Well, I’m sure that there is some domestic crisis I have to attend to somewhere. Hosting a party is like that. Aunt Mary Anne can tell you all about her father and how and when her parents met. Really must be going now.” And off he went.

Gabriela took the old woman’s elbow, “Perhaps there is a quieter place we could speak with less traffic than the gallery?”

“Did Billy mean what I think he meant?” Aunt Mary Anne said.

“Probably, why don’t we find a quiet place to talk?”

***

Jack changed his clothes after he had gotten home from the party and went back down to his library. Gabriela had been silent in the coach ride home. He found her reading a book.

“It seems that I must be considered a prize,” he said. “Apparently quite a few young ladies had their eye on me. I had no dearth of ladies happy to dance the night away with me.”

Gabriela looked up from her book, “You are a rich and titled nobleman, Jack, and young enough to earn more titles. You could easily wind up a duke if there’s another war. You have famously earned many prizes and come away with tons of prize money. Your seat is very well known and comfortable. You need to try for a duke’s daughter, with a very large dowry.”³

The first section is in the grand portrait gallery of a duke’s country house. It is all through the eyes of Gabriela. The second section is back at Jack’s seat and is through his eyes. And of course, there is the section marker (***) in between. It provides an easy visual clue that a new section is starting and a new point of view may be starting. Another clue in the new section is that it starts with Jack and his actions. Everyone has seen such things in novels, but if one is not planning to write a novel, they are just part of the background, not a major part of the machinery to keep the story moving. Seeing such devices through the eyes of a writer—yes, the writer’s point of view—means understanding the unity involved for each section.

While it might make sense to break the unity of action across multiple sections to create a cliffhanger, preferably with another section from another POVC thrown in the middle once the unities would be violated, it’s time for a new section. For instance, a guy does a bunch of stuff on Friday and then goes to sleep. Saturday morning is probably going to be a new section, just as it would be a new scene in a play. (In the play’s program, it might be labeled: The Next Morning). Again, we have all seen these things, but we may not have paid attention to how they work and what they are doing for the stories.

Switching Points of View

In the section above, I illustrated how one can change points of view. In that particular case, the new section had changed all of the Classical Unities, plus the point of view. They had changed location, it was later in the evening, the action was different, and we changed eyes from sister to brother. But the section can change even if the only thing changing is the point of view (same time, same place, same action):

Pierre shivered as he tried to check his cannon. Why was he so cold? He had heard someone mention fevers and that the English ship might be a plague ship. If he got the fever, maybe they would send him home, if he lived.

They should have reloaded the guns with grape before approaching for a boarding action. Now, he could see down the deck that his ship was being boarded. They must have had thousands of men on that English ship.

He could light a small fire to warm up and be ready to light the slow match for the guns. That would help him think. He was getting no orders from his chain of command.

***

Tronjoly saw a grappling hook appear on the far side of his ship’s quarterdeck. It was totally opposite from where the British attack was coming. He went to the edge and looked down to see at least fifty British marines climbing up the side of his ship from a ledge of ice below.

He stepped back and started issuing commands, “Repel boarders! Repel boarders! Someone get me an axe!”

He whipped out his sword, but it didn’t have the heft or a sharp enough edge to cut the boarding rope. He stepped back to get a better view of the situation and tripped over one of the men who was manning the quarterdeck guns.

***

Pierre had gotten his gun pointed in the general vicinity of where the action was, but he had still not been commanded to fire. The heavy work had warmed him slightly. He stood and started to turn as he heard the admiral’s shouting behind him. He had lifted the lit brazier to move it further from the gun when a body slammed into him from behind. He fell, losing his grip on the brazier, which instead of going further from the gun, had hot coals hitting the gun. One of them touched it off. The tampion had not even been removed.

***

It was time for Jack to release more energy. He looked up into the middle of the cloud ring in the sky just as he heard the first cannon of the day being fired.

***

Marcus heard the cannon fire followed by a thud and a fwoomp with a wave of extreme heat. He was knocked down by the shockwave. He regained his feet and turned back to where Jack had been. There was a charred skeleton standing there looking upward but with hands outstretched holding a white-hot glowing cannonball and above the air was roiled in a way Marcus had never seen. Far above, it was as if the stem of a mushroom were forming into the cap as clouds formed and rolled outward.

Marcus looked back down to see the skeleton and ball slowly fall backwards onto the deck.

“Fire brigade! Water on this right now!” he shouted.

A few men moved and poured buckets, especially on the melting metal cannonball and the deck around it.³

The above is an excerpt of a much larger sequence of events. In less than a page or two, we have five sections (last only partial). The POVC are, in order: a French sailor manning a small quarterdeck gun, a French admiral, the French sailor again, the British Royal Navy Captain, and a British Lieutenant Colonel of Marines, who happened also to be the British captain’s younger brother. Because it is a battle with a lot of action, the perspective changes often. I could have written it from only the perspective of the main protagonist of the story, Marcus, the Marine colonel. But he could not see or know everything that was happening. By moving around the battle, it was possible to see the full sequence of events. All five sections could be considered the same time, place, and action sequence, but the shifting points of view gave more information and more immediacy to the action.

It should also be obvious that the POVC character is quickly identified, often in the first word of the section: Pierre, Tronjoly, Pierre, Jack, Marcus. It makes it easier for the reader to tell whose head they are in at the moment.

Summary and Questions

So, that is how a point of view character or multiple such characters can be the writer’s friend.

Have you ever taken notice of how this is done in books before? Have you ever seen it done badly? Have you ever tried to write a novel? Did you stay awake through this? Share your experiences, Ricochet.

Notes:

1. I’m going from memory on these as I have little time to write this. Any errors, please feel free to point and laugh.

2. Thrown in for @gldiii.

3. Excerpts from some of my own unpublished stories that may some day be published.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Every year I return to Wislawa Szymborska’s 9.11 poem; from a photograph, the poem is precise as a photo, not an excess line, not a wasted word: her humane heart’s response to the atrocity freezes in place its pitiless horror. I believe I may have posted “Photograph from September 11” before. The other poem is […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Monumental Ignorance of Young Americans

 

The increasing anti-American anarchism, radicalism, and Wokeism of Americans, particularly young Americans, leads me to believe that young people in America are monumentally ignorant. The apparent success of the so-called “1619 Project” is consistent with this hypothesis. But it is difficult to determine how widespread this ignorance might be. It is quite easy to find anecdotal data, like a humorous online video of young people demonstrating their cluelessness, but hard to find quantified data.

Condoleezza Rice had an interesting comment in Peter Robinson’s recent interview, reporting that she drew an analogy about the capture of a notable Muslim terrorist being equivalent to the capture of Erwin Rommel. The kids in her audience had no idea who Rommel might be.

I found an interesting and useful data point. About 2 years ago, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation released the results of a survey of 1,000 American citizens who were given the U.S. Citizenship Test (here). The test has a pool of 100 questions. Prospective citizens are asked 10 of those questions, and pass if they correctly answer 6 or more. So how do American citizens do on the test?

The answer is that only 36% of American citizens surveyed can pass the test. The results, however, are highly stratified by age:

  • 74% of Americans 65 years and older passed the test.
  • 19% of Americans under age 45 passed the test.

The news release commented: “Surprisingly, the poll found stark gaps in knowledge depending on age.”

Why would that be surprising? The results are certainly consistent with my general impression that radical, anti-American Leftists have been taking over education, at all levels, for decades.

I’d be interested to see other demographic data on the rates of passing the citizenship test, but these are not reported by the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation.

Back in 2016, USA Today reported a prior survey on the same issue, though it only asked 5 questions (which would require 3 correct answers to achieve a “passing” grade of 60%) (here). USA Today gave limited demographic data by party, reporting that 40% of Republicans answered all 5 questions correctly, compared to 35% of Independents and 33% of Democrats. Unfortunately, it did not report rates of passing the test, by party.

If you’re interested in testing your knowledge, you can try a practice test here. I find it to be astonishingly easy, but I admit that I’m quite weird in my interest and knowledge in the areas of American politics and history. I’ve done several practice tests, and have not missed a single answer.

There is not a problem with all young people. My oldest, the 25-year-old Marine, did very well on the test. He is evidently in a small minority in his age group.

Over recent years, I’ve become increasingly skeptical about the wisdom of a broad franchise and birthright citizenship. I do recognize that any alternative system may create other problems.

Sorry for the depressing report, but it’s probably better to face the facts. We are dealing with two entire generations who are monumentally ignorant about American history, government, and politics.

BLM delenda est. Antifa delenda est.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Battle at the Bluff

 

If you travel north out of Texas on present-day US 285, you will pass through the western edge of the village of Loving, New Mexico. You might also notice that the road takes a slight bend toward the northwest as it aims itself at Carlsbad which lays another 12 miles up the highway. Half-way to Carlsbad is Otis. If you have traveled that road before and failed to notice Otis, you are not in the minority. But there was a time when it was home to enough souls to support a post office (from 1893 to 1901), well over a century past.

From Otis, if you strike a path roughly east by northeast you will be pointed toward a bend in the meandering Pecos River. As you head that way you will probably notice (being a keen observer and constantly aware Indian scout) that you left the rugged and seemingly broken landscape that bored your eye from the lower reaches of the Pecos. Here is the first really wide open country where you can be literally seen for miles. To the west is the outline of what seems to be mountains. After 2 ½ miles, the open plain suddenly drops 35 feet to form a reddish bluff that fronts the Pecos River less than 200 feet away. The feature stretches for a mile northward along the winding, brackish waters. It is here that Oliver Loving and “One-Armed” Bill Wilson made a desperate stand against more than 100 Comanche warriors.

The Goodnight/Loving herd was still well below the New Mexico line when Oliver Loving had become anxious. It was late July 1867 and the contracts they had been promised to supply Fort Sumner and Bosque Redondo were to be confirmed in August. Remembering the bureaucratic hassle the cowmen had gone through the fall before, Loving wanted to ride ahead to Sumner and then Santa Fe if necessary to be certain of their outlet for the beef steers.

Goodnight wanted him to not leave until they had passed the dangerous region of the Guadalupes but finally gave in if his partner would only travel at night and hide-out during the day. Goodnight later described Loving as “a man of religious instincts and one of the coolest and bravest men I have ever known”. And then he added, “but devoid of caution”. At 54, Oliver Loving might well have been the most experienced trail driver in the Southwest. But the 30-year-old Goodnight had spent most of the last 15 years either avoiding or tracking the Comanche and Kiowa. Few people better understood these nomad warriors or the wild country they thrived in. Goodnight selected “the clearest headed man in the outfit” to accompany his partner, “One-Armed” Bill Wilson. Between them, the two men carried five pistols and each had a rifle. Loving had a new Henry which unlike the handguns and Goodnight’s six-shot revolving rifle carried by Wilson used metal cartridges. Before the pair rode off, Goodnight pulled his mount up beside Loving and reminded of the importance of “caution” and the two men jogged their horses past the point and aimed for Pope’s Crossing, just below the New Mexico border.

They rode that night and two more before camping along the area where the stream then known as Black River drained into the Pecos from the west. But Loving hated riding at night and wanted to make more time. They rested their horses for three or four hours and then struck out with the sun up in the east. So later that day they were crossing the most open and exposing ground they had been on so far and in broad daylight.

They were about four miles from the Pecos and that high red bluff when the horizon to the southwest filled with horseback Comanches. In later years, Wilson recalled there were well over 100 of the “rascals” and always assumed they had been hunting south of the river and were on their way back to “their old ground”.

The two white men made a race for the river in the hope of finding a place to fort up and got there ahead for their pursuers. Drainage coming off of the bluff was eating out a small gully that made for a good “hole-up” spot for the pair. They had a full view of the area from all sides except for one small spot where the brush and carrca (Spanish cane) had grown thick. Loving guarded the brushy “backdoor” while Wilson who was considered a dead-shot despite his “handicap” covered the rest.

Toward the end of the day the two white men were called to in Spanish from above. Wilson positioned himself to stay protected but still answer the call. An Indian raising above the rim of the bluff fired a shot and Wilson killed him at once. But the Comanche’s shot had hit Loving, passing through his wrist and deep into his side. Wilson made a fight of it and then took his companion deeper into the brush to conceal them both.

The Comanche shot arrows all through the brush and weeds trying to make the pair give themselves away but failed. At one point, a single warrior was making his way through the cane using this lance to separate the vegetation ahead of him while crawling toward the river. He did not realize he was only a few yards from the white men and Wilson was making ready to shoot if he made a few more feet.

But besides its twists and turns and its brackish water, the Pecos was also known for its abundance of rattlesnakes. On the first drive up the Pecos, the year before cross-eyed cowboy Nate Brauner had made it a mission to collect as many rattlers off the snakes as possible. Nate was not the best shot in the world and at one point Goodnight made sure he was burning up his own powder and ball and not the “company’s”. But despite his eyes and lack of marksmanship, Brauner rode into Fort Sumner with 72 of the trophies which he sent back to relatives in Kentucky to show the home folks just how wooly things were out on the wild frontier.

As Wilson was preparing to shoot, knowing that one more advance would expose him to the Indian, the Comanche scared up a big rattlesnake which hissed and coiled slightly more than an arm’s length from Wilson (his good arm, not the stub!). The warrior slowly backed out.

As dark fell, Wilson took one of Loving’s boots and crawled to the river where he filled it with water to take back to its suffering owner. Loving began to plead with Wilson to leave him and make for Goodnight. He was sure that he was done for and wanted to make sure that his family would know his fate and that his partner would complete the drive.

Wilson finally agreed to make the attempt. They laid out all of the guns and Loving would keep them all except for his Henry which they felt would be more useful in the water because of its metal cartridges. The five pistols and the revolving rifle were all percussion cap and ball weapons.

When the moon had gone down, Wilson told the older trail driver good-bye and worked his way down to the river where he could easily into the water. He striped to his long underwear and hid his clothes where he felt they could be found later. He then hid his pocket knife in another location and began his try at escape.

The water was running about 4 feet deep and he soon discovered there was a mounted Comanche warrior in the river beyond the bend to prevent either of the men from getting away to the south. Wilson would later describe how he watched the warrior sitting horseback in the stream with his feet in the river and how he was playfully splashing the water as he sat on his pony.

Wilson was indeed “the clearest headed man in the outfit”. After coolly watching the Comanche, he began to silently make an attempt to swim past along the darker, far bank. He tried three times and each time failed while he was holding the Henry in his one good arm. He finally hid the rifle by sticking the muzzle into the mud below the bank and then pushing the stock below the water, so that the Indians wouldn’t find it. He also abandoned his boots. He then swam into the current and let it take him down steam to begin his “get-away”.

Downriver, he exited into a cane break and made up as much ground as he could before hiding during the daylight. That night he made it over the gravel hills that follow the Pecos up out of Texas. But it wasn’t an easy trip. He found an old, broken lodgepole from a tepee to use as a walking stick, later it would serve another purpose.

But Goodnight and the herd had stopped while still on the Texas side to lay over a day and a half, so instead of having about 50 miles to meet them, it was more like 80. But the one-armed warrior pressed on through prickly pear, mesquite, anything else that grew thrones, rocks, and the sun of the Trans-Pecos in July. The last night of his tract some wolves followed him all night and each time he stopped to rest they would circle until he moved them away with the broken lodgepole. By morning he had reached a landmark he remembered from last year’s drive.

The cattle were being driven on the eastern side of the river. There is a stretch of over 200 miles in which there is not a tributary stream emptying into it from that direction and so it makes for easier trailing. Goodnight and Wilson’s brother were riding point when over the next rise they could make out a cave they had found on the first drive the year before. A figure appeared at the mouth of the cave and at first they both thought it was an Indian. Goodnight was telling the other Wilson brother to bulk the herd and get ready for a fight when they both saw the stub arm. It was “One-Armed” Bill.

Wilson was saved but hardly well off. His feet were bloody raw and swollen. His underwear was saturated with the red sediment from the Pecos and he had not eaten in over three days. He had to be cared for before he was able to relay much useful information to Goodnight but when he did, it was exact. Not only did he direct them to where he had left Loving but was detailed enough that they found all his clothes and even the pocket knife and rifle where they had all been hidden.

But they didn’t find Oliver Loving

He lasted two days and nights holding off the Comanche and then decided that perhaps help would never come. He was suffering from the shattered wrist as well as hunger and fever. So on the third night he had crawled into the river and went upstream, not down. He was hoping to find a crossing about 6 miles in that direction. He made the crossing then known as Wildcat Bluff (now known as Loving’s Bend) where he hoped someone would find him. They did but it took another two days.

Three Mexicans and a German boy were in a cart pulled by two yoke of oxen with plans of going to Texas stopped to camp. The boy found Loving while looking for firewood and from there the party took the cowman back to Fort Sumner.

Jim Burleson had ridden ahead to Sumner and he was the one who took back the word to Goodnight. It is from that point that the well-known story begins about the removal of Loving’s arm and the promises made to him by his partner to not only take care of his family but to not let him be buried “in a foreign land”.

Oliver Loving rests in the old Greenwood Cemetery in Weatherford, Texas where his final burial was with Masonic honors. Not that far away lies Bose Ikard under a headstone with an inscription written by Charles Goodnight. The ex-slave and trusted companion had lived out his last days in Parker County. Loving’s body had arrived a half-century before Bose was put to rest, brought back to its home ground by Goodnight. But another major player in that drama was a tough, determined one-armed warrior with a clear mind and an undefeated heart.

*Note: If you like original sources, accounts by both Goodnight and Wilson can be found in The Trail Drivers of Texas, collected and edited by J. Marvin Hunter. It is a treasure of narratives but its weakness is a lack of an index. The two accounts began roughly at page 380.

But in my mind, the final word in such matters will always lay with J. Evetts Haley, scholar, cowman and probably the best historical writer of his time

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What Is At Risk is Democracy Itself

 

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz (who once considered running for president as an independent), has decided to support (surprise!) Joe Biden in the upcoming election. That an extremely wealthy white man would vote Democrat is not terribly shocking. But the reasoning he gave was incredible: “What is at risk is democracy itself: Checks and balances. Rigorous debate. A free press. An acceptance of facts, not ‘alternate facts.’ Belief in science. Trust in the rule of law. A strong judicial system. Unity in preserving all of our rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Wow. Let’s go through those one at a time, shall we?

  1. What is at risk is democracy itself. So is that why Democrat party voter fraud is so rampant? Is this why the administrative state, which controls much of our everyday lives, is staffed nearly exclusively by Democrats who wield enormous power despite never facing re-election? Is that why Democrats seek activist judges to legislate leftism from the bench?
  2. Checks and balances. He is concerned, perhaps, that the Senate is insufficiently curious about Republican Supreme Court nominees? Perhaps there would be a more aggressive examination of these people if there were a Democrat president.
  3. Rigorous debate. The press is obviously just lapdogs for President Trump. With a Democrat president, maybe they’d engage in a more rigorous debate with our leaders.
  4. A free press. President Obama obviously cherished a free press, and never treated them inappropriately. He didn’t exert total control over the press like President Trump does.
  5. An acceptance of facts, not ‘alternative facts.’ This is such an absurd accusation coming from a Democrat that it defies satire. Sorry – I got nuthin’.
  6. Belief in science. So Democrats believe that gender is unrelated to biological sex… and we’re the ones that don’t believe in science.
  7. Trust in the rule of law. He apparently thinks that Joe Biden is generally lawful, in his dealings with Ukraine, etc. I wonder if he thinks the FBI and the Mueller investigation conducted themselves lawfully? Does he think other Democrats, like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, conducted themselves lawfully?
  8. A strong judicial system. The way Democrats have handled the riots across the country does not inspire confidence in their ability to administer a strong judicial system. Whereas Trump has emphasized a law and order approach ever since taking office.
  9. Unity in preserving all of our rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. He watches Antifa, Black Lives Matter, the major media, and the Democrat party, and he apparently finds that the Republicans are divisive.

I timed it. I typed the above list in 18 minutes. Off the top of my head, with no notes or Googling. This just isn’t that hard.

Obama, Biden, and Biden, LLC

It’s obvious. He’s so very wrong, in so many ways, that it’s blindingly obvious. Even to a distracted doctor who should be checking out charts over his lunch break.

Mr. Schultz was the CEO of Starbucks. He may not be a genius, but he most certainly is not stupid. Does he actually believe these things? He considered running for president; surely he’s thought about these topics before. Are those his considered opinions?

Or is it pure garbage, but he says it anyway because he thinks that type of garbage might get stupid people from flyover country to vote for Biden?

Isn’t he worried about sounding stupid? What is someone actually listens to him? What if they stop and think for a minute (or 18, if they’re a bit slow)? Isn’t he worried about what happens then?

So who does he think he’s talking to? Certainly no one capable of independent thought. So he must think he’s speaking to fellow leftists. Who doesn’t want to hear about rigorous debate or a strong judicial system, BS or not?

Mr. Schultz was CEO of Starbucks. He ties his own shoes. He just can’t be this stupid.

So what on earth is he talking about?

I have no idea. Do you?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Signs Just Wasn’t Right

 

When Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving started their herd of beef steers out in the summer of 1867, it was actually the third drive, not second, for the partnership along the route from the headwaters of the Middle Concho to the Pecos and then northward. The first drive had been fortunate to have found a surprise market for their steers at the Bosque Redondo where the federal government had begun what was to be yet another failed experiment. The government needed to feed the Navaho and the Mescalero Apaches who had been foolishly herded there to share space. The “Redondo” was not only ill-suited for it but the fact that the Navaho and Mescalero were traditional enemies and hated each other seemed to have escaped the government planners.

But as a result of the government being in a fix of its own making, the Texas partners were able to pocket about 8 cents a pound on the hoof for the steers in gold (twice the price in Denver and almost four times the price in Texas). But they had driven a “mixed” herd up the Pecos so they still had the cow and calf pairs to sell. Loving took the “stock cattle” north toward Las Vegas and then through the Raton Range to strike Arkansas and then to Denver where he sold the herd out to John W. Iliff.

Goodnight took the gold, three reliable hands, and went back to Texas to gather or buy a new herd, hire hands and make one more trip before winter prevented it. After bringing in that new bunch of beeves, the partners had trouble selling them to the army at Fort Sumner because of a newly invented policy of not buying directly from former rebels. Goodnight had scouted in the ranger service during the war on the frontier and was not technically a Confederate. Loving, now 54, had not served in any army since the Mexican War but had sold herds to the CSA (which was mostly why he was broke, having been paid in Confederate script to the tune of 150,000 uncollectable dollars). The pair took their case a step higher to the commander in Santa Fe, got their money, and a promise of contracts for 1867.

So in the early spring 1867, the Texas partners trailed the 500 head they still had in New Mexico northeast and left them to summer graze on the Capulin Vega to the west of the volcanic crater of the same name. James Foster was left in charge of the cattle and according to Goodnight had “the entire country to himself”. The cowmen then headed back toward the Elm Fork country of Texas to purchase and gather for “heavier drives than before”.

The Comanche had been avoided on the first 1866 drive, which was the purpose of that southern route which forded at Horsehead Crossing. But there are few good crossing along the Pecos, especially south of the New Mexican border. And Horsehead had long been a favorite crossing for Comanche raiding parties returning for the interior of Mexico. In fact, the crossing’s very name was supposedly due to the skulls of stolen horses which reached the bitter waters of the Pecos too weak to withstand the brine and alkali in their first drink in days.

The Lords of the Plains now knew there was plunder to be had, even before Goodnight made his first trip back. In fact, J.D. Hoy lost three different herds to Comanche raiders trying to copy Goodnight/Loving before the pair even started their 1867 drive.

The famous drive did not start until July. It had been a dry May and June on the western side of the Concho country and migrating buffalo had picked it bear to the point of starving themselves. But the eastern side toward the Brazos had fared better and provided plenty of grazing. So the gather was strengthened for the drive there while the rains which finally came at the end of June freshened the ground along the Middle and Western Concho.

Years later Goodnight would reflect on how the 1867 drive was rough and difficult from the very beginning. “The signs just wasn’t right”, he told J. Evetts Haley.

The drive had not yet started when the Comanche attacked and stampeded the herd during the night while it was being held on the Clear Fork of the Brazos near Old Camp Cooper. The next morning while tracking on wet ground Goodnight saw where a large party of warriors had taken to the brush in the Clear Fork bottoms. He took this to mean another attack during the coming night. He sent back word for Loving to move the remainder of the herd to more open ground and expect an attack. He then trailed the lost cattle north, found them, and took them back about 15 miles from camp.

The Goodnight party didn’t get back to the main herd until well after dark and its exhausted leader caught some sleep with his tired horse still saddled. The Indians attacked again just before the morning light. A Comanche arrow was deflected by the edge of Goodnight’s buffalo robe which was upright having hung on some tall grass or he would have been killed in the first moment of the attack. After finding is pistols in the dark, the trail boss led a group to save the horse herd from being stampeded but a part of the beef herd had been scattered.

Although no one was killed in the attack, Long Joe Loving did have an arrow in his head, stuck in the bone behind the ear. Long Joe wasn’t related to the Loving family who owned a share of this herd but he did have the same name as Oliver’s son. Being a fairly tall feller, he had been tagged as “Long Joe” to distinguish him from the other Joe Loving.

Since the plains tribes had first begun to trade with Europeans most arrowheads used by them were metal, beaten out of some metal object either traded for or taken. This one was made from the hoop-iron of a wagon wheel and not steel. That meant it had to be taken out before it began to corrode. The sinew holding it to the shaft was removed so that just the metal was left. The only “instrument” that Goodnight could find to remove the object was a pair of old shoe pinchers. Two big men were assigned to holding down the cowboy while Goodnight took as good a hold as he could with the “instrument”. The cowman pulled hard enough to raise all three men off the ground and the arrowhead came free. The wound was packed with wet mud and the victim sent to the Keechi to be nursed by Goodnight’s mother. It is not recorded if the wet mud had any effect on Long Joe’s brain, just beyond the open wound in his skull.

The day was spent rounding up scattered cattle and it was determined that about 160 head were missing. It was decided they would leave that night after grazing the herd as much as time allowed and feeding the men.

That first night was an omen of things to come throughout the drive. Goodnight had placed “two first-class men” in the rear “at the corners” and he and “One-Armed” Wilson were at the point as they headed west in the darkness.

They had not gone far before they endured one of the strangest stampedes Goodnight was to ever experience. Half of the herd began to run and came up one side of the herd. Wilson and then Goodnight got to the front and turned them back into the other cattle. But instead of being the start of a “mill” where they mix into the herd and run themselves down, they simply ran down the other side. The men “at the corners” turned them back into the other cattle again. The stampeders simply continued to run a circle around the other cattle until “their tongues were out”. The other cattle had merely kept moving along quietly while their more excitable cousins ran rings around them. Goodnight remembered that he and Wilson were on two good horses but “it took all we could get out of them with quirts and spurs to head those cattle.”

Later that night it began to storm with rain heavy enough to chase out what little light was provided by moon and stars. As was his custom when driving at night, Goodnight had belled work oxen toward the front of the herd and toward the back so the sound of the bells could tell him when the herd was split or too strung out.

Once cattle began to stampede on such a drive, they can become a nervous bundle of energy that might run night after night, each time to exhaustion. This became such a trip with runs started by weather, Comanche, and who knew what.

They had passed through Buffalo Gap (in the area where Abilene, Texas is now) when they seemed to be having a better evening. Goodnight and Bose Ikard had the last guard and the animals seemed to be quiet. With daylight coming soon, Goodnight went back to camp to wake the cook and some of the men. He tied his horse to the wheel of the chuck wagon and left enough slack in his “get down rope” for the mount to graze some.

It was while he was waking the men that the cattle broke. They were heading for the edge of camp and it seemed some of the men might be trampled. Goodnight grabbed a blanket out of one of the bedrolls to wave in an attempt to turn the cattle and some of the men did the same. Most of the camp was saved but Goodnight’s horse was knocked down and the cattle were jumping over him as he tried time and again to get up. As the last steer cleared Charlie (the strong and fast night horse) the other Charlie (Goodnight) jumped on his neck, cut the lead rope with his belt knife, and was in the saddle when the horse Charlie came to his feet.

From there both Charlies raced together toward the front of the herd. Goodnight was surprised to find Ikard racing along with the front of the herd. But when he got close enough for Bose to see him clearly the ex-slave’s horse broke like lighting to turn the cattle.

After the run was over and the cattle quieted, Goodnight asked Ikard why he had not begun to turn the cattle any sooner. With a grin, Bose told him that until he identified Goodnight and his horse he wasn’t sure if they still had the herd or the Comanches had it.

Goodnight had learned on the first drive of ’66 to simply drive the cattle around the clock across the last, waterless 80 miles before the Pecos. He also had the herd “squeezed down”, closing the flanks of the herd constantly to force the cattle toward the back to tighten and push the whole group to a higher pace. They just were not allowed to trot. After the last push through Castle Gap and then across the next 10 miles to Horseback, they watered the herd and drifted them a few hundred years from the river and bedded.

That night another storm came blowing in. Of course, the cattle ran. When the tally was made, there was about 200 head missing. Goodnight and Loving began a circle of about 5 miles since most of the trail had been wiped out by the rain. During this time, they ran across Jim Burleson and his crew who had lost control of around 2000 head they were driving north as well. Goodnight broke off with some men to help.

“One-Armed” Wilson was sent to search for the 200 head and was given Yankee Bill and young, fearless John Kutch as help. The three cowboys caught sign of the cattle and followed it along the eastern side of the river for about 25 miles.

The Pecos is hardly a straight flowing river. In fact, one old-timer called it the “crookest river this side of hell”. So there are plenty of bends in it with normally the lower side of each bend as the best place to reach the water’s edge. About mid-afternoon, Wilson and his party spotted the cattle several hundred yards ahead. But they were being held by a large band of Comanche and it was clear that recovering the cattle was not going to be as important as keeping their scalps.

Always cool in a fix, Wilson didn’t turn and make a panicked ran for it. “One-Armed” Bill directed his party into a bend of the river where the mesquite was high and thick. The Indians had made a dash for the hill to cut the drovers off but didn’t discover their mistake until it was too late and Wilson had his crew were out the opposite side and with a fair start. The only thing that slowed the cowboys down on their return was the mule that Yankee Bill was riding. But with help from quirt and spur as well as some sharp-edged encouragement from the other two drovers both Yankee Bill and his steed arrived back in camp at Horsehead only slightly behind the pace. Years later, Wilson recalled simply, “seeing we were greatly outnumbered, and as it was about sundown, we decided to turn back and go to our camp, which we did.”

When the two owners decided that the herd was settled enough to drive, they began the push up the Pecos. The herd now seemed broken to the trail and it was fairly quiet for 100 miles toward the New Mexican border. Then Oliver Loving became impatient and made a fateful decision.

*Note: Having again spent too many words getting this far along, I will beg indulgence, take a break, pour three more fingers, and promise to get Wilson and Loving to that battle under the bluff of the Pecos!

*Another Note: Although there is some question about the picture in the previous piece about Wilson, the one here is the only completely verified one – taken in the 1920s as he approached 80 years of age.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Well whaddya know? From Zerohedge: “Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s pandemic restrictions – including a requirement that “non-life-sustaining” businesses were to shut down – has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge.” “US District Judge William Stickman IV, a Trump appointee, ruled on Monday in a 66-page opinion that the restrictions were overreaching, arbitrary, and […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg Asks Alexander Vindman If Trump is Russian ‘Asset’ The Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg scored the first post-impeachment interview with Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman on Monday and asked what he described as the “key question”: “Does he believe that Trump is an asset of Russian intelligence?” “President Trump should be considered to be a […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. QOTD: Your Wealth Does Not Create My Poverty

 

…most important was the insight, key insight that Adam Smith had – brilliant insight – that wealth is not zero-sum, that you can make more of practically everything that’s important.

He understood this even while he was still living in a largely agricultural economy. He realized that because somebody is rich, that’s not what makes other people poor. Wealth is not a pizza where, if I have too many slices, you have to eat the Dominos box. My wealth does not create your poverty. Your wealth does not create my poverty. They’re separate questions. And we can generate more wealth.

P. J. O’Rourke

For several years now, I have used a variant on this quote as a signature on a sci-fi forum. “Your wealth does not cause my poverty. Failure to understand this is the basis of most bad economic thinking.” It’s a remarkable statement. Wealth is not a limited resource, it is highly renewable, like hydroelectric energy. The free market means that people can become rich without robbing anyone. This is not a trivial insight – it goes against how we think about most possessions.

Part of this comes from growing up in a nearly communist community, your family. Kids grow up in a group where people divide up resources according to the socialist mantra – “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” This makes perfect sense when you have people who cannot take of themselves. (There’s not really a market for soiled diapers.) Even when kids make money on the side (paper routes, farm / yard work, babysitting, etc) they are still reliant on Mom and Dad. The authority figure has all the wealth, and they hand it out to their subordinates. The free market is completely different.

The free market does not need love or loyalty like a family. If I want to make money, I need to make something customers will buy, even if I hate them. People will be motivated to work to provide something if people are willing to pay for it. This only works if people are able to turn a profit. If you exchange money for something, it will remain largely renewable, while outright seizing property is a one and done deal. Have fun looting the Walgreens, since that will be the last you see one nearby. This is why the Goose Laying Golden Eggs is such an amazing fable – greed can break a system that would otherwise produce wealth beyond imagining. (A lord of Adam Smith’s time would likely trade his lands and title for my spare bedroom and its contents.)

All this came to mind when I saw P. J. O’Rourke’s take on millennials and socialism. Like always, his writing is incredible – it’s like the drunken stand-up comic version of Thomas Sowell. The remarkable thing is that socialism and similar schemes are actually doomed to despair outside of utopian science fiction; you will eventually run out of wealth to spread around. Far from a utopia, it encourages a dystopia; either you need to find someone else to loot, or reduce the number of mouths to feed. Only the capitalist free market allows for a future of abundance and plenty.

So teach your children and young people who will listen to the basics of free-market economics. That way, they will how to keep the goose making golden eggs in exchange for food. Otherwise, our goose is cooked.

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I found this amusing: Biden is trying to improve his outreach to the Latino community. But Democrats forgot to buy the webpage or reserve the Twitter handle, so the Trump team bought the page. If you go to todosconbiden.com, it says, “Oops. Biden forgot about Latinos.” This is just starting to look like hubris on […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Black Lives Matter Helped Me Vote!

 

Black Lives Matter (BLM) has spent the past few months burning cities, stealing whatever they can find from businesses they destroy, beating up people they suspect might disagree with them about something, and threatening even greater violence if they don’t get exactly what they want. Since BLM tends to emphasize the horrific violence more than they emphasize exactly what they want, most bystanders tend to do the same thing.

I find this ongoing charade to be unhelpful to democracy. So you can imagine my surprise when Black Lives Matter offered to help me engage in our democratic process! Their unsolicited generosity to me might have something to do with the fact that my cell phone number before it was mine, belonged to a black man named Kevin. I still get calls and texts for him, from time to time. It’s possible that the following text exchange was intended for Kevin, rather than me. But I like to think that BLM just wanted to help me out. Which I really do appreciate. I’ll put our conversation below, in a short series of screenshots:

As you can see, I first heard from my new friend Janie at Black Voters Matter yesterday. I didn’t respond until today when I got bored. I hesitated to misrepresent who I was, but I somehow suspected that Janie might not actually be named Janie, either. So what the heck. What’s a little fraud and deceitfulness among friends, like Janie and me?

Incidentally, the link ‘Janie’ had in her text sent me here:

My response was too long to fit in the conversation screen, so I’ll screenshot that separately:

My friend Janie’s response was more polite than I expected, so I responded politely as well:

As you might imagine, my preferred response would have been something like: “If you ain’t votin’ for me, you ain’t black. – Joe Biden.  Just keep doin’ what the white man says, Janie. Maybe things will get better for us. Eventually.”

But again, she was polite, so I returned the favor. And I was uncomfortable lying about who I was anyway, so I was happy to stop the conversation.

But still, this conversation left me with a few questions:

  1. Who, exactly, is paying for Black Voters Matter? I presume it’s Black Lives Matter, but I guess I’m not sure.
  2. What is their budget? I’m guessing close to unlimited. But again, I’m not sure.
  3. Is there a Janie? Or was I conversing with a computer algorithm?
  4. How did they get Kevin’s number, and how did they know he is black?
  5. I wonder how many responses like mine ‘Janie’ receives?
  6. If Kevin registered on the site she sent, I wonder if his vote would have been cast on his behalf regardless of whether he showed up or not? And I wonder who he would have voted for, if he had not voted? That’s a very cynical thought. But I can’t help but wonder…
  7. Is this just typical election year shoe-leather campaigning? Or is this an unusual response to an unusual election? Do the Democrats have polling numbers that have them trying stuff like this?

Anybody who thinks that Black Lives Matter has anything to do with Black Lives is being willfully blind. They’re just another part of the Democrat Party machine, which has oppressed blacks in one form or another for 200 years.

BLM isn’t even being hypocritical or deceitful. They’re very open about the fact that the only Black Lives that Matter to them are the ones that can be used to get Democrat votes.


I felt dirty when I put my phone down. Partially because I’d been dishonest about my identity in my conversation with ‘Janie.’ Or, possibly, with a computer somewhere.

But I also felt like I had just shaken hands with a despicable criminal. One who glorifies rapists and murderers, while attempting to destroy all that is good about America.

I wonder why I felt that way?


You should be ashamed of yourself, Janie. You don’t care who Kevin is, or what he thinks about anything. You don’t even care if he votes.

All you care about is harvesting more Democrat votes. And you call it Black Voters Matter.

No, they don’t. Not to you. Unless they vote Democrat.

This has nothing to do with race.

You’re just another Democrat hustler.

You should be ashamed of yourself.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

The last time I chatted with someone in a public place, we were discussing the change of local lizards this year. We usually see mostly green anoles — “chameleons” that can change from green to brown at will. But this year brown anoles — striped cousins that can’t change color — are all one sees. […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Little Personal…

 

Being who I am, I tend to avoid many personal items. But I will take a line or two to tip my hat to a young man who I kind of coached, but didn’t. He was in my oldest daughter’s graduating class. Since I made it a point to never work where my kids went to school, Seth Stinton was never on a team I coached, but I worked with him over the years. I recruited him but was too far from home for him so he went to SMU where he started at safety for three years. We talk often, mostly about football. But also about what a young man should be when he leaves the game to begin “his life’s work.” He is the Head Coach and Athletic Director at Melissa High School in Texas, a school that has only had a football program since 2004. In the 11 seasons Seth has been the head coach there they have had 10 playoff teams including a state championship.

I have taken some pride in Seth in the past. But this Friday, September 1, in the home opening game every senior player for Melissa carried an American flag onto the field to the song “God Bless the USA.” I have seen or been aware of most of the highlights in Coach Stinton’s athletic efforts since he was 9 years old. This was better than the afternoon he picked three passes against Texas A&M. This better than the evening he won a state championship. He was a young man who in many ways had to raise himself and he did a pretty good job. And is extending that into the lives of other young men in a way that should remind us of the role competitive sports can and should have in the full development of an active citizen. During a period of time when something that has been a major part of my life has tended to leave me with a feeling of betrayal, this was a fresh breath and a reminder from someone whom I have always had pride in.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Evil Dances for Joy at Deputies Shooting

 

Having had some complications from eye surgery, I had hoped that when I came back here I would be able to speak about happy or funny things; the kinds of things that amuse or interest me. Sadly, I woke up this morning to find out that I can’t talk about those things.

Yesterday, as I was preparing to go to bed, two Los Angeles County Deputies where shot in the head as they sat in their patrol car. As I write this they are fighting for their lives and their futures. If that was the only story here, it would be tragic enough.

Television and media portray shooting victims in a more or less binary way. Live or die. But “live” in these cases simply means not dying from the gunshot wounds immediately. It doesn’t mean returning to a full, healthy, and productive life. It often means exactly the opposite. Head wounds are not benign.

In 1985, two sets of teens were driving down a country road in Adams County, Illinois, outside Quincy. One car had a single driver. He was returning from his summer job working for the Corps of Engineers on the Mississippi River. The other car had a boy and a girl. Unlike the single driver, these two had been partying all night long. Their blood alcohol levels were off the charts.

In the summer in Illinois, the corn grows tall and it’s over 3 feet high by late July. That’s why the driver of the first vehicle, the young employed man trying to save money for college (he had a National Merit Scholarship to Stanford) didn’t see the lights of the oncoming car around a curve or understand that it was going almost 90 mph. The belted single driver was not ejected. The other two were. It took medics 35 minutes to cut the young man out of the wreck. He was the third victim to arrive at our Emergency Room.

My night shift therapists had their hands full with the first two, and I was called in for the third. I breathed for the young man, and hyperventilated him, blowing off as much CO2 as possible so as to lower his intracranial pressure. We rushed him to the OR for emergency cranial surgery to relieve pressure.

Both drunks died that night. They never had to see the effects of their ignorance on that young man. His brain injury was very severe. I lost track of him after I left the hospital in 1988, but after three years he had barely regained an ability to put on clothes and tie shoes. This is what brain injury does. It steals the soul and personality of its victims. It is cruel and heartless, and anyone in medicine can tell you they’ve seen in a hundred times. So when I hear these officers were shot in the head, I know that the one deputy who is the mother of a six-year-old boy may never come home as his mother, if she comes home at all.

Again, that would be tragedy enough as it is. It would be an awful outcome for both officers simply by virtue of all the rehabilitation they will require. But the horror does not stop there.

The first thing I saw on Twitter this morning was a bunch of people, on camera, showing their faces, talking about going to the hospital to see if the “gang members” (yes, we’re supposed to think that sheriffs are gang members) were dead yet.

Going to cheer on the deaths of the “gang members.”

But that wasn’t enough for these folks. In addition to going to the hospital, they had to try to breach the hospital and go inside and interfere with the medics trying to save those officers. They stood outside and chanted “we hope they die.”

“We Hope They Die.”

That they did this while showing their faces, beaming proudly into the camera, demonstrates such a profound level of evil that it’s difficult to capture. Not since Charles Manson has someone so brazenly devalued human life. Manson was evil; these people take evil a step further.

It is my hope that justice will be served. As I have watched the video of the shooting it appears to be a juvenile who shot the officers. Thus, it appears to be a gang initiation type of event. The juveniles can’t be held to the death penalty (of course, in California, with Newsom, that hardly matters). But every adult member of that gang that was involved in this episode and is a co-conspirator can be. Every last one should get the death penalty.

I hold out no hope for that. I firmly believe California is lost. Yet hope springs eternal, and I pray that the evildoer who shot these deputies, and those who facilitated it, filmed it, delighted in it, and danced in joy near the hospital afterward reap the rewards for their behavior that they so richly deserve.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Not Guilty by Reason of Psychopathy?

 

Elizabeth Holmes, indicted CEO of now-defunct Theranos, is apparently to going to mount an insanity defense in her federal fraud trial. Crazy clever, no? The standard she must meet is, as described by Noah Feldman, is

whether the defendant knew what she was doing, and whether she knew it was wrong.

Unlike some states, federal law does not permit irresistible impulse or substantial capacity defenses. It focuses solely on awareness of one’s act and whether those acts were known to be wrong. According to Feldman:

What would make this defense so difficult to prove is that, at least based on public reports, there appears to be plenty of evidence that Holmes sought to conceal not only the fact that the company’s devices didn’t work, but also the fact that she was lying about that. Ordinarily, prosecutors can show the jury that a defendant wasn’t insane under the federal definition by demonstrating consciousness of guilt. A defendant who has tried to hide her crimes must’ve known that she did something wrong. And if she knew she was doing something wrong, she wasn’t legally insane under the federal standard.

And herein lies an important point: even if you don’t see it as wrong to do something, you are not insane if you understand that most other people do. And that is the reason that psychopaths don’t have a “get out of jail free” card. A psychopath is a person who can easily flout social convention for their own preferences in ways that harm others to various degrees without hesitation or guilt–

The triarchic model[1] suggests that different conceptions of psychopathy emphasize three observable characteristics to various degrees. Analyses have been made with respect to the applicability of measurement tools such as the Psychopathy Checklist (PCL, PCL-R) and Psychopathic Personality Inventory (PPI) to this model.[1][4]

  • Boldness. Low fear including stress-tolerance, toleration of unfamiliarity and danger, and high self-confidence and social assertiveness. The PCL-R measures this relatively poorly and mainly through Facet 1 of Factor 1. Similar to PPI Fearless dominance. May correspond to differences in the amygdala and other neurological systems associated with fear.[1][4]
  • Disinhibition. Poor impulse control including problems with planning and foresight, lacking affect and urge control, demand for immediate gratification, and poor behavioral restraints. Similar to PCL-R Factor 2 and PPI Impulsive antisociality. May correspond to impairments in frontal lobesystems that are involved in such control.[1][4]
  • Meanness. Lacking empathy and close attachments with others, disdain of close attachments, use of cruelty to gain empowerment, exploitative tendencies, defiance of authority, and destructive excitement seeking. The PCL-R in general is related to this but in particular some elements in Factor 1. Similar to PPI, but also includes elements of subscales in Impulsive antisociality.[1][4]

Not all psychopaths are criminals, but many of our most devastating criminals are psychopaths.

I am not a psychiatrist or a psychologist (but I did stay at a Holiday Inn at least once). But I am prepared to state that Elizabeth Holmes is a psychopath. And because I am not a psychiatrist or a psychologist there is no consequence for me diagnosing her from afar. It will become evident to the jury that Ms. Holmes is a psychopath, but it will apparently be asserted she was made so and has some mental damage that excuses her from punishment.

And if the jury is comprised of a bunch of Karens fearing COVID-19 more than “mere economic damage,” she just might get away with it. I hope the prosecution features some of those retirees that invested in her company to their great harm. “It’s only money” is a great slogan unless it was your bank account that was drained.

Remember psychopathy is different from delusional. Psychopaths don’t feel bad about what they are doing, but they know what they are doing and, when the possibility exists that they will be stopped from doing it, they take action to assure that they can continue to do it. That’s not insane, it’s evil.

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He would be a Trump supporter. Reagan hated the establishment and worked to undermine it. He would be one to defend religious Liberty, want to bring about world peace and respected Americas place in the world. He was a patriot who loved his country just like Trump does. Leave a post in the comments about […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. One-Armed Warrior

 

There are is an almost endless collection of stories comparing the Goodnight-Loving trail drives of the 1860s to the Lonesome Dove book and movie. I have passed on more than a few of them and some can be found in past offerings here. As highly as I regard Gus and Call, I still consider the real events (and people) more compelling.

One of those people is Oliver Loving’s companion on his fatal trip up the Pecos that ended with the loss of an arm for the veteran trail driver, and eventually his life. In the novel, this companion is the slow thinking but loyal Pea-Eye. In reality, this man was a skilled cowman, first-class fighting man, someone known for his cool head in any situation and not only a highly trusted Goodnight hand but one of the most skilled despite only having one arm. There was a reason that “One-Armed” Bill Wilson was selected to make that dangerous tract with Loving.

The Wilson family had come from Arkansas to the brutal edge of the Texas frontier along the Cross Timbers in 1857 and settled along Keechi Creek. The great historian/cowman J. Evetts Haley noted that it was tradition that the Wilsons were “born for trouble, and they never belied their birthright”.

Bill was the second of eight children born to James Wilson and his first wife. When that first wife died James was left with eight children, half of them comprised of two sets of young twins, to raise. In the mid-1850s, he married a young widow with two children of her own and headed for Texas. That union would produce five more Wilsons before the second wife died in the Comanche raids of 1869. James Wilson ran stock over parts of Texas, Colorado and what became Oklahoma for a quarter-century, lost two herds to hoof and mouth disease, and constantly rebuilt with a will common to those who came to the plains and became a part of them.

Bill Wilson lived into the 1920s to recall his life on the trail for the original Frontier Times magazine and for that historical treasure The Trail Drivers of Texas, collected and edited by J. Marvin Hunter. But he never left a record of how he came to lose an arm. There are a few accounts left by unknown tellers of tales and most are clearly not true. Two of those include suggestions that he lost it to a threshing machine when 8 years old or to a hay bailer about the same time. That would have been about 1849 and anyone who knows much about farm equipment can easily see that as a historical impossibility. Another account has him losing the arm to a savage horse bite around the age of 4. The best guess is that it was a birth defect. If he ever spoke of it, it is not recorded.

In Texas, young Bill Wilson quickly became the best cowman of a clan who took to the wild cow plains like hogs to mud. He helped the family keep the Carruthers stock on shares and worked regularly for Charles Goodnight and his stepbrother and business partner Wes Sheek, taking his pay in cattle. In the late summer of 1865, Bill had a small herd of his own that he prepared to drive to Old Mexico for sale.

At the same time, Goodnight was gathering a herd to drive to New Mexico and Colorado. The Civil War was just ended and constant Indian trouble, the uncertainties of Reconstruction and an abundance of thieving neighbors had convinced him there were greener pastures to be found and he didn’t trust the Yankee markets to the northeast.

In early September, Indians stampeded the Goodnight herd while it was being held in Young County. Goodnight followed with 14 men for about 30 miles and found where the Indians had crossed the Brazos and joined with yet another raiding party. Determining that there were too many of “them” and not enough of “us”, Goodnight turned back to protect what was left of his herd. But still, it was already late in the year, the chances for gathering another herd for a 1865 drive were over. The stage was set for what would be a history-making drive in 1866 as soon as spring’s fresh grass appeared.

Spring saw Goodnight gather only about 1000 head of beeves and fresh cows for a drive due to losses to both Indians and whites. But he was determined to drive toward the mining fields of the Rockies and avoid the Yankee markets to the east. He bought the gear from a government wagon, had the wooden axles replaced with iron, rebuilt it with the tough wood of the bois d’arc tree, and had the first-ever “chuck box” mounted on the back. After securing the horses he needed, he was ready to sign on his hands. The first was Bill Wilson.

But getting started on the drive was not a smooth affair for the young Wilson. In the meantime, he had invested in a few barrels of whiskey and planned to haul them to Jacksboro to make a profit. Goodnight advised him against it since there was a federal garrison at Jacksboro filled with out-of-state Unionists who had no use for Texans. But the young man smelled a quick profit and made the haul to Jacksboro where he was cheated by a man named Fox. One dark night, shots were fired and Mr. Fox was left dead. A detachment of soldiers arrested Wilson and was holding him in the guardhouse pending taking him to Decatur for trial.

Goodnight sent his best horse for Wilson to ride on the Decatur trip along with about 7 dollars and advised the young drover to have plenty of whiskey for the trip. Along the way, Wilson followed his employer’s advice and pretended to be drinking while sharing the whiskey with his guards. At the right time as they were crossing the Trinity Bottoms, he sank spur to his mount and made a dash for the brush. All shots fired at him missed and he rode ahead to join Goodnight, who had formed a partnership with Oliver Loving who had over 1000 head of his own ready to drive, after his herd left the Belknap area. At the time, Loving had probably trailed more cattle than anyone in the southwest but like most in Texas “cow-poor” and in debt.

Goodnight related to J. Evetts Haley that the two men he most wanted either breaking “point” with him or riding beside him in a stampede were Bose Ikard and Bill Wilson. Wilson was there through the first drive across the Pecos and into New Mexico as well as the next two. It was Wilson who Goodnight took with him to reclaim some of his cattle that were being killed by a butcher in the Raton Range in 1868. The two men took back the cattle and when challenged announced “Send over any sons-of-a-bitches you don’t want to see again” before driving the bovines off.

If you are saying to yourself, “he skipped over the eventful year of 1867”, you are right. That drive deserves a space of its own and not just for the fight Wilson and Loving put up on that bluff on the Pecos. I will try and do justice to it with the next “installment”. But it is good to develop a feel for the man who will play such a central part.

Wilson and his brothers struck out on their own by 1868, went into the Rockies, and settled around Spanish Peaks. In February of 1872, the brothers had ridden into Trinidad and George Wilson ran into a streak of bad luck gambling in the Exchange Saloon. George left the saloon while declaring loudly he had been robbed. He returned shortly with his brother Fayette and another cowboy named Axtell to demand his money back. Sheriff Juan Tafolla tried to quiet Wilson down and in the exchange, there was a scuffle and both pulled guns. George shot Tafolla in the stomach and the sheriff’s gun discharged into the barroom floor.

Frank Bloom had a store at the site which became the First National Bank. He was standing in front of it and talking with one of his cowboys when George and his brother ran up. George had lost his hat in the action back at the Exchange and grabbed the hat off the cowboy’s head and called to Bill who was nearby. They ran east past the Thatcher Store toward an arroyo which at that time had a small footbridge across it. On the other side was the United States Livery Stable where the Wilson horses had been left. A mob of about twenty were hot on their heels. But when everyone in the Wilson party had crossed over, Bill turned and threw his rifle across his stub arm and informed the followers that “the first man on that bridge is dead”.

Years later when Goodnight was recalling the event to J. Evetts Haley, he remarked that he thought the members of the mob were Mexicans and speculated that even if they didn’t understand much gringo they fully understood completely the rifle and the type of man holding it. The Wilson party then mounted their horses and according to the Trinidad Enterprise “rode slowly out of town”.

George Wilson was later killed in Arizona. But “One-Armed” Bill had returned to the Cross Timbers of Texas to ranch and cowboy between the Forks of the Trinity and the Fingers of the Brazos. He married Emma Sheek, a cousin of Charles Goodnight’s stepbrother and lived into the 1920s.

Now it is time to make a gather of my words and talk about that difficult and eventful cattle drive of 1867.

*Note: the picture here is often identified as Bill and Emma Wilson and although there are some doubts about its origin, it is generally accepted as being the couple

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I’ve been uneasy about the Duck Duck Go search results I’ve been seeing lately. It seems for good reason.  I’m not the only one, either. After seeing Scott Adams’ tweet, I didn't think this was real until I tested it. https://t.co/LrfIsfKDCC — Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) September 13, 2020 Lawrence Person of the Battleswarm Blog checked […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Both Parties Are Laying Groundwork to Dispute the Election

 

The Democrats have sown discord and it threatens the Republic. They have not had a graceful concession since Carter lost. Think about that, for the last 40 years, when a Republican has won, the Democrats have refused a graceful concession. Indeed, they have used legal means to attack the win in 2000 and 2016. Kerry took until the next day to concede to Bush the second time.

Now, the Democrats are openly war gaming ways to avoid the loss, including demanding political concession on amending the Constitution to let Trump win. Their previous candidate for president is openly telling Biden not to concede under any circumstances.

And, there is an open plan, to say “Hey if Trump wins by a landslide on election night, don’t stop fighting, let the mail-in ballots come in, and then Biden will win.” They are telling us how they plan to steal the election. They are sowing the ground to dispute the election.

Now, Trump is having to respond. The Republicans are forced to point out what the Democrats are doing, and be ready to dispute what the Democrats are doing.

This is the fault of the Democrats. This is their doing. For the history of their party, they have always been the sore losers. They have always been the party of prosecution of their enemies. They are the party of succession. They are the party of the Trail of Tears, they are the party of Jim Crow, they are the party of the KKK. They are the party of riots, bloodshed, and refusal to lose at the ballot box. And now they threaten the Republic more than ever, except for when the walked so that they could keep other human beings in bondage.

Good job, Democrats.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Woke Capitalism: How Huge Corporations Demonstrate Status by Endorsing Political Radicalism

 

It’s a rather strange claim of the American far left that their interests are opposed to that of corporate America, because there’s virtually no evidence to support it. Quite the contrary: During the wave of Black Lives Matter rioting that took place during the early summer of 2020, American corporations marched in lockstep. Not only did they use social media to swear fealty to this political movement, but they also made massive internal changes in conformity with BLM propaganda.

It’s called “woke capitalism” and while it’s not necessarily new, it’s certainly more prevalent than it ever has been. The term itself was coined by conservative editorial writer Ross Douthat in 2018. He succinctly summed up what woke capitalism is: superficial nods toward cultural leftism that allow the company to do what it really exists to do – make money.

You might be confused or think that there’s something ironic or askew about major corporations backing supposed “rebel” ideologies. However, this stems from a very surface understanding of the topic. When we delve deeper into it, the motivation for large corporations siding with ostensibly “anti-capitalist” groups will come clearly into focus.

What is “Wokeness?”: Understanding “Critical Theory” and The Frankfurt School

Before going any further, we should spend some time defining what “wokeness” means.

Wokeness is a kind of shorthand for an area of the American political left that is obsessed with identity politics. This is, as the name would imply, the politics of identity. Thus, people are not rational actors, nor are they necessarily economic units. Rather, they are little more than a collection (or, in the parlance of this ideology, the intersections) of skin color and séxuality.

Socioeconomic class might enter into this, but if it does, it’s generally as an afterthought. While Marxism might play some influential role, the wokeists are far more likely to locate the revolutionary subject in, for example, trans-identified black men than it is the working class.

One can understand the hostility of the “woke” to the Bernie Sanders campaign in this context: it is much more revolutionary under the guidelines established by wokeism, to put more racial minorities with unusual séxual identities on the board of Lockheed-Martin and Goldman-Sachs than it is to provide for greater economic equality on behalf of their workers.

The bedrock of wokeness is not classical Marxist socialism, but something called “critical theory” and in particular its variant “critical race theory.” This has its roots in the Frankfurt School and an early 20th-century Italian philosopher and politician named Antonio Gramsci. Gramsci’s big idea was that cultural power preceded political power. Thus, to have a Marxist political revolution, one first needed a Marxist cultural revolution. This was to be accomplished by a “long march through the institutions.” What this means is that leftists were to infiltrate every institution of significance and gain power within them.

We can see the result of this idea today. While American leftists bear little, if any, resemblance to Marxists of old, they have penetrated our institutions and dominate culturally – in academia, in entertainment, and increasingly in the economic sphere as well. If one were to read the Communist Manifesto, there are a series of demands at the end, most of which have come to fruition such as universal public education, a progressive income tax, a national bank, and the industrialization of agriculture.

This isn’t to say that there is a massive Gramscian conspiracy with thousands of members. Such a thing would be completely impossible to prove or disprove. However, the kernel of the idea has taken root, in part thanks to bona fide promotion in academia, and in part because it simply seems to have largely been a successful operation.

Thus “critical theory” is effectively a sociological philosophy and method that involves constant ideological attacks on Western civilization. Its guiding principle is that Western civilization is based on subjugation, dominance, and tyranny. This takes many forms including “racism,” “patriarchy,” “heteronormativity” and “cisséxism” – all of which are predicated upon weaponized guilt.

Weaponized guilt is essentially taking those elements of Western and Anglo-Saxon culture, which prize even-handedness and “fair play,” and turning them against the culture itself. Indeed, the selection of the name “Black Lives Matter” is a masterstroke in weaponizing guilt: The only possible disagreement (or so say the advocates and allies of the movement) is that you don’t think black lives do actually matter. But, of course, except for extremely isolated, marginalized, and numerically insignificant pockets, virtually everyone agrees that all lives have the same value. Indeed, it is a cornerstone of Western civilization and Christian teaching that this is true. It is nearly axiomatic. The Declaration of Independence declares that the basic equality of men is “self-evident.” No one would even know where to begin “arguing” this, simply because it is so accepted as a fact.

It’s worth noting that wokeness largely entered the American political vernacular after the fall of the Occupy Movement. This is not an endorsement of either the Occupy Movement specifically, nor economic reductionism and confiscatory tax redistribution schemes more generally. However, it is worth noting that the corporate affinity for a seemingly “radical” form of politics requiring nothing in the way of actual financial sacrifice began after the death of a political movement demanding corporate accountability and economic redistribution starting at the very top.

The Business Side of Things

A “conspiracy,” or however we wish to define it, is not the only reason that Wall Street loves wokeness. Beyond the misdirection, there is also a lot of money to be made catering to the woke. This has nothing to do with what “most people” in America want or need. Rather, it has to do with catering to those on the coasts and within bigger cities in the interior of our nation.

Almost all of the income growth in America over the last ten years has been concentrated in cities in Southern California, Silicon Valley, and the Pacific Northwest, hotbeds of leftism in general and wokeism in particular. However, even places outside of these regions that have seen income growth tend to be far left-leaning. Examples include Austin, TX, Denver, CO, and Nashville, TN.

What this means is that the larger companies in America, including the big banks in New York, the tech companies in Silicon Valley, the entertainment industry in southern California, and the cable news companies that cover the goings-on in Washington DC, are all interested in chasing after the dollar of urban wokes. Increased wealth concentration, including the massive transfer of wealth that happened under the COVID-19 panic and subsequent lockdown, have made big companies increasingly the only game in town, with smaller, more responsive Main Street America businesses becoming more and more marginalized where they continue to exist at all.

It’s not that big companies think they’re too good for your money – they just know that you don’t have anywhere else to go.

The Colin Kaepernick sneaker incident is an excellent example of woke capitalism in action. In times past, companies generally avoided wading into controversial social issues. After all, in the words of Michael Jordan, “Republicans buy shoes too.” But in an attempt to appeal to Generation Z (also known as “Zoomers”), many companies are deciding that it’s worth alienating rural and exurban flyover people in favor of courting the woke dollar.

For Nike and many other companies, this commitment to “social justice” doesn’t run much deeper than marketing. Nike knows it has a disproportionately black customer base. But only 8 percent of their vice presidents are black. What’s more, the company is notorious for using sweatshop labor in the third world to produce its expensive sneakers.

Some other quick notes on the purchasing power of the woke left: While there is certainly no direct overlap between a college education and being a radical wokeist, the woke are certainly clustered around America’s college campuses and the cities that they move to after graduation. (The average college graduate is going to earn over $1 million more than their less-educated counterpart over the course of their life.)

There is also the spectre of the unmarried and the childless: these people will also have significantly greater disposable income than married couples with children living in smaller flyover cities.

All of this adds up to a very lucrative market, both for catering to the woke and pillorying the unwoke. There is no shortage of examples of either on your television during commercials.

Wokeism’s Radical Evangelism: Diversity Training Seminars

One of the most disturbing elements of wokeism is its evangelistic quality. As we saw during the riots of 2020, it was not enough simply to not be racist. One was now required to be an active “anti-racist” under the definition and terms established by the woke. Those who failed to comply were often attacked in a way that went far beyond simply being hassled online. People’s jobs and livelihoods were attacked in a manner befitting a Communist dictatorship.

The very notion of dialogue and civil debate isn’t just missing. There’s a deep hostility to the notion that there is any point of view other than the most woke possible. There is a line in the sand: On one side, there are the people who believe that America is a profoundly racist country and that this colors every aspect of our history. On the other side, there’s anyone who is even mildly skeptical of this – and the people on this side are “white supremacists.” By the logic of wokeism, these people deserve anything that happens to them (including being “canceled”).

What this means is that wokeism does not simply operate in the background of the rest of society. You cannot simply ignore the cringe-inducing woke commercials on your television and not click the frankly hateful and racist articles of the woke online. Your compliance is a required aspect of wokeism. Think back to the social media phenomenon of large companies denouncing alleged “white supremacy” with a black square. Compliance with this was required, as if one were painting blood over their threshold to avoid the plague of the firstborn in ancient Egypt.

Corporations have begun echoing this rhetoric on social media, but there is a far more insidious element of wokeism’s radical evangelism: the “diversity training seminars” that are now de rigueur in the workplace. While often positioned as some kind of politically neutral gathering to increase workplace cohesion, these are in fact little more than Maoist struggle sessions – for all employees. We categorically reject the assumption that these are any more comfortable for non-white employees than they are for the white ones.

So what goes on at these seminars? There was a taxpayer-funded seminar in Seattle that acts as an excellent exemplar of such.

It was called “Interrupting Internalized Racial Superiority and Whiteness.” This has nothing to do with eliminating racism as is commonly understood. If we’re being frank, we can probably agree that individual racism has largely been eradicated in America, especially among educated people. This seminar and others like it are about pillorying whites and eroding workplace solidarity – and also about cushy little gigs for those giving the seminars, which aren’t cheap.

The seminar includes instruction in qualities that allegedly represent “white supremacy.” These include objectivity, perfectionism, and comfort. They also ascribe some rather insidious qualities to whites in toto: arrogance, violence, and anti-blackness. These are the exact words used by the seminar.

Employees are urged to engage in “self-talk” that “affirms complicity in racism.”

As is often the case, there is not really a “right” answer for whites taking the seminar. Talk too much at one of these events and you’re imposing yourself and dominating the conversation. Talk too little and “silence is violence.”

The Seattle seminar was only for white employees. So to be clear, the City of Seattle used taxpayer dollars to propagandize at and pillory white employees in a segregated forum. While investigating the seminar using public records requests, City Journal editor Christopher F. Rufo was unable to find any information about who ran the seminar or how much it cost the taxpayers.

While the seminar might sound extreme, it’s not. In fact, these are happening all across the country in America’s workplaces and on our college campuses – and many times even in elementary schools. They are totalitarian in nature but are increasingly a requirement of continued employment. Employees who push back against them can expect disciplinary measures up to and including termination of their employment. There is also the specter of “racism” hanging above anyone with even the slightest opposition or skepticism: they must be secret racists or else they’d be as gung ho as everyone else.

Many have noted the religious aspects of wokeism that go beyond its evangelical zeal. This includes a concept of “original sin” (whiteness), holds blacks and (to a lesser degree) indigenous peoples as a sort of “holy” race, and has a process for confession. However, one aspect of religious thought is missing – there is no process for redemption in the world of the woke. One may “do the work” as the saying goes, but there is no way to complete it and be redeemed. The fallen are simply fallen and constantly repaying their debt in a sort of state of karmic bankruptcy.

Continue reading Woke Capitalism: How Huge Corporations Demonstrate Status by Endorsing Political Radicalism at Ammo.com.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Who Are Clara’s Buddies? (Liberal Parenting Honorary Mentions)

 

Short preamble from me: I was brought up in the Midwest by liberal parents from NY State. My dad is originally from NYC and my mother from Long Island. I was always baffled about why they left NY, where everyone is cool, open-minded, cosmopolitan, and sophisticated.

I went back to “my roots” for college and until HRC won the nomination, spent a lot of time as a knee jerk liberal. So why did my Dad leave NYC? It had to do with being an iconoclast totally uninterested in image — he loves the Midwest, always hated East Coast snobbery and NYC chauvinism. And, as he once deigned to explain, in response to my repeated questioning of his decisions, because he felt that the sins of the popular kids I would meet in the Midwest might be less seductive to me, and ultimately less dangerous to my future. In other words, instead of doing coke and talking about Black Power and Foucault, he preferred that I play beer pong with people in crew cuts and polo shirts (or rather watch them play beer pong).

This calculation of his paid off. I was hopelessly unsophisticated in college, to my great disappointment. Never could overcome the uncoolness of my youthful social life. It always showed through, and I was always too stable to be cool.

This was circa 2003 so the rot wasn’t very advanced. Even the Coolest, most Jaded, East Coast kid I met in college wasn’t violent, and therefore couldn’t hold a candle to Clara Kraebber and her friends.

Preamble over. Remember my post about NYC child psychologist Markus Kraebber and architect wife Virginia Kindred and their lovely child Clara?

Well, turns out the whole group of Clara’s friends are Sarah Lawrence-educated (didn’t I predict that school would have something to do with this?) graphic designer, model, European-vacationing violent Maoists.

By the way, the NY Post has published some of Clara’s musings, about appropriating luxury apartments in NY, a “revolutionary strategy” inspired by Stalin, Trotsky, and the Spanish Civil War.

Interestingly, when the Post called Clara at home at her parents’ 1730 country estate in Litchfield, Connecticut, following her arrest, she was suddenly less inclined to expound on the details of her “revolutionary strategy.” It could have been her opportunity to martyrize herself for the cause, but she is as cowardly and craven as she is violent.

I here pay homage to my dad’s prescience (at that time he was a liberal too!). He saw the writing on the wall. I feel like I have had a close call.