“Destined to Despotism and Unsuited for Self-Government”

 

Back in 2004, President George W. Bush proclaimed that, “It is cultural condescension to claim that some peoples or some cultures or some religions are destined to despotism and unsuited for self-government.”  Perhaps diplomacy requires presidents to say such things, but the cold, hard, fact is that some people, cultures, and religions are unsuited for self-government.  We’ve seen that in Afghanistan and the Middle East, and we’re seeing it now in American cities.

The college student who called the police and demanded that they arrest a PragerU video commentator for “terrorizing” the campus with his ideas; the CHAZ/CHOP denizens who got rid of the police and began  stealing, raping, and murdering; the Mayor of Seattle who let her city’s citizens be victimized by the mob until the mob came for her; the BLM and Antifa rioters who assault innocent people and burn and loot businesses; and the left-wing legislators, city officials, and journalists who ignore or excuse the violence. 

None of these people wish to live under a rule of law that applies equally to all people nor are they even capable of doing so.  Instead, they demand the right to shut down dissent and do it violently if necessary.  They demand that their violence be protected as free speech and that others’ free speech be criminalized as violence.  They demand the right to destroy other people’s property and they shout down anyone who calls such destruction “violence.”  They demand that people be granted preferential treatment under American law on the basis intersectionality rankings.  They demand that the country’s history be rewritten and that their new “narratives” be taught in public schools.  They demand the right to live at others’ expense.  They demand that their “life choices” not only be tolerated but “celebrated” and subsidized.

Such people are not fit for self-government; they can be ruled only by force.

Member Post

 

This is Joe Biden when he had all his facilities. He’s the guy the Lincoln Project and other NTer groups want us to support. So the Dem Presidential ticket consists of a doddering serial fabulist who finished near the bottom of his law school class and a woman who failed the California bar exam then […]

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Why Johnny Can’t Get Ahead

 

I have a theory: American education is great at teaching facts but not much else.  What it’s not great at teaching, and what fellow Ricochet member Brandon apparently is great at teaching, is how to think critically.  It is such a gift to have teachers who find ways to help students understand that critically analyzing data and rhetoric is more important than mastery of any set of tasks, or any set of skills.  Knowing how the war of 1812 started is great factual information and may, at some point down the road, be important to a student.  But knowing how to evaluate an author’s biases and explore the depth of his data analyses so as to formulate independent thoughts from those evaluations is far more important.  But it isn’t taught.  At least, not that I’ve seen.  I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.

I believe that so many schools spend so much time teaching facts because facts can be easily mastered, easily listed, and objective scores determined from this kind of rote memorization.  It makes teaching, and more importantly, grading, easier, and less subjective.  It also turns students into fact repositories, not thinkers.  We need more thinkers.  Anyone can repeat facts.  It’s the analysis of those facts that is the really important skill that must be learned to obtain success in life.

In spite of this, the job of many teachers in many systems, particularly those where the state tests student’s performance on standardized tests, is to teach the test, not the subject.  That is such a disservice.  Allow me to demonstrate with my own mistakes in this area.

In 2011, I became interested in Amateur radio.  The FCC at one point required a person to learn and master Morse code (sometimes called CW for continuous wave) in order to get a license.  When that changed, I decided to get a license.  The technician exam was heavy on theory, but like all things done by the government, the evaluation of a potential licensee’s knowledge is measured against standardized tests, and the government puts out the actual test questions that will be on the test.  You read that right.  There are websites that will create practice tests for people getting ready to test so that they can see if they have mastered the material.  And these practice tests are made from the actual questions in the question pool.

I simply studied the questions, all 300 of them, until I knew the answers to the questions and not the material that the questions were designed to test.  I went from Technician to General, and on to an Amateur Extra license in six months.  I passed each test with better than 95%.  And there is still a great deal about radio that I do not know, I build that knowledge every day.  But in terms of understanding some things (like antennas) at a deeper level, I do not.  I cheated myself.

This is what high schools have become.  They are institutions that teach the materials and skills to be able to score high enough on the ACT or SAT to get into college.  They long ago stopped serving the idea of molding students into useful members of society.  Instead, they became about teachers demonstrating that they could produce students who could pass tests.  Education, then, became about pleasing instructors by passing tests, not about learning and using the knowledge so acquired.  Thus, when these students reached college what they became was Jello molds for the socialist gelatin the professors poured in.  There’s no need to wash a brain that’s already clean.

What high schools need badly, in fact, what all forms of education need badly, is a curriculum built around critical thinking and success-related skills.  Consider just the importance of one success skill in particular: goal setting.  A Harvard Business School study demonstrated that the three percent of students graduating from its MBA program who had written goals earned ten times as much as the students who graduated without specific, written goals.

The study found that only three percent of the students had written down their goals prior to entering the program, while some 13% had goals, just not written ones.  Apparently 84% of the students entering had no goals whatsoever.  As Yogi Beara is credited with saying, “if you don’t know where you’re going, when you get there, you’ll be lost.”  That study proved it.  When a Harvard MBA gets you $158,000 walking in the door, a person making ten times that amount simply because of a series of written goals likely has enough to pay off his sizeable student debt.

Another problem with American education is that it puts subtle emphasis on things that do not matter.  Prom Queens, class presidents and social clubs in high school all put value on the ability to be popular and well-liked.  While these are important, to some people they all too quickly become ends of their own.  It is more important to be popular in high school than smart.  The blog piece by Peter DeWitt (no relation) sets out how quickly things that would be minor issues laughed off at 23 become suicide-inducing dramas at 15.  We do not teach students the simple fact that association with smart, successful people is often the catalyst to becoming great in any endeavor.  As a friend of mine put it, if you want to learn to fly, you don’t spend time hanging out at the submarine base.  Yet that is exactly what high school has become for so many students who choose the easy path in high school.  You do become known by the company you keep.  It has the power to alter your life’s goals and choices.  Yet teachers do not spend any time discussing this because there is no class called “Your Life 101.”

Values like persistence, perseverance, and the importance of a creative vision are not taught, and sometimes they’re difficult to teach.  For these the great writers like Napolean Hill, Claude Bristol, Maxwell Maltz and even Zig Ziglar can provide the kind of mind-opening experiences that allow people to see beyond today and plan for a new tomorrow.  For me, Think and Grow Rich made a huge difference in my life.  Even though I am not a salesperson, Zig Ziglar’s See You At the Top was another eye-opener.  There are so many others, like Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit that could really go a long way to making the next generation the very best generation.  If only the majority of students could be exposed to these works.

Yet, my guess is that if you went to your local school board and voiced these issues you’d be met with a lot of “we’ll consider that carefully,” and then see a whole not of nothing because such education is not in the state’s curriculum.  So the successful students get this at home, and they absorb it from their parents and grandparents.  They see what they did to get where they are, and they internalize their stories and methods.  Sometimes the best predictor of a successful person is the struggle of their parents.

When BLM and the other socialists talk about income inequality, they are never really talking about lifting everyone up, but bringing the wealthy down.  That is why socialism has never worked.  It has never worked because it has never made any life better.  Handouts do not motivate people to be better, they motivate them to do less.  Everyone understands this at a personal level, which means the socialists are lying even unto themselves.

One of these days I hope that teachers like Brandon manage to make the inroads in the education system that are needed to teach critical thinking and success philosophy to the upcoming generations.  But as long as we keep education federalized, with bureaucrats making decisions in DC for people who live in Kansas City, that will never happen.

J. Edgar Hoover Would Be Proud

 

Politico published an intriguing piece of real journalism in late July. It turns out that Donald Trump was not the first elected target of J. Edgar Hoover’s boys and girls. They caught a Delaware businessman, Christopher Tigani, violating fundraising laws. FBI agents then ran Tigani as an informant against the 2008 Joe Biden primary campaign. The FBI continued after the 2008 election, trying to get the sitting Vice President. The FBI had this businessman wired at meetings with various campaign and fundraising players. They allegedly tried but repeatedly failed to get their stoolie in direct contact with Vice President Biden.

Yes, there has been especially focused illegal behavior by federal officials against President Trump. And. Yes, it appears the name on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s headquarters has informed their organizational culture, despite a big show of reform in the 1970s. It appears very likely that the FBI ran Christopher Tigani against Joe Biden a decade before running agents against Donald Trump. One they targeted for old-fashioned campaign finance violations and one they targeted with an intelligence operation morphed into a criminal investigation.

So, what did President Obama know about each of these investigations, and when did he know it? Were his attorneys general in the loop? The FBI director during the anti-Biden operation was Robert Mueller, who then became the figurehead for the conspiracy wrapped in a coverup against President Trump. So, over the past decade and more, the FBI has targeted top presidential candidates in both parties, not stopping at the elections but pursuing the winning ticket into office. Perhaps this has been conveniently released now to provide cover against charges of partisan interference in our elections. Perhaps it was intended to make Biden out as a victim then rather than a perpetrator more recently against President Trump.

Exit question for Attorney General Barr: how many other presidents and vice presidents have the FBI investigated since 1974? How many top-tier candidates? Show us the files and reveal the decision-makers.

Some Monsters Are Real

 

In Full Metal Jacket, the doorgunner, responding to the question of how someone could kill a child, says that it’s easy. “You just don’t lead them as much.” Perhaps black comedy is emblematic of the debacle that was Vietnam, but the line for me has always shown such a callous disregard for the life of children that it’s a movie I will never watch again. Once was more than enough. Killing children should never be the point of any joke.

After I got out of the Army, I became a respiratory therapist. In that role, I got to meet the Grim Reaper on a daily basis. When I heard “Code Blue,” I ran to wherever that loss of cardiopulmonary activity was reported and did my best to wrest back that life from the great beyond. We were successful about 30% of the time. When God calls, no one gets to put Him on hold.

I saw a lot of people who were 50, 60, or 70 years old who spent their last minutes on earth with a plastic tube down their airway and me or one of my colleagues pounding on their chest. We did our best. We always did our best. We didn’t care what race they were. We didn’t care what sex they were. We just did our best every time. It really stunk when we couldn’t resuscitate someone, but those were the way the breaks went in that game, and while we didn’t like it, we accepted that result. A 70-year-old patient had lived his life. We were trying to get him another day, another week, sometimes only another month. But, we accepted the inevitability of the end of human existence as a cost of doing business.

Perhaps I should say that we accepted that most of the time.

I dreaded calls to the Emergency room between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. While you occasionally got your Monday morning heart attack, all too often it was a child that had sudden infant death syndrome, and in spite of everything we did, a child died and a family was devastated. Even the most jaded among us couldn’t laugh that one off.

I remember a child I cared for in the nursery. He was full-term, delivered normally, but he began to crash right after his bath. We intubated, ventilated, and gave medications to stabilize for a transport to the local level-three nursery. But that nursery was full, and so a more distant nursery sent their helicopter.

They refused to take the child with them. He had Potter’s Syndrome. Tied to a lack of amniotic fluid, Potter’s babies have no kidneys, sometimes no adrenal glands, and hypoplastic lungs and heart. There is literally no way to save them. The pediatrician was a big man, a man’s man, and he couldn’t stop himself from crying. We all did. It was a tragedy none of us could have done anything about, but we still felt like we had failed.

Genetic and developmental abnormalities resulting in death were bad. Drowning, electrocution, poisoning, and other accidents were awful too, but they were not the worst.

One bright Friday morning I was called to the ER for an inbound baby of about six months. When he arrived he had very shallow respirations and even at first glance you could tell there was something wrong with his head. The head radiograph showed a pattern I had never seen before except in junk cars with broken safety-glass. The image looked like this image found with DuckDuckGo.

The child went for emergency surgery for his swelling brain. Every possible measure was taken to save his life, but in spite of that, the swelling inside the brain was too great. When the swelling inside the brain causes the pressure to be greater than the blood pressure pumping blood into the brain, the brain suffocates and dies. The body follows. All of us in that ICU knew how the situation would end. There were a lot of red eyes in the unit that day.

Mom was devastated but hopeful, even though the doctors told her not to be. She watched the infant’s heart develop bradycardia (slowed heartbeat) and then stop. She told us she was sure we were messing with the monitor. She refused to accept that her baby was dead. But he was dead, and when that painful reality hit her, the wail she let go with is something no one should have to hear. She collapsed on the floor. She clung to the bed. She did not want to leave the room. And that cry: It was a human soul being ripped from its moorings.

The police arrested the boyfriend. He admitted that the mom asked him to watch the baby while she worked. The boyfriend (it’s always the boyfriend, not the father) got tired of the baby crying and just “squeezed the top of his head till he heard a pop.” He just wanted to sleep. He “didn’t mean to hurt the damned brat.” I guess he had never heard of a pacifier or a bottle. There was no way to know how long the child’s brain was injured before mom got home, noticed something wrong, and raced with him to the ER. She was not jailed. The boyfriend got seven years for manslaughter. Seven years in Illinois meant out in three. That was hard to take.

I saw a number of children abused and neglected in that role, and every one of them hurt. As a lawyer, I doubt I could effectively represent someone who intentionally injured a child. All lives matter, but you’ll be lying if you say you do not place a higher value on some lives. For example, your own, your family’s. Children matter.

That’s why two events from yesterday’s news feed really bother me. The first involved a Wisconsin police officer, on suspension because the mob came for his job, who had a brigade of BLLM (Black Liberal Lives Matter) protesters show up at his home, assault him when he tried to reason with them, and then fire a shotgun blast into the house where his children stayed. I can understand being angry at someone, I can even understand the psychoses that leads someone to shoot at a grown man. I can’t understand, nor would I be able to forgive, someone that shot at a child. And, if black lives matter, does wearing a blue uniform mean that a person is no longer black? And if that’s so, what about black children of a police officer? Do they lose their “blackness” by virtue of being the offspring of a police officer? I assume the “protesters” did not know he had children in the house. Who would knowingly shoot at a child?

A monster would. That’s what I found when I went to this website. Read the story, and watch the report. A neighbor, upset because a child was riding a bike on his lawn, runs up to him, and simply executes him with a shot to the head. What kind of monster does that? What kind of person feels so passionately about their grass that they would shoot a five-year-old child in the head?

I’m not an angel. I’ve done some mean things in my life. I’ve certainly had my fill of children screaming their lungs out at 30,000 feet. I dread getting on an airplane with children for that reason. But I understand that it’s pain they’re feeling and I am not mad at them, I’m mad at the adult that’s making them experience that pain without a plan for dealing with it. I don’t understand how anyone could knowingly and intentionally harm a child.

Children screw up. They make mistakes. They learn from them. That this little boy won’t be able to learn from his, and that the monster who allegedly killed him will likely plead out to something that will get him something less than the death penalty are equally upsetting. The shooting was witnessed. There is no doubt about guilt (allegedly). The only real defense is mental disease or defect, and the taxpayers in that county will pay a public defender to hire a psychiatrist (and the DA will do the same) and at some point, there will be accountability if he doesn’t plead guilty sooner or get sent to the hospital for the criminally insane.

It is long past time to make the penalties for assault with intent to kill, murder, and other crimes committed against children carry the same penalty, and the same sentences, as crimes against adults.

Because what we have now is not protecting our children.

There Are No Solutions

 

There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs.
                                                                                -Thomas Sowell

Our friends on the left have a proclivity for monomania that appears to be getting worse. It is normal for debaters to emphasize the value of outcomes they favor and to minimize the cost of achieving them or to take the exact opposite position.  But we are entering a new kind of politics in which we are simply not allowed to consider costs or even frame policy questions in that way. 

To combat COVID, we have imposed hideous costs.  We are losing lives to the broad and real effects of massive economic loss, depression, and delayed medical treatments.  Our 14-day effort to “flatten the curve” was based on the realistic assumption that we could only delay the spread not really stop it.  But that was too much like a reasonable trade-off so now idiot politicians are actually saying things like “if even one life..” as if there are no competing considerations.  It is bad form to allude to dead businesses, lost jobs and all that accrues from that damage when Lives Are At Stake.

To combat climate change, we are asked to incur hideous costs and surrender economic rights in order to achieve minuscule decreases in atmospheric CO2.  We were supposed to join the silly Paris Climate Accord so that we would be Doing Something About It or ‘At Least it is a Start’ or some other bumper-sticker level of reasoning. Many people don’t even consider that there might be a choice between mitigation and adaptation. The planet is at risk so costs do not matter, even if they will almost certainly be born by poorer people.

Because about one-tenth of one percent of all homicides of African-Americans involve unarmed persons killed by police, we must toss out the Constitution, rewrite American history and each forever live out our assigned identities in a script written by second-rate Marxists.  The solutions proposed to cure “systemic racism” are so spectacularly stupid and so divorced from the actual history and substance of the expansion and protection of our rights that is stunning that so many succumb in silence.  And if one criticizes the current massive destruction and looting by concerned citizens of the leftist faith, the usual non sequitur response is “how is any of that worth more than a human life?”, presumably George Floyd’s.

Inequality requires the end of capitalism and private property.  Young women are not permitted to reject the ideology that gave us hook-up culture, so we have to eliminate all due process in favor of elastic notions of consent instead. Medical care, college tuition, and personal income must be freely provided as if there are no downsides, tradeoffs, or costs.  

One problem (among others) in our current political discourse is that it is no longer characterized by reasonable debates among grownups of goodwill about costs and benefits but a series of monomaniacal demands for outcomes that are not likely achievable in any event and which failures will come at an astronomical cost.  

 

Oprah Magazine’s White Guilt Special

 

The most successful black entrepreneur of the age wants you to know how terrible life has been in racist America. So Oprah Winfrey is using the pages of the September issue of O to drive home the Black Lives Matter message: you are racist and you just can’t help yourself. You were raised in white privilege, and even if you feel bad about the racial injustice that sustains you, there is a price to pay. Get ready to be re-educated, right here in this nice lifestyle magazine you may have enjoyed reading for two decades.

For the first time in its 20-year history, the cover does not present an idealized photograph of a beaming, smartly attired Oprah. Instead it features a digital rendering of Breonna Taylor, the young woman shot to death in a police drug raid on her home in Louisville. The raid appears to be an egregious police blunder and is still being investigated. It’s a great tragedy, and Oprah’s signed editorial is a heartfelt lament. 

But, setting aside the facts of the case, it is also a convenient cudgel to smite any white readers in swinging distance. Almost  every page of this issue conveys a most un-Oprah-like grievance, even barely contained rage. It’s embedded in the story selection, of course, with features like “Hard White Truths,” (We asked white readers about the moments when they’ve been mostly acutely aware of their privilege, and what they’re doing about it). Or Ask Dr. Joy, in which a psychologist “offers advice to Black women beset by needy white friends.”

 Yet even the usual lifestyle filler — “Beauty O-wards; it’s time to celebrate the best of the best in makeup, skincare and haircare with our top picks for feeling gorgeous from head to toe” — offers no haven from the scolding.  Every editorial page bears a footnote-like banner urging some act of contrition or self-flagellation. A few of the many: 

HIRE more Black people and people of color, especially into management, if you’re in a position to do so.

DINE at Black-owned restaurants. People of color are two to three times more likely to be denied business loans, and Black restaurant workers tend to be the lowest paid in the industry.

THWART the racist cash-bail system by contributing to a local bail fund.

TAKE a knee the next time you’re at a sporting event.

READ the 1619 Project . . .  a masterful examination of American slavery and its legacy.

ACCEPT the hard truth — if you’re a white American, you’ve benefited from a racist system.

The hard truth is that an accomplished, much-loved television personality, who overcame a life of childhood adversity through her own hard work and talents, is insulting the very country that gave her a path to stupendous success. Over the years on television, Oprah has no doubt inspired many people with her example. Now she chooses to spread white guilt among her loyal audience. 

Who can know, in this time of contraction in magazine publishing, if O will survive this departure into identity politics and grievance-mongering. No matter. Oprah has greater “woke”  ambitions for her empire. Word is that her production company is hard at work translating the 1619 Project into a movie or perhaps a TV series. The browbeating has just begun. 

The Democrat Dream Ticket

 

Joe Biden has been a Washington politician for nearly 50 years.  His racist statements are legendary, as are his habitual inappropriate touching and sniffing of women and young girls.  His corruption has made him and his family incredibly wealthy, earning millions and millions of dollars by selling influence to foreign interests. He is clearly suffering from rapidly advancing dementia, and at times seems to lose track of where he is.

Given the 22 candidates in the Democrat primary, I suspect that most Republicans would have selected Biden as the easiest to beat in the general election, with maybe two to three exceptions. Kamala Harris slept her way into politics, then used ruthless politics to work her way into national prominence. She exudes the warmth of Hillary Clinton and the ethics of, well, Hillary Clinton.

I only bring all this up to point out that this team of Biden and Harris are going to win around half the vote in the upcoming election. This says a lot about today’s Democratic Party, and it says even more about today’s Democrat voters. I understand that Donald Trump is a hard guy to like. But it’s hard to argue that until COVID, America was doing extremely well under his leadership. Anyone who looks at this situation and decides to vote for Biden/Harris, well, that is simply extraordinary. And tens of millions of Americans are about to do exactly that. Which brings a few questions to my mind:

  1. Who could the Democratic Party possibly nominate who would not get about half the vote in a presidential election? The mind boggles.
  2. Why did Bernie Sanders withdraw from the race when he did?
  3. Who selected Kamala Harris?
  4. Is it possible that the Democrats intend to replace Biden as their presidential nominee before the election?
  5. Are there any Democrat voters out there, looking at their presidential ticket and thinking, “Oh heavens no…?”

If we have mail-in ballots in this election, it doesn’t matter who either party nominates – the Democrats will win, and win big.

But without mail-in ballots, I just can’t imagine Biden/Harris winning more than 10-15 states. But again, I’ll bet they will, somehow.

American politics – it’s bonkers right now.

Group Writing: Connecting the Years

 

My parents first met in Worcester, MA, after my father returned from World War II. He was a translator in the Army; he’d learned French in high school so “translator” must have seemed like a logical assignment. His first name was Carlton, but everyone called him Tex, after a baseball player named Tex Carlton. As a teenager, he was a skinny kid and his friends called him “Tweet.”

Mom was pretty much a loner named Shirley, but she and my dad made a connection after the war. When they decided to be married, they had a large wedding with lots of family and friends. But when the photographer went to develop the photographs, they were somehow lost or destroyed.* The only testament to their wedding was a movie that was taken on 16mm film. Years later, when my uncle who had the only copy offered to share it with them, they learned that the projector needed to play the film wasn’t readily available. So, the film sat in a drawer.

Finally, a friend was able to convert the film for them so that it could be played! (I have no information about the technical details; I only know that we were going to see a wedding film of my parents’ special occasion—finally!)

So, one afternoon we all gathered to view this special occasion, which at that point had taken place 30 years earlier. It was a silent film, of course, and showed lots of people we didn’t know, although we could pick out a few relatives we had gotten to know over the years. The highlight of the viewing was when my mother and father walked down the aisle together—we all called out, “Jim!” The man who had my mother’s arm was the spitting image of my brother, who was about the same age as my father was that day. We played that segment of the film over and over again. My dad/brother shared the same sheepish grin, walk, and posture. It was so shocking, but delightful at the same time.

* * * * *

After all these years, I have no idea where that film now rests. My parents passed away some years ago. But thinking about that film, I’m reminded that in spite of the distance between my brother and me and our infrequent communication, we are connected by the same blood, the same heritage, the same parents. That connection is in one sense a superficial one, and tenuous at best, but it is also deep and lasting in other ways. We share a history, various versions of the same stories, our recollection of good times and bad. And when I think of that wedding film, I am also reminded of the remarkable links of nature and genes that will always be with us. In a sense, the people walking down the aisle were my father and brother, my mother, and me. I am always amazed at how resemblances are passed on, from one generation to the next.

* My husband and I are pictured above since I have no photo of my parents

Member Post

 

Andrew Coumo has been quoted as: The Democratic governor noted that 1 percent of the population pays 50 percent of taxes in New York, and these people are among the most “’mobile” in the world. “I literally talk to people all day long who are now in their Hamptons house, who also lived here, or […]

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New Rider for Auto Insurance?

 

In @kozak’s post to The Firing Line, he suggested that when people in vehicles are threatened by gun-waving or gun-pointing Antifa thugs to “Duck and FLOOR it.” To which I responded:

Maybe a new rider to your auto insurance? Seems like with all the publicity there would be a large market for such a rider. Pattern after conceal carry insurance. My guess is that if a lot of people buy it, it should only have to be used a few times before the word got out that “protesting” in this way can get you killed by your well-insured citizens and the actuarial estimates would make such coverage very profitable.

There are insurers having to pay (I hope for the owners’ sake) for riot damage. I think they might be able to make some of the money back by offering this new insurance line. If you live in a major metropolitan area why wouldn’t you spend a couple of hundred bucks to get

  • death and medical payouts if found liable
  • defense costs
  • bail money coverage

As I said in my comment, yes, the initial payouts might be large. But as soon as the “pajama boys/girls” rioters see that there is a personal cost the potential for claims would drop precipitously and the collected premiums would be quite profitable.

Maybe President Trump can sign an Executive Order adding this to the national flood insurance program.

Quote of the Day: Reagan’s Riffing During Sound Check

 

“My fellow Americans, I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.” — Ronald Reagan, August 11, 1984

August Eleventh. It is a day in history that should be remembered. The day that Ronald Reagan outlawed Russia. Joking around while doing a soundcheck, Reagan freestyled something that was based on his intended speech of the day:

“My fellow Americans: I’m pleased to tell you that today I signed legislation that will allow student religious groups to begin enjoying a right they’ve too long been denied—the freedom to meet in public high schools during nonschool hours, just as other student groups are allowed to do.”

I always preferred the joke. But the press went wild with it, saying it was proof he should not be re-elected. Of course.

Do you remember that day?

Do you remember any other good jokes pulled by Presidents?

BLM Organizer Says Reparations Are Theft

 

Another news story about another riot in another major city: “Black Lives Matter members in Chicago held a rally on Monday to support the more than 100 arrested last night following widespread looting and rioting that caused at least $60 million in property damage and saw 13 police officers injured, according to a report.”

But this next passage in the article caught my eye – a quote from a Black Lives Matter organizer named Ariel Atkins: “I don’t care if someone decides to loot a Gucci or a Macy’s or a Nike store, because that makes sure that person eats. That makes sure that person has clothes. That is reparations. Anything they wanted to take, they can take it because these businesses have insurance.”

Ok, so Black Lives Matter acknowledges that reparations are theft. Simple, straightforward theft. Based on the ethics underlying the Black Lives Matter movement, theft is apparently acceptable – even admirable – in this setting. I find that concerning, but not as concerning as this: I wonder how many Democrat voters would agree with this point? I wonder how many Democrat leaders and politicians would agree with this point? I wonder how many university professors and media personalities would agree with this point? I don’t know, of course. But I suspect that the answer to those questions would depress me.

I could write an essay about this. But I won’t. It’s too depressing.

Member Post

 

Brooklyn College Education Prof. Claims Math Is ‘White Supremacist Patriarchy’ Brooklyn College Professor of Math Education Laurie Rubel argued this week on Twitter that the mathematical equation 2+2=4 “reeks of white supremacist patriarchy.” Rubel’s tweet was retweeted and promoted by several academics at universities and colleges around the nation. According to a report by Campus […]

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You know things are bad when you look back fondly on the Obama years as the good old days.  Sure, it was on his watch that race relations did a one-eighty, the White House glowed in the rainbow colors and most of us were depicted as bitter clingers.  But still, nobody back then would have […]

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Tea Time

 

Things aren’t made the way they used to be. Take time: time used to have a much nicer quality than it does today. And light: when was the last time you got proper light? And something seemed to have happened to all the spaces, like they’d been … sort of shrunk down and actual space taken out of them … So it really wasn’t his fault when he stopped time.

He was trying to build time machine, okay? Never mind why. He had his reasons. He hadn’t meant to rip a hole in the fabric of causality. He just wanted to go back and make things right. Instead of just having them seem to go more and more wrong. And now there was a gaping lapis-edged void twinkling with stars and infinite blackness facing him from across the workshop, and he couldn’t get to the kettle or the sink. Never travel through time without a cup of tea – he thought he’d read that somewhere. Or else the thought had occurred to him in one of those times in the wee small hours, when the world is all your own. The other thing, of course, was that there was … like a “time ghost” blocking his way.

She was beautiful. Not just ordinarily beautiful, but beautiful in the way that lines of blue light flowed through the air like the most perfect sketch of a person, etched in time. She echoed with life.

‘Don’t even think about it,’ she said, stepping in front of the rip. ‘This rift is not stable. It needs to heal and disappear. Then time will resume, and it will be as if it never happened.’

‘Who are you?’ he asked.

The time-ghost smiled. ‘Not a bad question to ask, in the circumstances. I am a might-have-been, an if-only, a shadow of a memory – a spirit of being.’

He looked at her, disbelieving. ‘But—’

‘Oh, I’m as human as the next man,’ she said, glancing at him as if she was beginning to enjoy herself. ‘And who knows,’ she added with a twinkle, ‘we might even have known each other at some point in time and space, through the byways of being. Somewhere, anyway. You have another question?’

‘Um, would you like a cup of tea?’

The spirit nodded with satisfaction. ‘Ah, another very good question.’

‘It’s just – can you … sort of reach the kettle and the teabags? I can’t without crossing the rift.’

‘I believe I can,’ she said with a smile. ‘We shall have a cup of tea,’ she said moving about among the tea things, ‘since you so graciously offered.’

He was a little unsure if she was making fun of him. She turned towards him amid the tinkling of spoons and cups. ‘And we shall talk of many things. Of life and time, and might-have-beens.’

He didn’t quite know what to say to that.

‘Now, tell me,’ she said floating closer and handing him a gently steaming cup and saucer. ‘Why do you seek to travel the temporal plane? Why do you risk everything?’

There was a long silence.

She looked up from her cup. Then she nodded and reached up a finger to brush away a tear.

He felt the ghostlike touch under his eye and a tingling frisson like a perfect moment.

‘I think I begin to understand,’ she said. She patted his hand. ‘Drink up, before it gets cold. Never underestimate the importance of a good cup of tea to the process of time-travel.’

He looked up sharply.

She had her cup held over her face, but he got the feeling there was an inscrutable smile twitching across her features.

*

The teacups were on the sideboard. The spirit was looking brighter. She was glancing back at the rift and then at him. She appeared to reach a decision.

‘Here,’ she said, ‘take my hand, and we’ll walk awhile. The repairman probably won’t get round to this rift for a while. And who knows, maybe we’ll even bump into a few people along the way.’

He looked at her. ‘Do I have to come back afterwards?’

She glanced back. ‘We can talk about it. Can I borrow a scarf? The infinite void gets a bit chilly round about now.’

He lent her his scarf. The faded wool seemed to suit the time-spirit. The outlines of light in the air seemed to fill out a bit when she put it on, gaining solidity and colour. ‘Ready?’ she said.

He nodded.

They drew back the way she explained to him, took a leaping dancing step towards the rift, and disappeared in a twinkle like a pair of stars fluttering in the air for a moment.

One happy moment.

You take them where you can get them.

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https://ricochet.com/774711/the-doctor-is-in-scott-atlas/ https://dailycaller.com/2020/08/10/scott-atlas-coronavirus-college-football/ His first recommendation: do not cancel college football! Trump’s Newest Coronavirus Adviser Wants College Football To Happen: ‘There’s No Reason To Shut Down Out Of Fear’ Atlas, former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center and a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, told host Martha MacCallum that he agrees with Clemson […]

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Joe Biden’s VP Dilemma

 

With less than 90 days until the election, Joe Biden still has not yet selected his running mate for Vice President.  This has led to speculation, as you might imagine.  Although also much less speculation than you might imagine, because Mr. Biden has already said that he will select a black female running mate.  Based purely on qualifications and skills, of course.

It has also led to threatening letters from “black male leaders” informing Mr. Biden that if he does not select a black female running mate, that he is sure to lose the election.  Because of Mr. Biden’s apparent failing health (cognitively, at least), many people view his choice for the Vice President to be unusually relevant in the upcoming presidential election.  There are many interested parties involved, who are presumably putting as much pressure on Mr. Biden as possible to get their way.  I have rather strong feelings on this matter, and if you’re interested in my analysis, please read on:

It does not matter who Joe Biden selects as his running mate.

COVID-19 For Non-Premed Majors

 

Let’s talk SARS CoV2. It is a very simple RNA virus, that is a capsid of proteins that contains a single strand of RNA. Your body uses RNA to direct cells to build proteins. It’s like a hard-coded program, directions, that organize cell function for growth and repair. SARS CoV2 attaches to certain cells in the body that play a part in a feedback loop that monitors and controls blood pressure. Unfortunately, this includes lung, heart, kidney, fat and even nervous system tissues.

When you are exposed to the virus, it travels into your eyes, nose, lungs or mouth and literally, by happenstance, may come in contact with its favorite cell (ACE 2) receptor. The more viruses you inhale (initial exposure) the higher the probability that a virus will bind with a receptor. The virus capsid itself is a spiky little sphere. When one of about ninety spikes touches a receptor, it binds. Within ten minutes, instead of receiving chemical signals from your body, the receptor opens and becomes an entry way for the viral RNA. The viral RNA enters the cell, reprograms the cell’s normal RNA directed functions and turns the cell into a SARS CoV2 factory. Within 7-8 hours, some 7000 newly created SARS CoV2 viruses begin exiting the infected cell. The infected cell does not “burst” at the end of its reproductive cycle spilling a massive dose of viruses and toxic byproducts as is characteristic with a cold or the flu. Hence, a COVID 19 infection lacks the characteristic fever/chill reproductive cycle that accompanies other common viral infections.

The infection is exponential, within days creating multiple billions of cloned viruses. The sheer number of viruses created increases the likelihood that a mutation in the viral RNA will occur, potentially creating a new form of the virus. However, study of the SARS CoV2 genome has led scientist to believe that SARS CoV2 contains genetic material that protects against random deleterious mutation. The virus is already a very efficient one. And it is not like influenza viruses, which are multi-RNA strand (8) viruses and prone to genetic material swapping in a host infected by more than one flu strain. Flu reproduction can much more easily result in a viable “new” viral infection.

We know that SARS CoV2 infections (COVID 19) are disproportionately more dangerous and lethal in those over 65. Of course, those with significant health concerns are more susceptible to any infection, not just COVID 19. But more specifically, there are two issues that have been suggested that may be the primary contributors to age-related risk. Many older people suffer from hypertension and have been prescribed medications that inhibit ACE 2 reception, which results in the creation of more ACE 2 receptors, especially in the lungs. This availability of receptors would in turn provide the virus easier entry, hence a larger initial dose of virus at the time of initial infection. In addition, researchers also speculate that prior coronavirus infections (not SARS CoV2 but common “cold” type coronaviruses which make up about 20% of all colds) are more likely present in older patients. The related antibodies for these “lesser” coronaviruses may contribute to an over-reaction to COVID 19, especially in the lungs, causing a destructive, sometimes fatal, auto-immune response.

The suggested ACE 2 inhibition mechanism would also at least partially explain the susceptibility of certain populations. Hypertension disproportionately affects people of African and Native American descent and type 2 diabetes and hypertension nearly always flock together and are also disproportionately reflected among those same groups.

A destructive autoimmune response to a new viral infection attributed to the existence of anti-bodies from other similar earlier infections has been noted with other viruses, like the flu. That would explain why the elderly would be more susceptible to that aspect of COVID 19. They are far more likely to have been exposed to other nominal coronaviruses. Younger people, on the other hand, would not suffer this immune over-reaction as their immune-historical exposure to coronaviruses would be far more limited.

Obesity, some medical researchers suggest, is likely itself a contributing factor to SARS CoV2 infection irrespective of hypertension and type 2 diabetes. Fat cells also have ACE 2 receptors and obesity seems to increase the number of ACE 2 receptors in the body, so the obese may provide the virus with a more receptive host. Also, obesity in general comes with other health issues that could exacerbate an auto-immune over-reaction to the virus.

New studies are, in addition to looking at existing anti-virals and other possible treatments, looking at vitamin D deficiency as a potential risk factor that could be easily remedied. We know that the virus can persist on some surfaces for a very long time, that it is susceptible to ultra-violet light, that thrives in certain environments where relative humidity is low and temperatures are moderate and that it is most likely shed with exhalation. The virus itself is quite small, however, N95 masks can do a decent job filtering out the virus and any mask will significantly slow the velocity of any virus expelled by an infected individual. Of course, the handling of potentially contaminated masks posits another potential problem.

Researchers also believe that initial exposure, that is how much virus an individual was exposed to, either at one time or over a number of days before the immune system could initiate a significant response, strongly correlates with the severity of COVID 19 and its lethality, especially for people under the age of 65. This would explain why certain otherwise young and healthy people, especially health care workers, have succumbed to the disease. So while wearing a mask, washing hands and social distancing might not provide great protection from infection, these steps will likely lessen potential initial exposure and lead to a lesser, even asymptomatic result should one be infected.

Unfortunately, since so many cells in the body play a part in the internal blood pressure monitoring loop, all receptor tissues are susceptible to COVID 19. While COVID related pneumonia may be the most difficult and common problem associated with the disease, we now know that kidney, heart, and even nervous tissue damage (encephalitis) can occur. COVID 19 has even been associated with clotting disorders leading to strokes. These complications are not common or unique to COVID 19, but they are worth noting.

There are several notable immunization efforts underway and some have shown early promise. However, it should be noted that previous attempts to produce any sort of coronavirus vaccine have all failed.

The initial US response to the SARS CoV2 was mixed. States that took steps to protect the elderly and most vulnerable fared the best. Those who mixed COVID 19 patients with at-risk patients in the same facilities fared the worst.

Initial responses may have been effective in keeping the health delivery system from being overwhelmed by infection, however, this strategy may have only delayed the achievement of exposure-related herd immunity, prolonging the crisis. The response did overestimate the severity of infection in most people and the virus’s negligible effect on those under 20. The delay did, however, allow the medical profession some time to learn about the infection and develop tests, protocols and treatments for dealing with it. These treatments have significantly decreased the severity and lethality of the disease and hospital stays for those with more severe infections have declined.

For all the effort put into attempts to control the spread of COVID 19, we have seen an increase in deaths from all other factors throughout the country. Suicides, overdoses, alcohol-related deaths, murders as well as deaths related to heart disease, cancer, strokes, and other chronic conditions have all reportedly increased. People at risk with chronic issues have obviously not sought care for fear of contracting COVID 19 or for lack of insurance brought on by job loss. As for the other categories, financial uncertainty and job losses caused by the COVID 19 response have likely contributed significantly to reported increases in death in those categories.

QoTD: One Small Light

 

You can’t make progress until you let yourself sound like you. –Nathan Gunn, baritone singer

I first encountered Nathan Gunn right here on Ricochet, when @marcin posted a video of the musical, Carousel. Mr. Gunn played the lead role of Billy Bigelow. He performs opera and musicals, is a university professor in music and is very involved in promoting new programs. Besides having a beautiful baritone voice and his being handsome, I was curious to know more about him and found an interview of him on a program called, The Classical Life (video below). His story is in some ways typically mid-western American: 50 years old, born in Indiana, beautiful wife who is a pianist and five kids. But this quotation he made stopped me cold. It is something he tells his students.

I haven’t been a university student in a very long time, but this statement was one of those that struck me between the eyes and demanded my attention regarding my own writing. It is similar to other statements I’ve heard over the years—“Just be yourself” or “Just keep writing.” But I like the idea of being challenged and pushed beyond my comfort zone, at least some of the time. So his words called to me to parse them carefully as if there were a message hidden within them. Maybe it showed up just when I needed to hear it. Here’s what I learned:

You can’t make progress until you let yourself sound like you.

The pronoun “you” put the responsibility for my growth firmly on my own shoulders. Even at my age, I want to grow, and I can certainly seek help, but ultimately, I need to take the initiative to make that happen. Even if an opportunity just shows up, it’s up to me to actualize the results.

Then I asked myself, “What does it mean to ‘progress’? After all, where is there to go? I’m not interested in having my articles published in fancy publications. I’m not interested in becoming well-known or known for a particular genre. I think I make progress when I stretch myself in my writing; when I write on an unfamiliar topic; when I have to do research to fill in my understanding; when I write on subjects that feel risky or are controversial; when I reveal more of who I am; when I look inside to identify my own beliefs. By writing often, the process becomes more familiar, more organic as I put fingers to keys. All of these efforts stretch me and help me progress in my efforts to write in a way that is transparent, helpful, and encourages people to think through an idea.

And letting myself “sound like me” is an interesting choice of words used by Mr. Gunn. What do I “sound” like when I write? Am I willing to let myself be vulnerable? Do people have an authentic sense of who I am, what I believe, what I think is important in life? From the responses I receive from some of you, I know that I am making a contribution.

So, that’s why this quotation spoke to me. I want to feel as if I’m stretching, maturing, and growing. That people see me as clear and sincere, whether they agree with me or not. That some people believe I have something to offer.

I will continue to “let myself sound like me” as a way to grow and to be one small light in the world.

What does it mean for you to “sound like you”? Do you push yourself to grow?

If you would like to see a short video by Nathan Gunn’s performing—

And his interview—

The Hidden Costs of Riots and Reckless Government

 

Citizens in places like Chicago, Seattle, Portland, and the other cities that have seen rioting in the last few months are hoping for some respite as the summer ends. Whether it arrives or not, their financial interests have already been severely damaged, and most of them don’t even recognize it yet. But they will. Everyone must pay the piper after the dance.

When you insure your house, one of the things the insurance company looks for, in terms of assessing risk and setting premiums, are things like your local fire department. How is it rated? Is it a city service, or is it manned by volunteers? What are response times like? That’s because the most common loss associated with insuring houses is fire. Thus these questions have an impact on assessing the risk and setting the premiums.

It’s also why there are exclusions in the insurance policy. For example, an exclusion for criminal acts. If a criminal act (like making methamphetamine) leads to a loss, it will be uncovered. Landlords have to keep this in mind when renting. Similarly, if an intentional act leads to a loss (usually the insured committing arson) that too is uncovered. Insurance companies want to insure only against fortuitous losses. One insurance company even includes an exclusion for any “act or failure to act” by the insured. That’s a pretty broad exclusion, and it’s rarely enforced, but it’s there to keep honest people honest.

Now that the Miracle Mile in Chicago has been looted, its stores and businesses (and even a Tesla dealership) destroyed, it is pretty clear that insurers are going to take notice. They might pay this kind of loss one time, but they won’t pay it again. As soon as the policy period ends, so will the insurance contract, and it won’t be renewed. If it does get renewed, that $1,000 policy is going to be a $10,000 policy because the risk is so much higher. For the Marxists and Communists following along, this is how capitalism works.

And the cities that are sending their police out like so much cannon fodder and seeing huge utilization of workers’ compensation policies. Do you think those cities will get by with paying the same premiums? Do you think their burned-out police cars are going to be replaced without some kind of adjustment in the policy? An insurer understands a vehicle might be lost to a high-speed chase, but not to a bunch of adolescent gang-banger wannabes.

Consider a city like St. Louis, MO. The inner city, called St. Louis City, is its own county. It’s the hole of the donut. Surrounding it is St. Louis County. The county has its own police force, but so do much smaller towns like Brentwood, Ladue, Florrisant, St. Ann, Manchester, and others. Beyond those smaller cities, there are cities in Jefferson County, south and west of St. Louis City and St. Louis County, that are still a part of the same metropolitan statistical area. Every one of those cities, even if it hasn’t seen increased losses and increased costs for its municipal employees, is going to see their insurance costs skyrocket.

And retailers like Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and many others are going to find their premiums for theft losses going way up, particularly in cities like Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Chicago, and DC where the idiotic and gleeful plea to disarm and defund the police is being enacted by the woke, social-justice idiots who were elected. When a police response time increases from five minutes to half an hour, and when your city police send out an email that tells residents not to “walk alone” and be “ hyper-aware of your surroundings at all times,” in addition to advising to “give up your cell phone and purse/wallet,” because “robberies may still occur,” it’s a safe bet that insurers take note of that and adjust their rates accordingly.

And even restaurants, like that infamous Wendy’s in Atlanta, are going to wind up paying more. In Missouri, a landlord, while not an insurer of his guest’s safety, must take notice of dangerous conditions and take actions to protect his business invitees. Premises liability insurance premiums will skyrocket. The price of a Big Mac, which the internet says is an average of $5.67 in the United States, will climb by $1.50 in these areas. Are you still “lovin’ it?”

Because these riots have produced arson on a grand scale, with housing, apartments, malls, and other structures being burned to the ground, fire insurance in these cities will be more expensive, as will liability insurance for landlords and corporate actors. The natural and probable consequence of this is easy to see coming.

So what happens when a landlord who charges $750 a month for an apartment suddenly finds himself paying $150 more per apartment for insurance? Rent goes up. That rent goes up for people who not only didn’t riot but likely didn’t approve of the idea of defunding their police. It’s the poorest people, with the most to lose, who really suffer when police response times inch upwards of an hour.

Not only does rent go up, but the price of a laptop at Best Buy in these cities will need to be adjusted by upwards of 35% or more to account for the increase in insurance premiums being paid both for building integrity as well as loss due to theft. Get your clothing at Target? Even assuming it rebuilds and stays in Minneapolis, the prices are going to nowhere like what they were before the great Floyd Conflagration.

Who does this impact the most?

It impacts the very people who can afford it least. While a bunch of pimpled, white, college-dropout goons dressed in black was busy burning these places, they were staying home, obeying the law, and doing what they have always done: trying to stay out of the line of fire.  They are most in need of affordable housing, but they won’t get it from the government now because the Antifa goons burned down their affordable housing in a fit of rage. They won’t be able to get it or afford it from private landlords either, because those landlords have to protect their investments. They’ll do that by setting rents that are likely out of range of many of the people who, if they could, would flee from these Democrat-run hellholes. Housing prices will fall as thousands flee to the more rural areas and visit their friendly neighborhood gun store on the way.

I recently saw a tweet from someone who was likely missing a few of the more functional brain cells. It suggested that the fires set in Portland were “peaceful” because it was only property, and “property doesn’t matter until black lives do.” I find it a felony conviction of the education system in this country that this moron did not recognize that by engaging in this behavior she increased her own cost of living by hundreds, if not thousands of dollars every year. And, of course, many of the people rioting, looting, and burning are not even citizens of these cities. They come from out of state to take advantage of a pathetically weak criminal justice system designed to sing criminals to sleep with lullabies instead of pulling down their pants and beating them until they wail and beg for mercy.

Antifa is passing on a hidden cost to all of these citizens.

Many do not individually deserve it.

But they all deserve it collectively. They voted for the clowns that refuse to back the blue and stand up to the thugs. They got what they voted for, not what they deserve.

They can change that.

The question is, will they?

Member Post

 

At least 40 U.S. history students will learn truth about the collapse of communism this year ;-). I’m wrapping up my lesson plans for my high school online classes and assigned Ronald Reagan’s Berlin Wall speech where he famously challenges Gorbachev to “Tear Down This Wall!” I’ll be sure to credit Peter Robinson and do […]

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Book Review: ‘The Splendid and the Vile,’ Churchill During the Blitz

 

If you can read only one book this year, I recommend The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson. A couple of weeks ago, on the National Review Flagship weekly podcast “The Editors,” Rich Lowry asked what the panelists were reading. One of the panelists said The Splendid and the Vile.

The next week, that panelist said that he had finished and another panelist said that he was now reading it! About that time, I heard one of the panelists at the Dispatch Flagship Podcast mention the book, and if memory serves, an MSNBC person said that he was reading it! All were in thrall with the book.

I have a colonoscopy coming up next Tuesday, and I wanted to take a quick vacation to southwest Colorado. I ordered the book. It arrived on Wednesday, 72 hours ago. I just finished its 503 pages a few minutes ago. In the last 72 hours, I have been driving some 600 miles and reading this book, stopping only to sleep. I immediately ordered a copy to be sent to my mother; I didn’t want her to wait for it to be delivered by “media mail.”

The subtitle is A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz. Almost all of the book is contained in the one year beginning on May 10, 1940, when Winston Churchill was summoned to meet with King George VI, who asked him to form a government. What a roller coaster ride! Holland and Belgium fell. The British Expeditionary Force was recused from Dunkirk. France fell. Churchill repeatedly rallied the English people. England had few planes in the RAF, so Churchill appointed his longtime friend newspaperman, Max Aitken, aka Lord Beaverbrook, to the task of building airplanes. The RAF repeatedly engaged the Germans. Then the Germans started a campaign of terror by repeatedly bombing England.

Churchill rallied the English not only in speeches but by going to bombed-out areas. The author follows the lives of Churchill’s daughter Mary, Lord Beaverbrook, Churchill’s personal Secretary John Colville, Hermann Goring, Rudolph Hess, Harry Hopkins, Averell Harriman, and Churchill’s son and daughter-in-law as people fell in love, broke off engagements, and struggled to combat the Germans. This was a very close-run thing. Hitler wanted England to capitulate like France, or be pounded into submission so they would sue for peace, or be invaded once enough boats were rounded up. Just thrilling.

There are so many great stories. A couple of months before Churchill’s grandson was born, a great-nephew was born and was given the full name of Winston Spencer Churchill. The baby’s mother, Churchill’s niece-in-law, was ordered to rename her baby, as that name was being reserved for Churchill’s grandson, not just a great-nephew. After a brief protest, she did so.

England was hanging on by a thread. FDR sent an emissary, Harry Hopkins, to report back to him. Aid from the U.S. was critical. Towards the end of his stay, speeches were given around the table. From pages 362-3:

Hopkins stood and, as Ismay recalled it, first made ‘a tilt or two at the British Constitution in general, and the irrepressible Prime Minister in particular.’ Then he turned to face Churchill.

’I suppose you wish to know what I am going to say to President Roosevelt on my return,’ he said.

This was an understatement, Churchill was desperate to know how his courtship of Hopkins was progressing, and indeed what he would tell the president.

’Well,’ Hopkins said, ‘I’m going to quote you one verse from that Book of Books in the truth of which Mr. Johnston’s mother and my own Scottish mother were brought up —‘

Hopkins dropped his voice to a near whisper and recited a passage from the Bible’s Book of Ruth: ‘Whither thou goest, I will go; and whither thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.’

Then, softly, he added: ‘Even to the end.’

This was his own addition, and with it a wave of gratitude and relief seemed to engulf the room.

Churchill wept.

If you read only one book this year, I recommend The Splendid and the Vile.

The Shame Game

 

“Shame off you,” he said.

It was the first time I’d heard that term, and I was a little taken aback until I realized that he was exactly right. Shame is something we wear, like a wet, smelly blanket someone dons for no good reason. Some bully at some point threw it over the person’s shoulders, and unless that person chooses to shrug it off, there it stays, and the bully wins.

If shame stays on that person, it will saturate everything in their life and leave an odor that eventually the wearer and those around them just get used to. Shame might become an excuse for failure, or a tool they use to manipulate others. Shame dominates the individual wearing it, or it’s a weapon in the hands of those who wield it. It’s more dangerous than a virus, more destructive than a riot, and more deadly than a bullet.

Has anyone been shaming you lately?

Perhaps you’ve endured shame for wearing or not wearing a mask. Or, have you been silent about world events for fear of being shamed out of the public discourse? Are you being shamed because you stand for the National Anthem and honor America and its history? Are you a doctor being shamed by the media because you dare to testify about your first-hand experience?

If so I have a word for you: Shame off of you.

Shame off as you stand with your hand over your heart, lift your eyes to that bright beautiful flag, honor all that it represents, and sing your heart out. You live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, even though your kneeling teammates may not understand that. Shame off them, too.

Shame off you as you walk into the grocery store and enjoy the benefits of plentiful and affordable goods, available because of a Capitalist system that has lifted more people out of poverty than any other system in history. As you walk the aisles with or without a mask, hold your head high, smile, and greet your neighbor, because only you get to decide how best to take care of your family.

Shame off you as you stand before the memorials of those who came before — moved and humbled by their sacrifice, and emboldened with the fortitude to do likewise in your own era against threats similar to the ones faced by the figures immortalized in bronze.

Shame off you as you gather together in worship, and lay hands on one another in love and obedience to a higher authority. Let the world know that no matter how many lies are allied against truth, no matter how forcefully the powerful attack liberty, and no matter how many people you care about are deceived into complacency, you will refuse to hang your head in shame.

Those who perpetuate shame have a distinct characteristic that may seem familiar to you. They’re just like the schoolyard bullies of days past. They mock, ridicule, lie and want nothing more than to feel superior in their own insecurity. They harbor pain, live in fear, and seek to diminish others to avoid being alone in their despair.

Not that long ago there was a universally recognized two-step process for handling a bully: Step 1, ignore them and move on. If they persisted to attack, one was forced to move on to Step 2: Stand up to them.

For the last four months, we’ve seen a lot of Step 1 playing out. It hasn’t worked. The bullies have become emboldened and fear neither reproach nor reality. They’re intent on winning and they’re using shame to do so. But though shame can be a powerful weapon in the hands of a bully, its effectiveness is dependent on one thing: Consent.

Which leads us to Step 2.

Nobody can shame you without your consent, and it’s high time the bullies understand that. Make no mistake. Standing up to the bullies may cost you everything, maybe even your life. This year many brave people have discovered that holding their heads high makes them easy targets.

Of course, the bullies also fear the truth. They combat it, distort it, and when all else fails…they delete it. To those who are standing in the fire of media elites, hell-bent on shaming those they disagree with: Shame off you.

The bullies will soon turn their ire toward the next target, because like a virus, shame needs a host to survive.

But also like a virus, there is a way to defeat it. You defeat shame by taking a deep breath of fresh air as you lift your smiling face to the shining sun. You defeat shame by taking obedient steps, walking in truth, and speaking it with your head held high.

In short, you defeat it by being shameless.