Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Evil in Our Midst

 

So today, the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony about the “Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” a piece of legislation Speaker Pelosi refuses to allow the House to vote on. Killing a child born in the course of an abortion is illegal; however, neglecting such a child until it dies remains legal. The testimony coming out of this committee is so sickening it had me seeing red:

But OBGYN Kathi Aultman, a former medical director at a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic, testified that nurse Julie Wilkinson — who assisted an abortionist with late-term abortions — told her “that the vast majority of abortions that they performed were done for convenience, not for fetal anomalies or maternal health problems.” …

“I was a registered nurse at Christ Hospital in Illinois, when I learned it committed abortions into the second and third trimesters. The procedure, called induced labor abortion, sometimes resulted in babies being aborted alive,” she said. “In the event a baby was aborted alive, he or she received no medical assessments or care but was only given what my hospital called ‘comfort care’ – made comfortable, as Governor Northam indicated.”

“One night, a nursing co-worker was transporting a baby who had been aborted because he had Down syndrome to our soiled utility room to die – because that’s where survivors were taken. I could not bear the thought of this suffering child dying alone, so I rocked him for the 45 minutes that he lived. He was 21 to 22 weeks old, weighed about 1/2 pound, and was about the size of my hand,” Stanek testified. “He was too weak to move very much, expending all his energy attempting to breathe. Toward the end he was so quiet I couldn’t tell if he was still alive unless I held him up to the light to see if his heart was still beating through his chest wall.”

“After he was pronounced dead, I folded his little arms across his chest, wrapped him in a tiny shroud, and carried him to the hospital morgue where we took all our dead patients,” she added. “Christ Hospital readily admitted babies there survived abortions. A spokesman told the Chicago Sun-Times (article submitted with testimony) ‘between 10 percent and 20 percent’ of aborted babies ‘survive for short periods.'”

Stanek testified that aborted babies would often live for an hour or two after their birth. One survived for as long as eight hours. They perished because they did not receive the care that could have saved their lives.

The nurse also recalled Christ Hospital’s “comfort room,” unveiled in December 2000. Rather than taking live aborted babies (an oxymoron term to avoid the truth of infanticide) to the soiled utility room to die, the nurses would take the babies to the comfort room.

“This was a small, nicely decorated room complete with a First Foto machine in case parents wanted pictures of their aborted babies, baptismal supplies if parents wanted their aborted babies baptized, and a foot printer and baby bracelets if parents wanted keepsakes of their aborted babies. There was also a wooden rocker to rock these babies to death,” Stanek testified. She submitted photos of the comfort room with her testimony.

The enormity of the evil here is physically sickening.

Let’s start with the horror of “Christ Hospital” (an appalling blasphemy if ever there was one) even performing abortions. By performing abortions, they seem to have greatly misunderstood “suffer the little ones to come unto me.” I can only hope that the “comfort room” was also for families with spontaneous abortions and miscarriages that resulted in infants for whom invasive neonatal care was not an option — otherwise, I cannot fathom the level of narcissistic heresy that would prompt someone to not feel guilty about either their fornication or their hiring of a murderer to kill their child, but then when the murderer botched the job, insist on a baptism where they claim to renounce the devil and all his works and all his ways on behalf of their murder victim! Photos and footprints and keepsakes? Keeping trophies of one’s kills is normally considered psychopathic, but apparently “Christ Hospital” is in the business of catering to the morally diseased.

Yes, I know good pro-lifers aren’t supposed to think that women who contract to kill their children are morally diseased because … well, I still haven’t figured it out exactly. It appears to be a combination of “they’re just silly little things who can’t be expected to take responsibility for their sex drives” and “they don’t realize that fetuses are people.” You know, just like how plantation owners didn’t think that slaves were people or the Nazis didn’t think Jews, Gypsies, and homosexuals were people, and so we excuse their murders. And as noted, these are not women who are facing medical complications from the pregnancy or even the bearing children with the kind of severe genetic abnormalities that are brought up in these discussions as excuses to cull the untermensch — these are abortions of healthy babies ordered by healthy women. 

Also on the topic of morally diseased, what about the doctors and nurses? How can anyone perform one of these operations, hold the living, breathing baby in one’s hands, and just leave it in a room to die of neglect? Sure, congratulations to Nurse Stanek for discovering morality, but I can’t fathom how she could live with being a paid accessory to murder for years.

And finally, on a tangent, I really wish the Catholic Church would start ordaining men instead of wittering old ladies in drag. At least, that’s my assumption as for why a woman who works to ensure murdering children by neglect will continue to be legal in this country has not been anathematized. 

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

North Carolina House Results HOUSE 9 TOO CLOSE TO CALL Sep 10 2019 10:12:46 PM ET 93.5% precincts reported   R Dan Bishop 50.6% 92,272 D Dan McCready 48.8% 88,839 L Jeff Scott 0.4% 741 G Allen Smith 0.2% 357 C’mon boy!! Regards, Jim

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Scientific Insight About the Gods

 

University of Washington researchers have produced a comprehensive study of “superbolts” (lightning with energy in excess of 1,000 times the normal lightning bolt). As you can see on this map, those events are heavily concentrated in a few geographic areas, which to the trained eye indicates that Thor and Jupiter are the real deal and all those other thunder and lightning gods can suck it (except maybe Apocatequil who clearly has something going over there in the Andes).

I have never seen a superbolt but I want to believe.

Source: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/09/10/lightning-superbolts-form-over-oceans-from-november-to-february/

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Your Government Inaction: The Post Office

 

Yes, this week I’m talking about everyone’s favorite advertisement delivery service. Until I moved to Texas, I got my mail from a cheap metal box in front of my house. I moved here and discovered the community mailbox. Instead of stopping at each address, the postal worker puts your mail into a locked box located in a structure on the street. This is certainly a lot more secure and efficient than the individual boxes. Mine is only about 100 feet from my front door, so it’s no big deal to collect the mail:

I’ve been getting my mail from this structure for the last 16 years. It’s pretty sturdy, but I don’t think any maintenance has been done on it since I moved in. The boxes have plastic gaskets around the doors, but sixteen brutal Texas summers have worked their magic. After every rain, I notice that the flyers and credit card come-ons are damp before I toss them. The large boxes on the left side of the structure are for packages. The mailperson locks the package in that box, then puts the key in your mailbox. It’s a pretty simple and effective process, except…. The locks on the package boxes have gotten stiffer and stiffer over the years. Maybe that’s why the key has broken off in the lock of one of them. It’s been like that for more than a year.

I originally got three mailbox keys when I moved in. Over the years, two of the keys have disappeared. I tried to get copies made, but found out it’s illegal to duplicate them. Then, last week, I lost the final key. This necessitated a trip to the Post OfficeIGA.

“Hi, I lost my mailbox key and need a new one.”

“OK, we’ll have to change the lock, that will be a $25 fee.”

“Yea, I figured that would be the case.”

“I need a picture ID and a piece of first-class mail with your name and address on it.”

“I don’t have any mail. I can’t get in the mailbox.”

“How about a rental agreement.”

“I own the house.”

“You don’t have any paperwork?”

“The bank has it.”

“Well, you’ll need one of those things before I can give you a new lock.”

I was somewhat frustrated at this point, thinking that I needed to go back home and dig up either a piece of mail or my mortgage papers. Then I had an idea–I pulled my registration papers out of the glove compartment. They had been mailed and had my name and address on them. It worked! I was then told that it would take up to a week for the new lock to be put in place.

Now I’ll admit that I’m a careless idiot who lost all my keys, but I bet I’m not the only one. I’m sure that other people had needed a new lock and had come in without mail or a rental agreement. I’d also guess that a high percentage of those people had driven there. Was I the first to figure out that you could use your registration?

I thought maybe I should have gone online to the USPSIGA website; then I might have known what to expect. Nope. While the website is on the bleeding edge of internet technology, circa 2000, the requirement for mail or a rental agreement was not mentioned. Neither was the one-week wait to have the lock replaced.

Anyway, the lock was replaced in only three days. I have three brand-new shiny keys which I very carefully put in three different secure places, and which I’ll eventually misplace.

On the same day, I couldn’t find my mailbox key, I also discovered a crack in my car’s windshield. My wife got on the phone while I was driving and made an appointment. We went to the gym, had lunch, then drove to the windshield place. Less than three hours after I first noticed it, the windshield was fixed. I don’t know why I mentioned this; it has absolutely no bearing on the rest of the post.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Green Vegetables and a Groaning Table

 

Mulling over food color themes from Red, White, and Blue Labor Day U.S.A. and Colorful Cooking, a family food memory came front of mind. The tale has long been told of an important family dinner. It was one of those occasions when the prospective new family member meets the prospective parents-in-law. One of my aunts had come to my maternal grandparents’ home, and was seated at the family table when it happened.

All heads were bowed as my grandfather completed the prayer of thanksgiving and blessing over the meal. Suddenly my aunt heard a loud gasp from her mother-in-law-to-be. My aunt thought “Oh no, I’ve just met her and she’s having a heart attack!” Then she heard my grandmother exclaim in dismay: “There’s no green vegetable!

Mind you, there were surely at least two breads: a nut or cranberry bread and dinner rolls, but “there’s no green vegetable!

There were assuredly at least two salads, likely three: green, fruit, and bean, but “there’s no green vegetable!

There were potatoes in some form, and possibly yams, but “there’s no green vegetable!

There were two or three homemade relishes, but “there’s no green vegetable!

There was more meat that would be eaten, and possible two kinds, but “there’s no green vegetable!

There were tomatoes, grown in the garden, corn, perhaps carrots, and likely beets in some form, but “there’s no green vegetable!

Off on the side board were at least two desserts, but “there’s no green vegetable!

My grandparents came from old farming stock, with family centered on Pennsylvania and Ohio. They married in the Depression. They, and their children, did not become obese, despite having indoor jobs in the professions. And, they set a groaning table for visitors, including family.

As a young college man, running six miles a day and working out for college fencing every day, I showed up at my grandparents for a visit. I was an extremely lean and mean 145 pounds on a 5 foot 10 frame. Naturally, they decided I was malnourished and sought to immediately remedy this.

As we sat at the table, my grandmother watched my plate for the opportunity to ask “would you like some more [potatoes/meat/vegetables]?” As I was getting a polite demurral from thought to speech, I was command overridden by my grandfather. “Why of course he needs more!” came the voice, perfectly synchronized with arms smoothly maneuvering the serving dish and serving implement, depositing another generous portion on my plate. You’ve never seen a better tag team, not even in the WWE!

As the years went on, my grandmother went home first and my grandfather cooked for himself and then his new bride, a wonderful woman we grandchildren were proud to call Grandma Fran. Grandpa, a rubber chemist whose ideas for hose production are still used today, including in your car. He took a practical approach to food when he was preparing it, and developed a tasty, nutritious stew.

I enjoyed his stew for supper on my last visit with him and Grandma Fran. It was made of diced beef, potatoes, and vegetables, lightly seasoned. Yes, it had green peas. There was a green vegetable!

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Some things I had rather just overlook, but “they” make it just impossible to ignore. They keep rubbing my nose in a mess I had no part in making. This morning I completed the registration process for a Doctors appointment this PM. In that process I was asked to select a gender, and was given […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Career Advice: Go West, Young Man

 

California appears to be destined to be a “blue state” for the foreseeable future and if current policy trends continue, a forward-looking youngster in the Golden State should be aware of burgeoning future career opportunities–and it’s not just green jobs! Here are just a few:

Public Health Tech: As typhus, measles, smallpox, leprosy, TB and plague rapidly re-emerge, there will be new career opportunities for a young person with ambition and a top-notch immune system. As a public health tech in the new California, you will go house to house and call out “Bring Out Your Dead” in both English and Spanish. You will be a key member of the community by providing rapid, safe, climate-friendly disposal of human remains.

Community Organizer / Sheriff’s Assistant: As a front line community support and law enforcement figure, you will learn how to detect and arrest rogue Christians, conservatives, Orthodox Jews and other white supremacist movements plotting against LGBT and minority mental safety. Secret meetings to disseminate hate such as religious services or readings of dead white male document collections can only poison society. An effective network of observant and informed citizens is the best defense against a resurgence of such hate. And it takes the right kind of person to build and monitor those networks.

In addition, orderly, friendly lines for distributing food and supplies to approved persons will become central to communal living and those who can quickly suppress anti-California behavior in those lines will be essential.

Energy Production: As one example of new industries opening new opportunities, managing the stationary bicycle centers to generate needed electricity requires leadership skills to motivate the diverse assemblage of convicts, debtors and green-spirited volunteers whose pedal power will keep the lights on for that precious two hours each day.

Public Accountant: There would be no point in reaching income equality if economic exchanges were permitted that would inevitably create “winners and losers” and recreate the conditions of inequality. As a Public Accountant, you will have access to all records, all property, and all communications to ensure that unlawful exchanges and transactional excesses do not take place and to instantly correct those conditions if and when they do.

The future belongs to you!

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Yes, I know – the answer to that is obvious. But I was just looking at JosePluma’s post on Your Government Inaction: The Post Office and noticed that there wasn’t a “More button at the bottom to allow comments. Picture might be a little fuzzy. Is this normal?

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Cultural Appropriation: Dumb Concept. Intimidation Weapon… Prove Me Wrong

 

I write this to respond in part to @AlecDent‘s cultural appropriation article in National Review. While I agree with the main thesis that “sksksksksksk” is not cultural appropriation, I disagree with Mr. Dent’s opinions expressed below:

The concept of cultural appropriation is hardly new, but the linguistic policing that serves as the basis for the BuzzFeed article takes it to a new level. Accusations of cultural appropriation are usually leveled against white people who adopt elements of another ethnicity’s culture in a way that is perceived as making light of that culture’s history and traditions….

Not true. The loony left does not limit “cultural appropriation to “making light” of another culture. To the contrary, it is an intimidation tactic to reward and aggrandize those the left sees as “historically oppressed people.” The emphasis here is on intimidation. That is the leftist goal.

I agree that true cultural appropriation is wrong and should be guarded against. Caucasians have been historically privileged in American society, and it would be wrong of us to commodity or in any way diminish the cultures of historically oppressed peoples.

Almost everything I see reported to be “cultural appropriation” has nothing to do with “diminish[ing] the cultures of historically oppressed people.” It is a natural result when cultures meet and meld. The dominant culture adopts those aspects that appeals to it for whatever reason. It is generally not about making light of anybody or hurting anybody. It could be on occasion, but not generally.

Let us all celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Let us all celebrate Cinco de Mayo. If a young woman wants to wear and oriental-style dress to her prom because it looks good on her, that has nothing to do with “making light of historically oppressed peoples.” And what nutcase would make the claim that the Chinese in China are oppressed by anyone but their own government anyway?

I frequently see young lefties wearing dreadlocks. Did they get castigated for cultural appropriation? No. They’re obviously lefties. They are not the intended objects of the intimidation.

Cultural appropriation as a concept is a big crock of nothing-burger. Prove me wrong

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Now that it’s September, fall colors are burgeoning around here. I don’t entirely approve. You see, I live in the Deep South. Sweet Home, Alabama. September is not the least bit autumnal—it’s 97 degrees outside right now. All nature is still green, if a bit tired and dry-looking from lack of rain. The fall colors […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Dog Walkers for Bernie

 

I spotted this from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this morning:

In Pennsylvania alone, Mr. Sanders’ Democratic presidential campaign has received $1,432 from 40 dog trainers, groomers, handlers and walkers. That’s more than the Vermont senator received from firefighters ($1,279), hairstylists ($835) and self-proclaimed wrestlers ($45), and only slightly less than farmers ($1,662) statewide.

And this, quoting one of the people interviewed:

Because of their independent contractor status, many dog walkers are barred from unionizing, and find themselves “helpless” if they’re wrongly terminated or mistreated, Mr. Harwell said.

The article goes on to say how Mr. Sanders is for single-payer health care, increased minimum wages, and increased union membership.

Could this also lead to state-licensing for dog-walkers? (Just thinking ahead.)

There just seems to me to be so much wrong with this whole thing that I hardly know where to begin.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Unfortunate Legacy of George W. Bush

 

On Saturday President Trump sent out a series of tweets that acknowledged that he had planned to meet this past weekend at Camp David with the leaders of the Taliban and the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, to engage in peace talks. When it was rumored in the past that President Obama sought such talks, private citizen Trump was highly critical. Something has obviously changed his mind.

Wrote the President, “Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the President of Afghanistan, were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday. They were coming to the United States tonight. Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people. I immediately canceled the meeting and called off peace negotiations. What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position? They didn’t, they only made it worse! If they cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway. How many more decades are they willing to fight?”

That great military mind, David French (did you know he served as a JAG lawyer in Iraq?), responded:

These kinds of tweets, cheering on the collapse of talks, drew a response from former Ricochet editor Mollie Hemingway. “Disappointing,’ she wrote, “if unsurprising, to watch the swamp seek to extend the War in Afghanistan, which is nearing its 18th – 18th! – anniversary.”

We will soon see young men and women enter boot camp for our armed forces who will be asked to fight in a war initiated before they were even born. They will be asked to fight, perchance to die, but even after 18 years they will not be asked to win it. Because those who refuse to negotiate are the same people that also refuse to define victory.

In August 2017, French praised Trump as learning on the job that there were to be “no more Saigons.” And he also wrote, “As should be obvious by now, when fighting a militaristic theological movement conventional military ‘victory’ simply isn’t attainable. While there may be political settlements in given regions at given times, there won’t be a USS Missouri moment with al-Qaeda, ISIS, or any successor jihadist group.”

Was it only obvious two years ago? Or should it not also have been seen and clearly articulated 16 years before that? And how do you achieve French’s suggested “political settlement” if there is never, ever, ever to be negotiations?

Americans, unlike their European ancestors, have never sought empire. If we could state the nation’s philosophy of military engagement, in a nutshell, it would probably be nothing more complicated than “Get in, kick ass, come home.”

There was not a man, woman or child in America that did not fully support George W. Bush in the days following 9/11. But his legacy seems to be that he doomed us to the curse of the endless war. We have had the burden of Empire thrust upon us whether we asked for it or not.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. How Creative Are You?

 

From a very young age, and well into my adult years, I didn’t think I was creative. I wasn’t into craftsy things. My efforts to sew my clothes did not go well, and my knitting products were a mixed bag. At one point I wrote poems on my parents’ Royal typewriter. I wrote one poem about a bull, and have no memory of what I wrote, but at the time I had apparently mixed up bulls and cows. My parents were amused and explained the difference. I felt embarrassed by my mistake, and for a while I stopped writing poems.

But writing seemed to call to me. I certainly loved to read the writing of others. Most of my writing efforts were pretty straightforward. I’ve always been a left-brained, linear thinker, so that’s how I wrote. My writing is workman quality.

In high school I took a creative writing course. I wrote about a murder that had happened next door to us; the man had murdered his wife with a knife. I hadn’t witnessed the act, nor seen the results, but my brother had entered the house afterward and was devastated. The children were bewildered and lost. I wrote about their reaction. The piece was put in our annual creative writing magazine. But I considered the acceptance as a fluke; I still didn’t see myself as creative.

During my college years. I was an English major, and received a “D” on my first paper. I was embarrassed and confused. So I asked the instructor if I could meet with him—not to accuse him of under-grading me, but to find out what had gone wrong. He was very kind and supportive, and I don’t remember his advice, but I suspect that I applied it to all my future papers, as well as to essays I wrote for other classes. It was a turning point of sorts. (As a side note, I switched to a major in history.) But I still didn’t think I was creative, and told people that they couldn’t count on me for creative ideas.

As a business woman, I wrote various articles that were published in human resource publications, police publications and other small magazines. By reproducing them they became marketing tools for my business. They were well-received, but I still didn’t think I was creative. These articles were, after all, practical pieces.

I was moved to write a book on religion. (The author listed is another Susan Quinn; I’ve written to Amazon.) This book was a turning point for me. I was now a genuine author! I began to think that I might be creative after all. I was also asked to provide an essay on forgiveness for a leadership book. Maybe people were taking me seriously. (Have you noticed what a hard sell I am?)

Then I found Ricochet. I fell in love—with writing, with getting feedback, with engaging in dialogue on important issues. And another writer on Ricochet, @iwe, asked me to partner on books on Judaism—me, a returning Jew.

I was finally convinced I was creative.

Recently the topic of creative acts has come up in my writing with @iwe: what does it mean to be a human being who continues G-d’s original act of creation? @iwe believes that when we create something completely new, something that G-d has not already created, we are following in G-d’s path; I agree with him. We also think, however, that creativity is a process. That we may be creative in many different ways, and when we work to be creative, the more creative we become. Some people seem to have the temperament for creativity; others (like me) have to work at it, pursue it regularly, refine it, and keep trying. I believe that G-d is happy when I write, especially with Him in mind, but am I continuing His original creation?

So I have a bunch of questions for you—do you see yourself as creative? How do you express your creativity and in what arenas? And do you see your role in continuing G-d’s creation?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. So, Who Am I Boycotting This Week?

 

In the spirit of lively debate, and because what started out as a comment that went on way too long, this is a rebuttal to @cliffordbrown ‘s post, in which he calls for a boycott of Walmart over their announced policy of discontinuing sales of pistol ammunition. I personally require no convincing to not shop at Wally World. I dislike the stores for a wide variety of reasons too long to enumerate here, and I’m not about to start shopping there except in case of immediate need.

So far so good, but let’s be honest, Wally World ain’t losing any money on my account so far because they ain’t getting it in the first place. And I imagine I’m hardly alone in my lack of effect on Sam Walton’s legacy — unless you live in one of the more rural towns where Walmart is the only general-goods game around, you’re not going to be shopping there unless you either need to, unless you like Walmart. But here is where I significantly part ways with Clifford: In his words:

Any one who values the Constitution, let alone gun ownership and the right to effective self-defense, will immediately punish Walmart, shifting all purchases to: [list of alternatives]…The rule is simple: no shopping, and no allowing people who shop there to bring stuff to your dwelling, your office, your picnic, in Walmart bags or with Walmart house brands.

African-Americans won with this technique in the 1955-1956 Montgomery bus boycott. They won by ruthlessly self-policing. It is disempowering nonsense to assert that boycotts are ineffective. They simply take real grassroots will, with a bit of organizing direction…

Effectively, immediately, intensively socially shame anyone who slacks off and goes to Walmart.

So it’s just one more store on the checklist we all now are demanded to carry in our heads of “places my politics tells me to boycott.” Seems every other week now someone is asking for a boycott of something. Skip this place because they gave to Planned Parenthood, skip this other place because they donated to Hillary, skip this third place because they banned open carry (nevermind that I never open-carried), boycott movies from this other studio because their CEO spouted nonsense after the Oscars, best to avoid this brand of socks because they used whale oil to make their elastic, and don’t walk on floor tiles from this company because they fired my great uncle Charlie in 1936 for decking a foreman, don’t go here, and don’t go there…

After a while, the grievances weigh one down and they’re competing for much-coveted memory space with “places we should feel obligated to patronize because it makes leftist heads explode.” So while I’m avoiding getting coffee from Starbucks, I’m obligated to dine at Chick-Fil-A, even though I think their chicken is overrated and I’m never able to get my food in under 20 minutes due to the crowds of other chicken obligates.

I’m supposed to shop at this bakery because the owner is a Christian, even though my waistline is screaming “put down the cake and walk away slowly (because walking quickly is unlikely).” And I simply must buy something from this other place because I’d be “supporting a good cause” (really, do I need another useless tchotchke?), and I have to buy this razor over there since they sponsor a show I like, and then buy this car because my grandmother said they hired great uncle Charlie after that unfortunate incident with the foreman…

So I have to say I object on principle to yet another boycott. We make fun of the lefties for hating the Christian ethos of Chick-Fil-A and mock their hypocrisy when they buy the chicken anyway. Maybe we should focus on something else.

All that said, there are some specific issues with the nature of the proposed boycott that are problematic in their own right. I’m going to address the second quoted point first to clear the decks. I do not see the parallel with a city-owned and city-operated bus system that an urban population depended on for their livelihoods. The bus boycott worked because it was concentrated and impossible to miss, and because the black populace of Montgomery had to make real, tangible, and visible sacrifices in the boycott. A boycott of Wally World is diffuse because there are, for most people, many, many other places to shop, and diffuse because Walmart has such a broad customer base around the country. And it’s not like it would be a particularly pointed sacrifice for most people except in more rural locations.

Further, Montgomery discriminated virulently against blacks on the basis skin color. This discrimination was impossible to ignore. The blacks who depended on those buses to get to work or to do their shopping were treated terribly from the moment they got on the bus. Does a Walmart greeter even notice me when I enter or exit their store? Am I, as a gun owner, wearing some tag that tells Walmart to treat me badly? Will I face hostility, derision, or violence while shopping, just for being a gun owner? (I know I’ll face a slow checkout regardless, but that’s another matter.) There is no parallel here, and it does us no good at all to compare our comparatively petty grievance to the African Americans living in Montgomery in the 1950s — to do so is an insult to them.

But what of the social shaming advocated for those who will not boycott? Given how increasingly militant we are divided as Americans, where our politicians and pundits demand that we boycott this or that, or support that other thing because “it makes leftists’ heads explode,” is the added antagonism worth it — especially over an issue this small? I’m an employer – should I really tell my employees not to bring Sam’s Choice cola to a company picnic, or tell the lady who brings in donuts some mornings to get them someplace else? Should I make my politics their issue too, where they have to consider their own political loyalties a factor in whether they feel welcome and valued as human beings at work?

I have enough political arguments too with our extended family, to the point where I will hush people at family gatherings if they cannot talk politics civilly. I even had a relative storm out of a Christmas party because I told them to can it in front of the kids. In the years since, however, the family has come to respect my rule and abide by it. It’s not that we cannot talk politics, but when talk starts to turn to swapping barbs and trying to “win” by shame or browbeating, it ends or I ask people to leave. To do as suggested would be to tell those relatives to forget everything I have tried to enforce about respect and to make my politics central. They know my politics already. They know what I stand for and why. But I will not make agreement with me a condition for whether they can come into my home. My home is welcome to all, and that I will not compromise.

But there is one more matter:

The only boycott exception, where legal, is to get in the CEO’s face with open carry. Carry politely, legally, openly. Then, expecting confrontation by employees, have a partner obviously employing a cell phone or GoPro camera to capture everything as you tell them they will either respect the American Constitution and your God-given right to self-defense or you will never spend another dime in Walmart and only show up to mock them for “just following orders” when the store closes.

How have these sorts of things gone for us before? Not well. Remember when Starbucks allowed open carry? How did that work out? So long as people did not make it an issue, it was not an issue. The hoplophobes, of course, found out and started to protest and demand Starbucks explicitly ban open carrying. What happened next was that more gun owners started open-carrying at Starbucks. If they had stuck just to discretely holstered pistols I imagine the issue would have gone away eventually. Instead (and you can image-search this easily) people showing up toting long-guns into suburban coffee shops. That was entirely unnecessary, and was little better than LARPing for the spectacle of it all — there was then, and is now no credible case for toting around an AR-15 slung on your back when you go to get a latté. Pretending otherwise for the sake of “muh rights!” is risible.

Open-carrying into Walmarts now, with a friend in tow and a gotcha camera at the ready, is also spectacle, and it will only serve to further shred credibility and perception. Walmart has every legal right as a business to conduct itself in this manner, and I have every right to not shop there. To say otherwise is to likewise say that a cake shop has to bake a gay wedding cake. We all rightly recognize that the lawsuits against Masterpiece Cakes have been borne of malice and spectacle, is that a game we should stoop too as well?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Book Review: The Family and the New Totalitarianism

 

I just finished the book, The Family and the New Totalitarianism (2019) by Michael D. O’Brien. The book was originally published 24 years ago as a compilation of various articles and speeches by the author, as a writer, editor, and speaker. As a father of six, he and his friends’ challenges were with the rapidly changing Canadian school system, as they began to incorporate more controversial teachings, such as the introduction of alternative lifestyles and sexual conduct to younger and younger children.

Political and social changes were influencing the content beyond the acceptable norms that most parents would consider appropriate, but they had little say over their children’s education. When they met with school authorities, they were met with indifference, and in some cases, hostility. This forced the O’Briens, as well as some of their friends, into homeschooling.

O’Brien however, cites many interesting references that go back decades, predicting the morally bankrupt, irresponsible culture we find ourselves in today. For example:

The state and society as well as the individual still accept humanitarian principles as a “matter of faith”. But where humanitarian principles are not involved, there is the same tendency to subordinate moral law and still more the higher truths of religious faith to social conformity and social convenience. Never the less, I do not think that even the secular humanitarian himself can regard the state of things as a satisfactory one. For the contemporary indifference to religion is accompanied by an indifference to many other things which are necessary to society. It is essentially a negative attitude which implies the absence of any deep moral conviction and of any effective social dynamics beyond the appeal to self-interest. It is a sort of spiritual vacuum, which can produce no cultural fruit whatever.

In this respect, it is inferior to Communism, which has a dynamic character, even though in the last resort, its dynamism is that desire for power which is embodied in the part dictatorships and the police state. And this is one of the greatest dangers that threaten the existence of Western culture, when the latter is identified with what we call “the democratic way of life”. It produces a society which is spiritual neutral and passive, and consequently, it affords an easy prey for any strong, aggressive revolutionary power, like Communism.

The Crisis of Western Education by Christopher Dawson, 1989.

Democratic socialism anyone? Further warnings from the past:

In other words, the human person will be increasingly perceived as a cell in a collective, needing not so much redemption by conversion, as re-education and rehabilitation. C.S. Lewis foresaw that programs of reform would be developed and managed by a new class which he called “The Conditioners”. They will be highly motivated, and in fact, see themselves as the producers of motivation. They will become more and more dangerous, as they are armed with the powers of an omni-potent state and an irresistible scientific technique. [The control of addictive social media and the politics behind them – my quote]

Their primary point of focus will be the reconstruction of human conscience: “They know how to produce conscience and decide what kind of conscience they will produce.” They themselves are outside, above, the dictates of the very conscience they produce, yet they consider themselves the “servants and guardians of humanity”.

The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis, 1955.

Aldous Huxley, in Brave New World Revisited (1958), said that the totalitarianism he had foreseen in 1931, was materializing in the Western world at a much faster rate than he had thought possible. He predicted a society in which the family, religion, language and art had been neutered and all conflicts eliminated by genetic engineering. He portrayed the perfect synthesis of technology and paganism, and predicted a society “painlessly regimented by a corps of highly trained social engineers”.

I have so many pages of this small volume dog-eared, but it’s many quotes eerily mirror our culture today. How did these past visionaries see this unfolding, when we, living in the midst of it, didn’t see it coming, felt powerless to confront these changes, or failed to see the profound implications of the re-definition of every element of society, from language to education, to gender, to race to targeting specific people (Christians, Jews, conservatives, even the pre-born) to be intimidated, ostracized and silenced within society by any means? I found myself researching his many references, forefathers of wisdom who predicted the re-engineering of our current society, as well as sympathizing with O’Brien’s personal experience as a frustrated parent and how he handled it.

This book is not just for parents, but anyone interested in looking through a broader lens of how we got here, and what we can do to take back control, and try to right the ship of freedom and democracy within our families, our country and in Western society as a whole.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Receipts = Rope

 

Receipt is Rope“The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them” — Unknown (attributed variously to Lenin, Stalin, and Marx)

As quotable as some of these old communists may be, it turns out that this quote cannot be definitively sourced to any of them. The meaning, nevertheless, is clear. People acting in their own short-term interest will fall into the hands of those with the will to power. While both the White Russian liberal reformers and the majority “moderate” wing of the Reds, the Mensheviks, dithered and acted as if they were in normal political space, the Bolsheviks acted decisively, initiating a 70-year reign.

Today, we see the left, supposedly defeated when the Soviet empire fell, controlling the commanding heights of American culture, including the new mountains of social media. The long march through the institutions has even led to dominance in corporate America, the capitalists who would supposedly sell the left the rope to hang the capitalists. Yet, the truth is that communism has translated to corporatism, with economic elites holding much of the agenda of the left, especially in their mutual contempt and hatred of “bitter clingers,” “Bible thumpers,” and a written constitution that may thwart illiberal elite desires.

Today, with corporate elites almost universally hostile to the “deplorables” and “bitter clingers,” the aphorism needs revision:

The deplorable bitter clingers will buy the rope with which we hang them, one receipt at a time.

Receipts = Rope

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Two Cows 2020

 

You’ve probably heard the “two cows” joke comparing different political and economic systems. Here’s where the 2020 presidential candidates fit in:

Michael Bennet, Julián Castro, John Delaney, and Wayne Messam: You have two cows. Not even they know who you are.

Joe Biden: You have two cows. You milk them a bit too enthusiastically.

Cory Booker: You have two cows. They spend all their time trying to convince you they’re just like that bull you bought back in 2008.

Steve Bullock: You have more acres than any farmer, but no cows actually live there.

Pete Buttigieg: You have two bulls. They marry each other.

Bill de Blasio: You have eight million cows. None of them can stand you.

Tulsi Gabbard: You have two cows. They gas all your chickens, but you stand by them anyway.

Kamala Harris: You have two cows. You get thrown in jail for forgetting to donate their milk to the school lunch program.

Amy Klobuchar: You have two cows. You get angry at them for not getting a fork for your cheese curds and try to sabotage their efforts to find another farm.

Beto O’Rourke and Joe Sestak: You have two cows. You show them at the county fair and come in second. They spend three weeks walking around your ranch and decide they want to compete at the state fair.

Tim Ryan: You have one old cow from San Francisco. You try to replace her, but it doesn’t work. You realize she won’t let you get anything done now, so you try to start a new farm in Iowa.

Bernie Sanders: You have two cows. You realize it’s more difficult to market your milk when there’s more than one other farmer in town.

Tom Steyer: You have two cows. They pass gas. It destroys the world.

Elizabeth Warren: You have two cows. You charge people $50,000 for the milk, and then demand the government forgive their debt.

Marianne Williamson: You ask, who am I to have two cows? Actually, who are you not to have two cows? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the dairy industry. You were born to make manifest the glory of milk that is within your cows. It’s not just in some cows; it’s in all of them. And as you let your own milk curdle into cheese, you unconsciously give other farmers permission to do the same.

Andrew Yang: You have two cows. A tech bro convinces you almond milk will soon make them obsolete, so you demand the government guarantee them a basic income.

And, finally…Donald Trump: You have two cows. You sell one and buy Greenland.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Lies: Big and Small

 

It’s well beyond whether or not [climate change] affects me personally, which it does, and it did my family, and still does. Just like your families. This is personal. Every one of you probably have a story that can talk about what’s happened to something you care greatly about, whether it’s a species or it’s your son or daughter coming down with cancer because of this.

— Joe Biden, 2019

President Trump says a lot of things that aren’t true. He exaggerates, boasts, and is sloppy with words. It seems to me that he lies in the service of ego and self-aggrandizement, as one might expect of a blowhard celebrity mogul.

In contrast, Mr. Biden is lying, here blaming cancer on climate change, for a much more consequential motive: he wants to impose draconian controls on our lives in the name of saving the planet. He, along with all the other green new dealers, wants to bleed the country poor as we dial back our standard of living in what (even the climate people would confess) is a pointless exercise in CO2 reduction, given that the newly developing nations of India and China are rapidly increasing their own CO2 emissions and will far outstrip ours.

It’s an exercise in self-inflicted impoverishment, but then, that’s pretty much the Democratic party platform these days.

Whether it’s blaming every warm day and personal health tragedy on carbon emissions, or promising that you can keep your health care while we know full well you can’t, or pretending that the nation is seething with ancient racial grievances, the left’s lies are big, and intended to fool us into embracing big changes that will make the state ever larger and more powerful.

I wish President Trump wouldn’t lie about the size of his audience or his skill as an amateur meteorologist. I wish he were a bit of a Boy Scout. But I prefer this stupid trivial ego-boosting stuff to the left’s efforts to take over my life under false pretenses.

Trump 2020.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Another Empty Bedroom

 

When we first built our house, our friends joked and said things like, “Why do you need a four-bedroom house, when it’s just the two of you and a cat?” We would respond with something such as, “We like lots of room,” or “We have a lot of furniture.”

We didn’t know it then, but we would eventually fill those extra three bedrooms. I like to think it was God’s hand working behind the scenes, making us build the house we needed for the adoption of our three beautiful girls, also His doing.

The first bedroom was emptied when youngest daughter moved in with her fiancé, now her husband. But today, oldest daughter moved into her apartment (along with her cat). Things will be a little quieter around here tonight, now that there’s another empty bedroom.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Good Government at Work

 

I had to renew my driver’s license at the MVD Friday morning. I know what you’re thinking. But you know, it was not terrible! I arrived well-armed with my online fillable PDF application in hand, two utility bills in my name, my 2018 W-2 (as I long ago lost my SSI card), my birth certificate (which says I was born in Danville, NH, when in fact I was born across the border in the Hale Hospital in Haverhill, MA), my old license, and a credit card.

The place had that worn-out 1960s feel: beige, brick, steel, glass, fluorescent lighting, and dropped ceilings. Overlapping queues to nowhere circled the center of a large room funneling folks to an opening where one of the clerks commanding a surrounding cubicle could call you to a vacated spot. There were no chairs; gone was the intercom announcing random assigned numbers and cubicles. There was actually a “pre-queue” where you waited for an initial clerk to ask your business, glance over your paperwork, and red-card anyone not fully prepared to survive all the required box checks. It was that clerk who took my picture – a shockingly ugly photo even by my low standards, but it would do.

Once through a second, longer winding queue that encompassed half the building, another clerk made quick work of the task at hand. In less than five minutes, I had a copy of my new license (the actual license would follow in the mail). The entire experience took maybe 20 minutes. And my new license, which meets the new federal standard for domestic flight ID, cost just $25. It’s good for five years.

I must say, it was fast, efficient and cheap. One can ask no more of government than that.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Mopes on Mopeds

 

From the UK Yahoo website:

Moped crime in London has more than halved since tough measures were introduced to allow police to ram suspects from their bikes, figures reveal.

The Metropolitan Police said the number of moped crimes had fallen by 53.7% in the year since they were given the new powers.

The force said there were 20,973 moped crimes between July 2017 and June 2018, but that fell to 9,723 between July 2018 and June 2019.

Police were given powers to knock suspected criminals off their mopeds in November 2018.

Yes, even the Brits have their limit when it comes to crime, especially moped crimes. Nothing puts a stop to the nonsense like a … well, think of it as a 3,000-pound baton.

.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Please Keep Propping Up Biden (and the Others)

 

Media corporations are engineering another devastating electoral loss for the Democrats and they still don’t see it. Who are they fooling?

They have by now maxed-out on their audience and filtered it down to roughly 90 percent of Democratic voters. Very few right-leaning voters watch any of these shows, and actual independents who watch aren’t buying the soap that’s being sold. Biden is still the front-runner in most polls, and the longer he can hold onto that position, the better his chances for the nomination. Yet, savvy political analysts are saying he can’t win the general election if nominated.

But most voters aren’t so engaged politically to be paying attention to these voices. They are presented with a likable candidate whose mistakes and mental infirmities are accepted as minor quirks unworthy of attention, even by the likes Steve Colbert, who is capable of relentlessly mocking the most trivial gaffe by a candidate he disagrees with. If Colbert isn’t mocking him, he must be okay, right?

There are people who believe that of all contenders, Biden has the best shot at beating Trump. The idea is that Biden is fairly centrist and his formula of being the un-Trump, regular guy makes some sense to these people. He has “experience” and he’s leading in polls. (I also suspect the media likes him because he would be easily manipulated by them, compared to the Sanders or Warren).

He will not alarm the suburban soccer dads and moms who might have good reason to fear a socialist candidate. However, he’s not exactly exhibiting competence, which is a larger prerequisite for higher office in most voters’ minds than ideology. Candidates can tweak ideology, serve platitudes, and make false promises (see our 44th President) but they can’t fake competence.

They think they have a monopoly on the information and the narrative.

They think they can selectively report and de-emphasize negative news on their preferred candidate and over-emphasize negatives on you-know-who.

This is only true for their cloistered audience.

The media is the coddling parent of the Democratic Party. More and more, their candidates are effectively protected from the outside world. Like any child who’s been given participation trophies and had their self-esteem artificially inflated, they act spoiled and entitled. When they don’t get their way, they throw a tantrum. Any criticism is seen as hate and intolerance. Since they deem any objection to their ideas or behavior as hate, when coming from “hateful” people, they feel no need to even consider them much less address them, their enemies being so vile and despicable.

Biden has been floating on a polka-dotted tube going down the waterpark lagoon with a banana daiquiri in his hand for the last 12 years. Now, he actually has to swim and the wave machine is about to activate.

As evidenced by the recent climate change town hall and other appearances by these Democratic candidates, they are sorely lacking in the basics. Elizabeth Warren’s over-expansive gesticulation (in concordance with her expansive policy delusions), Kamala Harris’ pedestrian bureaucrat persona, Corey Bookers asburghian vibes, and Bernie’s deep reserve of saliva to punctuate his curmudgeonly edicts. The media can’t undo this in one (or even two) election cycles.

These candidates are the result of years of bad parenting by the mainstream media. The kids are now college age. They are away from home, partying, drinking, experimenting with sex, taking all the easy courses, hanging out with their woke friends in the quad. One of them will “graduate” into the general election.

The mainstream media has lost its monopoly on our minds and attention. And just like the helicopter parents can’t hover over their precious offspring, keeping unpleasantness, discomfort, and danger away, without media protection, they’re in for a rough ride.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Book Review: The Age of Paradise

 

It should be readily apparent to most that Christianity no longer has the popular cultural sway it had even a generation ago. Moreover, the faith is not even united within itself, with dozens of larger denominations and thousands of independent churches, a variety of creeds, and even entirely different and incompatible understandings of faith, salvation, sin, and repentance.

Saint Vincent of Lérins, writing in the early 5th century, in qualifying both what the core of Christianity is, and what it is not, gave his maxim: “Moreover, in the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all.” What then was it that Christians of that time believed? What did Christianity look like in its first thousand years, and might an understanding of that early ethos inform increasingly embattled Christians today?

John Strickland, in The Age of Paradise: Christendom from Pentecost to the First Millenium, presents both a history of the first millennium of Christianity and what those first Christians believed, and an argument that the loss of that early vision says much about the culture wars of today. The first significant divergences in Christian belief and practice (which would culminate in the Great Schism of 1054) need to be understood both in the context of the preceding centuries, and in their implications for the further fracturings that would ripple from the Reformation through the cultural crisis of the collapse of Christian faith and cultural influence of today.

What was fundamentally “believed everywhere, always, by all” for the first millennium of Christianity, argues Strickland, was that the Kingdom of God preached by Jesus and his disciples, and proclaimed loudly with Jesus’s resurrection, was neither distant in time, nor distant in space from our own world, nor remote and set apart, but immanent – that is to say near at hand and present already about us. The early Christians believed that we already lived within reach of Paradise itself, that we could experience it (even if imperfectly) in humility and repentance.

As Strickland argues, those believers of the first millennium lived with a confidence and hope, truly making that an age of paradisical belief. United as they were in their beliefs, despite wars and political intrigue over what was once the Roman world, one could still at that time speak of Christendom as a single common society. As Strickland puts it in his introduction:

“Before there was a West, there was Christendom.This book tells the story of how both came to be.It is the first part of a longer history that commands our attention and respect, even though we are increasingly a people without memory of it…

But we are aware, some of us, that the West was once a civilization very different than it is now.We are aware that Christianity was once the core of that civilization, even if it coexisted with and made use of the riches of classical humanism.We are aware, finally, that if we want to reestablish strong and nourishing roots for our culture, we will need to take the Christian past seriously, for Christendom is what the West once was.”

Thus Strickland begins his narrative, taking the reader from the Book of Acts, through the Ecumenical Councils (and the various crises of faith that necessitated them), the Christianization of the Roman world, the collapse of the western empire, the new order wrought in the West by the Franks in the 8th and 9th centuries, and how the unity of the faith, began to crack under political and theological pressures. At the book’s end, the reader is right on the precipice of the Great Schism, and the parting of ways between Eastern and Western Christianity that would follow in its aftermath.

In the book, Strickland argues that the paradisical vision of those Christians is both what sustained them through the various persecutions, and what made Christianity so attractive and transformative to the Roman world and beyond. This vision was not dimmed in either East or West by the military and political collapse of the western Empire, and it proved over time as transformative to the Germanic invaders, Celts, Slavs, and other waves of people to encounter it. Strickland compares contemporaneous Christian art and rhetoric the furthest distant corners of Christendom, showing the commonality of practices, beliefs, and expressions even during times when communication was nearly non-existent (a good example being the great similarities between the halo nimbus of the eastern icons, and the halo nimbus of the Celtic crosses). Though liturgical practices and language might differ from Ireland to Syria, the beliefs and the world outlooks were the same.

The relationship between Church and State was also touched by this vision, with each having their own separate parts to play. For instance, when Theodosius II brutally punished the city of Thessalonica for a rebellion in 390, Bishop Ambrose of Milan forbade the emperor from receiving the Eucharist until the emperor repented. Strickland, of course, notes that while this set a precedent, the precedent was not universally followed over the centuries, with some emperors asserting terrible control over the church, and others being more tamed by it, but the concept that an imperial ruler himself was subject to God was novel.

Yet the pressures of conquests and political intrigues in both East and West begin to pull apart the unity of the faith. Both Frankish and Byzantine emperors had their parts to play, with some attempting to rule the church and use it to impose their own notions of doctrine or culture, and others subverting it altogether. In these political machinations, the unity of the faith was sorely tested, especially as the millenium drew to a close.

The Age of Paradise is an excellent cultural and political history of the first thousand years of Christianity, and is written for a lay audience. At just under 300 pages of text, there is only so much detail that can be covered, and the author does not attempt to give every detail of every council, heresy, persecution, or controversy, but rather to present a picture of what the Church was, what it believed, and how it transformed the Roman world and beyond. It is also an argument that perhaps the reason we are facing the cultural crises we are is that we lost something of what the early faithful believed and practiced, and began to lose it a long time ago.

I should note that John Strickland is both an Orthodox priest, and a former college professor, and while he is definitely making his arguments from the Eastern Orthodox perspective, he also attempts to be scrupulously fair in analyzing the events that would lead to the sundering of Rome from the East. I have not encountered many works that either understand the schism itself, or what led up to it, and a great many more understand it only in either political or polemical terms. Strickland does a fair job in narrating the pressures of the times, and laying blame fairly for the many missteps and lost opportunities.

Nota Bene: Ancient Faith Publishing provided me with a review copy of this book.

ISBN: 978-1-944967-56-7

Available here and here.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. People Have the Power, Not Walmart CEO Doug McMillon

 

WalmartRedGreenAnyone who values the Constitution, let alone gun ownership and the right to effective self-defense, will immediately punish Walmart, shifting all purchases to:

  • Dollar stores
  • Grocery stores
  • Hardware stores
  • Auto part stores
  • Even Amazon. Yes, Amazon is also hostile, but this is allying with Soviet Russia to crush Nazi Germany.

We cannot afford to wait and see if “Walmart’s virtue signal” in its announcement that it will “stop selling ‘short-barrel rifle ammunition,'” will somehow organically, cosmically balance out in our favor. Things can and will get much worse unless Walmart is made an example of, for all corporations that depend on normal Americans’ dollars for their business success.

We have no power over Amazon, Apple, or Google. If the left can even hijack Walmart against the bitter clingers, against women with handguns for self-defense, then soft tyranny is our near future. As the NRA finally realized in the last presidential election cycle, the Second Amendment is not going to stand or fall alone. Rather, it is part of a larger set of issues with common enemies. The same crew after your guns also explains “shut up,” until they invent governmental and quasi-governmental tools to compel you to affirm them and denounce what they want denounced. Starbucks is not vulnerable to push-back, to any cultural counter-attack. Walmart is. This is the most likely chance to effectively fight back.

The Walmart CEO tipped his hand in a published internal memo. He is eliminating handguns and handgun ammunition as a category that a socially responsible business would carry. He is doing the same with the most popular self-defense long-gun ammunition 5.56/.223). He is using his position to push a new “assault weapon” ban. He privileges people feeling “unsafe” when they merely see a gun. The icing on the cake is the total gun-grabber tell of professing respect for the tradition of hunting and outdoor sports with supposedly traditional rifles and shotguns. He could have got that from Joe Biden.

Walmart is vulnerable. They are desperately trying not to go the way of Sears. Their customers can crush their current corporatist leftist CEO, Doug McMillon, who has allied himself with the New York Times, and quickly force a turn back to Americanism. The rule is simple: no shopping, and no allowing people who shop there to bring Walmart bags or house brand stuff to your dwelling, your office, your picnic.

African-Americans won with this technique in the 1955-1956 Montgomery bus boycott. They won by ruthlessly self-policing. It is disempowering nonsense to assert that boycotts are ineffective. They simply take real grass-roots will, with a bit of organizing direction. It is no answer to say the issues are different or that the level of contemporary oppression differ greatly. Such objections seek to divert from the study of an effective campaign, dropping us back into the business-as-usual of slowly losing rear-guard actions.

I say it is worth showing respect by studying success. It took a whole year to win local bus desegregation. It cost every man and woman in the boycott hours of lost time, outside of work, each day. In a day before cheap sneakers, it cost shoe leather and physical discomfort added on top of already hard physical existences. How do you get people to hang together, when any one person abstaining, choosing to rest their tired feet for an hour, would seem not to matter so much? It was a classic collective action problem.

Now, we can say that everyone felt a sense of community, and we can say the same for labor unions in the early days. But, it is still human nature to free-ride. So, behind the sense of community, you must have effective social sanctions. Can such sanctions work across the heartland, when there are so many stores? I believe people still have the power.

The only boycott exception, where legal, might be to get in the CEO’s face with open carry. Carry politely, legally, openly. Then, expecting confrontation by employees, have a partner obviously employing a cell phone or GoPro camera to capture everything. This is fraught with risk, so should be carefully managed in a larger campaign, not free-lanced. It truly is public street theater.

People do not normally carry long arms on their persons while in town. By contrast, many carry pistols. If there was a public theater act, it should most certainly be part of a messaging campaign. Any long gun should be visibly safed, no magazine, and the action open. Such acts would challenge the real position of the current Walmart CEO, with a “hunting” rifle, bolt-action or lever-action. The actors would best be “people of color,” women, or sexual minorities. The scripted messaging would be about real “safety” for vulnerable communities.

The Starbucks case is instructive. People started having constitutional carry meet-ups to celebrate Starbucks being a coffee shop that permitted open carry. Gun control groups reacted. Because the gun-grabbers made open carry an issue, Starbucks then took what is now the Walmart position, with an open letter on open carry from CEO Howard Schultz:

Recently, however, we’ve seen the “open carry” debate become increasingly uncivil and, in some cases, even threatening. Pro-gun activists have used our stores as a political stage for media events misleadingly called “Starbucks Appreciation Days” that disingenuously portray Starbucks as a champion of “open carry.” To be clear: we do not want these events in our stores. Some anti-gun activists have also played a role in ratcheting up the rhetoric and friction, including soliciting and confronting our customers and partners.

For these reasons, today we are respectfully requesting that customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas—even in states where “open carry” is permitted—unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.

In response, a gun-grabber showed the rest of the left’s hand:

“We think that this is not just a huge win for American moms who are realizing their voices matter in gun reform, but also this is a sea change for gun culture in general,” founder Shannon Watts told Co.Exist. “You have a worldwide business icon saying after decades it’s no longer acceptable to bring guns in his stores. This is just the beginning of making guns in stores just as distasteful as smoking and drunk driving.”

Gradual pressure by individuals will be lost in the noise of other economic and business signals. A sharp, large drop in both floor traffic and online sales, corresponding with increased sales for corporate rivals, is needed to shock the corporate board into removing the gun-grabber CEO (no handguns, no self-defense long-guns, guns as objects of public fear and shame, “hunting” offered as cover and as the old gun community wedge issue).

Effectively, immediately, socially shame anyone who slacks off and goes to Walmart. This can and should be polite, educating friends and family while simply not accepting Walmart bags and brands in your area of control. The aim must be driving the CEO, who publicly announced a larger gun-grabbing initiative, out of his job on the worst possible terms. Contrary to David French, Walmart is not a 50/50 customer base. It is not even close, as everybody knows. It should not take a year, and should not require closing stores, rather the revenue hit should be constantly reinforced with the clear, disciplined demand for policy “roll-back” and CEO sanctioning.

In the age of social media, can such a campaign be organized from the grassroots, or brassroots? Are there other social media campaigns from which to learn? Does it still take an organization with leadership? If so, what group or leader is most likely?

We have the power, and we will use it to rescue Walmart, starting to turn the corporate tide, or we will buy the rope to hang ourselves one shopping receipt at a time. The left has already signaled delight in Walmart as a leader providing cover and pressure for the complete removal of firearms from the public sphere, except of course for those in the hands of agents of the state and the private security forces of the elite. MAGA politicians, starting at the top, need to recognize the threat and start fixing the Walmart CEO at the center of negative public relations attention. Perhaps they could start with quoting and posting Tucker Carlson video clip remarks, or refer to his extended remarks at RealClearPolitics on Walmart.

And: we need to take a friend or relative to the range, with pistols, and maybe one of those “scary” guns with the mild recoil of .223 ammunition. Another Ricochet member has this just right:

We are being othered once again and backed into a (cultural corner). It’s the same playbook they used on smoking: We know they would use it, and yet we are letting them win.

We need to make gun ownership normal. It’s up to us, not the NRA, not the politicians, not anyone else. Take someone shooting. When we do that, we win. It’s that easy.

Rock out to Snap! on the way to the range: “(I’ve Got) The Power.”

And: Perhaps even make it a range afternoon, after weekly worship services. As another Ricochet member, a friend, pointed out in another of my political posts, what we really need is people looking up from themselves towards the divine. It is a heart condition problem, not a material tool problem.

[8 September 2019: Thanks to great constructive, critical feedback, I offer this extensively revised, expanded argument on my 5 September base piece. For an extended, thoughtful rebuttal, “So, who am I boycotting this week?” see our Member Feed. Not yet a member? You are really missing out! Try it out, and I believe you will agree.]

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