The Tragedy Of Unseriousness

In a previous column, I addressed the phenomenon of so many of the left’s prominent spokesmen – Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert being the most obvious examples – being professional comedians. It’s ludicrous, of course, but not terribly surprising if you think about it. The left’s economic, moral, and spiritual underpinnings are, after all, a total joke – and who better to tell a joke than a comedian?

Now the left has gone even further, creating an abortion video game as an “educational tool”. I must emphasize, this is not a stunt video game created for shock value a la the Postal series of video games or the recent “Angry Trayvon” game.* They’re dead serious about this.

Or perhaps I should say, they’re unserious about this. Whatever one’s position on the issue of abortion, the idea of trivializing it by making it into a video game should be appalling to any person who has any degree of seriousness about them. But, for all the seriousness and tragedy in America these days, Americans are an increasingly unserious people. Yes, the left is worse in its unseriousness, and yes they’re more insufferable for being endlessly sneering, arrogant, and snotty in their unseriousness, but it’s not just them – it’s everyone. The last thirty years have, for example, seen the mainstream right’s spokesmen go from men of culture and erudition like William F. Buckley, to ill-educated carny barkers like Rush Limbaugh, straight through to ranting apocalyptic nutters like Glenn Beck.

All of this has consequences. When was the last time the United States had a President who was verifiably a grownup? Bush the First, perhaps – now more than twenty years ago?

And even all of that is among people who are serious enough to care about the nation and its laws (beyond the level of who will hand the the most goodies out of the public treasury, I mean). Most people aren’t even that serious or informed. Welcome to the world of 2013, where “Katniss” and “Django” have made the year’s top ten baby names. This isn’t inspiration from literature, like naming a child after a character in a Dickens novel. This is saddling your child with the (weird) name of a character from a Hollywood action film because you don’t have the foresight to understand that by the time your child becomes an adult, almost nobody will get the reference anymore. And this, with a decision as important as your child’s name. This is out-of-control unseriousness on display.

Tattooed, saggy-panted, pierce-lipped, drugged up (on malt liquor, weed, or Prozac – it hardly makes much difference which), “informed” (if at all) by comedians and carny barkers, edutained by bad historical movies, unable to tell the difference between the plausible and implausible much less between truth and fiction, easily swayed by excessive pathos and generally unacquained with ethos or logos, and convinced through it all that they are the smartest, strongest, and most moral people who have ever lived – these are Americans in the Year of Our Lord 2013.**

I am strongly opposed to democracy, but even the men who created the American republic in the late 18th century would be the first to say that only a certain kind of people are capable of maintaining a democracy as a going concern.

The American people of 2013 ain’t that. And things that can’t go on forever, don’t.

(*If “Angry Trayvon” can get disappeared from app stores after liberals decided that you can’t be allowed to play it because it offends them, then the same should apply to Abortion: The Video Game. If and when this thing ever sees the light of day, speak out and demand that you get the same consideration that the left does.)

(**Not the 15%, of course, but I’ve already exempted them.)

It’s Time to Drop The 9/11 Conspiracies

I have never been a 9/11 “Truther”. Yes, I know this will disappoint some, but I have never seen any convincing reason to believe that the events of that day were anything other than what they seemed. The only alternative theory I’ve ever heard that I find even remotely plausible is that of Peter Lance, who essentially claims only that the FBI dropped the ball even worse than they admitted, and may have had a greater chance of preemptively stopping the attack than we all might believe. I’m not saying I necessarily believe it, but at least it stays on logical ground that I’m comfortable with – the idea that one generally shouldn’t blame on shadowy conspiracies what can be explained by simple incompetence and shortsightedness.

But let me ask a question to the 9/11 “Truthers” out there – and I mean it sincerely. What is the point – now, a dozen years on – of continuing with your movement? What I mean is: let’s say that somehow tomorrow you stumbled onto some evidence with which you could undeniably, irrefutably prove that your conspiracy theories are correct, and that it was all one big government inside job. So… then what? I guess you could throw George W. Bush in jail, but he’s been out of office for years now, so what would that really change? Obama would simply blame everything on his predecessor, fire or jail a few career people at the CIA, FBI, and Pentagon, and then keep on trucking with what he’s been doing – NDAA, drone strikes, NSA surveillance, and all. The war in Iraq is over. Bin Laden’s met his fate. Afghanistan is lost no matter what, and anyhow has wide bipartisan support (in Congress – though not among the people, whose opinions on the subject don’t matter) to keep grinding on until we run out of cash. The military is popular with the people, could (and would) blame everything on the politicians and a few rogue bad apples in its ranks, and besides has new threats to scare the public and justify its existence with, so there’s not much chance of seriously taking down the Military-Industrial complex. Unless you could prove that Israel was actually behind the attacks (highly unlikely, even if you did prove your theories about the events of the day correct), the government won’t stop slavishly supporting Israel – not as long as the technically-legal bribes from The Lobby keep flowing. And you wouldn’t be very likely to deeply and permanently change the political culture of Washington, either – Richard Nixon got thrown out of the White House on his ass after an earthshaking, epoch-defining set of scandals in which he got caught lying and covering up, but that did virtually nothing to stop future Presidents from lying or covering things up. It’s not terribly likely that a validated 9/11 conspiracy theory would permanently affect Washington greatly more than the devastating twin punches of the Pentagon Papers and Watergate did, especially when, unlike the Nixon Administration, the people who were in power at the time of the event at the heart of the scandal would be long gone from Washington when the story broke.

So what exactly do you expect will happen if you ever actually manage to prove all this? Other than throwing a few has-been ex-politicians and long-retired Generals in jail? And if that’s all that would happen, isn’t it time to let it drop and devote your energies to other matters?

Addendum: More On Free Speech

A recent article at the execrable online magazine Jezebel (one of the arms of Gawker – the sleaziest “news” outlet on the internet) is instructive in showing what leftists really think in regards to free speech. Long story short, they unapologetically announce that if you engage in speech they don’t like, they will do everything they can within the limits of the law to destroy you, including attempting to deprive you of your livelihood and ruin you economically. This works in two ways – first by actually destroying those who say things they don’t like (a la Paula Deen), and second by producing a chilling effect designed to terrify other potential critics into silence. Though this won’t shut down all opposition, it doesn’t really have to – to destroy effective opposition, it only has to work enough of the time. And it will – most people who don’t have a taste for martyrdom or penury (that is to say, most people) will keep their heads down, grumble to themselves, and say nothing.

I will, for the benefit of my readers, intentionally fall into the trap of believing that the leftist position here is sincere, and respond to it with sincerity. So here it is: free speech is not just a law; it’s a principle. The law (in this case, the First Amendment) merely codifies the principle. The principle is that society benefits most when all ideas – no matter how sane or crazy, orthodox or heretical, popular or scandalous, sacred or obscene – are given their chance to be presented in the marketplace of ideas so that they can be fairly received and evaluated, and then accepted or rejected by the citizens. For you to say – and it is what you’re saying – that you will do everything you possibly can do, with your only limits being the restraints imposed on you by the law, to intimidate people who oppose you into silence, or to harm them as much as you possibly can if they do choose to risk speaking out, shows that you have no understanding of nor respect for the principle of free speech whatsoever.

Of course, I don’t believe in absolute, untrammeled free speech either, for reasons I shall go into in more detail in a future column. But – and this what separates me from the liars and hypocrites of the left – I also haven’t, as they have, spent the last couple of centuries shouting from the rooftops that free speech was one of my most deeply-held, non-negotiable core principles. And that is the point of the exercise: to demonstrate once again that the left has no principles, only ideology. Any time that a leftist tells you that they have any core principles (with the sole possible exception of limitless sexual freedom), they are lying. Things like this prove why you should never give them the benefit of the doubt.

P. S. As a monarchist, I can assure you that no King with any self-confidence, self-respect, or dignity would sink so low as to seek to devote time and resources to finding and punishing a rodeo clown in a rural province for engaging in a few minutes of mild lampooning at the His Majesty’s expense. And he wouldn’t do it even if he wanted to – he’d know that it would make him a genuine laughingstock, as it would cause the nobles and people to see him as an insecure, petulent, overgrown child.

Welcome To Westeros

So apparently some rodeo clown managed to make himself the object of this week’s Two Minutes Hate – complete with the normal punishment of having one’s livelihood destroyed and facing financial ruin that comes with it – for making fun of the President.

I’m old enough to remember the days when television stations went off the air for the night, and a lot of other things that used to be, but aren’t anymore. I remember when one learned in the Fifth Grade that we were a Constitutional Republic, not a feudalist monarchy – that the President was not a King or a god, but just another citizen. This meant that, as long as you didn’t physically threaten him (which you couldn’t do to anyone else, either), you could say anything you liked about him. Nobody talked about “disrespecting” the President as if it were a crime, and in fact people did so all the time. For example, I remember tuning in to Saturday Night Live one evening in the 1980s (it seems not to be posted on YouTube, sorry) and seeing Howard Hesseman publicly “moon” a portrait of Ronald Reagan on national network television. It was stupid and juvenile (liberals haven’t changed much in the past thirty years), and people who supported Reagan didn’t much like it, but everyone accepted it as what we sometimes had to put up with as a result of our freedom to criticize people in power however we liked. You know, the First Amendment, and the spirit of 1776, and “I might not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it” and all that.

Because yes, we did understand more, and expect more, of what it meant to be free citizens of a Constitutional Republic. We did not live in some dismal medieval kingdom where the smallfolk had best be careful what they said about their Lords and Ladies if they knew what was good for them. We had our rights under the Constitution, yes – but we also lived in a nation imbued with the principle of respect for free speech.

But now things have changed.

Are people being dragged off to gulags for saying the wrong things about our leaders, as recently happened to some poor comedian in North Korea? No. And maybe it never will get that bad here. But things that were impossible to imagine happening in this country back when Hesseman mooned Reagan have come to pass, and the trendline is distinctly unencouraging. If nothing else, America has lost the spirit of respect for free speech – you can already be ruined for saying the wrong thing, if not yet imprisoned for it; and few anymore see why this is either a bad thing in and of itself or, more alarmingly, an omen of even worse things yet to come.

So welcome to Westeros, Information Age-style style; where cameras are everywhere, where your Lords and Ladies know everything that you say about them, and where we the smallfolk increasingly do have to be careful what that is if we know what’s good for us.

Everyone practice your bows and curtseys.

P.S. I’m very happy to know that the economy is roaring along so well, the Middle East is calmed down enough, crime is sufficiently under control, and our foreign and monetary policies are sorted out to the point that the people who wield power in this country can all stop to care about what a rodeo clown at an obscure Midwestern state fair is up to.

Of Horses And Transsexuals

Quoted For Truth this week is the proprietor of Occam’s Razor Magazine online, who, in a comment thread following a story on Steve Sailer’s blog regarding the incipient push for “transsexual rights”, noted the following:

“If somebody’s got a Y chromosome and male reproductive organs, then why should we take his claim that he’s really a woman any more seriously than if he claimed he was really a hamster, or a rhododendron, or a Klingon?”

Just so. But remember, that someone with a Y chromosome and male reproductive organs is male is merely fact; it is merely biological science. To the left, which claims to be the party of science and reason to the point of practically accusing the right of being closet voodoo witches, science is simply another tool of ideology – to be used as a cudgel when it seems to support their views, and quickly discarded when it seems not to. When it seems to support them, it is ultimate truth; when it seems not to, it will be sure to be denounced as “hate” – as if facts (which can really only ever be either true or false) could be “hateful” any more than they can be fluffy or plaid.

One is reminded of the case of Jason the Horse, a man who claims to actually be a horse trapped in a human body. An appearance on the Coast to Coast AM radio program made him a mild sensation in parts of the underbelly of the internet for a while. No national movement to allow him to urinate in the street whilst carrying someone on his back, a common behavior of horses, has, however, materialized. The fact that doing so would do nothing towards the goal of breaking the church, religiousness in general, traditional gender roles, and the family unit is, without doubt, purely a coincidence.

So, sorry Jason, you aren’t a horse. And sorry, “transsexuals”, you are the sex you are, and not any other. Them’s the biological facts, no matter how much you wish they were otherwise. The left may be political operatives par excellence, and able (at least in democracies) to steamroll their opposition, but they will never, despite all their best efforts, be able to abolish reality.

Not ever.

UPDATE: Just today, this – A “transgender” ABC news reporter relates a bizarre story of Jack Tripper-style amnesia, resulting in him figuring out that he isn’t “transgender” or even homosexual at all. So much for “born this way”.

You can’t make this stuff up, folks – you just can’t make this stuff up.

Nigger. Nigger. Nigger. Nigger. Nigger.

See what happened when I said The Word Which Must Never Be Spoken Under Any Circumstances™? Even when I said it over and over again? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. The sky did not fall, the land did not crack, the seas did not boil. That’s because it’s just a word. Yes, it’s a nasty insult, and yes, you’re a big jerk if you call someone that – but that’s all it is. In the end, it’s just a plain word – it has no magical powers. It isn’t the name of Voldemort; saying it doesn’t summon evil wizards.

We as a society have far more to fear from the distinctly Orwellian (and, like most leftism, frankly childish) prospect of the creation of a (certain to be ever-expanding) list of Forbidden Words, never to be uttered under pain of personal and professional ruin, than we do from something that, at its core, is just a naughty word. Far, far more.

On a related note: Hey everybody – remember when the left used to push the envelope, and say the Seven Words You Can’t Say On Television, and sneeringly tell us all how silly it was for adults to be afraid of naughty words? Yeah – that was a long time ago.