Ace Excorciates The White Republic

Apparently The New Republic that insists that everyone else should “diversify” would like to be free to make up its own mind about putting any of those filthy minorities on staff.

Apparently diversity-efforts are things Other People must do — never people who Dylan Byers works for, or may work for at some point down the road. They have a special dispensation.

Just Because They Said So.

I hear that TNR is losing money. Mayhaps re-branding would help. I have a few suggestions:

  • The New Republic — Because White People Need Jobs, Too
  • The New Republic — The Old Republic Was Full of the Mud Races
  • The New Republic — Your Hypocritical Stormfront on the Potomac
  • The New Republic — Are Black People Even That Cool?
  • The New Republic — Our Journalism is Restricted . . . to the Truth. Yeah, the Truth.
  • The New Republic — Our Property Values are Solid
  • The New Republic — The Only Chocolate Around Here Comes in Packages, and is Also White
"There must be a way..."
“There must be a way…”

The Union and the Confederacy: the Ongoing Civil War in the GOP

The time has come for honesty. We cannot continue as we are, pretending to party unity. The schisms are too obvious. We talk of “establishments” and “purists” as though we all want different things. Let me suggest that this is in fact, because we want different things.

Let us first talk of the Union. The Union is the Washington GOP, the New York GOP, the PAC bundlers and the white-paper policy writers. The crew that ran K Street and runs Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and National Review. The opposition from the old days, when conservatism was drowning in a sea of rad-libs and fellow travelers, and keeping the faith alive from one defeat to the next was the order of business.

The Union are Hamiltonian men, for whom the business of government is management. The economy is to be managed; the welfare state is to be managed. Sure, we can make sound argument that these things should not exist, that they are poisonous to the body politic. But we will not unmake these things, because the insanity of the Left is something we must also manage to. If we push too hard, the left will turn the Eye of Sauron on us, and the mushy middle will betray us, and we will get Goldwatered. We must manage the progressive rot of our liberties, because the alternative is progressively worse.

Then there is the Confederacy. People who have been paying attention to the Tea Parties from the beginning know that hostility to Bush-brand bailouts and “compassionate conservatism” was also part of their fury. They felt betrayed by the conservatives they had sent to Washington, who had suckled on pork and given us Medicare Part D and No Child Left Behind. What was the point of electing Republicans, if this was what they got?

The Confederacy – Tea Parties, Breitbart, and Reason-reading, Hayek-quoting kindred spirts of that ilk – don’t want to manage the erosion of our liberties. They want to roll it back. They’re tired of having to defend a constantly shrinking circle of redoubts, which the progressives may attack at their leisure. They don’t want to fix Social Security; they want to break it in two. They don’t want to increase federal education spending; they want to end it. Because that word – liberty – which I hardly heard in the 80’s and 90’s, has suddenly returned to vogue. The conservative base has had it with diluted conservatism, with begging the Priests of Leviathan to please not change everything right this minute.

This divergence is at the root of all the strife amid Republicans, not just now, not just during the election, or during the primaries, or even during the first Tea Party primaries in 2010 (O’Donnell vs. Castle et. al), but further and yet further back. Yesterday Stacy McCain reminded us that Rush Limbaugh backed Pat Buchanan’s quixotic attempt to unseat Bush the Elder in the 1992 primaries.

Limbaugh knew that Bush was doomed to defeat in 1992, and that the key was to give conservatives a cause worth fighting for. After Bush lost, Limbaugh’s show became the focal point for the Republican opposition that triumphed in 1994.

We cannot win if we do not fight, if we do not risk defeat. Ace spoke on this yesterday:

Yes, taking the Strong, Uncompromising Position has a chance of moving the Overton Window in your direction, which the Weak-Tea Fudge Position does not.

But then, taking the Strong, Uncompromising Position can also move the Overton Window away from you, too.

It’s a high-risk strategy. As in investing, high-risk plays are the only ones that can generate high value rewards… but then they can also bankrupt you. You can make high-risk investments, but not too many of them, and you have to make such decisions only with great care and deliberation.

He thinks that Paul Ryan took the Strong, Uncompromising Position last year and that it blew up in our faces. People were terrified of messing with the government gravy train and so fell into the soft embrace of Obama’s orotund evasions. Perhaps, perhaps. But was this not instructive? Did we not learn something about the work that is before us? About the extent to which we are outflanked culturally and demographically? Did we not all, Establishment and Tea Party, come away with the understanding that we have to try harder, and in new ways, if we want to win again?

Perhaps not. Perhaps all the Union men came away with was the fact that we just got pummeled and that we should give the Beast whatever he wants so that he will eat us last. And Perhaps the Confederates learned only to Let it Burn, so that they can rebuild on the ashes.

But no election is ever the last one. We will have another chance, and soon. The question is, what will we use that chance to do? To maintain and manage, or to resist? Do we want to trim Leviathan’s claws, or do we want to kill the beast?

We need to make up our minds. Our enemies already have.

One of the Many Reasons Prometheus, and Prequels, don’t work.

At Ace, the failure of putting Space Swashbucklers in a Military Bureaucracy:

Space travel in fiction has two major tropes in its depiction. I’m calling these the Institutional Phase, and the Commercial Phase.

The beginning of space travel — and this is the same for any previous mode of difficult transportation — is the Institutional Phase. This is the period in which only rich governments or the sci-fi standby of the Large Evil Corporation Which Has Some Governmental-Like Powers and Attributes can build and launch a spacecraft.

The Commercial Phase comes later in science fiction, as it has in the past, and as it would actually unfold in the future. The Commercial Phase comes when the technology has matured enough to make it practical for small private owners. In the Commercial Phase, space travel is relatively common, almost mundane. It might be a bit expensive, but you can still cross a good part of the galaxy in exchange for a down payment equal to the cost of an old, beat-up Landspeeder. It’s not cheap, but you generally expect that if you have a few thousand credits you can hire yourself a flight to almost anywhere.

The Institutional Phase is Star Trek; the Commercial Phase is Star Wars.

Apparently Prometheus makes (among others) the mistake of putting Commercial-Phase Rogues on board an Institutional-Phase Spaceship. I didn’t see it, because the whole experience of the Star Wars Prequels soured me on prequels altogether (yes, officially Prometheus isn’t an alien prequel, but it was clearly written as one), and I didn’t hear enough positive word-of-mouth to counteract this. The word I did get was mixed at best.

Prequels — the attempt to tell a story’s backstory — are rarely worth telling, because they aren’t stories. A story has protagonists and conflicts. Backstories don’t; they’re the things that happen before the real conflict occurs. Dracula sleeping in his coffin for four hundred years before Johnathan Harker comes to see him isn’t part of the story of Dracula, because there’s no protagonist, nor even any real conflict. One of the few things that I liked about Bram Stoker’s Dracula was the way they showed us Dracula’s Fall From Grace. But then they cut to the actual beginning of the story, because Dracula is not the protagonist. Harker is, and there is no story without him.

So when you make a prequel, you have to invent a story in another story’s backstory. And since the themes and the conflicts are likely to be similar, this has the effect of undercutting the story that happens later. Because if Dracula has been defeated before, it’s not as big a deal to defeat him later. Do it often enough, and Dracula becomes as much of a surprise, and as much of a problem, as a silverfish infestation or clogged toilet: It’s happened before, and you know what to do about it.

Now, in the case of the Star Wars Prequels, they did have a story all their own: Anakin Skywalker’s Fall and the Clone Wars. So we’re just going to have to chalk that up to George Lucas’ consummate failures as a director and writer. But anyone familiar with the Alien movies could guess as to what would happen in Prometheus:

  1. The Ship Lands on the Planet To Investigate the Mysterious Something
  2. The People Poke Around Until they Unleash Evil
  3. ?????????
  4. PROFIT!
And somewhere, a deep dark secret is revealed, right?

Final Gratuitous Shot at George Lucas: From the Ace Piece:

Star Wars is commercial phase, and also comical. They’re funny movies. They have a comedic spirit. (The originals, I mean.)

How Many Rapes Can Dance on the Head of a Pin?: Feminism in Its Decadent Phase

Ace has a nice good long post (which are always the best posts at Ace) on the staggering inanity of deciding that this:

is sexual assault. His response, appropriately, is to troll the trollers:

Many movements or eras — most, probably — enter a decadent phase at some point. I don’t know of a textbook definition of a decadent phase, but my off-the-cuff attempt is this:

a period marked by extremely minor variations on art or thought that has gone before, of recycling, of re-using old tropes rather than creating new ideas;

a period marked not by accumulation or creation of capital, whether monetary capital or capital of another kind, such as intellectual or influential or philosophical, but instead marked by the use/spending of previously acquired capital without replenishing same;

a period of sloth, whether sloth in intellect or sloth in industriousness, and a concomitant lowering of standards so that what little new work is done can be credited as good, important, or noble, albeit by a greatly reduced standard;

It is one thing to argue that a woman can and must enjoy the same public rights as a man, to vote, to engage in business, to work in trades and corporations, to pursue scholarly research. It is another to go around naming as rape or assault things which meet no known definition of these terms.

Rape is, as feminists tell us, and act of violence. In order for violence to be violence, it must be well, violent. Surprise is not violence. Spontaneity is not violence. Violence requires that harm should occur. No harm, no foul.

Claiming “sexual assault” is not “rape” as some do, doesn’t save the classification. Sexual Assault serves as the misdemeanor to Rape’s felony. It’s a way of making a rape accusation without actual rape occurring (or, dealing with a sexual crime other than rape). The nature of the accusation is the same. And an assault, to be an assault, requires violence, and violence requires harm. This did not happen.

Obviously, under normal circumstances a man who went about kissing random women on the street, without their consentwould find himself in trouble. But there are circumstances, certain exponentially joyful occasions, when such activities are seen as a natural irruption of said joy. It takes a particular kind of inhuman joylessness to insist upon malicious intent, absent any evidence, and in the face of the actual woman’s remembrance of the event.

And that’s the point. This is not the attempt to rescue an give voice to a silent victim. The “victim” in this case is studiously ignored, encased in a bubble of “rape culture” so that nothing she says needs be given any credence. The point is for we, the Modern, to invent New and Exciting Understandings, Attack Archaic Formulations, Provoke Significant Dialogue. It is a parlor game for parlor stakes, which exists to prick the vanity of its participants, and no other reason. What was actually going on in Times Square on V-J Day matters not at all; what matters is how We Conceptualize it According to Our Own Dogma.

Which is what you do when you’ve run out of ideas.


Freedom of Speech and Trembling Honkies

Ace’s Twitter beatdown of Will Saletan is noteworthy for a couple of reasons:

  1. It’s a refreshing refutation of the notion that the aesthetic quality of the Muslim troll film is at all relevant.
  2. Saletan doesn’t really fight back very hard.

I mean, he offers up a few tired equivocations. Poor Salman Rushdie is invoked. But by and large, he has very little to say, and quits the field post-haste. Which I find most revealing.

I suspect that progs don’t actually believe this “abuse of free speech” very strongly. They’ll assert it, but as a formula which absolves them from the need to speak further. They don’t actually want Terry Jones, or whoever, prosecuted. They just want to be out of the way of the possibility of having to defend some redneck Jesus freak who probably believes that Cain and Abel fought on the backs of dinosaurs. Because even if he has rights, he is a stupid white man, and we will not defend his rights.

Lakoff’s Paradox: Why Progressives Fail

Ace links and discusses Zombie’s review of Proggie bellyfeeling goodthinker George Lakoff’s Little Blue Book. The essence of this elegantly fascist tome is that conservatives are mindless scum who do not deserve to be engaged in civil debate.

In other words, what most died-in-the-wool, Portlandia-aspring progs already think. Which is why I will quote only the last paragraph (that you may Read The Whole Thing):

The Little Blue Book is being marketed as an “Indispensable Handbook for Democrats” to help them communicate their values more clearly. But I think that the marketing is itself a ploy. The Little Blue Book was not written to help liberals communicate; instead, it was designed as a feel-good mantra, a comforting rectangular teddy bear reassuring the left-wing audience that they are good people. The book’s real underlying message is this: We liberals are morally superior to our nasty and small-minded opponents; if everyone could just see what was in our hearts, we’d be more popular than those mean old conservatives.

That is the conceptual frame Lakoff embeds in The Little Blue Book: We’re better than you. Progressives can position it carefully on their coffee tables and feel righteous.

Well, that and this:

Worst. Red-Zone Offense. Ever.

The Falsehood of “Access”

In the Civil Rights Era, people on either side of the debate understood “access” to refer to being able to enter a place and do business there according to one’s ability. Blacks having “access” to the same public amenities — drinking fountains, bathrooms, luncheon counters, seats on buses, voting booths — as whites did meant that whites would no longer physically prevent their entrance.

In that debate, the progressives were right and the conservatives were wrong. This gradually became so obvious that the debate ended and access was granted — which is to say, attacks on access were prevented — with bipartisan support in both houses of congress.

Recreating that purity and that victory has become something of an obsession to the Left. If either side of a debate carries costs and benefits which must be balanced, then compromise is necessary and just. But if one side is monstrously denying something that a struggling person needs, then we are right and pure, they are wrong and corrupt, and we must bring them down. QED.

Thus, Sandra Fluke’s determination that all she wants is “access” to birth control (h/t: Ace).

They constantly attempt to mislead people with rhetoric designed to imply that the question here is about outlawing contraception.

Of course it’s not. You could find only one voter in ten willing to even consider such a proposition.

The question is whether third-parties will be dragooned by yet another government law to cover yet another personal expense.

This is what they call “access” — their ability to compel you to pay for their wants.

When I was 4, I wanted an AT-AT Walker. Lacking the funds for such a purchase, I demanded that my mother buy me one. She refused, and a vivid discussion on the basis of economic decisions ensued. If only it had occurred to me to define my desire for an AT-AT  Walker in Civil Rights terms, my childhood would have been vastly enhanced.

It’s a robotic dinosaur that shoots laser beams from its face. How is this NOT in the Constitution?

The fact that two days ago I sold my Imperial Shuttle, Millenium, Falcon, Ewok Village, and Tie Interceptor for $3 at a yard sale means NOTHING about my NEED for an AT-AT then. My access was denied, and the fascists in the Reagan Justice Department ignored my plight. At least, so goes the logic if we accept the progressive discourse on “access” and “‘freedom.”

Progressives are fundamentally uninterested in freedom, defined as one’s ability to make choices based on your individual needs and means. This “freedom” they continually compare against the reality that not everyone can afford an AT-AT in their garage. Their idea of freedom involves freedom not only from coercion but from reality itself.

The balance in one’s checkbook is a stark reality. You cannot persuade the bank that you have more money than you have, nor that they should grant you infinite credit to make up the difference between your means and your aspirations. What Progressives in general and Sandra Fluke in particular insist upon is that such infinite credit is sine qua non of a just society. And to get around the manifest absurdity, they misappropriate terms like “access”.

What Sandra Fluke wants is for others to pay for her choices. She may claim that to be a right in any way she chooses, but this right, like the AT-AT, exists mostly in the imagination of children and those who know how to exploit them.

There’s Always An Excuse For Your Slut

Ace fisks Frum on the strained nature of the “Tu Quoque” Fallacy.

These are the same points I brought up earlier, when explaining that I did not care about Limbaugh’s outburst. But as Frum points out, Letterman did apologize for what he said about Willow Palin, as did Ed Schultz when he called Laura Ingraham a slut. And he concedes that Bill Maher did not apologize, but doubled down.

So far, so good. If Frum had stopped there, he would have the better of the argument, if the argument was about why Rush should apologize (which he has done, and which I seemed to bemoan in the comments of my earlier thread, having forgotten that Letterman and Schultz did apologize). The fact that Maher refused an apology does not give Limbaugh a pass, merely underline Maher’s degeneracy.

But Frum does not stop there. He tries to fashion out of straw and manure some manner of contention that Limbaugh’s act was different, a “new low”. He tries to assert that Schultz and Letterman and Maher are unimportant, whereas Limbaugh is the Right. All of which makes his preceding fairness a weak, old rhetorical trick aimed at smearing everyone on the Right with Limbaugh’s words, while simultaneously absolving the Left of everything Bill Maher says.

I haven’t listened to Rush Limbaugh in years, because I work for a living, and have better things to do ‘twixt one and three than be told things I already agree with. When I was a young fellow, Limbaugh’s mix of iconoclasm and populism set me free to say things already in my head. I don’t need that anymore. He’s not the entirety of the Right. He wasn’t even the entire Right in 1994, at what was perhaps the height of his influence. He’s even less so today.

It would be better if we could just police our own, and trust that the other side would police theirs. To the extent that I implied that Letterman et al. got off scot-free for their calumnies, I was in error with my earlier post. To the extent that Frum pretends that one side’s calumnies don’t matter, he remains in error, and complicit in the error of others.


David Frum: Always Reliable, When Republicans are Under Attack, To Rise to the Defense of those Attacks

The Left’s pet rightie could not resist tut-tutting about how awful and offensive and poisonous that Andrew Breitbat fellow was. Such is the nature of Frum: always begging his enemies to regard him as a Good Jew. But the timing provokes Ace to some of the finest vitriol I’ve seen from him in quite some time:

David Frum exceeded Andrew Breitbart in one measure only, span of life.

But not in life.

David Frum will die as he lived, gray, timid, small, spiteful, cramped in thought and bent in spirit, slender of talent and obese in self-regard, unloved, unnoticed, unremembered and unread.

Nicely done.