This timeline makes no sense

Welcome to bizarro world where Richard Spencer protests Trump and antifa protest him protesting Trump which means that they’re protesting for Trump?

Members of the alt-right, led by Richard Spencer, protested outside the White House Saturday evening. They condemned missile strikes launched by the United States against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In a bizarre turn of events, members of the far-left group Antifa turned up to protest against the alt-right anti-war rally though few would go on record about the missile strikes themselves.

Read the rest here.

You’d think anti-war stuff would be up antifas alley–at least as long as any Republican is behind it, but if the alt-right don’t like it then it must be good…?

During the rally Spencer and the alt-right chanted “America first” “take a shower” “Fire Kushner” and “Build walls not wars”. The Antifa counterprotests shouted back “Fuck you Nazis” and “No Nazis, no KKK, no fascists USA.”

Those Nazis.  They always were known for their peace activism.

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Compassion Cannot be Globalized

I am weary of attempts to guilt-trip me into caring about people on the other side of the world or about every single living human being on the planet.  This morning I read this:

“Do we have Jesus’ priorities?  Are we living Gospel values?…Our collective lust for money and things has blinded us to the real and legitimate needs of so many people.  Some of these people live just a few blocks from us.  Others live on the other side of the world.  All are children of God, and that makes them our brothers and sisters.  The problem is we value some people more than other people.  Jesus doesn’t do that.  If a hundred people died in a natural disaster in our city, this would capture our attention for days, weeks, months, or even years.  If a thousand people died on the other side of the world, we might barely think of it again after watching the story on the news.  Why do we value American lives more than African lives?”

Of course there is nothing wrong in directing us to the Gospel as guide for how to live a good life and reminding us to not be so selfish or materialistic.  But this author errs in pushing us to care for people on the other side of the planet just as much as our neighbors.  In an abstract way this is possible, to acknowledge that yes, we are all children of God and deserve respect and love, that the world’s people are my brothers and sisters in Christ (whether they know God or not).  But to actively feel for everyone?  Or to do some sort of work that will impact the lives of all the suffering or downtrodden people in the world?  Impossible.

Human beings cannot handle a scope like that.  I am not Jesus; neither are you.  Only God can hold the world in His hands.  We are incapable of even fully grasping it in our minds. The push towards globalization hasn’t just been about economics; it’s been about Compassion as well.  As one mere human, I cannot feel for the world.  To attempt to do so, is crushing, depressing, overwhelming, and inevitably completely unproductive — worse, it might even negatively affect how I treat my actual neighbors.  To do something actively, practically to help the whole world is physically impossible. Most work that compassionate people do, whether in their writing or speech, is really just virtue signaling to make them feel good, to feel like helpful, caring people but has zero results in the lives of others. There is a better way to improve the lives of others.

According to innovative farmer and author Joel Salatin,”Most of us spend a lot of time and money dealing with and worrying about things that we can’t do anything about anyway.  If we would devote that same energy to our little realm of influence, the cumulative effect would be a much better society.”  He notes that one of his favorite writers, Wendell Berry, agrees that “there are no global problems; only local ones:”

one cannot live in the world; that is, one cannot become, in the easy, generalizing sense with which the phrase is commonly used, a “world citizen.” There can be no such think as a “global village.” No matter how much one may love the world as a whole, one can live fully in it only by living responsibly in some small part of it. Where we live and who we live there with define the terms of our relationship to the world and to humanity. We thus come again to the paradox that one can become whole only by the responsible acceptance of one’s partiality. (Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays)

In a speech Berry gave particularly focusing on environmental issues (about which we are also often guilt-tripped), he again points to local solutions to so-called global problems:

“All public movements of thought quickly produce a language that works as a code, useless to the extent that it is abstract…  The same is true of the environment movement. The favorite adjective of this movement now seems to be planetary. This word is used, properly enough, to refer to the interdependence of places, and to the recognition, which is desirable and growing, that no place on the earth can be completely healthy until all places are. But the word planetary also refers to an abstract anxiety or an abstract passion that is desperate and useless exactly to the extent that it is abstract. How, after all, can anybody – any particular body – do anything to heal a planet? Nobody can do anything to heal a planet. The suggestion that anybody could do so is preposterous…  The problems, if we describe them accurately, are all private and small. Or they are so initially.

The problems are our lives.  In the “developed” countries, at least, the large problems occur because all of us are living either partly wrong or almost entirely wrong… The economies of our communities and households are wrong.

The answers to the human problems of ecology are to be found in economy. And the answers to the problems of economy are to be found in culture and in character. To fail to see this is to go on dividing the world falsely between guilty producers and innocent consumers…

Understand that no amount of education can overcome the innate limits of human intelligence and responsibility. We are not smart enough or conscious enough or alert enough to work responsibly on a gigantic scale. In making things always bigger and more centralized, we make them both more vulnerable in themselves and more dangerous to everything else.

Learn, therefore, to prefer small-scale elegance and generosity to large-scale greed, crudity, and glamour.

Make a home.

Help to make a community.

Be loyal to what you have made.

Put the interest of the community first.

Love you neighbors – not the neighbors you pick out, but the ones you have.

Love this miraculous world that we did not make, that is a gift to us.

As far as you are able make your lives dependent upon your local place, neighborhood, and household – which thrive by care and generosity – and independent of the industrial economy, which thrives by damage.  (Berry, commencement address)

During her lifetime, Mother Teresa, now St. Teresa of Calcutta, said many profound things. When she was asked how to influence the world, she replied, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”  Her answer wasn’t: drop everything and come work with me in the slums of India.  Some people may have that calling, but most do not. She also said, “I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?”

Christian authors would better serve God’s people by encouraging readers to seek God’s will, to ask “how is God calling ME to serve His people?”  It is discouraging and unhelpful to tell people they should care for the whole world, just like Jesus did — though as a flesh and blood man on Earth, he actually did not.

Is school as we know it unnatural and potentially damaging to children?

What the Modern World has Forgotten About Children and Learning:

The following statement somehow showed up on my Twitter feed the other day: “Spontaneous reading happens for a few kids. The vast majority need (and all can benefit from) explicit instruction in phonics.”

***

It got under my skin, and not just because I personally had proven in the first grade that it is possible to be bad at phonics even if you already know how to read. It was her tone; that tone of sublime assurance on the point, which, further tweets revealed, is derived from “research” and “data” which demonstrate it to be true.

Many such “scientific” pronouncements have emanated from the educational establishment over the last hundred years or so. The fact that the proven truths of each generation are discovered by the next to be harmful folly never discourages the current crop of experts who are keen to impose their freshly-minted certainties on children. Their tone of cool authority carries a clear message to the rest of us: “We know how children learn. You don’t.”

So they explain it to us.

The “scientific consensus” about phonics, generated by a panel convened by the Bush administration and used to justify billions of dollars in government contracts awarded to Bush supporters in the textbook and testing industries, has been widely accepted as fact through the years of “No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top,” so if history is any guide, its days are numbered. Any day now there will be new research which proves that direct phonics instruction to very young children is harmful, that it bewilders and dismays them and makes them hate reading (we all know that’s often true, so science may well discover it) — and millions of new textbooks, tests, and teacher guides will have to be purchased at taxpayer expense from the Bushes’ old friends at McGraw-Hill.

The problems with this process are many, but the one that I’d like to highlight is this: the available “data” that drives it is not, as a matter of fact, the “science of how people learn.” It is the “science of what happens to people in schools.”

This is when it occurred to me: people today do not even know what children are actually like. They only know what children are like in schools.

Schools as we know them have existed for a very short time historically: they are in themselves a vast social experiment. A lot of data are in at this point. One in four Americans does not know the earth revolves around the sun. Half of Americans don’t know that antibiotics can’t cure a virus. 45% of American high school graduates don’t know that the First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees freedom of the press. These aren’t things that are difficult to know. If the hypothesis is that universal compulsory schooling is the best way to to create an informed and critically literate citizenry, then anyone looking at the data with a clear eye would have to concede that the results are, at best, mixed.

On the other hand, virtually all white American settlers in the northeastern colonies at the time of the American Revolution could read, not because they had all been to school, and certainly not because they had all been tutored in phonics, which didn’t exist at the time.

***

Around the world, every day, millions and millions and millions of normal bright healthy children are labelled as failures in ways that damage them for life. And increasingly, those who cannot adapt to the artificial environment of school are diagnosed as brain-disordered and drugged.

It is in this context that we set out to research how human beings learn. But collecting data on human learning based on children’s behavior in school is like collecting data on killer whales based on their behavior at Sea World.

***

Since the Enlightenment, every generation of scientists has tended to fall into the fallacy that now we stand at the apex of human knowledge and understanding, that error has fallen away at our feet, and that now we “know” how things really are. Depending on the domain being studied, this intellectual hubris can yield results which are comical, awkward, destructive, or, when it comes to children, tragic. In the 1950’s scientists “knew” that baby formula was better for children than human milk, an absurdity which has been responsible for the deaths by diarrheal disease and malnutrition of millions of infants in the developing world. They “knew” that newborns, like animals, did not have sufficiently developed neural systems to feel pain, so they performed surgery on thousands of infants (and animals) without anesthesia. They “knew” that people learn as a consequence of positive or negative reinforcements for behavior rather than as a result of internal passions, drives, and preferences –- let alone as a result of a celestial river running through them –– so they persuaded an entire education system to train children like pigeons and rats, with incessant scrutiny and “feedback,” punishments and rewards.

Right now American phonics advocates are claiming that they “know” how children learn to read and how best to teach them. They know nothing of the kind. A key value in serious scientific inquiry is also a key value in every indigenous culture around the world: humility.

Kekistan Border Agents

/pol/ continues to take open source intelligence to new heights.

4CHAN Message Board Is Using Border Webcams To Help Report Illegals

The largely pro-Trump 4Chan internet message board has recently taken it upon themselves to help ICE agents catch and report illegals entering the United States.

The mostly pro-Trump 4Chan political page is using border webcams to help report illegal alien crossings.

As reported by /pol/’s News Network Twitter account, they just recently discovered that live streams of the US-Mexico border are available via http://blueservo.com/ . The website has become so popular that it has currently exceeded its bandwith at the time of writing this.

One 4Chan user suggested the Administration turn the live feeds into a “game” for users to help spot and report Illegals crossing, potentially earning points. The two screen shots attached to the original tweet purport to show 4Chan users catching would-be illegals in the act

Weaponized autists would take over the whole world in less than a week if someone convinced them it would make a good game.

Feminists: Treating the image of history’s most important and holy woman with disrespect empowers women!

If you thought the recent women’s march was bad…

US feminists are being one-upped by the vulgarity and blasphemy of the Argentine feminists.  International Women’s Day was just marked in the US by encouraging women to protest “inequality” and stay home from work or otherwise shirk responsibilities, not by staging a “bloody fake abortion on a woman dressed as Virgin Mary.”

Feminists in pink masks pretended to commit an abortion on a woman dressed as the Virgin Mary outside a northern Argentina cathedral as part of an International Women’s Day protest last week…

Meanwhile, in Buenos Aires, participants in an International Women’s Day march tried to set the city’s cathedral on fire. They attacked a lone man who held a Vatican flag and tried to defend the cathedral.

Or maybe those US feminists are still in the running:

At the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. in January 2017, a protester carried a sign depicting Our Lady of Guadalupe as a bloody vagina.

Yet again these “ladies” show their priorities.  How does insulting an important female holy figure further female “empowerment?”  Perverting and insulting the image of the Virgin Mary doesn’t exactly translate into empowering or respecting women.

Marine Le Pen, Savior of France?

This is a very different type of I’m with her: Marine Le Pen as Joan of Arc.  She gave a speech standing in front of a statue of St. Joan of Arc and inspired supporters to create images like this one:

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Despite recent legal challenges (which illustrate France’s free speech problem), Marine Le Pen “remains in the lead in polling for the first round of the French presidential election, three points ahead of centrist Emmanuel Macron.”  She’s certainly got the opposition scared.

French President Francois Hollande has admitted that “There is a threat” that she might actually win and that he would “do everything” in his power to stop her.  He also vehemently opposes her desire to sever France from the EU: saying “it was his ‘last duty… to do everything to ensure that France is not convinced by such a plan’ of taking the country out of the EU.”  First Brexit and now maybe Frexit?

Although The Spectator is no friend of Le Pen (saying her “victory would be the worst crisis for half a century”), they nevertheless had some interesting observations in their article: The French election is now Marine Le Pen vs a collapsing French establishment.

Is France on the brink of a political revolution? Already, four established candidates for the presidency — two former presidents and two former prime ministers — have backed out or been rejected by the voters, and another, François Fillon, is on the ropes. The campaign is being taken over by outsiders …What kind of shake-up might it be — socialist (the least likely), liberal with Macron or nationalist with Le Pen? Or can the outsiders still be beaten by an electoral system designed to keep them out of power? … the two-round ballot, designed in the 1820s to prevent hotheads … from winning elections. It gives voters and politicians a second chance, not so much to reconsider their own choices as to react against the choices of others. In the first round you vote for the person you want; in the second you vote against the person you fear.

This evolved historically into what was called ‘republican discipline’: in the first round there could be a range of competing candidates of all shades, but in the second round all loyal republicans, from the mildest liberal to the reddest communist, would vote for the candidate best placed to beat the enemy of the republic — usually a royalist or authoritarian nationalist. … The crucial question in this election is whether the republican reflex still operates. If not, Marine Le Pen could win.

***

France is the most anti-capitalist country in Europe.  There are benefits. Many British people have happy memories of French hospitals, schools or trains. But one does not need very right-wing views to see the accumulating disadvantages. The highest taxes in the developed world, especially on businesses. Chronic unemployment, worst among the young and ethnic minorities. Slow growth, including among small companies afraid of the burden of regulation incurred by getting too big. Crumbling infrastructure. Anyone who arrives at the Gare du Nord must see that something is amiss. People in France do too, and have done for years. Even in the 1980s President Mitterrand lamented national ‘moroseness’. Bookshops have long been piled high with works by economists, politicians and academics warning that France was in accelerating decline. Young people emigrate, over 200,000 to London alone.

On top of this chronic malaise has come the tension between republican secularism and Islam, sparked off three decades ago by a row about girls wearing headscarves in a provincial secondary school. It is a fraught mixture of cultural difference, social deprivation and historic mistrust, but none can doubt its brooding presence, hugely inflamed by a series of terrorist attacks. Had I risked forgetting this, I would have been dramatically reminded a few weeks ago when in a quiet street in Paris I walked into a 25-man military patrol in full combat gear.

None of these observations is unique to France. Characteristic of France, however, is the seeming inability of the political system to do much about them, even over many years. Here we come back to the ‘stalemate society’ problem.

 

***

So is France in crisis? … many voters really have lost faith in the established parties and see change as coming from outside the system. The main embodiment of disillusion is Marine Le Pen. Her Front National continues to grow in rust-belt regions and those with high levels of immigration, largely by attracting disaffected working-class voters. It is probably France’s largest party, supported by nearly a third of the electorate.

Le Pen has laboured since taking over from her father in 2011 to convince voters that the Front National, though still radical, is no longer ‘anti-republican’, and indeed is the staunchest upholder of republican secularism against Islamic encroachment. The message is that voting for her is not a betrayal of the republican heritage so central to France’s self-image.  She has added to her nationalist agenda vehement denunciation of the European Union as a foreign capitalist plot.

***

Le Pen will surely win through to the second round of the election, and it is quite possible that she will head the poll in the first round on 23 April…  Brexit and Trump have created a sense that the unthinkable is possible, which could further weaken the taboo against voting for her. But it will mobilise her opponents too. I cannot believe that enough moderate voters will stay away from the second-round poll to let ‘the fascists’ win. ‘Republican discipline’ should still rally support for whoever polls best against Le Pen, which at the moment looks likely to be Macron.

Nevertheless, few now rule out a Le Pen victory completely, and if Macron’s campaign runs into serious trouble, all bets are off. Every new scandal or terrorist incident plays into her hands. If she did become president, France would face a genuine crisis, the worst for half a century. There would certainly be strikes and violent demonstrations by those who would see themselves as defending the republic against fascism. How she could form a viable government or win a majority in parliament is unclear. We would see a conflict between the Fifth Republic’s powerful president and its parliament under a constitutional system that one liberal critic has called dangerous even in the hands of a saint. The consequences for the euro, the EU, western security and Britain’s relations with one of its closest allies would be dire.

[above emphasis mine] — Sounds like the author is saying is that the establishment, pro-immigration, pro-globalization, pro-EU folks would throw a fit and try to sabotage her at every turn if she were to win the election.  They would paint themselves as defenders of the innocent against “fascists.”  Sounds familiar.  Where have we seen that before?

Why Utopia Fails

The battle of the day is about government/leftist attempts to control speech (and just about everything else), but this is a symptom of their core mission to create (force-ably if necessary) the “perfect” society of their dreams — where everyone obeys their wishes.  This desire to create their vision of “heaven on earth” comes with a hefty price.  Even a cursory look at history paints a somber picture of experiments in utopianism; they tend to fail, lead to great human suffering and frequently high death tolls (of which people today are often ignorant).  There’s a reason that depictions of these attempts in fiction, whether text or film, also end badly.  Storytellers understand something about human nature that liberals cannot allow themselves to recognize: Eden was lost by the sin of our first parents and there’s no going back; human nature and our world are fallen, broken, incapable of perfection until the end of time.  You cannot will Earth back to the state of an Eden.

The term Utopia, from the title of St. Thomas More’s influential book, has a bit of a double meaning even from its inception:

Derived from the Greek, that title means “no place”, but it hints at an alternative meaning: when the book was first published in 1516, it included a short poem claiming that the better world More described really was “Eutopie”, a “happy place”. It’s a paradox and a pun, playing on the British inability to distinguish between the pronunciation of the two terms, and it suggests that something’s not quite right. (The word “dystopia” seems to be a much later invention.) Is this paradise, whichever name you give it, unobtainable? That’s assuming the place really is meant to be a paradise in the first place.

[The] description of Utopia has meant different things to different readers. In the 19th century, it could be drawn on as a prototype for Communism. A historian interested in the Tudor period could draw satirical lines between Utopia and the disorderly London that More knew all too well in his capacity as one of the city’s undersheriffs (he once had to face down a rioting mob). A good Roman Catholic familiar with him primarily as Saint Thomas More (he was canonized in 1935) could point out how divorce, married priests and euthanasia might not fit that easily with their beliefs.

All of these approaches ought to make us question what we think is going on in the book, just as More’s contemporaries and fellow humanists were invited to do… there is also a fine tradition of Utopias going terribly wrong when people tried to put their ideals into practice… acting on a dream can sometimes land you in a nightmare.

Utopia, And Why It’s A Bad Idea:

Everyone who knows their political philosophy, knows that the main difference between conservatism and communism lies in utopianism – communism supports it, conservatism rejects it. The striving for utopia is old. No-one knows when it started, but the idea of the “perfect society on earth” has always had a strange appeal on humans. However, conservatives, being realists, reject utopianism: We don’t think we can great the perfect society. As a matter of fact, conservatives have always found utopianism – the idea that humans can turn the world into paradise – to be harmful…

Those who believe utopia to be possible are willing to do anything to achieve it.  Let that sink in. Doesn’t it kind of make sense? If it is possible to create a perfect world, then we should do whatever it takes to achieve it. It’s basic economics really: The bigger the reward, the more work you’ll be able to put in to earn that reward. You may be willing to work 1 hour for say $25, but if someone wants you to work 4 hours, you want $100. Now, what if the reward is infinite? What if someone offered you an INFINITE amount of money? How many hours would you be willing to work, and what would you (not) be willing to do, to get that? The entire cost-benefit analysis gets screwed up, as the benefit is so big it can’t be measured – it’s infinite. And that, dear readers, is what communism offers – or claims to offer. If you believe in the promises of communism, then you’ll be willing to sacrifice anything to reach the “worker’s paradise” that is promised. Anything.

And that is why communism leads to totalitarianism.  Think about it: Wouldn’t it be OK to restrict freedom of speech a little, if it led to paradise? Sure it would – I mean, you get paradise in return, of course it’s worth it. And wouldn’t it be OK to do away with a few dissenters, who might otherwise threaten the coming paradise society? Sure, can’t let them stand in the way. Oh, and what if you had to do away with a little bit of material wealth, just temporarily for a while, just so we can be happily ever after? No problem.

The focus on paradise allows the government to infringe on basic democratic rights – “just give up your rights and paradise will be just around the corner”.

Now suppose someone said “Give up your right to vote and the economy will grow 2 % faster”, or “Give up your right to vote and unemployment will be cut in half” – you probably wouldn’t agree to it. Why? Because now suddenly, the benefit isn’t infinite anymore – it’s measurable. Once goals become measurable, people become less willing to give up essential freedoms, and they begin to ponder other ways of reaching these measurable goals (maybe we could just cut down on regulation to reduce unemployment?). However, with immeasurable, infinite benefits, that isn’t nearly as easy. Utopianism is blinding. It makes us ignore our rights and instincts. Anything can be done in the name of paradise. Those on the far-left like to claim that the fact that every communist country that’s ever existed has been a dictatorship, is just a coincidence. Or that it’s a result of external factors. Or that those weren’t “real” communist countries. And, even among more moderate leftists, you will hear things like “communism was a good idea, applied badly”, or “the concept is good, the leaders were evil”. That to me shows that they just don’t get it – communism is not a good idea, because it assumes that every negative human trait (you know, those traits that makes paradise on earth an impossibility) was caused by capitalism and can be removed. It assumes that humans really have a perfect “core” that has been corrupted by a bad economic system. Therefore, all we need is a state that can remove these traits, and we will get a perfect world – a utopia. Now if this means re-education camps, sending dissidents to Siberia and just in general oppressing free thought – so be it. This flawed assumption – that humans are good – is what makes communism flawed. The totalitarian governments and genocides are just natural consequences.