Category Archives: Culture

Culture for the cultured and uncultured alike.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove, Bacon Time and Whores and Ale for the Rule Five links!

Now:  Have another look at the fruits of socialism.  Fair warning:  This will disgust you, especially if you, like me, are a parent.  Excerpt:

For his first three years of life, Izidor lived at the hospital.

The dark-eyed, black-haired boy, born June 20, 1980, had been abandoned when he was a few weeks old. The reason was obvious to anyone who bothered to look: His right leg was a bit deformed. After a bout of illness (probably polio), he had been tossed into a sea of abandoned infants in the Socialist Republic of Romania.

In films of the period documenting orphan care, you see nurses like assembly-line workers swaddling newborns out of a seemingly endless supply; with muscled arms and casual indifference, they sling each one onto a square of cloth, expertly knot it into a tidy package, and stick it at the end of a row of silent, worried-looking babies. The women don’t coo or sing to them.* You see the small faces trying to fathom what’s happening as their heads whip by during the wrapping maneuvers.

In his hospital, in the Southern Carpathian mountain town of Sighetu Marmaţiei, Izidor would have been fed by a bottle stuck into his mouth and propped against the bars of a crib. Well past the age when children in the outside world began tasting solid food and then feeding themselves, he and his age-mates remained on their backs, sucking from bottles with widened openings to allow the passage of a watery gruel. Without proper care or physical therapy, the baby’s leg muscles wasted. At 3, he was deemed “deficient” and transferred across town to a Cămin Spital Pentru Copii Deficienţi, a Home Hospital for Irrecoverable Children.

The cement fortress emitted no sounds of children playing, though as many as 500 lived inside at one time. It stood mournfully aloof from the cobblestone streets and sparkling river of the town where Elie Wiesel had been born, in 1928, and enjoyed a happy childhood before the Nazi deportations.

Go, then, and read the whole thing, detailing this child’s life in a system where the state proclaimed this (emphasis added by me):

To house a generation of unwanted or unaffordable children, Ceauşescu ordered the construction or conversion of hundreds of structures around the country. Signs displayed the slogan: the state can take better care of your child than you can.

We haven’t come to that in the United States yet, but we do have the various local teacher’s unions proclaiming that they can educate our kids better than we can, and Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I loudly claiming “it takes a village” to raise a child.  Well, it doesn’t; it takes a family to raise a child.  You can see the results of the other approach, taken to the extreme, in the linked article:  Neglected children, irreparably damaged adults.

These, True Believers, are the fruits of socialism:  An uncaring, all-powerful state that can’t even manage to show the most elementary human decencies to infants and children.  Not just in Romania, either; Stalin made Hitler look like a piker when it came to mass murder.  Mao and Pol Pot were in the running as well.

I don’t think there is any way to have an all-powerful state without reducing the populace to servitude.  Only liberty can keep people prosperous, happy and healthy.  Only when people are free to make their own decisions, live their own lives, care for their own families, and to use their own talents, resources and abilities to the fullest extent, can a nation be truly happy and prosperous.  And to achieve this, a nation has to be founded on the principles of inalienable human rights, with limited government strictly barred from interfering with those rights.

You know.  Like the United States once was.

Rule Five 1776 Friday V

For the past few weeks RealClearPublicAffairs has been running what they are calling the 1776 series.  I recommend reading them all.  Here’s the description:

The 1776 Series is a collection of original essays that explain the foundational themes of the American experience. Commissioned from distinguished historians and scholars, these essays contribute to the broader goal of the American Civics project: providing an education in the principles and practices that every patriotic citizen should know.

This week I’ll be providing some commentary on the final issue of this series, Self-Government, the American Way, by Will Morrisey.  Excerpts follow, with my comments:

After winning the independence they had declared in 1776, Americans had to prove that they could sustain self-government in peace. They’d governed themselves already, as colonists, but now the British government no longer protected them from the other European powers, and indeed remained a potential enemy of the new country. It’s easy for us today to wonder why American statesmen from Washington to Lincoln seemed obsessed with building and sustaining “the Union,” or why President Jefferson so readily bent his constitutional scruples to purchase Louisiana from Napoleon to extend it. But to Americans then, looking at maps of North America, seeing their republic surrounded by hostile empires and nations whose rulers viewed republicanism with fear and contempt, maintaining the Union meant survival—survival not just of their way of life but of their very lives.

It’s important to note that the formation of the American republic was an existential threat to kings, emperors, dictators and despots all over the world.  Not only was there now a nation with government by the people, of the people, for the people, it was a nation whose governing documents included strict prohibitions against its interfering with the fundamental natural rights of its citizens.

To understand American self-government, one should begin with the First Amendment to the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  These rights stand at the center of republicanism considered as an activity of self-government. They limit the power of Congress, the branch of the federal government charged with legislating. They prevent Congress from legislating republicanism out of existence.

As I’ve pointed out before in discussing other articles in this series, the first five words of the first amendment in the Bill of Rights is key and cannot be emphasized enough:

Congress Shall Make No Law.

No law, as I’ve said, means no damn law.  But during the Kung Flu crisis, that didn’t stop  state governors and local pols and bureaucrats from trying all manner of power grabs; many of those were challenged in court, many were protested with vigor by the citizens, but court cases take time.

Freedom of speech and of the press must not be prohibited—they cannot even be abridged by Congress. Here, we must know what the founding generation meant by such a formula: freedom of political speech and publishing. Slander, libel, and obscenity were universally banned by state and local law, and could potentially be banned by federal law, too. Republican government requires discussion and deliberation by the sovereign people. How else could citizens make their sovereignty effective? This is why the Preamble to the Constitution begins with “We, the People of the United States.”

Now, today, here’s the question:  Have we been successful, as citizens, in making our sovereignty effective?

I’d argue that today we can only say “somewhat.”

Congress routinely runs roughshod over the Bill of Rights.  The several states, maybe even more so.  During the earlier part of the Moo Goo Gai Panic, the Governor of New Jersey – the chief executive of one of the fifty states – replied to an interviewer that the Bill of Rights was “…above his pay grade.”  What an idiotic reply!  The Bill of Rights is not above anyone’s “pay grade,” it is a compendium of our natural rights with which no pol or bureaucrat at any level of government may legally interfere – a part of the Constitution which this stupid ass took an oath to support and defend!

The essay and the series concludes (emphasis added by me):

It remains for American citizens to live in the structure the Founders designed by respecting its features, a respect that can only be maintained by what one Founder called “a moral and religious people”—which is to say, a people who perpetuate the American effort at self-government in their private, civil, and political lives.

That last sentence, that’s the part that scares me.  More and more, I fear, more Americans are lured away from the “American effort at self-government” by the siren song of Free Shit, and more and more, the Bill of Rights is forgotten.

Animal’s Daily Municipal Meltdown News

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, Pirate’s Cove and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links!  Also, make sure to check out the latest in my Gold Standards series over at Glibertarians – this one discusses the great Winchester Model 52.

City Journal’s Michael Gibson chronicles the utter disaster that is San Francisco.  Excerpt:

Even before the current Covid-19 pandemic, San Francisco was a deeply troubled city. It ranks first in the nation in theft, burglary, vandalism, shoplifting, and other property crime. On average, about 60 cars get broken into each day. Diseases arising from poor sanitation—typhoid, typhus, hepatitis A—are reappearing at an alarming rate. Fentanyl goes for about $20 a pill on Market Street, and each year the city hands out 4.5 million needles, which you can find used and tossed out like cigarette butts in parks and around bus stops. The city’s department of public works deploys feces cleaners daily—a “poop patrol” to wash the filth from the sidewalks.

This is just a brief summary of the lack of hygiene and common decency. A reasonable person might declare an emergency, but in her first official act, Breed swore in Chesa Boudin, San Francisco’s new district attorney, before a packed house at the Herbst Theater. “Chesa, you have undertaken a remarkable challenge today,” said U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in a congratulatory video message. “I hope you reflect as a great beacon to many.” Boudin’s résumé boasts of a stint working directly for the late dictator Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, who turned a once-rich nation back to the dark ages. “We will not prosecute cases involving quality-of-life crimes,” Boudin promised during his campaign. He must have witnessed the success of that policy in Caracas, which was voted the world’s most dangerous city in 2018.

Even the sights and sounds of the city suggest a certain derangement. When the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system was first built in the 1970s, its designers failed to understand the acoustics between wheel, track, and tunnel. Since the nineteenth century, competent railroad engineers have known that a tapered, flanged wheel will handle turns better and generate less noise. For some reason, BART designers ignored this design in favor of a cylindrical wheel with a straight edge. Years of wear and tear have degraded the screech into a mad howl. According to a recent count by the San Francisco Chronicle, BART has lost nearly 10 million riders on nights and weekends because of the noise, grime, and lack of safety. It doesn’t help that it has also become a de facto shelter for drug addicts and the mentally ill.

The Old Man used to tell of visiting San Francisco briefly in 1945.  His one-day impression of that city was that it was a marvel, a booming metropolis, clean, shining and prosperous.  My Uncle George was stationed in the area in the early Fifties and spent a fair amount of free time mooching about the waterfront and in Chinatown, and spoke enthusiastically about what a great place the Bay Area was.

No longer.

Things were bad when I spent 2017 in the area, and the rot had spread as far as Silicon Valley, where bums sleep in the parks and along the trails and side streets are lined with parked RVs.  On our few ventures into the downtown area, we were treated to the sights, sounds and smells of Frisco’s bum, drug and feces-coated streets.  As Mr. Gibson points out, they have gone from bad to worse.

I’ve harped on this theme for some time now.  But it’s hard to watch what was one of America’s great cities descend into chaos; but holy crap, a DA who worked for Hugo Chavez?  That’s well past chaos and into enemy action.

It’s hard to find a good solution for San Francisco, where people keep voting in the lunatics running this asylum.  As Mencken pointed out, democracy is the idea that the people know what government they want and deserve to get it, good and hard.

San Francisco in particular and, honestly, California in general, seem determined to prove Mencken right.

Animal’s Daily Shooter’s Grill News

The Shooter’s Grill in Rifle, Colorado, is on my list of places to visit; while I’ve spent a fair amount of time mooching about in that general area, I somehow haven’t yet been there.  That has to change.  Now the Shooter’s Grill is open in defiance of a stay-closed order.  As of yesterday, they’re fighting to get their license back, as Garfield County is punishing them for their act of civil disobedience.  Now I want to visit them more.  Excerpt:

After a cease and desist letter, a temporary restraining order and being told by Garfield County Public Health not to serve customers on the premise, Shooters Grill owner Lauren Beobert decided to take it outside.

Dining, that is.

With most businesses continuing to adhere to public health orders from local and state governments and minimal vehicle traffic on Third Street Thursday morning, Boebert set up tables on the sidewalk and parking spaces outside of her downtown Rifle restaurant and began serving breakfast to customers.

“I’ve been patient, followed all of the proper channels, and provided service in a safe and responsible manner using the same guidelines as neighboring Mesa County restaurants. When that wasn’t good enough for our local officials, they issued a cease and desist,” Boebert said in a statement Thursday. “The fact remains that my staff needs their paychecks, so this morning I moved my tables out onto the city street and opened back up for business.”

State and local orders prohibit restaurants from offering food or beverages for on-premises consumption, as well as movement in and out of restaurants by the public until May 27.

That’s six days from today; we’ll see what happens.

It’s also important to note that the Shooter’s Grill owner, Lauren Boebert, is running for Congress.  We wish her luck; unseating Scott Tipton would be a considerable and long-awaited coup for the Colorado GOP, which has been in a circular firing squad since Governor Bill Owens left office.

From the linked story

I can’t see how the government’s actions here square with the Fifth Amendment:  No person shall… be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.  Business owners all across the country are being deprived of property in the sense that their businesses are being shuttered and their income cut off; there has been little if any “just compensation,” nor could government at all levels combine make “just compensation” for the billions of dollars lost by businesses like the Shooter’s Grill.

With no more time wasted camped in New Jersey, Mrs. Animal and I will have more weekend time in our own Colorado, and I will have more time to resume my role of being a semi-notorious local political gadfly and general pain in the ass to local pols.  One of the things we need to do is drive to Rifle (a three hour or so drive) and offer our support in person to the Shooter’s Grill – holstered revolvers and all.  I’m certain they will eventually re-open, and we’ll be there.

Political support in the form of bloviating on a blog is great, but support is best expressed in the form of currency.  So that’s what we’ll do.  We can’t vote for Mrs. Boebert for Congress, but we can support the Shooter’s Grill, and it’s past time we did so.

Rule Five 1776 Friday IV

For the past few weeks RealClearPublicAffairs has been running what they are calling the 1776 series.  I recommend reading them all.  Here’s the description:

The 1776 Series is a collection of original essays that explain the foundational themes of the American experience. Commissioned from distinguished historians and scholars, these essays contribute to the broader goal of the American Civics project: providing an education in the principles and practices that every patriotic citizen should know.

This week I’ll be providing some commentary on Civic and Moral Virtues, the American Way, by Will Morrisey.  Excerpts follow, with my comments:

In declaring their independence from Great Britain, Americans famously asserted their unalienable rights. Much less conspicuously, but no less tellingly, they listed ten moral responsibilities consonant with those rights.

In announcing their political separation, they begin by acknowledging a duty to observe “a decent respect for the opinions of mankind” by stating the causes for their decision. 1). “Decent” means fitting, appropriate; the opinions of mankind are fittingly respected because human beings possess the capacity for sociality, for understanding one another, for giving reasons for their conduct. Any important public action entails the responsibility to explain oneself, to justify that action before the bar of reasoning men and women.

To justify oneself, in turn, requires Americans to state their standard of justice. That standard is unalienable natural rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 2). Justice numbers among the four cardinal classical virtues, defined and elaborated by Plato, Cicero, and other philosophers well known to the Declaration’s signers. Just conduct consists of actions defending natural rights in a civil society; to assert those rights, to separate oneself from those who would violate them, logically entails respecting those rights in all other persons, inasmuch as “all men are created equal,” all equally entitled to enjoy their natural rights undisturbed by tyrants.

Justice should indeed ranked high, if not first, among moral virtues; the concepts of individual rights, liberty and property are impossible to maintain without it.  Here:

Governments that secure such rights are established by the consent of the governed. This means that consent cannot mean mere assent or willingness. It can only mean reasoned assent. 3). Reasoned assent to natural right implies a modest degree of another classical virtue, wisdom. In this case, it is what Aristotle calls “theoretical” wisdom, understanding general or abstract principles. Americans recognize their duty to understand what human nature is—not only the nature of Americans, or the English, or the French, but of human beings as such.

And in this lies my concern.

Look at the last few election cycles – for Congress or for any of your local elections – and ask yourself, seriously, given the tenure of the campaign ads and the rhetoric of the candidates, how “wise” the voters these people are aiming at really are.

It’s not just the endless boasting of how much Free Shit the candidates will give away.  Most of the voters couldn’t find the First or Fourth Amendments with written instructions, partly because the basic education system has degraded into a series of leftist indoctrination seminars, our popular entertainment is composed of gladiatorial games and an endless parade of morons posing as “reality” programming.  One can hardly expect wisdom from a population when a plurality of that population is more concerned with who one of the Kardashians is fucking in any given week than what their Congressman is doing to our wallets that week in the Imperial City.

Is there hope for us?  Well, I’m inclined to think so:

The fourth classical virtue is courage. Without it, wisdom, justice, and moderation by themselves will leave you high and dry. As a baseball manager once said of a rival, “Nice guys finish last.” Accordingly, Americans announce their intention to defend their rights with “manly firmness.” It should be noted that manliness in their minds had no “gender.” Abigail Adams was no less “manly” in her firmness than her husband, John. He knew that and said it. Looking back on the American Revolution, he wrote that those were times that tried women’s souls as well as those of men, and that American women had exhibited no less courage than their husbands and sons.

I think we still have courage, as a people.  I recall President Reagan’s speech about “The Boys of Pointe du Hoc,” and I also recall some talking head interviewing a journalist who had been embedded with some of our troops in Iraq in 2003.  The talk-droid referenced that speech by President Reagan, (correctly) lauded the courage of those men that stormed the beaches of Normandy, and asked the journalist “…where are young men like that today?  Are there any?”

“Yes,” the journalist replied.  “We have many of them, and a lot of them are there, today, in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

And that’s what might just save us as a people.  It won’t be the professional grievance-mongers, the race hustlers, the permanently “offended” that make America work – not ever.  It’s the courage and moral fortitude of the regular workers and business-people of America who, once the autistic screeching of the previous types has finally tapered off, will spit on their hands and get on with the job.

That’s courage, True Believers.  The courage to keep on.

Read the whole article, of course.  It’s worth the time.  It’s about us.

Rule Five 1776 Friday III

For the past few weeks RealClearPublicAffairs has been running what they are calling the 1776 series.  I recommend reading them all.  Here’s the description:

The 1776 Series is a collection of original essays that explain the foundational themes of the American experience. Commissioned from distinguished historians and scholars, these essays contribute to the broader goal of the American Civics project: providing an education in the principles and practices that every patriotic citizen should know.

This week I’ll be providing some commentary that some of you may differ with (hardly the first time I’ve done that!) as this week we’ll look at Religion and the Moral Foundations of American Democracy by Carson Holloway.  Full disclosure:  I’m an atheist.  Selected excerpts, with my comments:

According to social scientists, traditional religiosity is in decline in contemporary America. Fewer Americans identify as members of long-established churches. Fewer Americans attend religious services on a weekly basis than in generations past.

This is certainly true, and not just in America, but over the developed Western world in general.  Is it a bad thing?  Well, as an areligious person myself, I can only give a qualified answer:  “That depends.”  But let’s move on.

Some Americans view these developments in purely empirical terms, as evidence of a changing culture. Others, critics of traditional religion, take the decline of American religion as a desirable trend, a sign of liberation from outmoded beliefs and irrational superstitions unsuitable to a modern, rational age.

While I am not an evangelical atheist – I never have harbored any notion that I was smart enough to tell anyone else how to live – I do tend to agree with that latter statement.  But here’s where this essay, to my mind, wanders off course:

Neither of these assessments, however, is consistent with the mainstream American political tradition. That tradition views religion not as a private concern, the decline of which would be a mere sociological curiosity, nor as a relic of an unenlightened past with which the contemporary world can happily dispense. Instead, it regards religion as an essential element of America’s political culture. According to this venerable understanding, the American regime cannot attain its ends—that is to say, America cannot truly be America—in the absence of widespread religious belief and practice among its citizens.

Look at that last sentence:

According to this venerable understanding, the American regime cannot attain its ends—that is to say, America cannot truly be America—in the absence of widespread religious belief and practice among its citizens.

I don’t think this is the case.

This essay seems to operate on a pro forma assumption that religion is the only possible basis for morality.  That’s a canard.   From an essay of my own from some time back:

Speaking for myself – and I presume to speak only for myself, in itself a moral decision – I do not need a higher power to tell me what the right way is to behave.  I already know the difference between right and wrong.  I live a moral life not because someone or something else requires me to, but because I choose to do so, because it is the right thing to do.  I have distinct ideas on how a moral person should comport themselves in a free, moral society.  Moreover, I have very distinct ideas on how human society should conduct itself, morally.  How do I define right and wrong?  Conducting yourself in a moral manner is right.  Conducting yourself against accepted codes of moral behavior is wrong.

On what things do I, as a moral person, base my morality?  I base morality on that highest of human conditions, the only one that truly reflects the concept of natural rights:  Liberty.  I base morality on the fundamental right to the fruits of one’s own effort:  Property.

Holloway continues:  We may be tempted to look complacently on the decline of American religion, thinking that rights and freedom are modern and desirable, while religion is a burdensome relic of the past. The American Founders, however, and the political tradition they initiated, would warn us that such thinking is mistaken. Religion supports the morality necessary to a free society—and so, as Washington taught, we have both patriotic and pious motives to encourage religious belief and practice. As Alexis de Tocqueville, a friend and friendly critic of American democracy, wrote in 1835, “Despotism can do without faith, but liberty cannot. . . . And what is to be done with a people that is its own master, if it is not obedient to God?”  

What de Tocqueville (who I generally find inspiring and have quoted regularly) is engaging in here is an ipse dixit (“he said it himself”) assertion of fact without evidence.  It is perfectly possible and, I would say, preferable, to have a moral society based on nothing more than a universal acceptance of the two principles I have listed above:  Liberty and Property.

Now, with that said, atheist I have been and will remain, but you will find no stauncher defender of freedom of conscience than I.  It is an inextricable part of the principle of liberty; you cannot have freedom without freedom of conscience, which includes your freedom to believe and my freedom to not believe.

That is something, I think, that the author overlooked.

Animal’s Daily Country News

Make sure to check the latest in the Allamakee County Chronicles over at Glibertarians!

Let’s lighten things up a little today.  We haven’t had a culture post in a while, after all.

Mrs. Animal and I appreciate us some country music, as do lots of folks.  So, without further ado, here’s my pick for the top five country performers (individuals as opposed to groups; I’ll do that another day) that are alive and performing today.  Note:  These are not based on any charts, album sales, concert figures or anything but my own preference.  Discussion encouraged.

#5:  Aaron Lewis.  Particularly his song Northern Redneck, which speaks a lot to my own upbringing in the wooded hills of Allamakee County.

#4:  Sara Evans.  Sara combines an amazing voice, a knack for performing, stunning looks and a sunburst smile.  She’s easily one of the best women performers in country not only today, but ever.

#3:  Hank Williams, Jr.  Bocephus has it in the blood, of course, but his freewheeling roughneck style is his own; he’s not just cashing in on his father’s fame.  His famous A Country Boy Can Survive is speaking to a lot of folks right now.

#2:   Reba McEntire.  Listen to Reba sing, and you just really can’t add anything more.  There are plenty of women in country with great voices, including my entry here at #4, but Reba is in a class by herself.  The lady has some serious pipes.

#1:  George Strait.  George is the King of Country.  He’s America’s troubadour.  There isn’t anyone else who combines the voice, the delivery, and the choice of ballads.  Strait is a balladeer without peer, and the song Run is one of his best.

Chime in, True Believers!

Rule Five 1776 Friday II

For the past few weeks RealClearPublicAffairs has been running what they are calling the 1776 series.  I recommend reading them all.  Here’s the description:

The 1776 Series is a collection of original essays that explain the foundational themes of the American experience. Commissioned from distinguished historians and scholars, these essays contribute to the broader goal of the American Civics project: providing an education in the principles and practices that every patriotic citizen should know.

This week’s discussion centers on the second essay:  Lincoln, the American Founding, and the Moral Foundations of a Free Society, by Lucas Morel.  Selected excerpts, with my comments:

Abraham Lincoln believed that the success of American self-government required the right ideas and the right institutions. He thought that the right ideas were found in the Declaration of Independence—specifically, human equality, individual rights, government by consent of the governed, and the right of revolution. A corollary to these bedrock principles was “the right to rise,” which Lincoln described as the duty “to improve one’s condition.” These ideas of the Declaration were so fundamental that Lincoln referred to “the principles of Jefferson” as “the definitions and axioms of free society” and “the father of all moral principle” in the American people.

Note that Lincoln, according to Morel, saw America’s promise was that every citizen have “the right to rise.”  But to whom, in Lincoln’s day, did that right apply?  Among some of Lincoln’s contemporaries, the answer was clearly not everyone:

Lincoln’s chief rival, Democratic Senator Stephen A. Douglas of the state of Illinois, also claimed the mantle of the Founders for his policies. Douglas championed what he called “popular sovereignty,” a policy of congressional non-interference with slavery in the territories and states. “I go for maintaining the confederation of the sovereign States under the Constitution, as our fathers made it,” Douglas pronounced, “leaving each State at liberty to manage its own affairs and own internal institutions.” Illinois had decided not to enslave blacks but did not permit them to vote. Douglas was proud of his state’s decision but equally supportive of other states in their exclusive right to regulate the actions of what he called “inferior races,” whether it meant allowing black people to vote up North or enslaving them down South.

And on the other side:

The abolitionist editor of The Liberator, (William Lloyd) Garrison called for immediate, mass emancipation with inflammatory rhetoric that targeted the apathy of white northerners. “I have need to be all on fire,” he explained, “for I have mountains of ice about me to melt.” In addition to condemning southern slaveholders, he harangued northern citizens, whom he claimed were enabling southern slaveholding by upholding a constitution that compromised with slavery. He put the point plainly on the masthead of his newspaper, which declared, “No Union with Slaveholders.” He deplored the Constitution, with its requirement that fugitive slaves be returned to their legal masters. “The crime of oppression is national,” he intoned, “the south is only the agent in this guilty traffic.” One Fourth of July, he even burned a copy of the Constitution, punctuating the moment with the cry, “So perish all compromises with tyranny.”

Garrison sounds like he could be an AntiProfa protestor today; unlike the Profa morons, he was on the right side of the argument, but like them, his presentation of his cause did the abolitionist movement inestimable harm.  But back to Lincoln, here’s the onion:

Lincoln understood more deeply than any American since the Founding that America’s political development centered on the belief that might does not dictate right.

Did he, though?

Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus by Presidential dictate.  He jailed journalists.  Granted he held the Union together almost by force of personal will during the most critical time in the history of our republic, but he did things that would have a President today run out of the Imperial city on a rail.

In the face of these defective alternatives, Lincoln concluded his private note with the exhortation that Americans should “act, that neither picture, or apple, shall ever be blurred, or bruised or broken.” By connecting the principle of human equality to the mechanisms of the Constitution and American union, Lincoln showed the necessity of political might to promote the common good and not just the self-interest of the many. In the end, to enjoy the exercise of what Americans possess in common required a measure of restraint. Lincoln was a consistent defender of acting within limits. He reminded the American people of their fundamental expression of that self-limitation—the Constitution.

Take a close look at that paragraph.  It states that “…Lincoln showed the necessity of political might to promote the common good and not just the self-interest of the many…” and in the next breath, that “In the end, to enjoy the exercise of what Americans possess in common required a measure of restraint. Lincoln was a consistent defender of acting within limits. He reminded the American people of their fundamental expression of that self-limitation—the Constitution.”

I’d argue that the second half of that is incompatible with the first.  If the government is to be restrained – as it should be, strictly – then it can not be allowed to “promote” the common good or the self-interest of many.  It should concern itself with a very few, strictly defined distributed interests – some level of infrastructure, the military, foreign relations and so on – and otherwise keep the hell out of the citizenry’s way.  The vast majority of us, incentivized to do so, can take care of our own damn self-interest.

Lincoln was certainly a man of parts.  Read the entire essay, of course, as I’ve only given a few contentious thumbnails here.  But while, yes, he did managed to see the country through the darkest time in its history, he also oversaw the first steps from the United States becoming a Constitutionally limited republic of states to the Imperial colossus it is today.

Animal’s Daily Lively Longevity News

There’s a lot to like about Japan.

Be sure to check out the latest of my Profiles in Toxic Masculinity series over at Glibertarians!

Speaking as someone with more experience with Japanese culture and customs than most post-WW2 Americans, I have often said we could learn a thing or two from Japan.  How to enjoy the elder years is apparently one of those things.  Excerpt:

We are quick to attribute good eating habits and exercise as keys to ageing gracefully. But what about the question of never losing the competitive spirit? A healthy rivalry, whether against a near-aged competitor or your younger self, combined with the hope of achievement, seem to play an important part.

Certainly that’s the case for Yuichiro Miura.

At 86, alpinist and professional skier Miura, is another senior citizen who has celebrity-like status both in and out of Japan. In his 40s he attempted to ski down Mount Everest with a parachute on his back, a practice known as speed riding, to decelerate his descent. His feat was documented in the film “The man who skied down Everest”, which won an Academy Award for best documentary in 1975.

At 70 years old, he returned to Everest and became the oldest person in the world to summit. That record was broken when Miura again made the climb at 75, and then again at the age of 80. In early 2019, Miura attempted to climb, then ski down Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America. At Plaza Colera located around 6,000m above sea level, Miura was ordered to stop by his doctor, who had accompanied him, due to concerns about the risk of heart failure triggered by the high altitude. Once back in Japan, Miura explained during a press conference that he decided to accept the doctor’s orders because he still hopes for another attempt. He is now working towards his goal to summit Everest again at 90.

The whole thing reminds me of the Old Man, who enjoyed vigorous activity and stayed healthy and active until only days before his passing at age 94.  He maintained sixty acres of timber into his eighties.  His last year on that place, at age 85, he cut, split and stacked five cords of firewood, by himself.

I love Japan.

It seems pretty obvious that plenty of activity, and activity you enjoy to boot, is good for a long life.  It’s important to have fun, and I’m trying to live up to that; I’d much rather get my exercise walking in the woods than walking on a treadmill, and sometimes I get in some fishing or bird hunting into the bargain.

The best life is the one you enjoy.  If you enjoy yourself and keep busy, then it stands to reason that would be good for your health – physical and emotional.  That is the pattern the Japanese folks described in this article follow.  That’s what I try to do.  You should too.