Category Archives: Deep Thoughts

Deep thoughts, omphaloskepsis, and other random musings.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Some random links to stuff I found interesting over the last day or so:

Robert Stacy McCain skewers the Southern Poverty Law Center.  Not that they don’t need skewering – they do, every day and twice on Sunday.

Bill de Blasio is an idiot.

Jerry Nadler is an idiot.

Joe Biden is possibly senile, and an idiot.

Rahm Emanuel finds an acorn.  Rahm went on record saying that “Medicare for all” is a losing campaign issue for Dems – and you know, he’s not wrong.

Baltimore continues to deteriorate.  No surprises.

Mad Dog Mattis slaps down MSNBC.  Eh heh heh heh.

All is not well in Palin-land.  Having been divorced myself, all I can say is no matter the reason, that’s never an easy decision for anyone.

Illegal immigrant apprehensions at the southern border are way down.  Now, who was it that has been making immigration policy lately?

Meanwhile, the “migrants” find other destinations.  Go figure.

Our good friend Jillian Becker weighs in on recycling.

Violence for Thee But Not for Me.  Excerpt:

The domestic rise of various violent groups is a symptom of ideology taking precedence over authentic and rational thought. A recent example of this rather disturbing trend was the attack on the journalist Andy Ngo. Ngo was reporting from Portland, Oregon on a series of protests and counter-protests in the city when he was accosted and attacked by a far-left group, Antifa (which has been responsible for many acts of violence at other events). Ngo sustained injuries to the head, which landed him in a hospital. 

Go read.

Just because, here is some windy Rule Five imagery from the archives.

On that breezy note, we return you to your Wednesday, already in progress.

Rule Five Cato’s Letters Friday

I’ve been re-reading Cato’s Letters, or Essays on Liberty Civil and Religious and Other Important Subjects (Complete), a series of essays  published by “The Library of Alexandria” and compiled by two characters using the nom de plumes John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon.  The essays were first published from 1720 to 1723 and formed a strong influence on the thinking of many of our Founding Fathers.

Named for the famous Roman statesman Marcus Porcius Cato, he of the staunch republican opinions, the notorious Stoic who opposed the tyranny of Caesar unto his last breath, the Letters are a pioneering set of statements in favor of the principles of liberty, and of limits on and accountability of government.

From Wikipedia:  The Letters are considered a seminal work in the tradition of the Commonwealth men. The 144 essays were published originally in the London Journal, later in the British Journal, condemning corruption and lack of morality within the British political system and warning against tyranny.

I can’t recommend this work strongly enough.  A statement you’ll see just over to the right, one of the two founding sentiments of this blog, is from the Letters:  Nisi forte non de serveitute, sed de conditione serviendi, recusandum est a nobis or, in English, “We do not dispute about the qualifications of a master, for we will have no master.”

Damn right.

A few interesting excerpts follow.

From No. 11, The Justice and Necessity of punishing great Crimes, though committed against no subsisting Law of the State. 

Laws, for the most part, do not make crimes, but suit and adapt punishments to such actions as all mankind knew to be crimes before. And though national governments should never enact any positive laws, never annex particular penalties to known offences; yet they would have a right, and it would be their duty to punish those offences according to their best discretion; much more so, if the crimes committed are so great, that no human wisdom could foresee that any man could be wicked and desperate enough to commit them.

In other words, one of the few legitimate roles of government is protecting citizens from being deprived of their property by force or by fraud; but, should government fail in that task, the citizen has a moral right to redress by other means.

From No. 15, Of Freedom of Speech:  That the same is inseparable from publick Liberty.

Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as publick liberty, without freedom of speech: Which is the right of every man, as far as by it he does not hurt and control the right of another; and this is the only check which it ought to suffer, the only bounds which it ought to know.

The only limits to freedom of speech, then, are that one may not cause physical or financial harm to another.  Thus incitements to violence are not protected, nor is slander or libel.  But “hate speech,” by which term many today choose to define as “speech I don’t agree with” not only is protected, but must be protected, else the very concept of freedom of speech is meaningless.

From No. 33, Cautions against the natural Encroachments of Power.

It is nothing strange, that men, who think themselves unaccountable, should act unaccountably, and that all men would be unaccountable if they could: Even those who have done nothing to displease, do not know but some time or other they may; and no man cares to be at the entire mercy of another. Hence it is, that if every man had his will, all men would exercise dominion, and no man would suffer it. It is therefore owing more to the necessities of men, than to their inclinations, that they have put themselves at last that he might do what he would, he let loose his appetite for blood, and committed such mighty, such monstrous, such unnatural slaughters and outrages, as none but a heart bent on the study of cruelty could have devised.

To simplify:  Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

It’s important to remember the context of the times in which these essays were written.  The early 18th century was a time when slavery was broadly accepted, when pirates were hanged without trials, when women were excluded from government altogether.  But the Letters are nonetheless an opening shot in the battle which continues today, here in the United States, where encroachments on liberty are daily proposed.

Go, then, and read these works.  You can get a free Kindle app for a PC and the Kindle version (linked above) is only four bucks.  You could hardly find a better way to spend four bucks.

Animal’s Daily Random Notes News

Be sure to check out my latest at Glibertarians, Profiles in Toxic Masculinity IV: Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis.

Some random notes from this (early) morning’s news crawl:

This just in from the New York Times – bedbugs.  It would be funny if it wasn’t so ironic.

There’s a new Star Wars Episode something-or-other trailer.  I’m not sure what to think.  Check it out for yourself:

Robert Stacy McCain’s linkage compiler and our good friend Wombat-socho has some thoughts on protecting the conservative and libertarian blogosphere.

Duck.

Duck.

Goose.

Crazy Eyes opines on the Electoral College, once more proving Abraham Lincoln’s thesis that “…it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”

Remind me again, who is the party of peace and tolerance?

Not my monkey, not my zoo.

Not my pig, not my farm.

America’s poor:  Some of the richest people in human history.

The two young ladies pictured below have nothing to do with any of the stories above.  Their appearance here is purely gratuitous.

On that watery note, we return you to your Tuesday, already in progress.

Animal’s Daily Bad Advice News

Check out my latest article on Glibertarians, Guns For The Country Home. 

Moving right along:  These days, you can count on the New York Times to dispense horseshit, and that’s too bad, coming from a publication that used to be known as the “paper of record.”  Here’s a piece from their “advice” column.  Excerpt:

My 12-year-old daughter had a sticker on her water bottle with a quote from Dr. Seuss: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” A classmate told her the sticker was racist because many people can’t choose what they want to do because of structural racism. My daughter peeled off the sticker and threw it away. When she told me about it, I was at a loss. I believe structural racism is real and pernicious, but I also think we should teach children that they have agency. And my daughter and I like the sticker’s message. Help!

Here’s the first paragraph of the Times’ response:

Twelve-year-olds are not famous for nuance. (Their greater claim may be making classmates feel bad about their water bottles.) But you are an adult. Start a conversation with your daughter that goes beyond slogans and stickers to a more thoughtful consideration of race.

What utter horseshit.

In the first place, I consider this a prime example of “I’ll take Shit That Never Happened for $500, Alex.”  I don’t believe this event ever actually took place.  Most of these “My X-year-old came to me the other day and asked why the United Nations aren’t doing more to reduce the developed world’s carbon emissions!” are fake.  Again, this is horseshit; kids just aren’t concerned with these things.

But that’s not the point I want to make.  Instead, here is what my response to this probably non-existent child would be:

“Here, honey, here is another sticker exactly like the one you tore off.  Put it back on your water bottle and leave it there.  Your friend is an idiot.  The message from Dr. Seuss is a great one, and applies to all children and adults of any color.  The truth is, there is no institutional racism in the United States.  We have a black man sitting on the Supreme Court alongside a Latina woman.  We recently had an Indian-American woman as our Ambassador to the UN.  We’ve had a black woman serve as Secretary of State.  We’ve even had a black man elected President of the United States – twice.  The very idea that the melanin content of one’s skin somehow defines their determination or their abilities is not only ridiculous, it is actually racist, by the strict definition of the word.  If your friend complains that she is being somehow held back by “racism,” tell her, “well, then, get out there and prove the racists wrong – millions of people have.”

But then, that message doesn’t fit the New York Time’s editorial agenda, does it?  Of course it doesn’t.  Too hopeful.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Here’s a really neat model of Imperial Rome, circa 4th century AD.  Excerpt:

Rome was not built in a day and the ‘most accurate’ model of Ancient Rome is testament to this as it took archaeologist Italo Gismondi 35 years to build.

The Plastico di Roma imperiale (model of imperial Rome) was actually commissioned by Mussolini in 1933 and is so realistic that a few shots of it were used in the film Gladiator.

The model can be viewed today in the Museum of Roman Civilisation in Rome, Italy.The Roman Empire began shortly after the founding of the Roman Republic in the 6th century BC and reigned for thousands of years until the fall of the last Western emperor in 476 AD

It is so useful because it helps a lot of academics visualise Rome to aid their studies and gives a lot more context to famous structures, like the Colosseum, which we are used to seeing as stand alone buildings.

Roman cities were laid out so efficiently that it can also teach us more and inspire us about infrastructure in modern society.

But here are a few things the article gets wrong:

The Roman Empire began shortly after the founding of the Roman Republic in the 6th century BC and reigned for thousands of years until the fall of the last Western emperor in 476 AD.

From the 6th century BC until 27 BC, when Julius Caesar’s adopted son Octavian became effectively the first Emperor, is hardly “shortly after.”  And even then, Octavian, later Caesar Augustus, never called himself Emperor, only princeps, or First Citizen.

It evolved from a monarchy to a democratic republic and finally to a military dictatorship.

Rome was never a “democratic” republic.  While it did claim republican principles, in fact, the Roman Senate was selected from the nobility; the common people had very little say in affairs of state.

One of the most well-known Roman emperors is Julius Caesar, famously assassinated in 44BC, who is largely credited for his military mind and laying the foundations for the Roman Empire.

Caesar was never emperor.  He never used the title himself and never was referred to as such by his contemporaries.  He was Dictator, a position spelled out in and legal under Roman law.  While he was largely responsible for the fall of the Republic and the descent of Rome into tyranny, the title should not be applied to Julius Caesar.

But none of that should detract from the wonder that it took Italo Gismondi 35 years to build.  It was an amazing feat, this gifted man’s life’s work, and I’ve added it to my bucket list of items I must see when one day I visit Rome, that wellspring of Western civilization.

Animal’s Daily Random Notes News

A few random tidbits from the morning news crawl:

Duck

Duck

Goose!

Wild Canada geese are delicious if prepared properly.  Some Canadians are adamant in defense of the big birds, however (language alert):

I Was Wrong (and I Bet You Were Too.)  Not only is the world today a better place than lots of folks think it is; the article here is also a description of the value of skepticism in critical thinking.  It’s important to know when you’re wrong and adjust your thinking; I know that if I’m ever wrong, if that far-away, unlikely day ever comes, I’ll be the first to admit it.

Billionaire Democratic donor: Bernie Sanders is a ‘disaster zone.’  And so the autophagia begins.  (He’s not wrong, though.)

Kamala Harris has a sincerity problem.  So what?  So does pretty much every other member of Congress.

And here’s something that maybe Harris ought to read.  Excerpt:

Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) and America’s first black billionaire, praised President Donald Trump for the roaring economy and criticized Democrats for moving “too far left.”

“The party in my opinion, for me personally, has moved too far to the left,” Johnson told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble. “And for that reason, I don’t have a particular candidate (I’m supporting) in the party at this time. I think at the end of the day, if a Democrat is going to beat Trump, then that person, he or she, will have to move to the center and you can’t wait too long to do that.”

Oh, there is one candidate in the 2020 race who has the potential to unite Democrats – President Trump.  But given the show members of that party are putting on in their three-ring primary, I suspect that’s asking too much even of Donald J. Trump.

And on that note, we return you to your Thursday, already in progress.

Animal’s Daily Random Notes News

Some more random thoughts and tidbits from last night’s and this morning’s news crawls:

Eric Swalwell is an idiot.

Ilhan Omar is an idiot.

Alexandria “Crazy Eyes” Occasional Cortex is an idiot.

Mind you, in all three cases, I’m belaboring the obvious here.  But what the hell.

Food is not art.  I’m inclined to agree, seeing as to where it ends up.  I’ve eaten some damn fine meals in my day, but really, it’s all just fuel.  Back in my days in Uncle Sam’s service, we used to say about particularly useless troops that all they did was “suck up oxygen and turn food into shit.”  Well, no matter what the input…

Although most of reason I’m inclined to agree with this is because of the ridiculous celebrity worship of asshole prima donna “chefs.”  Fuck those guys.

A Nebraska school district plans to start randomly testing students for nicotine.  Fuck off, slavers!  And here’s the kicker:  In Nebraska, e-cigarettes are legal for users 18 and up, but lawmakers are trying to raise the age to 19.  Oh, for crying out loud.  More graduated age-of-majority horseshit.  More overbearing nanny-state government.  And in Nebraska, even.  What assholes.

You can’t beat this headline:  Horny Teacher Sentenced to Prison.

Nice.

Now imagine the reporting if the sexes of teacher and student were reversed.  The likely outcome is left as a thought exercise for the reader.

Her Imperial Majesty Hillary I, Dowager Empress of Chappaqua, just keeps piling up the security violations.  It would be nice to think that she might somehow, someday face some kind of consequences for this; most folks would be in Leavenworth by now, making big rocks into little rocks.  But we all know that petty laws don’t apply to the Clintons.

And on that rather discouraging note, we return you to your Thursday, already in progress.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove for the Rule Five links!

Here’s a fun little mental exercise.  Should dueling be legal?  I’m not talking about sparring on Twitter or in the comments section of some news story.  I’m talking honest to gosh, 18th century-style, pistols at ten paces dueling.

Dueling has been illegal everywhere in the United States, indeed in most of the Western world, since the early 19th century at least.  But let’s set aside our ingrained prejudices for a moment and ask ourselves, in a society that honestly and completely exists under the concept of liberty – should it be?

Let’s do a thought experiment.

Two men (or women, or one of each, whatever) have a serious disagreement, one which cannot be reconciled by any normal means.  Courts have been unable to arrive at a settlement acceptable to both.  Counsel has failed.  They are well and truly at loggerheads.

So both of them, as capable, competent, consenting adults, in full possession of their faculties, agree to pistols at sunrise to settle the dispute.  They meet in a field with their seconds, who oversee the loading of the pistols; they take their places, step away from each other on the count and, when indicated, turn and fire.  One is killed, the other emerges the victor.

I’d use these, just for the sake of tradition.

Now – answer me this – what crime has been committed?

Oh, yes, I know there is a statutory crime committed.  But has their been a moral crime?  Both parties went into the affair knowing that death was a likely outcome.  I’ve read that back when the code duello was more commonly practiced, it was considered the gentlemanly thing to do to just pink your opponent in the arm or leg and claim victory without fatality, but fatal injuries were a normal outcome; it even happened to one of the more famous of our Founding Fathers.

But even in the event of a fatality – what qualifies this as a crime?  Both parties agree.  Both parties know the likely outcome.  Both parties are, presumably, competent to make the decision.  If we are truly to be a society that values personal liberty, we must also be a society that allows people to face the likely consequences of that liberty.  Dueling may be an extreme example of that, but it’s no less a valid one.

So.  Should dueling be legalized?  I’m inclined to say yes.