Sunday, April 22, 2018

Trump Catches Flack for Potential Johnson Pardon

Jack Johnson in his prime
President Trump is getting flack from the left for considering a pardon of black boxing great Jack Johnson who was convicted of transporting a (white) woman across state lines for immoral purposes under the Mann Act. Although the law was created supposedly to stop forced sexual slavery of women, the phrase "immoral purpose" in the statute allowed an extremely broad application of the law. A later United States Supreme Court ruling in Caminetti v. United States (1917), held that "illicit fornication", even when consensual, constituted an "immoral purpose."* Johnson had beaten white opponents and even married a white woman, unforgivable sins in the Democrat South. So when he crossed a state line with a white woman, he was arrested and prosecuted. Johnson was convicted by an all-white jury in June 1913,** despite the fact that the incidents used to convict him took place before passage of the Mann Act., eventually serving time in Leavenworth. Several Republican congresses have sent bills to various presidents urging a pardon for Johnson, even after a movie about him came out. Even Democrats urged President Obama to pardon Johnson posthumously, but he refused. 

The ever-progressive New York Times at the time wrote this of a fight between Jack Johnson and a white opponent. "If the black man wins, thousands and thousands of his ignorant brothers will misinterpret his victory as justifying claims to much more than mere physical equality with their white neighbors."

Johnson was hardly a moral man or a terribly admirable man. He grew up in a mixed race community in Galveston, Texas where whites and blacks mingled freely. White moms gave him cookies and he failed to learn as a child that he was inferior to whites. This put him at odds with much of society during the Jim Crow era during which he regularly beat white opponents. Perhaps Trump should pardon him for that. It is, after all, difficult to accept being abused and looked down on because you believe you are as good as Democrats and white folk and refuse to step and fetch-it for "progressives" who think people of your color are racially inferior and need to be "taken care of" (See progressive movement founding father HG Wells' "History of the World").

Johnson's conviction was certainly racially motivated and I agree with Sylvester Stallone who has urged Donald Trump to pardon Johnson. The law was not kind to uppity black folk in those days and Johnson's pardon is long overdue. Someone should have done it a long time ago. It was a monstrous miscarriage of justice

© 2018 by Tom King

** "Cleveland Advocate 2 October 1920". Retrieved September 30, 2014.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Marching For Feelings

Lots of emotion. Very little substance!
Getting a wee bit tired of gushy articles praising the "emotional impact" of "March for Our Lives". This “spontaneous” march was little more than a heavily organized propaganda effort funded by Progressive political organizations who want to, as President Obama so delicately put it, "fundamentally change America,” as though the most civilized, wealthy and safe nation in the world needs to be made into something else. Like what? China? The Soviet Union? Cambodia? Vietnam? All those worker’s paradises built on lakes of blood?

These kids are given a microphone and coached to espouse a “solution” that, so far, has never solved the problem they want solved. These kids believe gun control will stop people shooting up schools. They cite places like Britain and Australia where massive gun confiscation ostensibly made things safer by reducing “gun deaths”. Mass killings and gun deaths are two different things. Will eliminating guns stop the killings is the better question. Let’s look at that shall we?” 

I've written two books on the subject, Give Guns a Chance (available on Amazon) and They Shoot Rednecks Don't They? (currently completing publication).  Great Britain's ban on guns in the 1920s is often cited as an example of how taking guns away from citizens makes them safer. That's deceptive. Britain’s gun confiscation was a thinly disguised effort by the upper classes to maintain control, because they feared a progressive socialist peasant revolution such as happened in Russia during the Great War. Several things happened as a result of the confiscation.
  • Gun deaths did decline slightly. 
  • Murder by other means like bludgeoning, strangulation, poisoning, stabbings, drowning, vehicular homicide, arson and bombing rose more than enough to cause the murder rate to continue rising more than making up for the decline in "gun-related deaths." 
  • Criminals lives were saved and their profession was made safer.
  • When the Nazis threatened to invade, the Home Guard was practically unarmed.
When Churchill made his brave speech about “fighting them on the beaches, fighting them on the landing grounds," he was bluffing.  After the speech, he reportedly turned to someone on the stage and said, “Of course we may have to fight them with broken beer bottles.” Had not America shipped millions of guns to the Home Guard (many donated by American private citizens), the nation would have been unarmed had the Nazi invasion come. About the only useful thing about Britain's gun ban is that mystery authors like Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle had to come up with more inventive ways to murder the characters in their novels. Criminals did likewise.

In Australia, the same sort of thing happened. Mass murders continued. Regular kinds of murders went on apace. The killers merely changed weapons and tactics. Mass murderers resorted to arson and bombing people when they wanted to pump up the death count up. In both places the actual murder and crime rates rose. The only class of people in that statistic whose death rate declined was that of criminals. Gun confiscation in both cases protected the lives of criminals while increasing the vulnerability of people to strong on weak crime like muggings, beatings, rape and strangulation.

During the Carter administration two studies were commissioned designed to show what kind of gun control best reduced crime. They chose two groups of reliable scientists who were liberal and supported gun control. To their horror Dr. James Wright’s study found that no gun law or combination of gun laws ever passed could be shown to reduce crime. To their horror he released the results of the study in a book titled Under the Gun.

A second study was also commissioned by the Carter Justice Department hoping, I suppose, for a more agreeable result. Florida State University criminologist, Gary Kleck, another self-described “doctrinaire liberal” conducted that study and found that two million crimes per year are foiled by citizens armed with privately owned guns. In most cases the guns were never fired. Kleck published Point Blank, a book that argued against the efficacy of the trademark gun legislation of the liberal left that had funded his research. The left was NOT happy!  Both studies showed in painful detail that gun control laws do not, in fact, reduce crime in any way that can be shown to prove a direct cause-to-effect link between gun control and crime rates. And yet these kids blithely claim that gun control will do precisely that.

Ultimately, these kids are tools in the hands of people who seek to disarm the citizens of the United States in order to make people "better" by writing laws. The assumption is that guns themselves are somehow, responsible for making people want to kill and that if you take away guns from everybody, and let the government protect us from bad guys, everyone will be safer. People believe this despite the government's notorious lack of zeal for enforcing those laws. But the kids believe the narrative. Gun laws will make them safer. The government will protect them if we just have the right laws.

Ironically, these are the same kids whose government failed them 39 times at the sheriff’s department, multiple times at the FBI, repeatedly at the school and by local authorities who failed to report the shooter’s previous history of violence so that his background check came out clean. There were plenty of laws on the books that could have protected these kids. The very people who are supposed to protect them failed massively and yet these are the guys they believe will somehow protect them from a determined killer who could just as easily have built a bomb or brought a couple of swords or a compound bow through the front door and done as much or more damage and death to his fellow students.
It wound up that the only protection they got was from people on the scene, not government. An unarmed football coach shielded kids with his own body as he tried to stop the shooter. He died in the process. A fellow student kept his head and held open a door under fire so his classmates could escape and was severely wounded for his courage. The government they want to be responsible for their protection, meanwhile, was waiting outside, guns drawn, but under orders from their commanders not to enter the building. Deputies had to listen to shots being fired inside knowing that kids were dying. That government failed them at every level.

And yet we are treated to a spectacle, organized and financed by progressive socialists who wish to disarm us all in order to safely create what CS Lewis describes as the “tyranny of omnipotent moral busybodies”.  This easy cure they devoutly believe in, despite the fact that the system they propose to adopt has failed everywhere it’s been carried out to its full power. In places where this system has been tried, like the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Venezuela where citizens were disarmed for their own safety in order to create worker’s paradises. The cost of those "paradises"?  Hundreds of millions of lives. 

The herd instinct is powerful in people and if you notice in the flood of articles being written in praise of "March for Our Lives", the appeal is not to reason and logic. Instead the articles talk about the good emotions and the sense of belonging to a great movement like all the really cool kids. The theme of marches like this is that somehow, if we just have the right laws, people will become “better.” To quote devout liberal Joss Whedon’s creation, Malcolm Reynolds from “Firefly”, “I do not hold to that…………I aim to misbehave!”

Liberals seem to be confused about guns, especially the leaders of this so-called grassroots movement. They buy into the feel good narrative, but down at the ground level the liberals know that for people who are not Jedi masters with their own light sabers, there’s nothing quite like a good blaster when you’re threatened by a corrupt government like the Empire or the Alliance………or by a criminal like Jabba the Hut.

….or Greedo.

If I’d been Han, I think I’d have shot first. He already knew where that conversation was going….

Just one man’s opinion.

© 2018 by Tom King
author of “Give Guns a Chance
Coming soon,  "They Shoot Rednecks Don't They?"

Monday, April 9, 2018

A Problem of Perspective

About The "Injustice" of God

They write songs and poems about it on the Goodread poetry group to which I belong. There are few professionals in the group. Mostly angst-ridden amateurs pouring out their pain and confusion into the digital ether hoping someone will feel sorry for them. Lots of poetical words. April's a favorite month, dawn or sunset the favorite time, misery a favorite subject, and God the favorite whipping boy.

One that was recently posted claimed that the Earth was so miserable a place to live that God must surely cease to exist if He ever existed at all. I was struck by how narrow is our perspective in all of this and how confused. I understand the pain so many of these would-be Lord Byrons. They look around them and see so much unhappiness, tragedy and woe that they can hardly stand it. They turn around looking for someone to blame because they have been taught that if there is unhappiness, there must surely be someone besides themselves to blame. And since God is supposed to be the Creator and Ruler of the Universe, who better to blame for the fact that you're miserable?

To do that, however, you need a completely myopic perspective for it to hold water. It's as if a tadpole looks round his puddle and cries out in anger against the rain that filled the puddle with water and provided him a place to live and breathe. There is much the tadpole doesn't know and if he doesn't think outside the puddle, he will become a most unhappy little frog.
  1. The tadpole does not understand that there actually is a world beyond his puddle. This might give him hope if he did, for if there is a universe beyond the edges of his puddle, then perhaps his destiny lies beyond the puddle. If he cannot comprehend that, then the puddle is all there is to life for him.
  2. The tadpole does not know purpose of the puddle. He does not understand that the purpose of the puddle is to provide him a place to grow. Without the puddle the most he would ever have been is a dried up egg lying dead and desiccated on the ground. 
  3. The tadpole does not realize that one day he will either grow into something greater than he is now or die a tadpole, his future unrealized. One day he will add legs and hands to his body and lungs that can breathe air. All of this growth will one day allow him to leave the pond and go out into the broader universe. He believes instead that the puddle is all there is.
Unlike tadpoles, humans have been given a gift essential to seeing beyond our puddle. We are given free will. There are reputable scientists who believe there is no such thing as free will. They don't believe there is a God either. Like the tadpoles, they are too narrowly focused on the puddle they live in. They look at the mechanisms of their own brains and discover how things work and how things can go wrong with the mind. They do not allow for anything to exist that is beyond their own comprehension. Like the frogs we dissect in high school biology, we seek the universe with a scalpel while dizzied by formaldehyde fumes.

God is in the details. I know the old maxim goes "The devil is in the details," but that only applies to contracts written by lawyers. You can see God in the minutiae if you allow yourself to connect with the infinite as you examine what is in your tiny puddle. The intricacies that give us life point to something greater than what we can see in our world. Is there pain and misery. Of course, and like children we want someone to make it stop right now..

The trouble is that at the same time we want the freedom to cause some of that pain and misery ourselves. If we think of children as our tadpoles and ourselves as children, it's not hard to see how we might have difficulty understanding how God can allow us to hurt ourselves the way we do. Because most of the pain and misery we experience in this puddle of a world is caused by us tadpoles ourselves. War, famine, pestilence, murder, poverty, all of these plagues upon our world are caused directly by us. We pick fights. We hoard food and do not share it. We choose to live in filth. We harbor anger and kill each other. We hoard wealth and do not deal fairly with our neighbors. We refuse to work and expect others to take care of us.

We even demand that there be no reference to God in our schools and our public life. We even forbid that private prayers  be offered where others can see them. Then we are shocked when God doesn't show up to prevent disasters, mass shootings and other tragedies? Really? Like spoiled children, we throw a fit when God gives us a pop quiz designed to teach us things we need if we are to become frogs instead of tadpoles.

My poetic friends only see that God is not giving us what we want and protecting us from our own foolishness. They demand that He prevent us from feeling any pain while at the same time demanding that He not interfere with how we behave. God tells us not to be faithful to one companion and we sleep around and then complain about the diseases that strike us when we do. We lie, cheat, and steal from our neighbors and wonder why others do the same to us and why God allows others to do it. We throw a tantrum when an accident caused by the carelessness of another human causes us hurt.

As it turns out, our anger at God seems to be more about why God doesn't meddle in our lives to make us comfortable and happy without actually meddling in our lives to prevent us from doing the very things that make us uncomfortable and unhappy. We want what is not possible. CS Lewis once pointed out that it is impossible for man to be perfectly happy without God because we are not made that way. In the same way a child cannot be happy without some sort of parent to keep him fed, watered, sheltered and disciplined. Feral children do not survive for long in the wild, no matter what the stories say. As it appear from the state of our world, things go badly everywhere we've gone feral, distancing ourselves from a God we cannot see because our vision does not extend beyond the edges of our puddle.

Grow up tadpoles. There is more beyond this Earthly puddle than is contained within the philosophies of those who cannot see beyond the puddles edges.

© 20018 by Tom King

Friday, April 6, 2018

Compassion or Promoting Slavery Lite

Saw this in the San Diego Union Tribune by one of its lefty cartoonists.And shame on him for promoting slavery. It's like I keep saying about Democrat leaders. These guys are still the party of slave labor after all these years. There was no great party switch in the 60s in which racists Democrats became racist Republicans. The party still likes to keep a few million workers on the plantations for the benefit of big Agriculture. They get paid a pittance so we can buy produce cheap produce and agricultural products and at the same time, the commercial ag companies can make bigger profits.

For that is what suggesting that we have to have illegal immigrants in order to harvest our crops is all about. This badly distorted policy in essence supports the exploitation of migrant workers as what is essentially cheap virtual slave labor. I've seen the colonias where the pickup trucks gather up ragged fathers and sons in the predawn light and carry them off to the fields for the day and home again in the failing light, For, you see, the growers and factory farms don't have to worry about paying illegals the "living wage" Dems say they are so fond of. Not only that but big agricultural operations, chicken processors, rose growers and commercial dairy farmers can treat undocumented migrant workers like crap and they won't complain for fear of being tossed out and reported to ICE. I saw it in the colonias of Texas and I see it in the illegal immigrant camps and miserable ghettos of California.

At least my home state is trying to cut off the flow of slave labor from the south. By doing that they force industries that exploit illegals to hire actual legal workers at living wages to do the work. Legal immigrants cannot be exploited in the same way because it is safe for them to report your Colonel Beauregard, plantation owning, upper class butt to the authorities.

There's a reason they can't get Americans to work those jobs. We expect not to be treated as slaves and to be paid decently.

We in America are free Massa Bob!

© 2018 by Tom King

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Youtube Shooter NOT a Conservative!

No name/no face to help make
this lunatic famous!
Well, it wasn't one of those nasty conservatives that Youtube has "demonetized" lately. It wasn't Prager U, Alonzo Rachel, Bill Whittle, Andrew Klavan, Ben Shapiro, Rush Limbaugh or Steven Crowder that shot the place up today. It was a woman of Eastern extraction who was a militant vegan whose Youtube channel had been demonetized by the social media giant.
She was apparently mad as hell and wasn't going to take it anymore. This person whose name I will not mention had been posting videos of animals being skinned alive on her Youtube channel while she made wild accusation against nation states like the U.S. that she claims does this stuff all the time. Youtube reacted to her success (she claims 300,000 hits per month), by cutting off the money and closing down the site. They left her personal site up, though. Long enough for her to say nasty things about Youtube. Police had found her sleeping in her car and called her father, who advised the cops she might be headed for Youtube headquarters.

As usual, the cops dropped the ball and she was able to stroll into the building armed to the teeth. You remember the cops. The ones we should give all our guns to so that we will be safe in gun-free zones like schools and Youtube's HQ. The shooter apparently ended her life standing in the middle of Youtube's courtyard screaming at the cops to come and get her. She got her wish. If she was looking to go out like Butch and Sundance, she definitely got her wish.

It seems that Youtube deems clips showing animal torture and mutilation right up there with videos by prominent politicians, academics and public figures covering such dangerous topics as the ten commandments, the morality of the Israeli Army and the Bill of Rights.
Youtube has suppressed both types of videos or at least kept them from the eyes of those under the age of 18 or at the very least kept anyone from making any money producing such videos.

In censoring videos and websites, the Google-Twitter-Youtube-Facebook Digital Complex would do well to be wary of militant vegans.

Just saying.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Fire At Will, Donald!


The Trump administration has come to resemble a shooting gallery a year into his first term.
Really is anybody surprised? The man's catch phrase on his TV show was "You're fired!" His blind supporters make excuses for the chaos. They excuse his embarrassing simple-minded tweets, and if you criticize him they jump all over you. I know the swamp draining process is going to be chaotic. Pundits like Bill Whittle point out that the most positive thing about Trump is his bull in a china shop approach to the DC establishment. Tear it all down, they say. We can always rebuild from the rubble.

Protecting the government from its own people may just be the smartest thing they could do.
Firing FBI and justice department officials caught protecting presidential candidates from the consequences of their own corruption is probably necessary. Look at how corrupt the FBI became after 8 years under a Democrat president. I just hope President Trump becomes enough of a conservative to clean that place out. We don't need another J. Edgar Hoover. We don't need law enforcement agencies that support the political agenda of the dominant political party or the president. 

We don't need a CIA that massages the data it delivers to the president - telling him what they think he ought to know and not what is really going on. That's what happened to President Bush his first year in office. Under Clinton CIA learned not to tell the president things he didn't want to hear. It explains why Bush didn't know what was happening prior to 9/11. I remember in 2001 having dinner with a CIA staffer. It was entertaining to listen to him screaming about how electing Bush was the worst thing ever. Well the reason CIA was upset about Bush was that they were all Democrats at the top and they were manipulating the daily security briefings to give the president what the CIA thought he ought to hear rather than the whole story. CIA officials, who came up under Bill Clinton, were furious that he was president and not Al Gore. So they focused on manipulating Bush instead of doing their job and as they'd done time and again during the Clinton administration, they missed all the red flags. Next thing we all knew, four airplanes were hijacked and crashed by terrorists with a death toll of 3000 Americans who paid for the political struggle in the American civil service during the early months of the Bush administration.

A lot of folks think that Trump will save us, but I'm not sure he'll do much more than blow things up.
Of course the first step to renovating a rotten building is often to blow it up and start over. We'll see. At least it's not Hillary Clinton at the helm. At least the economy is recovering and promises to keep doing so if Trump doesn't turn into a Democrat and ruin everything.

And yes he does these stupid tweets, but hey, he's talking effectively to the 50% of Americans with less than 100 IQs and he does it frighteningly well. That monumentally irritating habit of adjectivizing his opponents - lyin' Ted, leakin' Comey, Rocket Man, Crooked Hillary, etc.. It would be nice if he'd be a bit more sophisticated, but he can't. I don't think he knows any other way to get his way. Democrats have been aiming at the lower 50% for decades using simplistic phrases like "soak the rich", Democrats are for the poor, Republicans are mean, and that sort of thing.

So the heavy attacks by Democrats on Trump pretty much guarantee that he is going to keep on doing what works with the lower 50 and the rest of us be damned. He's not worried about us. He figures the rest of us can keep up. That's monumentally sad in some way, but probably the only way to poke holes in the swamp so that at least some of the sludge will leak out.

© 2018 by Tom King

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Unions, Parties and Killing Golden Geese

I have a friend who is a union man and we tend to get into some lovely conversations. I'm a conservative as you've probably figured out. Unions are pretty much NOT conservative and union men seem to take a particular delight in vilifying the president and the Republican Party, so sometimes the conversations get lively.

Let me make this clear. I feel about Unions the way I feel about Donald Trump. They both are doing some good, but sometimes they are their own worst enemies.  The idea of unions started out to be a good thing. The railroad union, in particular, to give it credit was able to work with the railroad companies to solve some of the problems of the economic transition that occurred in the twentieth century. The railroads were dying until finally the unions and the company figured out how to work together. That's how it should be done. 

But there are unions that don't do that. They ossify procedures, hiring and firing and pay rates. Unions can become so busy protecting specific jobs (and the Union income stream from dues) that the companies they work for keep folding. Hostess Bakeries was killed because their Union refused to budge. The union dug in its heels, the company couldn't adapt and folded. Retirement plans went away. So did a lot of jobs with the death of company and along with it, our supply of Twinkies and Hostess Cupcakes. Eventually someone else bought the brand but it was a near thing. 

Unions can do a lot of good, but too often in their blind hatred for the companies they work for, they kill the golden goose. I fault Unions for being so in the tank for Democrats. They do that because as in the case of Chrysler and then GM, the unions protect their turf so vigorously they frequently play a part in driving their companies to the brink. Let's face it, if a company can't make a decent profit, why should the continue to do business? Then when the company is on the brink, unions expect taxpayers to swoop in and bail them out, saving union jobs and failing companies. 

It's the same problem with environmentalists. These people want to somehow prevent the climate from changing. Unions want an unchanging job market. We are passing through climate changes as we always have. We are experiencinga titanic shift economically, as disrupting as the shift from a largely agrarian economy to an industrial economy. We are moving from an industrial to a tech-based information economy. Rather than preserve outmoded buggy whip manufacturing jobs, we need to be finding ways to adapt to the new reality.

The climate? Climates change. Get over it. We just have to deal with it. Clean up messes - absolutely. Stop polluting as far as possible. Of course. But do we have to create some vast centrally planned economy with an attendant huge army of bureaucrats to try and manage from Washington, a nation of 350 million individuals? That's absurd. The only way to do that is to simplify everything, stuff every peg, square, round or triangular into the same shape holes. That's why Marx was so in love with the idea of a homogeneous proletariat. If everybody (or at least most of us) were treated the same the theory was that they would be easier to manage for the leader class.

A nation of individuals is tough to make steady and predictable. Things change rapidly in a free market economy. Some businesses will close. Some will adapt. We're not asking mom and pop hardware stores to suddenly sell dresses because Walmart set up shot next door. But they can adapt  maybe sell hardware items that Walmart doesn't sell. They can offer higher levels of service that Wally World cannot offer because they have to sell such a huge volume of stuff.

In a time of upheaval, we have to change and adapt. In the past 200 years the world has changed in a profound way.  Two centuries ago we could be certain that, barring an attack by the nation next door and being carried off as slaves, for the most part however it was for your parents, it would be the same for you. After the huge scientific revolution of the 19th and 20th centuries, we came to believe that our lives would inevitably better than the lives of our parents.

It's ironic that the "progressive" movement that rose up seems to be attempting to reverse that course by making "progress" stand still. By insuring that everything from the jobs we work at to the very climate we live in stays the same, progressive behavior impedes progress. It's a losing battle. The world is changing and huge monolithic organizations and governments cannot possibly keep up. The reason America has thrived in this The future does not belong to those who learn something and then do that same something all their lives. That type of job is going away. The future will require us to learn how to learn, unlearn, and relearn something different. It will call for education that harks back to the old liberal arts education where we learn basic skills like math, writing, logic and computer skills and then layer on that first skill set you need to enter the workforce.

After that the worker has to stop worrying about fairness and start looking at what works to make that worker valuable to his employers. Here unions could play a role so long as they don't become the monolithic organizations, an image to the "beast" corporations they hate. If instead of propping up dying companies and industries we let the ones which try to kill themselves go ahead and die. We could spend that same money encouraging new companies to step in and start clean. We could train workers to do the new jobs using the new technologies and to meet the needs of a changing market.

The world is changing. There was a reason Chrysler was dying in the 80s and GM in the 00s. They probably should have. Someone or several someones could have bought the good parts and started clean. If the unions had been smart they'd have focused on working with newer, smarter, leaner companies. Sadly, too often the unions over time can become about accumulating power and fat budgets for the bosses instead of what they were about in the first place - a fair shake for workers on wages and safety. So when big bad corporations fall, unions probably should let them. Practically they never will.

There's a reason Detroit is rotting away.
If you keep an industry barely alive and never get beyond treading water, an industry will rot and along with it the community that depends on that industry. Can corporations become corrupt? You bet, especially when they hook up with corrupt government which protects them. If one could allow a partnership of workers and the markets to which their labors provide goods and services to work as free markets can, we could keep corporations in line. But corruption doesn't just happen in board rooms. It can be found top to bottom. It happens in board rooms, union halls and city halls.

When owners and workers finally realize they are both on the same team and we get over envying the wealth of people who risk everything to start these companies, we might just see a greater sharing of the wealth. There's a reason Ford wasn't involved in the bailouts of the automakers. Henry Ford started the 40 hour week and assembly line and took care of his workers in ways no other corporate magnate did. There were free market reasons why he did right by his workers. Oddly enough he was very popular with people like Hitler because he was a capitalist who was also something of a socialist. Fortunately, his focus on his employees and treating them well hung with the company for a long time and kept them from falling into that adversarial relationship despite Ford's folly in embracing socialism.

It's amazing to me that very wealthy people cannot do the decent thing for very long, before they look round and decide to hook up with the government to try to take some of the responsibility for being decent people off of themselves. This protects their wealth, but puts the lion's share of the tax burden on the middle class through confiscatory taxation. Back in the 50s, when the upper tax rate was like 70%, very few of the 1%ers actually paid that tax rate. The rich were famous for hiring staffs of tax attorneys who helped them navigate the loopholes that the Democrats they support put into the tax codes. In the 50s and 60s the fat cats were supposed to pay 70%, but very few paid anything near that rate and some paid almost no taxes at all. 

There is no simple solution so long as we have vast complicated piles of regulations, laws and rules that hide the true intent of the government from the governed. It's not just evil corporations, it's evil government bureaucracies.

think the devil's purpose is to keep us divided and fighting among ourselves. And what better way than to convince us to sling slogans at one another and lash ourselves to the mastheads of our ideologies. I used to do community organizing and it's so hard to get people to look beyond their pet ideologies and listen to each other. If you can, sometimes you can figure out how to fix the problem. Usually, people that figure out solutions that make sense just get pushed aside if they start talking sense that doesn't fit someone's ideology. Leaders on both sides of the ideological divide believe they need to keep the strife going in order to keep their jobs.

It's heartbreaking to watch the land that I love destroy itself from within. So it's good that Jesus is coming soon.

© 2018 by Tom King

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Would Regulating the Media Stop Mass Shootings?

Mass shootings should be illegal, except where
the population has been safely disarmed first..


A guy who commented on a Scientific American article complained that he didn't get enough of a "reaction" to his suggestion that we create laws to limit media coverage of mass shootings and suicides in order to reduce the number of mass shootings and suicide. To be fair, there is some research that seems to say that coverage of such events creates a kind of "contagion" that stimulates others to emulate the behavior. And it's true. Right after the recent Parkland High School shootings in Florida, police stopped four potential mass shootings and/or bombings aimed at high schools by disgruntled kids. The media pundrity's reaction was predictable. They covered the guns. They didn't cover the bombs. And they didn't give much time to the story if no one died. In the media, if it bleeds it leads they say.

In the wake of the Parkland High shootings, even the venerable "Scientific American" put up a pro gun control article entitled "Why are White Men Stockpiling Guns?" It was a blog to be sure but it lacked any pretense of being anything more than a politically motivated anti-white male hit piece with a lot of gun control and racist talking points. It made little effort to maintain the pretense that the article's conclusions were based on science. Some might object to my calling the article racist, since the racism was aimed at white guys. It could be considered sexist too as it absolved blame from women as well as non-whites placing the blame for gun fever directly on males. The blog was an incredible bit of white guy shaming for having been published in an ostensibly serious scientific journal. It basically intimates that white guys are (1) less intelligent (2) are fraidy cats and (3) racist and that's why they are stock-piling guns, a fact that should make you very afraid. That is to be expected. It's the progressive narrative after all. The guy who suggested muzzling the media is at least closer to a method of solving the problem than the traditional hand-fluttering gun control lobby.

The truly ironic thing about the guy suggesting that media were exploiting acts of violence to get attention was that his big complaint was that he wasn't getting enough attention for his comment, especially from the conservative right. He is, in point of fact, trying to get the same kind of attention he's complaining about the media getting. He utilizes a subtle kind of bullying hoping people will pay attention. Okay, he wanted a reaction from the right? Here I go, though not in the way that he'd probably hoped as it won't get him many likes on facebook or hits on his comments on Scientific American..

First off, mass shootings and suicides cannot be solved by making more laws. Both behaviors are already against the law. No one who commits a mass shooting or kills themselves cares what the law says about it. While I myself have railed against the media for encouraging copycat behavior with their nonstop coverage (i.e. glorification) of those who kill others and/or themselves, writing laws to prevent media coverage of these events will not solve the problem. At least it won't solve the problem without causing a whole bunch of those dreaded "unintended consequences" that central planners almost always cause when they try to create top-down solutions.

As soon as you begin to restrict the freedom of the press, you set in motion some very bad things. The rights retained by the people are not permitted to be infringed by the government. These rights are, according to the Constitution, rights we hold first and foremost. The government we formed is expressly forbidden to touch those inalienable rights. Touch one right and you set a precedent to infringing them all. Remember, lawyers and judges are very big on precedents.

Here's the deal. The US murder rate is dropping steadily in the United States (Except, of course, in stronghold Democrat Party run cities), but we are told we have a "gun problem" and need to "do something about it." In other words make some more laws. But the problem is not a legal problem. It's a cultural one, a social problem and even a religious problem.

In embracing progressivism's assumptions, we've wound up in a trap of our own making. While our attention-starved commentator is right, the media does exacerbate both suicides and mass shootings, if we as Americans (especially millennial-Americans didn't feel entitled to be catered to and paid attention to by our fellow citizens, we wouldn't feel the need to shoot them in large numbers. You could have said romantic poetry in the 17th century led to more suicides. It probably did. It's likely that Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet led to more teenage suicides. The Bard went a long way toward making suicide attractive to teenaged star-crossed lovers. 

That said, this would not have been so had the cultures of the time not embraced certain foolish ideas about the relative value of emotion over reason. The old Renaissance romanticism had a pernicious effect on culture. It made us too trustful of our own emotions and far too easily swayed by emotion-based propaganda. Emotion became a tool for adjusting the beliefs of the gullible ignoramuses that make up the unwashed masses - Marx's "proletariat". So now the propagandists are suggesting that gun control laws, which make us feel good and morally superior about ourselves for supporting them, will somehow solve the mass murder and suicide problem.

It won't!  The solution to reducing mass murders and suicides is not to change people's feelings but to restore a cultural that values reason
. Restoring reason to its former glory is something today's intellectuals really don't want to do though. Most of our post-modernist intelligentsia seem to firmly believe that cultural attitudes are going the right way. All is according to the progressive plan for re-inventing America. It is no surprise we've raised millions of youth to believe their feelings are of far more value than their reason. Obiwan Kenobi even told kids to "Trust your feelings, Luke!"

Perhaps if we could somehow address the cultural imperative that says your Facebook post needs to have a lot of likes lest your feelings be hurt, maybe kids wouldn't feel so deprived if they weren't the center of attention all the time. Perhaps if we created a culture where truth was valued above approval by your peers, where work yields rewards far better than just showing up for a participation trophy, then perhaps we might eventually get to the point where we have a media that values the truth above ratings.

Take the White Men story in Scientific American. The author makes this startling statement:

  • A white man is three times more likely to shoot himself than a black man—while the chances that a white man will be killed by a black man are extremely slight.
Okay, let's examine that. FBI data show that while 500 black-on-white killings and 229 white-on-black killings were reported in 2015, 2,574 homicides were committed by whites against other whites, and 2,380 by blacks against blacks. Somehow the author made it look like black-on-white killings were "extremely slight". And few of us will notice this pretty heavy shading of the truth. This is truly remarkable given that more than twice as many black men shoot white men as the other way round. The author leaves out the fact that these kill rates he dismisses as "extremely light" are not adjusted for the percentage of the population represented. Black men make up less than 8% of the US population. White men make up a good 31% and total white people more than 60% if you don't count Hispanics as white, which they kind of are.

So black men murder white men at a rate of more than two to one in actual numbers while being less than 1/4 as numerous in the population as white men. The narrative our kids are getting from the media, though is that white men are cowards (that's why they have guns in the first place), that they are slaughtering black people with their nasty guns and that they are pretty much more dangerous and more stupid than anyone else, especially if they own guns.

The truth is that it's the education system that needs to be "fixed", both at home and in schools. In CS Lewis' "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe", old Professor Kirk complains, "What are they teaching in schools these days?" Lewis himself pointed out the dangers of teaching young people that truth was about how they felt about it in his essay  "Men Without Chests". In looking at "modern" education Lewis complained that while the old system was a kind of propaganda, men teaching boys to be men. The new system is entirely propaganda, substituting a subjective standard of "whatever I feel about a thing" for objective reason. “Another little portion of the human heritage," says Lewis, "has been quietly taken from them (children) before they were old enough to understand.” 

If parents and educators will not teach children to think for themselves as individuals, if we role model slavish devotion to the herd in our own daily lives, we raise children to be lemmings and not American individuals. When that process becomes complete, the proletariat will become a tool for government to manipulate as it will. We will have exchanged one form of relatively ineffective mass murder for another form far more powerful and effective at slaughtering people in large numbers. Check the history of collectivist proletariats in just the past century. It's not a pretty picture. The rate of slaughter in these progressive collectivist states puts American school shooters and mass murderers in the shade. And I bet the Russians, Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodians and Venezuelans didn't think it could happen in their countries either.*

© 2018 by Tom King

* And by the way, in all those nations the media was regulated BEFORE the mass executions got to rolling along and usually after the citizenry had been disarmed.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Politics and Puppies

Be happy my progressive friends.*

Lately I've gotten tired of all the negativity on Facebook, especially around the discussion of politics.
So, I've been posting pictures of puppies on my timeline, hoping puppies doing happy puppy things would help to promote peace and harmony with my progressive friends. 
Well that didn't work.

Now one of my progressive friends has criticized me because of my puppy pictures**.
He says the puppies in the pictures I've posted probably come from puppy mills.


Man if a puppy can't make you happy, you must really must need to be miserable.

© 2018 by Tom King

*This puppy is a rescue dog named Daisy who blessed our home for six years. I miss her very much. She is certifiably NOT from a puppy mill.

**In all fairness to my friend we were in the middle of a fine old very political debate and neither of us were giving an inch. The snipe was in the neighborhood of an "Oh, yeah, so's your mother!" comeback. I don't blame him. Heat of the moment and all. It is very tempting in the middle of one of those heated debates to impugn your interlocutor's ancestry. I do my best to resist doing that, though - especially when there are puppies in the room.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

I Rise Again....To Criticize the President

© 2017 by "The State"
For a second time in a week I gladden the hearts of my liberal friends for a tiny fraction of a second by criticizing President Trump.  The good president it seems, is about to start an ill-advised trade war. His economic advisor, Gary Cohn, just quit over the president's threat to place heavy tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum.

Here's the problem. Tariff's are inevitably counter-productive. On this, both the left center and right center agree on.  Only fanatics on both fringes support tariffs as a tool of economic progress. Trump''s tariffs will focus initially on metals. The first impact tariffs on metals will have will be to raise the costs of cars, construction, airplanes, guns, and ammunition. Even soda and beer will go up because of the increase in the price of the cans they come in.

Trump seems intent on finding a way to lose the 2020 election. The inflation that tariffs will cause will effect most, his own base. Beer cars and guns are particularly popular products with Trump voters. This will gladden the hearts of Democrats and dismay conservatives.

Tariffs will manage to undo the positive effects of the tax cuts he accomplished in his first year in office. It's not hard to see why the President seems to like tariffs. Tariffs are punitive in nature and that is how Trump does business. He charges ahead like the proverbial bull in the proverbial China shop. He has always used the tactic of burying those who get in his way with lawsuits. It makes sense that Trump would attempt to make America great again by financially punishing his enemies.

What Trump doesn't understand that other countries do not necessarily play by the same rules as America. Sovereign nations may reciprocate the punishment and jack up tariffs on American goods being sold to them. Trade wars are inflationary. They punish the poor and middle class. A narrow class of industries and labor unions may benefit somewhat, but the flood of inflation and job loss in every other industry and community that is not in the narrow sector that will be blessed with rising profits due to tariffs.

Tariffs also place us at a disadvantage with the rest of the world. American goods will become more expensive not only due to the reciprocal tariffs being charged for them, but will also be more costly because of the increase in the cost of materials like steel and aluminum needed to make American goods like aircraft, cars and guns which we sell elsewhere. Thus, goods made in China, resources obtained in South America, Africa and the Middle East will still cost the same in Europe and Japan while American goods will become more costly. Only American goods will go up in price. Goods coming to the United States will go up in price. Not so in the rest of the world

The result of such tariffs will be that the United States alone will pay the price.  On the international stage, one cannot bully and punish your trade partners in the same way you can sue and run roughshod over your competition in business. There are no world governments you can bribe to give you preferential treatment. There are no world courts where you can file lawsuits against nations that want to compete for trade on a level international playing field with you internationally. Other nations can give as good as they get. They may be smaller, but they can live without you.

In trying to punish the Chinese, I fear Trump may well give the World Markets into the hands of China and win for ourselves another recession only this time with massive inflation as well. I can see negotiating with nations who charge punitive tariffs on American goods. Perhaps a quid pro quo might help there. Same tariff they charge, we charge. It would be a diplomatic tactic designed to achieve a level playing field for American goods. Tariffs should never be used to prop up an industry and labor force that's already in trouble and doesn't have the capacity to replace the goods and resources that we are targeting and making even more expensive with those tariffs.

This is one of the reasons I was reluctant to vote for Trump in the first place. Firmness with our allies and adversaries I do believe in, but we must not adopt all of Trump's business practices. Theodore Roosevelt called the presidency a "bully pulpit". He did not mean the term "bully" in quite the way it is used today. I hope Trump will remember that and courageously speak the truth from the bully pulpit. That, he has shown, to be a strength of his. I hope he will not also become an international bully. That, he has shown, to be a weakness of his.

Firm foreign policy such as protects American business from nations that force us to play on unfair playing fields is not what I'm talking about. Expecting fair treatment of our merchants is only right. Arbitrarily punishing all our trading partners is a mistake. Many nations depend on American markets to maintain often massive trade imbalances in their favor with us. A careful application of trade policies on a nation by nation basis could create for us trading partners who are partners indeed. Any nation that can be encouraged to trade with us on an equal footing, should be our fast friend. Any nation which seeks to take advantage of us, we should treat as they treat us.

Please, Mr. Trump, learn something from the brilliant men and women with whom you surround yourself. We need a new form of diplomacy; one that does not appease our enemies and ignore our friends, but rewards our friends and treats our enemies as the treat us. Americans would applaud the withdrawal of foreign aid from nations which commit human rights violations. Americans would cheer should Trump manage to create a fair trade agreement with nations that place prohibitive tariffs on American goods and yet expect favorable trade practices toward themselves.

Please Mr. Trump, negotiate with each nation individually on trade and then explain Americans what you have done. Don't just tell us China's trade practices are unfair.  Tell us in what way they are unfair and what you propose to do about it. Reward our friends. Refuse to bow to our enemies' wishes. If you tell us what you have done, your people are less likely to make an agreement simply for the sake of making an agreement.

That would certainly get Mr. Trump back into my good graces. Not that he cares about that, but he ought to. I'm not the only person who might have voted for him in 2020 who feels that way.

By Tom King © 2018

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Oh Frabjous Day - Liberals Rejoice, I'm Criticizing Trump

I'm often accused of blindly following President Trump and never criticizing him, even though I didn't vote for Trump or for that matter his Democrat opponent. I rise this day to criticize the president. Apparently, Mr. Trump spoke hasty words yesterday and appeared to advocate taking guns first and following it with due process.

While he was advocating this with regard to dangerous mentally unstable people to be sure, he needed to be careful how he stated that. It certainly gives the wrong impression. I'm sure Trump means well, but once again, he has demonstrated a genius for aggravating his followers.

Ben Shapiro said this about the latest evidence that Trump's a reluctant conservative at best.
"So yes, this is Trump just mouthing off. But it proves once again that on matters of governing philosophy, Trump is no conservative. He’s just a guy who says stuff he thinks will play for the audience in front of him."

Conservatives should set up a howl when Trump starts sounding like a Democrat. It's going to be the only way to keep him on the conservative plantation. Trump is a populist and that's why I had problems with him in the first place. This is me howling!

© 2018 by Tom King

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Freudian Attack Dog Puts Bush on the Couch

The lecture reminded me of a bunch of kids getting
together for a hate club meeting about a classmate.

On occasion I listen respectfully to the loyal (?) opposition. This afternoon I listened to a brief lecture by a psychiatrist who wrote a book in 2007 claiming to analyze George W. Bush. I shall not mention the author of the book or its title as I have no confidence in the author and have no interest in promoting this sort of public group masturbation. The book was written in the run up to the 2008 election and was designed clearly to sabotage the American trust in George W. Bush and to tar conservatives for voters. 

The entire thing was filled with Democrat talking points and paraded the entire panoply of logical fallacies. The appearance was a love fest for leftists, stamped as authentic by the author's medical credentials. At one point he called Dick Cheney George W. Bush's penis! Listening to this guy confirmed for me why I find Freudian psychiatrists to be such lovely quacks. Anytime a Democrat wants to criticize a conservative, all he has to do is trundle out a Freudian psychiatrist to call the conservative "cruel" and "mean" and claim he's insane and should be locked away.

When I was studying psychology in graduate school, I attended a lecture by a Freudian. The subject was basically a two-hour whine-fest about the difficulty of keeping patients coming for years-long analysis (and by the way paying huge fees for "analysis"). The Freudians still make a tidy living stroking sick people's egos, helping them blame things on their mothers and fathers. The audience responded with leftist adoration of the author and hatred for the president whom the author called a sociopathic, megalomaniacal, narcissist. All without ever seeing of even meeting the president personally. He claims he doesn't like the DSM IV and doesn't make diagnoses with his patients and then goes on to rattle off his own fantasy of Bush being incarcerated in a psych facility to deal with his cruelty, sadism and the hateful things he has done to the country. If anyone should be looked at by the AMA for malpractice. At the very least, George W. Bush should sue the man for slander. He even trashed Laura Bush for good measure. The audience kept giggling like a bunch of naughty children, totally safe to do so because no one there was going to disagree. It was like a kindergarten level echo chamber.

With all we've learned about the human brain since Freud's day, I think Freud went way off the rails. He did so because he didn't understand how the brain actually works. Freudians have an almost magical approach to how the brain functions. Knowing what I know about brain function a century after Freud, I, like a lot of people, believe Freud's theories to be thoroughly discredited.

As brain research continues, I come to believe more thoroughly as time goes on that Freud barked up the wrong tree and was pretty damned screwed up himself. Unlike most Freudians, I believe in free will. I believe in God. Freud believed in neither. The Freudian analysts I've encounter on the other hand seem to believe that they are God.

If this is the kind of crap our college students are hearing, it's little wonder that the millenials coming up through the university are so thoroughly leftist and so thoroughly vapid. I kind of need a shower after listening to all of that lecture. It was pretty much 100% hate-speech and made up crap. I couldn't believe it. This man admits he was afraid of President Bush and recommends that the whole country needs analysis to recover from the damage he did to our delicate psyches.

Just my opinion,

Tom King © 2018

PS: The good doctor wears a massive handlebar mustache under a bald head which I think is compensation for something. I wanted to smack him. I really did. This supposed "healer" was cruel, nasty, and arrogant. Shame on him.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

How to Stop School Shootings Now!

"Why does God allow school shootings?"

Everyone asks that question when we have a school shooting or any mass murder. We want God to stop it now. Since He doesn't appear to want to do that, we look to governments to stop the killing. The question is answered in the Book of Job. Not a lot of people like that answer though. Few take the time to even read Job.

In the meantime, Christians can, however, offer up a way to stop such things from happening. Simply do this
  • Love your children better.
  • Stop rewarding despair and desperate acts with publicity. 
  • Thoughts and prayers should come before school shootings happen, not afterward.
It's not an easy answer. It involves creating no laws or government programs. It involves giving your kids an anchor in the storms of adolescence. It means introducing them to God and encouraging them by example. It means spending time with them when you'd rather be doing something else. It means paying attention so you don't miss the signals when they are in distress.

That can start happening tomorrow. No law need be passed. No billion dollar program need be started. The question is, are we as a nation willing to do what is needed, or would we rather let mother government solve the problem for us so that we don't have to make any effort other than perhaps going to a march or rally to signal our moral superiority?

The truth is that waiting for some big authority figure to come along and solve our problems, is exactly why our kids are killing themselves and their classmates at such an appalling rate. And this generation's parents are exactly the ones who taught our kids that someone else is responsible for their problems. We taught them that by running down to the school with lawyers every time our kid got in trouble. We've blamed everyone and everything but ourselves and our unwillingness to pay attention to our kids, to take time with them and to lead by example. We've taught teachers that they are not to hold our children responsible for their actions, but to blame something or someone else for their misbehavior.

Most of all, this generation of parents has provided little opportunity for their offspring to meet God or to study at the feet of Him whose grace can actually make us better men and women. Until we stop looking for a human utopia, made by man and perfected by man, we shall continue to have these unintended consequences. Our kids will continue to give up in despair and blame others for all their woes. 

And they'll continue to shoot, stab, blow up or bludgeon those whom they blame for their misery, hoping the television will vindicate them somehow.  It won't do that for them, but since when have kids ever paid attention to outcomes that didn't suit their fantasies?

© 2018 by Tom King

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Divide and Conquer in the EU

Sunday Law lobby group

How Adventists and Jews could be caught in the political crossfire:

Given the threat to Catholic Christendom from the current Muslim invasion, we can expect more aggressive confrontation in the future by Catholic, Protestant, socialist, and environmentalist groups in Europe. My lineal ancestors Vlad Dracul, Charles the Hammer Martel and St. somebody or other were involved in the three major pushbacks of earlier invasions by Muslim forces. The socialists have tried to buy off Islam, but Islam is not grateful.

At some point the environmentalists, socialists and social justice warriors will find themselves outnumbered, losing power and threatened by the Muslim mass migration. Actually, Europe already is. The birthrate in EU countries is falling while the birthrate in Muslim countries is exploding. The economies in Middle Easter countries, however are not exploding and their legions of unemployed workers are pouring out over their borders headed for Europe.

I expect the political powers that be, once they wake to their peril, will look to anyone who has been friendly to them in the past - preferably some group that has been favorable toward them in the past. Roman Catholic authorities and High Church Protestants are already pretty much in the tank for socialism. Trade Unions, international political parties and industrial trade organizations are also being threatened and are united in common purpose with socialist leaning governments and the increasingly socialist Roman Catholic and high church Protestants. The papacy under Frances has already extended its hand across the gulf to evangelicals and high church Protestants (Anglicans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Lutherans and Methodists by and large tend to lean left these days). 

War is coming. It should be exciting times when all of those guys get together and start passing laws and perhaps even enforcing them. There is an old curse that goes, "May you live in interesting times!"  It is in interesting times that those in power take the opportunity to clean house of unwanted populations.  The socialists of the twentieth century wiped out Jews, Gypsies, political rivals, Ukrainian Kulaks, entire native tribes who weren't politically sound, Hutus, Christians, and more.  There were the killing fields of Cambodia, Vietnam and China, the Russian gulags and African race wars. Earlier centuries have seen the mass murder of Waldensian Christians, Hussites, pagan tribes, Hugenots, and too many smaller groups of politically undesirables to count. 
If we look at the impact of the current Sunday laws in the EU we already see who is getting short shrift and being handed an economic disadvantage. Muslims who worship on Friday and Jews and Seventh-day Adventists who worship on Saturday have had their work weeks effectively reduced from six days to five. One can see how a couple of groups who are not a political and existential threat to the European power structure can easily get lumped into the threat matrix. Efforts to reduce the economic impact of one group also impacts any other group that gets lumped in with them.

It's happened before during the Crusades. My own ancestor, Saint something or other, got his sainthood for killing not only Muslim invaders, but also a nice assortment of Jews that he ran across along the road to Jerusalem as well. The Pope made no distinction between Muslims and the sons of Abraham apparently, and lauded Saint somebody or other for his genocidal activities.

Historically, once populations begin to be divided into "Us" and "Others", it only goes downhill from there. The Biblical book of Revelation predicts a union of forces at the end of time. It calls them "unclean spirits like frogs" which come out of the mouth of the Dragon, the Beast and the False Prophet. I think we are beginning to see the appearance of these frogs in the world, a harbinger of what will potentially be the worst mass killings in the history of man.

Every one of these people died while I was in college.
What is interesting is the way we can all sit in our living rooms and convince ourselves that we modern men and women are the most civilized in the history of the world. All the while, out of our site bloodshed on an epic scale is occurring. I grew up in a relatively peaceful world in the latter half of the twentieth century. While I was enjoying a better standard of living, out on the other side of the world, people were being slaughtered in the millions. While I was in college earning my degree in English-Communications, two million Vietnamese and three million Cambodians were slaughtered in the name of communist purity. It didn't affect me. Russia starved the Kulaks in Ukraine by the millions. China disarmed, starved and murdered millions of it's own people. Africans murdered other Africans because they belonged to other tribes. Muslims slaughtered Christians and Jews as fast as they could get away with it in their own lands and we did nothing except stop taking tours to the Middle East because it was getting dangerous.

In Europe, power is coalescing into two major groups - European Christians, Atheists, Environmentalists and Socialists on the one side and a massive Muslim refugee population on the other side. Something will give and when those two sides come to blows, as always, those who do not line up on one side or the other are going to be purged. That's how it always goes. That's why Jews are always a target. They never quite assimilate. They are always "different" from the mainstream. And they get hunted down and killed for it and nobody says much about it.

Even today, Israel with the most vibrant economy in the Middle East and a record of fair treatment of its non-Jewish citizens, is hated by pretty much everyone in the mainstream of modern political thought (i.e. Progressive Socialists/Democrats). It's not going to be any better for anyone that gets lumped in with them. In the coming reunification of the Christian church being proposed by the Vatican and Protestant leaders, the church that has the second largest parochial school system, the largest Protestant hospital system, the largest mission work and the fastest growing membership both in the United States and outside, is going to be lumped in with the more traditional of undesirables like Muslims and Jews.

You can cruise Youtube and see the hatred already out there against Seventh-day Adventists (my church) and conspiracy theories about Jews. It reminds me of the kind of rhetoric you saw about Jews in Germany in the late 20s and early 30s.  We never think such horrors can happen to us, though and we go about our business pretending it can't. We do not want to see the devil that is in the details of smooth-sounding solutions to our problems.  I mean who wouldn't want the government to make sure you get a day off every week?

Can you see the storm coming? Jesus said we would be able to. Me? I think I hear thunder.

Recent Popes calling for legal enforcement of Sunday-keeping:
© 2017 by Tom King

Monday, February 5, 2018

Tacky Art vs. True Art - Critical Snobbery at Its Finest

Home of "tacky" art?
"I find people who do "crafts"so annoying . Either make art or just chew your fingernails. Kingsville is opening a Hobby Lobby store and I cringe to think of all the dreadful fake flower arrangements and crocheted doilies and other undreamed of wretched things that will come out of that place that I will have to pretend to admire. "
- Liberal post-modernist Facebook pundit
(who shall remain nameless in order to protect her from her own jackassery.)

Doily "art"
Let me say this up front. I AM OFFENDED! To dismiss the handicrafts that ordinary people make, whether they meet your criteria of ART or not, as "undreamed of wretched things" is impossibly arrogant and I was thoroughly disappointed in the person who posted this. It still is a free country, for the time being. We are not required to approve of anyone else's work, even to be polite. Politeness is a choice (at least until political correctness becomes enforceable law with penalties). Not everyone is a @#$% artist! Some just want to put together a puzzle or make a simple craft to sit on a shelf to decorate their house. Hobby Lobby offers supplies to would-be artists without requiring them to present their degree in impressionist painting or neo-modern sculpture to some bureaucrat, art critic or other arbiter of what is tasteful first. 

Choo-choo "Art"
Hobby Lobby sells art supplies for the people. Remember the people, dude?  That vast unwashed proletariat you progressives are supposed to be saving from themselves and their own ignorance. My building a train set in my den using Hobby Lobby's collection of tiny trees, little people, track, trains, and buildings is a labor of love on my part and as worthy to be called "art" as anyone else's. You may not like my "art", but then I don't have to like yours. Myself, I'd rather look over someone's model car collection or their crocheted doilies than wander through a gallery of paintings where someone artistically threw a mixture of paint, blood and feces at a canvas or some twisted jumble of artistic welded metal oddments. You have your "art" and I have mine. I like folk art and I think that ordinary people should be encouraged to do crafts. It's a whole lot more uplifting to the soul than listening to a lot of high-tone, hoity-toity self-appointed arbiter of what is and what is not good taste and worthy of doing.

Hobby Lobby provides a lot of people with at least some kind of creative outlet for the "workers" that progressives are so found of saying that they are "for". And by the way, in the interest, not of political correctness, but politeness, I don't use the word "tacky". I think it's a trigger word that denigrates the artistic taste of someone who may not have the advantage of another's education and high culture.

Don't mean to go off on snooty self-appointed art critics, but I used to help our art therapist at the residential treatment center where I was rec therapist. I watched kids abused, mentally ill and physically and mentally disabled, work their little hearts out on those "tacky" crafts that Hobby Lobby donated to us and I saw the kids self-esteem lifted up as they mastered macrame, paint by numbers, cross-stitch and other "crafts". Some went on to produce independent art, drawings, sculpture and modeling as their skills improved. I had my own corner of art in my office filled with things the kids did. Those were better than some of the crap I've seen in art museums and of far more intrinsic value to me and to the artists.  The Facebook art critic responded:

  • That is awesome. But does that mean that I am required to think there is no difference in quality between Danielle Steele and Milton, and if I do I am a snob?
So-called "real" art by Jackson Pollock
(You don't want to know what he "painted" with)
I responded:  Does that mean that Danielle Steel is of less value with respect to her contributions to human life, given that she has given pleasure to arguably a lot more humans than Milton ever did. Though I value Milton a lot. Snooty English writer, Samuel Johnson hated that Milton championed freedom of speech and freedom of the press and called Milton's politics those of an "acrimonious and surly republican". I really like that about Milton. In the same way and for equally personal reasons, thought I find Danielle Steele's prose effective and engaging, I also find her stories disagreeable to my own particular sensibilities. That said, I would not raise a hue and cry against bookstores being built in my town, simply because they sell Ms. Steele's works. Just because Steele doesn't suit my tastes, doesn't mean I'm going to complain because the lowbrows like her. I grew up among those who were educated, uneducated and in-between. I learned to appreciate people for who they are and for the stories their lives tell. I have yet to find a human being too tacky for me to befriend.

 I'd prefer not to call anyone a snob, but much of what my Facebook friend wrote in her original post is indistinguishable from the same thing if it had been written by an actual snob. It's one of those "if the shoe fits wear it" kinds of things. That's why it surprised me, given this friend's liberal "power to the people" rhetoric. It didn't fit the narrative of her life as she would have had me to believe it to be. I found it disconcerting that one who travels the world to ostensibly steep herself in the culture of all nations, including some quite impoverished ones it appears, would adopt a negative stance toward the arts and crafts of ordinary folk (obviously those in the mid and lower strata of the intelligence quotient bell curve). 

Why is it that self-identified (usually white) people of culture can go to Mexico and remark on how wonderful are the vivid colors favored by Mexican artists, but if a regular American person, particularly a white person, decorated his house in the same vivid colors, those same cultured neighbors would have the homeowner's association on him in a heartbeat demanding he repaint his house in something more like the rest of the neighbors.  I, myself find a kind of beauty in so-called tacky human expression. I've sat in on many a bluegrass or country music jam sessions that would have been appalling to the ears of many a trained musician, surrounded by  talking mounted fish and Budweiser lampshdes. I've been to one man's home whose backyard was built like a Western town, complete with a lifesize cutout of John Wayne standing in front of the town jailhouse. That was really fun. Fascinating guy with a collection of really cool antiques. Tacky to some maybe, but art to him.

Davinci's masterpiece might have continued
to look like this without restoration, if he'd
been able to go down to Hobby Lobby
and get some Liquin, gel medium and a
nice oil clear coat for the finish work.
I don't have to go to a concert hall or art museum (been there and done that) in order to find value in the artistic expression of another. Their choice of "tacky" crafts helps me understand and appreciate them for who they are. And no, I do not find them inferior to the work of artists who are sacred cows to the elite of society. I find Jackson Pollock's art, for instance, to be ugly and would have to sell it or fumigate it, not necessarily in that order. Someone may find value it it, I do not. That said, I don't feel that Mr. Pollock was a person of less value because his art work doesn't suit me. I just wouldn't pay 3 million bucks for it. 

I know liberals say they believe in constantly challenging their perceptions and beliefs. If they did, they'd probably not get off on putting down Hobby Lobby just because fellow feminists are mad because Hobby Lobby won't fund employee abortions. Challenging your beliefs inevitably involves a little walking in others' shoes for a bit.

I just thought I'd toss out a little challenge to my friend's way of thinking, here. I'm not calling for any sort of political correctness initiative where we rename what she calls "tacky crafts" and call them  "commercial folk art" in order not to offend the rubes. I think it's just wrong to use language to try and identify the work of others as less than worthy to be called "real" art in ways that let you off the hook for being arrogant and mean-spirited toward your perceived inferiors. Just a little less judgment is all I ask, please. I think it would be in order to assign some value to anyone's art who takes the time to produce it. And how about a little more tolerance of Hobby Lobby and other businesses that provide these ordinary artisans the tools they need to express themselves artistically.

After all, Leonardo da Vinci could have obtained everything he needed at Hobby Lobby to produce the Mona Lisa. And he could have picked up a few art supplies that would have preserved his work and kept the painting from fading and needing to be restored every century or so.

Just sayin'.

© 2017 by Tom King