Archive for the ‘culture’ Tag

Genesis of Violence   Leave a comment

Let’s say a man kicks down the door of his ex-girlfriend’s house and she shoots him dead in her foyer.

Who is responsible for his death?

Yes, she shot him, but don’t you suppose she was terrified that he was going to kill her and that’s why she pulled the trigger?

What if she had a restraining order against him because he’d been threatening her for months? Do you think maybe she was justified in shooting him then?

What if she called the cops and they refused to come because he was friends with some of the officers and they felt he was just blowing smoke?

What if his best friends had said she was just being hysterical? He was just trying to correct her negative behaviors. If she’d only just allowed him to beat her that night, all would have been well.

Would you find her guilty of murder if you were sitting on that jury?

Or would you acquit her because he was responsible for the violence and she had no other choice than to defend her life?

And, yes, I am discussing something larger than just a dysfunctional relationship.

Posted October 30, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Common sense, Uncategorized

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Why Does Anyone Need A Gun?   Leave a comment

Pierre Lemieux

Found on FEE

Concealed CarryThe shooting that took place in Toronto (Canada) on Sunday was, in one way, similar to the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Paris on January 7, 2015. In the latter case, people took smartphone videos of fleeing terrorists shooting at policemen and killing an unarmed one. In Toronto, there were several powerless witnesses, and at least one person, apparently from an apartment overlooking the scene, videoed the killer as he was firing from the sidewalk below. In both cases, if a video taker had had a pistol instead of a smartphone, he could have engaged the killer, at least slowing him down, and saved lives or prevented serious bodily injuries.

The fact that the Toronto killer was apparently just a madman and a loser, as I called his kind in a previous post (“Mass Killings and the Economic Approach to Human Behavior”), is tragic but does not change the situation as far as saving lives is concerned.

An Armed Citizenry Can Stop Crime

In places like Toronto or Paris, carrying guns is a crime for ordinary citizens.

Many people believe it is impossible that armed citizens could end or mitigate a mass shooting. In places like Toronto or Paris, they are right in the sense that carrying guns is a crime for ordinary citizens, so it is unlikely that one could legally and seriously challenge a killer in action. In Canada, if you have been permitted to own a handgun, it can only be carried in a locked case to an approved shooting club; it must otherwise be kept in your home, where it must be locked separate from ammunition, to make sure you don’t use it in self-defense—which would be a crime anyway. It’s even worse in the United Kingdom.

Some states in America are the only places in the civilized world where ordinary individuals are allowed to own convenient handguns, carry them, and use them in self-defense. But here is the question: Does it ever happen that they use them to stop mass killings?

The answer is yes, and is documented in an FBI report, Active Shooter Incidents in the United States in 2016 and 2017 (April 2018). The report documents 50 active shooter incidents over these two years. Shooter incidents are defined as “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.” The FBI concludes its analysis by noting:

Armed and unarmed citizens engaged the shooter in 10 incidents. They safely and successfully ended the shootings in eight of those incidents. Their selfless actions likely saved many lives.

Not surprisingly, in 6 of these 10 cases, the intervening citizen was legally armed. Only exceptional circumstances or exceptional courage lead an unarmed individual to successfully confront an armed killer in action. Perhaps one has to be familiar with guns to attempt this. The FBI writes:

In four incidents, citizens possessing valid firearms permits successfully stopped the shooter. In two [of those] incidents, citizens exchanged fire with the shooter. In two incidents, the citizens held the shooter at gunpoint until law enforcement arrived.

In another incident, “a citizen possessing a valid firearms permit was wounded before he could fire at the shooter.” In the last of the six incidents, the shooter was met with gunfire but fled to continue his rampage at another location.

Thus, an armed citizen put an end to a mass shooting in four cases or 8 percent of the shootings. Economist John Lott argues that the FBI missed some of the shootings and that the real percentage over the past few years is around 15 percent. In any event, a significant percentage of mass shootings were stopped by armed citizens and many lives were presumably saved.

Toronto Already Has Very Tough Gun Laws. They Didn’t Work.

In many states, individuals without a felony record can now lawfully carry concealed pistols without a license—so-called “constitutional carry.” This certainly adds to the disincentive effect that concealed carry has on mass murders.

The Sunday shooting and the other recent ones in Toronto occurred after three decades of increasingly severe gun controls in Canada, as you can check in my article “Disarming Canadians,” a review of a recent book by Canadian historian R. Blake Brown. It is farcical to hear Toronto’s mayor John Tory, a conservative politician, suggesting “tougher gun laws” in the wake of the tragic Sunday events, and pontificating:

There are far too many people carrying around guns in our city and our region who should not have them.

He asked:

Why does anyone in this city need to have a gun at all?

He did not mean that cops should not be armed. They have been more and more heavily armed as ordinary citizens were gradually disarmed. He did not mean that the cops who protect him do not need guns. He meant that ordinary citizens should be totally disarmed, hoping that thugs will also disarm, which would (inexplicably?) leave only the cops armed.

It is true that the freedom to have guns means that more guns will be available, including for criminals, if only because of lower black market prices. Even if one assumes that the result will be a higher net murder count (which does not appear to be true), it is a strange ethics that forbids to individuals the means to defend themselves in order to wishfully prevent criminals from harming them.

In the 20th and 21st century, the right of ordinary individuals to own efficient guns is very much part of American exceptionalism. When you think about it, it is as banal as it is incomprehensible to the rest of the world that ordinary individuals have the right to own, and in most states to carry, guns nearly as efficient as those carried by their public servants.

Party is a Sub-Herd   Leave a comment

From “The Law” by Randolph Bourne

 

Randolph  BourneThe members of the working-classes, that portion at least which does not identify itself with the significant classes and seek to imitate it and rise to it, are notoriously less affected by the symbolism of the State, or, in other words, are less patriotic than the significant classes. For theirs is neither the power nor the glory. The State in wartime does not offer them the opportunity to regress, for, never having acquired social adulthood, they cannot lose it. If they have been drilled and regimented, as by the industrial regime of the last century, they go out docilely enough to do battle for their State, but they are almost entirely without that filial sense and even without that herd-intellect sense which operates so powerfully among their betters. They live habitually in an industrial serfdom, by which though nominally free, they are in practice as a class bound to a system of a machine-production, the implements of which they do not own, and in the distribution of whose product they have not the slightest voice, except what they can occasionally exert by a veiled intimidation which draws slightly more of the product in their direction. From such serfdom, military conscription is not so great a change. But into the military enterprise they go, not with those hurrahs of the significant classes whose instincts war so powerfully feeds, but with the same apathy with which they enter and continue in the industrial enterprise.

From this point of view, war can be called almost an upper-class sport. the novel interests and excitements it provides, the inflations of power, the satisfaction it gives to those very tenacious human impulses—gregariousness and parent-regression—endow it with all the qualities of a luxurious collective game which is felt intensely just in proportion to the sense of significant rule the person has in the class-division of society. A country at war—particularly our own country at war—does not act as a purely homogenous herd. The significant classes have all the herd-feeling in all its primitive intensity, so that this feeling does not flow freely without impediment throughout the entire nation. A modern country represents a long historical and social process of disaggregation of the herd. The nation at peace is not a group, it is a network of myriads of groups representing the cooperation and similar feeling of men on all sorts of planes and in all sorts of human interests and enterprises. In every modern industrial country, there are parallel planes of economic classes with divergent attitudes and institutions and interests—bourgeois and proletariat—with their many subdivisions according to power and function, and even their interweaving, such as those more highly skilled workers who habitually identify themselves with the owning and significant classes and strive to raise themselves to the bourgeois level, imitating their cultural standards and manners. Then there are religious groups with a certain definite, though weakening sense of kinship, and there are the powerful ethnic groups which behave almost as cultural colonies in the New World, clinging tenaciously to language and historical tradition, though their herdishness is usually founded on cultural rather than State symbols. There are certain vague sectional groups. All these small sects, political parties, classes, levels, interests, may act as foci for herd-feelings. They intersect and interweave, and the same person may be a member of several different groups lying at different planes. Different occasions will set off his herd-feeling in one direction or another. In a religious crisis he will be intensely conscious of the necessity that his sect—or sub-herd—may prevail; in a political campaign, that his party shall triumph.

Role-Models for Real Life   5 comments

March 12, 2018 – In years gone by, clothing stores, makeup manufacturers and the like have only used models with those perfect bodies and skin to show us their products.  How do you feel about this?  Would you like to see “real” people in ads?

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Model 1I find myself in a unique position on this topic. My mother was a petites model for a Seattle department store off and on through her late-teens and 20s, even after she gave birth to my brother. She was 5’2″ and naturally maintained a weight in the 90s simply by smoking cigarettes (which everyone did back then) and not having a sweet tooth. The most she ever weighed was 102 pounds — she was pregnant with my brother at the time.

My daughter is 5’8″ and struggles to maintain a weight of 125 pounds – the low-end for her height. She’s got my mother’s metabolism without smoking and her paternal grandmother’s height. She has had unsolicited offers to model, but has things to say about the objectifying of women.

I don’t fit either ideal. I’m 5’1″ and I am athletic, which means I have muscles. Therefore, petite clothing lines often do not fit my thighs and biceps, even if they fit my height and waist. I buy my clothes in the “normal” lines and then modify them. It works out to costing just about the same as petite clothing costs. I also accidentally discovered that men’s jeans are 30% less expensive and you can match the waist (hips for women) and inseam to your personal needs. (So the zipper is reversed — blah-blah).

I have curly hair. Curly hair doesn’t match some sort of ideal in the advertising world. Those models in the “curly” ads didn’t have curly hair when they walked into the studio. How do I know? Because their hair is so shiny and that’s not what curly hair does without a lot of very expensive product, which is what they’re trying to sell, but having tried their very expensive product — it rarely works. (Just saying)

Of course, models have perfect everything. If you are making your living having photos snapped of you, then that’s one of your job requirements – look perfect. Occasionally you see a plus-sized model who looks fantastic, but of course, she’s really toned and she’s got great hair and perfect makeup. So we “normals” should just get over the idea that models will ever look like us. They have teams of people to make them look gorgeous while some of us are still sharing a bathroom with a guy who likes to shower in the morning.

Model 2If you didn’t get that joke,  you don’t have curly hair, which reacts to humidity, which is what is produced by a shower.

Yeah, there’s a tiny part of me that would love to see a “real” person modeling those clothes, that makeup, that hair product, but I recognize that reality doesn’t sell. Everybody wants to be able to imagine that if they buy that dress, they’ll look like the willowy 5’8″ model who eats one meal a day. It’s why we try the dress on … and why we stand in the fitting room imagining what it would look like if we lost five pounds or wore a girdle or donned 4″ heels. But the reality is I’m 5’1″, I’ve had two babies, and I eat a healthy diet rather than starving myself, so I’m not ever going to look like the model and, personally, I’m okay with that.

I sooth my annoyance at her perfection with the knowledge that she couldn’t keep up with me on the hiking trail, where it doesn’t matter if your clothes don’t flow just right or your hair is reacting to the humidity. My life has different requirements from that model’s life and, mostly, I’m okay with that.

Model 3One of my best friends used to be one of those models. She made a great living while it lasted, and that paid for a social work degree and now she runs a charter boat in the Florida Keys with her husband. She points out that models aren’t a whole lot different from professional athletes. They make a lot of sacrifices for the job. Most aren’t Rhodes scholars. They’re only qualifications for a job are looking pretty and being skinny. “What would they become if modeling wasn’t available?” Joi asked. “A couple of years starving and having my breasts duct-taped down paid for college and the career that followed. And, I used those photographers as references for my social work jobs because they could say I was a professional who showed up for work and put in a full measure. That seems a lot more dignified than the alternative – a lifetime of asking ‘Do you want fries with that?'”

Joi’s take on it colors my view as does my mother’s. If all the models looked like me, my daughter would want to see models who wore horizontal stripes and bold florals because those look fantastic on her and should be avoided strenuously by anyone my height — including petite models. And if there was a more reality-based mix of models … would that make us more comfortable with ourselves or would we still look at those taller and skinnier and less curly-headed than ourselves and want to be them?

I think this may be my individualist streak rearing its counter-cultural head, but I am not all that comfortable with trying to change other people, especially a whole industry of other people.

lelamarkhamprofilepicMaybe, what’s really needed is mothers having conversations with their daughters about how life is not an advertisement. We can admire the tall skinny people with the perfect hair and makeup … or the short athletic people with the perfect hair and makeup … or, the frankly-chubby people with the perfect hair and makeup, but real life will never be like that and it’s okay because that advertisement is a moment in time captured after a whole lot of work to create a fantasy that is nothing like real life with the aim to sell us clothes, hair and skin products or something else. We might accomplish a great deal more having that conversation about accepting our bodies as they are and about the lure of consumerism with our daughters (and sons) instead of trying to change the fashion industry.

Posted March 12, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop, Uncategorized

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Victims Everywhere   Leave a comment

Image result for image of victimologyOne thing that really struck me this week in the aftermath of the Florida school shooting is how much victimhood has permeated this country. Yes, several people were shot and/or killed in that shooting and, yes, they are victims of a horrible tragedy. But to hear the media and the people they chose to interview talk, it would seem that half the nation’s population are victims of this incident that happened in one location. One woman on PBS talked about how her teenager, who attends a school in another state, was very concerned about how someone with a gun could come into her school and the mother wept that her child was being “victimized” like this. A man on another program said all parents with children in public school and their children have PTSD over this incident. Then there was someone else talking about how the shooter was a victim of bullying, almost as if that excuses shooting a bunch of people.

Wow! Is the embrasure of victimhood just an American phenomenon? It seems as if this country is the only place where people get so excited about the idea of being a victim that they will even fake hate crimes against themselves to get that status.

We’ve got women publicly crying that they were sexually assaulted and traumatized because a 93-year-old, wheelchair-bound President groped them. Maybe he was just trying to keep his arm around her for the photo op. He does have Parkinson’s Disease, you know?

Feminism (as in women having the same rights as men) has been so widely accepted in society that it made feminism irrelevant, so liberal feminists reinvented feminism as a combination of man-hating and victimization … a reason to keep bringing up patriarchy and rape culture and complain how men hold doors open for them and compliment their appearance. Disgusting!

Liberal feminism falsely makes women think they could have it all if those awful men weren’t getting in their way. It makes many guys unsure of what reaction they’ll get from women when they behave like men. Forget about the old “Women should be women and men should be men” philosophy; liberal feminism is about women being men and men being shamed for existing at all.

Progressive liberals (as opposed to classical liberals) work incessantly to split Americans into ever smaller groups that are at each other’s throats. If you want to get a sense of how bad it has gotten, we’re having ferocious public debates about transsexuals who, depending on how you define it, make up less than 0.25% to 0.75% of the population. Increasingly, the attitude is moving from the annoying, “You just can’t understand because of your race/color/gender” to “You HATE ME and that justifies ME HATING YOU” because of differences that are often unchangeable. This is incredibly dangerous to our future as a country because you can’t hold any group of people including a nation together long-term when people no longer believe they share the same goals and values as their neighbors.   Our nation’s motto is E pluribus unum (Out of many, one), but what happens when liberals insist that the many never become one?

Image result for image of victimologyThere was a time in America when people wanted to feel strong, capable and able to handle their own problems instead of being victims. There was a time in this country when the goals of oppressed minorities were to compete with white males on an even footing. Today, we’re told that, because of something intrinsic in our biology, we can never compete on even footing with white males who have received their position because of something intrinsic in their biology. They have white privilege, so unless we kill them all off (or at least take away their means of competing with us) we’ll always be victims. That sure sounds an awful lot like the old racism that said something intrinsic in our biology made one race superior to all others.

So what happens if we achieve this utopia? Do we honestly believe that a generation raised to be victims will be able to make use of power that sets aside their victimhood? Because once you’re in the cat-bird’s seat, you’re no longer a victim … right?

Happy Valentine’s Day   3 comments

On Monday, I made it pretty clear that I think Valentine’s Day is a farce designed by Hallmark and the department stores to get American consumers to consume more, preferably on credit because VISA and its ilk need our money too.

Brad gave me a Valentine’s Day gift last night.

Image result for image of red ford taurus covered in snowMy car has been down during the most recent cold snap, but on Monday, it started warming up and yesterday it made it into the 20s. Brad got my car running. No big deal, he said. It started up pretty well, what with it being warm and all. But why did it stop working during the cold snap?

He got down on his knees and figured it out. Apparently, the electric cord that attaches to the car had come loose so that the engine warming devices were not able to function. It’s subtle. You can’t see it unless you kneel in the snow, which he did. He then fixed it so that it wouldn’t happen again.

Image result for image of valentines dayThat’s my Valentine’s present. Cost – about $1 in parts that were kicking around our garage and about 45 minutes of his time. Value – well, I like my independence, made possible by my car and Brad doesn’t have to get up earlier than he would prefer to take me to work and then quit work earlier than he would prefer to come drive me home.  So there’s the whole marital peace angle. That’s love rather than consumerism. He gave me something I needed rather than something I might not even want.

The flowers will be dried up and thrown away in a week. A working car can be around for a good long while.

Posted February 14, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in culture, Uncategorized

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Rise of the Phoenix   1 comment

By Bionic Mosquito

The Great Heresies, by Hilaire Belloc

It has always seemed to me possible, and even probable, that there would be a resurrection of Islam and that our sons or our grandsons would see the renewal of that tremendous struggle between the Christian culture and what has been for more than a thousand years its greatest opponent.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/01/bionic-mosquito/rise-of-the-phoenix/

So writes Belloc, as published in 1938.  Before considering the heresy and the history both before and since he wrote these words, perhaps it is worth considering the situation in Muslim lands at the time he was writing.

1938

After the Great War, what was left of Mohammedan power even in hither Asia, let alone Constantinople, was only saved by the violent quarrels between the Allies.

https://socialescepcor.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/height_of_omayyad_caliphate_cropped.png

In 1938, almost all Muslims lived in lands controlled and occupied by a European power: virtually all of North Africa; all of the Middle East except Turkey (you might also except Saudi Arabia, but must recognize the British position in their oil); much of Central Asia; finally, the Asian sub-continent.

It was in this environment of the Muslim’s weakest point since its founding that Belloc foresaw the rise once again of a Muslim threat to Europe.

Time to buy old US gold coins

The History

Belloc offers a brief history of the rise and fall of Islam as a political power and empire:

Islam – the teaching of Mohammed – conquered immediately in arms. Mohammed’s Arabian converts charged into Syria and won two great battles…

They quickly overran Egypt and Northern Africa, Asia Minor, finally crossing the Straits of Gibraltar into Spain.  By 732 – less than 100 years after their first victories – Muslim armies reached as far as Northern France.  They were thrown back to the Pyrenees, but continued to hold most of Spain.The Great HeresiesHilaire BellocBest Price: $6.50Buy New $6.45(as of 07:20 EST – Details)

We know of the Crusades called by the Pope.  These were not called in a vacuum; they were called in reaction to the violent conquest of Christian lands in the Middle East.  Brief successes followed by ultimate failure.

If the first Crusaders had had enough men to take Damascus their effort would have been permanently successful.

But they had only enough men to hold the seacoast of Palestine (I expand on this history here and here, also thanks to Belloc).  Perhaps a similar reason as to why Syria is so important today.

Europe finally beat back Muslim advances into Europe on September 11, 1683:

The battle was fought by the Habsburg Monarchy, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Holy Roman Empire, under the command of King John III Sobieski against the Ottomans and their vassal and tributary states. The battle marked the first time the Commonwealth and the Holy Roman Empire had cooperated militarily against the Ottomans, and it is often seen as a turning point in history, after which “the Ottoman Turks ceased to be a menace to the Christian world”.

The exclamation point was placed on September 11, 1697:

The Battle of Zenta…on the east side of the Tisa river, was a major engagement in the Great Turkish War (1683–1699) and one of the most decisive defeats in Ottoman history.

This battle ended Ottoman control over large parts of Central Europe.  And from this point, we come to 1938 and the aforementioned European control over the vast majority of lands populated by Muslims, as Muslims gradually lost the race to Europeans in the material things necessary to wage war.

Interesting how September 11 keeps coming up in this relationship.

Islam as Heresy

Belloc offers that Islam is a heresy and not a wholly new religion:

It was not a pagan contrast with the Church; it was not an alien enemy.  It was a perversion of Christian doctrine.

If anyone sets down those points that orthodox Catholicism has in common with Mohammedism, and those points only, one might imagine if one went no further that there should have been no cause of quarrel.

Mohammed taught basically the Catholic doctrine, with a very important exception:

But the central point where this new heresy struck home with a mortal blow against the Catholic tradition was a full denial of the Incarnation.

Jesus was a prophet – the greatest of all prophets – but he was only a man, not God and not the Son of God.  About the most important point, I would say.

The Future (as Belloc saw it)

Belloc saw no reason that would prevent Islam from rising again as a power – a power that would threaten, once again, the Christian west.  He offered: talk to any Egyptian or Syrian student, and you will find him the equal of any European student on the subjects of his study.

Belloc offers the weakness of Europe: Europe replaced Christendom as its binding force:

In the place of the old Christian enthusiasm of Europe there came, for a time, the enthusiasm for nationality, the religion of patriotism.  But self-worship is not enough, and the forces which are making for the destruction of our culture, notably the Jewish Communist propaganda from Moscow, have a likelier future before them than our old-fashioned patriotism.

The Muslim world was under no such delusions of “self-worship” as more important than culture and tradition – in fact, the Muslim world fights actively against this.

Some Unpacking

This last cite from Belloc will take a bit of unpacking.  What have we seen since the time Belloc penned these words?  Moscow has disappeared as the purveyor of communist propaganda; it is no longer the source of destruction.  Yet, the war against the west (and there certainly is a war) is also not being led by Islam.  I return to Belloc’s words with which I began this essay:

It has always seemed to me possible, and even probable, that there would be a resurrection of Islam and that our sons or our grandsons would see the renewal of that tremendous struggle between the Christian culture and what has been for more than a thousand years its greatest opponent.

It seems it is even worse than Belloc imagined.  The sons and grandsons are not fighting for their Christian culture – the sons and grandsons are doing what they can, to include creating Muslim enemies, to destroy the last remnants of the Christian culture.  No invasion is necessary; they are welcomed and subsidized as guests.  King John III Sobieski could not be spinning faster in his grave, I believe.

Attribute it to Antonio Gramsci, Cultural Marxists and the Frankfurt School, or postmodernists – whichever you choose – the philosophy of destruction of western Christian culture is being driven by western leaders of western institutions: political, educational, social.

People in the west have allowed themselves to become impotent in this fight: beginning with the Renaissance and Reformation, continuing through the Enlightenment, the philosophy of the west has created the atomized individual.  Yet, as Belloc notes, “self-worship is not enough.”

Conclusion

I grow more and more struck by something my father said many years ago, when I made a stumbling effort to describe libertarianism to him.  He replied, “what, are you a communist?”  As has been true in dozens of examples before and since, his replies were much more profound than was my ability to understand.

“There goes bionic, throwing liberalism and libertarianism under the bus again.”

It seems to me that the west – and those persuaded by the non-aggression principle or something approaching it – has allowed a simple political idea of individual liberty to define all of man’s relationships and the whole of man’s relationship to his fellow man.  Yet this makes man impotent against those who would exploit the weakness in this philosophy.

I don’t mean impotent as in guns and defense (although it is quite true here); I mean impotent as in ideas, as in how to intellectually fight back.  Something more than a negative liberty must bind a community if that community is to remain in reasonable peace.  While “anything peaceful” is allowable under the non-aggression principle, it does not follow that “anything peaceful” is conducive to community – in the most freedom-supporting sense of the term.

Something or someone will organize society if it is to be a functional and thriving society. By creating and defending the atomized individual and ignoring culture and tradition (the “something”), with what intellectual weapon does the defender of individual liberty fight back against the strongman (the “someone”)?

He has none; he stands naked and alone (atomized) in front of his intellectual enemies, thus clearing the path for his mortal enemies.  Unobstructed and unopposed, they need no military to win this battle.

Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.

Whatever Happened to American Culture?   2 comments

Back when my daughter was in high school, she averred that the United States did not have a culture of its own and never had had.

My brother, who is almost 13 years older than me, remembers the 1950s when America was a great place to live — safe, decent, children went to good public schools, even blue-collar fathers brought home middle-class incomes, so moms could stay home with the kids. We all know the television shows. While those are fiction, Jeff tells me that they’re not wholly made-up. Those shows are a good reflection of the traditional values that largely permeated the times.

Where did it all go? How did that America become the sleazy, decadent place we live in today – so different that those who grew up prior to the ’60s feel like it’s a foreign country? Did the degradation just “happen”?

Of course not! In fact, a deliberate agenda was followed to steal our culture and leave a new and very different one in its place. The story of how and why is one of the most important parts of our nation’s history – and it is a story almost no one knows. The people behind it wanted it that way.

It a complicated history, but the short version is that America’s traditional culture, which had grown up over generations from our Western, Judeo-Christian roots, was swept aside by an ideology. We know that ideology best as “political correctness” or “multi-culturalism.” Some observers say it’s really is cultural Marxism, Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms in an effort that goes back not to the 1960s, but to World War I.

That’s sort of stunning, right? Just as the old economic Marxism of the Soviet Union has faded away, a new cultural Marxism has become the ruling ideology of America’s elites. The No. 1 goal of that cultural Marxism, since its creation, has been the destruction of Western culture and the Christian religion.

To understand anything, we have to know its history. To understand who stole our culture, we need to take a look at the history of “political correctness.”

 

Before World War I, Marxist theory said that if Europe ever erupted in war, the working classes in every European country would rise in revolt, overthrow their governments and create a new Communist Europe. But war did break out in the summer of 1914 and the working classes didn’t revolt or create a new Communist Europe.  Instead, the workers in every European country lined up by the millions to fight their country’s enemies. A Communist revolution did occur in Russia in 1917, but attempts to spread that revolution to other countries failed because the workers did not support it.

After World War I ended in 1918, Marxist theorists had to ask themselves the question: What went wrong? Marxists seem incapable of admitting their theory sucks, so two leading Marxist intellectuals, Antonio Gramsci in Italy and Georg Lukacs in Hungary (Lukacs was considered the most brilliant Marxist thinker since Marx himself) independently came up with the same answer. They said that Western culture and the Christian religion had so blinded the working class to its true, Marxist class interests, that a Communist revolution was impossible in the West, until both could be destroyed. That objective, established as cultural Marxism’s goal right at the beginning, has never changed.

Image result for image of home schoolingGramsci famously laid out a as-yet fairly successful strategy for destroying Christianity and Western culture. Instead of calling for a Communist revolution up front, as in Russia, he said Marxists in the West should take political power last, after a “long march through the institutions” – the schools, the media, even the churches, every institution that could influence the culture. Interestingly, Mussolini recognized the danger Gramsci posed and jailed him. His influence remained small until the 1960s, when his works, especially the “Prison Notebooks,” were rediscovered. At which time, America, no stranger to the long march through the institutions, began to see substantive changes in our culture.

Georg Lukacs proved more influential. In 1918, he became deputy commissar for culture in the short-lived Bela Kun Bolshevik regime in Hungary, where he asked “Who will save us from Western civilization?” He instituted what he called “cultural terrorism.” One of its main components was introducing sex education into Hungarian schools. Lukacs realized that if he could destroy the country’s traditional sexual morals, he would have taken a giant step toward destroying its traditional culture and Christian faith.

Far from rallying to Lukacs’ “cultural terrorism,” the Hungarian working class was so outraged by it that when Romania invaded Hungary, the workers would not fight for the Bela Kun government, and it fell. Lukacs disappeared, but not for long. In 1923, he turned up at a “Marxist Study Week” in Germany sponsored by a young Marxist named Felix Weil who had inherited a fortune. Weil and the others who attended that study week were fascinated by Lukacs’ cultural perspective on Marxism.

Weil responded by using some of his money to set up a new think tank at Frankfurt University in Germany. Originally it was to be called the “Institute for Marxism,” but cultural Marxists understood they could be far more effective if they concealed their real nature and objectives. They convinced Weil to give the new institute a neutral-sounding name, the “Institute for Social Research.” Soon known simply as the “Frankfurt School,” the Institute for Social Research would become the place where political correctness, as we now know it, was developed. The basic answer to the question “Who stole our culture?” is the cultural Marxists of the Frankfurt School.

At first, the Institute worked mainly on conventional Marxist issues such as the labor movement. But in 1930, that changed dramatically, when the Institute was taken over by a new director, a brilliant young Marxist intellectual named Max Horkheimer, who had been strongly influenced by Georg Lukacs. He immediately set to work to turn the Frankfurt School into the place where Lukacs’ pioneering work on cultural Marxism could be developed further into a full-blown ideology.

Image result for image of degradation of american cultureHorkheimer brought some new members into the Frankfurt School. Perhaps the most important was Theodor Adorno, who would become Horkheimer’s most creative collaborator. Other new members included two psychologists, Eric Fromm and Wilhelm Reich, who were noted promoters of feminism and matriarchy, and a young graduate student named Herbert Marcuse.

With the help of this new blood, Horkheimer made three major advances in the development of cultural Marxism. First, he broke with Marx’s view that culture was merely part of society’s “superstructure” determined by economic factors. He said culture was an independent and very important factor in shaping a society.

Second, again contrary to Marx, he announced that in the future, the working class would not be the agent of revolution. He left open the question of who would play that role (that would be answered by Marcuse in the 1950s.

Third, Horkheimer and the other Frankfurt School members decided that the key to destroying Western culture was to cross Marx with Freud. They argued that just as workers were oppressed under capitalism, so under Western culture, everyone lived in a constant state of psychological repression. “Liberating” everyone from that repression became one of cultural Marxism’s main goals. Even more important, they realized that psychology offered them a far more powerful tool than philosophy for destroying Western culture: psychological conditioning.

Today, when Hollywood’s cultural Marxists want to “normalize” something like homosexuality (thus “liberating” us from “repression”), they broadcast television show after television show where the only normal-seeming white male is a homosexual. People absorb the lessons the cultural Marxists want them to learn without even knowing they are being taught. That is how psychological conditioning works.

The Frankfurt School was well on the way to creating political correctness. Then suddenly, fate intervened. In 1933, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party came to power in Germany, where the Frankfurt School was located. Since the Frankfurt School was Marxist, and the Nazis hated Marxism, and since almost all its members were Jewish, it decided to leave Germany. In 1934, the Frankfurt School, including its leading members from Germany, was re-established in New York City with help from Columbia University. Soon, its focus shifted from destroying traditional Western culture in Germany to doing so in the United States.

Taking advantage of American hospitality, the Frankfurt School soon resumed its intellectual work to create cultural Marxism. To its earlier achievements in Germany, it added these new developments.

Critical Theory

To serve its purpose of “negating” Western culture, the Frankfurt School developed a powerful tool it called “Critical Theory.” By subjecting every traditional institution, starting with family, to endless, unremitting criticism (the Frankfurt School was careful never to define what it was for, only what it was against), it hoped to bring them down. Critical Theory is the basis for the “studies” departments that now inhabit American colleges and universities. Not surprisingly, those departments are the home turf of academic political correctness.

Studies in prejudice

The Frankfurt School sought to define traditional attitudes on every issue as “prejudice” in a series of academic studies that culminated in Adorno’s immensely influential book, “The Authoritarian Personality,” published in 1950. They invented a bogus “F-scale” that purported to tie traditional beliefs on sexual morals, relations between men and women and questions touching on the family to support for fascism. Today, the favorite term the politically correct use for anyone who disagrees with them is “fascist.”

Domination

Orthodox Marxism argued that all of history is determined by who owned the means of production. The Frankfurt School again departed from orthodox Marxism, saying history was determined by which groups, defined as men, women, races, religions, etc., had power or “dominance” over other groups. Certain groups, especially white males, were labeled “oppressors,” while other groups were defined as “victims.” Victims were automatically good, oppressors bad, just by what group they came from, regardless of individual behavior.

Though Marxists, the members of the Frankfurt School also drew from Nietzsche, whom they admired, along with the Marquis de Sade, for his defiance against traditional morals. They incorporated into their cultural Marxism what Nietzsche called the “transvaluation of all values.” What that means, in plain English, is that all the old sins become virtues, and all the old virtues become sins. Homosexuality is a fine and good thing, but anyone who thinks men and women should have different social roles is an evil “fascist.” That is what political correctness now teaches children in public schools all across America. The Frankfurt School wrote about American public education. It said it did not matter if school children learned any skills or any facts. All that mattered was that they graduate from the schools with the right “attitudes” on certain questions.

Media and entertainment

Led by Adorno, the Frankfurt School initially opposed entertainment media, which they thought “commodified” culture. Then, they started to listen to Walter Benjamin, a close friend of Horkheimer and Adorno, who argued that cultural Marxism could make powerful use of tools like radio, film and later television to psychologically condition the public. Benjamin’s view prevailed, and Horkheimer and Adorno spent the World War II years in Hollywood. It is no accident that the entertainment industry is now cultural Marxism’s most powerful weapon.

The growth of Marxism in the United States

After World War II and the defeat of the Nazis, Horkheimer, Adorno and most of the other members of the Frankfurt School returned to Germany, where the Institute re-established itself in Frankfurt with the help of the American occupation authorities. Cultural Marxism in time became the unofficial but all-pervasive ideology of the Federal Republic of Germany, but they didn’t abandon their project in the United States.

Herbert Marcuse remained here, and he set about translating the very difficult academic writings of other members of the Frankfurt School into Americanized terms. His book “Eros and Civilization” used the Frankfurt School’s crossing of Marx with Freud to argue that if we would only “liberate non-procreative eros” through “polymorphous perversity,” we could create a new paradise where there would be only play and no work. “Eros and Civilization” became one of the main texts of the New Left in the 1960s: “Make Love Not War”, “God is Love”, and “Let’s Give the World A Coke” being the most familiar 1960s phrases to us in the 21st century.

Marcuse also widened the Frankfurt School’s intellectual work. In the early 1930s, Horkheimer had left open the question of who would replace the working class as the agent of Marxist revolution. In the 1950s, Marcuse answered the question, saying it would be a coalition of students, blacks, feminist women and homosexuals – the core of the student rebellion of the 1960s, and the sacred “victims groups” of political correctness today. Marcuse further took one of political correctness’s favorite words, “tolerance,” and gave it a new meaning. He defined “liberating tolerance” as tolerance for all ideas and movements coming from the left, and intolerance for all ideas and movements coming from the right. When you hear the cultural Marxists today call for “tolerance,” they mean Marcuse’s “liberating tolerance” (just as when they call for “diversity,” they mean uniformity of belief in their ideology).

The student rebellion of the 1960s, driven largely by opposition to the draft for the Vietnam War, gave Marcuse a historic opportunity. As perhaps its most famous “guru,” he injected the Frankfurt School’s cultural Marxism into the baby boom generation. Of course, they did not understand what it really was. As was true from the Institute’s beginning, Marcuse and the few other people “in the know” did not advertise that political correctness and multi-culturalism as a form of Marxism. That would have defeated their purpose. By keeping their true nature in the shadows, the effects of their teachings was devastating to a whole generation of Americans, especially the university-educated elite, who absorbed cultural Marxism as their own, accepting a poisonous ideology that sought to destroy America’s traditional culture and Christian faith. That generation, which now runs every elite institution in America, wages a ceaseless war on all traditional beliefs and institutions. They have largely won that war as most of America’s traditional culture lies in ruins.

A counter-strategy

Now you know who stole our culture. The question is, what are we, as Christians and as cultural conservatives, going to do about it?

We can choose between two strategies. The first is to try to retake the existing institutions – the public schools, the universities, the media, the entertainment industry and most of the mainline churches – from the cultural Marxists. They expect us to try to do that, they are ready for it, and we would find ourselves, with but small voice and few resources compared to theirs, making a frontal assault against prepared defensive positions. Any soldier can tell you that’s a recipe for defeat.

There is another, more promising strategy. We can separate ourselves and our families from the institutions the cultural Marxists control and build new institutions for ourselves, institutions that reflect and will help us recover our traditional Western culture.

Several years ago, Paul Weyrich wrote an open letter to the conservative movement suggesting this strategy. While Republican leaders demurred, his letter resonated powerfully with grass-roots conservatives. Many of them are already part of the homeschooling movement to secede from the corrupt, dominant culture and create parallel institutions. Similar movements are beginning to offer sound alternatives in other aspects of life, including movements to promote small, often organic family farms and to develop community markets for those farms’ products. If Brave New World’s motto is “Think globally, act locally,” ours should be “Think locally, act locally.”

Thus, our strategy for undoing what cultural Marxism has done to America has a certain parallel to its own strategy, as Gramsci laid it out so long ago. Gramsci called for Marxists to undertake a “long march through the institutions.” Our counter-strategy would be a long march to create our own institutions. It will not happen quickly, or easily. It will be the work of generations – as was theirs. They were patient, because they knew the “inevitable forces of history” were on their side. As the Creator of the Universe is on our side, can we not be equally patient, and persevering?

Simplistic Thinking about Mass Shootings Re-Dux   Leave a comment

I wrote this right after the South Carolina church shooting a couple of years ago and then couldn’t find it after the Texas church shooting a couple of months ago. So I decided, having found it today, that I should run it again. Except for the occupant in the White House, not much has changed.

 

Perhaps it is human nature to blame something other than ourselves for the events we see in the world. The South Carolina church shooting shows that tendency in full view.

  • Guns caused the shooting. Their very existence demands that they be used for the mass killing of folks.

Do we really believe that? Certainly our president and some pundits say they believe that, but isn’t that the equivalent of saying “the devil made me do it?” I’ve been around guns my whole life. It’s stupid to go into the woods where there are bears, wolves and moose without a firearm. I shot a 22 when I was 7. I first handled my mom’s 357 when I was in junior high right after three soon-to-be rapists tried to break into our house and Mom (all 95 pounds of her) scared them away.

My guns have never whispered to me that I should go out and shoot up a church, a movie theater, a shopping center. Guns are inanimate objects. If there’s any whispering going on, it’s coming from the mind of the shooter, not the guns. Guns are simply a tool for keeping users safe. Make them illegal and it leaves law-abiding citizens at the mercy of law-breakers, because law-breakers won’t be obeying the gun laws.

  • Racism caused the shooting.

There may be some validity to this argument in the case of this particular church. It was a historically black church and the shooter seems to have had some racist beliefs. He was also high on drugs and may have been mentally ill. So is that racism or mental illness or some other problem not yet identified. The shooter spent an hour in that church during Bible study before he opened fire. If it were my church, I’d be asking “What happened during that hour that escalated rather than de-escalated his violence?” Maybe it was nothing. Maybe he was just bent on killing people and it took him an hour to get the courage, but … as I said, if it were MY church …. Is it possible they weren’t very welcoming to the weird white guy in their haven for the dark-skinned? If you think that’s a racist question, note the number of fingers pointing back at yourself before you pop off.

  • Mental illness caused the shooting. Lock up all mentally ill or make it illegal for them to have guns and all will be better.

I worked in the mental health field for 15 years. I’ve met some mentally ill people who would mow down a church group because the voices in their heads told them to do it. Not the gun, not racism — mental illness. But I’ve also met mentally ill folks who would never hurt anyone (except maybe themselves) and others who stay on their meds because they don’t want to ever hurt anyone else. Delusional disorders are not all the same and it’s wrong to treat some folks like criminals because they are ill.

  • Churches are at fault.

I actually heard this from an atheist neighbor this weekend. If churches weren’t these monolithic structures that judge people, he said, they wouldn’t become targets for crazy people. Do away with all churches and people would be free to love one another and violence would be reduced immeasurably. Wow, you just can’t make that up.

All of those simple causes are probably partially at fault. Churches ought to be more welcoming to those who are odd. Yes, that puts them more at risk. Jesus never said being His followers would be safe. There is a lovely man who occasionally comes through our church. We call him John the Baptist and I can’t say his real name because I signed agreements years ago. He is a Christian who is also bat-crazy with schizophrenia. Often when you talk to him, it’s like reading Alice in Wonderland on acid, but he also cuts right to the truth of the gospel in a way that sane people rarely do. He knows his Bible and his application is spot on. And (some people find this creepy), he seems to know things about you that he shouldn’t know, but he uses that knowledge to help the Christians he meets. I wonder if he’s not talking to angels, who are the demons who chose to obey God. Yeah, I worked in the mental health field for 15 years and I believe in demons. That’s another topic. Churches should be more welcoming to people who are not stereotypically “church” people.

Mental illness is a tough nut to crack. Europe and other nations handle it by doing what we used to do — locking folks up and forcing them to take their meds. There is a growing movement in this country by mental health advocates to never force anyone to take medication against their will. Did you know that? Yeah! So maybe there’s more to these mass shootings than just undiagnosed mental illness. But maybe in a country that prides itself on individual liberty, we really don’t have a right to force others to be medicated against their will. There are some folks who think we should treat mental illness like a crime. I don’t, but I also acknowledge that some people won’t stay on their meds and they aren’t John the Baptist motivated by God’s spirit to share the gospel. Some of them are scary scary people and we need to have a discussion about what to do with that. Currently, if you call for help because you think someone might be developing schizophrenia and about to harm someone, you have to show that they really are an imminent risk to themselves or others. In essence, they have to mow down a church group before the police will act.

Notice that I’m sitting on the fence with this because I’m an individualist who has experience with both good people who are mentally ill and scary people who are mentally ill. I’m not sure what the answer is here and I suspect there is no “good” solution.

Racism is a swinging door. The first time I ever saw racism directed at me was not because I’m an American Indian and white folks don’t like Indians. It was a black man who had decided I was white and he didn’t want me in his shop. Racism doesn’t have a color. A traditionally ethnic church of any stripe might think its meeting separately because that’s how white folks want it, but in reality, in this day and age, they are meeting separately because they feel most comfortable with that. Guaranteed, if a group of any ethnicity showed up at 90% of traditionally white churches, nobody would turn them away and most might not even notice the color of your skin. Racism and reverse racism are not excuses for mowing down a church group, but it is certainly something churches need to consider. And, not just churches. Society as a whole exhibits this problem. When you’re pointing a finger at someone else as a racist, pay attention to how many fingers are pointing back at you.

Guns do not kill anyone by themselves. They are simply a tool. If we didn’t have guns, mentally ill people and racists would find other ways to kill people. Knives, gasoline bombs, cars, baseball bats, bow-and-arrow, hammers …. As a small woman, I’m not going to go mana a mana with a man swinging a baseball bat or wielding a knife. With a gun, I become his equal and therefore, equally able to protect myself and those around me. If you disarm me, you relegate me to the role of victim, leading to my death.

I know we don’t want to hear this. We want simple causes and simple solutions, but we don’t have those and until we accept that the issues are more complicated than we want to believe, we can’t hope to solve the problems.

Posted January 3, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Gun control

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Mark of the Beast?   1 comment

This is not new to me nor is it original to me. My friend Jon, who arguably has the spiritual gift of prophesy, suggested this 20+ years ago when pet microchipping for came out … that the day would come when it would be a widespread technology for humans and Christians would have to decide whether to submit to it or not.

Wisconsin firm Three Square Market (32M) announced a voluntary initiative last month for its employees to have microchips implanted in their hands. The company sells kiosks designed to replace vending machines. It’s beta testing this technology on its employees to show its kiosks’ ability to handle cashless transactions. Instead of paying with a credit card or a smartphone, a consumer could simply wave their hand across a scanner.

Related imageYup, a little voice in my head whispered “Mark of the Beast.”

One analyst called 32M’s initiative a PR stunt. If that was the intention, it worked, because the initiative sparked headlines worldwide.

“Chipping” has numerous benefits. You wouldn’t have to carry cash or a credit card to make payments, there’d be no need to carry keys, fobs or pass cards to enter secure areas, and presumably hackers wouldn’t be able to access the information on these encrypted chips.

Implantable microchips are experiencing increased acceptance world. Implantable radio frequency identification (RFID) chips are routinely embedded in domestic animals. An FDA-approved implantable microchip is available for Alzheimer’s patients and other persons deemed incapable of caring for themselves. In Sweden, Epicenter, a hub for high-tech start-ups, has made implantable microchips available for its workers and the employees of companies headquartered there. Several of my friends have considered chipping their children so they can be tracked if they are kidnapped.

It’s so very sci-fi to simply wave your hand across a scanner to pay for goods or services, open the door to your home, or identify yourself when you cross an international border. The technology for that future already exists, courtesy of a patent recorded by IBM. The patent application describes a process under which every manufactured product contains an RFID tag with a unique identification number. Each number is registered to the person who buys it. IBM also proposed that the government track people through their RFID tags using a “person tracking unit.” This device could zero in on RFID tags and track people in any public place.

An implantable microchip is an obvious person-tracking unit. When these technologies converge, we will have developed something that begins to resemble a Borg technology prototype … or the Mark of the Beast.

Consider the convenience! Microchips would replace all current forms of ID, so you would identify yourself at an airport or border crossing simply by swiping your hand across a scanner. Your chip would be tied to your bank account, so you would no longer need to carry cash. The chip could also include data on your family history, address, occupation, criminal record, income tax information, etc. An advanced microchip could be equipped with a satellite modem to allow you to browse the Internet anywhere on earth.

Now consider how that convenience would serve the ultimate police state. At the touch of a button, your assets could be frozen, medical treatment denied, etc. Instead of putting you in prison for crimes against the state or just holding the wrong opinions about some subject, the government could simply deactivate your chip and you would no longer exist in an official capacity. All personal and financial interactions would require verification of identity and confirmation of sufficient assets to be completed. You couldn’t buy groceries, take public transit, get in and out of your home or make your car start.

Proponents of implantable microchips tell us these concerns are fantasy. After all, our smartphones and other mobile technology are already collecting and sharing our personal data. It’s silly, they say, to believe such a nightmare scenario could happen because implantable chip use is voluntary. How voluntary will they be when they are required to access all the services you need to access to go about your day? I have options for when I want eat during the day, but eating really isn’t voluntary.

And voluntary could easily become involuntary. Maybe the government will decide to require all sex offenders to receive RFID microchip implants as a condition for avoiding prison or being paroled. The sex offenders could then be tracked by satellite. That sounds good, but then we’ve stepped onto a slippery conveyor belt that will be nearly impossible to reverse.

Related imageLobbyists might begin to funnel campaign contributions to politicians, urging them them to expand chipping to all parolees as a condition of release. Well, then after that successful initiative, they’ll argue that society would be safer if all convicted criminals had a chip implant. Pretty soon even jay-walkers and people who turned the wrong way on a one-way street are “voluntarily” chipped. Next, lawmakers will require workers in high-risk or high-security occupations – soldiers, police, prison guards, drivers transporting hazardous materials, etc. – to submit to chipping. But, wait, for safety’s sake, we really ought to chip anyone meeting a certain profile – gun owners, conservatives, persons working with children, etc.

And, remember, during all this currently-fictional-but-entirely-plausible buildup toward involuntarily chipping the entire population, there will be all those folks who “voluntarily” chip themselves for the convenience. The person who chooses not to be chipped will find it increasingly difficult to refuse to comply, until eventually, they find that they can’t refuse to comply.

Remember, when the government and do-gooders begin proposing chipping to track society’s “undesirables”, you may well be witnessing the birth of the Mark of the Beast.

Thus no one was allowed to buy or sell things unless he bore the mark of the beast–that is, his name or his number. Revelation 13:17

Jon has offered several prophesies over the years and they have so far all come true, including a personal one that I am not free to share the details of, but made me a believer not in Jon, but in God’s ability to work through Jon.

Posted October 20, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in culture

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