An Epistle From Sam Anderson to the Defeatists

An Epistle From Sam Anderson to the Defeatists

[Lifted with permission but under protest from one of Sam’s comments in a private FB group]

Oh, damn it all, Mr.B., we’re STILL a proud people. We just lost the cold war, is all.

We thought to beat the Soviet Union all we had to do was, well, beat the Soviet Union. We didn’t appreciate that we had to beat the ideas that made the Soviet Union suck as bad as it did over the head, repeatedly, every time they came up.

We ought to have played the indoctrination game with the kids, but of course we never would have because the individualists failed to organize. We had other things to do. Meanwhile McCarthy, for all you can argue implementation or means, was probably right. [Heinlein thought so.  I know what others of you have said, but I’ll defer to Mr. Heinlein in this. – SAH]

Yeah, we fucked up. Even a proud people can fuck up. Remember that (and if you have kids, make sure they remember it too). But you can’t actually KILL us for the same reason we couldn’t kill the awful ideas of the soviet union. American is someTHING you are, it’s someONE, you are, but it’s not someWHERE you are. Long before occupy, the American people themselves were an occupied nation, ruled by an elite which wanted to cut off us and stick on us whatever made us look more like the home of their heart- Europe. Liberals do not hate the US. They hate *US*. Their fellow European expatriates-but-for-an-accident-of-birth living in DC they like just fine.

And that goes for you too, all of you who would Burn It All Down.

I respect y’all, but you’re indulging in my most despised of all myths, the “from the ashes” mythology- If only the mess gets big enough, then we can purge the demons and start fresh.

But no, more likely if the US ends up a giant mess, then what we end with is a giant mess. A giant, STICKY mess, the kind you or I aren’t likely to see the end of. Maybe the kind that no one who ever met someone who knew us will see the end of. Because to make the kind of mess that myth requires takes a swing so far the opposite direction that the effect is still Hell. In effect we kick Satan and get the Prince of Darkness, or perhaps the devil. Or if it went totally, completely and thoroughly tits up, and shattered like a glass vase, you’d get dozens of tiny, vulnerable Nation-States. Oh… and a vacuum of the magnitude that’d give Dyson engineers wet dreams and probably inspire a little crush in black-hole theorists.

None of which probably matters, because it’s an unlikely scenario, which is probably good on balance. You can’t just break something the size of the US, something around which so many political planets are spinning, and not have the whole solar system go shooting off into the void. Even when things got to rights, just as there was only passing resemblance between Roman civilization and Middle-Ages Europe, it’d never be the same.

I don’t think it’s going to go to those extremes. We shall likely be denied even catharsis. It’s not going to be good, understand, but there’s nothing to be gained in willing it worse.

Besides, here’s the bottom line, ladies and gentlemen:

1) YOU are America. You are the people that carry the torch and the ideas. We weren’t ever about land, and we weren’t about ethnicity, we were only ever about the ideas, and ideas are mobile things. PLEASE stop waiting for America to come around like this is some star-spangled production of “Waiting for Godot”. Don’t think of her like a promised land to be unlocked by the ultimate sacrifice. Stop looking for the spontaneous political process by which she’ll be magically reborn, let alone designing it. She did not leave. She lives, dies, exists, or does not exist, entirely on the weight of your actions.

2) Understand — and take to heart in — that you are the intellectual inheritors of a legacy of men who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, for something that so far as they knew would burn out before their lives were over. Go back and read some of the things they said. That famous Ben Franklin quote, “A republic… if you can keep it”, was a pretty good gloss on the attitude.

There were a lot less of them than there are of us- they had reason to fear they could all be killed. This whole “America” thing was always edgy, always the cause celebre of rebels, always a little crazy and always going to be hard. If it peaks as a nation that does great things for the world for a while, damn it, the ideas can peak again if you’ll only keep them alive. If you’ll only KEEP the tradition. And Americans do not let it burn even if it seems hopeless. I know it seems pointless to fight. You know what? Maybe it is. But it’s also part of who we are, and if we lose everything else in this we can’t lose that. You can’t be free if you can’t stare down a well-armed tyrant.

BY THE WAY, and speaking of losing everything, remember a lot of those early Americans lost much of what they put on the line without the help of the fire, even though their little project survived the first buffets of history.

They didn’t just make the bet, as far as their lives were concerned a lot of them lost anyway. They didn’t even know if they’d have a proper country to despair of the prospects for, but oh, no, WE’RE the ones who have it bad. Now consider the mindset of a person in the continental army with next to no G*ddamned training facing down the world’s greatest army and the world’s most evil mercs with no help in sight, no supplies to speak of, and every expectation of coming out of this not just dead but VERY dead… who even so went on fighting. That’s the chain you’re at the proximal side of. And even so, you… you, of all Earth’s people, from this admittedly proud and rare nation… you’re not just admitting defeat but bidding it hastened?

I know this post is long. I’m sorry. I’ve boiled over. I’m sick of this. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but damn it, staying alive is a coherent strategy, even if it doesn’t inspire people to line up behind the banner. And it beats the Hell out of rolling over and dying.

[ And also I’d like to add to Sam’s rant above: DO NOT mistake the government for the country.  That’s the mistake the other side makes.  Yes, we might lose these elections, or any number of them.  Don’t give up.  Build under, build around, build over.  And teach your children well. Your life, your fortune, your most sacred honor, did you think they were just words?  Did you think it would be easy? Did you think this was just a game?– SAH. ]

197 responses to “An Epistle From Sam Anderson to the Defeatists

  1. It’s not possible to win the election. NONE of them are on the side of the people or the former republic.

    • Ted Cruz is on the side of the people.

      • Reality Observer

        Mmmm… Partially. (Which is a DAMN sight better than any of the rest, however.)

        • Start with “not the worst,” go to “better than the last guy” moving to “gal has promise” and upwards to “not George Washington but not bad at all.”

          • There is a mountain in the distance, call it mount Liberty. The question I always ask myself is “can we get closer”. Sometimes it’s “how can we keep from getting farther away.”

            Some people insist that the only acceptable answer is instantaneous teleportation to the mountain (when it took us quite some time to get away from it) and that anything less than that is “compromise” and “just as bad”.

            These people are their own worst enemies.

            • “their own worst enemies” .. and among ours. Those who declare that repair or improvement is impossible suffer, I think, from lack of both imagination and dedication.

      • Ted Cruz is owned by Goldman Sachs.

        • Eamon J. Cole

          Based on…?

          • They make a direct deposit into his wife’s account every payday. Not only are they smart enough to send the bribe to his wife rather than him, they were even smart enough to go through the charade of “hiring” her. Diabolical I tell you, diabolical.

            • Indeed.

              And in comparison, The Trump Organization LLC, a privately held entity that makes no financials public whatsoever, especially any outstanding or recently paid off debt, is by unquestionable definition as pure as the rapidly-accumulating snow around the Trump Tower.

            • Heidi Cruz went to work for G-S in 2005 — what — 7 years before her husband ran for the Senate? She is on unpaid leave from G-S so no, they do not deposit a check in her account every month. The loan they received from G-S was based on their portfolio and is not an exception to normal financial rules. G-S is not financing his campaign. Her educational background is above average. I know little about her (google is your friend, my friend) but recently heard a radio guy declare that she is a force to be reckoned with on her own, or WTTE.

              Ugly rumor about the millions Trump has borrowed to run his empire involve loans from Soros. Also did you know that Trump donated $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation back when they were buds?

              Not that this means anything … just sayin’.

          • Thank you Eamon.

        • Second the “based on…?” I’ve seen no evidence of that so far. What’s your evidence?

          • Just the circumstantial evidence that his wife is employed by Goldman Sachs. He also received a loan from them for his Senate campaign ($100k?). Call me naive, but I believe that Cruz is his own man.

            • Reality Observer

              He TOOK a loan from Goldman-Sachs. Because that happens to be where his 401K is, which was the collateral for it.

              Trump is one of the very, very tiny minority that might be able to finance a full Presidential campaign from his cash on hand and his current income (I can only think of two others, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet). There are other billionaires out there, like Bloomberg (who is now apparently throwing his hat in the ring as an “independent,” talk about “New York Values”!), but they don’t have that much liquidity.

              But – if he is the nominee, he will certainly either be taking RNC money, or loans against his collateralizable assets. He is not so stupid as to drain his liquidity that far.

        • To give you the word with no bark in it, bullshit. To give you Larry Correia’s words that have even LESS bark in it:
          But the banks own Cruz! Because he got a low interest loan that was fully secured with assets as collateral? Holy shit. Have any of you ever actually met an accountant? Do you even business, Bro? Meanwhile junk bond crony capitalist eminent domain deal maker dude who was in favor of single payer healthcare, TARP, and the auto bailout is going to save you from intrusive government?

          But Cruz tried to hide it! No. You low information idiot. He declared it on one form and forgot it on another. That’s as fucking stupid a crisis as binders full of women and dogs on car roofs. Quit falling for meaningless diversions.

  2. Sam and Sarah have it right – the “burn it all down” folks don’t get that the “it” they want to burn down is us.

    Look, I’ve made various jokes before about sticking here behind the lines in California, but the main reason I’m still here is that if we all leave, all of us who think that the American experiment is precious and important and vital to the future of the world, this place will get even worse. I don’t want to contribute to the place of my birth getting worse than it already is, so I stay.

    But things may get bad enough here that it may come to leaving, and if it does I will be one of those folks fighting there to keep things together and make things better – because the indoctrination didn’t stick, the brainwashing didn’t work, the downbeating didn’t beat me down, and in the end, at least where I can reach, I am America.

    • Same reason I stay in CO. Not the place of my brith, but the place of my heart.

      • Reality Observer

        Thirded, here. I am supposedly in a “red” State – but in a part of it that is so “blue” it might as well be colored black. Where Democrats are elected as “Republicans” – and some bother to change their Party after election, and some do not; same difference in any case. Where the Sheriff’s Office would need to be the first batch of Leftist thugs to be taken down when and if violence became necessary. Seventh poorest county, fourth poorest urban region, in the nation. I could go on…

        I refuse to be budged.

    • It’s not “us” we want to burn down.
      It’s those who have claimed to represent us, who have actively betrayed us, who we wish to burn.
      As to the leftist enclaves, they’ll burn themselves with no help from us.

      You’re mistaken about us buying into the “from the ashes” myth.
      Many of us don’t.
      We just want to make damned sure that those who brought us to this juncture do not profit thereby.

      As to the burning? It’s already aflame.
      And there’s nothing that can stop it.
      This is a country that elected Obama. Twice.
      Riots wrack cities from coast to coast.
      The leading Democratic candidate for President was caught red-handed committing felonies that would have any of us in prison for the rest of our lives, and looks likely to get off scot-free.
      The President violated free law with impunity.
      The Supreme Court believes it has the pdf and obligation to re-order society.
      The Fed is inflating the currency to buy government bonds that no one else will touch, on short-term loans that have to be rolled over more our less constantly, in service of a debt that can never be repaid. Worse, half the country is dependant on that largess, and we witnessed what happens when that patronage breaks down for even a day.
      Workforce participation rates are through the floor.
      Our rural areas are being gutted by regulations promulgated by distant urban areas.
      Illegal immigration and automation are destabilizing entire communities, and our “betters” sneer at us for not being appreciative.
      Our children are being educated to be ignorant, and ignorant of their ignorance.
      I could go on, and so could you.
      We’re screwed. The society has become decadent. There’s no saving people who do not wish to be saved. Decline is a choice, but few paths are easier than regression to mean.
      The best we can do, is to keep the torch burning. Protect what we can, when and where we can.
      And, perhaps settle some scores.

      • Bjorn Hasseler

        “It’s too late” is the same thing as “I quit”.

        • Note: I am not advocating this sentiment (at least not in the case of America) and don’t necessarily agree with Luke… but, “too late” is NOT the same thing as “I quit”, “too late” can very well mean, “maybe I can’t change the final outcome, but I can take an honor guard with me.” And that is the sentiment that some of the “burn it all downers” (the less dreamy types) embody.

          Frankly, I believe a majority of the “burn it all downers” are simply blowhards who like to talk, they don’t actually want to do anything, because if the majority of them did, we’d ALREADY have a revolution on our hands.

      • Eamon J. Cole

        I stand tall in the darkest hour of night and declare the sun shall never shine again, and I revel in my station as dark hour follows dark. I rejoice in the security of my declaration, none can prove me wrong as yet another dark hour descends.

        I am unassailable — until the breaking of the dawn.

        If this seems vaguely familiar — I deny everything! Also, cursed phone/wretched WP.

  3. Indeed; America is a state of heart & mind, and fortunately for us therefore is a global polity. The genie of individual freedom has been liberated from the tribal lamp; if even Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Deng, Pol Pot, Castro, Noriega, Chavez, and all the other enemies of modernity couldn’t recapture it, nobody can. That doesn’t mean there won’t be struggle; this is a feature not a bug of our humanity. Excellent post.

  4. Eamon J. Cole

    Pull that tap outta my subconscious — it makes me twitchy when you go stirring around in my thoughts and fears.

    And by proxy, even!

  5. There seems to be a lot of defeatism going ’round. I’ve seen some interesting arguments about that being what’s driving support to Trump: The GOPe keep losing, no matter how much of a majority we give them, so by supporting Trump we’re thumbing our nose at the GOPe and going with somebody who at least we feel is willing to fight, even if we aren’t sure what he’ll be fighting for.

    Me, I agree with the Norse: Ragnarok is coming, we’re going to lose everything in the end, so fight hard, die well, with an honor guard to attend you in the afterlife. You are never defeated until you concede defeat, so I intend to go out undefeated, spitting in the eye of those who think they’re smart enough or merely powerful enough to run my life for me.

  6. . . . and why those of us tucked away in schools, or home-schooling, or supporting home-schoolers and private schoolers and the parents who try to undo the worst of public school follies keep working away.

    [deleted rant about sadistic environmental fanatics and kids in despair]

    • Alright, we removed the lead from the paint. We removed the lead from the gasoline. We removed the mercury from the thermometers and such. We stopped using bromide sedatives. And… clearly there’s another poison at work, but the chemical assays don’t show it.

      • Maybe that’s not the problem. Maybe all of the leads and mercuries and bromides were neutralizing the worse poison.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        The chemical assays show them, but they are organic, not metallic.

        Barack Obama, Old Surfer, James May, *Insert object here*. One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just does not belong. Can you tell me what that thing is I finish this song?

  7. Part of the difficulty of building under/around and not letting it burn is figuring out what infrastructure can be relied on. Or what can be done. What is allowed. Pushing back takes resources, and the confidence that you can make a difference. Otherwise, it is like running headfirst into a brick wall.

    What frightens me is the increasing sense we are in a time where laws are enforced by who you are, not what you did. You can’t even always tell what is illegal! If you can’t count on impartial law, it’s already burning. It isn’t just the people being allowed to skate that is the problem–when it is made blatantly obvious that even within government institutions the rules are not followed uniformly, and that employees bear all the risk and will not be given the protection they were promised, those departments will not get competent or honest people. And the spiral of destruction will widen.

    Much of the frantic rhetoric is, I believe, the result of being chained in place and beaten. Few people *really* want it to burn–they want the beatings to stop or a way to MAKE the beatings stop. But if those options are not available, yeah, they will make bad choices. We need a steam vent fast.

    • I spent half an hour last night figuring out where my kids can ride in the front seat; so far as I can tell, if they’re allowed to face forward, they can do so anywhere but Washington that I am likely to drive.

      There are two big problems:
      1) almost all the states list SUGGESTIONS right next to the actual LAWS
      2) the Washington law was based on statistics based on where an injured child was found. So children who are unbuckled, jumping around the back of the car and end up in the front window count as a “front seat injury.” This obviously results in MUCH higher rates of injury in the front seat.

      • scott2harrison

        My understanding is that the problem with a kid or a small adult riding in the front seat is that if the air bag deploys it is likely to kill them rather than save them. You can imagine how small women felt before it became legal for them to have a switch installed to disable the driver’s side air bag.

        • All newer cars – at least in the last 5 years – have an option or a sensor to turn off the passenger airbags if there isn’t enough weight in the front seat. Another example of a government regulation to fix a stupid government regulation.

          • All this government intervention into our lives has made it impossible for an awful lot of us to even dream of ever purchasing a new car again in our lives.

            • I hate that I had to get a 98 Nissan P/U, but I did pull the fuse for the SRS (airbags) and continue to hope the ABS doesn’t croak and force a bypass

            • But how can they justify hiring more civil masters without creating more regulations? You must realize this is much more important than your wish.

        • That’s the theory, problem being that (possibly because of sample size) there wasn’t support for the idea that a child or small adult in a properly installed safety seat is more likely to be seriously injured or die in the front seat.

          It was so very much lacking that the original “booster seat” law for Washington was successfully challenged by a woman who was small enough that they were requiring that she use a child’s seat. Obviously, they do not design those for adult women, even if our heights do fall into the same category.

        • Found the background on the “air bags are dangerous to kids” idea.

          Page 4; it took from ’93 to ’97 for them to compile 49 cases of *injury* for children who weren’t in rear-facing seats.

          For comparison, back in ’10 when that tempest in a teacup was going on, over a thousand kids under 14 go to the ER for choking on hot dogs, and some 70+ would die from choking on food *each year.*

        • I know they’ve done those test with the back of the infant seat facing backward – and those are the one that the “KIDS IN THE BACK!!!!111!!!” people always show on their ads… but have the traffic safety people done tests with infant seats that face forward or sideways (i.e. toward the driver?)

    • “If you can’t count on impartial law, it’s already burning.”
      Add the government forcing people off of their land all over the west at the behest of the enviro-whackos and animal “rights” whackos who abuse the endangered species act to get whatever they choose to be added to the endangered species list-look for mosquitos to be added soon.
      There’s so many laws and fed regs that we all commit three felonies a day just going about our daily business.
      The big banks and the Wall St. casino can vaporize a few trillion in peoples retirement funds-yet not a single person goes to jail.
      .gov inc. continues to lie about the “economic recovery”.
      Our leftist indoctrinated children graduate college and are morons-many of the believe judge Judy is a SCOTUS justice.
      The supporters of the Hildebeast want to repeal the first amendment.
      Mitch McConnel wants to grant authority for never ending “war on terror” anywhere,any time-no expiration date.
      The EPA is out of control,regulating businesses into bankrputcy,and will soon cause our electric bills to triple.
      The enviro nazis are going to keep suing the USFWS,USFW,BLM,and EPA until no one live more than 99 feet outside the city limits.
      Far to many people have no understanding of where their food comes from-they think meat is made in a factory and shipped to the store on styrofoam trays neatly wrapped in plastic-they are too freakin stupid to know that beef comes from cows,and ham comes from hogs-yet they want all ranching banned, they want animals to have their own lawyers-and on and on.
      The government tells what kind of toilet you HAVE to install in your home,and what types of light bulbs are legal to use in your home.
      Even with lots of kids being college graduates,they are still morons-they obtain degrees in things like gender studies,women’s studies,African American studies,and about 173 other “studies” degrees in made up fields with zero jobs for the morons who
      The trigger warnings and microagression horsepucky is way out of control,the white people are evil horsepucky is even more out of control.
      The my child can choose whether they want to be a boy or a girl as often as they want to bovine excrement is way out of control as well.
      It’s already burning steadily.

      • “The big banks and the Wall St. casino can vaporize a few trillion in peoples retirement funds-yet not a single person goes to jail.”

        Why would anyone go to jail? It’s just an asset bubble popping. It happens occasionally, it doesn’t mean anyone has done anything criminal.

        • There was fraud involved in the way sub-prime mortgages and other risky loans were peddled as “A” investments to pension funds,and the were all kind of questionable,likely illegal deals in the way rest of the were passed off as good investments to individuals.
          It wasn’t just an asset bubble popping-there was a bit more to it.

          • The whole genesis of the bubble stems from the idea – promoted by politicians for their own ends – that the traditional ways of calculating risk on mortgages was wrong because of racism. When banks started lending to poor people it triggered the bubble. The bubble in turn masked the risk – if a sub-prime mortgage holder found himself unable to make his payments, he’d just sell the home for more than he bought it rather than default – so it looked like the idea that traditional calculations overestimated risk was correct. With that “knowledge” in hand, the ratings agencies did their math. There was no fraud, just bad assumptions. And the thing about bubbles is right up until they pop they reward people who make bad assumptions.

            • When a bank makes a home loan to people with poor or no credit,not enough monthly income to possibly be able to afford the monthly payments-then yes,there’s fraud involved.
              The Wall St ffinancial geniuses bundles securities,they also knew damn well many of the mortgages were bad loans,with little to no chance of ever being repaid.
              Suckering pension plans into investing in the garbage when they knew damn well the crap they were peddling was not A or Aa rated-it was junk.
              That’s securities fraud.
              The housing market end of the whole mess was the bubble.
              Those making bad loans were one part of the problem.
              Those suckering pension plans into investing in those bad loans were another part of the problem.
              When the house of cards fell,you could trace the start of the problem back to the Clinton admin and the false claims that lenders were “racist” which led to banks making way to many risky loans.
              It was not a natural bubble-it was a bubble created entirely by greed-on the part of the banks,and of those who bundled bad loans with other not quite junk and rated the package as A or Aa.

              • okay. GameGetter, sorry, but what part of the “government mandated those loans” evaded you?

                • Let’s not forget our “friends” at FannieMae and FreddieMac, which cooked up the mortgage backed security idea, are both quasi-governmental entities.

                • None of it-it started under Clinton.
                  Bundling bad loans,and other worthless garbage,and advertising it as “A” or “AA” investments is fraud by any defintion of the word.
                  What’s the letter “F” not showing up in lower case?

              • You need to do more research into how securities finance works and the mechanism of the bubble, which dates back to the 1990’s. There was fraud, but it was on the part of the politicians, not the bankers.

                • And the bankers, Jeff; and. And the quant who invented the clever trick of traunching sub-prime mortgages so he could slap a triple-A rating on filtered junk.

                  • The evidence showed that the mortgage securities were AAA investments. They only became junk when the bubble popped.

                    • No, the math behind the traunching was fundamentally flawed. It could only work if expected returns from mortgages were independent of each other (any economic downturn would have disproved that) and roughly Gaussian (not even close). You can do honest traunching without that second assumption, but it requires care and you can only one level: they did several. They lied to their mathematical models; and mathematics will have its revenge if you try that.

                • I said it started in the 90’s.
                  The banks were involved-they knew damn well they were making home loans that had zero chance of ever being paid off.
                  Those loans were bundled with other garbage and rated as low-risk-it was like playing blackjack and asking for another card when you have a jack and a queen.
                  The rating agencies,the banks that made the loans,the guys who sold the bundled worthless loans as “A” or “AA” rated investments are sure as hell guilty-that’s fraud-by any definition of the word.

                  • “they knew damn well they were making home loans that had zero chance of ever being paid off.”

                    No, they didn’t know that. By the time those bundles were generated they had years of empirical data saying that subprime loans didn’t have a high default rate. What they didn’t realize was that the default rate was being masked by the bubble.

                    • Loans were made to people who did not have anywhere near the income,or the credit worthiness to repay the loans.
                      There were high default rates in whole neighborhoods in Cleveland starting around 2004-2005.
                      We were emptying the homes out,doing the repairs,and the bank put them right back on the market.
                      WE couldn’t even keep up with the number of homes that people just walked away from after they were in default.
                      2004 until late 2007-when the housing market turned to sh*t then no banks were making new loans for single family homes.
                      3 years straight of working on empty homes every day-we took maybe 15 days off in those 3 years.
                      The banks knew the loans were garbage-my sister is a loan office for one of the biggest banks in NE Ohio.
                      She told me we were about to have no work 3 months before it happened.
                      The banks knew-the just kept re-selling the homes,making new loans.

    • What frightens me is the increasing sense we are in a time where laws are enforced by who you are …

      Reason #1 Hillary R. Clinton must not be elected President and must not be allowed to skate on her @#!$! private server. I am waiting for some journalist</DEL reporter to ask her whether she agrees that David Petraeus should be reduced in rank for his violations of regulations governing treatment of secure documents.

      • What frightens me is the increasing sense we are in a time where laws are enforced by who you are …

        Reason #1 Hillary R. Clinton must not be elected President and must not be allowed to skate on her @#!$! private server. I am waiting for some journalist reporter to ask her whether she agrees that David Petraeus should be reduced in rank for his violations of regulations governing treatment of secure documents.

        (Stupid HTML Coder)

  8. Once upon a time, stubble would be burned, to clear out both it and the weeds before the next planting. Of course, harvest had taken place and what was good had been removed from the burn area.
    Some of it may need to burn, but not all.
    The trick lies in figuring out which is which.

  9. The government isn’t the country. The Constitution is the country. It defines the ideas of what the country means. That’s why the oath I swore at 17 said “Support and defend the Constitution of the United states against all enemies, foreign an domestic.” At best the government is an implementation of a framework.

  10. this election seems destined to give most of us a massive case of indigestion

  11. I remember listening to my mother talking about all of her silly Republican uncles ranting about how FDR was ruining America. She called them silly because ‘EVERYONE’ new that FDR had saved America. Mom was sweet but politically naive. Then there was my father. He absolutely loved Goldwater! As a brainwashed eleven year old, I thought he was an idiot. He also ranted about how LBJ’s ‘Great Society’ programs were going to ruin the country. Now here I am realizing how wise my mother’s uncles and my father were and thinking “Here we go again!” Obama is ruining the country.

    Despair is sometimes hard to fight off. But, I look around at the world and see that the US is still the world’s best hope for freedom. We can still restore the American dream. It’s going to take a lot of work. So let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.

    As Sarah says, “In the end we win they lose.”

    • Your anecdotes reveal why honest historians claim it takes fifty years to begin to properly evaluate “history.”

      For example, some people say Vietnam, some say the Bay of Pigs, but I argue the worst mistake JFK perpetrated was on Jan 19, 1962, in the form of Executive Order 10988, granting federal employee unions bargaining rights. This served as the model (and as legitimization of) public sector employee unions throughout the states, raising the costs and reducing the answerability of public employees, with consequences we are harvesting now.

      The financial crisis forcing Flint, Michigan to resort to cheaper sources of water, which has forced many municipalities into bankruptcy, which was enacted in the tantrums afflicting Scott Walker in Wisconsin, and are evident in the arrogance of IRS employees such as Lois Lerner can be traced back to E.O. 10988.

      • You know what would be beautiful? If a president used executive action to rescind all executive actions since… oh… 1900, and the issued an executive action removing the power of executive action from the executive branch.

  12. scott2harrison

    In my view there are two changes that are absolutly imperative, neither of which will come easily. The first is to remove direct election of senators, thus going back to where the senate represented the state governments and the house represented the people. The second is to remove the franchise from anyone who receives more money from the government than they pay into the government, wages, welfare, whatever, any of them are direct conflicts of interest.

    • Losing the franchise while you are a ward of the state is reasonable. How about losing the franchise while you are employed by the state as well?

      • Reacquiring the franchise automatically when one drops off the payroll/dole.

      • scott2harrison

        As I said, welfare, wages, whatever. I could even go for wages from a government contractor (at least if government contracts are their major business.

      • For many years, no one in the American Military was allowed to vote for President for that very reason.

        I do not think that is a reasonable solution to the problems we have.

        • “For many years, no one in the American Military was allowed to vote for President for that very reason.”

          Ummm… Never heard of that one. And can’t find it anywhere. Did find something that said militia members, regardless of property qualifications, could vote. Which seems to go against the grain of that.

          • It’s true. They decided to make arrangements during the American Civil War, and Grant’s orders about it allude to the former lack.

            • I think that was because at that time there weren’t absentee ballots. Most of the army was sent home to vote. It wasn’t that weren’t allowed to vote, it was that they weren’t at their polling places. They weren’t sure all the volunteers would return- but they did. The following discusses military voting: Note that even in 1864 it was Democrats who sought to disenfranchise the military, as they did in Florida with the great recount, rejoicing every time a military ballot was invalidated because it didn’t have a postmark.

          • Officers were not allowed to vote for President as the president was their boss. I’ll find a cite for you.
            My retired army officer husband who was also a military historian told me this.

          • Some states completely forbade voting by military members – Texas, for instance – SECTION 1. The following classes of persons shall not be allowed to vote in this State, to wit:

            First–Persons under twenty-one years of age.

            Second–Idiots and lunatics.

            Third–All paupers supported by any county.

            Fourth–All persons convicted of any felony, subject to such exceptions as the Legislature may make.

            Fifth–All soldiers, marines and seamen, employed in the service of the army or navy of the United States.

      • You want to disenfranchise all members of the military?

        • The Other Sean

          If it kept all the members the civil service from voting, it might be worth it.

          • Do you really want to make it so that the only people who do any work for the government are the ones who either don’t care enough to value their vote, or believe that they can cheat the system?

            How about we work on making sure that only those who are legally entitled to vote right now are voting, and then start dreaming up schemes to take away the vote from those entitled to it?

      • forbidding anyone in government employ, or their unions, from donating money to a campaign

        After all, our Supreme Court says that campaign finance laws are legal to prevent an appearance of conflict of interest

        • That one is reasonably justifiable– and I’m only half supporting it because of all the very high up officers it would leave out of the power brokering. 😀

          Make it so they can’t make any donations big enough to be declared, and it’d be covered under the existing rules about appearance of corruption.

    • Direct election of senators isn’t going to change much. By the time the seventeenth amendment was ratified, most states chose their senators by popular vote. You’d need a more intrusive reform and I just don’t see how you could eliminate vox populi as an input.

      • scott2harrison

        Not sure about that. Even 10 states worth of senators that represented the state government rather than the peepul could do a lot.

        • Things have changed a lot since then – the main problem is the state governments are pretty much locked up these days, so it’s really not likely that California or Texas or Nevada or Virginia will elect Senators by direct election that are grossly out of step with those states general-election makeup.

          Most of the levels of seperation that used to be in place to isolate lower and upper statehouses were removed by court action, and as a result the presumption that any state’s upper house would send someone more representative of their sovereign state’s interests rather than one beholden to the whims of 50%+1 of that state’s unwashed masses is pretty much gone as well.

        • Depends on the state.

        • Here’s the other danger: 13 states have a filibuster in the legislature, most of them solidly red states. Under the current system those states send two Republican Senators to DC (for all the good it does). Under the indirect election system, the Democrats in some of those states could hold enough power to essentially mandate a Democrat, or at the very least a very moderate Republican.

          And there’s no way you’re getting an anti-establishment Senator like Cruz or Rubio.

    • And the third, more important then your second, is the reversal of Reynolds v. Sims, the decision that ensures rural voters have little to no say in how state governments are run. Before that decision, most states were run as the federal government is. In the upper house, counties were evenly represented, in the lower house, equally populated districts.

  13. These are the times that try men’s souls…

  14. Personally, I don’t want to burn it all down. The biggest issue right now is two-fold: border control and immigration. Without control of the border, and some form of immigration management, we’re just importing people who neither understand nor care what America is

    • It’s a big issue. A country without borders is by definition not a country, but not as big as you presume. In total terms, immigration is not that big an issue yet. The issue is the culture. The issue is not teaching the constitution of how to be Americans to our kids. The closing of the border will do nothing when our kids are taught by occupying forces. And if you think Trump will change that, pull the other leg, it plays Beethoven’s fifth

  15. Honestly haven’t decided what I’ll do once the primaries hit my state. Do I trust any of the candidates, D or R, to make an honest attempt at fixing our problems? No, no really.

    Mickey Mouse sounds better every day, especially when oh-so wise Solons recognize that people are angry, and then tell us to shut up because we’re stupid (thanks NR!) … yeah, that’s an excellent way to win my vote.

    • No. You’re thinking of it the wrong way. Ask which ones are likely to destroy the country. Trump, Bernie Hillary. Pretty much their program is the same, and we can’t survive another 4 years of this.
      I realize you’re angry. But if you convert that to voting for a democrat with an R after his name — Trump — you need your head examined.

      • When you listen to Trump you are listening to a true snake-oil salesman. To me Trump sounds like Obama. Yuck

      • The country will be destroyed regardless.

        The real question is, will you allow those who betrayed you to profit?

        I support Cruz.
        But after him, the only remaining candidate I will support is Trump.

        Would Trump be a despotic tyrant?
        It’s what the Left has been working at bringing about for over a century. Everything is in place for it. They should have heeded the warning about being careful what you wish for.
        A pragmatic and unprincipled despot who sees them as the threat and rival power center they are?
        There are worse things.

        But I do believe he did a yuge amount of damage to himself this week. Damning Cruz for not being willing to make deals undercuts a major rationale for Trump’s candidacy. And he did it to himself, because Nemesis is a stone-cold b*tch.
        We’ll have to see how it plays out.

        • I still think Cruz for President – because he probably knows best how to do the job, and is a Constitutionalist; and Trump for VP – assuming Cruz can manage him – because he’s a great attack dog, has flipflopped on so many things he’s likely willing to play for Cruz’s priorities as long as he gets to play, and would thereby keep the MSM off Cruz’s back.

          • Trump’s ego would never accept the #2 spot.

            • Probably. But it could be such a great combination … and he didn’t actually reject it when it came up in the debate.
              Depends, I think, on what he really wants to DO, when/if he thinks about it – for a guy like him, VP could be more fun (fewer really hard problems to solve) while he’d still get a lot of publicity and appearance of influence.

    • listen to Milady Hoyt. Cruz, and Rubio, would be orders of magnitude better than Bern/Hill/Trump.
      So Trump bashes the press, and they prattle about him being some rightwinger. Remember, these are folks who think who think maybe Marx wasn’t quite leftoid enough. A Trump win gives them a double win. They get to call you a racist-misogynist-xenophobe for voting for him, and he will continue much of their agenda and know that most of his “rightwing” wishes will never come to fruition. In some respect Trump is left of Bill Clinton, and has an ego to equal 0bama.

      • Talk about ego, PELLA,
        Iowa /ANKENY, Iowa (Reuters) – U.S. Republican front-runner Donald Trump expressed confidence on Saturday that he could push back attempts by his rivals to knock him off his top perch, saying he could stand on New York’s Fifth Avenue “and shoot somebody,” and still not lose voters.

    • Remember that victory is a ratchet. The Progressive movement started in the late 19th century. It took them over 100 years to get to the point that an avowed socialist is a viable contender for one of the major parties. How did they do it? Patience. By taking victories when they could, by pushing each generation of candidates just a bit to the left, and holding on to their gains as much as possible, they have found themselves within striking distance of their goal.

      The good news is that there’s nothing in the above that we cannot do to reverse the process. Elect a conservativeish President. Undo Obamacare, prove that government programs can be unwound without the sky falling. Roll back the greenhouse gas regulations and hobble the regulator’s rule-making abilities. Simplify the tax code – even Kennedy did that one. None of these are big, bold strokes like shutting down a federal department, but it gets things moving in the proper direction and makes it harder for the Progressives to advance their agenda, which is nearly as important.

      Yes, we’d all like to wake up a year from now and live in the Republic laid out in the Constitution. It isn’t going to happen. I’m 36 and I might live to see the last of the Progressive rot cut out of the country, but I’m not going to put any money on it.

  16. Yes, we might lose these elections, or any number of them. Don’t give up. Build under, build around, build over. And teach your children well. Your life, your fortune, your most sacred honor, did you think they were just words? Did you think it would be easy? Did you think this was just a game?

    Swear allegiance to the flag
    Whatever flag they offer
    Never hint at what you really feel
    Teach the children quietly
    For some day sons and daughters
    Will rise up and fight while we stood still

    • I use music a lot both to reflect and to an extent to direct my mood.

    • Catticus Finch

      As long as I was not the only one hearing that playing in my head while I was reading.

      • No. For some reason that song imprinted on me back in the early 1980s, or whenever I first heard it, and it’s been on occasional play ever since.

      • The Other Sean

        You’re not. I’ve got the song in my lengthy play list, and it comes to mind whenever Sarah or others bring this point up.

    • we shall fight on the beaches,
      we shall fight on the landing grounds,
      we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
      we shall fight in the hills;
      we shall never surrender

      • That’s who we need

        • But would Churchill have been Churchill without Hitler?

          • Very good question. Churchill was considered to be politically dead, and his nagging warnings about Hitler only seemed to isolate him more. But if Hitler did not exist might another take his place? After all the anger and despair that Hitler tapped into still existed, but on the other hand he barely was able to assume power.

            I guess what I mean is we need leaders who can clearly see the dangers we face and mobilize the support to solve or at least mitigate them. We don’t need leaders who appeal to our anger and fear.

  17. FYI, if I’m scarce the next few weeks, my teaching load just doubled. The stork is haunting the school.

  18. I’d add a point #3, and this is important:
    So much of what I read is a hope that this one guy, running for president, will make our country good and great again. A few elections ago, it was Ron Paul. This year, supposedly Trump is the guy.
    (sigh) DAMMIT, NO, JUST STOP THAT!!! The desire for a Strong Leader to come and make things better comes from the Left wing.

    • Part of the problem is that Reagan was good enough (not perfect, but good enough) people stopped watching and fighting. which got us where we are.

      • …not perfect,
        As great as Ronald Reagan was, he wasn’t able to do everything he told us he wanted (see ‘shut down the Dept. of Education’), he’s the one who nominated both Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy to the Supremes, and without picking GHWBush as his running mate, we would not have the Bush dynasty to deal with today.

        On balance still the greatest president of the last century, but indeed not perfect.

    • I am positive that Trump is not the right guy.

    • Patrick Chester

      Worse, as I noticed from the Ron Paul supporters: They seem to be like the Obama supporters, except their Good Man has the “right” view so it’ll Make Everything Better if he gets elected.

    • I’d be happy enough with a president who wasn’t driving us deeper into the trench. This nation would fix things well enough if the Feds weren’t big-footing all over creation, what with their “Dear Colleague” letter to schools, their idiot interventions in economics, their energy fantasies and national defense blunders. (N.B.- this list is not intended to be comprehensive; indeed, our Federal fuckups are so vastly incompetent comprehensiveness is likely unattainable.)


  20. Since you mentioned Bob Heinlein in the piece, I thought you would be interested in this article about a famous target rifle that he once owned. It was loaned to the British during WWII to help the Home Guard, and came back home after Hitler was put down. The rifle now rests in the National Firearms Museum, and Heinlein described a very similar one in his novel, Number of the Beast…

  21. Yes, burn it down. Because that worked so very well with the Roman Empire. After it fell, the barbarians who flooded in created a Golden Age – right?

  22. Joe Miller (@joethefatman1)

    When 0 was reelected I briefly joined the let it burn crowd, but then I remembered I had kids. Attitude adjusted,
    There have been a few defeats in the courts and other places that have come close to getting me to give up, but I still aint dead.

  23. I heard that song in my head also with this post. One of the reasons we are homeschooling. I never thought I would have to teach my daughters that they need to be careful what they say and who they say it too – but that will be their world in college. And also teach them how to tell the pajama boys from the real men.

    But compared to what our forefathers had to go through its not that bad. And I measure my forefathers back to Plato and Socrates. I have become much more philosophical about the cause of freedom and free will – deciding that it is bigger than just the USA – it is the human spirit trying to break free from the shackles. I also have become closer to my religion as well – and given all the pomp and arrogance – if you read the church thinkers like St. Augustine you can see how the church lines up with the freedom of will.

    While the silly atheists (there are serious ones that I have some respect for but most are just idiots) think they are freeing themselves by renouncing religion – they miss that they are leaving probably the single biggest non-state bulwark for freedom. How do socialists and communists view the church? They want to destroy it or at least bring it low. Because they realize and enemy in it – one that they might be able to coopt for a little while – but because the church has moral laws that are not up for change they hate it. Hence the never-ending attacks on it.

    To paraphrase a song I just came across – “it doesn’t matter if we win the battle, because the cross ALREADY won the war” – emphasis added. We just need to continue to fight the good fight. I firmly believe we will be graded on what we do – not necessarily on the results.

    For only the soul matters in the end. (I loved that series) And that is why I am not in the “let it burn” crowd – I worry what effect that would have on my soul. The turning away that attitude requires is not something that is compatible with my morals or ethics. Not that I am not disgusted with what goes on – I am – but like I said I believe that we will be judged on what we do. And that requires that I try to do something about it – maybe as simple as teaching my children well and commenting irregularly here or other places.

    Well – that is probably enough for now – probably too much. Talk to you guys later.


  24. Not enough to beat the enemy. Have to beat their ideas.

    Premise for sci-fi story: weaponized memes as UXO. Set in a near future solar system, with Belter/Firefly tech level, in the aftermath of the Big War. During the war one or both sides deployed autonomous hunter-killer drone ships in space (those were easy enough to track down and deal with), AND autonomous AI saboteurs and propaganda viruses (which are still troublesome a generation later). Like how the ‘no nukes’ crowd were funded by Moscow from day 1, but are still around 25 years later.