Lessons Not Learned, by Thomas Sowell – a guest post by Amanda S. Green

Lessons Not Learned, by Thomas Sowell – a guest post by Amanda S. Green

Most of us grew up hearing the cautionary tale about how we must know history or else we’re doomed to repeat it. If we paid attention to the warning and looked back at history, we’d find more than a few examples where lessons hadn’t been learned and tragedies were repeated. Professor Sowell drives home that point in this essay, included in Controversial Essays.

According to Professor Sowell, “we have missed some of its most blatant and most horrifying lessons.” (CE, p 222) These horrors came under Nazi Germany and from Communist regimes. They resulted from “from concentrations of political power, brought about by heady rhetoric, powerful visions and emotional manipulations.” (CE, p 222)

Looking at that single comment, it almost sounds like the Democrats have been reading Professor Sowell. After all, how many times have we heard them decrying the rhetoric of Trump, condemning him for playing to the emotions of the white supremacists in this country? The problem is they need to look into the mirror and see it applies to them as much, if not more, than it does to the current president. These are the candidates pandering for votes by promising they’d erase college loan debt, free college for everyone, universal healthcare, etc., etc., etc.

Professor Sowell quickly gets to the heart of the matter—and the real danger presented by those liberals who so blithely brush aside the foundations of our republic.

“The constitutional barriers that stand between us and the tyrannies that have swept over other peoples around the world are treated as things to be brushed aside or finessed when those who are skilled with words manipulate our emotions.” (CE, p 222)

We see this at work after every “mass shooting”. Hell, we saw it in full media focus a little more than a week ago after the shootings in El Paso and Dayton. It seemed like every liberal politician, and a few so-called conservative ones as well, climbed onto the gun control bandwagon. They did so before all the facts were in and certainly before they learned whether or not the two shooters had obtained the weapons used in the attacks legally or illegally.

You see, those facts don’t matter, not when it comes to the gun control narrative. All that does is that they media and willing politicians whip up enough emotion with the voters of this country to limit our Second Amendment rights. Now the media is going after Trump because he is focusing the gun control conversation on mental health concerns. How dare he even suggest there might be some other explanation for why someone decides to shoot up, or stab or firebomb or anything else a group of people! Doesn’t he know it is the gun that causes the evil deed?

Then there’s this quote, one even more important to remember today than when Professor Sowell first wrote it:

The constitution’s proclamation of “equal protection of the laws” for all Americans is swept aside by saying the magic word “diversity,” while creating preferences and quotas for some at the expense of others. (CE, p 222)

I’ve been alive long enough to remember how the “reverse discrimination” movement in college admissions was hailed as the next best thing to come along to help heal the inequities of years of preferential selecting of whites over minorities for admission. I’ve watched my son have to worry about getting into the college of his choice because he didn’t fit the current diversity requirements. Unlike Lizzie Warren, we chose not to capitalize on our Cherokee heritage and, trust me, we have a hell of a lot more Native American blood in us than she does.

Yet, to challenge these diversity laws and rulings is bring condemnation down on your head. Forget hiring the most qualified person for the job. If you receive state or federal funding for your business or institution, you have certain quotas you must fulfill. Forget about making money for your shareholders. That’s an evil capitalist idea. We must make up for the so-called sins of the past, no matter what the impact on the present or the future.

The first amendment to the constitution says that the right of free speech cannot even be infringed, but that is all forgotten in the stampede for ‘campaign finance reform.’ (CE, p 222)

But it goes beyond that. We have politicians wanting to make it a crime to be critical of them or to make jokes about them. We have colleges and other institutions giving First Amendment protection to AntiFa and similar groups but shutting down the free speech rights of more conservative speakers and organizations. To those “woke” institutions, the fundamental right of Free Speech applies only to certain types of speech, certain “approved” types.

But we are playing with fire when we simply ignore the constitution or find clever ways around it. Without a constitution, we are at the mercy of whatever phrase or fashion sweeps across the political landscape. . . Yet our judges, politicians and the intelligentsia play with fire as if they had never seen the conflagrations. (CE, pp 222-223)

The example Professor Sowell gives is campaign finance, but it applies to so much more. The scary thing is both sides of the political aisle are guilty of trampling on the Constituion when it suits their purposes. We’ve seen presidents use executive orders to circumvent it. We’ve seen Congress passing laws it should reasonably have known would be struck down on appeal. We have even seen the Supreme Court, or at least members of it, trying to rewrite the meaning of certain parts of the Constitution because those portions aren’t, in their opinion, “woke” enough.

Sowell points out that the protections given us by the Constitution are protections millions of others on this Earth would love to have. Unfortunately, we have “agents of change” who have made it their life’s work to dismantle those protections or, at the very least, water them down to insignificance.

The professor hits the proverbial nail on the head with this:

In short, we and our children are being trained to be sheep and to respond automatically to words that strike an emotional chord. We are being set up to be played for suckers by anyone who wants to take up where the totalitarian movements of the 20th century left off.

The very tactics of those totalitarian movements—intimidation, demonization, and disregard of all rules in favor of politically defined results—have become hallmarks of political correctness today. Some people think political correctness is just silly. But many people thought Hitler was just silly before he took power and demonstrated how tragically mistaken they were. (CE, p 224)

Those two paragraphs say it all. The Left wants us to react with emotion, not intellect. They want us to follow blindly. The freedom to question and doubt is not to be allowed. March in lockstep, Comrade, of hie thee to the gulag.

It is up to us to say not only “no” but “hell, no!”. We do that by voting. We do that by speaking up and speaking out. We do that by not supporting media outlets that are nothing more than mouthpieces for the Left that would tear down our Constitution. We do that by teaching our children history, philosophy, economics and so much more. We do it by not abdicating our roles as thinking human beings.

Our country has survived serious trials before. But for it to survive this one, we must be willing to step up. I am. What about you?

 

157 responses to “Lessons Not Learned, by Thomas Sowell – a guest post by Amanda S. Green

  1. The title got to me for a moment. I initially thought you were accusing Dr. Sowell of not learning lessons, rather than it being the title of one of his essays.

    • analytical-engine-mechanic

      (notes in passing the subtly piquant copy-editorial value of:
      Lessons Not Learned, by Thomas Sowell
      vs.
      Lessons Not Learned by Thomas Sowell)

      But after (and contrary to timestamps) spending ~2h trying to get Weirdly Precious to cough up even *one* comment, I’m not gonna persevere further to tell the “Panda Eats Shoots And Leaves” vs. “Panda Eats, Shoots, and Leaves” joke.

      However, I’m sure *someone* here could do it for me.

      • Or Sarah and I could get snarky about folks nitpicking proofing mistakes for non-paying work. VBG

        Seriously, the blame is mine. I wrote this pre-coffee. Sarah edited it and posted it pre-coffee.

        • Haven’t I taught the both of you better than that?
          Caffeine is an essential food group and the most important meal of a writer’s day.

        • analytical-engine-mechanic

          Hey, I’m one of the weird people who blew right past the whole “potential misunderstanding” thing (until it got pointed out) and just enjoyed the heck out of the article.

          And I’m also somebody who (back in a bygone era when the Evil Empire was newly dead and Communism was on the ash-heap of history) used to copy-edit two monthly campus magazines… nicely.

        • I’ve been known to warn my first-section students, “You are dealing with an under-caffeinated teacher. Be patient, and be afraid, not necessarily in that order.”

          • Had a friend in college whose wife you did not even say “good morning” to until after her first cup of coffee. Nope. Not even.

        • Addicts. Maybe you should give up coffee completely? 😛

        • That’s okay Amanda, I’m not one of the perpetually offended who parse over everything looking for some microscopic item to turn into a mountain of outrage.

          Of course I am known for taking an opportunity for a pun and running with it. 😉

      • Or my favorite, “Let’s eat Grandma!”

    • FWIW I read all blog stuff as newspaper titles– commas etc are fripperies.

  2. analytical-engine-mechanic

    And, boy oh, boy, is this essay and this post *topical* right now.

    “‘But we are playing with fire when we simply ignore the Constitution or find clever ways around it.'”

    The past day or so, I finally “bit the bullet” and started looking up details of the various *current* Red Flag gun-confiscation laws. Eeeuw, wow, and eek!

    Right to keep and bear arms, due process, presumption of innocence, right to face your accusers and know their charges, right to speak in your own defense before judgment, right not to self-incriminate… on and on. It’s like the creators of many (not all) of these laws are actively trying to check off, as in ignore into oblivion, as many Constitutional prohibitions as they can do in one fell swoop.

    See, especially, Hawaii and Colorado; I’d give the pointers, but Wordy Precious already ate them *twice* without a burp back at the “The Power of Law” page. Even using that whole website dot com slash some-directory thing, twice.

    “‘The very tactics of those totalitarian movements—intimidation, demonization, and disregard of all rules in favor of politically defined results—have become hallmarks of political correctness today.'”

    Demonization, and its less-eloquent opposite (angelification?), can be seen and heard just about anytime the word “Confederacy” or anything celebrating anything to do with it comes up. It’s not just true that there was a lot of proud racism and unabashed white-supremacy there and then (listen to the debate on approving the last Confederate flag, a.k.a. “Stainless Banner”) — it’s also “true” that none of the Union was racist in any way, that the war was fought to free the slaves from the beginning, and that (e.g.) stuff like the Sand Creek massacre, or for that matter the (unconstitutional!) Cherokee removal, simply never happened. (Making it perfectly *il*logical that many of the Eastern Band fought for the Confederacy, the America that [really] never ran them off their own land… evidently they must’ve been ‘white supremacists’ back then, too!)

    We watch as overtly revolutionary and Communist national parties, wearing the trademark black shirts of the 1930s Communists and proudly boasting of awards from Ho Chi Minh for helping defeat America in Vietnam, use college students (and chancellors) as their “useful innocents” to demolish memorials to the service of alumni veterans who fought for their state in the Civil War Between the States — while they call for the abolition of our military and the disarming of our police today. And demonize just about every thing that U.S. veterans ever did for America into the bargain. (Wanna-be totalitarian, at least? Check that box!)

    Suddenly I wish I could send Thomas Sowell a beautifully-calligraphed edition of Kipling’s “The Gods of The Copybook Headings” — oh, wait, he probably has a drawer full of those by now.

    [4th try, 3rd browser, 2nd machine. WPDE in excelsis!]

    • I’m not a lawyer, or a constitutional scholar, or all that smart really, but it seems to me that Red Flag laws COULD be written in such a way as to respect constitutional rights such as due-process. It wouldn’t be easy, and it would take serious effort by someone who understands those rights, and respects them, but I believe it could be done.

      The problem is. as far as I can see, there are few, if any, people who are pushing for Red Flag laws that fit the description of “Understanding and respecting constitutional rights”.

      • Ain’t gonna happen. Our system of laws already allows an interested party to have someone they believe to be a danger to themselves or others brought before a judge for evaluation. It’s not easy and you’d best have a credible argument or you’d find yourself held for a variety of violations, but that’s the whole point here.
        Red Flag regulations as are being designed and implemented are intended to circumvent due process. Some close or distant relative, any medical professional, any public official can simply voice a concern, in some cases anonymously, and a citizen can be stripped of a constitutional right.
        Once upon a time as I recall there was a fundamental tenet of American law, better that ten guilty go free than for one innocent to suffer. That seems to have been turned inside out. It’s now we shall punish ten innocent on the suspicion that one of them might at some future time commit a crime.
        And to be perfectly clear, at best a Red Flag removes those firearms authorities can find and places the person charged on a do not sell NICS list. Short of incarceration you cannot prevent an individual from obtaining firearms illegally. Think differently? How’s that war on drugs doing these days. For that matter any clever person can make a functional firearm out of common items found in the neighborhood hardware store. But forget guns, that same hardware store or the grocery store along side it contain a plethora of deadly items and substances.
        Bottom line, laws intended to prevent criminal acts simply do not work on those willing to break them. At most they may put a small impediment in their path, easily gotten around by anyone intent on causing harm.

        • We’re all a mere two bottles – available at most any grocery store – away from poison gas. Well, gasses. The same two bottles, mixed differently, yield different results. And that’s withOUT getting at ALL creative. Now, a good farm supply store and life gets much more interesting.

          Gun control? I can’t buy a gun at 3 AM and have it right away. But I can buy gallons of gasoline at 3 AM – with nobody around! – and it’s No Big Deal.

          • My brother was the head student manager of the college cafeteria when some idiot mixed a couple of cleaners*. Thankfully, there were no casualties from that accident, but he did get an unexpected night off while the place was evacuated and cleaned up.

            *The traditional two, but I’m not specifying because you can make ALL SORTS of poison gasses from various combinations of cleaners, so it’s simpler to just say “don’t mix any of them!”

            • My mother managed to to that (mercifully in tiny quantities) when helping $BROTHER and $SIL clean and move into a new apartment. Any possible critters in the vicinity of the bathroom turned into ex-critters.

              Yep, same two.

              $SPOUSE has banned one of those ingredients from the house. I have them on opposite ends of the shop.

              • I remember helping someone clean their son’s single wide. ’70s so taking layers of wax off the floor. Don’t remember what was *mixed, but she ended up in the hospital. I was close enough to the open door, and much younger, I was fine.

                * not even “mixed” in the traditional sense of “lets combine these two and see if that strips it.” More “Okay that didn’t work. Let’s try this.” before getting the prior (it was dry) fully ventilated out.

            • It’s literally in big print on teh back of both of them…..

              That said, I wonder if that’s why the Navy uses “environmentally friendly” cleaners.

              We had a cleaning PO who was drinking about a gallon of cleaning solution a day. (she filled her canteen with them)

              The result was that…she got sick less than everybody else, until she got discharged for psych reasons. (that is, the RDC did the “turn your canteen upside down” thing and realized hey, that isn’t water)

              • It’s a big part of why we use more environmentally friendly cleaners at the mine. We’re environmentally conscious, sure, but more of the really toxic ones are also the flammable ones and the ones that can’t be mixed without bad juju happening. When you can’t get around using sodium cyanide and sulfuric acid, you make sure as few other things as possible are nasty.

        • Once upon a time as I recall there was a fundamental tenet of American law, better that ten guilty go free than for one innocent to suffer.

          It will be most interesting to note whether such Red Flag laws are applied in racially (and other) disparate ways, and whether those disparities get reported. It seems at the very least a practice likely to benefit lawyers impose legal and other costs (travel expenses, time taken from productive activities) upon their targets.

        • Our system of laws already allows an interested party to have someone they believe to be a danger to themselves or others brought before a judge for evaluation.

          In theory, but it’s been effectively gutted.

          My brother’s best friend refused to join the military because he has to be home, to drag his diagnosed schizo brother off of his mom and grandma– unless his brother actually kills a relative, they won’t act. (Washington state is notably insane in this stuff.)

          A relative in Oregon was chased around the house by their spouse, with a butcher knife, with witnesses.

          Spouse was taken in for treatment, the nurses informed them that they didn’t have to be treated, but the sane spouse still has to provide housing for them.

          …. we’re now trying to figure out how to keep sane spouse from dying to known insane spouse. And all of a sudden folks realized that known sane spouse had all the markers of an abused spouse, since insane spouse has been doign the “control who you are allowed to talk to” thing for my entire life……

        • Even incarceration is not fail-safe.

      • The question is, what would a “red flag law” that actually respected due process accomplish that things like 3 day psych holds do not?

        • You do have a point here, although after 3 days, presumably the 3 day psych hold goes away while a Red Flag (again presumably) wouldn’t.

        • Not one damn thing. But we all know that already.

        • Due process is what “red flag” laws want to circumvent.

          • I know that and you know that, but that’s not generally something that the people proposing such things (like the oathbreaker Dan Crenshaw who is now dead to me) are generally unwilling to admit it.

        • ….having a functioning 3 day psych hold?

          • Every state and the District of Columbia has some form of psych hold for evaluation in place in it’s laws. That they implement it poorly does not justify just skipping that whole “due process” thing. I don’t think anybody here is suggesting that it does, but that does seem to be what much of the “argument” being presented for “red flag laws” boils down to.

            • If only there had been some sort of Red Flag law in effect in Philadelphia then maybe those six police officers would not have gotten shot!!!

            • No, they don’t.

              Maybe in theory most of them have something like it, but Washington State does not have it in any form that a neutral observer would recognize, ditto Oregon.

              Those are the only two I’ve got direct knowledge of.

            • Look, they SKIP the due process thing.

              In favor of “make it so the poor insane person kills someone they love before they can get any help” angle.

              I understand the scary side of the cases– we are so far off the far side it ain’t even funny.

              • Yes. Oregon anyway. I know of multiple instances. One is now with her daughter in Idaho. One I don’t know what is happening, except I quit (retired) finally because of him. One is now dead. Another would have been homeless, except that he was forced into supervised assisted living, well before the PC crap started. He started in a group home, then graduated to full room in a nursing home, by himself; he was forced there by family, and has since passed away. PTB tout that most homeless in Oregon, it is life style choice. I call BS. Oregon just doesn’t want to pay for quality reasonable care.

                • I know of two local cases where the perp ended up in a mental hospital rather than a long (or permanent) stint in the greybar hotel. One was a child molestation case (pretty sure the perp is sane; he was kind of slow, while the victim is/was slightly off kilter). The other one was a straight out homicide, with assistance from a neighbor with a bulldozer trying to cover up the shooting. I don’t think I knew that perp; we’ve had some, er, colorful characters in our area.

                  I’d rather both of them go to prison and leave room for a couple of street-looneys to get the long-term housing they need.

        • Making it obvious:

          I am a HUGE proponent of people control.

          With, of course, proper protections.

          I’ve also never lived in a state where they practice people control rather than weapon control.

          • Sort of like the old saying about airline security that Americans obsess on screening for weapons while the Israelis devote their energy to spotting terrorists.

            • Hadn’t thought of it that way, but yes.

              My angle on it is that people do bad things, so it’s a better idea to use resources trying to identify who is prone to doing bad things, and take steps to stop them, than to try to remove all the tools they can use to do them.
              (Which still, obviously, leaves them with their body…which is almost always enough to hurt SOMEONE.)

              • That would be PROFILING and that would be WRONG.

                It’s almost as if somebody was setting us up for such attacks.

                • I think it’s an unintended side-effect– there are an awful lot of predators, and predator behavior tends to overlap.

                  One of the things that jumped out at me with the “safe spaces” training the Catholic Church requires (see, I was going to be in a classroom…with my own kids….) is that almost all of the behaviors that weren’t directly aimed at getting a kid alone were things the Navy taught us to identify possible terrorists, and that dating-advice uses to identify possible predators, and that true life crime books identify….

                  Stuff like them doing a lot of little power games to make sure that rules don’t apply to them, habits of breaking silly little rules and flipping out when it’s mentioned, etc.

                  • Funny – we create a sub-culture* in which predation is the norm and then forbid people noticing predators.

                    It’s as if we are trying to generate psychopaths.

                    *It ain’t about race. Ref: West Side Story

              • Whenever I enter a place with a “no weapons” policy I always have a transient thought that “I am not amputating my arms and legs, extracting all of my teeth and getting a lobotomy just to give you a (false) sense of security. “

                • I love/loath the sign saying “no firearms or weapons” at the entrance to a free-fire zone. I’ve never quite figured out the difference between a tool and a weapon, though… (Remembering that the 9/11 hijackers used box cutters to do their foul deeds.)

                  I apply common sense, not TSA standards.

      • They understand them all right, it’s the Respecting that they fail at.

      • Probably not, because the POINT of red flag laws is to circumvent due process. And it doesn’t really matter if you’re talking about a law, or about a regulation (which is to say, how a law is implemented).

        You’ve already seen how they work. Red flag regulations are how CPS gets away with taking kids on a mere accusation of neglect or abuse. Red flag regulations are how animal control (usually in the form of a ‘humane society’ and propelled by a ‘rescue’ that stands to profit; look up “Cruelty to Owners”) gets away with confiscating animals on a mere accusation, and selling them without the bother and expense of an actual investigation, let alone a trial or conviction. “Give them up, or we’ll throw you in jail and/or fine you thousands of dollars a day” is the usual technique.

        The side that can only gain will always dominate the side that still has something to lose. Because that’s how red flag laws will be enforced, to selectively disarm the conservative half of the country: We think you’re scary people; therefore either give up your guns, or we’ll take your kids.

        Me, I consider that the people who truly strike terror into my heart, thus can be deemed a source of credible fear under red flag laws… are my congresscritters, their armed guards, and their staffers.

    • I’m not sure it’s true or not, but I saw a picture the other day that claimed to be Johnny Horton strumming and singing “you fought all the way” to the last surviving Confederate veteran as he passed away.

      I so, so want it to be true. Yeah, they were wrong…but they were AMERICAN. Not malicious, just….wrong.

      • Christopher M. Chupik

        I recently read a discussion online where someone said that every single Southerner during the Civil War was evil. I assume this extends to all the children, abolitionists, slaves and free people of color as well.

        • Sorry you hit that level of ignorant stupidity.

          Bigots gonna bigot.

        • “If we were so evil, why did they send their army to force us back?”

        • Ah, but you see those on the left, at least the radical subset of them, think that everyone today who opposes their philosophies is evil while all the rest of us merely think them misguided and wrong.
          Once you declare your enemy to be evil you can justify any action taken against them no matter how foul simply because you’re fighting evil so anything goes.

          • Once you declare your enemy to be evil you can justify any action taken against them no matter how foul simply because you’re fighting evil so anything goes.

            Which is a point I’m totally hijacking for theology class, for a Natural Law example of why attacking evil doesn’t justify BEING evil. (Which goes naturally into objective evil, etc.)

    • I thought the term was ‘useful idiots’, but I suppose that would be ableist and thus un-PC or something . . .

  3. analytical-engine-mechanic

    And, boy oh, boy, is this essay and this post *topical* right now.

    “‘But we are playing with fire when we simply ignore the Constitution or find clever ways around it.'”

    The past day or so, I finally “bit the bullet” and started looking up details of the various *current* Red Flag gun-confiscation laws. Eeeuw, wow, and eek!

    Right to keep and bear arms, due process, presumption of innocence, right to face your accusers and know their charges, right to speak in your own defense before judgment, right not to self-incriminate… on and on. It’s like the creators of many (not all) of these laws are actively trying to check off, as in ignore into oblivion, as many Constitutional prohibitions as they can do in one fell swoop.

    See, especially, Hawaii and Colorado; I’d give the pointers, but W. P. already ate them *twice* without a burp back at the “The Power of Law” page.

    “‘The very tactics of those totalitarian movements—intimidation, demonization, and disregard of all rules in favor of politically defined results—have become hallmarks of political correctness today.'”

    Demonization, and its less-eloquent opposite (angelification?), can be seen and heard just about anytime the word “Confederacy” or anything celebrating anything to do with it comes up. It’s not just true that there was a lot of proud racism and unabashed white-supremacy there and then (listen to the debate on approving the last Confederate flag, a.k.a. “Stainless Banner”) — it’s also “true” that none of the Union was racist in any way, that the war was fought to free the slaves from the beginning, and that (e.g.) stuff like the Sand Creek massacre, or for that matter the (unconstitutional!) Cherokee removal, simply never happened. (Making it perfectly *il*logical that many of the Eastern Band fought for the Confederacy, the America that [really] never ran them off their own land… evidently they must’ve been ‘white supremacists’ back then, too!)

    We watch as overtly revolutionary and Communist national parties, wearing the trademark black shirts of the 1930s Communists and proudly boasting of awards from Ho Chi Minh for helping defeat America in Vietnam, use college students (and chancellors) as their “useful innocents” to demolish memorials to the service of alumni veterans who fought for their state in the Civil War Between the States — while they call for the abolition of our military and the disarming of our police today. And demonize just about every thing that U.S. veterans ever did for America into the bargain. (Wanna-be totalitarian, at least? Check that box!)

    Suddenly I wish I could send Thomas Sowell a beautifully-calligraphed edition of Kipling’s “The Gods of The Copybook Headings” — oh, wait, he probably has a drawer full of those by now.

    [5th try, 3rd browser, 2nd machine. WPDE in excelsis!]

    • The WordPress hamsters were taking a break. Friday + Colorado (or California or Oregon or…) and you get weird results.

  4. I remember hearing a whole lot about fear mongering and Trump in 2016. And then in the same breath the same person saying how he was fear mongering would start into an (apparently unironic) lament of how Trump was planning to put LGBT in camps.

    • They’ve been saying that since Bush the first.

      • Well, they’ll get it right, eventually.

        And, I would lay long odds on it actually being a left-wing Democrat that does the deed, while blaming the nasty Republicans for making it necessary…

        • They’ll justify it by saying that their actions will stop the fascist right-wingers from doing it. That’s how they justify pretty much everything.

        • Look at how the left and the media (but I repeat myself) are demonizing outspoken lesbians for having the temerity to object to the damage trans athletes are doing to women’s sports, and for their refusal to enter into intimate relations with biological males who identify as female.
          Obviously not camps, but the modern equivalent, social ostracisation, and often threats against their safety and employment.

    • Down here in Florida, the one that got me was when some Puerto Ricans were upset that Trump was going to deport them. A rumor, spurred on (if not also completely made up by) local democrat politicians, so they could run on “I will protect you from the bad Trump!”

      • Back when Dubya announced his proposed Social Security overhaul, I saw video of a Democratic congressman telling a group of senior citizens that Bush was going to take away their Social Security. Keep in mind that Bush claimed seniors wouldn’t be affected by the proposed changes, and that no one to this day knows the exact details of the plane because he ended up withdrawing the proposal before he released any real information on it.

        • Timothy E. Harris

          A version of it was published. It involved investing roughly 1/2 of workers FICA in individual accounts in the stock market with about as much taxpayer control as a typical 401k allows. The guaranteed social security payment would be lowered and the investment account proceeds added. IIRC, this would not have affected anybody over 55yo at the time of passage.

          Of course, since Congress didn’t vote on it we’ll never know what pork graft improvements they would have made.

      • I guess Puerto Rican schools are no better than mainland ones.

        Since Puerto Ricans are American citizens, and they have American passports and representation in Congress, and can travel to and live in any part of the US or its territories or possessions, same as any other American citizen…

    • Immediately following Trump’s election a niece posted her very real fear that her gay son was going to be hunted down and either put in a camp or killed.
      I pointed out that at the Republican convention Mr. Trump, first time ever at that event, held up a large rainbow flag.
      Never heard back so I suspect she blocked me.

      • Immediately following the 2016 election, we heard that my sister-in-law was going to buy a gun, because she was so afraid.

        My gut reactions that she was a thorough soul, so if she bought a gun she would go to a range to practice with it, and meet a lot of the ‘far right’ she was so spooked by, and consequently calm the f*ck down.

        As it happens, she calmed down before getting to buying the gun.

        Pity.

  5. The ironic thing about the cries of “Trump’s a dictator!” is the number of times that he’s said, “I think this is a good idea, but Congress has to approve it.”

  6. The problem with knowing history is that it doesn’t prevent history repeating*. It just means you get to watch in horrid fascination as the same forces work themselves out to similar ends yet one more time.

    *Someone said “history doesn’t repeat, but it does rhyme” which I like. There are a lot of parallels in history of things following similar courses, but with enough differences to keep things “interesting” (in the curseish sense).

    • In an essay on historians for my History degree, I once wrote, “…understood that history is a Gordian knot that, once unravelled, provides just enough rope for you to hang yourself with.”

      Never underestimate the value of snark. Oscar Wilde made a good career out of it.

    • I got a spam this AM about how Trump is just like Herbert Hoover and we’re going to plunge into another Great Depression later this year or early next year. Except the spammer got some really basic facts wrong, unless you can find a way to say that China is identical to Weimar Germany.

      • I’ve heard serious conservatives worry that the economy is going to tank simply because it’s *time* and economic cycles are predictable by the calendar.

        I sincerely hope not because everything Obama did seemed to delay or mute the “recovery” phase so it feels like we just got out of a recession… because we did. So how can it be time for another one?

        I’m just hoping that the stretched out and delayed recovery means that the whole cycle has been shifted farther into the future, too.

        Or that they’re just wrong. 😉

    • History often repeats as comic opera.

      • There’s a reason Gilbert & Sullivan is still enjoyed today. We did Patience a couple of years ago, and it’s a play about the aesthetic movement, which wouldn’t seem relevant. Except that it’s really a play about slavishly following fads without having any clue what’s really behind them, and that hasn’t changed in 150 years.

        • And, as I’ve noted before, “the idiot who praises in enthusiastic tone, all centuries but this and every country but his own” is more applicable than ever.

        • Whatever the time, wherever the place, human nature remains constant.

          As Dr. Sowell notes, Histories lessons go oft unlearned.

          Or, as the Socialists (pardon me – as the Democratic Socialists) put it: the previous efforts just weren’t done right. Truly enlightened people can add water to acid if only they do it properly.

          • scott2harrison

            They can.
            I put the beaker of waste acid in the lab sink, stood back four feet and squirted water from the wash bottle into it. It got quite hot but did not actually boil.

            • You are a braver man than I am… OTOH, I had to work with some ferocious acids. (Sidenote: One of the process techs managed to pour waste alcohol down the acid sink. She was lucky–her eyebrows grew back and the fire was contained quickly.)

          • my fervent hope is that they split into the Democrat and Democrat Socialist parties.

    • I believe the “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme” quip is generally attributed to Mark Twain.

      It certainly sounds the sort of thing he would say.

  7. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – there is *nothing* so dangerous as a gov’t that decides it doesn’t need to follow the rules.

  8. One thing I’m going to do, with my bosses’ blessing, is encourage the students who are of age to volunteer with a political party this coming spring. All three local party offices (R, D, L, no Greens that I can find listed) encourage younger folks to volunteer and participate. I know where I’d prefer them to go, but I want them to see the election being made, no matter which party.

  9. “trust me, we have a hell of a lot more Native American blood in us than she does.”

    If I’m interpreting the results she publicized correctly, so does the average turnip. It’s smarter than she is, too.

    • Hell, I have more Amerindian blood than she does. Clue ZERO how. Have asked both parents, now oldest people in families. They said “heck if I know.”

      • Two probable answers:

        1) Sloppy lab work. One of the un-talked-about problems with law enforcement is that CSI and similar fictions make lab tests of whatever sound a great deal more conclusive than they are and the labs a great deal more professional and perfect than is feasible. Most are simply swamped, and technique tends to be haphazard. Given the popularity of genetic testing, I suspect the same is true of THOSE labs.

        2) We probably know a good deal less about genetics than we think we do, especially the genetics of taboo matters like ‘race’.

      • And, just how long were the Basques and other Iberian peninsula natives running around the cod fisheries along the North American coast, again…?

        Odds are, it’s just as likely that some of the so-called “Amerindian” markers are derived from those contacts as the reverse, and that all the “Amerindian” stuff in Europe is actually European in origin, just vanishingly rare.

        If you were to add in the factors that would indicate European lineages having better resistance to European diseases, what few European-mixed lineages in America might have had a better chance of surviving the initial contacts, and the whole issue of what markers are actually Amerindian would be completely and irretrievably confused.

        Hell, look at all the supposed Phoenician sites in New England, and then the question of where the hell all that copper went to that was mined out of Wisconsin and Michigan back during the Bronze Age. We could potentially have had contact between North America and Europe, going way back, and have not one damn clue about it, at all–The markers that your gene test are saying are Amerindian might actually be European, and your ancestors just got over here way before Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

        Whole thing is seriously questionable, anyway–A lot of those supposed ethnic markers aren’t all that reliable, from what reading I’ve done.

        • Or the other way. I was slogging (because of the technical terminology, not because of poor writing) through a book on using genetics to track population shifts. You can still see the genetic traces of peoples who ended up in relatively isolated pockets of Europe 10-15, 000 years ago. They are probably related to the peoples who came to the Americas (depending on which theory you follow. I’m still leaning toward Siberia – Alaska – Pacific Coast or Berengia, but I’m sort of conservative that way.) So why not allow for a split while everyone’s still in the Old World?

          My $.02, with adjustments for inflation.

        • *nod*

          You can tell what things look similar to other things, but not how they got there.

      • I’ve got a lot more. I’d be eligible for membership in the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation if my great-great grandmother had put her name down when they were re-forming the tribe. Oh well, no great loss, seeings how I apparently can’t be bothered to join organizations that I _am_ eligible to join despite being interested.

  10. The other ironic thing is that if you speak of Consititutional protection, it’s often assumed that you are partisan and part of the vast right-wing conspiracy of deplorable bitter clingers to guns and religion that wants to do horrible things to helpless people.
    From the other side, you get things like the newspaper that publishes editorials advocating “limited free speech for thee, you hater” at the same time they are screaming bloody murder by poison gas at the merest whiff of displeasure that they freely publish libel and call it news.

    • The Progressive Intellectual Left has been getting away with “I know you are, but what am I?” on virtually all charges for a long time. Now it’s beginning to backfire on them, and like the smarmy ‘smart kid’ on the playground, they are genuinely shocked that anyone wants to clean their clocks.

      “Teacher! Waaaanh! He HIT me!”

      “Well, you have been asking for it for the last half hour.”

      I have actually heard that teacher reaction, twice, in my lifetime. Not nearly often enough.

      • I wonder how Portland is going to turn out this weekend?

        • Magic 8-ball says “Ugly”. I’m happy to be 300 miles away.

          The questions in my mind are 1) how soon until military intervention?] 2) will it be a federalized Nat’l Guard, or will it be the 101st? (or equivalent–I’d not mind if it’s an armored division).

          • I just happened to be looking this up while thinking through what the TDS morons “ZOMG Dictator for LIFE!!!” stuff might really look like (oddly, there are not major US Army formation garrisons in easy driving distance of Washington DC – whodathunkit?!), and I was astonished to learn that currently the US Army has one (count’em!) Armored Division, the 1st Armored at Fort Bliss, Texas, and one (count’em!) Cavalry Division, the Black Horse 1st Cav at Fort Hood, Texas (I sense a trend).

            Now, modern US Infantry Divisions have a robust armor component, and the closest Infantry Division garrison is the 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington, which includes two Regular Army and one Washington National Guard Stryker Brigade Combat Teams, so one could roll Strykers down from there if needed (besides, Bradleys would tear up the streets, and Abrams MBTs would really tear up the streets).

            But if you want someone right away, you gotta call the Airborne, and the 101st Airborne trains for civil unrest stuff already, so if the Oregon National Guard was in that much trouble trouble the phone call would go to Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

            • Precisely none of that is in any formal Army plan that I ever saw. Civil unrest to the extent that the local National Guard can’t handle it is not on the menu, at all. Hell, I seriously doubt that there’s even enough ammo in the ASP at Joint Base Lewis-McChord to fully load out even one of the Stryker Brigades. Most of that stuff is still held at stockpile locations like Umatilla, and not even available without serious dislocation.

              The Active Army simply isn’t prepared for any of that sort of thing, and if it gets that far out of control in Portland…? LOL. About the one thing I can guarantee is that you will not be seeing Active Army Strykers headed south on I-5 to go do CONOPS in Oregon. That’s something that I recall being told would require a declaration of emergency, Congressional approval, and God alone knows what else.

              Seriously–If you were to posit Sauron rising up in Eugene, a hellmouth opening, and all the rest that would imply…? I seriously doubt that you’d be able to get the Active Army’s required paperwork finished to go deal with that eventuality within three weeks. It’d take that long to get the ammo authorizations for transferring stuff out of long-term storage into the Ammunition Supply Point at Lewis-McChord…

              Y’all really, really underestimate the bureaucracy of all this. Some of that crap would require Congressional authorization just to start to get ready to go out the front gate, not just actually leave for Portland. On paper, if some really pro-active staff officer at Lewis-McChord were to even start telling people to “get ready to get ready”, he’d be ‘effing toast. There was a Major down at one of the not-quite-major bases in Texas who had the temerity to authorize the MP company at the base to go off-post and assist local law enforcement in dealing with an active shooter. That poor dude damn near got crucified over the issue, because he basically authorized something that required Congressional/Presidential approval to even mobilize, let alone actually do. Huge mess, politically, and if I remember right, he suffered severe career truncation.

            • In a sane world, the OR NG would be on the case, but Despicable Kate (AKA, Our Beloved Governor) would be trying to stall/block. That’s why I figure it would have to be federalized.

              Hmm, we have OR ANG down here, but F-15Cs aren’t designed/known for ground support. Might be interesting if they buzzed Antifa, though.

              Side question: would the 101st need any authorization from Congress in a SHTF scenario, or would a presidential emergency declaration be sufficient? (Barring interference from a judge in Hawaii.)

              • Depends entirely on the amount and exit velocity of said “S” in that hit-the-fan scenario.

                Big enough, like say an Independence Day-style alien invasion? Nobody is gonna care about whether or not the various “i’s” are dotted and the “t’s” are properly crossed. And, if they did, the public outcry would probably silence them.

                Something not-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it, and political, like Antifa and Proud Boys in Portland…? LOL… The guys at JBLM are going to be like “Look, we want to help you, but… Get the paperwork straight, and we’ll do it… Not even gonna recall the troops until that’s happened…”.

                Oh, and trying to get something together on a weekend? No-notice? LOL… There’s a duty-cycle commitment for a ready force, but that rotates around the nation. Used to be 82nd/101st only, but for awhile, it was everyone. Thing is, the logistics of it all–You’re supposed to be on recall notice, but… The reality is, that ready battalion/brigade may be there on paper, but you go to try to call that sucker up, in real-world terms? Yikes. You may get a brigade of hot-shot Airborne types out of Bragg, but then, you might get the dregs of what’s left over from rear-detachment for whoever is left at Fort Riley while their maneuver brigade is deployed to Afghanistan.

                Results of a call-out like that are gonna be highly variable, IOW. Not familiar with the current CONOPS plan for CONUS, but the general run of things does not bode well for an intervention in Portland, OR. Not this weekend, anyway…

                • Not expecting any response from the grownups this weekend. I assume it will be another half-free for all, with PPD doing its best to imitate the cigar store Indians unless the Deplorables make serious inroads into Antifa. If it gets to body counts, then they might possibly Do Something. Stick and rock control, most likely.

                  If the casualty numbers start getting serious, then I expect an intervention, though I doubt the Oregon NG is going to be willing to be bodyguards for Antifas. At which point it gets interesting.

              • In a sane world …

                I think I may have found the flaw in your argument.

                • Yeah, the lefty slogan “Keep [random blue city] weird” gets tiresome after a few thousand repetitions.

                  OTOH, there are two petitions circulating to recall Gov Kate. At least locally, people are making sure that both get signed.

                  • Haven’t seen one locally (Eugene). Keep looking for one.

                    • In K-Falls, the local RNC office (side gig for a shipping store) had both of the petitions (as well as one trying to get the Gross (eww!) Receipts Tax up for referendum). Other businesses have had them, too.

                      A bit of search shows there’s an RNC office in Springfield. Klamath County has one that’s a side gig for a shipping dropoff, while the dedicated office in Jackson county is a magnet for vandals. Physical address for Lane: 1820 Pioneer Pkwy W A, Springfield, OR 97477

                      Also, if you go to [oregon dot gop], it points to a downloadable petition form you can sign and send in. Not sure how the independent recall petition is being handled.

              • Eisenhower sent them to Little Rock with none of those details.

        • Looks like it was more of the same, though Antifa attacking a bus and trying to drag the passengers out for further attacks is an interesting escalation.

          The downtown merchants are getting pissed. Don’t know about the rest of the population. (Wonders if there’s a recall petition for Mayor Ted Wheeler.)

    • If you speak of Constitutional protections, it means you are a follower of the law. Those that denigrate you for it, ergo, are not followers of the law.

      Any questions?

  11. >We do that by not supporting media outlets that are nothing more than mouthpieces for the Left that would tear down our Constitution.

    “So we won’t buy their newspapers any more; we’ll get all our news from Facebook, and Twitter, and…”

    • How wbout MeWe, and Gab, and…

      • Don’t worry. They’ll be deplatformed if they don’t toe the line.

        • They’ve gone after Gab how many—four?—times now?

          • In reality, only once. Just continually, on different fronts. It’s getting to the point where Andrew Torba is looking at doing a bank so he doesn’t have to go through the payment deplatforming. (Wasn’t paying close attention, but it looked like he was able to get through the administrative hoops to do just that.)

            Larry Corriea is getting ready to dump FaceBook for MeWe, since the creatures at Vile 666 are getting him banned (again) for insulting imaginary people. The last time was for the “gulag release” photo. Great rant at his site.

            • It’d be pathetic if the consequences of their actions weren’t potentially so serious. How screwed up of a loser do you have to be to devote actual time to policing Larry Correia’s Facebook feed?

              • How screwed up of a loser do you have to be to devote actual time to policing Larry Correia’s Facebook feed?

                Oh, about average liberal loser.

          • Seriously, I’ve lost count. Now, Vice has done a hit piece on Gab, 8chan, and Torba, so I assume they’re going to try yet another try to shut Gab down.

          • Don’t forget the repeated attacks by Snopes on Babylon Bee. Snopes has repeatedly declared Babylon Bee parody articles “not true”, which is a source of “Ha ha! What a bunch of idiots! They don’t recognize parody!” And then someone points out that Snopes is part of Facebook’s squad that’s supposed to determine whether news stories are true, so that groups that push “fake news” can be blocked.

            In essence, Snopes is laying the groundwork needed to automatically ban any and all links on Facebook to Babylon Bee pages.

            • The Bee sees what Snopes is trying, and is talking (or is further along)
              about taking legal action.

              I never joined FaceBook or Twitter; I’m not willing to let them look into my life at whim.

  12. So very often it seems that some politicians are dedicated to learning the wrong lessons.

    • Like when Hillary declared that the lesson of 1984 was that we need to trust our government . . .

  13. “If you receive state or federal funding for your business or institution,”

    That right there is one of the major problems with our current government. If your business or institution can’t function without stealing money from the taxpayers, it doesn’t deserve to exist. Plus, it make you vulnerable to coercion by the government: vote or me/this or we’ll cut off your income.

    1st Amendment rights and campaign finance reform? Oh boy, hot topic for D’Souza in “Hillary’s America”; since he apparently was the first person ever convicted and sentenced for it. $20,000 strawman donation in 2012 to Kristen Gillibrand’s opponent. Appaently his felony conviction was politically motivated in retaliation for his anti-Obama movie. Aren’t Democrats such NICE people?

    JFK admired Hitler in the 1930s. Of course FDR, Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini were all members of a mutual admiration society. FDR’s adoption of many of the points of Hitler’s and Mussolini programs is one reason why we have a half fascist-socialist state here in the U.S. today. By the way, President Trump’s deregulation makes the U.S less fascist; a point that the Antifa-lovers are either ignorant of, or deliberately choose to ignore.

    Like I said above, It’s going to be interesting seeing how Portland turns out.

    • Uh. What’s happening in Portland? Is it going to spill down I-5 south?

    • JFK admired Hitler in the 1930s

      That is a bit unfair, given that he was still a naive teenage lad in that decade, merely taking on the idols of his Da and his president.

      • I’d have said so too, except why did he get sent to the Pacific then, and not Europe? Eh? Makes you wonder.

        • As I understand it, Joe Jr. was the primary political-future son, and he was sent to Europe as a naval aviator flying PB4Y antisub patrols. Instead of rotating home when eligible, Joe Jr. volunteered to do seecrit-squirrel weapons development, and he was blown up during a remote-guided-B-24-packed-with-21-freaking-thousand-pounds-of-high-explosives operational flight which he was supposed to take off in and then bail out of over southern England.

          JFK was less academically adept and had physical issues, so after political pull got him a USNR commission he was sent to a safe billet on the ONI staff in the US. Then the incident that the “Top Gun” line referring to the admirals daughter happened, and the furious admiral kicked him out of ONI, so JFK went to MTB school and then to the South Pacific. There were some USN MTB squadrons in Europe, but a lot more in the Pacific, so it was likely just the result of going to MTB school.

  14. Has the campaign finance thing ever gone to the supreme court?

    Especially after the whole “hey report who gave money to whom and oh so SUBTLY suggest killing them” thing.

    • Besides Citizen’s United? I’d have to go digging, and I don’t want to do that tonight. 😛

      • Same here, I was trying to figure out how you’d even identify it,

      • I think the question wants to be more carefully defined than merely “the campaign finance thing”. For the most part the SCOTUS has upheld limits on direct campaign contributions and disallowed bans on independent expenditures (provided they are truly independent.) Campaign finance restrictions are primarily an artifact of the post-Watergate “reforms” and have not generally been so rigorously enforced (D’Souza’s case being the notable exception) as to draw the Supreme Court’s attention.

        I vaguely recall D’Souza as having copped the plea under expectation of less harsh penalty.

        On the more recent issue of doxxing contributors, that is fresh enough that nobody seems to have brought a case on it. Giving the recent Joaquin Castro “prank” and the current Leftish proclivity toward violence we may see a change in that, but it doesn’t seem likely Texans are going to tolerate such.

    • Not that I’m aware. I know the whole issue of “disclosing donations is hazardous to your health” already got there and disclosing got tossed out for “political organizations” like the NAACP in the 50s.

  15. Reported seen at Trump’s New Hampshire rally Thursday evening:

    Trump takes New Hampshire
    … For them, proximity to the Trump rally was well worth the afternoon heat and the sticky urban humidity. Many wore Red Sox shirts or Patriots jerseys. Dozens showed up in shirts reading ‘Donald Fuckin’ Trump’ on the front and ‘I’m President, Bitch’ on the back, or ‘Trump 2020: Fuck Your Feelings’. True New Englanders all.

  16. Captain Comic

    I am currently on the Emerald Isle, attending the Annual Conclave of Liberalism.

    Day one wasn’t too bad, with only one (low-key) “Wannnh!” about POTUS 45. Friday, maybe an eye-roll or two.

    Saturday?

    Welcome one, welcome all to the non-stop carnival of ORANGE! MAN! BAD!

    There are people in power who want to use The Handmaid’s Tale as a guidebook. Because OrangeManBad.

    The United States (the only member of Kyoto Protocols and Paris Accords that actually met or EXCEEDED their target goals) pulled out and are destroying the planet because? OrangeManBad!

    Anthropogenic climate change is absolute and looming and gonna kill us all, and we’re extra doomed now because OrangeManBad.

    Dystopia has started rights are being taken away and it’s all at the feet of OrangeManBad.

    “Excuse me xir, do you have a few moments to listen to the Testament of OrangeManBad?”

    I’d bounce on the next two days, but I paid money for this con and I’m not gonna let the 132nd Freakout Harpies chase me off.

    But seriously, barring a Vegas WorldCon, this will most likely be my last.

    Shame, too, Glasgow has a bid in for five years down the road and that’s perfect time scale to slowly save up for a Euro trip.

    On the gripping hand, I can always visit Europe without being surrounded by the lunatic left (US version, anyway).

    • My first (last, and only) Worldcon was Glasgow ‘5. Definitely worth the trip then. Now, wouldn’t be too sure. Though I want to go back to Scotland to film my comedy short series ‘Fishing for Nessie’.

  17. Working with a candidate in our Congressional District now for this March’s primary. Our last “Republican” was a reliable D vote so we persuaded him his public duties lay elsewhere.

  18. If all you do is vote for the least-vile choice once the ballot is printed, you have given up most of your political power. The candidates are chosen at the caucus level.

  19. The left wants us to ignore the fact that ‘not that violent’ AntiFa is currently threatening to burn down a theater that is going to be used to hold a ‘summit’ discussion of sorts about how we can reduce the mount of political violence…

    • The left wants us to ignore the fact …

      Really, after you’ve said that there’s scant need to continue.

      In the particular instance you cite, the only acceptable (to Antifa) way to end political violence is to end all resistance to their will. A bit Palestinian of them, but they will accept no substitutes.

    • They ignored the arson before the shooting at Kent State.

  20. That just means they will be seriously annoyed that other people notice. They will still ignore.