What Would The Founders Think? http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com Today's Politicos vs The Words and Deeds of The Founders Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:48:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 The Arroyo http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/the-arroyo http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/the-arroyo#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:48:59 +0000 http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/?p=4097 arroyoBill Whittle, best known for his PJ Media Internet videos, has added a full-length movie to his considerable list of achievements. Titled The Arroyo, it can be viewed and/or purchased from AmazonMovies.com. It is an extraordinarily well-done film that puts the real human tragedy occurring on America’s border with Mexico into a fictional account. The rest of America has had occasional glimpses of the property destruction, dangers and frustrations endured by ranchers whose lands are adjacent. The protagonist is rancher Jim Weatherman who, in anger and desperation, attempts to do what local and federal authorities aren’t doing, protect his ranch and family from the depredations of “coyotes” who traffic in human beings and drugs.

It is not, as the lefties will claim (in the unlikely event they ever watch the film), an endorsement of vigilantism. It is first and foremost a reality-based expose’ of how political correctness his morphed into cowardice on both the local and national levels. Particularly telling vignettes feature a local sheriff running for re-election, fearful of being accused of being racist, and a congressman who arrives with platitudes, not solutions, but chastises the ranchers for “over reacting” when they demand secure borders. Another revealing dialogue comes from the drug cartel’s murderous enforcer who observes that, Weatherman excepted, America has grown soft. It is no longer willing to defend itself, poisoned by a political culture that denigrates the America that others are willing to risk their lives to enter. “Everyone wants what you have. And you people hate yourselves for having it. What is happening is inevitable.”

Weatherman does not go forth with a gun. He tries to discourage the trespassers by calling attention to their passage with lights. He tells them to stay off his land. He does not want to create a mass movement and become its leader. His only motive is to protect his land and his family, to “do the right thing.” However, when his friend and neighbor is gunned down in retribution, events get out of hand. Revealing the rest of the fast-moving plot would spoil the film.

The Arroyo is an absorbing depiction of porous borders, the marauders who cross it with impunity and the illegals they control and sometimes rape and kill. It is superbly acted and directed. Too bad Congress cannot be required to view it.

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Arundel by Kenneth Roberts http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/arundel-by-kenneth-roberts http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/arundel-by-kenneth-roberts#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:04:07 +0000 http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/?p=4091 arundelArundel is a work of historical fiction by Kenneth Roberts.  Despite it being nearly 500 pages in length, it doesn’t take all that long to read.  Roberts manages to pack in a lot of excitement into his story line.  In retrospect this is a bit surprising since a big chunk of the book involves trudging through a swampy wilderness.

Roberts’ story provides an interesting contrast to the villainous depiction of Benedict Arnold commonly portrayed.  Arundel takes place at the very beginning of the American Revolution and revolves around Arnold’s campaign to take Quebec.  The Arnold Roberts describes is an energetic and inspiring leader.  He is also extremely ambitious.  

Because Arnold did not succeed in capturing Quebec, the scope of his achievement is largely overlooked.   Arnold managed to take his army through some of the most brutal terrain imaginable (350 miles) and his failure to take Quebec was not due to any lack of energy on his part, but rather due to a variety of causes outside of his control, including bad weather conditions, ammunition shortages, near starvation, and difficulties in coordinating with Montgomery.   

In addition to Arnold numerous other historical characters make their appearance in the story.  Aaron Burr doesn’t fare nearly as well as Arnold does, and is shown as selfish, conniving, and womanizing, as well as somewhat effete.  This reader had not realized that he was part of this expedition prior to reading this book.  The description of Daniel Morgan and his riflemen is largely congruent with the descriptions provided by John Brick in his novel, The Rifleman, reviewed here

As in his book, Oliver Wiswell, Roberts is scrupulous in his attention to accuracy, and provides a believable and balanced (if not always flattering) description of the actors in the American Revolution.  In both of these books, Roberts shows how some patriots manipulated public opinion and pandered to the baser elements of human nature, with rhetoric that pitted the have-nots against the haves, and made promises that could never be kept.

Arundel is an entertaining and highly informative story, and it is clear that Roberts did a lot of research.  This reader learned a lot from reading it, and independently verified some of what Roberts had to say, following the trail whose origins the author thankfully included in a brief bibliography at the end of the book.*

* Like good books often do, Arundel piqued my curiosity.  As it turns out, some of the resources listed in at the end of book are now available via archive.org, In searching for the books that Roberts mentions, others came up as well.  Here are some interesting things now on this reviewer’s ever expanding reading list.

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A Refusal To Reach For Heaven Means an Involuntary Descent Into Hell* http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/a-refusal-to-reach-for-heaven-means-an-involuntary-decent-into-hell http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/a-refusal-to-reach-for-heaven-means-an-involuntary-decent-into-hell#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 12:02:12 +0000 http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/?p=4078 Life is transitory, but not meaningless and without purpose.  Uncovering that purpose, and recognizing the transitory nature of our time on earth, forces one to confront certain realities that the are unpleasant to a mind that has been trained brain-washed to focus only upon what it can see, touch and feel.

There are a number of terms that have been used to describe the nature of these realities.  They include transcendent, supernatural, and metaphysical.  The idea of First Principles also falls into this realm.

The notion of something being outside of nature is one that necessarily imposes humility on mankind.  Man is not big on humility, as a rule.  Man desires to be superior to nature, supposing that science holds all of the answers to controlling it.  Hence, we hear about movements for protecting the environment and saving the planet.  These might be fine sounding sentiments, but one should recognize them for what they are, an attempt to replace what C.S. Lewis called Tao, or The Way1.

If man is at the top of the hierarchy of being, then he need not be constrained by antiquated concepts like First Principles.  Concepts of right and wrong are totally relative and arbitrary, and have meaning only in the sense of a given situation.

I once had a discussion with an Indian friend of mine who argued this point, saying that human sacrifice, was at certain points in history, a moral good.  Because it was accepted by, say the Mayans, it was moral for them to worship in this way.

Morality by majority rule is subject to the same problems as that of democracy or mob rule.  Benjamin Franklin is purported to have said, Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner.

If morality is relative, and consists of what the majority of people say it consists, at any given time, then there will always be an incentive for people to try and define morality, via propaganda, the education establishment, and law.  C.S. Lewis refers to these people as The Conditioners.  These people, know what’s best, through their superior intellect and position.  Such cognoscenti are Rousseau’s legislators,

He who dares to undertake the making of a people’s institutions ought to feel himself capable, so to speak, of changing human nature, of transforming each individual, who is by himself a complete and solitary whole, into part of a greater whole from which he in a manner receives his life and being; of altering man’s constitution for the purpose of strengthening it; and of substituting a partial and moral existence for the physical and independent existence nature has conferred on us all. He must, in a word, take away from man his own resources and give him instead new ones alien to him, and incapable of being made use of without the help of other men. The more completely these natural resources are annihilated, the greater and the more lasting are those which he acquires, and the more stable and perfect the new institutions; so that if each citizen is nothing and can do nothing without the rest, and the resources acquired by the whole are equal or superior to the aggregate of the resources of all the individuals, it may be said that legislation is at the highest possible point of perfection. 

The core of humanism is the notion of the perfectibility of man, or perhaps the perfectibility of some men as Bastiat pointed out.

The claims of these organizers of humanity raise another question which I have often asked them and which, so far as I know, they have never answered: If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind? The organizers maintain that society, when left undirected, rushes headlong to its inevitable destruction because the instincts of the people are so perverse. The legislators claim to stop this suicidal course and to give it a saner direction. Apparently, then, the legislators and the organizers have received from Heaven an intelligence and virtue that place them beyond and above mankind; if so, let them show their titles to this superiority.

They would be the shepherds over us, their sheep. Certainly such an arrangement presupposes that they are naturally superior to the rest of us. And certainly we are fully justified in demanding from the legislators and organizers proof of this natural superiority.

Ironically, those who tout “equality” as one of the ultimate “goods,” quickly realize that all men aren’t in fact equal in ability or character and quickly seek to control the masses who are incapable of making the “right” decisions.  Christians recognize that people vary and aren’t “equal” in the sense that the world makes its judgements. But they are taught to place an equal value on each person not based on their actions, but because of a Transcendental Truth in which they believe.  God loves every one of us the same – regardless of our faults. Because God placed the value upon us, there is an outside standard, that doesn’t adhere to human notions and is not subject to change.

A belief in this inherent value makes human beings more than just mere cogs in the machinery of society, or clay to be molded at the will of the elite.

Respect for the human person and his dignity is the first pillar upon which any decent society rests.

Where this pillar is in place, the formal and informal institutions of society and the beliefs and practices of the people, will be such that every member of the human family; irrespective not only of race, sex, or ethnicity but also of age, size, stage of development, or condition of dependency,; is treated as a person — that is, as a subject bearing profound, inherent , and equal worth and dignity.2  Robert P. George

Reaching beyond mere human understanding toward Transcendent Truth provides the stability a floundering society needs to ensure that the weakest among us are protected.

Human beings selectively crave justice.   Just watch any kid whose sibling gets something they do not.  “That’s not fair,” is sure to be heard coming from the mouth of the sibling that didn’t get the goody.   The reality is, human beings are eager to impose “justice” on others but, do not wish to be judged by the same standards they would impose.  Thus it is that truly believing in the equal worth of all human beings requires an act of faith, because it doesn’t jibe with human measurements.

If there is no Transcendent Truth, everything is relative, then there isn’t much meaning to life.  Instead of believing in something bigger and better for each and every person, what remains is a world where everything is subjected to a system of equations and proportions.  What is perceived as the greatest good for the greatest number trumps all.  If the value of a human being is relative, some can be said to be worth more and others less.  Setting aside the issue of who gets to assign this valuation, a purely utilitarian system will logically determine that people in certain stages of dependency have become intolerably burdensome – in essence “Life Unworthy of Life”  (lebensunwertes lebens) and should be sacrificed for the greater good.  Only a philosophy that denies the inherent worth of a human being could argue for abortion, euthanasia, eugenics, — or the “Final Solution” implemented by Hitler and his minions.

As is pointed out in this scene from God’s Not Dead, Christians believe that morality is a straight line that leads directly back to God.  A failure to grasp this line is a refusal to reach for heaven.

1 The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis
Conscience and It’s Enemies by Robert P. George

* The title of this article was taken from a line in E.F. Schumacher’s A Guide For The Perplexed

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Words and Deeds  http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/words-and-deeds http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/words-and-deeds#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 12:57:41 +0000 http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/?p=4094 The summer 2014 issue of the Claremont Review of Books contains a book review by Ralph C. Hancock which inspired this post.  The book is Metamorphoses of The City: On the Western Dynamic, by Pierre Manent.  Like most people, I’ll probably never spend the time required to read this book. While reading a review is not the same as reading the book about which it was written, reviewers like those in the CRB manage not merely to give an overview, but also to contribute to the conversation through their critical analysis and introduction of things outside the book being reviewed.  One of the things discussed in Hancock’s review, is the necessary linkage between words and actions.

One feature of modernity is the disconnection of these two things.  The Modern claims to have successfully reconnected them, but it is a sham.  Instead, the gulf between words and actions has grown even wider.

… the pretended exemption of the modern state from the vagaries of speech and opinion, a superiority first asserted in the Reformation form of state religion, but now asserted in the neutral, agnostic, and secular form of political correctness, according to which unpleasant speech “is willingly considered … as the equivalent of the worst action imaginable,” precisely because “[o]ne no longer expects that speech will be linked to a possible action.”

We pretend that words have meanings, but have distorted their actual meanings and cheapened them so as to make them nearly meaningless.  Since we cannot admit this, we insist all the more strongly that they do have meaning.  But in reality, the emperor has no clothes.

By way of concrete example, the unification of Europe continues without any real arguments or explanations.  Conversely, a popular referendum opposing it makes no difference whatsoever.  How much more solemn of a formulation of words can people make?

“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

We can look at other examples as well.  For instance Robert P. George asks in the introduction to Conscience and Its Enemies:

Should we preserve in our law and public policy the historic understanding of marriage as a conjugal union — the partnership of husband and wife in a bond that is ordered to procreation and, where the union is blessed by children, naturally fulfilled by their having and rearing offspring together?  Or should we abandon the conjugal understanding of marriage in favor of some form of legally recognized sexual-romantic companionship or domestic partnership between two (or more) persons, irrespective of gender, to which the label marriage is then reassigned?

At first glance the marriage example might seem to be nothing more than a perversion of language at worst, or an evolution of understanding at best.  But upon closer inspection one can see that it is another example of separating words and concepts from desired results.   Traditional marriage was once understood as the building block for rearing children in the context of a family.  Now it is simply about gratification.  It is no longer the basic social unit for producing moral and virtuous citizens.  After all, we learn by example.  Wedding vows are a spoken commitment — words that only have meaning when acted upon.

Tocqueville warned of the consequences of destroying “the laws of moral analogy.”

I cannot recall to my mind a passage in history more worthy of sorrow and of pity than the scenes which are happening under our eyes; it is as if the natural bond which unites the opinions of man to his tastes and his actions to his principles was now broken; the sympathy which has always been acknowledged between the feelings and the ideas of mankind appears to be dissolved, and all the laws of moral analogy to be dissolved, and all the laws of moral analogy to be abolished.

Hancock elaborates:

In such a condition, opinions fall out of sync with concrete ends, producing a world where “nothing is linked,“ and human beings lose their hold, not only on a common morality but on the very distinction between true and false.

The apostle Paul puts it another way:

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not proper;

Modern man’s lack of ability to distinguish between right and wrong, good and bad, true and false should be obvious, but that itself requires discernment. The poet and novelist Marion Montgomery,* wrote: “The truth of things, which must be our concern always, is revealed through words rightly used and rightly taken.”  By destroying the linkage between words and deeds, and supplanting it with political correctness, we are losing this ability.  

*Cited by Michael M. Jordan, “Great Books, Higher Education and the Logos,” in Modern Age, Winter/Spring 2011

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Book Review: The Lady or The Tiger? by Frank R. Stockton http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/book-review-the-lady-or-the-tiger-by-frank-r-stockton http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/book-review-the-lady-or-the-tiger-by-frank-r-stockton#comments Sat, 13 Sep 2014 12:57:02 +0000 http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/?p=3695 stocktonI discovered this treasure quite by chance when perusing some of the books being downsized out of my parents’ library. I had never heard of the author or the book. I pulled it down off the shelf because of its interesting title and the fact that it looked pretty old.

As it turns out, it had my mother’s childhood signature inside the front cover. This particular edition was itself a reprint, published by family of the author in 1914. I believe it began life as a library book, and then, either my mother didn’t return it (say it ain’t so!) or more likely, it became a discard. (It’s just another aspect of the mystique surrounding an old tome – its own personal history.) Anyway, enough of the story told by the book’s cover, which I judged as interesting enough to merit salvaging it. The book turned out to be a collection of short stories, the first of which gives its title to the volume itself. Evidently, Stockton was a pretty popular guy in his time, something of a Mark Twainesque humorist. His stories have aged very well.

They are clever, fun, and sometimes thought provoking.  I especially enjoyed the interesting frameworks employed by the author upon which to spin his yarns.  For instance, in the second story, there is a ghost who shows up prematurely for a “vacancy”.  As a result, he “lives” his days and nights in terror of being discovered.  He is nearly mortified with embarassment  (pun intended) of having jumped the gun.  It’s just the hook on which the author hangs a sweet little romance between the proprietor of the still living body’s niece and a character in who the ghost chooses to confide.  The story plays out in a most delightful manner.

There is another story in the collection wherein the teller relates how he ends up refurbishing his entire house at the prompting of an unscrupulous brother-in-law, all for the sake of style.  It starts innocently enough with the introduction of a new fire-screen with an Ash frame.  Since it doesn’t match in style with the rest of the houses furnishings, the story teller starts by replacing a couple of chairs, then redecorates a whole room, whole house, and finally with a remodel.  In the process, he and his wife are no longer as comfortable or happy.  However, the story has an interesting twist at the end.

Since The Lady or The Tiger? is typical of the remainder, and because it is in the public domain, I include it below for those interested (it’s pretty short).

 

 

The Lady or The Tiger?  by Frank R. Stockton

 

In the very olden time there lived a semi-barbaric king, whose ideas, though somewhat polished and sharpened by the progressiveness of distant Latin neighbors, were still large, florid, and untrammeled, as became the half of him which was barbaric. He was a man of exuberant fancy, and, withal, of an authority so irresistible that, at his will, he turned his varied fancies into facts. He was greatly given to self-communing, and, when he and himself agreed upon anything, the thing was done. When every member of his domestic and political systems moved smoothly in its appointed course, his nature was bland and genial; but, whenever there was a little hitch, and some of his orbs got out of their orbits, he was blander and more genial still, for nothing pleased him so much as to make the crooked straight and crush down uneven places.

Among the borrowed notions by which his barbarism had become semified was that of the public arena, in which, by exhibitions of manly and beastly valor, the minds of his subjects were refined and cultured.But even here the exuberant and barbaric fancy asserted itself. The arena of the king was built, not to give the people an opportunity of hearing the rhapsodies of dying gladiators, nor to enable them to view the inevitable conclusion of a conflict between religious opinions and hungry jaws, but for purposes far better adapted to widen and develop the mental energies of the people. This vast amphitheater, with its encircling galleries, its mysterious vaults, and its unseen passages, was an agent of poetic justice, in which crime was punished, or virtue rewarded, by the decrees of an impartial and incorruptible chance.

When a subject was accused of a crime of sufficient importance to interest the king, public notice was given that on an appointed day the fate of the accused person would be decided in the king’s arena, a structure which well deserved its name, for, although its form and plan were borrowed from afar, its purpose emanated solely from the brain of this man, who, every barleycorn a king, knew no tradition to which he owed more allegiance than pleased his fancy, and who ingrafted on every adopted form of human thought and action the rich growth of his barbaric idealism.

When all the people had assembled in the galleries, and the king, surrounded by his court, sat high up on his throne of royal state on one side of the arena, he gave a signal, a door beneath him opened, and the accused subject stepped out into the amphitheater. Directly opposite him, on the other side of the enclosed space, were two doors, exactly alike and side by side. It was the duty and the privilege of the person on trial to walk directly to these doors and open one of them. He could open either door he pleased; he was subject to no guidance or influence but that of the aforementioned impartial and incorruptible chance. If he opened the one, there came out of it a hungry tiger, the fiercest and most cruel that could be procured, which immediately sprang upon him and tore him to pieces as a punishment for his guilt. The moment that the case of the criminal was thus decided, doleful iron bells were clanged, great wails went up from the hired mourners posted on the outer rim of the arena, and the vast audience, with bowed heads and downcast hearts, wended slowly their homeward way, mourning greatly that one so young and fair, or so old and respected, should have merited so dire a fate.

 

 

 

 

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But, if the accused person opened the other door, there came forth from it a lady, the most suitable to his years and station that his majesty could select among his fair subjects, and to this lady he was immediately married, as a reward of his innocence. It mattered not that he might already possess a wife and family, or that his affections might be engaged upon an object of his own selection; the king allowed no such subordinate arrangements to interfere with his great scheme of retribution and reward. The exercises, as in the other instance, took place immediately, and in the arena. Another door opened beneath the king, and a priest, followed by a band of choristers, and dancing maidens blowing joyous airs on golden horns and treading an epithalamic measure, advanced to where the pair stood, side by side, and the wedding was promptly and cheerily solemnized. Then the gay brass bells rang forth their merry peals, the people shouted glad hurrahs, and the innocent man, preceded by children strewing flowers on his path, led his bride to his home.

This was the king’s semi-barbaric method of administering justice. Its perfect fairness is obvious. The criminal could not know out of which door would come the lady; he opened either he pleased, without having the slightest idea whether, in the next instant, he was to be devoured or married. On some occasions the tiger came out of one door, and on some out of the other. The decisions of this tribunal were not only fair, they were positively determinate: the accused person was instantly punished if he found himself guilty, and, if innocent, he was rewarded on the spot, whether he liked it or not. There was no escape from the judgments of the king’s arena.

The institution was a very popular one. When the people gathered together on one of the great trial days, they never knew whether they were to witness a bloody slaughter or a hilarious wedding. This element of uncertainty lent an interest to the occasion which it could not otherwise have attained. Thus, the masses were entertained and pleased, and the thinking part of the community could bring no charge of unfairness against this plan, for did not the accused person have the whole matter in his own hands?

 

 

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This semi-barbaric king had a daughter as blooming as his most florid fancies, and with a soul as fervent and imperious as his own. As is usual in such cases, she was the apple of his eye, and was loved by him above all humanity. Among his courtiers was a young man of that fineness of blood and lowness of station common to the conventional heroes of romance who love royal maidens. This royal maiden was well satisfied with her lover, for he was handsome and brave to a degree unsurpassed in all this kingdom, and she loved him with an ardor that had enough of barbarism in it to make it exceedingly warm and strong. This love affair moved on happily for many months, until one day the king happened to discover its existence. He did not hesitate nor waver in regard to his duty in the premises. The youth was immediately cast into prison, and a day was appointed for his trial in the king’s arena. This, of course, was an especially important occasion, and his majesty, as well as all the people, was greatly interested in the workings and development of this trial. Never before had such a case occurred; never before had a subject dared to love the daughter of the king. In after years such things became commonplace enough, but then they were in no slight degree novel and startling.

The tiger-cages of the kingdom were searched for the most savage and relentless beasts, from which the fiercest monster might be selected for the arena; and the ranks of maiden youth and beauty throughout the land were carefully surveyed by competent judges in order that the young man might have a fitting bride in case fate did not determine for him a different destiny. Of course, everybody knew that the deed with which the accused was charged had been done. He had loved the princess, and neither he, she, nor any one else, thought of denying the fact; but the king would not think of allowing any fact of this kind to interfere with the workings of the tribunal, in which he took such great delight and satisfaction. No matter how the affair turned out, the youth would be disposed of, and the king would take an aesthetic pleasure in watching the course of events, which would determine whether or not the young man had done wrong in allowing himself to love the princess.

 

 

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The appointed day arrived. From far and near the people gathered, and thronged the great galleries of the arena, and crowds, unable to gain admittance, massed themselves against its outside walls. The king and his court were in their places, opposite the twin doors, those fateful portals, so terrible in their similarity.

All was ready. The signal was given. A door beneath the royal party opened, and the lover of the princess walked into the arena. Tall, beautiful, fair, his appearance was greeted with a low hum of admiration and anxiety. Half the audience had not known so grand a youth had lived among them. No wonder the princess loved him! What a terrible thing for him to be there!

As the youth advanced into the arena he turned, as the custom was, to bow to the king, but he did not think at all of that royal personage. His eyes were fixed upon the princess, who sat to the right of her father. Had it not been for the moiety of barbarism in her nature it is probable that lady would not have been there, but her intense and fervid soul would not allow her to be absent on an occasion in which she was so terribly interested. From the moment that the decree had gone forth that her lover should decide his fate in the king’s arena, she had thought of nothing, night or day, but this great event and the various subjects connected with it. Possessed of more power, influence, and force of character than any one who had ever before been interested in such a case, she had done what no other person had done – she had possessed herself of the secret of the doors. She knew in which of the two rooms, that lay behind those doors, stood the cage of the tiger, with its open front, and in which waited the lady. Through these thick doors, heavily curtained with skins on the inside, it was impossible that any noise or suggestion should come from within to the person who should approach to raise the latch of one of them. But gold, and the power of a woman’s will, had brought the secret to the princess.

And not only did she know in which room stood the lady ready to emerge, all blushing and radiant, should her door be opened, but she knew who the lady was. It was one of the fairest and loveliest of the damsels of the court who had been selected as the reward of the accused youth, should he be proved innocent of the crime of aspiring to one so far above him; and the princess hated her. Often had she seen, or imagined that she had seen, this fair creature throwing glances of admiration upon the person of her lover, and sometimes she thought these glances were perceived, and even returned. Now and then she had seen them talking together; it was but for a moment or two, but much can be said in a brief space; it may have been on most unimportant topics, but how could she know that? The girl was lovely, but she had dared to raise her eyes to the loved one of the princess; and, with all the intensity of the savage blood transmitted to her through long lines of wholly barbaric ancestors, she hated the woman who blushed and trembled behind that silent door.

 

 

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When her lover turned and looked at her, and his eye met hers as she sat there, paler and whiter than any one in the vast ocean of anxious faces about her, he saw, by that power of quick perception which is given to those whose souls are one, that she knew behind which door crouched the tiger, and behind which stood the lady. He had expected her to know it. He understood her nature, and his soul was assured that she would never rest until she had made plain to herself this thing, hidden to all other lookers-on, even to the king. The only hope for the youth in which there was any element of certainty was based upon the success of the princess in discovering this mystery; and the moment he looked upon her, he saw she had succeeded, as in his soul he knew she would succeed.

Then it was that his quick and anxious glance asked the question: “Which?” It was as plain to her as if he shouted it from where he stood. There was not an instant to be lost. The question was asked in a flash; it must be answered in another.

Her right arm lay on the cushioned parapet before her. She raised her hand, and made a slight, quick movement toward the right. No one but her lover saw her. Every eye but his was fixed on the man in the arena.

He turned, and with a firm and rapid step he walked across the empty space. Every heart stopped beating, every breath was held, every eye was fixed immovably upon that man. Without the slightest hesitation, he went to the door on the right, and opened it.

Now, the point of the story is this: Did the tiger come out of that door, or did the lady ?

The more we reflect upon this question, the harder it is to answer. It involves a study of the human heart which leads us through devious mazes of passion, out of which it is difficult to find our way. Think of it, fair reader, not as if the decision of the question depended upon yourself, but upon that hot-blooded, semi-barbaric princess, her soul at a white heat beneath the combined fires of despair and jealousy. She had lost him, but who should have him?

 

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How often, in her waking hours and in her dreams, had she started in wild horror, and covered her face with her hands as she thought of her lover opening the door on the other side of which waited the cruel fangs of the tiger!

 

But how much oftener had she seen him at the other door! How in her grievous reveries had she gnashed her teeth, and torn her hair, when she saw his start of rapturous delight as he opened the door of the lady! How her soul had burned in agony when she had seen him rush to meet that woman, with her flushing cheek and sparkling eye of triumph; when she had seen him lead her forth, his whole frame kindled with the joy of recovered life; when she had heard the glad shouts from the multitude, and the wild ringing of the happy bells; when she had seen the priest, with his joyous followers, advance to the couple, and make them man and wife before her very eyes; and when she had seen them walk away together upon their path of flowers, followed by the tremendous shouts of the hilarious multitude, in which her one despairing shriek was lost and drowned!

Would it not be better for him to die at once, and go to wait for her in the blessed regions of semi-barbaric futurity?

And yet, that awful tiger, those shrieks, that blood!

Her decision had been indicated in an instant, but it had been made after days and nights of anguished deliberation. She had known she would be asked, she had decided what she would answer, and, without the slightest hesitation, she had moved her hand to the right.

The question of her decision is one not to be lightly considered, and it is not for me to presume to set myself up as the one person able to answer it. And so I leave it with all of you: Which came out of the opened door – the lady, or the tiger?

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Multicultural Phobia http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/multicultural-phobia http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/multicultural-phobia#comments Mon, 08 Sep 2014 12:08:55 +0000 http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/?p=4086 All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.   Edmund Burke

Not only are many good men doing nothing, people like former MP Denis MacShane are complicit by refusing to acknowledge evil when they see it.  McShane is probably not someone that Burke would have put into the “good men” camp.  He was forced to resign in 2012 over an expense scandal for which he was later jailed.  He now grudgingly admits,

I think there was a culture of not wanting to rock the multicultural community boat if I may put it like that.

To what is he referring?

 … the oppression of women within bits of the Muslim community in Britain …  Emphasis WWTFT

The “bits” of the Muslim community to which he is referring are responsible for the sadistic treatment of

… at least 1,400 girls who were groomed and raped over two decades in Rotherham, a grim postindustrial town in northern England. Most of the victims were working-class. They were typically 12 to 14 when they were lured into a life of drugs, alcohol and abuse. Nearly all the abusers were Muslim men of Pakistani origin.  The Globe and Mail  – 9/4/2014

McShane excuses the inexcusable by admitting,

 Perhaps yes, as a true Guardian reader, and liberal leftie, I suppose I didn’t want to raise that too hard.

Apparently, old habits die hard.  McShane persists in not rocking the multicultural community boat.

There is in our country, just a dreadful culture and I wouldn’t pick particular on one ethnic community but it is a real problem, it’s a longer story about the nature of that community, their sexual relations, and the way they treat women in particular within that community, there’s a big problem. When I met the Imams and my friends they were always as horrified as I was at any of the newspaper reports.  Emphasis WWTFT

This is not a small scale problem.  The abuse has been going on for a very long time and is widespread.  Those who have tried to bring it to the fore, have been castigated for their lack of cultural empathy.

A researcher who raised the alarm over the sexual abuse of teenage girls in Rotherham more than a decade ago was sent on a ‘ethnicity and diversity course’ by child protection bosses who refused to act on her evidence.

The researcher, who was seconded to Rotherham council by the Home Office, was told she must “never, ever” again refer to the fact that the abusers were predominantly Asian men.

Speaking to the BBC’s Panorama programme under the condition of anonymity, the researcher said that she identified more 270 victims of trafficking and underage prostitution by mainly Muslim gangs in Rotherham.  Rotherham researcher ‘sent on diversity course’ after raising alarm

This article in Forbes, points out that sociologists have successfully convinced the government that the entire police force in Britain is inherently, and institutionally racist.  This big lie gathered speed 15 years ago when the horror in Rotherham was just starting.

Fifteen years ago, when these crimes were just beginning, the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry into the conduct of the British police was made by Sir William Macpherson a High Court judge. The immediate occasion had been a murder in which the victim was black, the perpetrators white, and the behaviour of the investigating police lax and possibly prejudiced. The report accused the police – not just those involved in the case, but the entire police force of the country – of ‘institutionalised racism’. This piece of sociological newspeak was, at the time, very popular with leftist sociologists. For it made an accusation which could not be refuted by anyone who had the misfortune to be accused of it.

However well you behaved, however scrupulously you treated people of different races and without regard to their ethnic identity or the colour of their skin, you would be guilty of ‘institutionalised racism’, simply on account of the institution to which you belonged and on behalf of which you were acting. Not surprisingly, sociologists and social workers, the vast majority of whom are professionally disposed to believe that middle class society is incurably racist, latched on to the expression. MacPherson too climbed onto the bandwagon since, at the time, it was the easiest and safest way to wash your hands in public, to say that I, at least, am not guilty of the only crime that is universally recognised and everywhere in evidence.

As a consequence, the article continues, the police became more concerned with political correctness, than crime.

The result of this has been that police forces lean over backwards to avoid the accusation of racism, while social workers will hesitate to intervene in any case in which they could be accused of discriminating against ethnic minorities. Matters are made worse by the rise of militant Islam, which has added to the old crime of racism the new crime of ‘Islamophobia’. No social worker today will risk being accused of this crime. In Rotherham a social worker would be mad, and a police officer barely less so, to set out to investigate cases of suspected sexual abuse, when the perpetrators are Asian Muslims and the victims ethnically English. Best to sweep it under the carpet, find ways of accusing the victims or their parents or the surrounding culture of institutionalised racism, and attending to more urgent matters such as the housing needs of recent immigrants, or the traffic offences committed by those racist middle classes.

Americans too are familiar with this syndrome. Political correctness among sociologists comes from socialist convictions and the tired old theories that produce them. But among ordinary people it comes from fear. The people of Rotherham know that it is unsafe for a girl to take a taxi-ride from someone with Asian features; they know that Pakistani Muslims often do not treat white girls with the respect that they treat girls from their own community. They know, and have known over fifteen years, that there are gangs of predators on the look-out for vulnerable girls, and that the gangs are for the most part Asian young men who see English society not as the community to which they belong, but as a sexual hunting ground. But they dare not express this knowledge, in either words or deed. Still less do they dare to do so if their job is that of social worker or police officer. Let slip the mere hint that Pakistani Muslims are more likely than indigenous Englishmen to commit sexual crimes and you will be branded as a racist and an Islamophobe, to be ostracised in the workplace and put henceforth under observation.

The moral equivalency crowd are sure to point out the parallels in recent years with the Roman Catholic sex scandals.  To be sure, pedophile priests are every bit as reprehensible as any other deviant.  The difference is that society is not disposed to give them a pass for their actions when uncovered.  In fact, the current trend is to latch on to anything that besmirches Christianity as a whole, notwithstanding denominational differences, and make sure it gets lots of press.

Conversely, it is verboten to criticize Muslims, for fear of being labeled a racist, even if that means refusing to mention that aspect of the story, like this story in the Guardian.  Not once is the word Muslim, Pakastani, or even Asian used.  They do offer a quote from Home Secretary, Theresa May,

She said: “I am clear that cultural concerns – both the fear of being seen as racist, and the frankly disdainful attitude to some of our most vulnerable children – must never stand in the way of child protection. We know that child sexual exploitation happens in all communities. There is no excuse for it in any of them. And there is never any excuse for failing to bring its perpetrators to justice.”  Emphasis WWTFT

If sexual exploitation is not ok in any community, why was it necessary to bring other communities into this issue?  Once again, political correctness dictates that we must make sure to point out that the un-named community involved shares this crime with all communities.  Even when forced to acknowledge that something horrendous has been going on for almost two decades, these people steadfastly hold to their dogma, and bend over backwards to ensure that no one draws a politically incorrect conclusion.

The new spin is that it is class and misogyny that caused this.  According to Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington.

But the truth about child sex abuse scandal in Rotherham is that, at the highest level of the local establishment, nobody cared. Ultimately this, more than ‘political correctness’ explains why the tragic victimisation and abuse of these girls could have happened on such a scale and continued for so long.

Once again, faced with a horrible action perpetrated by Pakistani Muslims, we can simply attribute to misogyny (something that can occur in any culture, after all) and the uncaring upper class.

The apologetics is palpable.

After all, only a tiny minority of Muslim men were involved in abusing girls. Furthermore it has become apparent that many Muslim girls were abused too – but a culture of shame stopped them from coming forward.

Issues around gender and class were at the root of events in Rotherham, together with the ease of covering up scandals in a one-party town. And there may have been something in the nature of the patriarchal political establishment, where party bosses do deals with self-styled ‘community leaders’, which made those who could have done something prepared to turn a blind eye and unwilling to disrupt cozy arrangements.

Apparently this all happened because of nasty women haters, who just coincidentally happened to be Muslim, in combination with crooked politicians.  Among the latter, (and probably also former) would be councillor Jahangir Akhtar.   Akhtar was arrested for a restaurant brawl, but avoided judgment “after a police commander handed the judge a glowing reference.”

Akhtar’s cousin Arshid ­Hussain was named in the official report into the scandal as a “boyfriend” of up to 18 girls who are believed to have been abused.

And his son Tanveer is a ­constable working for South ­Yorkshire Police – the force which was slammed alongside the ­council for failing to stop the ­systematic sex abuse of 1,400 ­children over a period of 16 years.

Last night Akhtar denied that he protected his cousin in any way or that he knew about any inappropriate relationships.

Another councillor suspended by Labour last week – Shaukat Ali, 60 – has a relative serving 22 years in jail for flooding the ­politician’s ward with ecstasy.

Caged dealer Shawyat Iqbal is also the older brother of a ­butcher who was hacked to death in a frenzied machete attack last year.

We cannot fight evil, unless we recognize, and name it when we see it.  One can understand, if not respect, the fear of bodily harm from Muslims who are willing to engage in so-called “honor killings” of their own daughters, and who will brook not even the slightest criticism of their religion.  But the fear of merely being labeled a racist or Islamophobe, is a pernicious form of cowardice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


NOTE: The discerning may wish to consider if there is a correlation between the political philosophy that overwhelmingly rules the Rotherham Metropolitan Bureau, the policies they espouse, and the consequences thereof.

The political party representation of Rotherham councillors is:

  • 49 Labour
  • 10 UK Independence Party
  • 2 Conservative
  • 2 Independent

The Cabinet is made up of ten councillors, including the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council. It has decision-making powers given to it by the full Council.

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Book Review: His Majesty’s Dragon http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/book-review-his-majestys-dragon http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/book-review-his-majestys-dragon#comments Sun, 07 Sep 2014 02:47:27 +0000 http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/?p=3697 hismajestysdragonHis Majesty’s Dragon is reasonably well-written and offers a unique spin on the period.  Novik incorporates dragons into the story!  I suspect I would have been more able to enjoy this book had I not read so many of the books that she quite obviously borrows from.

Were I totally ignorant of Patrick O’Brian, C.S. Forrestor, and Christopher Paolini, I think I might have been able to approach the book from a less critical viewpoint. Don’t get me wrong, this book is fun to read.  The story line is solid and even original. I might even read others in the series, maybe.

However, in the course of reading the book, I was constantly reminded, that unlike O’Brian, this author probably did no original research for her novel.  Instead she borrowed heavily from his Aubrey and Maturin and from Forrestor’s Horatio Hornblower.  Somehow it is just too obvious, and she falls short of carrying off the gravitas of actually knowing what she is talking about, other than what she gleaned from her reading of these authors.  Nowhere does this become more clear than in her depiction of the battle of Trafalgar.  Now I will grant you, that all bets are off with respect to historical accuracy when you consider that she adds dragons to the mix, nonetheless, it is clear from her treatment of the subject, that she really knows nothing about it, other than what she has gleaned from indirect sources.  In her version of history Nelson doesn’t die at Trafalgar.  I haven’t read any subsequent books in the series, so I don’t know if she has plans for the admiral as a meaningful character later in the story.  I doubt it, he is only mentioned incidentally in the story and does not participate in any meaningful way.  I suspect, that the author just made a mistake.

It wasn’t just history that comes up a bit weak in the story, but also her obvious borrowing from Christopher Paolini’s Eragon dragon series.  Here also, originality seems to desert the author.   She does manage to add some creative elements with respect to dragon breeds and capabilities, but her explanation of dragon-to-rider relationships felt almost like wholesale theft.

if you haven’t read O’Brian, Forrestor, or  Paolini, you will probably enjoy this book as something entertaining and original.  If you have, however, you may find the near plagiaristic use of language and theme irritate you as they did me.

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A New Religion That’ll Bring Ya To Your Knees http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/a-new-religion-thatll-bring-ya-to-your-knees http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/a-new-religion-thatll-bring-ya-to-your-knees#comments Sun, 07 Sep 2014 02:34:37 +0000 http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/?p=4056 City Journal featured an important article that bears careful reading.  It’s long and definitely won’t hold the attention of the people that most need to read it.    It’s called An Unsettling Climate.   The article is about the transformation of science into dogma and religion.  In particular it deals with the perils of questioning the presumption that “the science is settled.”

Woe unto those who have the temerity to suggest that this might not be the case, never mind the facts.   Some things must not be questioned, as was discovered by American atmospheric physicist Murry Salby.  

In April 2013, concluding a European tour to present his research, Salby arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris for a flight back to Australia, where he was a professor of climate science at Macquarie University. He discovered, to his dismay, that the university had canceled the return leg of his nonrefundable ticket. 

Salby hasn’t been working in a vacuum. Swedish climate scientist Pehr Björnbom has replicated his finding that temperature drives CO2 emission. University of Oslo geosciences professor Ole Humlum published a landmark 2012 paper demonstrating that changes of CO2 follow changes of temperature, implying the same cause and effect. Richard Lindzen, an atmospheric physicist at MIT, believes that Salby is correct about the IPCC’s failure to evaluate the effects of diffusion in ice cores on the proxy CO2 record and to consider sources of lighter carbon other than fossil-fuel burning. Salby is a “serious scientist” whose arguments deserve a hearing, Lindzen says. Fritz Vahrenholt, a former environmental official and CEO of a large renewable-energy company, as well as one of Germany’s leading climate-change skeptics, found Salby’s analysis of CO2 emission levels lagging temperature changes compelling. “Murry Salby opened a door for more investigations and further scientific work,” Vahrenholt says. Will the scientific community pursue the questions that Salby has raised? Vahrenholt is doubtful. “Upholders of AGW don’t take part in discussions where their orthodox view is challenged,” he complains. One way they block off inquiry is to ensure that papers by dissenting climate scientists are not included in the peer-review literature—a problem that Lindzen and Bengtsson have encountered. Indeed, that is what happened to Salby. He submitted a paper on his initial findings to the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. Finding no errors—one reviewer called it “absolutely amazing”—the journal required minor revision. Before Salby could return the revised paper for publication, the editor of a different journal, Remote Sensing, resigned for publishing a paper that departed from the IPCC view, penning an abject confession: “From a purely formal point of view, there were no errors with the review process. But, as the case presents itself now, the editorial team unintentionally selected three reviewers who probably share some climate skeptic notions of the authors.” Shortly afterward, Salby received a letter rejecting his revised paper on the basis of a second reviewer’s claim—contradicted by the first reviewer—that his paper offered nothing new and that all of it had already been covered in the IPCC’s reports.

So much for peer review and unbiased science.

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The Cold Death of Society http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/the-cold-death-of-society http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/the-cold-death-of-society#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 12:31:54 +0000 http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/?p=4076 The following is excerpted from a paper written by Dorothy L. Sayers about Dante’s Divine Comedy. The paper was written 60 years ago, but her description of the decay of Western Civilization is very poignant.

That the Inferno is a picture of human society in a state of sin and corruption, everybody will readily agree. And since we are to-day fairly well convinced that society is in a bad way and not necessarily evolving in the direction of perfectibility, we find it easy enough to recognise the various stages by which the deep of corruption is reached. Futility; lack of a living faith; the drift into loose morality, greedy consumption, financial irresponsibility, and uncontrolled bad temper; a self-opinionated and obstinate individualism; violence, sterility, and lack of reverence for life and property including one’s own; the exploitation of sex, the debasing of language by advertisement and propaganda, the commercialising of religion, the pandering to superstition and the conditioning of people’s minds by mass-hysteria and “spell-binding” of all kinds, venality and string-pulling in public affairs, hypocrisy, dishonesty in material things, intellectual dishonesty, the fomenting of discord (class against class, nation against nation) for what one can get out of it, the falsification and destruction of all the means of communication; the exploitation of the lowest and stupidest mass-emotions; treachery even to the fundamentals of kinship, country, the chosen friend, and the sworn allegiance: these are the all-too recognisable stages that lead to the cold death of society and the extinguishing of all civilised relations.

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The Song of Marion’s Men by William Cullen Bryant http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/the-song-of-marions-men-by-william-cullen-bryant http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/the-song-of-marions-men-by-william-cullen-bryant#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2014 12:09:29 +0000 http://www.whatwouldthefoundersthink.com/?p=4071 General Francis Marion, who became known as The Swamp Fox, is the character upon whom Mel Gibson’s role in the movie The Patriot is loosely based.

puzzle-solver
claire
matthew aka cheddarface
mortimer
If you have a problem with the flash working for you, you may wish to use the static version. If you succeed in doing the puzzle, we’ve implemented a way for you to get credit for your efforts! (see the box on left)

 

 

 

The Song of Marion’s Men

OUR band is few, but true and tried,
Our leader frank and bold;
The British soldier trembles
When Marion’s name is told.
Our fortress is the good greenwood,
Our tent the cypress-tree;
We know the forest round us,
As seamen know the sea;
We know its walks of thorny vines,
Its glades of reedy grass,
Its safe and silent islands
Within the dark morass.

Woe to the English soldiery
That little dread us near!
On them shall light at midnight
A strange and sudden fear;
When, waking to their tents on fire,
They grasp their arms in vain,
And they who stand to face us
Are beat to earth again;
And they who fly in terror deem
A mighty host behind,
And hear the tramp of thousands
Upon the hollow wind.

Then sweet the hour that brings release
From danger and from toil;
We talk the battle over,
And share the battle’s spoil.
The woodland rings with laugh and shout,
As if a hunt were up,
And woodland flowers are gathered
To crown the soldier’s cup.
With merry songs we mock the wind
That in the pine-top grieves,
And slumber long and sweetly
On beds of oaken leaves.

Well knows the fair and friendly moon
The band that Marion leads–
The glitter of their rifles,
The scampering of their steeds.
‘Tis life to guide the fiery barb
Across the moonlight plain;
‘Tis life to feel the night-wind
That lifts his tossing mane.
A moment in the British camp–
A moment — and away,
Back to the pathless forest,
Before the peep of day.

Grave men there are by broad Santee,
Grave men with hoary hairs;
Their hearts are all with Marion,
For Marion are their prayers.
And lovely ladies greet our band,
With kindest welcoming,
With smiles like those of summer,
And tears like those of spring.
For them we wear these trusty arms,
And lay them down no more
Till we have driven the Briton,
Forever, from our shore.

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