SubscribeStar Saturday: Decline, Part I: Afghanistan

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Events of the past few years give one the distinct sense that the United States—and, indeed, Western Civilization—is in a steady decline.  As I wrote in an old post:

We’re no longer the Roman Republic, but we’re not the Roman Empire in the 5th century, either.  We’re more like the Roman Empire in the 2nd or 3rd centuries:  coasting along on the remnants of a functioning system, with a play-acting Congress shadowing the motions of republicanism.

We’re in what might be called the “decadent” phase of our existence:  past generations forged a nation from their sweat and blood; their successors solidified and consolidated on those gains, creating a powerful economy and culture, and winning major wars; their successors are currently coasting along on the fruits of their ancestors’ efforts.  But a culture, a nation, a civilization can only coast for so long before it loses all momentum entirely.

The recent unpleasantness in Afghanistan is a stark illustration of our current decadence—and our blind arrogance.  We believed we could plant a functioning democratic republic in a land that has been war-torn and riddled with autocratic warlords since time immemorial with an investment of twenty years of blood and treasure.  Instead, we botched a pull-out, abandoning American citizens and military equipment in the process, allowing the Taliban to seize control of the entire country in a leisurely weekend.

Ironically, The Pretender Biden was probably the perfect patsy for American withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was about nineteen years overdue.  Every administration has known we needed to get the heck out of a place known as “The Graveyard of Empires,” but no one wanted the bad optics of a withdrawal.  Biden is so senile and mentally foggy that he probably still doesn’t realize what he did, and certainly doesn’t feel any shame about abandoning Americans to the Taliban.

But even given our incompetent, mentally hobbled executive, the withdrawal from Afghanistan—quite necessary, I think—was botched so terribly, it condemns the entire US government and our military leadership.  Any ten-year old could have said, “Yeah, get all the weapons and people out first, then withdraw the last of the American troops.”  Instead, we did the exact opposite.  Ripping off the Band-Aid and getting out of Afghanistan was necessary, but did we have to rip the skin clean off the arm?

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Modern Art and Influence

Most readers of this blog will likely agree with the following sentiment:  “modern art is terrible.”  In my more intellectually generous moments, I’d add “most” as a qualifier to start that phrase, but with age comes orneriness, and orneriness does not lend itself to intellectual generosity.

Perhaps the best treatment of this sentiment in a scholarly—dare I say “intellectually generous”—way is Roger Kimball‘s The Rape of the Masters: How Political Correctness Sabotages Art.  The book is a quick read, but even in 200 pages, it’s depressing seeing the increasingly bizarre, flat-out wrong interpretations politically-motivated Leftists bring to classic works of art.  The unfortunate trend of comparing everything that ever happened to Harry Potter is no-doubt the watered-down, pop cultural version of this academic shoehorning of the ideology du jour into artistic interpretation.

Of course, there is a corollary to the maxim that “modern art is terrible.”  It’s that “modern art is only successful because wealthy dupes want to look cool.”  That’s a bit of a mouthful, we all know it’s true.

So it is that two close relatives to the current Pretender’s regime—scandal-ridden, sister-in-law-loving drug addict Hunter Biden, and not-pretty-enough-to-be-a-model model Ella Emhoff (Vice President Kamala Harris‘s stepdaughter) have made good money peddling “art.”

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Friday Rundown (18-22 January 2021)

It’s been an eventful week, so I figured an extra post today running down the posts from the past few days would be worthwhile.  Also, I’m a slave to the WordPress daily streak counter, and when I scheduled this morning’s post on Wednesday, WordPress for some reason immediately e-mailed a preview; ergo, I want to make sure I get the daily post streak.  Gotta keep the streak alive!

 So, here is a quick rundown of this week’s posts:

Enjoy!

—TPP

Inauguration Day 2021

The day has arrived—the briefly delayed third term of Obama’s presidency.  In the years since Obama left office, the progressive Left has become even more insane.  After a four-year reprieve under Trump, the radical progressives aren’t going to let another opportunity pass to transform the country completely.

Things are going to get worse before they get better, which is why I’m encouraging my fellow conservatives, Christians, and traditionalists to think and act locally in the years to come (H/T to historian Brion McClanahan for that pithy phrase).  Now is the time to attend town/city and county council meetings, to run for local and State offices, and to build up communities.  While we can do some of that online, we’ve got to get out and meet people—join Bible studies, form local clubs, revive forgotten civic organizations, etc.  Heck, even play at an open mic!

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The Last Day of Freedom?

Here we are, 19 January 2021—the last day of basking in liberty before Biden the Usurper assumes the throne.  For all his personal foibles and occasional missed opportunities (while acknowledging, of course, his many achievements), President Trump at least fought to ensure that Americans could enjoy freedom and opportunity.  Under progressive rule, no such guarantees exist.

But rather than look about gloomily at what is to come, I’d like to offer some words of exhortation.  Times will not be easy for conservatives and Christians over the next four years, but I’m trying to embrace this new progressive era with some cautious, small-scale optimism.

For one, I think the whole sordid election fraud, as well as the bipartisan effort to impeach President Trump for—if we’re honest about it—discouraging violence and encouraging peaceful protest—has confirmed for many of us that the elites of both parties are against us.  As such, effecting change at the national level seems increasingly futile.

That might sound discouraging, but consider it from another angle:  if we can’t make much of a dent at the national level, then why waste the energy?  Instead, let’s focus our efforts locally.

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TBT: Warrior for Life

South Carolina has a reputation for orneriness—we were the first State to secede from the Union in 1860, after all, and threatened to do it nearly thirty years earlier, during the Nullification Crisis of 1832-33—and it seems our Catholic priests are particularly prone to use their pulpits to prescribe some red-pillsPriest Jeffrey Kirby delivered a fiery homily warning that with Biden’s election, the Church faces real persecution in the days ahead, and scolded parishioners who cast their votes for Biden as betraying their Catholic faith:

Priests and preachers usually shy away from overtly political sermons, but we’re overdue for some Truth.  We’re not discussing Democrats versus Republicans anymore; we’re talking about electing Evil—those that flaunt their desire to slay the unborn—and even the recently born!—and celebrate every opportunity they can force us to accept another progressive indignity.  Trannies reading storybooks to four-year olds isn’t a “blessing of liberty,” per wincing, politically-correct, noodle-wristed, mainstream Evangelical David French—it’s an assault on our values and our culture.  If they can make us accept something so ridiculous and patently unnatural—wicked!—then it puts that wedge in the door to pry it open to all manner of government-sanctioned evil.

Father Kirby’s bold sermon reminded me of another great warrior for Christ—and for Life:  Father Robert “Bob” Morey.  Father Bob is less bombastic in his denunciation of evil, but he is nonetheless a true warrior for his Faith.  In October 2019, Father Bob declined to give Joe Biden Holy Communion due to Biden’s pro-abortion—pro-infanticide, I should write—stance.

As such, I thought it would be a good time to look at Father Bob’s bold stance for life in this week’s TBT.  Here is October 2019’s “Warrior for Life“:

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Where the Right Goes From Here

Lest I be cast as a “doomer”—one who has given up on President Trump’s noble attempt to win the re-election that is rightfully is—it seems likely that our ruling elites will assure Biden wins the presidency.  I still believe that Trump is the rightful victor; that the election was stolen from him; and that the evidence of widespread voter fraud is compelling enough to throw, at the very least, the election to the House of Representatives.

Remember, we live in a world that still argues that John F. Kennedy’s campaign did not manipulate vote totals in Cook County, Illinois to flip the State away from Nixon in 1960, thereby assuring Kennedy’s victory.  What we saw in 2020 was the Cook County strategy writ large.  We should fight that manipulation to ensure the integrity of future elections, but I fear the damage is done.

Again, I hold out hope that Trump will be vindicated and that justice will be served.  Nevertheless, as conservatives, we should adopt the distinctly conservative course of preparing for what comes next.  Even if our dream scenario comes to fruition, it only buys conservatives time.  Either way, we’ve got to consider seriously where we’re going, and our place in a society that increasingly rejects us and our interests.

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Lazy Sunday LXXXVI: Questions, Part I

With the major networks calling the election for Joe Biden, a number of questions are swirling about, chiefly—“what comes next?”  photog and I have been hashing this question out in the comments of his posts “The Question Has Been Answered” and “Camaraderie is Key.”

I don’t think the election is over—not by a long shot—as recounts are still be done, and the voter fraud is so blatant, it can’t help but lead to legitimate legal challenges.  But even if these mysterious early-morning ballots for Biden are thrown out and President Trump is duly re-elected, the whole debacle suggests that conservatives need to wake up to the folly of depending upon purely electoral solutions to our problems.  Winning elections is just one facet of the larger culture wars in which we find ourselves.

To that end, I’m dedicating a few editions of Lazy Sunday to going back through old posts that, in their titles, pose some kind of question.  These posts range from the philosophical to the political to the cultural, but also cover some fun stuff (like whether or not Saturn is the creepiest planet).  I’ll look at three or four posts every Sunday, which should take several weeks to get through (so we might take a break with some Christmas Lazy Sundays in the middle).

That said, here’s our first round of Questions:

  • TBT: Ted Cruz – Conservative Hero, or Traitor to His Party?” (originally at the old TPP Blogspot Page) – Back during the 2016 RNC, Senator Ted Cruz refused to endorse candidate Trump explicitly in his convention speech, which earned him jeers and scorn.  At the time, there was still real tension between clear-cut Trumpians (I was moving in that direction, but was a Cruz man myself) and the rank-and-file Republicans, never mind the Never Trumpers.  Cruz went on to be one of President Trump’s staunchest supporters and defenders, and even seemed to be a contender for a SCOTUS position.  One thing that’s clear, though, is that Democrats will back their candidate to the hilt, even if they don’t like him, but Republicans will scatter at the least whiff of controversy around a candidate.  Hopefully Trump has changed that to some extent.
  • Fire Furloughed Feds?” – Remember the much-ballyhooed government shutdown in early 2019?  Looking back on it, it seems like a big missed opportunity for President Trump to clear the decks and do some swamp draining.
  • TBT: Transformers 2: Conservatives in Disguise?” (originally at the old TPP Blogspot Page) – I wrote this post way back in 2009, when I was a very different (and much, much portlier) man.  It’s amazing what eleven years of working and living will beat into you.  Anyway, the post looks at what I perceived to be some pro-military and pro-limited government messages in the second Transformers film, in which a meddling government bureaucrat retards the fruitful cooperation between American military personality and powerful transforming space robots, which ultimately helps the bad transforming space robots.  There’s a similar plot device in Ghostbusters, in which an EPA functionary releases a bunch of contained ghosts into Manhattan because he thinks the Ghosbusters’ containment unit is an environmental hazard.  Yeesh!

That’s it for this Sunday.  More questions—and, perhaps, answers?—to come.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

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