TBT: Lazy Sunday – APR Pieces

This coming Sunday’s edition of Lazy Sunday will mark the fiftieth installment of that venerable tradition (also, yesterday’s post marked the 500th post of all-time for the blog), so I thought I’d take a look back to the very first one, from 24 February 2019.

The first Lazy Sunday was aptly titled.  As I wrote at the time, I was “phoning in” the post; thus, the necessitous title for the unplanned series.

The posts looked back to my days writing and contributing to American Patriot Radio, an online streaming station that never quite took off, despite lofty plans and an impressive roster of hosts.  It seems some folks still participate in its chatroom, but it has that weird feeling of a place that no one really visits anymore, except for a handful of cranks.

But I digress.  I wrote some pretty good material (I think) for the website, and I hate to see it lost to the cranks.  So aside from celebrating the approaching fiftieth Lazy Sunday, I figured this would be a good way to draw attention back to those classic posts.  I also can’t help but appreciate the idea of a “reblog within a reblog.”

With that, here is the first “Lazy Sunday – APR Pieces“:

It’s been a busy weekend, so I’m very far behind on today’s post (about twelve hours late!).  That said, I’m worn out, so I’m phoning in this Sunday’s post.

I used to be associated with an online radio station, American Patriot Radio, in a mild way:  I would occasionally fill-in for the station’s most popular host, and I contributed some pieces for the site’s blog.

There’s no good way to navigate to these pieces on the site now, but they are, remarkably, still there.  I do not know the current status of the station, but while seeking out these pieces, I heard some streaming audio, so it may still be active, or it may be recycling old content.

Regardless, I thought it would be worthwhile to link to my writings there, as they reflect the heady days of early 2017, when the young Trump presidency seemed full of promise, and it looked as though populist uprisings would continue all over the globe.

Enjoy this grab-bag/impromptu archive of TPP submissions to APR.

8 May 2017 – “A Disheartening, but Expected, Defeat” (about the defeat of National Front candidate Marine Le Pen to France’s current president, Emmanuel Macron): https://americanpatriotradio.com/2017/05/08/a-disheartening-but-expected-defeat/

8 May 2017 – “Pat Buchanan’s America” (about the impact of Pat Buchanan’s economic and foreign policy thought on the Trump ascendancy): https://americanpatriotradio.com/2017/05/08/pat-buchanans-america/

9 May 2017 – “A New Conservatism?” (a rumination on the future of conservatism, and the possibility of a new “fusionism” to include Trumpism): https://americanpatriotradio.com/2017/05/09/a-new-conservatism/

10 May 2017 – “Comey-tose” (about the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, as well as a brief discussion of my frustration with National Review‘s hand-wringing over decorum):  https://americanpatriotradio.com/2017/05/10/comey-tose/

Enjoy this self-indulgent blast from the recent past.

–TPP

Phone it in Friday VI: Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day, readers!  Don’t try going out to eat tonight—it’s going to be a mad house.  Sensible couples will probably wait and dine out on a less sexy night, like Tuesday, or pick up Taco Bell.

We’re in the midst of a glorious four-day “Winter Break.”  The great thing about teaching is all the bogus holidays.  Valentine’s Day and President’s Day just happen to bookend the weekend, so why not turn it into a slightly-extended holiday?

In the spirit of Jay Nordlinger, today’s post is going to be a series of barely-related reflections, as well as some links to the stuff you should read or watch.  Speaking of Nordlinger, how do I land a gig getting paid to write about classical music in exotic parts of the world?

But I digress.  Here are some reflections on this Day of Love:

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Long Live Rush Limbaugh

For conservatives, one of the most powerful moments of last week’s State of the Union Address was when President Trump awarded talk-radio legend Rush Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor a president can bestow.  This morning, NEO at his blog Nebraska Energy Observer has a piece up, “The Era of Limbaugh,” which is a must-read summary of Rush’s legacy.

It’s hard to understate El Rushbo’s influence.  For many of us, he was our first exposure to conservative talk-radio (I even named the microphone we used for announcing football games “The Golden Mic”).  He is a tent pole in the 12-3 PM time slot—unwavering, unshaking.  I remember back in 2012 when a local Florence, South Carolina radio station dropped Rush—and he was unavailable in the Pee Dee for a few days (until another station picked him up a few days later).  It was pandemonium!  Well, at the very least, listeners were quite irate.

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TBT: Tucker Carlson’s Diagnosis

This week’s TBT looks back to a piece I wrote in January 2019 that summarized a segment Tucker Carlson did on his wildly popular show.  That segment really shaped my thinking on some economic and social issues (although other commentators and writers were already influencing my thinking in that direction).

Earlier this week, I wrote a piece about another Tucker segment that applied these concerns into a political platform, of sorts, one that moves beyond economic growth to real improvement for people’s lives.

This blog post was a bit shorter, so I’ll allow it to speak for itself.  It’s definitely worth watching the linked video in the piece, as it is the segment the post covers.

Here is January 2019’s “Tucker Carlson’s Diagnosis“:

recent monologue from Tucker Carlson’s Fox News program is blowing up the right-wing blogosphere, and understandably so.  Carlson has been a vocal critic of the neoliberal deification of economic efficiency at all costs.  I used to be a member of this cult, until the candidacy of Donald Trump (and lived experience) knocked the idealistic scales from my eyes.

Normally, it bugs me when people send me video clips to watch.  If they’re cutesy videos of the variety that drive clicks—think cats playing piano, or Goth versions of Christmas songs—I usually ignore them, no matter how hyped they are.  That’s not some virtue on my part; I just don’t want to take the time to watch them, especially on a cell phone (a pet peeve:  someone making me watch a video on their cell phone; I will refuse).

That said, I’m indulging in some hypocrisy:  you must watch this video as soon as you’re able.

For those of you that don’t want to take the time, here are some highlights:

  • Elites care only about maximizing economic efficiency, regardless of the human costs to individuals, families, and communities
  • That lust for efficiency drives income inequality, particularly benefiting the technology sector/Silicon Valley
  • “We are ruled by mercenaries, who feel no long-term obligation to the people they rule”—a key idea; I’ve read a similar analysis from controversial blogger Z-Man, in which he argues that leaders in a democracy are, inherently, renters rather than owners, and therefore are heavily tempted towards asset-stripping while in office, rather than building and maintaining a nation:  http://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=15929
  • Because of the hollowing out of American manufacturing and declining wages (again, due in part to the quest for efficiency), men struggle to find employment or to improve their wages
    • Because of that, rural parts of the country are dominated increasingly by healthcare and education, female-dominated fields
    • While better wages for women is fine, Carlson claims that—whether or not they should—women are less likely to marry men who earn less than them, therefore

These are just some of the most interesting insights, but Carlson sums up in fifteen minutes what would take a legion of hack bloggers like me hours or weeks to explain.

Again, I urge you to watch this video:  https://video.foxnews.com/v/5985464569001/?playlist_id=5198073478001#sp=show-clips

Lazy Sunday XLVI: Man Time

It’s been a big week for events in the manosphere.  Popular (and controversial) game pioneer Roosh V essentially ratified a decision from last year, and unpublished the remainder of his smuttier oeuvre.  At nearly the same time, the venerable Christian writer Dalrock announced the retirement of his blog, but after an outpouring of support (and shock), he has decided to leave the blog up, though he’s disabling comments.

As often happens on the blog, the unplanned, unofficial theme of the week became, naturally, the manosphere, and some discussion of its current state.  As such, this edition of Lazy Sunday looks back at some posts pertaining to that complicated, oft-misunderstand corner of the Internet:

  • The God Pill” (and “TBT: The God Pill“) – This post was my attempt to provide a (very brief) history of the manosphere in the context of one of its Big Three, Roosh V (the others in the triumvirate are Rollo Tomassi and the now-deplatformed Chateau Heartiste/Roissy).  Roosh in particular underwent a lengthy transformation:  he embraced a life of casual sex and, not surprisingly, found it unfulfilling and empty.  He then descended into a period of despair (the “Black Pill”), but God reached down and scooped him up—thus, the “God Pill.”  It’s been remarkable to see Roosh confirm his newfound faith with the voluntary unpublishing of much of his work—a move that has not been without controversy.
  • The God Pill, Part II” – This post picks up the thread from Roosh’s conversion.  He kept several of his “game” books in print, but the conviction of the Holy Spirit finally led him to unpublish the remainder, including his bestseller, Game.  It seems Roosh is really attempting to live his faith fully, but he will need our spiritual support to stay the course.  He’s apparently even asking readers to give him advice on how to support himself going forward.
  • Reacting to Hysterical Reactions: Peloton Ad” – This piece was one of those throwaways I wrote hastily to meet my self-imposed daily deadline, but the media coverage of this Peloton ad really ticked me off.  I have no desire to spend $2000+ on an exercise bike with a video of a lesbian shouting at me.  But everyone—including our friends on the Right—were alleging this ad was proof of toxic masculinity and all the rest, simply because the wife is grateful for the gift (watch the ad in the original post).  Kudos to Dalrock, too, for drawing this one to my attention.
  • Royal Cuckery” – Poor Prince Harry.  It’s amazing how an attractive woman can make a man throw it all away.  It’s also amazing how the quality of “attractive”—which necessarily has a “best by” date affixed to it—can cause an otherwise upstanding man to ignore all the other warning signs:  a broken home, a prior divorce, a woke outlook on life.  A big thanks to Free Matt Podcasts for sharing this post in his weekly roundup, too.
  • Get Woke, Get Dumped” – This post was the contrasting companion piece to the Prince Harry one.  British actor Laurence Fox has taken the other route, and dumped his SJW girlfriend summarily.  He’s also sworn off women under 35—a dicier proposition, but understandable.  Younger girls have been so infected with and indoctrinated by wokery, it’s like talking to aliens.  There are obvious exceptions, of course, but those are called “unicorns.”

Well, that wraps up another beefy Sunday.  If those didn’t put some hair on your chest, there’s probably too much soy in your diet.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Mailchimp Monkeys with Molyneux

I purchased a new vehicle a couple of weeks ago.  Since then, I’m seeing Nissan Versa Notes everywhere (and they are not terribly common).  We’ve all experienced this sensation before:  we learn a new word, for example, and suddenly we hear it spoken frequently, when before it went unheard.

That’s the phenomenon I’m experiencing this morning:  no sooner did I write about Big Tech’s crippling control over our freedom of speech, e-mail service Mailchimp unceremoniously dumped Internet philosopher and YouTube personality Stefan Molyneux.  Molyneux hosts Freedomain Radio, which bills itself as “the world’s number one philosophy show.”

I’ve listened to a lot of Molyneux’s videos.  He’s not my favorite commentator, and he can be a bit rambling (not that I can judge him too harshly for that), but his demeanor and style are endearing, and his output is insanely prolific.  Within hours of a major news event, he’ll have a detailed, lengthy video breaking down the relevant information.  On top of all that, he hosts a live call-in show, from which he’ll derive videos that often ninety minutes in length.  It helps that his callers often have entertainingly tragic problems.

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The Ascendance of Christian Radio

An interesting bit of data:  Christian radio gained the most number of stations in 2019.  Ninety-two of those stations were designated simply as “Religion” stations, while another sixty-one were “Contemporary Christian.”  That’s even with “Southern Gospel” and “Black Gospel” losing stations (eleven and five, respectively).

That puts “Religion” in second place, coming in behind the popular “Country” format and beating out my favorite, “News/Talk.”  That’s pretty substantial growth.

Could that upswing be a sign of greater faith?  I’m not so sure.  It does seem heartening that Christian radio is gaining stations; presumably, owners wouldn’t establish religious stations or change existing stations to that format if listeners aren’t there.

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The Enduring Legacy of Milton Friedman

One of the major debates on the Right over the past year or so has been the efficacy of libertarianism.  Part of that debate arises from disagreement about the role of government:  should it attempt to be neutral, as libertarians argue (which, we have seen, it is not), or should it act in the “common good” (or, as the Constitution puts it, the “common welfare”)?  In a world in which the Left wins victory after victory in the long culture wars, the assumptions of the “New Right” that arose following the Second World War are increasingly called into question.

Among those assumptions are libertarian economics.  Increasingly, conservatives are adopting a more suspicious view of concepts like supply-side economics and free-market capitalism.  That suspicion is not because capitalism is a failure, per se, but because it is almost too successful:  the wealth and prosperity it brings have also brought substantial social and cultural upheaval.  Because capitalism is an impersonal and amoral system, it doesn’t make value judgments about what is “good” or “bad” in the context of marketplace exchanges.  The Market itself is the highest “good,” so any hindrance to its efficiency is bad.

Ergo, we see arguments in favor of legalized prostitution, legalized hard drugs, legalized abortion, etc.  Again, if market efficiency is the greatest good, then why not allow these “victimless” activities?

Of course, unbridled libertarianism is doomed to fail, especially as it scales up.  Legalized hard drug use might keep junkies out of prison, but we don’t want heroine addicts buying their next hit at the grocery store.  Prostitution destroys families and the lives of the women (and men) involved, and spread disease.  Abortion is straight-up murder.

Capitalism cannot sustain itself in a vacuum.  It needs socially conservative behaviors and attitudes to sustain it.  If one wanted to live in a stateless libertarian paradise, one would need a small, tight-knit community in which everyone bought into the non-aggression principle and agreed to be honest in business dealings.  But as soon as one person decided not to abide by the unwritten social code, the entire experiment would unravel, like that scene in Demolition Man when the effeminate police force doesn’t know how to use force to subdue a violent criminal.

But for all of those critiques, capitalism remains the best system we’ve ever developed.  I agree with Tucker Carlson that the economy is a tool, not an ends to itself, but if government interferes too much with the tool, the tool is no longer effective.  If anything, the economy is a chainsaw:  too much regulation and the engine stalls and the blades become dull due to misuse and neglect; too little regulation and you lose an arm (or your life), even if you cut down a ton of trees in the process.

One of the most powerful books I ever read was Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom (1962).  It transformed the way I viewed the relationship between the government and economics.  Friedman would have a huge impact on my life and my thought.  While I don’t agree with all of his conclusions, I still largely accept his conclusions.

Friedman was a minimalist when it came to government power, but he still recognized some role for government:  maintaining the national defense, combating pollution, and fighting against infectious diseases.

Here is a 1999 interview with Milton Friedman, from the excellent Uncommon Knowledge series, hosted by Peter Robinson.  It highlights some common objections to libertarian economic ideas, as we as Friedman’s thoughtful, nuanced responses:

For what it’s worth, I’ll add that Peter Robinson is a fantastic interview.  He possesses that perfect quality in an interviewer:  he doesn’t steal the limelight.  I grew so weary of Eric Metaxas‘s interviews, not because his guests were uninteresting—he has great guests!—but because he can’t help but talk over them constantly (his penchant for campiness also goes a bit overboard, and I love that kind of cheesy stuff).  After listening to some of Peter Robinson’s interviews Sunday afternoon, I never found myself wishing he would shut up—always a good sign.

Regardless, these are some weighty issues.  I have been hard on libertarians over the past year because I think they tend to reduce complex issues to supply and demand curves, and I can’t help but notice how we keep losing ground in the culture wars by espousing endless process and slow persuasion (which seems to be stalling in its effectiveness).

On the other hand, I’m glad that conservatives don’t wield power the way progressives do; as Gavin McInnes once put it in a video (one I would never be able to locate now) after the 2016 election, Trump and conservatives have sheathed the sword of power.  Progressives, masters of psychological projection, expected Trump to come out swinging, because that’s what they would do.

I just don’t know how long we can delay them from swinging the sword again, and after Trump’s unlikely victory (and his likely reelection), I imagine progressives will no longer even engage in the pretense of even-handedness and fair play:  they will crush us relentlessly if given the chance, rather than face an uprising again.

Libertarianism doesn’t have the answer to what to do to prevent that scenario.  Unfortunately, I’m not sure any faction on the Right does—at least not in any way that is palatable.

Reacting to Hysterical Reactions: Peloton Ad

While driving home from work, I heard a little news bulletin on the radio about controversy surrounding a recent Peloton ad.  Peloton is some kind of high-end exercise bike that features videos of instructors shouting at you in that obnoxious, oddly stentorian way that hyper-motivational athletic types use when coaching quasi-sports for middle-aged women.  You know the kind of voice I mean.

Apparently, the ad is “cringeworthy” because it features a woman working out, and then thanking her husband for the gift (presumably on the Christmas following the one where she received the bike).  Also, the woman is attractive and already thin; never mind that we’re supposed to be “healthy at any size” (a concept, as my girlfriend explained to me, that does not mean we pretend 400-pound land monsters gobbling dozens of Quarter Pounders a day are “healthy,” but that a person can pursue a healthy lifestyle even if he’s morbidly obese).

The shrill feminists denouncing the ad are saying that the husband is shaming his wife into becoming even thinner—never mind that maybe she wanted an easy way to workout at home (skinny people can be unhealthy in their habits, too).  Throughout the commercial, the wife records her progress, and critics are pointing out the anxious look on her face, suggesting she’s pleading for her husband’s affection.

Give me a break.

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