Homecoming Week Grind

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The end of The Age of The Virus has brought about a return of “normalcy,” as then-candidate Warren G. Harding famously said during the 1920 presidential election.  Normalcy is good, and I welcome it.

Granted, the world of today is not the same as the world of The Before Times, in the Long, Long Ago.  Widespread lunacy seems to constitute “normalcy,” and the sane among us must do our best to endure it.

But if the The Virus fundamentally transformed the assumptions of our civilization—fear trumps freedom; coercion trumps liberty—the outward trappings of “the good old days” still stretch a thin facade of fun over the face of a conquered people.

So it was that my school celebrated its annual Homecoming this past week.  It was fun, but fun can be a grind!

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Busybodies

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In casting about for a topic for this weekend’s edition of SubscribeStar Saturday, The Z Man’s latest podcase served as inspiration.  Entitled “Thinking About Athens,” the episode is an extended thought experiment on the nature of Athenian democracy, and the problem of generating consensus in a true democracy.  The problem becomes increasingly intractable the larger the group of participants becomes, to the point that “consensus” breaks down entirely, as everyone realizes that the groups that complain the most and take the firmest stances against compromise end up getting their way in order to maintain the “consensus.”  Yikes!

I often use the analogy of ordering pizza when illustrating this point to my students (usually in the context of the Articles of Confederation, America’s first governing document, which required unanimous consent of all States—each of which had an equal vote—to amend the Articles):  there is almost always at least one student who will not anything but plain cheese pizza.  Some students will only eat pizza with toppings.  Rarely, a student will not eat pizza at all.  But if found ourselves in a world in which ordering one kind of pizza were mandatory, the outcome would either be a.) ordering no pizza at all or b.) capitulating to the lame person who just wants a plain cheese pizza.  In either case, almost no one gets what they want.

Even if someone attempts to “opt-out” of the system, that is a threat to the consensus itself.  By attempting to abstain, those who demand conformity with the “consensus” react with suspicion—why won’t this weirdo eat pizza with us?  It’s not enough that someone might just want to do something else; we must be forced to be free.

I touched upon this topic in an essay from 27 February 2021, “Authoritarian Creep.”  To quote liberally from myself:

Something with which I struggle to wrap my mind around is the authoritarian impulse.  I’m not pretending I’m immune to this impulse—this desire to tell others how to live their lives, backing it up with the threat of force for non-compliance—but the older I get, what little appeal the tendency held continues to diminish.

What I struggle to comprehend is the apparent need to boss people around.  I understand needing to be authoritative with children and students—setting clear boundaries, understanding actions have consequences, molding the child to become a self-governing adult—but this desire to boss around perfect strangers is increasingly foreign to me.

This impulse manifests itself in virtually every facet of our lives.  It creeps in bit by bit.  Modest policy proposals and laws suddenly becomes weaponized Karenism, empowering authorities and otherwise normal people to swagger about with impunity, assured of the righteousness of their cause du jour.

Why do we want to control one another so much?

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Martha’s Migrant Crisis

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Apologies for the delayed post this morning, readers.  After a particularly grueling (but productive!) week and around three hours of sleep, I wasn’t prepared to write a post Friday night, and instead dozed off on the couch watching a Spanish-language horror movie.  —TPP

The big news this week is that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sent a few dozen illegal immigrants to an upscale island vacation destination on the taxpayers’ dime.  Normally, I’d see this move as what these things usually are:  another example of scofflaws getting rewarded while the law-abiding foot the bill.

But these are not normal times, and the cost to Florida taxpayers was well worth the message sent:  if you progressive elites like illegal migrants so much—often at the expense, in terms of treasure and blood, of the naturalized and native-born citizens you’re sworn to protect—then surely they won’t mind a few dozen border hoppers lounging around Barack Obama’s palatial estate.

For conservatives out there concerned about the cost of these illegal immigrant vacation junkets, think of it as part of the State of Florida‘s advertising budget:  instead of spending money warning people to look out for cyclists or some other wasteful public service announcement, Floridians are getting a major return on their advertising dollars.  The speed with which the Martha’s Vineyarders (Vineyardians?) expelled the dusky hordes from their sleepy progressive utopia is an object lesson in how little elites really believe anything they say.  It’s also a pretty effective way of highlighting, on a small scale, what border towns experience every day, and to a far greater magnitude.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: The Queen and 9/11

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Queen Elizabeth II, the long-reigning, dignified, Stoic monarch of Great Britain, passed away this week at the age of 96.  The news was shocking, not because of the tragedy of her death itself, but because I’d always assumed she would live forever—even though I knew that wasn’t possible.  Queen Elizabeth was just always there, and it seemed like she would be.

To be honest, I’m surprised she was only 96; I thought she’d already hit 100.  As it was, she was pretty close.  Her seventy-plus-year reign is the longest in the history of the British monarchy, and the longest any woman has been a head of state in all of recorded history.

The Queen’s passing, as other commentators have noted, truly marks the end of an era, an era in which the West, while fumbling a bit, still reigned supreme, and took itself seriously as a civilization.  Her death marks the final page of a long chapter in the book of Western Civilization, as her reign was the last vestige of the Old England so many of us, even here in the States, loved so dearly.

It is, then, perhaps apropos that the Queen’s death came so close to 9/11, a day of infamy which, sadly, seems to have receded further and further into the collective imagination of our divided and bickering nation.  Both the Queen and 9/11 were once symbols of national unity and patriotism, but the latter marked the death of American liberty.  Queen Elizabeth’s death, on the other hand, is a coda, the last few measures of a piece that lost its orchestra some time ago, but which managed to maintain a few dedicated musicians to play her out.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Florida on My Mind

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Regular readers know that I was supposed to be trucking down to Florida this weekend, but an outbreak of The Virus (not on my end, no worries) put a stop to those plans.  Instead, I’ll be hanging around South Carolina with my girl, and we’ll do a little leisurely sightseeing.

Still, Florida has been on my mind lately.  Thanks to Governor Ron DeSantis, it’s starting to look like a refuge for folks fleeing wokeness, buggery, and all manner of other forms of progressive-endorsed foolishness.

I love South Carolina, but if I had to live anywhere, I think it might be Florida.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Unreality

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There is a distinct sense of unreality hovering over the West lately.  I don’t know if anyone else has experienced this sensation—if you have, please leave a comment—but the Zeitgeist of our age seems to be a sense of alienated disconnection from Reality itself.  We’re living in a profoundly unserious time, led by unserious people, debating unserious problems.

Men can have babies.  Children can choose their gender.  Everything is just a social construct, after all; in such a world, anything imaginable is possible.  And while there is no fixed morality, we’re told, questioning the social construction that everything is a social construction is an assault on a truth that doesn’t exist—but it’s still bad, so don’t do it!

The pretzel logic of nihilistic relativism twists us into macabre perversions of ourselves.  Such is the consequence of embracing the unreal and rejecting Truth and Reality.

But Truth and Reality are there, whether we accept it or not.  And they hit hard.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Yngwie Malmsteen Concert

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Last week I rode up to Silverado’s in Black Mountain, North Carolina, with my younger brother and his wife to hear Swedish neoclassical metal guitar god Yngwie Malmsteen.

Boy, it was an amazing concert.  He even played some Mozart!  Yngwie also played one of my personal favorites, “Albinoni’s Adagio“:

It’s been awhile since I’ve been to a full-fledged rock ‘n’ roll concert, and Yngwie delivered for a solid ninety minutes of neoclassical decadence.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Police State Raid

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Well, as photog declared earlier this week on his blog Orion’s Cold Fire, we’re officially “a banana republic.”  The FBI raided President Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago… for what?  Some documents?  Apparently, the President had already turned over some documents to the National Archives.  Since when does the National Archives get to send a domestic police force into the homes of former presidents to get McDonald’s receipts?

Just like the arrest of Roger Stone and the ginned up January 6th Committee hearings, we on the Right have always understood that actors on the Left enjoy a different, more lenient standard of justice than those of us on the Right.  In the pre-Trump world, there was at least some pretext of blind justice, with the progressives getting a wink and a nod for their malfeasance, with a conservative offered up sacrificially from time to time to appease the mob.

Now entire federal agencies—indeed, the vast majority of the federal government—are beholden to the Left.  The apparatus of the state is no longer a mostly-impartial arbiter and guarantor of justice; instead, it’s now the personal army and political secret police of the Democratic Party.

Why?  Because “Orange Man Bad.”

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Revive Culture!

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Last weekend I wrote a post encouraging readers to “Make Culture!”  YouTuber RazörFist/The Rageaholic inspired the post with his video “Don’t Cry About The Culture. BECOME The Culture.”  His premise—which I riffed on for a few hundred words—is simple:  go out and make your own culture (books, comic books, movies, stories, art, etc.), rather than complaining about the debased culture we have.

I ended that (shamefully short, for a paid post) piece arguing that “Razör is right.  We need to be out there creating stuff.  If you can’t create, support those who do (thanks, y’all!).”  Even after one week—plenty of time for a man to lose his mettle and totally reverse course—I stand by that statement.

But as I’ve mulled over the matter of culture creature a bit more, I’ve come to realize that in order to make good culture—even an alternative culture to the worldliness of Western culture today—we need to revive culture, or at least interest in culture.  Whether we like it or not, anything we create is going to draw some of its sap from the current, withering plant of mainstream Western culture.

Of course, that doesn’t mean all of it has to derive from that source.  The Ultimate Source of Culture for the West should be—and historically has been—the Bible.  The Bible is the Inspired Word of God; it’s also a rich text full of history, drama, poetry, metaphor (and that’s coming from a Biblical literalist!), rhetoric, literature, songs, and on and on.

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