Phone it in Friday XVII: Modern Homesteading

The weather is getting warmer—it hit a balmy 77 degrees at least one day this week here in South Carolina—and that means Spring is near.  Spring means gardening, and if I’m going to dive into the deep-end of converting my humble half-acre into a very small-scale farm, I’d probably better get crackin’ now.

As such, it was with great interest that I listened to an interview with Owen Benjamin, the stand-up comedian-turned-survivalist.  Benjamin is a controversial figure, and I don’t agree with some of his views, but, again, I can respect his knowledge in the area of homesteading without endorsing, say, his belief that the Earth is flat.

Regardless, Owen Benjamin’s message is a very Christian onedon’t despair about the wicked craziness of the progressive Left and the materialism of the modern world.  Instead, “crush” it—be your own man (or woman), build something for yourself and your family, and give glory to Christ JesusCreating culture is the way to save it.

With that preamble, I thought I’d share Benjamin’s recent interview with Blonde in the Belly of the Beast.  It’s a little over an hour long, but it’s worth your time.  One thing I learned is that growing some tomatoes and raising a few chickens is very easy, and that the barrier to entry for small-scale homesteading and farming is much lower than I initially thought.

Enjoy!

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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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TBT: Tarantulas and the Hygge

The weather in the mountains this past weekend was delightfully chilly, and it seems the cold up on Mount Mitchell has blown down into South Carolina.  In short, the weather is perfect—warm afternoons, and crisp, autumnal mornings.  I’ve been taking a cup of half-caff coffee in the afternoons after getting home from work and watering the garden, and it’s been glorious sitting on the porch and enjoying the coolness of the evening.

That first nip in the air is a sign that the hygge—the Danish concept of contented, warm coziness—is near.  It’s a time for bundling up and staying warm in old quilts with good books—and good company!  Food tastes better, coffee seems more satisfying, and my mind feels more alert and alive this time of year.

There’s also college football, which is nice, too—and Halloween!

So it seemed like a good time to look back to a post from March of this year, during South Carolina’s unusually cool—and longspring.  This post, “Tarantulas and the Hygge,” explored what I called “the weird side of the Internet,” traveling “down one of those byways of oddity.”

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RNC Night 1 Highlight: Tim Scott

The 2020 Republican National Convention kicked off last night, and I missed all of it.  However, while drifting off to sleep after a long day of mind-molding, my younger brother and dad were blowing up my phone about Senator Tim Scott’s speech.

Tim Scott is South Carolina’s junior Senator, and enjoys immense support here in the Palmetto State.  His story is inspiring:  the product of a single-parent household, he overcame bad grades and learned the value of hard work while working at Chick-Fil-A.  He came to understand that profits don’t hurt people, but create jobs and build communities.  He’s also the first black Republican Senator from the South since Reconstruction.

While I sometimes think Senator Scott is a bit hasty to take sides against law enforcement amid ginned up race controversies, his overall instincts are solidly conservative.  He’s affable and easy-going, as well as eloquent and measured.  It’s little wonder that he’s a rising star in the Republican Party.

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Phone it in Friday XIII: Come on Get Happy

It’s been another wild Friday afternoon of funcling, so I’m resorting to phoning it in once again this evening.  I spent the morning at the doctor’s office for my annual wellness visit, got an end-of-summer-vacation haircut, and finished up my Pre-AP Music Zoom sessions.  Since then, I’ve been knee-deep in babies for the second day in a row.

While I was driving all over the Central Savannah River Area, I tuned in to Z Man’s weekly podcast, which pops Friday mornings.  The show this week is called “Happy Happy Fun Time,” in which Z Man shares a message I promoted a few weeks ago:  despair is a sin, and we have much for which we can give thanks.

Z himself can over a jaundiced, cantankerous perspective on the world, a la H.L. Mencken (whom he clearly admires).  But Z’s argument is straightforward:  if we just focus on politics, all the time, we stop being fun.  Life is for the living, and many folks on the Dissident Right tend to get so bogged down in the seeming hopelessness of the Leftist-dominated culture wars, they cease enjoying life.

NEO at Nebraska Energy Observer attributes a similar nugget of wisdom to one of his regular contributors, Audre Myers.  It’s also the guiding principle of Gavin McInnes (and, to an extent, Milo), who laments how much more fun life used to be before the Leftists sucked all of the joy out of it.  Z points out that the Left wants us to despair because their lives suck.  Their unhappiness is, to some degree, why they are Leftists in the first place.

It’s well worth setting aside an hour to listen to this episode of Z Man’s podcast, The Z Man Power Hour.  So I’m dedicating this post to just that:

Happy Friday!

—TPP

You Can’t Cuck the Tuck III: Liberty in The Age of The Virus

The Washington Post blares under its masthead that “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”  That alliterative tag line for The Bezos Post is intended as a not-so-subtle jab at Donald Trump, as “democracy” for The Post and the rest of the Mainstream Media means “letting overcredentialed grad students and aloof experts run everything while ignoring the proles.”  Apparently, a businessman who has slashed federal taxes and regulations and devolved power back to the States is a would-be authoritarian.

For all its dire virtue-signalling and hand-wringing, though, The Post and its ilk are wrong:  just like the unsuspecting coeds in Midsommar, liberty dies in broad daylight.

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The Classiest Easter Eggs

It’s hard to believe that Easter is this Sunday.  The weather is just right for it, of course, with bees buzzing and flowers blooming, but with everyone cloistered away in their respective hovels, it sure doesn’t feel like the joyous, victorious Easter season.

Some perspective helps, though.  Other people in other times have endured far worse at Easter.  Just last year saw the Sri Lankan church bombings, a despicable act that itself came on the heels on the disastrous Notre Dame fire.  It’s surprising—even though it shouldn’t be by now—that we’ve largely forgotten about those two terrible occurrences, both acts of Islamist terror—religious war (it’s a bit unclear in the case of Notre Dame—which ISIS overtly tried to attack in 2016—but come now).

There was also the 1975 Hamilton, Ohio “Easter Massacre,” a brutal family shooting in which Jimmy Rupert murdered his massive family of eleven in cold blood (it was so grisly, one website considers the house where the mass murder occurred haunted).

So, all things considered, staying home and watching horror movies isn’t all that bad (perhaps even a tad apropos).  Still, it isn’t all that Easter-y.

To remedy that sensation, let’s look at a charming little piece from The Epoch Times about some rather unique—and extremely valuable—Easter surprises.

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Phone it in Friday XI: Coronavirus Conundrum, Part IV: Liberty in the Age of The Virus

The Age of The Virus is unprecedented.  Well, not entirely—major plagues and pandemics have swept the world before.  What’s unprecedented this time is the wholesale closure of the most commerce, along with rigid governmental and social admonitions to “social distance” and “shelter-in-place.”  Tin-pot municipal tyrants and State governors are engaged in a virtue-signalling race to see who can curtail liberties more rapidly and completely.

Pointing out this reality opens one to social scorn.  It’s amusing—and a bit frightening—to see the earnestness with which some Americans cling to their new mantras, the articles of faith handed down from the CDC and various government apparatchiks.  Even as our knowledge of The Virus seems to change daily, these public health acolytes cling to the every pronouncement from so-called “experts.”

Please don’t misunderstand me.  Yes, we should be vigilant about washing our hands and avoiding the accidental infection of one another, especially the elderly.

What concerns me is how quickly so many of us have been willing to accept greater degrees of control over our lives in the name of combating an invisible threat.  But now it feels like we’re living in the episode of Sliders called “Fever,” in which a totalitarian CDC cracks down on Los Angeles because, in that universe, penicillin was never discovered.

We’re not at Sliders levels—yet—but with that acquiescence has come an expansion of government power at nearly every level. I am not a libertarian, and I fully expect a robust federal response to a difficult international situation (remember, The Virus came from CHI-NA).  But that doesn’t mean local, State, or even federal authorities can simply hand-wave away the Constitution.

The Framers surely knew disease and death in their time.  When the Constitution was drafted in 1787, there was no capability for directing society with relative efficiency; even if there were, though, they would not have wanted to use it to suspend liberties.  The Framers surely knew there would be plagues and sickness in the United States, yet they included no clause such as “in the event of widespread sickness, these Articles contained heretofore in are, and of right to be, suspended until such time as the Congress shall deem suitable for public safety and the common welfare.”

Yet we see officials at the lowest levels of government telling people not just to stay home, but threatening to shut down churches and other assemblies.  Doesn’t that violate the First Amendment protections of freedom of religion and freedom of assembly?  Again, the prudent approach is for churches to accommodate the health of their congregants with remote services or other workarounds, but shouldn’t they be allowed to hold traditional services if they so choose?

The critics and medical scolds by now are howling with rage.  “What do these gossamer rights mean when we’re dead?”  Is that all anyone cares about?  What happened to Patrick Henry’s fiery cry of “Give me liberty, or give me death?”  What’s worse:  death from worshiping the Lord, or life in a soulless, gutless, freedom-less world?

I’m not alone in my assessment here.  Bill Whittle ripped into New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio earlier this week, arguing that His Dishonor’s promise to shut down churches that continue to congregate would represent a high-handed assault on the First Amendment.  Even Whittle’s colleague Scott Ott thought Whittle’s defense of the Constitution was a bit rich, basically arguing that the Constitution can take a break during this outbreak.

I’m perceiving similarly expedient arguments among others on the Right.  It’s disgusting how many folks on our side are running like slavering dogs to lap up the crumbs of authoritarianism.  Whittle in the video above makes the compelling point that the Constitution functionally means nothing if any government official at any level can simply ignore its protections.  He also correctly points out that these rights are God-given, part of our very human nature.  No government can legitimately deprive us of them.

Another one of the saner voices is RazörFist, who also sees a great deal of big government chicanery in this pandemic (warning, Razör’s videos often contain strong language):

Z Man has also expressed skepticism about The Virus—or, at least, our draconian responses to it—and has received his share of scorn and dismissal.  But in his post Wednesday, “Fermi’s Paradox,” he made an interesting allusion to E.M. Forster’s novella “The Machine Stops,” originally published in 1909.  That short story (which I highly recommend you read—it has the same chilling effect as Kipling’s “The Mother Hive”) details a world in which humanity exists in a state of mindless, perpetual comfort, its every need attended to by The Machine.

In the story, humans have become so accustomed to cloistering in their little cells that they abhor face-to-face interaction, instead communicating via blue discs across great distances.  They are so dependent upon The Machine, they come to worship it (an interesting development, as their society has “advanced” beyond the “superstition” of religious belief—another subtle point from Forster).  They only travel on rare occasions, and avoid it unless absolutely necessary.

Eventually, The Machine deteriorates, with disastrous results; I will likely write about the story in more detail next week.  For our purposes, it sounds eerily like our current society:  shelter-in-place, “Stay at Home” (as digital signs on the Interstate tell me, implicitly scolding me for being on the highway), watch Netflix, #AloneTogether, etc., etc.—we’re told to be comfortable and to crave safety and comfort above all else.  They are the highest goods.

We’re through the looking glass here.  I’ve been pessimistic that we’re even living under the Constitution anymore, especially after the intelligence agencies attempted to overthrow a sitting President.  Vestiges and scraps of it still reign, but they seem to be the exception.  And most Americans don’t seem to care, so long as they can watch TV, the WiFi is working, and there is pizza.

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.

I hope I’m wrong.  Regardless, wash your hands.

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