Category Archives: Politics

A slo-mo anti-mask rebellion

I’m not the fiery rebellious type but, today, we mounted a quiet mask rebellion and — hot damn! — it felt wonderful.

I live in the Southeastern corridor that’s been affected by the ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline. And yes, I do think it was a real ransomware attack, not a Deep State trial run. However, I think the Deep State is sitting back and watching to see how it will work to deprive conservative red states of power.

Last night, at 11, we were at the corner Speedy gas station putting gas in the tank before there was any word of shortages, simply because I couldn’t bear to go to sleep without a full tank. This was the same spider-sense neuroticism that, last February, saw me go out and buy masks, hand sanitizer, bathroom cleaner, and toilet paper.

In case you’re wondering, I was not one of those crazy hoarders buying shopping carts and garages full of toilet paper. I just bought enough to get me through a short period of time. For the long hall, just in case, I also got a bidet attachment for my toilet. I think being raised by parents who saw WWII up close and personal left me with a very strong feeling that, once bad things start happening, you need to react fast.

All of this leads up to the fact that we went to the local Publix today to stock up on supplies. After all, if the gas shortage continues, the grocery store shelves will start being bare in about three or four days — and we were already running low on milk and eggs. We left the store with a week’s worth of food. As I saw it, the worst that could happen is that we won’t have to shop for a week.

I happen to like Publix. It’s very clean, the employees are polite and efficient, the products are good, the produce is nice, and the company is not a raving leftist company. If you check its corporate donations, they’re reasonable, with a slight conservative tilt. Because I like Publix, I had no intention of going in there and creating a ruckus.

However, we have had it with masks. We’re vaccinated (long story, won’t explain, rational choice for us) and we’re in a region with almost no COVID. We agreed that, while we would go into the store mask-free, if another customer or an employee politely asked us to mask up, we would politely acquiesce.

So we went in without masks and we stayed mask-free for our entire time in the store. There were a few other people without masks who smiled at us and we smiled back. It was wonderful. I never thought that I would enjoy the smell of a grocery store — but I did!

My current thinking is that masks will not end with some glorious Hollywood finale that sees everyone stripping off their masks and singing a song about liberty. Instead, I think it’s going to take incremental acts of rebellion. Maybe, after seeing us stroll down the aisle, smiling and free, others will slip their masks down, and then still others, until the masks are finally gone.

But gosh! I’d really love to have a Hollywood ending with a liberty dance. It makes me crazy that it’s the French who are doing it:

IMAGE: Rawpixel (modified).

Battles over AIDS privacy should block vaccine passports

AIDS was a very scary disease in the 1980s but gays successfully fought to keep their status private. The same reasoning should apply to COVID vaccinations.

It’s entirely possible that I am completely misremembering my 1980s and 1990s history, but I don’t think I am. If I’m correct about it, those battles should stand as a bulwark against an industry’s demands that people must show their vaccination status to take advantage of their services. (I’m talking to you airlines, stadiums, and any other place that demands proof of vaccinations.)

What I remember is that AIDS was terrifying when it first appeared because it was contagious and had a 100% mortality rate. Keep that mortality rate in mind as you contemplate COVID’s mortality rate in America.

The CDC’s numbers show that COVID has only a 1.8% mortality rate (577,857 deaths out of 32,446,915 cases). While I suspect both numbers are inflated because everyone who died with COVID was identified as having died from COVID and because the tests used to diagnose cases are way too sensitive, the relative number is probably close. So, again, we’re talking about a 1.8% mortality rate compared to the fact that AIDS started out more deadly than the Black Death in the mid-14th century.

What I also remember is that AIDS in America was most common in the gay community. This was so because of gay sexual practices (multiple partners, often in a single night, plus a form of sex that was more likely to result in blood flowing). That meant that gays were terribly worried that they would be stigmatized as modern-day lepers. That is, merely being gay would imply that someone carried a contagious disease with a 100% mortality rate.

This stigma meant that gays were denied health insurance, jobs, medical care, etc., simply because they were gay, irrespective of their actual health, Medical privacy suddenly became extremely important.

And here’s where my memory might be failing me but I don’t think so: To protect against a stigma that applied whether or not someone had AIDS, the gay lobby successfully mounted a campaign to make a person’s health status completely private. That health campaign was eventually federalized in 1996 as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (aka HIPAA).

HIPAA completely muzzles health care providers from sharing any health information about a patient without the patient’s explicit permission. The point is to ensure that, if someone has AIDS or any other contagious disease, that information is strictly between the patient and his healthcare providers. Employers don’t get to know. Family members, insurance companies other than the one currently covering the patient, airlines, sports stadiums, etc. — as to all of them, the information is in a lockbox and they don’t have the key.

While HIPAA applies only to health care providers because it was developed for a disease as to which there was (and still is) no vaccine, the principle behind it should apply globally. The way I see it, demanding proof of someone’s vaccine status should fall into the same “It’s none of your damn business” category as AIDS information or any other medical information. My body, my privacy — and you should not be able to discriminate against me because I opt for privacy.

If you are worried about COVID, get a vaccine, put on a mask, wash your hands, take your vitamins, and get out into the sun to boost your Vitamin D. You might also want to yourself that, if you’re under 60 and have no co-morbidities, you are as likely to die from COVID as you are to suffer from other unexpected life-snuffing-out experiences such as getting hit by a bus or lightning, dying from the flu, getting poisoned by bad canned food from China, getting shot by a criminal in a “gun-free” Democrat city, etc.

What you should not be able to do if you’re worried about COVID is force me to prove my health status to you. We already won this battle during the AIDS era and there’s no reason we should have to fight it again.

Incidentally, I’m not the first person to compare COVID to AIDS. There are reams of mainstream media and special interest videos on YouTube doing just that. However, they’re all just panic porn or Fauci reverence. None seem to be making the argument I’m making here, which is that the privacy fight of AIDS should apply with equal weight to a privacy fight about COVID vaccine status — and with the same outcome; namely, that it’s no one’s business but your own.

IMAGE: YouTube screengrab.

Maybe Biden was right about the grave threat of White supremacy in America

Using the left’s time-honored practice of redefining words to help their politics, I think Biden was right that America has a White supremacy problem.

Because I write about politics for a living, I forced myself to watch Joe Biden’s entire address to Congress. You can see my general overview here. It’s not one of my best essays. I was trying to stay close to the 800-word limit that applies to the material I write for American Thinker but, honestly, Biden said so much that was dishonest or disconnected from reality that 8,000 words might have just covered everything.

To my ear, the two most offensive things he said were that January 6 was the worst challenge to American democracy since the Civil War and that the current greatest threat to America is “White supremacy.” Regarding the first, we all know that a kerfuffle of the type that Leftists routinely engage in is not the “worst challenge” America has seen even in the last year, especially when no one was armed and the purpose was to remind Congress to do its work, not to overthrow the government.

What’s really happening here is that, for the Democrats, January 6 has become their Reichstag’s Fire: They can go to it, like a bucket to a never-ending well, whenever they need to increase their use of police power against the American people. The Democrats are following Turkish president Erdogan’s advice that you treat democracy like a train: When it gets you to power, you’re at the end of the line, with no need for any further democracy.

Having thought about that second offensive statement, though, the one about “White supremacy,” it occurred to me that Biden is correct. It all depends on how you define terms and, in America in 2021, it’s apparent that powerful people get to define terms any way they want.

After all, if Democrats can say that court-packing has nothing to do with increasing the total number of justices on the Supreme Court, and everything to do with appointing justices with whom they disagree, or the everything on the wish list is “infrastructure,” the sky’s the limit for redefining terms. Or, as Humpty Dumpty said, “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

So, here’s how I define White supremacy and, I must say, the facts completely support my definition: Biden is white, very, very white. So white that little Black children were once fascinated by the golden hair on his legs. (And yes, of course, that’s an incredibly creepy, typical Biden narrative, but I’m making a point here.)

Biden is also imposing an extremist leftist agenda by executive fiat. All of the racial changes in America in the past 100 days have come, not from Congress, but from Biden’s pen. It’s Biden’s pen that has destroyed America’s border, Biden’s pen that is inviting mentally ill men into women-only enclaves, Biden’s pen that is turning America into a country in which the law is applied unequally based on race, and Biden’s pen that raised fuel prices and instantly destroyed over 10,000 jobs. Meanwhile, Biden’s big mouth is bringing us close to a shooting war with Russia and stirring up racial divisions across America.

In sum, Biden is White and, currently, his power is supreme because the Deep State will carry out all of his extremist edicts. We can carry this definition even further by noting that the most powerful woman in America (and no, it’s not Kamala, at least not yet) is also white, very, very white:

In other words, what we’re witnessing is a White Supremacist government in America and it is indeed the greatest threat we have ever faced, not just since the Civil War, but since the early days of the American Revolution, when it looked as if the British would destroy the Continental Army and hang every one of the men we now revere as America’s Founding Fathers. The new Democrat White supremacist movement, like its forebearers in the eugenics movement, the KKK, and Jim Crow politics, believes that the way to maintain unlimited power is to use a hierarchy of racial classifications that overrides the constitutional rights inherent in all American citizens.

Idle thoughts of an idle blogger

I haven’t been posting on my blog but I’ve still been thinking about politics and world issues. This is a potpourri of those thoughts.

Does anyone today remember Jerome K. Jerome? He was a Victorian-era author of whimsical books. I believe his best-known book was Three Men in a Boat, a comedy about three men taking a boat trip on the Thames. However, I always preferred Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, a collection of humorous observations. I especially loved the book’s name, which I’ve borrowed for this post.

The Democrats have become Turkish. The Democrats are behaving in a decidedly undemocratic fashion. They’ve used January 6, during which Trump supporters and BLM/Antifa plants behaved like Democrat protesters (the anti-war protests, the Supreme Court hearing protests, the BLM and Antifa protests, etc.), only with less mess and violence, to justify a regime crackdown. January 6 protesters are rotting in prison without due process, D.C. is an armed camp with politicians isolated from the people they are supposed to serve, people engaged in wrong-think (i.e., conservativism) are being silenced, Biden is ruling by executive order, the Second Amendment is on the chopping block, they’re making ready to pack the Supreme Court, the economy is being socialized, etc.

Looking at all that, I realized that the Democrats are following the playbook of Turkish tyrant Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Do you remember what he said? “Democracy is like a train; you get off once you have reached your destination.” The Democrats are pretty sure they’ve reached their destination.

Why teachers won’t go back to their classrooms. Having done the bunny slipper commute for 30 years (meaning that I’ve worked from home during that time), I totally understand the teachers’ reluctance to go back to school. You have more time in your day if you don’t have to travel to work and it’s just more comfortable. I’m not justifying their failing to do the job for which they’re paid; I’m just saying I understand it.

It occurred to me, though, that there’s another factor. The teachers refusing to return all come from big, urban school districts that have been totally taken over by the leftist thinking we’re seeing in the teachers. One aspect of leftist thinking is that it’s racist to discipline minority students, who are a majority in many of these schools. Freed from restraint, these students often physically attack their teachers. Other violence is normal. (A teacher at my kids’ nice suburban school observed that, at the urban school where he used to teach, there was a 911 call every day for violence.)

If you’ve created that kind of dangerous mess at your urban school through your leftist policies, suddenly teaching your students from a big distance, especially if you’re safe at home, becomes a very attractive option. In other words, leftists are may be doing what they always do: Destroying something and then running away from the destruction they created.

They “didn’t deserve to die.” I’ve been seeing that phrasing a lot about Daunte Wright and, as you may recall, it’s often been said about other black men who resisted arrest and ended up dead. I have to disagree — they kind of did deserve to die because they behaved stupidly. They were the equivalent of drunks who got behind the wheels of a Maserati and floored the gas. If you do something insanely stupid that carries with it the risk of death, when you die, it’s your fault.

Having said that, I put a large share of the blame on Democrats with their drumbeat about “driving while black,” “walking while black,” and their claim that American police officers are the functional equivalent of the Gestapo (all data to the contrary). If you’re an innocent young black man with just a few felonies and arrest warrants on your record, wouldn’t you run from the Gestapo if they caught you doing something illegal?

Biden’s red lines are as firm as Obama’s were. Famously, Obama drew a red line in Syria and, then, when Assad walked right over it, Obama said “never mind.” That was bad. Worse is Biden’s drawing red lines for Russia and then saying “never mind.” That’s how strong bad actors know that they can do anything they want — and formerly weak bad actors quickly follow.

Biden should have done what Trump understood you do: If it’s not important to you, keep your mouth shut (which is almost certainly the case for America vis-a-vis Ukraine); and if it is important to you, you better mean what you say. Biden did neither and the world’s in trouble.

We’re seeing a world of people unconstrained. The musical South Pacific was all about race hatred. It included a song saying, “You have to be carefully taught.” The premise was the Anne Frank idea that all people are basically good (the last message she wrote in her diary before the residents of the annex were rounded up). That was whistling in the dark. It’s not true.

My parents had a book on their shelf by Desmond Morris called The Naked Ape. I never read the book but I put my own theory to the name: A large part of our mental make-up hasn’t wandered that far from apedom. If we are not trained and constrained as we develop, we will be nothing but apes, acting from instinct. For the most part, those instincts are pretty brutal. Caring for offspring and fellow apes in the shrewdness is instinctive but it’s paired with brutality unmediated by morals. The violence within a shrewdness or by one shrewdness against another can be completely brutal.

Across America, we’re devolving into that type of unconstrained, morals-free, tribal brutality. We see that in the pack behavior on the internet, in the brutality on the street, and in the perversions of the rich and powerful. The latter may theoretically have been trained in social behavior, but unless they believe that some force greater than themselves is holding them to account (e.g., parents, police, employers, people in their community, voters, God), they do all sorts of bad stuff, from lying, cheating, and stealing, to large-scale political corruption, to sexual perversions, to cannibalism.

To me, Biden and Hunter are both poster children for what happens when you feel you can get away with things. Behind his “hail fellow well met, and trust me I’m stupid” persona, Biden has had the feral intelligence to sell out America across the globe. In addition, his behavior with children in public is itself a form of perversion, with no other evidence needed to justify that word. His public brazenness, though, always leads me to wonder what he got away with in private. Hunter, meanwhile, complained that someone (I forget who it was; maybe Hallie) refused to let him be alone with pubescent girls. I wouldn’t be at all surprised that one of the holds the Chinese have over Biden is that someone in that family did the dirty with children. No proof on my part; just a deep suspicion. That family feels unconstrained and Biden’s Catholicism is simply part of his cover.

And that’s all I’ve got. I thought of something quite brilliant while driving today but have completely forgotten what it was. That’s ridiculously frustrating but it’s what I’ve got (or haven’t got).

 

The lessons we only learn through pain

Corporations funded the Democrat party and now openly push its policies. It’s time to give them a lesson in economic pain to make them stop.

For anyone hoping that this is some weird S&M post, you’re at the wrong place. Instead, it’s about the fact that, while praising good behavior is an excellent way to encourage it, that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t experience painful consequences for their bad acts. In the political world, we’re seeing this play out in a terrible way across America.

What made me think of this is something my daughter said. I’m a dog person, so she grew up around dogs. Now, though, she’s gotten herself a cat and has learned, somewhat to her surprise, that dogs and cats are very different in terms of their interaction with humans.

The main lesson she’s learned is that cats will let you know in no uncertain terms if they dislike something you’re doing. When she was younger and wanted to carry around or cuddle one of the dogs, if the dog didn’t want that “treat,” it would struggle, leading her to try to subdue it. Eventually, the dog would give up or it would break free. That meant that she either got what she wanted or suffered a small, transient disappointment.

Her cat, she says, has been much more effective at teaching her about an animal’s “personal space.” If my daughter wants to cuddle and the cat doesn’t, the cat scratches her. For my daughter, it was an instant, painful lesson that, just because she wants something, that doesn’t mean the other party to the encounter does. “Pain,” my daughter said, “can be an effective teacher.”

She’s right. As long-time readers know, my mantra as a parent has been “catch them being good.” If you’re a parent who only scolds, your child will stop listening. And while the child knows what incurs a parent’s irritation or outright anger, that’s not a guide to good behavior. After two decades of this kind of parenting, I use “catch them being good” with everyone in my life, whether friends or strangers with whom I interact over the day. If at all possible, I find something good that merits praise, and then give that praise.

However, I never forgot that I was also their teacher. The word “discipline” doesn’t have “pain” or “punish” at its root. Instead, it comes from “discipulus,” the Latin word for “pupil.” Discipline is meant to teach, not to hurt or destroy. However, sometimes teaching requires punitive measures or the pupil never learns the lesson.

Sometimes the consequences are natural. If you tell your child not to touch the stovetop because it will hurt him, that’s merely information. If the child touches a cool stovetop and nothing worse happens than your scolding him for disobeying you, he’s learned only that the stovetop is allied with mom’s wrath, not with a direct consequence from the stovetop. But if your child touches that hot stovetop and is burned (not badly, one hopes), he’ll have learned well a painful lesson.

So, what does this have to do with politics? A lot. First, in leftist world, the leftists are incentivizing and punishing things in a completely bass ackwards way. Before lefties got the bit in their mouth and ran with it, our society had unpleasant consequences for crime. In a pre-modern world, with limited police forces, the consequences were extremely painful: crucifixion, drawing and quartering, hanging, beheading, amputations, whippings, branding, facing wild animals in a stadium, etc. That was the only way to give ordinary, law-abiding citizens some protection from malfeasors. The bad guys knew that, if they got caught, the consequences would be horrific.

As we became more sophisticated at providing policing, offering more protection to ordinary citizens, the punishment became less onerous: Prison. Admittedly, prison is not a nice place. People who are accustomed to “nice” in their lives didn’t want to be there. Likewise, prison is not a safe place, so people who aren’t at the top of the pecking order didn’t want to be there either. Still, it’s better than the old punishments of old. And for some, prison is a reasonable price to pay for a criminal career.

Dissatisfied with even the lesser consequences of our modern prison system, leftists are removing all unpleasant disincentives for crime. In one leftist-run jurisdiction after another, the pain principle for discouraging crime is gone: Police are being defunded and, worse, intimidated. Cash bail, which kept repeat offenders off the street, is vanishing. More jurisdictions are deciding that property crimes aren’t worth dealing with at a criminal level.

The result is that crime is exploding across America. I’m too lazy to look for data, but you don’t have to look too hard to find data showing that assaults, murders, rapes, and property crimes, are skyrocketing everywhere. The punitive lessons that criminals need to learn are no longer being taught.

What will inevitably happen, of course, is vigilante justice. We see that on a regular basis in third-world countries with dysfunctional criminal justice systems. When citizens catch a rapist, murderer, or thief, they will beat or burn the person to death. That’s because what the leftists have forgotten is that one of the reasons our criminal justice system developed was that the system was less punitive than frightened, angry citizens. The system promised the citizens that they’d be kept safe. In return, the system could use lesser amounts of pain to teach bad guys a lesson.

Of course, leftists have a two-tiered justice system. If you’re black or a black ally, and you shout “BLM! Defund the police!” as you loot, assault, rape, and murder, you get a pass. However, if you support conservative values and like President Trump, the smallest deviations from the law will result in hugely punitive outcomes. The point is to cow opposition. And leftists know that nice, middle-class people are easily cowed.

The lack of pain also shows up in the way leftists have been massively rewarded for heinous, anti-democratic, anti-constitutional, deeply unethical behavior over the past five years. Since Trump was elected, leftists have gotten away with weaponizing provably false lies intended in order to destroy a duly-elected president’s ability to function (etc., the Russia Hoax, the Fine People hoax, the Ukrainian phone call hoax, the January 6 hysteria, etc.).

In 2020, in their drive to destroy Trump, leftists got away with destroying the American economy by reacting to COVID as if it were Ebola or the plague, rather than a bad flu that, sadly, struck old people very hard (in part because, in the beginning, doctors treated it wrong). There was an additional, and possibly unexpected, byproduct for them. They learned that a year of fear and imprisonment, rather than angering the American people, brought them to heel. Indeed, in leftist communities, people learned to love their prisons. I’m again too lazy to look, but there have been several articles that leftists have written bemoaning the fact that they have to emerge into the real world as the virus diminishes. It’s Stockholm syndrome on a national scale.

And of course, Leftists got away with election fraud on an epic level. Nothing in the world will ever convince me that 81 million people voted for a corrupt, senile old man who barely left his basement and, when he did hold rallies, was only able to get crowds in the tens to gather for him. And no, I don’t believe that people hated Trump so much that they forced themselves to vote for the perverted, gropy Joe.

Instead, I believe that illegal and unconstitutional changes to election rules allowed leftists to submit tens of thousands of faked ballots and ballots from people who can’t legally vote. In addition, I’m certain that in many areas they double and triple counted ballots. They subtracted Trump votes when possible and transferred them to Biden. They also did other things (such as shutting down the Hunter Biden story) that vaulted a drooling, evil idiot into the White House, along with his cackling, stupid, and America-hating sidekick.

And you know what? None of these criminally and morally evil acts have been punished. Instead, leftists have been rewarded with virtually unlimited power. Their propagandists in the media still have their platforms, still spin their lies, and still collect their big paychecks. Their lackeys in the federal government get massive book deals, which is simply a washed form of bribery.

For leftists in the Pentagon, the military is simply a highway to the highly profitable military-industrial complex. On the road there, the Pentagon’s leftists are turning the military into a vast social justice experiment with troops incapable of waging war. God forbid these troops ever have to face the Chinese because the slaughter will rival what happened when the Soviets threw unarmed soldiers against the Germans for one reason: To absorb German bullets, leaving Germans without weapons and far from their supply chain. Unlike the Russians, though, the Americans won’t win; they’ll just die.

But we, the American people, still have some power to be punitive. The main thing we need to do is embrace a leftist tactic: Boycotts. You see, the money behind all this corruption comes from two major sources: Unions and American corporations. Regarding the latter, we have developed into a nation of pure fascism. This does not mean Naziism. It simply means democracy has been supplanted by an almost all-powerful alliance of governments and corporations.

When it comes to fighting a corrupt government, we’re at a disadvantage. Election fraud, which Democrats are trying to make permanent through killing the filibuster and passing H.R. 1, leaves us disarmed at the ballot box. Our votes no longer count for much.

However, we can still fight the corporations. We do this by hanging onto our money. In Georgia, where Democrats from Biden on down are fighting tooth and nail to prevent voter ID for absentee ballots, the corporations have piled on to support the Democrats. How can you fight this? Don’t fly Delta, don’t drink Coke’s unhealthy products (including those from its subsidiaries), and don’t have anything to do with Major League Baseball. Don’t watch the games so ad revenue dries up; don’t attend the games; and for God’s sake, don’t buy the merchandise.

As far as I’m concerned, at least 81,000,000 Americans voted for Trump — and these were real voters, not phantoms. We still have the power to give the corporations who’ve waded into leftist politics a very painful lesson. And yes, people who work for them will lose their jobs but that doesn’t matter. This is war. Look at my Passover post to understand that, when there is tyranny, people always suffer. The best thing to do is to end the tyranny quickly.

Going back to my daughter’s lesson from the cat, the most important thing we can do is to give a lesson in pain to those corporations that are using their power to destroy America’s constitutional system, substituting in its place a form of crony socialism, aka fascism.

IMAGE: Angry cat from Pexels.

My annual Passover post, with Biden in Pharaoh’s role this year

Every year, I publish a variation of my Passover post, with the latest enemy of freedom starring as Pharaoh. This year, Biden is Pharaoh.

For roughly 3,500 years, Jews have been telling and retelling the story of Passover — which is also the story of the world’s first revolt against a totalitarian dictatorship. The story remains relevant because each generation sees dangerous tyrants abusing their people and trying to expand their reach beyond their own borders. As we stare down those monsters, the thing to remember is that those atop the tyranny pyramid care about only one thing, which is that their tyranny remains stable and protected. I’m a little late this year (the past three days have been busy), but it’s still Passover work, so it’s time for this year’s iteration of my annual Passover post.

****

There are those who, rather than seeing the Passover ceremony as a celebration of freedom (for it celebrates the world’s first successful slave revolt), justice, and morality (insofar as it gave us the Ten Commandments), deride the whole ceremony as the unconscionable and immoral celebration of the Egyptian people’s genocide. The basis for this theory is the way in which God hardens Pharaoh’s heart after each plague, even as Pharaoh seems about to soften and let the Jews go. This engenders the full cycle of plagues, culminating in the death of the firstborn.

Those familiar with the Bible understand that this objection is predicated upon ignorance. The tenth plague, which saw God strike down the firstborn in every family without the Pascal lamb’s blood above their door, was not a random punishment. It was, instead, divine retribution for the Pharaoh’s own decree, in effect at Moses’s birth, that all firstborn Jewish males should be drowned in the Nile.

Also, I was re-reading Dennis Prager’s superb The Rational Bible: Exodus and was reminded that each one of the plagues essentially attacked one of the Egyptian’s many gods. Only in this way could God demonstrate that they were false idols and that he had the power to control the symbols with which they were associated. Of course, for those who see the Passover story as a neo-Nazi story, even that reasoning isn’t good enough.

One can bypass the whole issue by saying that the many plagues, culminating with the firstborn’s death, are nothing more than dramatic license, meant to increase the tension and danger surrounding the Jew’s escape from Egypt. After all, if the exodus had been easy, it wouldn’t have been much of a story. Imagine if Moses had asked, “Hey, Pharaoh, can we go?” and Pharaoh had answered, “Sure.”

That narrative lacks punch and heroism. More importantly, God’s involvement is minimal or, at least, unexciting. Surely it resonates more strongly with the people reliving the narrative every year to have an escalating series of plagues, with the audience on tenterhooks as to whether those pesky Jewish slaves will actually be able to make a break for it.

But frankly, the above reasoning is silly. The Bible is not so superficial. There is, instead, a much more profound purpose behind the ten plagues, and that is to remind us of the tyrant’s capacity for tolerating others’ suffering, as long as his power remains in place.

What Pharaoh discovered with the first nine plagues is that life can go on, at least for the ruler, no matter the burdens he places upon his people. A blood-filled Nile River may, at first, seem appalling, but the red recedes and life goes on. Pharaoh still holds power. The same is true for each subsequent plague, whether lice, boils, frogs, darkness, or anything else. As long as Pharaoh realizes, after the first panic, that he is still powerful, he will always reconcile himself to his people’s incremental destruction.

Sheltered in his lavish palace, Pharaoh might have a theoretical concern that a starving and frightened populace could turn on him. However, provided that he is assured that his people will continue to fear and worship him, their suffering is irrelevant. It is only when the price becomes too high — when the plague struck Pharaoh in his own palace, killing his firstborn* — that Pharaoh is convinced, even temporarily, to alter his evil ways.

Human nature hasn’t changed in 3,500 years. Think, for example, of both the Nazis and the Japanese at the end of WWII. For the Nazis, it was apparent by December 1944 (the Battle of the Bulge) that the war was over. Hitler, however, was a megalomaniac in the pharaonic mold, and his high command, either from fear or insanity, would not gainsay him. Rather than surrendering, the Nazi high command was not only willing to see its country overrun and its citizens killed, but they went along with Hitler’s demand to continue to divert military supplies to the Holocaust. The war ended only when Hitler, facing personal humiliation, killed himself and the remaining high command, see their lives at stake, finally gave up or committed suicide too. Hitler and his commanders were Pharaoh. Only when they, personally, faced a humiliating death would they stop fighting.

The same held true for the Japanese. Truman did not decide to drop the bomb just for the hell of it. Even impressing the Soviets was an insufficient reason for doing so. What swayed Truman was his advisers telling him (credibly as it turned out) that the Japanese Bushido culture would not allow Japan to surrender. Instead, Truman understood that, despite an inevitable American victory, without drastic action, that victory would take another year, and cost up to 100,000 American lives and as many as 1,000,000 Japanese lives (including Japanese civilians).

Truman had two choices: Wage war for at least another year, killing 100,000 Americans and up to a million Japanese civilians, or end the war instantly, with no more American casualties and an estimated 100,000 civilian Japanese casualties. Put that way, the choice was a no-brainer.  Not only would he save the military, but he would also save tens of thousands of POWs, both military and civilian. One of the Dutch civilian POWs saved was my Mom, who was on the verge of starving to death in a Japanese concentration camp.

The Japanese high command was Pharaoh. No amount of smaller plagues could stop the command from its chosen path. Only a large plague would swiftly lead to the inevitable conclusion.

The only way to destroy an evil institution is to decapitate it. That’s what God did with the 10th plague. That’s what Truman did when he dropped atom bombs on Japan. That’s what the Allies did when they engaged in total war against the Nazis. In each case, the only way to end a tyrant’s rampage of murder, torture, and enslavement was directly hurting the tyrant’s person.

Those who prefer the stability of tyranny to the risks of freedom are the same people who refuse to accept that, under tyranny, the innocents are always going to die, with the only question being whether they will die quickly or slowly. That’s the problem with an evil regime. If you’re unlucky enough to live under that regime, you’re going to end as cannon fodder. Pharaoh will let you die of plagues, and the Nazi and Japanese leadership will let you be bombed and burned, and Biden will open America’s southern border while ramping up the welfare system and pushing Critical Race Theory, a pernicious racial theory every bit as bad as the Nazi’s racial theories. Ensconced in the White House, and surrounded by unelected fanatics, nothing will stop them. The American economy can collapse and whites can become the subjects of actual purges and the Biden administration will continue on its path — as long as the tyrants in charge can retain their power.

People of goodwill must sometimes recognize that the generation raised under tyranny is a lost generation that cannot be saved, whether because it will die under the tyrant’s lash, in the tyrant’s war, or in a war against the tyrant. Sometimes, when slaves finally taste freedom, they fear it. The Bible recognizes this problem, banning the Promised Land to those who were slaves in Egypt. They were a lost generation.

For this reason, when one sees a people groaning under tyranny the most humane thing to do is to destroy the tyranny quickly and decisively even if that process causes people to suffer. Most of them were always going to be lost. Our actions are for the benefit of subsequent generations and, if we are lucky, for those who survived both the tyranny and the liberation.

Protecting freedom for the greatest number of people sometimes demands proactive behavior. And there is nothing more proactive than an overwhelming response when a tyrant starts putting out feelers to see how far he can go. If Chamberlain had done that in 1938, WWII might have been avoided.**

The only way to stop tyranny is to fight tyranny. For liberty-loving people in America, that’s a challenge, because, for the first time in my lifetime, the tyrant is their unfettered government. Still, we have weapons. For one thing, every last one of us needs to stop bowing down before cancel culture. Even non-conservatives need to realize that there is no end to cancel culture. Its practitioners must constantly strive to prove their purity and they can do this only by attacking others.

Today, I put up a post at American Thinker about the push at Oxford University to cancel the entire Western music system (musical notations, Beethoven, Brahms, etc.) because it existed at the same time as the African slave trade. Apparently even then, if Europeans who had nothing to do with and probably no knowledge of the slave trade didn’t speak out, they were complicit! I made a point regarding events at Oxford that I think is relevant here:

I think the Oxford music teachers know this is bunkum. They’re raising it only because they feel that, unless they chime in on the Black Lives Matter issue and show themselves to be on board with it, they will be the next target. Under the tyranny that is BLM, if you’re not with them, you’re against them, and if you’re against them, you will be destroyed in the next purge (and there’s always a next purge).

As I watch the endless waves of BLM stupidity in corporations and academic institutions in the English-speaking world, I’m reminded of nothing so much as the mourners at Kim Jong-il’s funeral. They knew that the secret police were watching and that anyone showing insufficient grief was at risk of being carted off to a concentration camp. That’s why you see videos such as the one below showing thousands of people engaged in hysterical weeping. Yes, they were told that their communist godhead had died, but what you’re seeing in these videos isn’t grief, it’s fear.

We have to stop playing this fear game. When they call us racists, when they subject us to the appalling racist Critical Race Theory, when they use race to justify overthrowing our southern border, we need to speak out even more loudly. We need to fight their ideology at every turn. We need to boycott the woke companies. We need to fund organizations that will handle lawfare for people fired because they exercised their constitutional rights.

Do anything and everything you can think of to push back against this administration. That does not mean violating the laws; it does not mean impoverishing yourself; it does not mean violence. However, it does mean speaking up constantly, withholding what money you can from complicit organizations, and backing down only when your safety is at risk (something, sadly, I know about doing).

With that, I’d like to wish all of you a Chag Sameach (Happy Passover). Whether Jewish or not, I hope that the Pesach celebration serves as an occasion for all of us to remember that, though the price may sometimes be high, both for slave and master, our goal as just and moral human beings must be freedom. So please join with me in saying, as all Jews do at this time of year, “Next Year in Jerusalem.”

____________________

*The fact that Pharaoh survived the last of the ten plagues tells us that he was not his father’s firstborn son. Either an older sibling died or Pharaoh was the younger child in a family unrelated to the Egyptian ruling family and, through a coup, seized the throne.

**And yes, I am aware of the argument that Chamberlain might not have been Hitler’s dupe. Thanks to England’s anti-War fervor after WWI, which led to disarmament and the drawing down of her military, Chamberlain might have believed by 1938 that England could do nothing to stop Hitler. That belief would have led him to choose appeasement as the only option. I don’t agree with this view because bullies will back down quickly if their intended victim fights even minimally, but I’ll give Chamberlain the benefit of the doubt because he was a decent and patriotic man.

IMAGE: Moses and Aaron confront Pharaoh (1537). Master of the Dinteville Allegory. As part of The Met’s Open Access program, the data is available for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use without permission or fee.

Conservatives need a leader — and all we’ve got are politicians

Since November 2020, conservatives have been adrift, something that won’t change until someone moves to the head of the pack and brings them together.

One of the things that makes leftists leftist is that they are pack animals. They move in unison. Even when they’re being insanely tribal, as with Columbia University having separate graduation ceremonies for Blacks, “La-tinx’s,” Native Americans, Asians, gays, and low-income people, they still have an overarching ideological lockstep.

Meanwhile, the very nature of conservativism is a kind of “leave me alone” attitude that doesn’t want to move in lockstep with anybody. That approach to life, if given free rein and tempered with morality, tends to make for a very good country. The problem is when conservatives find themselves facing off against insanely well-organized leftists.

That’s what we’re seeing now in America. It’s not just that the leftists have control over the federal government, it’s also that they are moving with the precision of a synchronized swimming team. At the same time, it’s impossible to corral Republican senators and House members to do anything together. Republicans have NeverTrumpers, RINOs, Chamber of Commerce types, core conservatives, and every other “diverse” form of conservativism. Across the aisles from them are Democrats who can count on every last person to climb on board. (To the extent that’s not always true, the exceptions are notable precisely because they are exceptions.)

When Democrats lose an election they know whom to attack: As one, they attacked the Republicans. The four years of Trump’s presidency stand as Exhibit A. When Republicans lose an election, they also know whom to attack: Each other. In Congress, you can always count on Democrats to vote the straight Democrat ticket. And you can always count on the Republicans to go to war against each other.

So what happens when you have a situation such as the one we’re now facing, where not only are the Democrats triumphant, but Republicans have lost completes faith in the system because they believe, probably rightly, that the election was strongly affected by fraud? What happened wasn’t just any fraud, either. Jay Valentine calls it sovereign fraud, meaning that it wasn’t just random actors, but was a coherent government strategy from Democrats at every level of the government.

Unfortunately, the only thing that will pull conservatives together at this point is a true leader. Trump, much as I love the man, is not a true leader. He is a systems man. In 2015, he realized there was something very broken with the American system and he tried his darndest to fix it. He had no idea he was swimming among sharks, and when he did realize that, he did not know how to handle the sharks. That’s part of why he lost the election. Now that Trump is down in Florida, he is making plans to get rid of his political enemies but he shows no sign of wanting to lead 80 million disaffected conservatives who feel utterly betrayed by the political system.

No other leaders are appearing either. I really like Ron DeSantis, but he is focused on Florida. I really like Kristi Noem, but I think she’s a politician, not a charismatic, constitutional leader. The same is true for Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Dan Crenshaw, etc. All of them are politicians, who mostly vote a conservative line, for which I am very grateful, but they are not leaders. They are not charismatic. They don’t bring people together. And right now the Republicans are seriously fallen apart.

I find this whole thing pretty darn depressing. So today, as I did last week, I went to a beautiful place called Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston. Spring is working its way through the gardens and I came back with some flower photographs which I always enjoy taking. I plan to go back every week for a while just so I can see the place come alive as Spring progresses:

Wolf pack image, with a powerful leader, by Thomas Bonometti on Unsplash

Naomi Wolf nails it on lockdowns and totalitarianism

Naomi Wolf discovered the Bill of Rights during the Bush years and believes in it regardless of which party controls Washington, D.C.

Longtime blog readers know that I attended high school with Naomi Wolf. She was a year behind me, but a lot of her friends were in my year and, if my memory serves me correctly, she was in my English class with the brilliant Flossie Lewis (a teacher known to generations of Lowell students).

I was not a Naomi fan because, in honest retrospect, I wasn’t in her league. She was brilliant and beautiful, an airy-fairy hippie chick who managed to make it look easy to get good grades. She was never arrogant about her looks but she was arrogant about her brains and, quite sweetly, she put me in my place more than once.

Because I’d known her personally, I paid attention to Naomi’s career trajectory in the 1990s. (Note: I’ve never seen or spoken to her since high school.) I read The Beauty Myth and, for a brief while, became a bristling third-wave feminist. I got too busy with life to hang onto that notion, though, and then had children. Because I was then a Clinton supporter, I was envious of the fact that Naomi was in the Clintons’ inner political circle. Still, I was able to laugh when I learned that she had given Gore advice in 1999 about his color choices to make him more appealing to voters.

As I hewed right and Naomi remained on the left, I became less impressed with her, as I am with all leftists. She spoke out in support of burqas and vaginas, acknowledged that abortion is homicide but still supported it, constantly attacked George Bush, was anti-war and anti-Israel, and worried about chemtrails. In other words, a leftist crackpot, albeit a brilliant one. She really fell apart when she wrote a book about all the people executed in Victorian England for being gay, without understanding that none were executed. She’d misunderstood the historic records, which is apparently a fairly common problem for Naomi and is her greatest weakness. She’s brilliant but careless. It makes it easy to undermine all her positions, whether or not they’re good.

And it turns out that some of Naomi’s positions are good — at least her position about a free, constitutional society that honors the Bill of Rights. Beginning under the Bush presidency, because of the various anti-terrorism acts that went into effect then, Naomi suddenly became an ardent civil libertarian. Where Naomi gets huge points is that she has continued to be an ardent civil libertarian regardless of which political party holds sway in Washington, D.C.

Because of that intellectual honesty, Naomi has been horrified by the lockdowns and the whole package of power grabs in which both the state and federal governments have engaged, using the excuse of the Wuhan virus to do so. For that reason, Tucker had her on his Monday night show.

Frankly, Naomi didn’t say anything you and I haven’t been saying for a long time. What made it unique was that it was coming from a leftist. Suddenly she’s another Glenn Greenwald — an honest leftist fighting back against the totalitarianism coming from leftist governments. Also, because she’s really bright, Naomi said all these things well. I urge you to watch this video and take it very seriously, especially Naomi’s point about the very small window of time we have left to push back before losing our rights forever. I do what I can with my writing because that’s my one and only strength. What can you do?

The Democrats’ Helter Skelter approach to racial politics

The Democrats seem determined to foment a race war in America. Are they intentionally trying to replicate Manson’s Helter Skelter theory?

Across America, the current Democrat policy is focused with laser-like intensity on fomenting racial discord. This is true within federal and state governments and within large corporations that are staffed with woke college graduates. Here are just a few examples from recent days. I could easily find, not dozens, but hundreds of more examples, maybe even thousands:

1. Coca-Cola has confirmed that it was training its employees to “try to be less white,” a racist notion if there ever was one.

2. Washington state illegally funneled COVID relief money to radical political groups based upon racial criteria.

3. Jodi Shaw, an incredibly brave former Smith employee, wrote a public resignation letter in which she detailed the demeaning racist harassment she suffered because she is white.

4. An experienced administrator in the Bronx is suing her school district based on her allegations that the district harassed her relentlessly and then demoted her because she shared a Holocaust story about her family and refused to give a “Wakanda salute.”

5. Although it’s a “north of the border” story, this report out of Canada fits in perfectly with the Democrat approach: a school district is hunting down anonymous students who dared to set up an Instagram account claiming that all people are created equal and should be judged by the actions, not by the color of their skin.

6. Oregon’s official policy now is that math as it is currently taught in schools is racist because it requires students to give the right answers — and that requirement is a dangerous example of inherent white malevolence and a determination to destroy other races.

7. The Oregon story leads me generally to what’s going on in American schools. On Friday, Tucker Carlson devoted his entire hour-long show to reports of the way in which America’s public schools are intentionally demeaning whites on solely racial grounds:

Watch the video while you can for I’m sure it will be pulled soon.

8. Kristen Clarke, who is Biden’s nominee to the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, has claimed that whites are genetically inferior and that race must factor into every decision in America.

And of course, there’s the official White House and Democrat party line that events on January 6 were the actions of armed white insurrectionists attempting a coup. The various federal Democrat people and entities make this claim even though the only ones armed were law enforcement officers, one of whom killed a woman; it’s apparent that leftists were heavily involved in fomenting and then acting in the events of January 6; and neither Trump nor his supporters have ever done anything other than to claim that Trump’s policies will benefit everyone and that we should all be treated equally. That last notion, of course, is a sure sign of white supremacy in the year 2021.

We are not witnessing the random actions of a few racial crackpots. Instead, across America, at every level — education, corporations, and government — the Democrat message is clear: Whites are inherently inferior and their “genetic traits,” which shamefully include punctuality, ambition, loyalty, reliability, and good math, are dangerously racist.

Before 1860, the message in large parts of America was that blacks were inherently inferior, a policy that propped up slavery. That led to a Civil War resulting in 650,000 Americans dead out of a population of only 31.5 million.

Between 1865 and the 1960s, the message in large parts of America was that blacks were inherently inferior, a policy that propped up Jim Crow and true systemic racism. That is, across America, various governments and many institutions (i.e., large corporations, especially banks) had policies that openly discriminated against black people. This destroyed lives, blighted talent and hard work, and led to the vast social dislocation of the 1960s, something that provided an opening to communists and that still affects America today.

Now, in 2021, the message the Democrats are sending across America, one being hammered home with increasing ferocity and with the power of the state to enforce it, is that whites are inherently inferior and, on top of that, evil. Whites therefore need to be abused, demeaned, diluted (via illegal immigration), and systematically shut out of America’s civil society.

Here’s the irony behind this un-American, dangerous sentiment: This anti-white policy comes down via white people (Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, and other whites in D.C.; and Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, Jeff Bezos, and other whites who amassed power through technology). When I look at the problem through that filter, all I can think of is Charles Manson and “Helter Skelter.”

Older readers will remember what Helter Skelter means. At bottom, it was simply a song from the Beatles’ edgy White Album. Charles Manson, though, was sure that the phrase, the song, and the album itself had a deeper meaning.

Wikipedia does an adequate job of summing up the Helter Skelter philosophy that Manson created and that inspired his followers to brutally slaughter seven people in the Los Angeles hills (hyperlinks and footnotes omitted):

Charles Manson had been predicting racial war for some time before he used the term Helter Skelter. His first use of the term was at a gathering of the Family on New Year’s Eve 1968 at Myers Ranch near California’s Death Valley. The scenario had Manson as the war’s ultimate beneficiary and its musical cause. He and the Family would create an album with songs whose messages would be as subtle as those he had heard in songs of the Beatles. This would not merely foretell the conflict but would trigger it by instructing “the young love”, meaning white American youth, to join the Family, and it would draw the young, white female hippies out of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury.

Black men would thus be deprived of the white women whom the political changes of the 1960s had made sexually available to them and would lash out in violent crimes against whites. Frightened whites would retaliate with a murderous rampage, and militant blacks would exploit it to provoke a war of near-extermination between racist whites and non-racist whites over the treatment of blacks. Then the militant blacks would arise to finish off the few whites who survived; in fact, they would kill off all non-blacks.

In this holocaust, the members of the enlarged Family would have little to fear; they would wait out the war in a secret city that was underneath Death Valley which they would reach through a hole in the ground. They would be the only remaining whites upon the race war’s conclusion, and they would emerge from underground to rule the blacks who, as the vision went, would be incapable of running the world. At that point, Manson “would scratch [the black man’s] fuzzy head and kick him in the butt and tell him to go pick the cotton and go be a good nigger”.

Incidentally, regarding the sexual element in Manson’s theory, it’s noteworthy that, to celebrate Black History Month, Northwestern University created an interactive “BDSM FUNdamentals” workshop:

And here’s a bonus: The class on how bondage and polygamy can be employed to score said liberation will be taught by a “two spirit Black and Indigenous facilitator and healer.”

That’s right — participants will learn from “Vee AKA: Electr0papi (They/She),” who’s reportedly “an electro play and fire play enthusiast as well as a rope suspension top.”

A lot of really bad 1960s ideas are flowering now, thanks to the seeds planted and nurtured in academia (which especially affect Silicon Valley), as well as the 1960s/1970s generation holding power in D.C. (see the aforementioned Biden, Pelosi, Gates, etc.). I’m beginning to fear that one of these really bad ideas is an updated version of Charles Manson’s Helter Skelter theory of a race war followed by total white control over black people. Steeped in this highly racist, anti-white ideology, it doesn’t matter to these people that blacks make up only 13% of the population. They don’t care that this racial balance means that it’s unlikely blacks will prevail in such a war and more likely that, after some unspeakable brutality on both sides, they’ll lose the war.

What matters is that they badly want a war. And if it’s a war they want, I’m terrified that it’s a war they’ll get.

Rush Limbaugh, RIP

Rush Limbaugh, the man whose reasoned thinking and incredible communication skills terrified leftists for decades, passed away today.

Rush Limbaugh passed away today. His death was not a surprise, for he spent more than a year fighting hard against the lung cancer that finally claimed him.

Rush was a great man, one who had an extraordinary understanding of life, values, political systems, and both the evil and the goodness that lives within people. He had the even more extraordinary knack of being able to articulate his knowledge — day in and day out, three hours a day, for decades — in a way that was never condescending but was always clear and interesting. We shall not look upon his like again.

In 2010, I wrote about Rush Limbaugh’s extraordinary powers. To my great surprise and everlasting honor, he read that post on the air. It seems worth reprinting it today for my sentiments about the man have never changed:

************************

If you’d been around in 1894, you would instantly have recognized the name “Svengali.”  He was the chief villain in George du Maurier’s blockbuster novel Trilby. The Svengali plot-line was a simple one:  Trilby was an innocent (and tone-deaf) laundress and model living in fin de siecle Paris.  Svengali hypnotized her into bec0ming a great singer and the toast of the music world.  When he suffered a heart attack during one of her performances, his spell over her broke, and she was left standing on stage, bewildered and humiliated.  Since then, we use the word “svengali” to describe a person who steals the will of another with evil intent.

It’s become increasingly clear to me that liberals view Rush Limbaugh in precisely that light.  And no, I’m not making the obvious point that the Obami coterie and the Democratic party fear Rush’s bully pulpit and consistently demonize him.  I’m talking about the rank-and-file’s fear that even listening to Rush for a moment or two causes a person to lose the will to be a liberal.  Those liberals to whom I speak shy away from him, not because they disagree with what he has to say, but because they fear he will convince them that he’s right.

The following is a talk I had just the other day while driving in the car with a liberal friend who, having voted for Obama, is now deeply regretting that decision:

Me:  How would you like to do something completely different?  Let me put Rush on the radio.

Her:  No, no.  I don’t want to do that.

Me:  Come on, you’ll like him.  He’s not at all the way you’ve heard him described in the other media.  He’s very well-informed, quite funny, and amazingly prescient.

Her:  No, no.  He’s too arrogant.

Me:  Nah.  That’s just an act.  Give it a try, for just a few minutes.

Her:  No.  I can’t listen to him.  [Then, as a sop:]  I watch Fox sometimes.

So here we have a woman who realizes that she made a mistake voting Democrat this election, who is open to conservative news (I believe her when she says she watches Fox), yet who assiduously avoids any contact with Rush.  Incidentally, this was not a one time-0nly conversation.  I had virtually the same conversation with two other regret-filled liberals.

The belligerently liberal ones are equally averse to exposing themselves to Rush.

Me:  I challenge you to listen to Rush for a half hour.

Him:  No.  He’s an idiot.

Me:  Have you ever listened to him?

Him:  No.

Me:  Then how do you know he’s an idiot?

Him:  He is.  He’s a wacko.  He doesn’t know anything.

Me:  How do you know that?

Him:  Are you trying to make me mad?

Me:  No.  But I do think that you should listen to him.  At least then you’d have first hand knowledge of what he says and whether you agree or disagree with it.

Him:  I’m not going to waste my time.

And so on, ad infinitum and definitely ad nauseum.

During the 1990s, when I was an unthinking liberal, I knew Rush was out there, but he existed on the periphery of my existence.  I read Al Franken’s Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and laughed at how “stupid” Rush was, but I actually didn’t care about any of the core issues at stake.  I had no interest whatsoever in finding out what Rush was like because nothing he said really mattered.  I was working hard at my career, getting married, starting a family, and was therefore disinterested in things political.  The world seemed to be rolling along just right, with a Democratic president and a booming economy.

To give myself some retroactive credit, though, if a conservative had challenged me back then to listen to Rush, I would have done so — because I would have been certain that Rush was a big joke, and that I could have laughed at him just as Franken did.  I might have expected to be bored or offended, but I wouldn’t have been worried about being mesmerized and brainwashed.

And then came September 11, 2001, and I started paying attention.  I began to be concerned about what was going on around me.  This concern led me to start reading anything I could get my hands on about all sorts of subjects.  I read blogs, both liberal and conservative.  I opened my mind to the possibility that my attachment to the Democratic party was wrong — a possibility helped by the fact that I found myself agreeing with the major political decisions George Bush was making, both regarding national security and the economy.  In other words, once I realized that my old political staples were failing, I started looking for new information.  I wasn’t scared of the new information but, rather, was curious.

Both my old attitude (“Sure, bring silly Rush on, ’cause he’ll be good for a laugh”) and my new attitude (“There’s something out there I need to learn about”) make it impossible for me to understand the resistance, shading into fear, that my friends and family show when confronted with the possibility that they might hear a minute or two of Rush’s mellifluous tones over the airways.  They don’t seem to recognize either the possibility that they might laugh at a fool or learn from a wise man.  Instead, they seem genuinely afraid that any exposure to Rush will corrupt them irreparably.  Like poor Trilby, they’ll be seduced into an unsustainable way of being, only to find themselves suddenly abandoned and exposed.  To them, Rush is no mere conservative; he is Satan incarnate, a tempter who will destroy their liberal souls and leave them in an endless conservative Hell.

It’s quite a high compliment to Rush that ordinary liberals believe he has extraordinary powers.  It isn’t every conservative radio or talk show host who is perceived as so compelling and seductive that he can destroy people’s worldview in an instant.

It’s also very frustrating to me because, in a funny way, I agree with my liberal friends that Rush can rejigger their worldview very quickly.  The only thing is that I don’t believe Rush works his magic through hypnotism and trickery.  Instead, I think Rush’s real magic lies in his ability to view the political world as a vast chessboard, one on which he can see multiple future moves; his prodigious memory; his well-informed mind; his logical analyses; and his funny persona.  He convinces by appealing to our rational mind, our sense of humor, and our knowledge of the world as it is, and not as some Ivory Tower liberal tells us it should be.

So, whether by cajolery or challenge, I’m still trying to get my liberals to listen to Rush.  For all the wrong reasons, they’re right about one thing:  he will change their minds.

Image: The image at the top of this post is the graphic that Rush Limbaugh’s website created when Rush read my post on air.