Relevant Classic Texts (4)

This weekend’s main topic of the Three Whisky Happy Hour podcast will be an exploration of Edmund Burke, in part because we received an interesting reader email after a recent episode that prompted an argument between me and Lucretia (she is a Burke skeptic, to put it mildly).  In re-reading Burke in preparation for our taping this evening, I was struck by several passages in Burke’s most famous work, Reflections on the Revolution in France, that describe the temper and disposition of the wokerati behind the genuinely revolutionary moment America is going through.

Most of these excerpts don’t need any stage direction from me to appreciate the accuracy and application of Burke for today—especially on such things as rioting, “defund the police,” the impulse to repudiate the American Founding—everything that Roger Scruton (a Burkean) summed up with his phrase for the left: the “culture of repudiation.”

All circumstances taken together, the French Revolution is the most astonishing that has hitherto happened in the world. The most wonderful things are brought about in many instances by means the most absurd and ridiculous, in the most ridiculous modes, and apparently by the most contemptible instruments. Everything seems out of nature in this strange chaos of levity and ferocity, and of all sorts of crimes jumbled together with all sorts of follies. In viewing this monstrous tragi-comic scene, the most opposite passions necessarily succeed and sometimes mix with each other in the mind: alternate contempt and indignation, alternate laughter and tears, alternate scorn and horror.

It cannot, however, be denied that to some this strange scene appeared in quite another point of view. Into them it inspired no other sentiments than those of exultation and rapture. They saw nothing in what has been done in France but a firm and temperate exertion of freedom — so consistent, on the whole, with morals and with piety as to make it deserving not only of the secular applause of dashing Machiavelian politicians, but to render it a fit theme for all the devout effusions of sacred eloquence. . .

A spirit of innovation is generally the result of a selfish temper and confined views. People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors. . .

You had all these advantages in your ancient states; but you chose to act as if you had never been moulded into civil society, and had everything to begin anew. You began ill, because you began by despising everything that belonged to you. You set up your trade without a capital. If the last generations of your country appeared without much lustre in your eyes, you might have passed them by, and derived your claims from a more early race of ancestors. Under a pious predilection for those ancestors, your imaginations would have realized in them a standard of virtue and wisdom beyond the vulgar practice of the hour; and you would have risen with the example to whose imitation you aspired. Respecting your forefathers, you would have been taught to respect yourselves. You would not have chosen to consider the French as a people of yesterday, as a nation of low-born, servile wretches until the emancipating year of 1789. . .

Compute your gains; see what is got by those extravagant and presumptuous speculations which have taught your leaders to despise all their predecessors, and all their contemporaries, and even to despise themselves, until the moment in which they became truly despicable. . .

They would soon see that criminal means, once tolerated, are soon preferred. They present a shorter cut to the object than through the highway of the moral virtues. Justifying perfidy and murder for public benefit, public benefit would soon become the pretext, and perfidy and murder the end — until rapacity, malice, revenge, and fear more dreadful than revenge, could satiate their insatiable appetites. . .

Your literary men, and your politicians, and so do the whole clan of the enlightened among us, essentially differ in these points. They have no respect for the wisdom of others; but they pay it off by a very full measure of confidence in their own. With them it is a sufficient motive to destroy an old scheme of things, because it is an old one. As to the new, they are in no sort of fear with regard to the duration of a building run up in haste; because duration is no object to those who think little or nothing has been done before their time, and who place all their hopes in discovery. They conceive, very systematically, that all things which give perpetuity are mischievous, and therefore they are at inexpiable war with all establishments. They think that government may vary like modes of dress, and with as little ill effect; that there needs no principle of attachment, except a sense of present conveniency, to any constitution of the state. . .

They find themselves obliged to rake into the histories of former ages (which they have ransacked with a malignant and profligate industry) for every instance of oppression and persecution which has been made by that body or in its favor, in order to justify, upon very iniquitous because very illogical principles of retaliation, their own persecutions and their own cruelties. After destroying all other genealogies and family distinctions, they invent a sort of pedigree of crimes. It is not very just to chastise men for the offences of their natural ancestors; but to take the fiction of ancestry in a corporate succession, as a ground for punishing men who have no relation to guilty acts, except in names and general descriptions, is a sort of refinement in injustice belonging to the philosophy of this enlightened age. . .

We hear these new teachers continually boasting of their spirit of toleration. That those persons should tolerate all opinions, who think none to be of estimation, is a matter of small merit. Equal neglect is not impartial kindness. The species of benevolence which arises from contempt is no true charity. . .

Need Hope For the Future? Watch This Kid

Rosemount, Minnesota is a Twin Cities suburb adjacent to my own. It used to have good public schools, but they have been wrecked, like so many others, by Critical Race Theory and attendant left-wing indoctrination. Monday evening there was a district school board meeting. A number of people spoke, including a 15-year-old boy who called Rosemount High School to account for its commitment to political indoctrination.

You should watch it all, the kid is good and it is under five minutes long. My favorite moment is at the end, when he says that he is transferring to a private school. He says that he will go on to a successful career, and it is too bad for Rosemount High School that they won’t be able to count him as an alumnus. I have a hunch the kid is right:

Biden Lies Overseas

Joe Biden’s disgraceful performance at the G7 meeting and subsequent appearances abroad included his peddling of lies intended to discredit his political enemies, while at the same time putting his own country in a bad light. But Biden sees no problem with that–the only enemies he cares about are in the GOP.

Thus, Biden lied about the mostly peaceful protest at the Capitol on January 6, claiming falsely that rioters killed officer Brian Sicknick:

“That’s a ridiculous comparison,” Biden said. “It’s one thing for literally criminals to break through cordon, go into the Capitol, kill a police officer, and be held unaccountable than it is for people objecting and marching on the Capitol and saying, ‘You are not allowing me to speak freely. You are not allowing me to do A, B, C, or D.'”

No one killed a police officer on January 6; the medical examiner ruled, as has been widely reported, that Sicknick died of natural causes. But Biden is happy to portray his own country as violent and lawless as long as he can cast blame on political opponents.

Similarly, Biden launched into an attack on the Republican Party during a press conference in Belgium:

The Washington Post’s Anne Gearan asked Biden about our allies worrying about the “continued hold that Donald Trump has over the Republican Party and the rise of nationalist figures like him around the world.”

Leaders of some other countries worry that we might again have a president who puts America first. Biden took pains to reassure them:

But I think it’s appropriate to say that the Republican Party is vastly diminished in numbers; the leadership of the Republican Party is fractured; and the Trump wing of the party is the bulk of the party, but it makes up a significant minority of the American people.

All of this is fantasy. The “vastly diminished” Republican party controls 61 state legislative chambers to 37 for the Democrats, and there currently are 27 Republican governors to 23 Democrats. Republicans control one-half of the Senate and are within striking distance of capturing the House, having made significant gains in 2020.

American reporters do their best to cover for the doddering Biden, but foreign observers are not fooled. In the Telegraph, Nile Gardiner writes: “A weak Joe Biden is badly out of his depth.”

The Biden Presidency’s approach so far has largely been a rerun of the Obama administration’s lacklustre “leading from behind” doctrine. Biden called for a new “Strategic Stability Dialogue” with Moscow, with echoes of Hillary Clinton’s much vaunted “Russian Reset” back in 2009. The reset was a spectacular failure, and was followed in 2014 by the Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea.
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Agreeing to this summit was a mistake by the White House. It is hard to see what the conceivable benefit would have been for the United States.
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Putin’s press conference was a masterclass in disinformation, with repeated attacks on the United States, combined with thinly veiled menace aimed directly at anyone who dares to oppose him at home or abroad, and he clearly relished the chance to put his poisonous messaging across to an audience of millions in the West.
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In contrast [to President Trump], President Biden already looks out of his depth on the international stage, and both Moscow and Beijing have grown more assertive since he entered the Oval Office. Biden did not have a good G7 summit, and at times looked confused, struggling to make points coherently and mixing up countries such as Syria and Libya.

His European tour began disastrously, with a poorly judged attack on the British Government over the Northern Ireland border. On the European stage, the US president also failed to develop a coherent, robust strategy for confronting China, on top of his mixed messages on Russia. This has only served to encourage division within Europe and given cover to those countries, such as Germany, that are seeking an accommodation with Beijing and Moscow.

It’s going to be a long four years, assuming Biden can hang on that long.

Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll has some advice about RAISING KIDS AND CHICKENS. She writes:

For a couple of decades now, our betters have inveighed against “inhumane” raising of chickens and promoting “free-range chickens.” Now I am not a fan of being cruel to ANY of God’s creatures, big or small, with the exception of scorpions and Communists (but I repeat myself). Haha. I kid the Communists.

I have to change the channel when the puppy mill ads come on. But I have seen chickens up close and personal and frankly prefer to see them naked, roasting in a pan. As a small child on my grandma’s farm, I was often prevailed upon to enter the squawky, feathery, smelly chicken coop with a basket and try to reach under the hens without getting pecked to death. The hens seemed rather protective of their eggs and resisted the little hands prodding them to move aside. As a further deterrent to pilfering their eggs, it seemed to me they were deliberately pooping on the eggs, like prison inmates who spit on their food.

It was not a job I enjoyed at all. When I would come into the house with, maybe, three eggs, one broken, Grandma would sigh and go herself, coming back in about 30 seconds with enough eggs for all of us for breakfast. When those hens saw Grandma coming, they lived up to their name as “chickens.” I will say this – there was NOTHING like the taste of those fresh eggs.

Grandma’s chickens roamed freely throughout the yard pecking at everything, squawking and complaining incessantly, like members of The Squad, only smarter and less arrogant. They never really seemed very happy with their lives, in the coop or out.

But Grandma had a twin sister and HER chickens were Extremely Free Range. Auntie Iva’s chickens were allowed IN THE HOUSE. They had to be shooed off the dining room table before we could eat. No wonder I have such a tremendous immune system!

So why, over the last 15 months and counting, has it been considered good for chickens to roam about, but to have children locked in their homes while teachers get paid for failing to teach, instead of the popular current practice of teaching to fail? Thank God the Teachers’ Union is in charge. If students had school choice, how in the world would the black kids learn that they are too oppressed to take the “racist” ACT or even too stupid to locate a place to get an I.D. to vote? How would white kids grasp that they are singularly privileged and evil and responsible for slavery, including the 9 million slaves still in Africa today?

Anyway, with Father’s Day coming up on Sunday, I thought I would throw out for general discussion a few thoughts on Child Raising. With particular attention to the incalculable importance of Daddies. My shorthand philosophy of child-raising is that it is a careful balance of threats and bribes overlaid with unconditional love. BEING THERE is the key step.

Did you ever notice that in ANY discussion of mothers, but particularly SINGLE mothers, you always hear two words, almost as a mantra: STRONG, INDEPENDENT women? So, “strength” and “independence” are prized qualities in women according to The People Who Decide Such Things. When was the last time you saw in print the phrase, “strong, independent men”? (I’ll wait…) MEN are never described positively as “strong”, which is seen as a threat, not an asset. And “independence” in men is not prized at all in Femi-Ninny World, lest the men grow a spine and disagree with the women who love bossing us around.

Yeah, I’m tired of that. “Strength” – of character, of adherence to values, of an ability to get through tough times, even just regular muscular, jar-opening strength – is equally good in both men and women. Many people HAVE had “strong, independent” mothers, especially if their husbands died or left them. God bless them all. But so have many of us had strong fathers, which was a blessing as well. And I have known several MEN who did all the hard work of raising children after the birthing persons, who all just happened to be women – what are the chances? — decided they couldn’t be bothered any more. (By the way, if a woman pretending to be a man can still technically be called a “birthing person,” what do you call a man pretending to be a woman? An “impregnating person”? Rachel? Anybody?) Insanity!

I have mentioned before that growing up in small town Minnesota, I did not know a single classmate whose parents were divorced. Surely, there must have been some. I had a favorite aunt who had married a man who was divorced. My dear auntie turned out to be a very accomplished birthing person who produced five kids and was married to him till he passed away as an “old guy” in his late 60s. (Or as I would describe it now, “MUCH too young.”)

Finally, as a gift to current parents, here is my Instructional Google Translate version of Parent-Speak in the 50s when this geezer was a kid:

There are clearly far too many young people today who apparently have NEVER been told “No” to anything, even such obvious things as “No, you can’t loot; no, you can’t burn down the police station; no, you can’t take a massive student loan and then not repay it.”

Boys in particular need a father because at some point, most boys cannot be adequately controlled by most women. Are there exceptions? Of course. We have all seen video of righteous large ladies dragging their mortified sons off from mostly-peaceful looting, but, in general, testosterone will win the day. Mostly, boys need a father to teach them how to be proper men and fathers themselves. “Role models” as the expression goes. Sports figures are not an adequate substitute. And girls need a Daddy to love and protect them and teach them what kind of a decent, loving man to find for themselves.

Thank you and God Bless You, all the good and even average Daddies who were trying their best. Find me the parent who says s/he has never fallen short – of patience, of even-handedness, of energy – and I will find you someone who is mistaken.

Happy Father’s Day: to my dear Daddy; to my dear husband, a spectacular Daddy; and to all impregnating people who grace us with their presence on Fridays.

Feddie Night Fights, FedSoc Style

Forget Friday Night Lights. How about Feddie Night Fights—Federalist Society style?

Two weeks from now, on Wednesday June 30 at 8 pm eastern time, I’ll be refereeing a Federalist Society student division online webinar on the issue of whether the Declaration of Independence should inform judicial interpretation of the Constitution. This is a live issue on the right, and I’ve written an outline of the two sides of this issue, but for this event I’ll be the fight referee, intervening only when the combatants are in a clinch or tangled on the ropes.

Our two heavyweight pugilists will be Hadley Arkes, emeritus professor of jurisprudence from Amherst and founder of the James Wilson Institute, and Lee Strang, professor of law at the University of Toledo School of Law.

The poster for the event is below, but the direct link to sign up for the primary Zoom platform for the webinar is here. (You will also be able to watch on YouTube, Facebook live, and Twitter if you like, none of which require you to register.) Put it on your calendar and join us if you can.

Concerned shareholders take action against Coke’s racist demands

In January 2021, the general counsel of Coca-Cola sent a letter to the law firms that represent it. The letter demanded, among other things, that these firms “commit that at least 30% of each of billed associate and partner time will be from diverse attorneys, and of such amounts at least half will be from Black attorneys.”

In response to this outrageous policy, the American Civil Rights Project (of which I am a board member) has sent a letter to the company on behalf of concerned Coca-Cola shareholders. The letter demands that the Coke either (1) publicly retract the discriminatory outside-counsel policies it announced in January or (2) provide access to the corporate records related to the decision of Coca-Cola’s officers and directors to adopt and retain those illegal policies.

The letter is signed by Daniel I. Morenoff, who heads the American Civil Rights Project. You can read the full text here.

The letter points out to Coke that “by adopting Policies of contracting, refusing to contract, and altering the terms of signed contracts on the basis of the race of Coke’s counterparties, the [directors] have exposed Coke and its shareholders to material risk of liability” for unlawful race discrimination under 42 U.S.C. Section 1981.

Furthermore:

The Policies additionally expose the company to potential litigation on other theories, including (without waiving the right to later note more):

(a)the Policies order outside counsel to discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, gender, and disability status in hiring, promotional decisions, firing, staffing, and internal compensation structures. In doing so, the Policies order outside counsel to violate Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964,Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

(b)in requiring the disclosure of individual outside-counsel “team member[’]s” disability status, the Policies separately compel the violation of the confidentiality provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The letter states that, at the time of its January announcement, Coke knew or should have known that the policies it set forth are illegal. In the unlikely event that Coke didn’t know this, it was so informed by critics and certainly by Boyden Gray in an open letter to the company in April.

Yet, on the same day it received Gray’s letter:

[Coke] executed and filed with the SEC a Form 10Q omitting any reference whatsoever to the [illegal contracting] policies or Coke’s related liabilities. Given the total omission of these material liabilities, that document, by all appearances, did not “contain[ ]” or “fairly present[ ], in all material respects, the financial condition…. of the Company.” Thus, [Coke] executed and submitted to the SEC a false “Certification Pursuant to 18 USC Section 1350, as Adopted Pursuant to Section 906 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

(Emphasis added)

The letter concludes with this demand:

The Stockholders therefore demand that you immediately publicly retract the Policies in their entirety. If we do not receive a response to these demands within 30 business days, we will understand. . .Coke. . .to have refused to address these matters themselves. At that point, the Stockholders will be forced to seek judicial relief to protect Coke and the Stockholders’ interests in the company from your continued breaches of your fiduciary duties.

I hope that after you have reviewed this letter, you will be in touch to inform us of how Coke will comply with these demands.

The letter is dated June 11, 2021. The clock is ticking.

Soft-on-Russia-Biden rejects State Department’s advice on sanctions

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is no one’s idea of a hardliner. For example, he’s leading the charge to appease Iran in the hope that, with the pot sweetened, the mullahs will permit the U.S. to reenter the nuclear deal.

But Blinken is what passes for a hardliner in the feckless Biden administration. Reportedly, he strongly urged Joe Biden to sanction the company and the CEO behind the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. That pipeline is vital to Russia’s interests in its quest to use oil and gas to isolate Ukraine and leverage its way to power in Europe.

Blinken was joined in his push for sanctions by his deputy, Wendy Sherman, a major foreign policy player in past Democratic administrations. Key congressional Democrats, including Senate Foreign Relations Committee head Robert Menendez, also wanted the sanctions.

But Biden declined to impose them. And in related news, Biden also decided not provide a package of lethal and non-lethal aid to Ukraine. Congress authorized him to supply the aid, worth tens of millions of dollars, but Biden didn’t follow through.

Donald Trump made the opposite decisions. He stood in the way of Nord Stream 2 and he suppled congressionally-authorized aid to Ukraine, albeit after trying briefly to leverage it to his political advantage.

Imagine if, instead, Trump had done what Biden is doing. He would be accused of selling out to Russia and, indeed, of being Putin’s stooge.

Yet, Biden’s decisions barely rate a mention in the mainstream media. There’s a good chance you didn’t know about the decision to withhold aid to Ukraine.

What are Team Biden’s excuses for these decisions? On the pipeline, his apologists, such as the Washington Post, argue that Biden didn’t want to “inflame relations” with Germany and that the pipeline is basically a fait accompli at this point. (The Post, by the way, calls Biden’s Russia policy “a mix of confrontation and cooperation.” There’s a name for that: incoherence.)

These excuses are self-contradictory. If the sanctions won’t stop the pipeline, it’s impossible to believe that sanctions aimed at halting it will have a significant effect on our relations with Germany.

Anyway, since when does Germany dictate U.S. policy towards Russia? If Ronald Reagan had listened to Europeans during the Cold War, that conflict might have lingered on for at least another decade.

The excuse for not aiding Ukraine is that Russia withdrew troops from the Ukrainian border. So what? Russia could bring back its troops and send them into Ukraine in short order. Indeed, the less well-equipped Ukraine is, the more likely it is that Putin will launch an attack.

The notion that foreign troops need to be amassed on one’s border before a nation fully prepares to defend itself from an enemy is ludicrous. No nation follows this policy. If Biden were serious about opposing Russia, he wouldn’t have put Ukraine in that position.

When Trump was president, Joe Biden pretended to be serious about opposing Russia. Now that Biden is in power, he is still pretending.

And by the way, where are those hand-wringing Ukraine and Europe hands who testified so earnestly (or mock earnestly) during the first impeachment proceedings about Trump’s betrayal of Ukraine? Can they be reached for comment now?

If anything, the need to take a hard line on Russia is greater now than during the Trump administration (when, by the way, Trump did take a hard line through his actions, if not always his words). Russia is behind ransom ware attacks on U.S. infrastructure (the real thing, not the Democrats’ idea of infrastructure).

Biden’s response? Following in Barack Obama’s footsteps when Russian election interference was the issue, he told Putin, in effect, to cut it out.

Biden then listed 16 sectors considered critical infrastructure under U.S. policy that should be off-limits from attack. He thus seemed to imply that it’s okay to attack other sectors or entities.

Pathetic.