As most of you know, I spent my twenties in the Air Force as a pilot. This means that all the things that folks generally do in their twenties, I did while a pilot in the Air Force. Before this, I was a very active little Bible thumper at church, and always working towards being an Eagle Scout at Boy Scouts. Then came college at a small private college, in a super small town whose only bar I never frequented. The picture I’m trying to paint is that I lived a life full of full disclosure. I could, did, and was encouraged to talk about life within all these groups. Real life, you know? Personal things didn’t stay personal. We all just lived together, good, bad, and ugly.
Due to the limited size of groups I was in within the elite pilot training program that is the Air Force’s SUPT, I never really gave much thought to the very different nature of social environment that I had then found myself in as a 23 year old. Put plainly, I hadn’t had my trust broken in life yet, and given the similarly small group size, I just assumed the Air Force would be no different.
Suffice it to say, I was wrong. And I got burned big time.
Time go’d on. Time go’d on.
I became known as a guy who wasn’t “one of the guys”. The fellas liked me and all, but they knew that I wouldn’t put up with much teasing (said I had “thin skin”) and they knew that I wouldn’t dish it out much either.
One day, a mentor figure saw my consternation (and I saw he saw) and so I finally asked him for help. He sat me down and answered my confusion by saying, “Pete. It just makes people more comfortable when they know that they can pick on you and that you’re willing to pick on them. Nobody means anything by it. But when you don’t join in, it feels off, and makes us nervous. You know we all really like you, right? We’re just picking on you a bit extra because we like your reaction so much. So if you want, feel free to give it back and then we’ll eventually get to a happy medium and all will be well.”
I was pretty sure then, and am more sure now, that this type of moment is rare. And so I considered it and then happily consented. And all was well.
The point of this trip down memory lane is to demonstrate that I know the concept that being picked on (a seemingly negative event) can actually be proof of a positive and healthy relationship. So, when Andrew Sullivan’s piece on Chappelle’s controversial joke landed, “Dave Chappelle Is Right, Isn’t He?”, I was intrigued and gave it a read.
In short, Mr. Sullivan claims that, much like my mentor, Mr. Chappelle, in making his joke, is doing the trans community a solid by picking on them. Mr. Sullivan argues that it’s good for the trans folk to be picked on, argues that it proves they’re approved.
Like my personal situation, I have to agree that Mr. Sullivan is right that Mr. Chappelle is doing the trans community a favor by directly, and with surgical precision, picking on them. (Make no mistake, Chappelle picks on the trans community.)
But I cannot agree that anything meaningful is taking place. The most compelling social/political problem in America and the West today (and given the hegemonic value of America—in the world today) is people valuing “social justice” and “equity” and “diversity” and “equality” and “inclusivity” above morality. It’s this replacement of core values that’s the problem, not one particular social group’s standing in society. Here’s how I know.
There is one little sentence that can be uttered which brings the whole house down, one little claim that shakes the foundation to the core. One minor comment that brings to the surface the true nature of the social/political problems our nation faces.
It’s arguable that Dave Chappelle is the greatest living comedian. It’s definitely true that he is on the leading edge—a bonafide influencer of the highest order—of Western Culture. But these two facts, powerful as they sound, don’t negate the claim I’m still preambling and which will not disappoint.
Ready? (I’m excited for you.)
“Dave Chappelle’s joke ultimately is not like my mentor’s advice, nor like Mr. Sullivan’s assessment, because Dave Chappelle is black.”
Of course he can safely say the joke. To pick on Mr. Chappelle will only earn you the label “racist”.
If you think Mr. Chappelle’s joke could do anything but help the trans community, that’s your mistake. A joke which hurts the trans community is like Muslim Imams performing wedding ceremonies for gays. It just ain’t happening. The only thing that Mr. Chappelle’s joke has influenced is the amount of confusion.
It’s not confusion we’re after, it’s alignment. It’s integrity.
My mentor helped me because he had spent years developing himself into someone all considered worthy from whom to seek social advice. So when I was stuck, I sought help, sought wisdom from him, regarding how to navigate a confusing social environment.
On the other hand, the trans community is not interested in social advice. They feign to seek social approval—and from a culture which has so far shown nothing short of total willingness to re-center the culture on “social/political tranquility” instead of “moral excellence”.
Does Mr. Sullivan have pithy distillation power on Mr. Chappelle’s inverse goal? Sure. Does Mr. Sullivan (and other erudite pop culture commenters) make the clever, pragmatic observation that he supposes he does? Nope.
Mr. Chappelle doesn’t get cancelled because he’s black.
Final proof: Anyone see Jerry Seinfeld addressing the trans community like Mr. Chappelle does? Anyone see Brad Pitt jumping on the Chappelle Show? Anyone see Leonardo Dicaprio or Christian Bale or George Clooney or Steven Spielberg or Craig, Daniel Craig signing a petition with Mr. Chappelle? No. No, we don’t. We do not see these demi-gods doing these things. And we won’t either. Why not? Because the real fight between social/political tranquility and moral excellence is ongoing and they’re hedging their bets.
If you think Mr. Chappelle’s joke is helping the trans community, you’re right.
Conversely, if you think the trans individuals need help, you’re right.
Nearly two years ago I posted, while on my honeymoon, an update to the classic children’s tale “Henny Penny”. You know the one. It’s where the chicken gets a whole line of animals to follow it as it claims the sky is falling—that is, until Foxy Woxy comes along and takes over as leader and slaughters them one by one. Remember?
It’s on my mind tonight again for two reasons. Firstly, because I chatted with a policemen at the HyVee where I was picking flowers and a card (and candle) for the occasion. This then reminded me that, secondly, last week Peggy Noonan wrote a Henny Penny-esque column that I had meant to respond to here.
Mrs. Noonan is a force, that’s for sure. She won’t stand the test of time, but she is compelling for today. It’s not that she writes poorly that’s the problem. It’s that she writes in a way that seems to indicate she really understands the word on the street. Her “M.O.” seems to be pinpointing the word on “main street” and then giving it context. But like most folks, since Trump, she’s lost the pulse.
The specific point of hers that I’m referring to, in her “Lost Thread” column, is the part about how police used to be respected and how now there is no respect. Instead, she points out, there are actual calls to defund them etc.
Before joining the Air Force, I had entertained the notion of being a policeman. And this, despite having seen “Wayne’s World” and laughing with the jokes, “[sniff sniff] Definitely a pork product.” Can you believe it?
You see, Peggy Noonan is no different than the other hype-sters. How could she be? The sky is not falling. And yet she says it is. She says the very men who have sworn to protect and serve are today under a newer and stronger attack than ever before.
It’s all hype. They are not. Police have never been popular.
Hear me clearly. When I say, “Police have never been popular,” I am not wrong. Nor am I able to be persuaded away from my position. This is because I am not basing my position on facts, I am basing it on belief.
The police are only now under attack? Give me a break. Never in human history have people wanted to submit their actions to judgement or consequence. This law of nature is behind how police barely exist in history. Who would even want to get in a criminals way? It’s a nearly unreasonable profession.
Mrs. Noonan has it all wrong. The police have never been popular. And there isn’t enough data in the universe for her or anyone to use which would prove otherwise. Sorry, Ms. Penny. The sky isn’t falling.
The right perspective is that life is hard—if you’re hellbent on living as a man and not an animal.
Unlike every other composition of contemporary writing, I want to be clear up front that this post is not about Trump.
My grandpa died a short while ago, after a long life. Like Billy Crystal’s character in City Slickers, I have to admit that this one death calls to mind other deaths—and death in general. Keep in mind, this post is not about Trump.
Since this post is not about Trump, I want to use it to talk about and I need to work out three deaths that have happened in the course of my life.
The first death is that of the exclusively male Air Force flying squadron. I proudly state here that I was a member of the last flying squadron in the United States Air Force that required the aircrew members to be male. The squadron, or I should say, that iteration of the squadron exists no more. Now females can take part in every aspect of aerial combat, at least in the USAF.
The second death, chronologically, is that of the Boy Scouts. I’m talking Shakespeare here. There is something in a name. Or in this case, there is something in two names. I am an Eagle Scout, the highest achievement the Boy Scouts of America offered. And when I grew up there were Girl Scouts. The best organization the females in the country could develop was the Girl Scouts—a bad facsimile of excellence training for boys. That the Scouts now lets in girls does not change history (whether meaning the past facts or the introduction of some new mode of living): where on earth do women have a club that men want to join or wish they had thought of? The new name just admits that the Boy Scouts have died. Like my flying squadron.
Lastly, the Baptists have died. Sure, sure, sure. The Baptists are still meeting every Sunday. And they collect money and they publish Sunday School materials and run some seminaries. But it’s over. What makes me so sure? I just spoke with a new-ish Baptist pastor this morning who confessed that in five years he has not had one non-believer attend, convert, and join his church. Five years. Five years? Five years!
Remember this post is not about Trump.
I spent nearly every Monday from 4th grade to 12th grade in Boy Scout meetings. I spent nearly every Sunday and Wednesday in the Baptist church. And I worked my tail darn near off to get into the last male only flying squadron the United States Air Force had.
What will America be like without Men, Boys Scouts, and Baptists?
That’s an easy answer that you already feel in your bones.
Feminine, fatherless, and godless. In other words, absolutely unremarkable.
And most frustratingly: undesirable.
Remember, this post is not about Trump.
Luckily for you, I am still alive and happy to call your attention to what has died. Why? Because I was a Boy Scout, I was in the last exclusively male flying squadron of the USAF, and I was a Baptist. In short, because I am not afraid of you.
(This post is not about Trump.)
You haven’t ever and won’t ever read Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan. I just read a portion of it, being guided by the VOL 2 of the Great Ideas Program, my copy being from the Great Books of the Western World set.
Having read some of it, I want to use this post to offer one way in which to respond to BLM and all the other nonsense being spouted by BIPOC disciples. There are many ways to respond, though this may be the strongest.
I want to start with Paul. Concurrent to my reading of Leviathan, I had been reading Ephesians, and was shocked, like jaw-on-the-floor shocked, at what Paul said to the slaves he addressed. If you haven’t read it in a while, here’s the relevant part:
“Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”
By relevant, I mean related to the question that I’ve heard for years now, “Why didn’t Jesus end slavery?”
As I read this part of Ephesians, I thought, “This is horrible. It’s way worse than just not ending slavery, it’s actually, in a weird way, defining slavery and basically validating it.”
At the seminary, professors and their unthinking adherents repeated something like, “We need to look at the biblical trajectory…” when discussing slavery and women preachers etc. That rings clear initially, but upon examination is just meaningless, multi-syllabic euphemism. Jesus didn’t end slavery. Fact. And here, in this passage, Paul addresses slaves directly, gives them a very real instruction, and, oh by the way, defines what a slave is–in case there was any doubt who he had in mind when he used the word.
Working backwards, according to Paul, slavery is forsaking your own will for another’s will. It’s not suicide. It’s living according to the will of another. And in this case, Paul teaches those whose will has been replaced (slaves) by another human’s will (the slave master), to get through their situation/life by treating the situation as if they were simply following the will of god, or the will of Christ. His reasoning? God/Christ is impartial. The slave-master who abuses this teaching will get his in the end. (Hell.)
On the off chance that there is any muddiness to this point, Paul also juxtaposes superficial obedience against true obedience, by the use of the wonderfully concrete language: “eyeservice”. All of us know the difference between looking like we’re working and working. And so did Paul. And, apparently, Paul thought the slaves did too. Why say it if slaves are just stupid, biologically determined humanoids of some kind? No, Paul spoke to the slaves in a dignified manner. No kid gloves here.
Main point for today’s post: Paul defines slavery as having to do with a replacement of will. This is to be regarded as an understanding without value-judgement on the situation. Is slavery wrong? Paul might answer, “It depends. Slavery to Christ is absolutely right. Slavery to some human may be right, but it may not be right.” But that’s just my speculation that helps make my bigger point.
Thomas Hobbes picks up this definition of slavery as he explains the origins of government. To begin, he says that there are two ways men end up being under a government: choice and conquest. One, men can either choose to place themselves under the leadership of one or a few other men. Or two, men can be conquered and be compelled to live under that government. Hobbes says that both ways are based on fear. In the choice way, men would choose government because men are afraid of each other and mutually want the security this outside agent would provide. In the conquest way, men end up under a government because they fear the government that conquered them.
Here’s where Hobbes really says something. Hobbes says that the captives, or conquered people, are captives so long as they are chained and in prison or under guard. And while in the status of “captives” the people are justified in returning violence to their captors, ie killing the guards and running away. But, but! Hobbes continues to describe that once the captives agree to not run away, to not attack the captors, they have now consented to slavery, defined as Paul does. The will of the government that conquered them replaces their will, just like the will of Christ, god, or the master of Paul’s letter might. Hobbes goes further and explicitly states that the conquering government has ultimate power over the slaves property, possessions, and children. Hear me, though. Hobbes says this all happens under the “fear of government” (conquered) reason for being ruled. Hobbes says, if you want to free yourself, you can try, but you’ll probably die. If you want to at least walk around and work etc, then you can live a life that is not your own. But at no point, Hobbes says, does the captive-turned-slave have the option of choice-based government.
I constantly tell one of my good friends, “Man, there is no way you or I would ever have allowed ourselves to become a slave. No way. It just wouldn’t happen. You couldn’t convince me it is even possible. No way. We’d fight. We’d die, rather than be a slave.”
And I mean it. Every time.
But I’m not the only human on the earth. And many other men and women have chosen to be slaves rather than fight and die.
Here’s the crux of the post: There is no systematic racism in America. America wasn’t founded on slavery. Whether within the jungles of Africa, or just on the coast, some people were conquered. Whether they knew they were conquered, whether there was an outright war that was lost, or whether they were just kidnapped, they were conquered. Beginning at that precise moment, the conquered people had a choice: fight/die or live for another’s will. Some chose to fight and die. However, it would seem that most chose to live according to another’s will, or what is the same, become slaves.
Two concluding thoughts then:
Jesus couldn’t have ended “slavery” anymore than he could’ve ended “hunger pangs” or “thirst”. Or “satiation” or “quench”, for that matter.
The African tribes who were conquered were conquered. It’s a tragedy. But afterwards, they chose to be slaves.
And now you know one response to all the race-related nonsense that has been leading headlines for our entire lives.
The African tribes who were conquered were conquered. It’s a tragedy. But afterwards, they chose to be slaves.
PS – I can feel my dad asking, “I don’t get how this response works?” Maybe you’re like him. Here goes, get ready to experience the inner-workings of my mind: The “they” are not alive anymore. Boo-ya! BLMers and BIPOC disciples can be mad as hell that “they chose to be slaves”. But they can’t deny the fact that they haven’t chosen to be slaves. What have they chosen then?
“They chose to be slaves.”
What do you choose?
This post is a time capsule for me. It will convey two distinct but related thoughts. The first is why folks like me do not see the death of George Floyd as “murder, plain and simple.” The second is why folks like me want Chauvin to be found not guilty.
As to the first, decapitation kills every human. Every human. Every time. Drowning kills every human. Every human. Every time. A certain amount of blood loss kills every human. Every human. Every time.
Does a knee to the back and/or neck of a person kill that person, every person, every time? The fact that it can be argued or needs some kind of demonstration to determine it proves my point. But to be clear, no. No, Derek Chauvin’s knee to the neck does not kill a human every time. No it doesn’t. Not with certainty. So it’s not “murder, plain and simple.” Next point.
Why do I want Chauvin to be found “not guilty”? To help you understand, let me relate how I felt in 2016 when the NY Times election meter showed Trump was winning. I was excited at a level that was out of body for me. Why? Because I wanted Trump to win? No. I couldn’t care less if Trump won or Hillary won. I was excited because Trump was not supposed to have a chance. Everyone who thought that they had a brain, every expert, believed they knew for sure—evidence-based—that Trump had no chance. But I knew that almost all the people I knew where definitely voting for Trump. Either I was wrong or the experts were wrong. In short, when Trump won, I won.
Same thing on this Chauvin trial. Why do I want the jury to declare him not guilty? Because I believe he’s not guilty? No. I couldn’t care less if he is guilty or not guilty. But I know that the majority of people I know are saying that it is just “obvious” that cops are racist and that cops are killing unarmed blacks by the droves. “It is a theme of existence in America,” they would have me believe. But when the jury votes “not guilty”, then I win. Because in the court of law, the evidence and arguments presented to the jury is what matters—not mob rule. And the mob—BLM—needs to disperse and go home.
America is not racist. America is not based on or built on racism. A “not guilty” verdict will help end the BLM lie. It will help disperse the mob. BLM is a joke, always has been, and it will be forgotten as a #trending “huge movement of the teens and twenties” by teens or those as mature as teens, like stonewash jeans and braided leather belts of yesterday. BLM is already getting tired. They are already fearful. They have no plan for the “not guilty” verdict. Their plan for the “guilty” verdict is to wait for the next video of an unarmed black man being killed by a policeman. And it is long past time for them to quit like their kind always does. BLM is built on sand. The “not guilty” verdict will reveal this to the world. That’s why I want it. I am right. I will win. These events will be remarked by historians as the time when rich people got really mad that bad things happen.
My title comes from the fact that I’m an Eagle Scout. I was in the Boy Scouts of America since 4th grade, and I was awarded the highest rank shortly before my 18th birthday.
This achievement is probably the biggest reason I was accepted into USAF pilot training—plenty of fellas have good grades and a pilot license. Nowadays, if I’m at work and in front of a television set I can’t help but be struck by the amount of commercials having to do with how the Boy Scouts were apparently the second worst organization in human history as measured by how many little boys the adult men in charge molested.
I was never molested. None of my friends were molested.
Also all over the news right now is the Oprah interview. Hopefully it’s Oprah’s last. I refuse to watch it, but am confident the folks at Charlie Hebdo have summed it up quaintly.
We live in the time of perversion.
Meghan and Harry are not royalty any more than LeBron is king.
Oprah didn’t “conduct an interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex”, anymore than Trump “incited the January 6th insurrection.”
America is not a democracy—nor an oligarchy—anymore than Somalia is under rule of law.
When my friend and I had cars and driver’s licenses, we were sure to enjoy the newfound and rare freedom to linger whimsically after Monday night Scout meetings ended. The rest of the boys were picked up by their parents in timely fashion with little say about the matter. Most leaders were themselves parents, but there often would be one thirty year old single dude who just liked camping and giving back to the organization that formed him so strongly.
One night, this thirty year old and my friend and I were chatting in the parking lot. The Scoutmaster came over and stood for a bit—almost seeming impatient. Finally he did seem impatient and I said, “We’re okay. You don’t have to stay.”
I’ll never forget the feeling in my gut when the Scoutmaster gave me a look that said, “How stupid can you be?”
As we turned to get in our respective vehicles, in an attempt to save face with my friend, I think I overcompensated and actually said, “I still don’t understand why we have to have two adults,” even though I knew darn well that child molestation was a thing.
For this post, the aspect I’m drawing attention to is the silent shame that I was made to feel for being stupid, for ignoring reality, for trying to pretend there are no patterns in life.
My life is overflowing with men and women who made me feel shame for being stupid.
And my-unmolested-self couldn’t be more grateful.
How about you? Feel like you learned anything here today?
I’m working through a guided reading of the Great Books of the Western World, as you know. Sometimes, not often, certain passages are not compelling. The author’s divisions feel forced and the destination blurs.
Because of my high literacy, I began noticing that the more I read the more I learned. And the more I learned the more I began wondering, more clearly than ever before, why am I studying this so fervently? I don’t want to be in politics. I don’t want to be a politician. It’s an interesting field of study, but there are many others just as interesting that may prove more practical, I couldn’t help thinking. But I kept coming back to the fact that Locke said that man first existed in the State of Nature on his own and only later, when it benefited him, gathered into political society. Aristotle, on the other hand, had started with man as a political creature. There was no isolated man. For Aristotle, no man was an island.
Obviously, Locke is right. But whichever side you come down on, the reason to study politics as a hobby is that everything (except religion) is post-politics. Your politics influence your decisions in every other facet of life (except religion). And the only thing that influences your politics is your religious beliefs.
Want to chat about the weather? Me too. But that’s not half as interesting as why you believe America is or should be a democracy. And it’s not one hundredth as important as why you believe that Qu’ran:Bible::Black Ink:Red Ink.
Will my study of politics help me in any measurable form or fashion? It might. That’s why I do it.
The other day, I read the same type of argument I have been hearing for many years now. In this case, it was Rich Lowry who did the writing. He wrote, “A key difference between the Greeks and Romans and the rest was that their writers critiqued and lampooned their own societies. This willingness to engage in self-criticism became one of the hallmarks, and strengths, of Western culture.” He wrote this within a piece which lamented the removal of the “Classics” from curriculums around the country.
At first blush, anyone who makes the same lamentations as Mr. Lowry might find his statement to be true. But ultimately it is not true. A key difference is not that the Greeks and Romans lampooned and critiqued their own societies (though other societies may, no doubt, have accomplished less of this). The key difference is that we, the West, conversed with our own societies.
Make no mistake, the Left believes it is carrying out the staunch and noble tradition of “criticizing and lampooning its own society” that Mr. Lowry mentions. But they, the Left, were never the West.
The West is something you choose to become, not something you’re born into. You’re not the West because you’re white. Or because you’re an American. Just like you’re not a man because you’re male. Or a woman because you’re female. Do you see? The West is built of men and women of a certain quality. But the Left never learned this. (This, too, can help explain why they behave like children.)
Regarding the activity of criticism and lampooning, the Left believes that when they remove the classics, they are doing what Copernicus and Galileo did to the geocentric model of the universe when that pair introduced the heliocentric model. The Left believes that when they revise history, they are continuing the tradition of replacing superstitious falsehood like Darwin. Don’t miss this point: Mr. Lowry would have us think that the West’s great tradition and singular tradition is to “critique and lampoon” itself. If that was accurate, the Left is surely in the right. But it’s not accurate.
The tradition is to converse, to discuss, to ask each other uncomfortable questions. And this is certainly not what the Left is doing.
So stop. Stop pretending that there is any other reality unfolding than shaming, that there is any other fix than violence—and most don’t seem to care to take it that far.
If the Left was the West, they’d talk to us. They’d debate us. That they don’t, even as they believe they are continuing the progress begun by the West, simply teaches us that we need to elevate our strategy.
To conclude, the question is not, “Are the Classics Racist?” as Mr. Lowry and his ilk like to express. The question is, “Should the Left be stopped?”
Two days ago, I looked at the world through the eyes of Bill Gates. What I saw was not quite that he wanted to turn humans into batteries—Matrix-style—but that he (as an inventor of a powered tool) valued perpetual energy over human liberty. Today, I want to look at the conservative pundits through the eyes of a marketer. Why? Because my YouTube “feed” makes me feel shame before my maker.
Whether Shapiro, Prager, Tucker, or Elder (not to mention Knowles who I click on most for some unknown reason), when viewed from a marketing perspective, they all contribute more to the Left’s publicity than anything pushed by the Left. If ratings are to be trusted, this observation is even more damning.
I would never know that “chestfeeding” is a term or that the “classics” are being banned if I didn’t read and listen to the conservatives. Why wouldn’t I know? Because the Left doesn’t market themselves. Instead, the Left marches along, shaming any dissenters. The Left doesn’t shout, “We’re changing the language!” Instead, they change the language and shame dissenters. The Left doesn’t shout, “we’re banning the classics!” Instead, the Left bans the classics and shames the dissenters.
I’ve already written that if conservatives are not writing to incite war, then they’re wasting their time. Here again, I’m writing that if you’re calling attention to the Left’s actions, you’re simply acting as their marketing team. There’s no such thing as bad publicity. I’m saying here that I now believe that the conservative pundits help the Left, or, in other words, I’m arguing that conservative pundits are out of alignment with their own goals. You don’t put McDonald’s out of business by creating ads that tell people how cheap (in price or quality) their burgers are.
If the Left (or pure evil) understands anything better than the conservatives, it is that we do not live in a world of ideas. We live in a concrete world, a world where action matters most. “Raising awareness” is not action. And the Left, despite its claims to the contrary, never raises awareness. Instead, they shame dissenters. Shame is not an idea. Shame is the targeted illumination of specific actions for the purpose of conformity. Ben Shapiro revealing that the Left just passed another evil law does nothing but advertise that the Left is winning.
In any case, I’m done with conservative pundits. I own too many unread good books to waste time reading and listening to conservative pundits, now known to me as the Left’s marketing team.
Good day, Sir!
Seriously. He should announce his campaign this very second.
I don’t care one bit for the man. But it’s time to fight 😉 such unadulterated groupthink. Not one democrat broke rank? Give me a break. Cowards one and all.