She opens: “How do we deal with all that has happened?”
Me: This is hype. Nothing earth-shattering has happened.
She says: “This was an attack on democracy itself.”
Me: I can see that you mean to call attention to how the timing was about the certification ceremony, but everyone knows it’s ceremonial. So no, it wasn’t an attack on democracy itself. It was an attack on a superficial ceremony. In the end, I don’t change my life because criminals engage in criminal activity. More hype.
She, demonstrating her own certifiable-ness, says: “This was a sin against history.”
Me: Hype. Your readership doesn’t even believe in sin. That’s only for Mexican immigrants, African immigrants, and conservatives—in other words, those who are generally thought to be dreamers.
Her: “On the rioters: Find them, drag them out of their basements, and bring them to justice.”
Me: I think that’s a Freudian slip. “Drag them out of their basements?” The only president-elect whose been in his basement all year is Biden. Oops. I meant, the only person. Person.
Her: “Throw the book at them.”
Me: You’re old.
Her: “Now to the devil and his apprentices.”
Me: The trouble with this implication is the sheer volume of voters who chose the devil. It’s not just a data point. Real people like the devil. The solution can’t disregard this fact. Your does, so your suggestion cannot be right.
Her: “As for the chief instigator, the president of the United States, he should be removed from office by the 25th Amendment or impeachment, whichever is faster. This, with only a week and a half to go, would be a most extraordinary action, but this has been an extraordinary time. Mike Pence is a normal American political figure; he will not have to mount a new government; he appears to be sane; he will in this brief, strange interlude do fine.”
Me: It’s not an extraordinary time. It’s Friday. Hype.
Her: “Removing him would go some distance to restoring our reputation, reinforcing our standards, and clarifying constitutional boundaries for future presidents who might need it.”
Me: The Left, who just won, and then won again, does not like our reputation, has double standards, and hates the constitution. His removal was enacted by people who don’t like our reputation, have double standards, and hate the constitution.
Her: “True conservatives tend to have a particular understanding of the fragility of things. They understand that every human institution is, in its way, built on sand. It’s all so frail. They see how thin the veil is between civilization and chaos, and understand that we have to go through every day, each in our way, trying to make the veil thicker.”
Me: My true-conservative fingers say, without hype, “Umm, okay. I see the difference and we’re definitely in the chaos. The rioters attacked a symbolic ceremony. Rebuking them with a symbolic 10 day early public flogging would only feed the delusion that our civilization’s adding flour. (Thickening agent.)
Her: “I have resisted Nazi comparisons for five years, for the most part easily. But that is like what is happening here, the same kind of spirit, as the president departs, as he angrily channel-surfs in his bunker.”
Me: You resisted for five years? And then when all that is broken is some glass, now you cave? History will never compare Trump to Hitler. In the beginning, it appeared—compared to traditional presidents—that Trump had some quirks that could start down the wrong path. But after five years any of us have seen enough to espouse informed pronouncements. Here’s mine. He was nothing—nothing—like Hitler. He was like Trump.
Closing thought: Peggy, dear, you’re wrong because of your premise. No one will be reading history in the future—no one of consequence at least. Your character, not Trump, took the hit with this one. You can’t cover your ass with one op-ed piece—not because the piece wasn’t clearly breaking ties, but because the piece was only written for a future audience who will never exist.
Now we wait to see who’s right. If they remove Trump, your finger is on the pulse. And I have a newfound respect for your influence. If they don’t, my finger is on the pulse. Good luck.
I’m stupid. You’re stupid.
Don’t believe the hype or feed the hype. The election means nothing.
The other day I was on a video conference and while we were awaiting the leader, I took a moment to sell my “Great Books of the Western World” set. I do this any chance I get. These books are fantastic. Anyhow, the most intriguing part of the set is the concrete evidence of the so-called “Dark Ages”. Sitting between Augustine (vol 18) and Aquinas (vol 19) is a whole lotta nuthin’. That’s about 600 years of “darkness”. I find that nothingness exceedingly compelling.
Anyhow, while waiting, this lady says something that I’ve heard my whole life—without seeing a single shred of evidence—like, “I thought we’ve found that there really was plenty written by other cultures during that time.”
I said something like, “Nope”
Now, she thought she had the upper hand and she struck with something like, “So then why do people say that?”
I said, “Well, essentially, it’s just a lie.”
This never goes over well. Oh well.
Today I wanted to clarify my thoughts and record them for posterity.
If you don’t think the Dark Ages existed, you’re not just saying, “I think recent archeological enterprises have resulted in unearthing writings from between 400AD to 1000AD.” You’re actually saying, (without having even submitted one entry into the written record), “I know more than every human being who has lived since Augustine.” In other words, you’re saying, “My thoughts deserve to be in the Great Books,” despite having not even written them down.
Too strong? Don’t believe me? Allow me to explain.
It’s not just that some editor left out recently discovered writings, it’s that every other author whose genius (unlike yours) has made the world turn and given you almost every thought that you ever have or ever will have conceived left them out.
The negative claim that there was a “dark age” is not limited to a “dark age” for the West, unlike the positive claim that the Great Books of the Western World is limited to the “West”. It is about a “dark age” for human genius. And human genius, by definition, requires permanent results. And permanence is found in one of two ways—directly and indirectly. Directly, the genius is still in play. (Socrates’ skepticism, Trojan Horse, and “Oedipus’ complex” to name a few early ones.) Indirectly, the genius inspired other genius. (Euclid’s Elements > Space X’s reusable rockets. Even if Euclid stops being taught, his (and others’) ideas in the “Elements” can never be forgotten so long as we’re more technologically advanced than mankind was in 300BC.)
In any case, consider the pride in, “I thought we found writings during that period,” before you utter it. I really don’t believe that you intend to be so vain.
That’s the lasting beauty of the Great Books. To criticize them, you have to either willfully ignore them or submit your own entry. The danger in ignoring them is being played out as we live and breathe through masks in the West. The danger in submitting your own entry is public humiliation.
To be sure, the “Dark Age” was real.
Not too different than normal, this post’s impetus is the lack of truth from any and all conservative pundits. Faithful readers will recall that, recently, my posts have explored my new understanding that John Locke’s role was as “War Inciter” (not just philosopher), as well as included some of my own hints or foreshadows of coming unrest. I don’t write these things to stake claim in knowledge of the future, but because I believe in being prepared. To be prepared for more of the same requires no writing, no thought, no words. People tell me what to do and where to be and I comply. But to be prepared for war requires definitions of terms and clearly stated objectives at the least, and these require some diary/blog entries. So here’s another.
This mask business, of late, has been effectively screaming into my ear that the real problem is psychological, not concrete. My evidence is that no one has been arrested (not for simply not complying) for not wearing a face covering at the appropriate time and place. The viral videos include ridiculous shouting matches and other nonsensical elements such as, “You don’t need those actual products to live a very, very good life! You started the fight. Admit it. And don’t start it again if you don’t want to engage in it—which would mean some obvious plan to achieve the outcome you desire.” To my thinking, this means that they—these viral videos which convey, on the surface, a great injustice to liberty—should be disregarded. They are irrelevant.
In my own out-of-my-house travels, I have noticed that there are some folks, at the number of one or two at a time in any location, who quietly go about their business without a mask. The local HyVee had a couple, both wearing clothing which was a healthy mix of biker/Proud Boy don’t-mess-with-us-today signaling, complete their shopping without a mask. Then, at a convenience store, I saw an older man (50s) pay for his gas (to probably the fourteenth 20 year old happy-to-receive-attention blondy in the last 5 years) without a mask—and it did not cause a commotion.
I include these observations in order to make my point that no one who follows the common sense indications can actually claim the mask is mandated by the government—despite the vocabulary choices of the messaging. In other words, if you don’t want to wear the mask, then you don’t have to. Experience proves that if you are confronted, nothing viral will happen if you stay silent, acknowledge to yourself that you knew it was a provocative act that you had engaged in, and then de-escalate the situation in one of the several approved methods—leave, put on a mask, tell jokes, befriend the person etc.
None of this, of course, answers the most pressing question that should be on your mind, being, “What do you do, Pete?”
I wear the mask.
“Aww, Pete, why? I thought you surely would be the one to lead us into the light and out of the darkness.”
Well, I may. But it’s not happening today. Short answer: I have some debt to take care of before I can lead. Or, since this is a diary entry, to speak freely, I have some debt to take care of before the day that my detractors believe that my illusions-of-grandeur will come crashing down.
Over the last decade I’ve worked both ends of the spectrum. I’ve had crummy minimum-wage jobs and I’ve had good-paying jobs. It’s been quite an adventure, really. But while I putzed around in the low income arena, I accrued some debt—naturally—and I’m real close to being out from under it. And on that day, couple years from now, the mask comes off.
Keep in mind, I believe that this coming or already present “fascism” and this “dictatorship” and this “socialism” that pundits warn us about can only ever have psychological power over us, and so I expect that—as stated above—I will actually just experience nothing that I haven’t already experienced living my life among you, which can be summarized as people wondering if I was homeschooled. I will likely have to arrange for some home delivery or carry out grocery options, but besides that, I don’t expect an inconvenience. (I’ll naturally do whatever work wants me to do—mask—while there because…that’s worth the money/lifestyle. Flying is pretty rewarding and I’ve done a lot more than put on a mask to achieve the trust of those who approve me for flight. This is a no-brainer.)
But I have resolved that I will gladly be one of the first to get arrested for not wearing a mask, once my affairs are in order. (I can’t stress enough that I do not believe this incarceration will ever happen.) I’ll gladly be the first because I do believe that if, in a couple years, citizens are being arrested for not wearing a mask, then the only morally correct path is inciting war. And while other more compelling writers will have emerged to incite you all into war, real folks—like me—will have to demonstrate character, resolve, perseverance, goodwill, integrity, and courage on the “street” level.
I repeat, for clarity, I believe that no state or federal agencies in the US will ever incarcerate people for not wearing masks. I believe that business owners who have complied with shutdowns and whatnot will eventually pushback and find that they are not arrested when they reopen according to whatever their instinctive, intuitive, and individual money-making strategies dictate. I believe quality of life expectations in the USA will have shifted, but not actually devolved into war. There will be a “blah” sentiment. Not the best life, but all things considered, not even close to misery, we’ll all admit, while some wear and some do not wear the mask.
To wrap it up nicely, I am frustrated that the conservative pundits are so out of touch. There is no possible future whose arrival we should fear. To prepare for war is not wrong, but that’s not what they even claim to be doing. And to prepare for living in a state of war, starts with action, not words. For me, that begins by placing my own affairs in order, preparing my own affairs, and only after I am squared away in these supposedly deteriorating political conditions will I start the fight. (If I can’t achieve “squared away” that’s either on me or the government, and if the government is the reason, that’s obviously a problem only war solves.) Finally, I believe that my lifelong ability to remain in the mainstream of life (I only wish I was homeschooled) means that when I fight, you’ll fight with me. And conversely, if I never fight, then there will be no fight.
From where I sit, then, the future is looking good.
I love reading. I love opinions. I couldn’t stop perusing the pundits even if I wanted to. But I am certain that the conservatives are only embarrassing themselves. If I read the word tyranny one more time, or dictator, I think I’m going to throw up. The problem we, the conservatives, face is not hard to understand.
The problem—THE PROBLEM—is that smack dab in between me and my political wishes sits the fact that I don’t want to fight a war. Nobody, no one, has yet been able to provoke me to war. I (one flag waving, freedom loving, song singing American conservative) think war in America is likely. I definitely know it’s possible. But I don’t want to do it. I wanted to do it when I was young, and I did do it. So I can speak truthfully and announce the fairly obvious, though often unsaid, observation with certitude that I don’t fight in a war now because I don’t want to. Nevertheless, I believe that war is the only political voice that the left will hear. My private inclination changes nothing.
One reason that I don’t want war is that I’m not yet able to imagine what war will look like. Will the stores still be open? And what will determine which kinds? Restaurants? What about gas stations? Why will the power company employees still show up to work but not the waitstaff? How soon will I regret the decision? These and more nag at me.
But I feel closer to the picture now than I ever have been in the past. (And I’ve even seen first world vs. Old Testament world combat.) It’s like I can begin to make out some early broad strokes. There are blurry scenes in which masked mobs will firebomb residences of their enemies, in the middle of the night. Are those lights iPhone screens? Hard to imagine people holding a camera and weapon, but maybe. It’s like I know I’m in an art gallery, but I can’t see any paintings yet. So I keep walking.
Anyhow, I’m not there yet. This is no call for war. But this is a call for them to stop. I’m talking about the conservative press, the replacement media, heck, even some articles on the Babylon Bee. Stop pretending that there is an argument to be won. Stop. It’s been two uninteresting decades of reading your veiled, dire, and dark words, forecasting a veiled, dire, and dark— but avoidable—future, written as if you really believe that your words just might save us, as if you really believe that there is a peaceful restoration of rule of law and, as importantly, use of reason.
The reason I know I’m right is, as you know, after all these years I finally read John Locke. I’m telling you that man didn’t just make sense, he didn’t just use reason, he incited war.
What have you all incited? An echo chamber? Getting 70 million people to warn each other of the dangers of tyranny in the 21st century is not exactly a formidable accomplishment. The reason I write is not to be repeated, but because no one else is telling you the truth. You’re words are not powerful. They’re not. So stop. Or do better.
How to stop? Admit when your words are empty.
Action. That’s the only path towards the goal. Admit it. Who’s gonna do it? Which one of you is going to infuse their words with power? Who’s going to incite the war? Limbaugh? Prager? Shapiro? Fast rising Candace? Na. I don’t see any guts. Plenty of ambition, brainpower, recall, and in touch lexical choices, but no guts. Address the problem.
If you’re not doing that, then you’re wasting your time. Worse—you’re lying. Because the conservative aims are bought with blood. To suggest otherwise is simply lying. There’s no way around it.
If you’re not going to make me feel, if you’re not going to make me war, then stop. You’re embarrassing yourselves.
I’ve moved on to, Travels Into Several Remote Nations of the World by Lemuel Gulliver, by Jonathan Swift (known more popularly as, “Gulliver’s Travels”), but before I forget, I wanted to record my concluding thought on the infamous Locke.
It is well known that white people (nothing to do with skin color) generally—and just past playfully—ridicule black preachers (nothing to do with skin color) for their energy. “No need to get so excited. Just say what you’ve got to say and let us go home,” we comment.
I was, accordingly, surprised to hear the following critique by my black mentor after we heard a particularly rousing sermon one day, at our black church. My mentor was a retired former Navy-man who had also worked in prisons. To temper my jubilant, childlike-wonder-filled praise, he replied, “I don’t like when preachers incite. And,” he continued, “now this may just be me, but it felt like he was inciting. I used to see this kind of thing in the prisons. It’s okay to be loud and full of passion—we are talking about the Lord, mind you—but sometimes some folk cross into inciting. Remember, Pete: not everyone that’s preaching is called.”
Returning to political philosophy, my concluding thought is this. I used to think the reason we weren’t assigned John Locke anymore was because he was irrelevant, being old and clearly having rued the day. But now, after reading his essay, in full, I see our predicament differently. The reason we don’t assign each other John Locke anymore is because he is dangerous. His writing and his ideas are so powerful that you will find yourself incited to make war upon our government. Promote an essay suggesting that, anytime government prevents its citizens from bettering their lives, war is the divinely approved method to change the situation? Heavens, no! We can’t have people reading this!
I, for my part, was driving down I-35, halfway to Cabelas’ guns and ammo department (already depleted), before I remembered that I have a family and that things in my climate controlled dwelling aren’t actually that bad—even without TV.
In short, before reading Locke—and subsequently fighting the war that makes America great again—read your Bible. Best to put first things first.
As I consider the upcoming change of leadership in our nation, I can’t help but see irony.
Folks want to believe Biden is so different from Trump. Especially, they say, in the fact that Biden doesn’t lie all day long. But from a God’s eye perspective, Biden does lie all day long. Whether due to his stutter, or some other ailment as simple as too-much-on-the-brain, Biden misspeaks endlessly. If we actually took his words at face value, we’d find him unintelligible. We certainly couldn’t trust him with political office.
But there’s an affability in Biden that forces even his opponents to admit, “Yes, Yes. Of course he didn’t mean what he said.” And that’s precisely what Trump fans have said for four years. “He doesn’t mean what he said.”
So we’re in a tight spot. You hate Trump because he lies. And Biden is such a poor public speaker that I have to cut through all his mistakes with a machete forged out of trust that his tongue is in no way connected to his head or his heart.
I miss strong speech. I miss meaning. I miss speaking which moved me. To be honest, I never heard such speaking. But I’ve read it. I have to believe we can do it again.
“Sect. 54. Though I have said above (Chap. II), ‘That all men by nature are equal,’ I cannot be supposed to understand all sorts of equality: age or virtue may give men a just precedency: excellency of parts and merit may place others above the common level: birth may subject some, and alliance or benefits others, to pay an observance to those to whom nature, gratitude, or other respects, may have made it due: and yet all this consists with the equality, which all men are in, in respect of jurisdiction or dominion one over another; which was the equality I there spoke of, as proper to the business in hand, being that equal right, that every man hath, to his natural freedom, without being subjected to the will or authority of any other man.”
I met a man once who seemed like he had a good head on his shoulders. As our friendship blossomed he kept inviting me to sign up to some kind of free enterprise online magazine club. Due to the twin facts that it cost money and that I don’t believe Truth costs money, I always rebuffed him. Just wasn’t my thing. Finally he offered to pay for the refundable intro lessons. I still declined. Later, at my pleading, he shared with me (for free) a link to some kind of private YouTube video (must have link to view) and I gave it a whirl. In the video, the lecturer declared, “Every word should have one meaning and one meaning only.”
“Puh. What garbage,” I instinctively reacted.
Equality is the word I ask you to consider with me today. Would you have guessed that Mr. Locke had announced which shade of meaning he was after when he said, “All men by nature are equal”? Of course, Thomas Jefferson didn’t include an explanation of which shade of equality he meant alongside his, “All men are created equal” within the Declaration of Independence, so don’t follow your mind to a place we’re not going. My question remains. Would you have guessed that Locke explained that he knew of other meanings of equality?
I would have. The reason I would have is because I’ve been reading great writing for some time now and it simply sounds different than contemporary writing.
For a variety of reasons, our peers are up in arms about equality these days. And they try to use Locke’s idea as a unifying backbone. “See? You, Captain American Declaration, already believe these disenfranchised people are equal too…” they say. It’s nonsense. The house of cards collapses with a single question, “Which sort of equality?” Kamala Harris doesn’t know which sort she means. She doesn’t even take time to evidence that she knows that there are different sorts. This means only that she is not a great writer. Who knew?
This is why I read great writing. Because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to discern the many nuanced meanings of equality. I wouldn’t be able to discern who is attempting to con me and who is attempting to persuade me. And without this discernment, my mind would be, at the least, enslaved to another man’s mind, and, at the most, enslaved to his will.
Lastly, to be clear, you don’t have to agree with Locke or the Founders’ assertion about all men’s equality in order to agree with me here. I promise, however, that whether you agree with Locke or not, you will not forget what he taught you about equality.
Read on, young man! Read on!
Why do I always leap at the chance to read Peggy Noonan? Because she’s published by the Wall Street Journal. For my whole life that publication has been elevated as more valuable than all others. Simply put: it had better writing. But I would never pay for it. No way. It wasn’t that good. And I knew that if I did pay, then the guilty pleasure of sneaking in some articles at hotels or the gym locker room would have died.
But I’m tired these days. It’s still great writing. But reason matters to me too. And in Noonan’s Bogus Dispute op-ed of today she writes, “But it’s right to worry about the damage being done on the journey.” And later, “On top of all that, the outcome was moderate: for all the strife and stress of recent years, the split decision amounted to a reassertion of centrism.”
These two statements cannot be defended as reasoned conclusions. I’m not saying they are illogical. I’m talking about Reason, Locke style. Fear and worry have no place in a reasoned life. We are never right to worry. Never.
As for the second statement, it’s not only unreasoned, it is also false. Since when do polar opposites added together amount to centrism? Centrism amounts to centrism.
Noonan seems to think that conservatives can be abstracted up to a state-of-being similar to mere energy. And then she asks us to place that energy on one side of an equation where progressives are on the other side, similarly abstracted. Then, if anyone can even follow this mental gymnastic, she asks us to see that the result-announcing equal sign is the USA. (Or maybe the Flag.) Fortunately, she is wrong.
If Ms. Noonan wants us to ‘go abstract’, here’s how it would work. Conservatives abstract to, say, 70 million, and are added to progressives, -78 million, and the result as any fourth grader knows is not zero (or balance), but negative eight million (70,000,000 + -78,000,000 = -8,000,000). Or, concretely, a progressive President.
Life is not math, though. It is art. And the great thing, for optimists like me, is that even when there are less colors (freedom), art can still be beautiful. And that’s all that’s happened here. A few or perhaps even many colors are disappearing. So I, for one, look forward to the new restrictions, the new boundaries from which to make my masterpiece. But, then, I never did understand abstract art.
I love writing at this moment. Love it! Why? Because all you ground-based beings are stuck in uncertainty. My wings release me from such trouble. And while at other times your permanent connection to the earth gives you advantages, at this moment, “advantage pilot”. At this moment writing feels like flying.
So Trump lost. Whoopdie doo. It was all hype anyhow, like I said. The important thing, right now, is to resist every urge to keep the hype going. There was no coup. There was no inordinate amount of voter fraud. There wasn’t. In place of those things there was a presidential election in the United States of America in November of 2020. And lifetime politician Joe Biden won.
Resist every urge, I say. Do not feed the hype. The sky is not falling. There is no silver lining, no matter how many minorities voted their conscience instead of their skin color. Resist every urge. I say again, there is no silver lining anywhere. But it’s not because there is no hope. It’s because there is no dark cloud. That’s the truth. You’re just depressed. Admit it. Then cheer up.
How? Escape. I’m talking exercise your capacity for fantasy. Read romance novels. Watch romance movies. I’m still working through Kushiel’s Dart and every one of the 594 pages so far has improved my mood. Try not to smile challenge: The heroine/temple-prostitute/servant-extraordinaire explains, “While I learned how to kneel uncomplaining for hours at a time and the proper angle of approach for serving sweets after a meal, Ysandre was learning how greed and jealousy corrupt the human soul.” Saucy.
And last night we watched Romancing the Stone. “I’ve never been anybody’s best time,” Douglas replies, crushing it. “This is Joan Wilder, who writes the books I read to you on Saturdays!” the drug-lord clarifies.
Do not feed the hype. Resist every urge.