Tag Archives: DOUG SMITH

Doug Smith: The Crazy Years: And the “antidote” for progressivism.

9 Jun

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Doug Smith:  Free State Patriot history and society editor

6.9.2017

The Crazy Years

“No question now what has happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again: but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

George Orwell, Animal Farm

“The Crazy Years: “Considerable technical advance during this period, accompanied by a gradual deterioration of mores, orientation, and social institutions, terminating in mass psychoses in the sixth decade, and the interregnum.”

Robert Heinlein, The Past Through Tomorrow

Madness. Widespread, endemic, institutional madness is upon us. Privileged black students at college in Washington State, with an irony that is lost on them, but not, perhaps, on Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, or George Wallace, are in hysterics because a white liberal professor objected to a day of forced segregation from campus. Perhaps, they could even relabel the toilets and drinking fountains “Black Only” and “White Only”, just for the day.

Madness.

People, (I will refrain from the snowflake or nutso progressive label, that is too easy. Instead, I will note actions and thoughts that are divorced from reality and critical, rational thinking.) are reduced to sobbing hysterics that the climate is not precisely the same as it was…. when? Perhaps we want the climate of 1816, the year without a summer, during the little Ice Age of the 1800s.  Or perhaps not. Still, it is a source of great concern, to people who react to the latest act of Muslim Jihadist terror and murder with nonchalance, except to worry that people less tolerant will react badly to the act.

Madness.

Many things that were once not tolerated by social mores are now supposed to be tolerated, nay embraced!  Rational people exercise discretion, and can judge that one should tolerate the Sikh sitting next to you on the train, whereas one ought not to tolerate, for example, the idiot who insists on smoking a cigarette at the gas pump while you are filling up your car. Rational people do not tolerate everything, or they will die. Neither do they refuse to tolerate someone who simply disagrees with them or have a different skin color. (Note to the students at Evergreen College, an institution that in any rational society will close its doors as parents refuse to send their children there, read the speech of MLK for insight on content of character vs color of skin). We can tolerate much that is good and fine. We must not tolerate evil or danger.

Madness

Cultural norms that worked effectively to build an evolving, nurturing, and ever better civilization for over millennia are being cast aside in a whim of malignant tolerance. Western civilizations have eliminated slavery as a cultural norm. Eastern and middle eastern have not. The West: progress in science, economic advancement, and individual freedom and standards of living. The Near and Far East: not so much. Yet the family is under assault, middle aged blokes in dresses should not be kept out of the lady’s room, so called feminists embrace a Muslim culture which relegates women back to the “property “of some man, and enforces cruel punishments and maiming on them, while physically assaulting American women who simply wish to speak with an opposing point of view.

Madness. Pure Madness.

In one of the Batman movies, a chemical attack causes mass psychosis in Gotham City. Batman saves the day by destroying the evil men trying to tear Gotham apart, and distributes the antidote to save everyone and go back to the imperfect, but striving for improvement, Gotham.

The antidote to this madness is rational, common sense, critical thinking. The antidote is accepting fact, separated from emotion. The antidote is a deep breath and a large dose of reality: life as it is, not as progressive fantasies wish it to be.

The question, then, is who will be Batman?

We invent superheroes to take the place of ordinary men, doing great things in difficult circumstances, and give us hope.

Who will be Batman? On this D Day, the 6th of June, we are all Batman. Just ordinary guys, but plowing ahead through the fear and danger to face the enemy and defeat a crazed and wrong-headed ideology.

I am Batman.

 

Doug Smith: Legal Injustice, the sword, but not the scales.

19 May

 

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Doug Smith:  Free State Patriot history and society editor

May 19, 2017

justice

There is an interesting concept used by many, if not most on the Left: Legal.  Now the famous statue of Justice portrays a lady, blindfolded, bearing both a sword, and a set of scales. In the Leftist world, the law is all about the sword, and little to do with the scales. In short, if it is legal, we can do it, whether we should or not. (Al Gore’s “no controlling legal authority”) Of course, if you are a leading Leftist, even if it is illegal, you are likely to get away with it, e.g. Hillary and crew.

I wish I could take credit for this example, but alas! I read it somewhere. Democracy is 2 wolves and a sheep voting to have mutton for lunch. Liberty is an armed sheep protesting the vote.  In the Leftist world, it is not what the law says, but rather what some lawyer, instilled for life on a bench with a black robe, says the law says. By such twisted, opportunistic thinking we get Justices hearing from the spirit of James Madison that although he forgot to write it down, of Course he meant to put in a right to privacy. And building on that, we get such flawed and consequential rulings as Roe v Wade. For if the law says not what it says, but what a judge’s political leaning says it says, why then we have no law and no protection at all.

Case in point: The Kelo decision.

As an illustration of government out of control and vastly incompetent, the case of Kelo vs New London, Ct takes the cake (a subtle aside to other progressive legal swordsmanship: searching out bakers who don’t want to make a cake for a gay wedding.) The city, it seems, wanted to exercise eminent domain under the Takings Clause to take a group of homes.  The Takings Clause, in case you don’t know, is part of the 5th Amendment to the Constitution which says, in brief, that government may take private property for public use, and must pay just compensation, defined as fair market value, for the property thus taken.  For example, if you own a home in Huntington, WV, with a fair market value of $ 15, 000, government may exercise eminent domain and show up with a court order and a check, and tell the 17th St Exit is going to go right through your kitchen.  Time to move. But for public use, such as interstates, court houses, schools, etc., and you must be justly compensated. Got it?

So, in 2004, the city fathers of New London, Ct, came up with a brilliant idea. They would scoop up 90 acres of property in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood, using eminent domain, demolish the well-kept, occupied homes, and give the land to a real estate developer for $ 1 a year, in return for which he would bring businesses, industries, and housing developments to the area which would pay the city more than did the residents. In short, New London decided to by-pass the market, in which case the developer would have to “pay” for the properties whatever the market would bear to persuade the owners to move, and give the owners a say in the transaction. Instead, the city, i.e. the other residents who paid the taxes, would pay the owners the current “fair market value” (not the increased amount that includes overcoming the desire to stay where they were, or the desire to make money from the development) and give it to a developer because they approved of what he proposed to do with the land.

Now, the residents, quite reasonably, argued that taking their homes for a developer was hardly the same as taking them for a court house or school, but instead New London picking one citizen over another. They sued. The Ct Supreme Court, and ultimately, the Roberts Supreme Court agreed with the city in the Kelo decision.  45 states have since passed legislation making it more difficult for municipalities to take private property under Kelo. And, oh here the irony gets rich.

The original developer was not able to put together the financing he said he could (maybe it would have been worthwhile to be sure of that before buying the property), Pfizer backed out and moved their facility, taking 1000 jobs with them, New London moved the Kelo house to a new location in town, and 12 years later the 90 acres are an overgrown, weed infested, empty lot.

Was the Kelo taking legal? Evidently, because a flawed SCOTUS decision remains law until Congress or states take action to change it, or a subsequent decision overturns it.

Was it just? Hardly. The empty lot in New London now sits on the corner of irony and nemesis.

 

Doug Smith: The Tyranny of Perfection

5 Apr

My country ’tis of thee…

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Doug Smith:  Author and historical, social and political editor for Free State Patriot

April, 5, 2017

 

america

My wife is a perfectionist.

So, I live with this phenomenon and understand it. She was the sort of Straight A student who would be very upset at getting a 99, if someone else had ever gotten a 100, or getting a 100 if extra credit made a 103 possible.  This all made her a driven and excellent student, but not a very happy one.

Nothing she ever did was going to be good enough for her. Now, being a much more laid back sort, I find myself shaking my head at this attitude, because it is amazing that a straight A, Summa Cum Laude student so frequently growls “Stupid, stupid, stupid” at herself. You think you might get a little credit for those A s, and the long nights? No?

Now, she is not alone. The Utopians among us, clear back to Plato, and moving all the way to today’s progressives and socialists, build in their mind a perfect society; one which has never existed, but might, if only they were put in charge. Now not to pop their collective little bubbles, but if some 6,000 years of human civilization has never produced a Utopia, what in the world would make them think they are so much smarter, wiser, and better than a Solomon or Marcus Aurelius that they will finally get it done?

And there has not been a perfect society or civilization, ever. But the Utopians live lives of noisy misery, focused on every fault of the best civilization the world has seen. By their emphasis on the problems, they miss the joy of what they have, lack appreciation of the good, and buy into many Brooklyn Bridge fantasies of how good things could be if only. Moral relativism is a miserable frame of mind when it leads you to long for the gulags and empty shelves of Russia, and decry the missing 10 % in the 90 % society.

Western civilization, and American civilization, is the highest, best, and most desirable the world has yet seen. (Easy snowflakes, don’t have your stroke just yet. I’m not done assaulting your sensibilities.) It is not perfect, but then all nations, being peopled by, well, people, are imperfect. Still, the horse kissers, (as in gift), who decry the blessings they enjoy by being born into or permitted to live in the greatest nation in the history of the world, have a peculiar blindness and tunnel vision when it comes to the nation and culture which spawned and nurtured them.

Let s review the record.

Ok right up front. The United States had slavery. Yep. Sure, did. And in the 16th through 18th century, so did a large portion of the world. The countries from which many American slaves came had a long history of capturing and selling slaves. And in fact, many still do. Slavery is rampant today, in the 21st century, throughout the Muslim world, for which the critics and snowflakes of America love to act as apologists.

The United States also had a long growing moral objection to slavery, nearly derailing the formation of the nation’s Constitution. It took several decades, but then erupted into a war which raged for four years, left over half a million dead, and devastated the country. Aside from the revolt of Spartacus, which was fought BY the slaves, trained as gladiators, and ended in disaster, what nation has ever in history fought such a war to destroy an economy based on slavery, and free slaves?  Feel free to do your own research, but spoiler alert: none, ever.

It was a long an arduous process bringing former slaves closer to parity with the rest of the citizenry, and we are not without problems yet. But a quick look at Ben Carson and Barack Obama must tell anyone looking, that tremendous progress has been made.

Yet there are those who still focus on Thomas Jefferson holding slaves. As though nothing else has ever happened in our nation. We ought to be judged by who we were in the world as it stood then, and what we have done in the meantime. So many want to judge us based on some impossible perfection standard, or judge the United States of 1800 by the standards of 2000.

As though the United States, alone, has not fought more, bled more, spent more, to free more people from tyranny than any other nation in the history of mankind. No nation as powerful as the United States has ever, from the outskirts of Eden to now, spent its treasure, and blood, and young men to free other nations from tyranny, and taken possession of only the amount of ground necessary to bury our 10,000 dead in French soil. French soil. Not occupied France. Not the American zone. French. French soil holds the blood and bodies of the men of the 29th Infantry Division, just above the beach on which they died. It was named Omaha, for a city in America, but it was, and remained, a French beach.

The United States has given more to the world than any other nation, ever. The British Empire can make a claim for a near second, yet the United States has done more to lift more people, both our own citizens and others, out of poverty than any other nation in history. The United States has fed more of the world than any other nation, ever. The United States has given the world light bulbs, (thanks Tom Edison), electricity, education, literature, the Panama Canal, eradicated polio, nearly eradicated malaria (until one of the “aint it awful crowd” pulled DDT from the shelves and signed a death warrant for 100 million).  Absent the United States, totalitarian empires would have plunged the world into a dark age from which it might never emerge.

Who would give the world advances in food production, medicine, balance the power of despots and tyrants, raise the standard of living of the world to a higher level than it has ever seen, serve as the example and shining city on the hill to which millions aspire if not the United States? To which other country would so many risk life and limb and imprisonment to come? They know, unlike the horse kissers who refuse to appreciate what we have been blessed with, how truly superior in so many ways are the United States of America.

So many of the Occupy Antarctica Snowflake Brigade focus on every fault, and deny every virtue of this, the greatest nation in the history of mankind. They roll their eyes, and look down their sniffing little noses at “flag waving” and patriotism.

Well, I am a patriot, and I have a flag flying on the back of my home. I served in the uniform of my country, and saluted that flag every day for years. I learned the history and tradition of the Navy whose uniform I wore, and of the Sailors and Marines who fought and died for this country with that flag as their symbol and rallying point. I served in a difficult, demanding, dangerous job, which required us to be the deadliest force imaginable. If we were ordered to do so, we would have killed thousands. If caught, we would have been sunk and killed. We did the job because we believed in it, and the country. Value judgement: It is worth my life to protect this country; it is worth causing the deaths of thousands I would never see if so ordered to keep the country safe. We took an oath which said “I promise to protect, preserve, and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. “I did not see any expiration date when I took it.

I love this country, and while recognizing its faults, still believe it is the greatest country ever.  I am unashamedly a fan and supporter of the United States, and her friends and allies, and all others take a back seat.

If it comes to the interests of the United States or any other country, this country, which houses my children, and the ideas which let them live as they wish comes first.

Always. Forever. And without apology.

 

 

Doug Smith: The Loyal Opposition?

27 Mar

doug-for-fsp

Doug Smith: Author, historian and political, historical and social editor for Free State Patriot.

 

March 27, 2017

 

That is what the party out of power is supposed to be. However, that is not what the current Democrat party will be, ever. But more on that later. The Dems and the Left will only oppose Trump in the most vicious, “un” Democratic way possible.

The Loyal Opposition from come from within the President’s own party. The Freedom Caucus. The Heritage Foundation.

Me.

So, here goes. No, Mr. President, the Freedom Caucus was not to blame for the failure of the Ryan Health Care bill to get the required votes. But they did help, and for that, kudos to them.

The Democrats, as you should know (you are not stupid, but impulsive in the extreme, and for God’s sake give your phone to Reince Preibus and enough with the 2 am tweets!) will never support anything you say or do. You never were going to get any vote to touch a hair on the head of Obamacare, or Planned Parenthood from the Left side of the aisle. Well, maybe Joe Manchin, but he is fighting for survival in a WV that is getting redder every day. And he doesn’t want to come back to Morgantown and practice law.

But I think you already knew all this, and so did Paul Ryan.

Not everything is the art of the deal. There is also the value of rigorous honesty.

Paul Ryan seems, from one perspective, to be angling for the GOP to repeat a hat trick they have done successfully over and over. We need more!

Give us the House, and we will repeal Obamacare.  So, the get the House. Then, to avoid a government shutdown caused by Obama and Reid, but blamed in the press on the GOP (have you figured this out yet? EVERYTHING is going to be the fault of you and the GOP. Get used to it, and just do the right, and smart, thing.)  the GOP House caved on funding, where they did have power, then voted for a “clean bill” to repeal, and sent it to the Senate, where they did not have power, to die.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Give us the Senate.

We did.

Same routine.

Give us the White House.

We did, well, sort of. You are not what the GOP had in mind, and it is somewhat amusing to find them in this state.

But as we got closer over the last 6 years to giving the GOP everything relating to power in DC, a curious rot has set in. We need to repeal it, root and branch, thundered Mitch McConnell. We need to fix the parts that are broken, whimpered Jeb Bush, with all the passion of an artichoke.

Huh?

We need to repeal and replace it, as we have been promising the American people, sang the GOP in DC, in 216-part harmony. Wait a minute, now, just wait one doggone minute. What is this, trying for a soft landing.

It just doesn’t work like that. You sign a contract, or make a promise, and then as it gets close to time to deliver, you start to change the words, and alter the terms.  You start to wax eloquent about the terms of the deal that only you are party to, and how you feel obligated to keep that promise.

And you know what?  The folks who were promised a Mercedes, and now hear about the Prius you say you promised them, are going to feel betrayed, and suspicious. We are also going to wonder, if you didn’t keep the first promise, why would we expect you to keep the second one when the going gets tough?

We need to fix the parts that are broken? Yes. And it is all broken. As any big government takeover of a business necessarily will become. The bigger, the worse, and quicker it will break.

One argument is the phased repeal: keep Obamacare in place for a while so Secretary Price can reverse the many discretionary rules and changes of Secretary Sibelius.

Anyone see the problems there? Anyone? Beuhler?

Ok, first, if that is what the GOP, or you, Mr. President, want to do, Secretary Price is in office right now. He can busily spend his day reversing every move that Kathleen Sibelius took to try and prop up Obamacare, including eliminating the Cornhusker Kickback, and have it done right now. He has a staff. They can pull up every move she made and right a simple change: this is eliminated, and Tom Price can sign it.

Secondly, and one of the major flaws of Obamacare: what the Secretary giveth the Secretary, or a future one, can take. The law is so nebulous the Secretary of HHS can do whatever they want at any time. Forever. Uncertainty is deadly for a business. And this provision inserts it into the entire industry.

So, use the power you inherited now (after all, if you don’t, why would we think you will after the next bill is passed?)  and do it.

Secondly, it has not been that long since we had an administration and Congress force feed us a bill in record time, without giving a clear picture of what was in it. Pelosi s famous “We have to pass the bill, to see what’s in the bill. “You did, we have, and we don’t like it. Furthermore, we don’t want bills passed like that again.
A lesson for you from Obama, one which he did not learn: POTUS is not a king, and must often persuade and negotiate, rather than rule, bully, and bluster.

You and Ryan have told us this is the best you get. Ignore the previous promises, just be grateful we are giving you something. We are at a crisis, and if you don’t pass it right now (this sounds so very much like 2009 all over again) the seas will rise, buildings will crumble, and you will be stuck with Obamacare till it crashes and burns, and we will blame it on the Democrats, and any of you, our own folks, who did not go along.

But that is not going to work this time. The common sense, conservative core of the Republican voting base has been lied to by our leadership far too many times to let it happen again without consequences. You, Mr. President, are one of those consequences, and the reasons Jeb or Marco are not planning the Easter Egg hunt.

Ryan is playing by the old boy rules. He is trying to craft a bill which would pass the old Senate rules. But of course, Harry Reid blew up long standing convention, so all bets are off in that august body.  And if anything, his first bill should be WAY over to the other side, leaving room to negotiate back to the center. You never make a deal by starting out with all you want and saying That’s it, no negotiating.

Have you ever read “The Art of the Deal, “by Donald Trump?

If the GOP passes, and you sign, a bill which leaves most of Obamacare intact and just paints the walls in a house on fire, the folks who voted for you, and them, will feel, correctly, that they have been betrayed.

The Democrats were and are never going to support anything you do. The loyal opposition is not going to chant your name and give you a rubber stamp. We are going to support you when you are right (well done with Gorsuch and extreme vetting, nice start with the EPA) and when you are wrong, let you know.

The last real journalist I can remember speaking the truth to power when it came to POTUS was Sam Donaldson. He did a nice job of keeping Carter and Reagan’s feet to the fire.  I can still hear him now.

Hold On, Mr. President.

That is the title of HIS book. It might be good reading for you, Mr. President. At 2 am. Instead of tweeting.

As I’m sure you have discovered, you are sitting in the hottest seat around.  There are some of us around who will loyally support you, but still hold your feet to the fire when your misstep and try to urge you back on the right path.

I expect you will make missteps. You are human, after all.  Smart humans learn from their mistakes and don’t repeat them. That is my hope for you.

So, to summarize, here, from the loyal opposition, Hold On, Mr. President.

That is not what we sent you there to do. Take a breath. Have a steak, well done, with ketchup, and try again.

Doug Smith: The Slavery of free (stuff)

17 Mar

“Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes”

(I fear the Greeks, even when they bear gifts)

Virgil

doug-for-fsp

Doug Smith: Author, historian, patriot and history, politics and society contributor to Free State Patriot

free

Take it to the bank: anyone wanting to give you free stuff does not have your best interest at heart. The hawker outside restaurants in resort towns offering you free meals or tickets to come hear a 90-minute presentation about a wonderful time share opportunity is not there so you can go to a theme park free. He is there to hook you with freebies, and get you snagged into paying 1000 times the cost of those tickets for decades to come.

TANSTAAFL. There aint no such thing as a free lunch.  That should have been Article 1 of the Constitution; another truth we hold self-evident.

Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson did not undertake, like Caesar, to bequeath their fortunes to the poor. Instead, they tossed out a salad bowl of “free stuff” that they could not pay for. And thus, begins the trap. People get used to the free stuff, and like it. It takes away motivation and incentive to work to earn it themselves. It creates a sense of entitlement, because the government always gave it to us. Plans are made, lives are lived, on the premise that the government will give us its money for X.

But one of the secrets of governments is that governments have no wealth, produce no wealth, and can only seize and distribute the wealth of others. The kings and queens of old did not mine gold, or grow food, or breed horses.  The started a pyramid scheme. Learn to fight. Beat someone up, and make him share his wealth with you. Do this enough, and you can hire other people to fight for you, and you won’t even have to fight anymore. Steal enough from the producers to pay enough fighters to keep them in line, and you are off and running. Declare yourself the lawgiver, and your fighters the enforcers of the law. Better yet, make nice with the church, and make what you do sound holy (Divine right of Kings, Jesus was an immigrant, social justice), and you can wrap up the most blatant theft in a ribbon and wax poetic about it.

Of course, for the system to work, it is necessary to keep the fighters happy so they will keep the serfs in line, and to keep the serfs just at subsistence so they can grow your food, breed your next generation of serfs, but not dare to rebel against you because you are the source of what food they get to keep. Don’t let them figure out that absent them, you and your fighters will starve because you could not grow a tomato.

The system worked for centuries.

In the light of that historical glimpse, consider Social Security. FDR took money he did not have from people who could not resist him, or at least did not, took their gold so they could not resist his printing of money, and decreed a government run retirement system. The first woman to draw a check only paid in for one month. Over the years, as the system metastasized, more and more people came to rely on that little check as their only hope of having money in retirement. Government, as is its wont, was wasteful and inefficient with the money, so the return was tiny, less than putting the money in a savings account for 40 years. But since people relied on it, and did nothing else to prepare (in many cases,) now there is an unspoken bargain that people who have relied on the contract for their entire working lives cannot change now. So, they, of course, are slaves to the system. They cannot support eliminating or changing the system, for they are the serfs to the dead hand of FDR.  Never mind that the system, as government systems do, grew to include payments to far more than just the working folks who paid into the system for 40 years, and returned about 1% on the money paid in by those who do pay it in. Never mind that Galveston TX, opted out of Social Security in the 70s, and has paid a return 3 times higher than the same amount in Social Security to their employees. Never mind that the system is so inefficient that we are eating our seed corn.

Many are already retired and drawing it. Many are too near the end of their working lives to start a strategy that does not include Social Security.  Woe betide any politician who dares to say we can do better, and we must do differently.

The serfs are trapped on the land. When the lord of the manor comes to tell them that the money is gone, and he must cut their dole down by 30%, they have no choice about it. He has the swords, after all. And the fruits of their labors.

And they are slaves, serfs, to the freedom of free stuff.

Once the government starts to give away free stuff (or rather, steal it from some, to give it to others, for remember, government does not produce wealth) it is extremely hard to stop. Think of one government freebie we have ever stopped giving away.

We can have free men. Or we can have free stuff. Combining the 2 has not worked out well.

I fear the government, especially when it is bearing gifts.

 

 

Doug Smith: A Nation of Ideas

8 Mar

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Doug Smith: Author, historian, patriot and lead contributor to Free State Patriot

 

“You have a republic, madam, if you can keep it.”

Benjamin Franklin

immigrant 1immigrant 2

Senator John F Kennedy wrote a pamphlet in 1958 entitled “A Nation of Immigrants.” As a fellow descendant of Irish ex patriates, I can sympathize with his sentiment, but I believe he missed the mark in a crucial way. We are not, by some coincidence, just the nation where immigrants magically appeared or washed ashore. There was a reason that Irish, and Catholics, and Anabaptists, and Puritans, and Dutchmen, and Germans, and others risked all to come to seek a home between Plymouth Rock and San Diego.

There were natural resources, and land, and room, and a man might dream of riches, but all those things drew men to this Continent before this nation was born. It is not as if some worldwide memo went out reading “All those wishing to leave their ancestral home, head for America. They need all the help they can get.” Yet that is not so terribly far off the mark. For there was, and is, something that made people yearn to come to America.

It is that which drew men to our shores that made us what we are, and who we are, not merely the men who came. (Yes, I realize that women came as well. But I refuse to engage in the tortured heshe language of political correctness. ) Proud I may be of my Celtic ancestry, and the bards, and storytellers, and politicians, and yes, drunks, (but I repeat myself) that became a part of American life, but I have to ask an honest question. If the Irish are all that, why then, is Ireland not America. Why no mass migration to Eire s green hills? What is it that made the strong, the bold, the adventurous, and yes, the moonshiner fleeing the law, come to Boston and New York?

I believe that the truth is that we are a nation of words and ideas, and not of immigrants. Oh, we have immigrants a plenty. My great, great grandfather came to New York as a farrier, and later became a farmer in Kentucky, and so brought my family to this area. But why here? Why not Australia, or New Zealand, or Brazil, or France?

Words. Powerful words. Words which form ideas and ideals a man might strive for, might live for, and would die for.

These words.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

And these

Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!
And these

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, [promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

These are good words the express fine and high ideals. Oh, not that we, being men, achieve the perfect fulfillment of these ideals, but uniquely in the world, and on the stage of history, we formed a nation dedicated to these ideals. We sweated, bled, and yes, died, to further these ideals. Uniquely among the nations of the world, we fought with blood and treasure to free men and nations. We did not fight to further the claims of prerogatives of the Plantagenet or the Tudor dynasties, or to claim French soil for our own. We fought to free men on our own soil and correct injustices. We fought to free men on foreign soil and stop hateful ideologies. We did not keep soil won with our blood for our own and declare an American Empire, we freed people and went home.

Those ideas and ideals are the nectar to the world.

And yet.

If these ideas are the basis of what we are, we are right, and just, and prudent to insist that if men come to us, the embrace those ideals which make us uniquely who we are: Americans. We are not the Balkans: little states of very different and antagonistic peoples pressed against each other until a Serbian assassinates an Arch Duke and ignites WW1.

No, we have long embraced E Pluribus Unum. Of many, One. So if you come, look around and see who we are. Learn to speak the language. Russians speak Russian. Germans speak German. Chinese speak Chinese. And Americans speak English. Learn to act and blend with your new countrymen. Don’t expect them to change what they are into what you were. You escaped that world to come here. Become a part of this one.

We do not encourage gangs and neighborhoods that are Europe all over again, or Africa, or Asia. No little Italy, or Ireland, or Somalia. In America, Be American. This is what you wanted. This is why you came. If it is not, you made a terrible mistake.

I hope next year to visit Ireland, the ancestral home of my family. If I do, I will do so as a stranger. I will not speak the Gaelic, nor speak English with a brogue. I will be a stranger, visiting his roots. I will be, very obviously to the Irish, and American. That is what great, great grandfather wanted for his descendants in America.

So should all who come. Not because they are immigrants. But because this is where those great ideas have flourished. And we ought to jealously guard them so this great experiment does not fail.

Doug Smith: Discrimination versus Prejudice

13 Feb

doug-for-fsp

Doug Smith: Author, historian, patriot and lead contributor to Free State Patriot

February 13, 2017

boones       chateau

When I was a wee lad, I once ate food off a dirty dish that had sat overnight. I took a brief, disgusting sip of turpentine. When I was a foolish lad of 16, one of my friends decided the time had come for me to experience a new vista. He bought me a bottle of Boone’s Farm Apple “wine” and a pepperoni and banana peppers pizza from a Huntington, WV pizza shop who shall remain nameless and blameless for what occurred. The wine, by courtesy only, in that it does derive from fruit, is more closely associated with embalming fluid and starter fluid, with artificial flavorings. Someday I hope to repay him for the favor, and the next day’s misery, and the violent rejection of all that horrible combination in my stomach.  With a hammer.

Some years later, when I was actually old enough to do so, I bought for myself a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild Bordeaux, 1976. Produced in the Bordeaux Region of France from a mix of cabernet, merlot, and Malbec grapes, it has a high tannin content for a rich, fruity flavor and pairs nicely with lamb or beef dishes, and pungent cheeses.  I enjoyed a few glasses of it with a filet mignon, rare, coated with blue cheese crumbles, and slices of aged Sharp Cheddar.

Mind you I have not shifted from writing about politics, social issues, and history and taken up the Food Critic chair at Free State Patriot. This is personal history, and illustrates a point I wish to make.

In both cases I drank some wine and ate some food. While the latter was a gastronomic delight, the other was an object lesson on foolishness, or “Why we do not treat 16 year olds as adults. “ My stomach and head made the point very succinctly, both times.

In one case a friend paid 5 dollars for that foul liquid and the pizza (Ok, this was 1972) with a nefarious purpose. In the other, I paid, well, quite a bit more for an excellent meal.

The difference in the two experiences was my discrimination, born of experience and study. Because I had learned to be discriminating.

In our modern and poorly used lexicon, “discrimination” has become a bogey man, a veritable evil and flaw in character. But that is the result of poor understanding of the word, its meaning, and its vital importance in becoming an adult.

We all need to learn to discriminate between better and worse, wrong and right, wise and foolish, dangerous and safe, nurturing and destructive. Otherwise, not only do we miss out on some wonderful meals, but we continue to act from the same foolish notions as a child, with the same unfortunate results.

One discriminates between foods that are tasty and nutritious compared with that which is vile, and so eat better as we learn. I would happily have subsisted on peanut butter and chocolate ice cream when I was 8. I would not eat asparagus or okra, and wanted only the drumsticks from a turkey. Now, I understand that peanut butter is fine, but not the only real food on my menu. Chocolate Ice cream is wonderful, as an occasional dessert, but moderation is called for. Grilled asparagus is wonderful, and the breast meat from that bird is perfect for those after Thanksgiving sandwiches.

Okra, of course, is still a vile, slimy disgusting weed, that falls into the genre of food reviews by Dr Johnson who wrote in his dictionary “ Oats: a grain, eaten in England by horses, but in Scotland by people.”

But I digress. Where was I? Oh yes. Mature, adult humans learn to discriminate. On the food front, we learn, and in the arenas of life we learn as well. Or we stay children.

We learn that the man who lies to us about the little things will likely lie about anything. So we discriminate, based on experience, as to which people we will trust to repay a loan, or return a tool, or show up on time. Or we suffer the results.

We discriminate, based on experience and reading, the areas in a town that are safe or not to walk about at night. Or we suffer the results.

We discriminate about which places we would like to visit on vacation. I would love to travel to Ireland, but would never willingly fly to Iran or Somalia. Does this mean I hate Persians and Somalis? No. It means I can discriminate between a place where I can walk about and see sights and share meals and stand next to Molly Malone ( well, her statue), and places where warlords attack UN convoys of food and steal them, or Western citizens are imprisoned routinely and held for ransom. I discriminate between a country that is friendly and has good ties to my own, and those which demonstrate their hatred of my country, and by extension, me.

Common sense, or wisdom, or, discrimination, tells me I will never drink Boone s Farm, or eat okra (ok, on that one I concede some may differ with me, but yuck!) or put myself at the mercy of people who hate my country and my countrymen. To do these things would be foolish.

To avoid those places and people who hate me, to seek to keep them away from me and my countrymen, to love my own country and people, and put our interests foremost, these things signal reasoned, sober, discrimination.

They do not signal hatred, or unreasoned fear, or some character flaw.

These are the reasoned thoughts and actions of an adult. Those who insist on moral equivalence in everything and everyone, and refuse to learn and practice discrimination are still eating cold eggs from that dirty dish, and calling it steak.

Playing games with the words will not change what ends up in their stomach. Or their community.

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