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Friday, December 14, 2012

A Dangerous Satire

Petasus tip to Northern Illinois University for this writing which got Lincoln challenged to a duel with Illinois State Auditor James Shields.  So, without any further ado, here is "A Letter from the Lost Townships."

"August 27, 1842
Dear Mr. Printer:  I see you printed that long letter I sent you a spell ago.  I'm quite encouraged by it and can't keep from writing again.  I think the printing of my letters will be a good thing all round--it will give me the benefit of being known by the world, and give the world the advantage of knowing what's going on in the Lost Townships, and give your paper respectability besides.  So here comes another.  Yesterday afternoon I hurried through cleaning up the dinner dishes and stepped over to Neighbor S------ to see if his wife Peggy was as well as might be expected and hear what they called the baby.  Well, when I got there and just turned round the corner of his log cabin, there he was setting on the doorstep reading a newspaper.  "How are you, Jeff?" says I.  He sorter started when he heard me, for he hadn't seen me before.  "Why," says he, "I'm as mad as the devil, Aunt 'Becca!"  "What about," says I; "ain't its hair the right color?  None of that nonsense, Jeff;  there ain't an honester woman in the Lost Townships than"---"Than who?"  says he;  "what the mischief are you about?"  I began to see I was running the wrong trail and so says I "Oh!  nothing:  I guess I was mistaken a little that's all.  But what is it you're mad about?"

       "Why," says he, "I've been tugging ever since harvest, getting out wheat and hauling it to the river to raise State Bank paper enough to pay my tax this year and a little school debt I owe;  and now, just as I've got it, here I open this infernal Extra Register, expecting to find it full of 'Glorious Democratic Victories' and 'High Comb'd Cocks,' when lo and behold!  I find a set of fellows, calling themselves officers of the State, have forbidden the tax collectors and school commissioners to receive State paper at all;  and so here it is dead on my hands.  I don't now believe all the plunder I've got will fetch ready cash enough to pay my taxes and that school debt."

       I was a good deal thunderstruck myself;  for that was the first I had heard of the proclamation, and my old man was pretty much in the same fix with Jeff.  We both stood a moment staring at one another without knowing what to say.  At last says I, "Mr. S-----, let me look at that paper."  He handed it to me, when I read the proclamation over.

       "There now," says he, "did you ever see such a piece of impudence and imposition as that?"  I saw Jeff was in a good tune for saying some ill-natured things, and so I tho't I would argue a little on the contrary side, and make him rant a spell if I could.  "Why, " says I, looking s dignified and thoughtful as I could, "it seems pretty tough, to be sure, to have to raise silver where there's none to be raised;  but then, you see, 'there will be danger of loss' if it ain't done."  "Loss! damnation!" says he "I defy Daniel Webster, I defy King Solomon, I defy the world--I defy--I defy--yes, I defy even you, Aunt 'Becca, to show how the people can lose anything by paying their taxes in State paper." 

       "Well," says I, "you see what the officers of State say about it, and they are a desarnin' set of men.  But," says I, "I guess you're mistaken about what the proclamation says.  It don't say the people will lose anything by the paper money being taken for taxes.  It only says 'there will be danger of loss;'  and though it is tolerable plain that the people can't lose by paying their taxes in something they can get easier than silver instead of having to pay silver;  and though it's just as plain that the State can't lose by taking State Bank paper, however low it may be, while she owes the bank more than the whole revenue, and can pay that paper over on her debt, dollar for dollar;  --still there is danger, of loss to the 'officers of State;'  and you know, Jeff, we can't get along without officers of State."

       "Damn officers of State!" says he.  Says I, "You know I belong to the meetin', and swearin' hurts my feelings."  "Beg pardon, Aunt 'Becca," says he;  "but I do say it's enough to make Dr. Goddard swear, to have tax to pay in silver, for nothing only that Ford may get his two thousand a year, and Shields his twenty-four hundred a year, and Carpenter his sixteen hundred a year, and all without 'danger of loss' by taking it in State paper.  Yes, yes;  it's plain enough now what these officers of State mean by 'danger of loss.'  Wash, I s'pose, actually lost fifteen hundred dollars out of the three thousand that two of these 'officers of State' let him steal from the treasury, by being compelled to take it in State paper.  Wonder if we don't have a proclamation before long, commanding us to make up this loss to Wash in silver."

       And so he went on till his breath run out, and he had to stop.  I couldn't think of anything to say just then, and so I begun to look over the paper again.  "Ay!  here's another proclamation, or something like it."  "Another?" says Jeff, "and whose egg is it, pray?"  I looked to the bottom of it, and read aloud, "Your obedient servant, James Shields, Auditor."  "Aha!"  says Jeff ('one of them same three fellows again.  Well, read it, and let's hear what of it.')  I read on till where it says 'The object of this measure is to suspend the collection of the revenue for the current year.'  "Now stop, now stop!"  says he;  "that's a lie already, and I don't want to hear of it."  "Oh! may be not," says I.
  "I say it is--a--lie.  Suspend the collection, indeed!  Will the collectors, that have taken their oaths to make the collection, dare to suspend it?  Is there anything in law requiring them to perjure themselves at the bidding of James Shields?"  "Will the greedy gullet of the penitentiary be satisfied with swallowing him instead of all of them if they should venture to obey him?  And would he not discover some 'danger of loss,' and be off about the time it came to taking their places?"  "And suppose the people attempt to suspend, by refusing to pay;  what then?  The collectors would just jerk up their horses and cows, and the like and sell them to the highest bidder for silver in hand, without valuation or redemption.  Why, Shields didn't believe that story himself--it was never meant for the truth.  If it was true why was it not writ till five days after the proclamation?  Why didn't Carlin and Carpenter sign it as well as Shields?  Answer me that Aunt 'Becca.  I say it's a lie, and not a well told one at that.  It grins out like a copper dollar.  Shields is a fool as well as a liar.  With him truth is out of the question;  and as for getting a good, bright, passable lie out of him, you might as well try to strike fire from a cake of tallow.  I stick to it, it's all an infernal Whig lie!"  "A Whig lie!  Highty tighty!"  "Yes a Whig lie;  and it's just like everything the cursed British Whigs do.  First they'll do some devilment, and there they'll tell a lie to hide it.  And they don't care how plain a lie it is:  they think they can cram any sort of a one down the throats of the ignorant Locofocos, as they call the Democrats."  "Why, Jeff, you're crazy;  you don't mean to say Shields is a Whig!"  "Yes, I do."  "Why, look here!  the proclamation is in your own Democratic paper, as you call it."  "I know it;  and what of that?  They only printed it to let us Democrats see the deviltry the Whigs are at."  "Well, but Shields is the Auditor of this Loco---I mean this Democratic State."  "So he is, and Tyler appointed him to office."  "Tyler appointed him?"  "Yes (if you must chaw it over), Tyler appointed him:  or, if it wasn't him, it was old Granny Harrison, and that's all one.  I tell you, Aunt 'Becca, there's no mistake about his being a Whig.  Why his very looks shows it;  everything about him shows it;  if I was deaf and blind I could tell him by the smell.  I seed him when I was down in Springfield last winter.  They had a sort of gatherin' there one night among the grandees, they called a fair.  All the gals about town was there, and all the handsome widows and married women, finickin' about trying to look like gals, tied as tight in the middle, and puffed out at both ends, like bundles of fodder that hadn't been stacked yet, but wanted stackin' pretty bad.  And then they had tables all around the house kivered over with caps and pincushions and ten thousand such little knic-knacks, tryin' to sell 'em to the fellows that were bowin' and scrapin' and kingeerin' about 'em.  They wouldn't let no Democrats in, for fear they'd disgust the ladies or scare the little gals, or dirty the floor.  I looked in at the window, and there was the same fellow Shields floatin' about on the air, without heft or earthly substances, just like a lot of cat fur where cats had been fighting.  He was paying his money to this one, and that one, and t'other one, and sufferin' great loss because it wasn't silver instead of State paper;  and the sweet distress he seemed to be in, -- his very features, in the ecstatic agony of his soul, spoke audibly and distinctly, 'Dear girls, it is distressin, but I cannot marry you all.  Too well I know how much you suffer;  but do, do remember, it is not my fault that I am so handsome and so interesting.'  As this last was expressed by a most exquisite contortion of his face, he seized hold of one of their hands, and squeezed, and held on to it about a quarter of an hour.  'Oh, my good fellow,' says I to myself, 'if that was one of our Democratic gals in the Lost Townships, the way you'd get a brass pin let into you would be about up to the head.'  He a Democrat!  Fiddlesticks!  I tell you, Aunt 'Becca, he's a Whig, and no mistake:  nobody but a Whig could make such a conceity dunce of himself."

       "Well," says I, "maybe he is;  but if he is, I'm mistaken the worst sort.  Maybe so, maybe so;  but if I am, I'll suffer by it;  I'll be a Democrat if it turns out that Shields is a Whig, considerin' you shall be a Whig if he turns out a Democrat."

       "A bargain, by jingoes!" says he;  "but how will we find out?"  "Why,"  says I, "we'll just write and ax the printer."  "Agreed again!" says he;  "and by thunder! if it does turn out that Shields is a Democrat, I never will. . ." "Jefferson! Jefferson!"  "What do you want, Peggy?"  "Do get through your everlasting clatter some time, and bring me a gourd of water;  the child's been crying for a drink this livelong hour."  "Let it die, then;  it may as well die for water as to be taxed to death to fatten officers of State."  Jeff run off to get the water, though, just like he hadn't been saying spiteful, for he's a raal good-hearted fellow, after all, once you get at the foundation of him.  I walked into the house, and "Why Peggy,"  says I, "I declare we like to forgot you altogether."  "Oh yes," says she,"when a body can't help themselves, everybody soon forgets 'em;  but thank God!  by day after to-morrow I shall be well enough to milk the cows, and pen the calves, and wring the contrary ones' tails for 'em, and no thanks to nobody."  "Good evening, Peggy," says I, and so I sloped, for I seed she was mad at me for making Jeff neglect her so long.  And now, Mr. Printer, will you be sure to let us know in your next paper whether Shields is a Whig or a Democrat?  I don't care about it for myself, for I know well enough how it is already;  but I want to convince Jeff.  It may do some good to let him, and others like him, know who and what these officers of State are.  It may help to send the present hypocritical set to where they belong, and to fill the places they now disgrace, with men who will do more work for less pay, and take a fewer airs while they are doing it.  It ain't sensible to think that the same men who get us into trouble will change their course;  and yet it's pretty plain if some change for the better is not made, it's not long that either Peggy or I or any of us wil have a cow left to milk, or a calf's tail to wring.
                                                              Yours truly, Rebecca

Update:  What is it about people named Colbert?  A man named Scott Colbert called a black woman "an Uncle Tom" and "an ignorant c**t" on Ignorance Central, also known as Twitter.  The dumbest part of this is that the guy said the Republican Party had a bad record on race!  Yeah, like slavery and Jim Crow were Republican creations.  Note to Scott Colbert:  Democrats created Jim Crow and Democrats tried to expand slavery in the 1850s.  Dumbass!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Restore-DC-Catholicism: Notre Dame Establishes "GLTBQ" Student Organization

Restore-DC-Catholicism: Notre Dame Establishes "GLTBQ" Student Organization

Palestinian Indians and Irish Arabs

Estase's liberal friend was riffing the other day about how the so-called "Palestinian Refugees" were like the American Indians.  The main differences being Imprimis, That the Jewish people were natives of the land of Palestine:  They were not interlopers who had no history in this area.  Item, The Palestinian refugees left because they were hoping that the five-nation Arab army that entered Palestine in 1948 would exterminate the Jews of Palestine:  After all, why did the Arabs of Palestine leave?  So that the army coming in could kill indiscriminately, knowing that all the Arabs had departed.  The American Indians did not abandon the Western United States in hopes that their fellows would exterminate the homesteaders that they might later return.  Item, the governments of Jordan and Egypt could have easily assimilated the Palestinian Arabs, which they chose not to do so that there would be a large population of displaced people that Arab propaganda could then blame on those evil Israelis, who really should have been wiped out by the five nation Arab army that invaded Palestine in 1948.

My sister has a similar delusion, thinking that Palestinians are like the Irish, people whose land has been stolen by an invader.  This is absurd for much the same reason.  The Irish did not leave their country so that kindred peoples could exterminate their neighbors.  It is really funny to think of the Cromwellian English as having anything to do with Jews, as the Puritans were probably as anti-semetic as anti-Catholic.  If anyone are like the Irish, it would be the Jewish people, whose attempted extermination is worse than the 1848 potato famine.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Blago Scandal Continues

I found an interesting accusation about Chicago Tribune reporters at
It brings into question whether U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is really the straight-shooter we have always thought he was, or just a corrupt underling of AG Eric Holder.

Commentarius de Prognosticis: A Warning to the President

Commentarius de Prognosticis: A Warning to the President
Estase personally hopes Jamie Foxx was kidding.  Otherwise. . .yee-yow!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Illinois: Get Out While You Can!

Life in the People's Republic of Illinois is looking to get even shittier with the proposed 5% tax on satellite TV.  I have an idea for an advertisment for people to move to Illinois.  The scene opens with a wide shot of a badly neglected section of Detroit.  The announcer says in the voice over:"Interested in getting in on the ground floor of a burgeoning liberal utopia?  You could move to Detroit, but wouldn't you prefer a state that's just escaping the bonds of fiscal discipline?"  The picture then shifts to a statue of Lincoln.  The voice over continues:" Illinois, home of the sixteenth president who saw the nation through Civil War!  The state that was home to the Sears Roebuck empire before we chased them out with anti-business legislation!  You too can pay high taxes to one of the worst managed governments in America!"  The advertisment then closes with a graphic of an anarcho-socialist style clenched fist surrounded by the words, "Illinois, Down With the Man!"

Sunday, November 25, 2012

How Not to Blog

Every blogger wishes to be a virtuoso.  Estase wishes to be as a writer what Alex Lifeson of Rush is as a guitarist.  In reality, he probably, to stick with the guitar metaphor, is more like Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols.  It makes one feel better to compare oneself to the mediocrities that actually get paid for their writing, from Donna Basile on the Left to Ann Coulter on the Right.  Vapid sells.  Stupid really sells.  And when one pursues political commentary as something to do online less stupid than YouTube videos involving cats, there is little left to lose.
Tips to get really poor visitorship at your quidnunc: 1)Make constant reference to the Elegant Eighteenth Century.  2)Express opinions that are not popular and that do not make people happy or excited.  Opposing abortion even in cases of rape are a good example.  This will be the kind of thing that really endears you to the Primrose League.  3)Point out the moral corruption of the Terrible Twenty-first Century.  No one likes to believe that people's behavior is loathsome;  after all, liberals tend to believe that society advances over time, improving every day.  No one wants to think about why recently schoolchildren in Chicago murdered a peer by smashing his head with a 2'x4".  Follow these three tips, and you will be sure to be ignored as a quaint holdover, a bitter xenophobe who clings to God and guns.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sad but True

Petasus tip to Steve Kellmeyer of The Fifth Column:

"The new SCOTUS will make the Warren Court look like Jerry Falwell's Ice Cream Social Club."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Letter to the Primrose League

Apparently Estase is what's wrong with the Republican Party.  Mitt Romney decided to run on economic issues, was cagey about touching any social issue, and allowed the Salon types to depict him as the ultimate selfish rich guy.  So why the Primrose League thinks I am the problem mystifies me.  My dream candidate was Rick Santorum, whom most of the party couldn't wait to kick to the curb.  But, as Disraeli said, "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party!" And, "Damn your principles, stick to your party!"  The thing I'm wondering is why the Primrose League ran a values-free election, and is now blaming values voters for their defeat?  It kind of strikes me as unfair.  The Romneyites told us that they knew best, that they alone could win, yadda yadda yadda.  And now, it isn't their fault, that a President whose handling of the economy has been atrocious defeated a candidate who ran only on the economy.  Estase feels like he just walked into a black tie affair wearing a polyester leisure suit from 1975.  The problem is, the polyester leisure suit from 1975 is going to be all anyone can afford by 2016.

With a tip of the petasus to William Oddie at, one of my favorite historians apparently has clay feet.  Oddie reports that Eamon Duffy is defending a scholar named Tina Beattie, whose invitation to speak at the University of San Diego has been rescinded based on her support for gay marriage.  The thing that is either odd or not odd (depending on your opinion of Cardinal Newman) is that Duffy is quoting Newman on the importance of having heretics speak at Catholic colleges.  Mr. Oddie claims Newman was a conservative, which is 180 degrees from John Cornwell, who did a recent biography of J.H. Newman--a book I would never have read simply because the fevered mind that produced Hitler's Pope created it.  Not being a Newman scholar, I will hope Oddie is correct.  Duffy, on the other hand, created the must-read book for anyone with even a passing interest in the so-called Reformation (which might have been called the Great Religious Tinkering) in his The Stripping of the Altars.  Bravo, Mr. Oddie.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Election Time

"The English are at present employed in celebrating a feast, which becomes general every seventh year;  the parliament of the nation being then dissolved, and another appointed to be chosen.  This solemnity falls infinitely short of our Feast of the Lanterns in magnificence and splendour;  it is also surpassed by others of the East in unanimity and pure devotion;  but no festival in the world can compare with it for eating.  Their eating, indeed, amazes me;  had I five hundred heads, and were each head furnished with brains, yet would they all be insufficient to compute the number of cows, pigs, geese, and turkeys, which, upon this occasion, die for the good of their country.

To say the truth, eating seems to make a grand ingredient in all English parties of zeal, business, or amusement.  When a church is to be built, or an hospital endowed, the directors assemble, and instead of consulting upon it, they eat upon it, by which means the business goes forward with success.  When the poor are to be relieved, the officers appointed to dole out public charity assemble and eat upon it.  Nor has it ever been known that they filled the bellies of the poor, 'till they had previously satisfied their own.  But in the election of magistrates the people seem to exceed all bounds:  the merits of a candidate are often measured by the number of his treats;  his constituents assemble, eat upon him, and lend their applause, not to his integrity or sense, but to the quantities of his beef and brandy.

And yet I could forgive this people their plentiful meals on this occasion, as it is extremely natural for every man to eat a great deal when he gets it for nothing;  but what amazes me is, that all this good living no way contributes to improve their good humour.  On the contrary, they seem to lose their temper as they lose their appetites;  every morsel they swallow, and every glass they pour down, serves to increase their animosity.  Many an honest man, before as harmless as a tame rabbit, when loaded with a single election dinner, has become more dangerous than a charged culverin.  Upon one of these occasions I have actually seen a bloody-minded man-milliner sally forth at the head of a mob, determined to face a desperate pastrycook, who was general of the opposite party.

But you must not suppose they are without a pretext for thus beating each other.  On the contrary, no man here is so uncivilized as to beat his neighbour without producing very sufficient reasons.  One candidate, for instance, treats with gin, a spirit of their own manufacture;  another always drinks brandy, imported from abroad.  Brandy is a wholesome liquor;  gin, a liquor wholly their own.  This, then, furnishes an obvious case of quarrel,--Whether it be most reasonable to get drunk with gin, or get drunk with brandy?  The mob meet upon the debate, fight themselves sober, and then draw off to get drunk again, and charge for another encounter.  So that the English may now properly be said to engage in war;  since, while they are subduing their enemies abroad, they are breaking each other's heads at home.

I lately made an excursion to a neighbouring village, in order to be a spectator of the ceremonies practised upon this occasion.  I left town in company with three fiddlers, nine dozen of hams, and a corporation poet, which were designed as reinforcements to the gin-drinking party.  We entered the town with a very good face;  the fiddlers, no way intimidated by the enemy, kept handling their arms up the principal street.  By this prudent manoeuver, they took peaceable possession of their head-quarters, amidst the shouts of multitudes, who seemed perfectly rejoiced at hearing their music, but above all at seeing their bacon.

I must own, I could not avoid being pleased to see all ranks of people, on this occasion, levelled into an equality, and the poor, in some measure, enjoying the primitive privileges of nature.  If there was any distinction shown, the lowest of the people seemed to receive it from the rich.  I could perceive a cobbler with a levee at his door, and a haberdasher giving audience from behind his counter.

But my reflections were soon interrupted by a mob, who demanded whether I was for the distillery or the brewery?  As these were terms with which I was totally unacquainted, I chose at first to be silent;  however, I know not what might have been the consequence of my reserve, had not the attention of the mob been called off to a skirmish between a brandy-drinker's cow and a gin-drinker's mastiff, which turned out, greatly to the satisfaction of the mob, in favour of the mastiff.

This spectacle, which afforded high entertainment, was at last ended by the appearance of one of the candidates, who came to harangu the mob;  he made a very pathetic speech upon the late excessive importation of foreign drams, and the downfall of the distillery;  I could see some of the audience shed tears.  He was accompanied in his procession by Mrs. Deputy and Mrs. Mayoress.  Mrs. Deputy was not the least in liquor;  and as for Mrs. Mayoress, one of the spectators assured me in my ear, that--she was a very fine woman before she had the small-pox.

Mixing with the crowd, I was now conducted to the hall where the magistrates are chosen:  but what tongue can describe this scene of confusion!  the whole crowd seemed equally inspired with anger, jealousy, politics, patriotism, and punch.  I remarked one figure that was carried up by two men upon this occasion.  I at first began to pity its infirmities as natural, he could not stand;  another made his appearance to give his vote, but though he could stand, he actually lost the use of his tongue, and remained silent;  a third, who, though excessively drunk, could both stand and speak, being asked the candidate's name for whom he voted, could be prevailed upon to make no other answer but "Tobacco and brandy."  In short, an election hall seems to be a theatre, where every passion is seen without disguise;  a school where fools may readily become worse, and where philosophers may gather wisdom.--Adieu"The Citizen of the World,Letter 112, by Oliver Goldsmith 

Power of Spleen

"The rich, as they have more sensibility, are operated upon with greater violence by this disorder.  Different from the poor, instead of becoming more insolent, they grow totally unfit for opposition.  A general here, who would have faced a culverin when well, if the fit be on him, shall hardly find courage to snuff a candle.  An admiral, who could have opposed a broadside without shrinking, shall sit whole nights in his chamber, mobbed up in double nightcaps, shuddering at the intrusive breeze, and distinguishable from his wife only by his black beard and heavy eyebrows.

In the country, this disorder mostly attacks the fair sex;  in town it is most unfavorable to the men.  A lady who has pined whole years amidst cooing doves and complaining nightingales, in rural retirement, shall resume all her vivacity in one night at a city gaming-table;  her husband, who roared, hunted, and got drunk at home, hall grow splenetic in town in proportion to his wife's good humour.  Upon their arrival in London, they exchange their disorders.  In consequence of her parties and excursions, he puts on the furred cap and scarlet stomacher, and perfectly resembles an Indian husband, who, when his wife is safely delivered, permits her to transact business abroad, while he undergoes all the formality of keeping his bed, and receiving all the condolence in her place.

But those who reside constantly in town, owe this disorder mostly to the influence of the weather.  It is impossible to describe what a variety of transmutations an east wind shall produce;  it has been known to change a lady of fashion into a parlour couch;  an alderman into a plate of custards;  and a dispenser of justice into a rat-trap.  Even philosophers themselves are not exempt from its influence;  it has often converted a poet into a coral and bells, and a patriot senator into a dumb waiter.

Some days ago I went to visit the Man in Black, and entered his house with that cheerfulness which the certainty of a favorable reception always inspires.  Upon opening the door of his apartment, I found him with the most rueful face imaginable, in a morning gown and flannel nightcap, earnestly employed in learning to blow the German flute.  Struck with the absurdity of a man in the decline of life thus blowing away all his constitution and spirits, even without the consolation of being musical, I ventured to ask what could induce him to attempt learning so difficult an instrument so late in life?  To this he made no reply, but groaning, and still holding the flute to his lips, continued to gaze at me for some moments very angrily, and then proceeded to practise his gamut as before.  After having produced a variety of the most hideous tones in nature, at last turning to me, he demanded, whether I did not think he had made a surprising progress in two days?  "You see," continues he, "I have got the ambusheer already;  and as for fingering, my master tells me, I shall have that in a few lessons more."  I was so much astonished with this instance of inverted ambition, that I knew not what to reply;  but soon discerned the cause of all his absurdities:  my friend was under a metamorphosis by the power of spleen, and flute-blowing was unluckily become his adventitious passion." The Citizen of the World, Letter Ninety, by Oliver Goldsmith

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Professional Authors

"It is surprising what an influence titles shall have upon the mind, even though these titles be of our own making.  Like children, we dress up the puppets in finery, and then stand in astonishment at the plastic wonder.  I have been told of a rat-catcher here, who strolled for a long time about the villages near town, without finding any employment;  at last, however, he thought proper to take the title of his Majesty's Rat-catcher in ordinary, and thus succeeded beyond his expectations:  when it was known that he caught rats at court, all were ready to give him countenance and employment.

But of all the people, they who make books seem most perfectly sensible of the advantages of titular dignity.  All seem convinced, that a book written by vulgar hands can neither instruct nor improve;  none but kings, chams, and mandarins can write with any probability of success.  If the titles inform me right, not only kings and courtiers, but emperors themselves, in this country, periodically supply the press.

A man here who should write, and honestly confess that he wrote, for bread, might as well send his manuscript to fire the baker's oven;  not one creature will read him:  all must be court-bred poets, or pretend at least to be court-bred, who can expect to please.  Should the caitiff fairly avow a design of emptying our pockets and filling his own, every reader would instantly forsake him:  even those who write for bread themselves would combine to worry him, perfectly sensible that his attempts only served to take the bread out of their mouths. 

And yet this silly prepossession the more amazes me, when I consider, that almost all the excellent productions in wit that have appeared here were purely the offspring of necessity;  their Drydens, Butlers, Otways, and Farqhars, were all writers for bread.  Believe me, my friend, hunger has a most amazing faculty of sharpening the genius;  and he who, with a full belly, can think like a hero, after a course of fasting, shall rise to the sublimity of a demi-god.

But what will most amaze is, that this very set of men, who are now so much depreciated by fools, are, however, the very best writers they have among them at present.  For my own part, were I to buy a hat, I would not have it from a stocking-maker, but a hatter;  were I to buy shoes, I should not go to the tailor's for that purpose.  It is just so with regard to wit:  did I, fo;r my life, desire to be well served, I would apply only to those who made it their trade, and lived by it.  You smile at the oddity of my opinion:  but be assured, my friend, that wit is in some measure mechanical;  and that a man long habituated to catch at even its resemblence, will at last be happy enough to possess the substance.  By a long habit of writing he acquires a justness of thinking, and a mastery of manner, which holiday writers, even with ten times his genius, may vainly attempt to equal.

How then are they decieved who expect from title, dignity, and exterior circumstance, an excellence, which is in some measure acquired by habit, and sharpened by necessity!  You have seen, like me, many literary reputations, promoted by the influence of fashion, which have scarce survived the possessor;  you have seen the poor hardly earn the little reputation they acquired, and their merit only acknowledged when they were incapable of enjoying the pleasures of popularity:  such, however, is the reputation worth possessing;  that which is hardly earned is hardly lost.--Adieu."The Citizen of the World, Letter XCIII, by Oliver Goldsmith

Mainstream "Culture"

One of the places Estase frequents (and this is emphatically not an endorsement) is Subway.  Their table tents have been of interest recently.  Last week, their table tent advertised that Jimmy Kimmel Live would be taped from Brooklyn from October 29th to November 2.  Is it just me, or could Superstorm Sandy be God's punishment to NYC for fostering such as Mr. Kimmel.  Which brings us to this week's table tent:  Mr. Kimmel's ex-girlfriend, the foul-mouthed psychopath Sarah Silverman, has been turned into an adorable children's character by the Disney Machine for the new movie "Wreck-It Ralph."  Perhaps the Disney people missed it when Ms. Silverman complained about Vatican City, offered the Pope "pussy," and wrote a memoir where she vented on her hate for conservatives.  So are we to take our kids to see a movie with someone who hates everything Republicans stand for?  Are we supposed to say, "Sure she insulted the Pope, but, come on, it's Disney!  They haven't ever offended our values before!," forgetting such previous Disney offerings as "Priest," which depicted the typical Catholic priest as frequenting gay bars.

In the good old People's Republic of Illinois, Republicans Joe Walsh and Bobby Schilling are unseated by liberal scumbags.  This would be typical, as the same happened to Florida's Allen West. An organization called Center for Ethics and Reponsibility in Washington (CREW) is attacking bishops such as Daniel Jenky of the Diocese of Peoria for their nonpartisan calls for Catholics to vote.  In Cayahoga County, Ohio every registered voter in the county supposedly voted for Barack Obama.  Let me repeat this for effect.  Not only did every registered voter in this county vote, not one of them, NOT ONE voted for Mitt Romney!  Really?  America is being destroyed by its addiction to OPM--Other People's Money.  Until Americans can see through fiscal irresponsibility wedded to social libertarianism, we will continue down the road to broken families, nonfunctioning schools, bankrupt government, and pornographic comediennes turned children's movie actors.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Tory Constitution

"Ask an Englishman what nation in the world enjoys most freedom, and he immediately answers, his own.  Ask him in what that freedom principally consists, and he is instantly silent.  This happy pre-eminence does not arise from the people's enjoying a larger share in legislation than elsewhere, for in this particular several states in Europe excel them;  nor does it arise from a greater exemption from taxes, for few countries pay more;  it does not proceed from their being restrained by fewer laws, for no people are burdened with so many;  nor does it particularly consist in the security of their property, for property is pretty well secured in every polite state in Europe.

How, then are the English more free--for more free they certainly are--than the people of any other country, or under any other form of government whatever?  Their freedom consists in their enjoying all the advantages of democracy, with this superior prerogative borrowed from monarchy, that the severity of their laws may be relaxed without endangering the constitution.

In a monarchical state, in which the constitution is strongest, the laws may be relaxed without danger;  for though the people should be unanimous in the breach of any one in particular, yet still there is an effective power superior to the people, capable of enforcing obedience, whenever it may be proper to inculcate the law either towards the support or welfare of the community.

But in all those governments where laws derive their sanction from the people alone, transgressions cannot be overlooked without bringing the constitution into danger.  They who transgress the law in such a case are those who prescribe it, by which means it loses not only its influence, but its sanction.  In every republic the laws must be very strong, because the constitution is feeble;  they must resemble an Asiatic husband, who is justly jealous, because he knows himself impotent.  Thus, in Holland, Switzerland, and Genoa, new laws are not frequently enacted, but the old ones are observed with unremitting severity.  In such republics, therefore, the people are slaves to laws of their own making, little less than in unmixed monarchies, where they are slaves to the will of one subject to frailties like themselves.

In England, from a variety of happy accidents, their constitution is just strong enough, or, if you will, monarchical enough, to permit a relaxation of the severity of laws, and yet those laws still to remain sufficiently strong to govern the people.  This is the most perfect state of civil liberty of which we can form any idea:  here we see a greater number of laws than in any other country, while the people at the same time obey only such as are immediately conducive to the interests of society;  several are unnoticed, many unknown;  some kept to be revived and enforced upon proper occasions;  others left to grow obsolete, even without the necessity of abrogation.

There is scarcely an Englishman who does not almost every day of his life offend with impunity against some express law, and for which, in a certain conjuncture of circumstances, he would not receive punishment.  Gaming-houses, preaching at prohibited places, assembled crowds, nocturnal amusements, public shows, and a hundred other instances, are forbid and frequented.  These prohibitions are useful;  though it be prudent in their magistrates, and happy for the people, that they are not enforced, and none but the venal or mercenary attempt to enforce them.

The law in this case, like an indulgent parent, still keeps the rod, though the child is seldom corrected.  Were those pardoned offences to rise into enormity, were they likely to obstruct the happiness of society, or endanger the state, it is then that justice would resume her terrors, and punish those faults she had so often overlooked with indulgence.  It is to this ductility of the laws that an Englishman owes the freedom he enjoys superior to others in a more popular government:  every step, therefore, the constitution takes towards a democratic form, every diminution of the regal authority, is , in fact, a diminution of the subject's freedom;  but every attempt to render the government more popular not only impairs natural liberty, but even will at last dissolve the political constitution.

Every popular constitution seems calculated to last only for a time:  it grows rigid with age;  new laws are multiplying, and the old continue in force;  the subjects are oppressed, burdened with a multiplicity of legal injunctions;  there are none from whom to expect redress, and nothing but a strong convulsion in the state can vindicate them into former liberty:  thus the people of Rome, a few great ones excepted, found more real freedom under the emperors, though tyrants, than they had experienced in the old age of the commonwealth, in which their laws were become numerous and painful, in which new laws were every day enacting, and the old ones executed with rigour.  They even refused to be reinstated in their former prerogatives, upon an offer made them to this purpose;  for they actually found emperors the only means of softening the rigours of their constitution.

The constitution of England is at present possessed of the strength of its native oak and the flexibility of the bending tamarisk;  but should the people at any time, with a mistaken zeal, pant after an imaginary freedom, and fancy that abridging monarchy was increasing their privileges, they would be very much mistaken, since every jewel plucked from the crown of majesty would only be made use of as a bribe to corruption:  it might enrich the few who shared it among them, but would in fact impoverish the public.

As the Roman senators, by slow and imperceptible degrees, became masters of the people, yet still flattered them with a show of freedom, while themselves only were free:  so it is possible for a body of men, while they stand up for privileges, to grow into an exuberance of power themselves;  and the public become actually dependent, while some of its individuals only govern.

If then, my friend, there should in this country ever be on the throne a king who, through good nature or age, should give up the smallest part of his prerogative to the people;  if there should come a minister of merit and popularity--but I have room for no more.--Adieu" The Citizen of the World by Oliver Goldsmith Letter Fifty

Eighteenth Century Reality TV

"But these people are not more fond of wonders than liberal in rewarding those who show them.  From the wonderful dog of knowledge, at present under the patronage of the nobility, down to the man with the box, who professes to show 'the best imitation of nature that was ever seen,' they all live in luxury.  A singing woman shall collect subscriptions in her own coach and six;  a fellow shall make a fortune by tossing a straw hat from his toe to his nose;  one in particular has found that eating fire was the most ready way to live;  and, another, who jingles several bells fixed to his cap, is the only man that I know of who has received emolument from the labours of his head.

A young author, a man of good-nature and learning, was complaining to me some nights ago of this misplaced generosity of the times.  'Here,' says he, 'have I spent part of my youth in attempting to instruct and amuse my fellow-creatures, and all my reward has been solitude, poverty, and reproach;  while a fellow, possessed of even the smallest share of fiddling merit, or who has perhaps learned to whistle double, is rewarded, applauded, and caressed!'  'Prithee, young man,' says I to him, 'are you ignorant, that in so large a city as this it is better to be an amusing than a useful member of society?  Can you leap up, and touch your feet four times before you come to the ground?'  'No, sir.'  'Can you pimp for a man of quality?'  'No, sir.'  'Can you stand upon two horses at full speed?'  'No, sir.'  'Can you swallow a penknife?'  'I can do none of these tricks.'  'Why then,' cried I, 'there is no other prudent means of subsistence left, but to apprise the town that you speedily intend to eat up your own nose by subscription.'The Citizen of the World by Oliver Goldsmith, Letter Forty-Five

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Toryism in a Nutshell

"Politics, however, was the subject on which our entertainer chiefly expatieted;  for he asserted that liberty was at once his boast and his terror.  After the cloth was removed, he asked me if I had seen the last Monitor?  to which, replying in the negative, "What! nor the Auditor, I suppose?" cried he.  "Neither, sir," returned I.  "That's strange, very strange!" replied my entertainer.  "Now, I read all the politics that come out:  the Daily, the Public, the Ledger, the Chronicle, the London Evening, the Whitehall Evening, the seventeen Magazines, and the two Reviews;  and, though they hate each other, I love them all.  Liberty, sir, liberty is the Briton's boast!  and, by all my coal-mines in Cornwall, I reverence its guardians."--"Then, it is to be hoped," cried I, "you reverence the King?"  "Yes," returned my entertainer, "when he does what we would have him;  but if he goes on as he has done of late, I'll never trouble myself more with his matters.  I say nothing.  I think, only, I could have directed some things better.  I don't think there has been a sufficient number of advisors:  he should advise with every person willing to give him advice, and then we should have things done in another guess manner."  "I wish," cried I, " that such intruding advisors were fixed in the pillory.  It should be the duty of honest men to assist the weaker side of the constitution, that sacred power that has for some years been every day declining, and losing its due share of influence in the state.  But these ignorants still continue the same cry of liberty, and, if they have any weight, basely throw it into the subsiding scale."  "How!" cried one of the ladies, "do I live to see one so base, so sordid, as to be an enemy to liberty, and a defender of tyrants?  Liberty, that sacred gift of Heaven, that glorious privilege of Britons!"  "Can it be possible," cried our entertainer, "that there should be found at present advocates for slavery?  Any who are for meanly giving up the privileges of Britons?  Can any, sir, be so abject?"  "No, sir," replied I, "I am for liberty! that attribute of gods! Glorious liberty! that theme of modern declamation! I would have all men kings!  I would be a king myself.  We have all an equal right to the throne:  we are all originally equal.  This is my opinion, and was once the opinion of a set of honest men who were called Levellers.  They tried to erect themselves into a community where all should be equally free.  But, alas! it would never answer:  for there were some among them stronger, and some more cunning than others, and sure as your groom rides your horses, because he is a cunninger animal than they, so surely will the animal that is cunninger or stronger than he, sit upon his shoulders in turn.  Since, then, it is entailed upon humanity to submit, and some are born to command and others to obey, the question is, as there must be tyrants, whether it is better to have them in the same house with us, or in the same village, or still further off, in the metropolis.  Now, sir, for my own part, as I naturally hate the face of a tyrant, the farther off he is removed from me the better pleased am I.  The generality of mankind also are of my way of thinking, and have unanimously created one king, whose election at once diminishes the number of tyrants, and puts tyranny at the greatest distance from the greatest number of people.  Now the great, who were tyrants themselves before the election of one tyrant, are naturally averse to a power raised over them, and whose weight must lean heaviest on the subordinate orders.  It is the interest of the great, therefore, to diminish kingly power as much as possible;  because, whatever they take from that is naturally restored to themselves;  and all they have to do in the state is to undermine the single tyrant, by which they resume their primeval authority.  Now, the state may be so disposed, or its men of opulence so minded, as all to conspire in this business of undermining monarchy.  For, in the first place, if the circumstances of our state be such as to favour the accumulation of wealth, and make the opulent still more rich, this will increase their ambition.  An accumulation of wealth, however, must necessarily be the consequence, when, as at present, more riches flow in from external commerce than arise from internal industry;  so that the rich, with us , have two sources of wealth, whereas the poor have but one.  For this reason, wealth, in all commercial states, is found to accumulate;  and all such have hitherto in time become aristocratical.  Again, the very laws of this country may contribute to the accumulation of wealth;  as when, by their means, the natural ties that bind the rich and the poor together are broken, and it is ordained that the rich shall only marry with the rich;  or when the learned are held unqualified to serve their country as counsellors, merely from a defect of opulence, and wealth is thus made the object of a wise man's ambition:  by these means, I say, and such means as these, riches will accumulate.  Now, the possessor of accumulated wealth, when furnished with the necessaries and pleasures of life has no other method to employ the superfluity of his fortune but in purchasing power.  That is, differently speaking, in making dependents, by purchasing the liberty of the needy or venal, of men who are willing to bear the mortification of contiguous tyranny for bread.  Thus each very opulent man generally gathers around him a circle of the poorest of the people;  and the polity abounding in accumulated wealth may be compared to a Cartesian system, each orb with a vortex of its own.  Those, however, who are willing to move in a great man's vortex, are only such as must be slaves, the rabble of mankind, whose souls and whose education are adapted to servitude,and who know nothing of liberty except the name.  But then there must still be a large number of the people without the sphere of the opulent man's influence;  namely, that order of men which subsists between the very rich and the very rabble;  those men who are possessed of too large fortunes to submit to the neighboring man in power, and yet are too poor to set up for tyranny themselves.  In this middle order of mankind are generally to be found all the arts, wisdom, and virtues of society.  This order alone is known to be the true preserver of freedom, and may be called  THE PEOPLE.  Now, it may happen that the middle order of mankind may lose all its influence in a state, and its voice be in a manner drowned in that of the rabble;  for, if the fortune sufficient for qualifying a person at present to give his voice in state affairs be ten times less than was judged sufficient upon forming the constitution, it is evident that great numbers of the rabble will thus be introduced into the political system, and they, ever moving in the vortex of the great, will follow where the greatness shall direct.  In such a state, therefore, all that the middle order has left is to preserve the prerogative and privileges of the one principle governor with the most sacred circumspection.  For he divides the power of the rich, and calls off the great from falling with tenfold weight on the middle order placed beneath them.  The middle order may be compared to a town of which the opulent are forming the siege, and of which the governor from without is hastening the relief.  While the besiegers are in dread of an enemy over them, it is but natural to offer the townsmen the most specious terms;  to flatter them with sounds, and amuse them with privileges;  but if they once defeat the governor from behind, the walls of the town will be but a small defence to its inhabitants.  What they may then expect, may be seen by turning our eyes to Holland, Genoa, or Venice, where the laws govern the poor, and the rich govern the law.  I am then for, and would die for monarchy, sacred monarchy:  for if there be anything sacred amongst men, it must be the anointed SOVEREIGN of his people;  and every dimunition of his power, in war or in peace, is an infringement upon the real liberties of the subject."
The Vicar of Wakefield, Chapter Nineteen, by Oliver Goldsmith

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Defoe, Gay, and Snoop Dogg

Having read a internet news story about how Snoop Dogg has endorsed Obama, Estase will, as usual, relate it back to the eighteenth century.  John Gay's The Beggar's Opera is the origin of what may be called hip hop Whiggery, along with that remarkable Daniel Defoe novel Moll Flanders.  These two works are a celebration of criminality, where the thieving Moll Flanders (we never learn her actual name) describes her life of thievery.  The Beggar's Opera celebrates a whole society on the take, from the simply corrupt lawyer to the king of the thieves, Bob Bluff (Walpole).  Are these works designed to turn morality inside out?  Or is the point simply that people who cannot profit in legitimate ways will find other ways to profit?  Estase tends to believe the second explanation, particularly in the case of his fave Daniel Defoe, champion of the tradesman.  Unlike Jonathan Swift, who held shopkeepers and tradesmen in low esteem, Defoe exalted this new commercial middle class.  So when Defoe explored the criminal underbelly of Britain, it was perhaps with an eye towards what might happen when the legitimate commerce of a nation becomes impossible.

On a totally unrelated note, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has sent out a threatening note discouraging churches from participation in the 2012 election, which would have absolutely nothing to do with the current president's obsession with gay marriage and abortion.  The letter promises that any church that involves itself with politics will lose non-profit status with the IRS.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Future

Refrain:Things are gonna slide, slide in all directions
             Won't be nothing you can measure anymore
              The blizzard of the World has crossed the threshold
              And it's overturned the order of the soul
               When they said repent I wonder what they meant (3X)
1st Verse:Gimme back my broken night, my mirrored room, my secret life
                It's lonely here there's no one here to torture
                Give me absolute control over every living soul
                 And lie beside me baby that's an order
                Gimme crack and anal sex
                 Take the only tree that's left and stuff it up the hole in your culture
                 Give me back the Berlin Wall
                 Give me Stalin and St. Paul
                  I've seen the future brother, it is murder

2nd Verse:  You don't know me from the wind
                  You never will you never did
                   All the little children who wrote the Bible
                   I've seen the nations rise and fall heard their stories heard them all
                   But love's the only engine of survival
                   Your servant here he has been told to say it clear, say it cold
                    It's over it ain't going any further
                   And now the wheels of Heaven stop
                    You feel the devil's riding crop
                    Get ready for the future it is murder

3rd Verse:    There'll be the breaking of the ancient Western code
                    Your private life will suddenly explode
                    There'll be phantoms, there'll be fires on the road
                    And the white men dancin'
                     You'll see your woman hanging upside down
                     Her features covered by her falling gown
                      And all the lousy little poets come around trying to sound like Charlie 
                     And the white men dancin'
                      Give me back the Berlin Wall, give me Stalin and St. Paul
                      Give me Christ or give me Hiroshima
                      Destroy another fetus now we don't like children anyhow
                      I seen the future baby, it is murder

                                                               Leonard Cohen

Friday, September 28, 2012

Are Clergy Like the Klan?

In a piece for the Washington Post entitled "The Tangled Web of Conflicting Rights," the great George F. Will discusses a case where a New Mexico photographer is being sued for discrimination for refusing to photograph a homosexual commitment ceremony.  The piece of course brings to mind Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity by James Fitzjames Stephens, where Mr. Stephens made the point very well that what one person regards as a right can often be viewed by another as the violation of a right.  One might well say that the couple could easily have hired a less objecting photographer, but such is apparently an outdated notion that in a world of many photographers, one might reasonably object to photographing something that violates their conscience.  No, today is the day when one might use the blunt instrument of coercion to punish people for their scruples.  A commenter calling themselves Truth Be Told 3 said that Will would never have defended a photographer who refused to photograph an interracial wedding, thus pretending religious teachings are in the same class as racism.  This is the pro-homosexual meme, acting as though thinking homosexuality is religiously prohibited is akin to racism.  Thus, the left can relive their glory days of the 1960s by pretending that by advocating gay sex, they are like the Freedom Riders, or the little kids hit with fire hoses.  They may also conveniently forget that marching in places like Selma, Alabama were the clergy, the same people who this analogy parallels with the KKK.

Catholic News Agency had a piece about a Serbian doctor named Stojan Adasevic who was converted from his abortion practice by a nocturnal visit from Thomas Aquinas.  One of the main failures of Aquinas was the fact that he believed quickening was the point at which a pregnancy began, which perhaps is a mistake the great Dominican is trying to correct from beyond the grave.  Vice-President Biden once pointed to the Dumb Ox's mistaken opinion as the reason why he was a pro-abort, neglecting the fact that medical science knows much more about embryology than it did in the thirteenth century.   In another piece of liberal buffoonery, People's Republic of Illinois Governor Pat Quinn says that he needs to raise the already-high minimum wage even higher because the current rate of $8.25 is "unbiblical."  This is the same Governor Pat Quinn that drove Catholic Charities out of the adoption business by mandating that all adoption agencies place children with homosexual families.  But now Governor Quinn is concerned about the Bible, so much so that he doesn't mind reducing the hours of minimum wage workers.  So let me get this straight, the clergy are like the Klan, but forcing workers to get by on fewer hours is biblical?

A MSNBC contributor named Mona Eltahawy spray-painted over a pro-Israel advertisment in a New York subway, and the Transit Authority decided that it was the advertiser's fault.  Daniel Greenfield's piece in FrontPageMag says the woman exclaimed as she was being arrested that all she was doing was expressing herself.  So are Muslims more entitled to religious speech and belief than Christians? 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

47% and the Sfear of Influence

The sfear of influence Estase discussed a few weeks ago reared its head with the Mother Jones video where Mitt Romney discusses how he feels 47% of the nation is unwilling to vote for him since it pays no income taxes, and much of that same group receives government benefits.  The previous post said that if Romney went after the issue of cutting taxes, that the left would paint that as a self-interested statement rather than a matter of broader economic policy.  The controversy the left has attempted to gin up over Romney's remarks have followed this vein.  Although Romney didn't broach the issue of people unwilling to confront the fact that some draw benefits from the government, and hence stand to gain nothing from a tax cut in the most delicate way, he was absolutely right.  As Justice Holmes observed over 100 years ago, any time one offers to rob Peter to pay Paul, you will always have Paul's vote.  The only problem is, Paul won't like to hear about Peter's grievance, and will be altogether happy to have Mr. Politician tell him that he is entitled to have Peter "pay his fair share."  Paul will also go to the Occupy rally, and between episodes of public defecation, shout about how the 1% should have their money given to the 99%.  The statistics are of course, faulty.  It is the 47% who enjoy the benefits of the 53%.  And the top 5% pays almost half of the taxes in the United States.  Romney needs, of course, to confront this issue head-on.  But, just as he wants to steer clear of the social issues most Republicans care at least a little about, Romney also seems afraid of talking about economic issues.  So if Romney will let the left get away with their heuristic of how Romney doesn't care about the middle class, how does he expect to win the election.  Bitter a pill as it is to swallow, Romney must talk about his sfear of influence, because it is, right now, the main thing he has to run upon.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Mamby-Pamby, etc.

Everyone is familiar with the penchant lefties have for saying that Republicans are stupid.  Most trace it to J.S. Mill, and his-oft quoted statement that most stupid people are conservatives.  It is actually even older than that.  Whig P.M. Robert Walpole suffered a shower of condescension about his patronage of Colley Cibber as Poet Laureate.  Ever heard someone call someone effeminate by calling them 'Mamby-Pamby?"  The phrase Mamby-Pamby was originally a reference to Ambrose Phillips, a Whig literateur.  One of Jonathan Swift's favorite modes of attack was to say that Richard Steele and Estase's fave Daniel Defoe were poorly educated ignorami.  An eighteenth century paper called Mist's Journal published the following insult to Cibber and Steele:

            Thus Colley Cibber to his Partner Steele,
             See here, Sir Knight, how I've outdone Corneille;
             See here, how I, my Patron to inveigle,
             Make Addison a Wren, and you an Eagle.
             Safe to the silent shades, we bid Defiance;
             For living Dogs are better than dead Lions.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Weingartz Supply Company Case

An Alinskyite group of leftist bottom feeders called Credo Super PAC has taken on Representatives Joe Walsh of Illinois, Steve King of Iowa, and Allen West of Florida.  Not surprisingly, they have also targeted Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.  The so-called Tea Party Ten are targeted for being conservatives both socially and fiscally.  Petasus tip to Matthew Vadum at Front Page Magazine.

And, as Monty Python used to say, for something completely different!  Viewer traffic indicates an interest in the quidnunc I did last winter on Jane Fonda and her pro-communist fellow travellers in relation to Wal-Mart selling Jane Fonda videos.
"Paul Galanti, a Navy pilot who was shot down over Vietnam in June 1966 and then spent seven years in Communist captivity as a POW, remembers {Senator John} Kerry's antiwar rhetoric all too well.  Galanti told The Los Angeles Times in February 2004 that during torture sessions his North Vietnamese captors had cited anti-war speeches as 'an example of why we should cross over to [their]side.'  As far as Galanti was concerned, 'Kerry broke a covenant among servicemen never to make public criticisms that might jeopardize those still in battle or in the hands of the enemy.'  Galanti's criticism of Kerry was particularly biting:'John Kerry was a traitor to the men he served with.'  Now retired and in his sixties, Galanti refuses to abandon his anger at Kerry.  'I don't plan to set it aside.  I don't know anyone who does,' he was quoted as saying.  'The Vietnam memorial has thousands of additional names due to John Kerry and others like him.'(p 107-108)  Noted extremists were involved in organizing the Winter Soldier Investigation.  Jane Fonda was a key financial supporter and the honorary national coordinator of the event.  This was Fonda's Mao period, complete with Viet Cong flags, red star costumes, and frequently photographed expressions of her clenched fist raised in anger.  The second major financial sponsor was Mark Lane, whose 1966 book Rush to Judgment had played a key role in advancing the conspiracy theories rampant in the years following the JFK assassination.  Lane had published a new book, Conversations with Americans, featuring interviews with Vietnam veterans who described war crimes and atrocities.  To raise money for the Winter Soldier Investigation, Fonda and Lane planned a series of fundraising concerts and speaking appearances throughout the United States prior to the hearings, focusing largely on college campuses.(p109-110) John Kerry may believe in his own mind that his participation in the antiwar cause lifted him to a new moral plane, one where he would not be restricted by conventional legal distinctions or commonsense understandings of patriotism.  Yet, the record shows that Kerry and the VVAW {Vietnam Veterans Against the War} consistently coordinated their efforts with Communists, both foreign and domestic, represented the Communist positions, and repeated their grossly exaggerated claims of American atrocities.  In fact, it is hard to find any disagreement whatsoever between Kerry's words and actions as a leader of the VVAW and those of the Hanoi and Viet Cong leadership.  Had Madame Binh herself been permitted to appear at the July 22, 1971, press conference instead of John Kerry, the most noteable difference in the argument presented might have been the absence of a Boston accent.  John Kerry was clearly welcomed warmly by the Vietnamese Communists.  His propaganda value was obvious--a good-looking, clean-shaven, well-spoken, decorated American war hero.  How could any Communist apologist not see that here was the next candidate to carry their anti-American message back home?  John Kerry had no difficulty getting an appointment from Madame Binh.  The Communists welcomed him.(p 129)  From July 8, 1972, through July 22, 1972, Jane Fonda made her famous visit to Hanoi, where she delivered radio broadcasts to American and South Vietnamese military personnel encouraging mutiny and desertion, while repeatedly claiming that the United States was responsible for war crimes and atrocities.  Fonda visited American POWs in Hanoi, reporting in broadcasts from Hanoi that the American prisoners were being 'well cared for' and that they wished to convey their 'sense of disgust of the war and their shame for what they have been asked to do.'  A photograph was taken of Fonda sitting in a North Vietnamese antiaircraft gun, wearing a Vietnamese helmet, surrounded by North Vietnamese military.  Upon leaving North Vietnam, Fonda accepted from her hosts a ring made from the wreckage of a downed American plane.(p159;  Unfit for Command, by John E. O'Neill and Jerome R. Corsi)

Remember the name Weingartz Supply Company, because it might end up like the name Schechter Poultry Company.  Bob Unruh has a September 6,2012 article in World Net Daily about how DOJ lawyers are arguing that the Catholic owners of Weingartz Supply Company in Michigan cannot object to abortion and contraception requirements in Obamacare. Also in the same state, Central Michigan University student Zach Tennen is brutally beaten by apparent neo-nazis when he identifies himself as being Jewish.  So being Jewish isn't any safer than being Christian.  We live today under a return to barbarism, where no religion is safe from bigotry and persecution.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Atlantic:"Pro-Lifers Racist"

Tip of the petasus to Father Z of What Does the Prayer Really Say.  Brian Fung of Atlantic Magazine says that the pro-life movement is aimed at harming poor minorities.  Whereas Brian Fung of Atlantic thinks killing the offspring of poor minorities is helping them.  Reminds Estase (as most things do) of Eighteenth Century England.  In his Importance of the Guardian Considered, Tory firebrand and general asshole Jonathan Swift attacked a letter written by Richard Steele.  Steele's crime?  By suggesting that the Harley/Bolingbroke ministry should demolish the port of Dunkirk (which the ministry Swift wrote on behalf of actually wanted to do anyway), Steele was ordering about Queen Anne.  Make sense?  No, me neither.  And this is why Fung's argument is dung.  Just as how Swift was berating someone for insulting the Queen just because they advocated a policy, Fung is implying race animosity based on a policy position.  The only difference is that two hundred years after his death, Jonathan Swift is recognized as a master literary figure and Brian Fung, well, he just writes for a liberal magazine.

Update:  In reviewing election results on MSNBC, Nancy Giles comes to the same erroneous conclusion as Brian Fung.  Giles theorizes that pro-lifers want "to build up the white race," neglecting the fact that it is by and large future black and hispanic voters whom abortion eliminates.

Update:  An education weenie theorizes that the term "PB&J Sandwich" is racist because, get this, non-English speakers don't use the term sandwich to refer to materials between bread.  In a related vein of idiocy, Shiitetown Mayor Rahm Emmanuel is under attack by. . .  Yes, oddly enough, now the salonistas consider the President's former attack dog to be a terrible right-winger for opposing the almighty teacher's unions by asking for, gasp, accountablity for the best paid teachers in America.  By the way, it isn't Chicagoans who will pay the bill for the nonfunctional Mercedes-Benz that is the Chicago Public Schools, it is we benighted downstate Illinoisans who will really subsidize this nonsense.  But then again, an Accuracy in Media story by Mary Grabar details how a friend of Bill Ayers, bomber-educator, named Linda Darling-Hammond is instituting, with the support of the Obama Education Secretary Arnie Duncan, a new national education standard called Common Core.  Contrary to what its name suggests, Common Core is intended to replace the literary tradition with popular culture, replace the founding documents with radical texts, and in general indoctrinate the students of America with Oh Blah Blah's social values.  So perhaps the teacher's unions are unaware of what their mayor really intends for their job to be--Democratic party recruiters.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Lex Christianorum: Stoics: The Chrysippian Synthesis

Lex Christianorum: Stoics: The Chrysippian Synthesis
This quidnunc has admirably tackled the topic of Stoicism.

Creative Minority Report: Pro-Life Dems: None So Blind

Creative Minority Report: Pro-Life Dems: None So Blind
A comment on the NCR version of this piece talks about how the Democrats are still better because they care about "the least among us," etc.  This is Seamless Garment baloney at its worst.  We are to reject the soulless individualism of Republicanism so that we may show our respect for the poor by aborting their young at taxpayer expense.  The fact that so many Catholic Bishops embrace this nonsense is yet another problem.  Many priests prayed for Obamacare to pass in general intercessions, only to watch that program require the Catholic Church to fund contraception and abortion for its employees.  But the Democrats care more about the least among us!

Locke on Abortion

In June 2010, I left a note on Libertas et Memoria, Mark in Spokane's quidnunc, about the pro-choice potential in John Locke.  "In Concerning Human Understanding Book II Chapter Twenty-Seven, Locke defines persons as 'only{. . .}intelligent agents, capable of a law, and happiness, and misery.'  In Book III, Chapter Six, Locke suggests that it would be permissible to kill a misshapen infant of poor intellect.  He questions the meaning of the word 'life' in Book III Chapter Ten.  In Book III Chapter Eleven, Locke says that killing a misshapen infant is permissible only if it has no 'rational soul,' by which Locke means having poor intellect.  Another idea Locke is fascinated with is 'the changeling,' described as an animal and having a narrow, flat, long face (Book IV Chapter Four), and what is most disturbing about this is that it seems apparent to me that Locke is talking about developmentally disabled people when he talks about changelings.  He also uses the term 'monster' to describe them.  It is hard to avoid thinking Locke would enthusiastically support abortion were he alive today."

A Bruno Waterfield article in the London Telegraph should 'leave their beliefs at home or get another job'.html says that British Muslims may wear a headscarf, but British Christians may not wear a crucifix.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

What Won't Perdue Do?

With a tip of the petasus to Adrienne's Corner, North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue is apparently a big fan of Planned Parenthood and taxpayer-supported abortion.  Hmmm. . . that name sounds familiar!  Oh yes, this was the same madcap who wanted to suspend the 2012 election (See my previous quidnunc "Septennial Act Redux")!  So, of course, it is no coincidence that Governor Perdue wants to, shall we say, bend the law.  It is all to bolster the abortion party.  The Dems like to use hyperbolic language about how Republicans want to take away everyone's rights, chase liberals out of the country, force women into barefoot kitchen servitude, but never mind when Democrats propose actual violations of law like skipping elections.  I really am surprised Governor Perdue didn't just suggest naming Barack Obama as Maximum Jefe, President-for-Life.

Update:  As of September 6, wife-murdering policeman Drew Peterson is convicted of murder.  No doubt, Governor Perdue will endorse some absurd violation of the law, such as she has done in recommending the suspension of the 2012 election.  Maybe instead of being sent to prison, Peterson will be made the White House Advisor on Wife Disappearance.  The murder czar, I can see it now!  Tip of the petasus to Riehl World View:  Congressman Ellison, who definitely is not an extreme CAIR affiliated Muslim, is irritated with his party's insertion of pro-Israel language into the party platform.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fixing Catholic Relief Services

When one donates to an organization calling itself "Catholic," they typically expect certain things.  They expect that it serves the needs of the poor in a way typical of Christian Catholic values.  They do not expect it to employ those who abhor those values, or for it to take money or give money to those who support abortion.
      LifeSite News of August 1, 2012 has an article by John-Henry Westen that reports that Catholic Relief Services is accepting money from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which supports contraception and abortion in developing countries.  It gave the pro-abortion group CARE International $5.3 million.  Catholic Relief Services is a member of the pro-abortion CORE group, to which it pays $3,000 in membership fees.  CRS employees Mary Hennigan and Shannon Senefeld sit on CORE's board of directors and HIV/AIDS working groups respectively.
      LifeSite News of August 21, 2012 has an article by Patrick B. Craine that is even more explosive, detailing that several employees of Catholic Relief Services have pro-abortion backgrounds.  Daphyne Williams interned at Pro-Choice Resources before joining CRS in 2008.  Dr. Amy Ellis came to CRS after working for Population Services International.  While working for CRS, she gave a presentation at the International Conference on Family Planning.  Dr. Pun Sok came to CRS from CARE, which, as before stated, promotes abortion.  Finally, CRS employee Charisse Espy Glassman was such a dedicated pro-abort that she, while employed by Catholic Relief Services, deliberately drove her car into marchers at the DC March for Life in January 2011.  Clearly, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops needs to reform Catholic Relief Services every bit as much as it needs to reform Campaign for Human Development, so that the faithful are not gulled into funding causes they detest.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Scapegoats

The Primrose League is trying to disavow social conservatives again.  Riehl World View has a piece about how social conservatives need to figure out which side they're on.  This is a disingenuous statement;  social conservatives know damn well which side they're on.  Either it's Republicans or a party that is openly contemptuous of people of faith.  Either it's Republicans or people who want to force Catholics to bankroll contraception.  I could go on, but you get the point.  The real issue is that the Primrose League knows social conservatives have no where else to go.  This is the reason why they think they are an embarrassment, the country cousins whose votes they need, but whom they wish to disavow and blame for their image problems.  So when an idiot like Todd Akin puts his foot in it, this gives the Primrose League a fit.  They would rather run on pure economic policy, which is rather different than the attitude of Democrats.  Democrats love NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and all the rest of the culture of death.  When the abortion industry is embarrassed, the Democrats don't abandon them the way the Primrose League wants to jettison social conservatives.  So as abominable as the Democratic Party is in what it aims to do, they at least have more loyalty to their own than Republicans show their own.  Maybe Akin should step out of the way, but Republicans are almost buying into the idea the Democrats are fostering that Akin is somehow typical of social conservatives.  It isn't surprising that liberals would think social conservatives are bumpkins, but it is rather disturbing when the Primrose League thinks so.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Three Irreverent Songs, From Worst to Best

Three examples of songs disrespectful of religion immediately come to mind.  The first, and worst, is Joan Osborne's "One of Us," which is a nearly atonal ditty wherein Ms. Osborne opines God might be a "slob" riding a bus, whose only communication is with the Pope.  Thus, "One of Us" is the Rock for Choice anthem of disbelief.  Second, Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach" begins with mock classical instrumentation that leads into a typical 80s pop song.  What is remarkable about the Madonna song to Estase is that the character in the song apparently intends to have her baby.  Given the star's personal life, it is surprising that the song doesn't point to an abortion.  And for all its debatable morality, the Madonna song has more going for it than the Joan Osborne one.  Third is my favorite, the Electric Light Orchestra song "King of the Universe," which is only slightly disrespectful to religion.  As a matter of fact, I have more religious feeling from "King of the Universe" than from such dreadful ecclesiastical offerings as "Gather Us In."  Lyrically, nothing is truly heretical about "King of the Universe," and only the song's grandiosity suggests it is a tongue-in-cheek song about the Almighty.  Appearing on the 1973 album On the Third Day, "King of the Universe" can be seen in its context of songs about death as a reflection on mortality and the meaning of life.