Bjorn Andreas Bull-Hansen asks: “Coronavirus & covid-19: Is this how freedom dies?”

I like Bjorn Andreas Bull-Hansen, because he is even-tempered, reasonable / rational, and thoughtful. I like other YouTube videocasters, too, but folks like Dr. Steve Turley can sometimes be a little too bombastic and ebullient, and Marcus Follin (a.k.a. “The Golden One“) a little too narcissistic (although he’s gotten better since becoming a father), for me to take in large doses. But Bjorn Andreas Bull-Hansen seems like a guy I’d love to sit in the woods with, by a campfire, sipping coffee and talking about these things.

And we do indeed live in troubling times! At this writing, many things in my home state are closed down – schools, government offices, gyms, bars, restaurants (except carryout) – and the Federal authorities are recommending avoiding gatherings with more than 10 people. I am willing to accept that we need to deal with certain restrictions on movement, on gathering, etc., while the authorities try to get a handle on this virus.

And there are enough different countries affected, with enough different types of governments, on enough different locations on the political spectrum, and enough responsible, respectable medical personnel involved – and genuinely concerned – that I do not think this is a hoax, or a tempest in a teapot.

I’d rather us do more than necessary, and it end up looking (at least here in the States, as it’s already been pretty bad in some other countries) like – as one commentator put it – “a great big nothing-burger” than to have us not take it seriously enough, and it ends up killing thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or more people. To that end, I’m willing to put up with a good bit of inconvenience, even frustration.

I am more concerned, as Bull-Hansen says, with what comes after. The government – the various governments – have now had, for the first time in a very long time, probably since the end of World War Two (a conflict with a very specific enemy, or group of enemies, and a very specific end-point), experience with imposing curfews, travel restrictions, restrictions on the size of assemblies, and so on. And like the war on terrorism, a war on viruses does not have a clear end-point. You can’t have a ceremony on a battleship to sign a peace treaty ending a war with a disease.

So, the government has, in a sense, tasted blood. Like a sheep-killing dog, are they going to be able to go back to being the family pet? Something they haven’t been, for a very long time, anyway! Not since the 1860s, at least. What will be the next excuse? Or the next, to all appearances, legitimate reason? I’m a historian. Most dictatorships, most authoritarian forms of government, don’t come into being without what are initially good reasons, or what seem to be good reasons. But once the camel’s nose is in the tent…

Well. As Bull-Hansen put it, “we need to be alert, vigilant. We need to think for ourselves. We will be tested in the days, weeks, and months to come.” Beyond that… we’ll see.

We’ll see.

 

“Of, by, and for the people”…? A reflection for Lincoln’s birthday

Image result for lincoln monument

Today, the 12th of February, is the birthday of one whom some celebrate as the “savior of his country,” while others of us excoriate as a vicious tyrant who may have “saved the Union,” but who in the process trampled the Constitution and destroyed the Constitutional Republic our Founders bequeathed to us. I refer, of course, to Abraham Lincoln.

Aside from the grossly misnamed “Emancipation Proclamation,” which “emancipated” not a single slave – it applied only to the Confederacy, and areas under CSA control, in which Mr. Lincoln’s writ did not run, and specifically excluded all areas (including those slave states which had remained in the Union, and also formerly Confederate areas then under Union occupation) in which it did – Lincoln is best-known for his “Gettysburg Address,” in which he claims, inter alia, that

“Fourscore and seven years ago, our Fathers brought forth on this continent a new Nation.”

In point of fact, of course, eighty-seven years prior to his 1863 Address, our Founding Fathers declared, in the Declaration of Independence, that “these United Colonies are, and by right ought to be, free and independent States.” Plural. That is something rather different. But of course Lincoln, frontier lawyer that he was, was never one to let truth get in the way of a good line!

He also piously proclaimed that this new Nation (first an alliance, then a Confederacy, and only later a Federal Union: now, arguably, not even so much as that) was “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” True, as far as it goes. But as one commentator has noted, it is interesting – and significant – that he did not follow that thought to its conclusion, in the Declaration, which includes these words:

“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of those ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it and institute a new Government.”

The reason he did not point this out is obvious; but that he made the reference at all is indicative of the fact that he expected that, even then, not to many of his hearers would be familiar enough with our founding documents to make the connection. He was undoubtedly right, as his words – and not the full quote from the Declaration – have been slavishly repeated, ad nauseam, down through the 150+ years since he made that Address. And given the state of education, currently, there are even fewer now who would make it.

Thus me pointing it out!

He also made, in this Address, the outrageous claim that the War Between the States – the War of Northern Aggression, erroneously called by him (and again, echoed since) the “Civil War” (1) – was fought “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Nothing could have been further from the truth. As H.L. Mencken was later to accurately point out,

“The Gettysburg speech is at once the shortest and the most famous oration in American history. Put beside it, all the whoopings of the Websters, Sumners and Everetts seem gaudy and silly. It is eloquence brought to a pellucid and almost child-like perfection—the highest emotion reduced to one graceful and irresistible gesture. Nothing else precisely like it is to be found in the whole range of oratory. Lincoln himself never even remotely approached it. It is genuinely stupendous.

But let us not forget that it is oratory, not logic; beauty, not sense. Think of the argument in it.  Put it into the cold words of everyday. The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination — ‘that government of the people, by the people, for the people,’ should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in that battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves.

“What was the practical effect of the battle of Gettysburg? What else than the destruction of the old sovereignty of the States, i.e., of the people of the States? The Confederates went into battle free; they came out with their freedom subject to the supervision and veto of the rest of the country — and for nearly twenty years that veto was so effective that they enjoyed scarcely more liberty, in the political sense, than so many convicts in the penitentiary.”

As the commentator noted above (whose whole essay is well worth a read) points out, “The states that left the Union to join the Confederacy did so in the true sense of the Jeffersonian principle of self-government, as stated in the Declaration. Lincoln’s invasion of the Confederate States stood that idea on its head.” And of course, “Representative democracy would have continued in the Union and in the Confederacy regardless of the outcome” of the War.

Far from preserving liberty, equality, or representative government, the precedent set – of control and domination over the States by the central, Federal government in Washington, D.C. – by that terrible War, which killed half a million Americans entirely without need (2), continues to echo down through the ages, to our detriment.

This is what you are celebrating, if you choose to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday.

Please – think about it.


1)  A civil war is one fought between two or more factions for control of the central government. The Confederacy had no desire to run the Union! It merely wished to withdraw from it, and to enjoy the freedom to work out its own destiny in peace.

2)  The ending of slavery was emphatically, and by Lincoln’s own admission, not the aim of the War, and even if it had been, is it logical that the U.S., alone among the nations of the world, needed a horrific and destructive war to end an institution all the others ended peacefully?

 

Why I am a Jeffersonian, part 2!

Screenshot_2020-02-02 (2) Tara Ross - Posts

Source: Tara Ross | Facebook

“On this day in 1816, Thomas Jefferson writes a letter to a friend. He speaks of the need to keep power separated between the national and state governments. Such a division of labor, Jefferson notes, protects liberty.

“Perhaps it would also help the country to be less angry at each other? Consider that if Texas and California don’t have to agree on everything, then there is less cause for upset. Each state can simply make its own decisions and live its own way.”

My goodness, what a radical concept….! Here is a fuller expression of the theme, from Mr. Jefferson:

“[T]he way to have good and safe government, is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to every one exactly the functions he is competent to. Let the national government be entrusted with the defence of the nation, and its foreign and federal relations; the State governments with the civil rights, laws, police… What has destroyed liberty and the rights of man in every government which has ever existed under the sun? The generalizing and concentrating all cares and power into one body, no matter whether of the autocrats of Russia or France, or of the aristocrats of a Venetian senate.”

 

Iranian protesters in Tehran turn against regime after military admits shooting down plane | Daily Mail Online

Iranians protest against the government after a vigil held for the victims of Flight 752 turned into an anti-government demonstrations outside Amirkabir University in Tehran, Iran
Iranians protest against the government after a vigil held for the victims of Flight 752 turned into an anti-government demonstrations outside Amirkabir University in Tehran, Iran.

Iranians have gathered in the streets of Tehran to demand the resignation of Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei after the regime admitted it had mistakenly shot down a civilian passenger plane.

Source: Iranian protesters in Tehran turn against regime after military admits shooting down plane | Daily Mail Online

To be honest, many Iranians have been “turned against” the regime for some years, now; but this is one more straw on the back of a well-laden camel. If it will prove the last straw, of course, remains to be seen… In any case:

The Islamic Revolutionary government of Iran has finally admitted to “accidentally” shooting down a Ukrainian airliner filled with mostly Iranian passengers on Wednesday (8 January), but 57 of the victims were Canadians of Iranian descent, and other nations were represented as well. In all, 176 people died. Tehran originally attributed the crash to “technical difficulties,” but that story quickly became impossible to defend.

Iranians shout slogans against the government after a vigil held for the victims of the airplane of Ukrainian International Airlines that crashed near Imam Khomeini Airport turned into an anti-government protest outside Amirkabir University

Now many Iranians are livid at the government, and despite the typical attempts at repression by regime forces, are making their anger known. The Iranian people have been on edge anyway, after months of demonstrations, and more recently the escalation in tension with the U.S.  stemming from the killing of IRGC Gen. Qassem Soleimani (which seems actually to have been received with favor by many Iranians, despite the highly orchestrated funeral “mourning” imposed by the regime).

That action had been followed by an Iranian missile strike against (well, sort of “against”…) U.S. targets in Iraq that seemed rather carefully calculated to avoid U.S. casualties. And in fact, there were none, despite some 15-20 ballistic missiles being fired. While needing to “save face,” it looks very much as if the Iranian regime had no interest in provoking a further U.S. response.

And now this… The Daily Mail (UK) reports that

“Angry crowds gathered on Saturday night in at least four locations in Tehran, chanting ‘death to liars’ and calling for the country’s supreme leader to step down over the tragic military blunder, video from the scene shows.

“What began as mournful vigils for Iranian lives lost on the flight soon turned to outrage and protest against the regime, and riot police quickly cracked down, firing tear gas into the crowd. 

“‘Death to the Islamic Republic’ protesters chanted, as the regime’s security forces allegedly used ambulances to sneak heavily armed paramilitary police into the middle of crowds to disperse the demonstration.”

If the Daily Mail does not feel all that egg on their face, they should look in the mirror, considering that they swallowed hook, line, and sinker the Iranian regime’s reports of widespread grief and mourning over the death of Soleimani, as I noted in an earlier post.

Now we have Iranians – unrehearsed, unchoreographed, uncoerced – chanting “Death to the Islamic Republic,” calling for the Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei) to step down, and (in English) “Mad, mad, dictator!” (referring to Khamenei). Hardly the actions of a people bowed with grief over the death of that dictator’s chief minion and enforcer! Indeed, this is more fuel on the fire of the Iranian people’s decades-long grievance against the regime.

A woman gestures during a protest against the government outside Amirkabir University in Tehran, Iran on Saturday

“‘Our enemy is right here; they lie when they say it’s the US’ protesters were heard chanting in one video,” the article quotes one protester, noting that another wrote in Persian on Twitter, “‘I now believe the word of the Great Satan,'” an apparently ironic reference to a favorite term used by the Islamic Revolutionary government to refer to the U.S., since the days of the Ayatollah Khomenei.

“Protesters demanded that those responsible for shooting down the civilian plane be publicly tried and held accountable. The crowd also condemned the Islamic Republic’s paramilitary internal security force, chanting ‘Death to Basij’…

“Anti-regime factions said that the protests reflected the frustrations of Iranian citizens with the government corruption and oppression. 

“‘The protest by thousands of Iranians in Tehran burst the propaganda balloon of the regime regarding Qassem Soleimani’s elimination,’ [emphasis added] said Shahin Gobadi, spokesman of the anti-regime group People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, in a statement to DailyMail.com.

“Gobadi said that the protests ‘showed the true sentiments of the Iranians and once again clearly proved that Iran is a powder keg and the Iranian people will not stop until the regime change.'”

Iranians protest against the government outside Amirkabir University in Tehran, Iran on Saturday

It is not only the Iranian people who are outraged. Even Leftist Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “cast doubt on Iran’s claim that it accidentally shot down the Ukrainian jet,” the article notes:

“Trudeau said the shoot-down of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 ‘is one of the issues that we certainly need better answers to,’ during a news conference on Saturday. ‘I am, of course, outraged and furious,’ Trudeau said of the crash, adding that whether the tragedy was an accident or not still needs to be determined.”

While it would not surprise me if Trudeau eventually accepts the Iranian regime’s assertion that one of their anti-aircraft missile batteries mistook the 737 for an American cruise missile – a dubious proposition, to put it mildly – the Iranian people are unlikely to be put off by such evasions.

The Anglophilic Anglican emphatically supports the Iranian people in their quest for freedom, justice, and self-determination.


Update (10:24 p.m. EST, 11 January 2020): Later reports indicate that the regime increased its efforts to break up the protests, after nightfall.

Riot police with shields and batons massed to disrupt the anti-government protests on Saturday night

“Screams were heard as regime forces fired tear gas at the protesters in a brutal crackdown after night fell… As night fell, riot police attempted to break up the protests with tear gas. Cops armed with shields and batons tried to disperse the crowds, and police fired water canons at protesters.”

As of this point, no indication as to how successful the attempts to break up the protests have been. Please join me in praying for the Iranian people.

 

Thomas Sowell on equal rights vs identity-group “rights”

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Thomas Sowell is an American economist and social theorist who is currently a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

“Christians Deceived by the LGBTQ Movement” | American Thinker

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“LGBTQ activists are using every weapon in their arsenal to punish, humiliate, and destroy Christians.”

Source: Christians Deceived by the LGBTQ Movement | American Thinker

At the risk of being accused of virtue-signalling, I want to state clearly that this is not intended as an attack on individuals involved in serious, committed same-sex relationships.

I have friends in that category, and while I may not agree with their choices (attractions and desires may not be a choice – are not, in fact; we all have attractions and desires, some of which may be more healthy, and some less – but how we respond to them most emphatically is), they are still friends, and “there is none who is without sin, no, not one.”

Furthermore, what individuals do in the privacy of their own homes is not my business, unless they make it my business: either by asking me for spiritual counsel, or by insisting that I not only tolerate it as a private matter between consenting individuals (which is part of living together in a civil society), but “affirm” and even “celebrate” it as a public matter. That is where I draw the line.

And that is where LGBTQ+ activists – as distinct from people quietly and discretely living their lives, which is where people of any sexual orientation should be (with the possible exceptions of discussing the falling birthrate, or the fact that children do best when they have both a mother and a father [see also thisinter alia], there are few reasons to make one’s sexuality the centerpiece of one’s identity) – err most grievously, imho: they insist that their sexuality is core to their identity, in fact it’s their primary identity, and d__n it, the rest of us had better celebrate it!

Leaving aside the fact that making sex the center of one’s life points to issues far beyond merely who one chooses to engage in it with, this kind of attitude has serious – and negative – implications for Christians, or anyone else who disagrees with it, to the extent that these beliefs become or even influence public policy.

For example, this essay cites

“California’s pro-LGBTQ Assembly Bill 2943 [which] threatens free speech and freedom of religion for Christians.  It uses the state’s consumer fraud statute to make it illegal to ‘distribute resources, sell books, offer counseling services, or direct someone to a biblically based model for getting help with gender confusion and homosexuality.'” 

As noted in the above quote, this has serious First Amendment implications for Christians, on both freedom of speech and free exercise of religion grounds.

But, either failing to understand this or willfully ignoring it, “Christians believe the LGBTQ movement’s lie that they seek only Christian love and acceptance.” Well, some may. Perhaps many may, as individuals. But clearly the LGBTQ+ activist squad – a highly active division in the cultural Marxist “fifth column” that has infiltrated American public discourse – has motives that are both broader and darker than that.

In any case, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest!

Alexandria Keyes Suspended for Posing With Gun on Snapchat | Pluralist

High School Suspends Teen Girl for Posting ‘Innocent’ Photo Where She’s Holding a Gun

Endeavor Academy, located in Centennial, told Fox 31 their decision to suspend 17-year-old Alexandria Keyes stemmed from concerns over “safety.”

Source: Alexandria Keyes Suspended for Posing With Gun on Snapchat

If there was any doubt that the lunatics are running the asylum:

“According to the school, social media posts made by Keyes ‘concerned the school community and resulted in multiple parents keeping their kids home from school out of concern for safety.'”

Seriously??? This is saying something unflattering (to put it gently), not about Keyes, but about the snowflake “multiple parents” in question. Aside from this specific incident – where she was posing with her brother, a U.S. Army veteran –

“Keyes and her mother, Kelley McCollum, told Reason they believe the other posts the school references are from much earlier in the year. Eight months ago, Keyes posted a video and picture to Snapchat showing her shooting at a local gun club.”

Quelle horreure! How terrifying, that a 17-year-old should be shooting, at a shooting range, with her family. GAH!!! The stupid… it burns!!! The idiocy of these people is surreal.

“Keyes says she never intended to threaten anyone with the posts and that visiting the shooting range is something she does often with her mom and brother.”

Good family time, doing something with what the late great Aldo Leopold, called “the father of modern conservation,” would have called “split-rail value”: any activity that reminds us of our distinctive national origins and evolution. Shooting sports / recreational firearms use are among these activities.

Her mother, Kelley McCollum, is understandably outraged by the lunacy, according to the linked post, and reports that

“McCollum told Reason her daughter is scared to go back to school once her suspension ends on Friday because she’s ‘getting death threats, hate mail, and [negative] comments on her [S]napchat.'”

Think about that, please, for a moment.

This young lady, whose legal recreational firearm use – outside school hours and far away from school grounds – supposedly caused parents to keep their kids home from school out of concern for safety, is getting death threats.

Just who, here, is the threat to safety? NOT Miss Keyes, that’s for sure!

How long, O Lord – how long???

Special Snowflake Award 2nd Class
For all those parents out there (and students, too), who felt that their safety was threatened by a young lady exercising her Second Amendment rights, on her own time, in a safe location, and daring to post about it. And of course, the school administration, which REALLY should have known better (they missed a “teachable moment”). As Bill Engvall might say, “Here’s your sign!”