Today’s Bookworm Beat is about inspired people and uninspiring, even creepy, politicians. It’s not all good, but it’s all interesting.
I prefer to think of myself as “helpful” rather than as a “pushover.” No matter the word, though, when certain people (children, spouse, clients, neighbors, siblings) say “jump,” my usual response is “how high?” I’ve been doing a lot of jumping lately, which explains the paucity of blogging.
It’s not all working for others, though. Some of what put a temporary break on my blogging is an existential ennui about the state of American politics. I’m quite pleased with what President Donald Trump has been doing in office, but I’m royally sickened by the utterly irrational hatred directed against him.
Even as the American media claims Trump is the world’s laughingstock because he fed fish wrong (he didn’t) or walked away from a tumbling leader (whom he couldn’t see) or incorrectly drank bottled water (there’s a correct way?), the rest of the world sees a quite effective leader who is helping reinstate America’s position in the world. More than that, I have a strong suspicion that, following the worldwide disasters following the Obama “lead from behind” vacuum, most nations will be happy to see America protecting Western civilization once again.
I did have one marginally interesting insight after discussing with a friend the fact that Franklin Roosevelt, a child of incredible privilege, was a hardcore socialist whose economic policies dragged the Depression out for almost an entire decade. FDR, I told my friend, is a reminder that, in America, Leftism is a disease of the upper classes. They are arrogant enough to believe that, if they control the levers of power, they can solve all America’s problems.
The rest of this post will be links to other stuff. Let me start with two links that carry with them the promise of creating better, strong young men and women in America.
Raising money for a good cause. The first link is to a fundraising request from Colonel George Bristol (USMC, Retired). Bristol, having served our country for 38 years, is now the headmaster of a small, classical Christian school. Before I get to his request, let me say that the friend who referred me to the fundraising page served under the Colonel and says that there are few finer men in America.
The school Bristol heads is an intellectually challenging, morally demanding environment that must compete for funding with other private institutions. It’s ironic, really, that America’s hard-Left, routinely-failing public schools have taxpayer money thrown at them, thanks to all-powerful teachers’ unions that use mandatory union dues to buy politicians who vote them raises. Meanwhile schools that make a difference struggle. But that’s the world in which we — and the Colonel’s school — live.
Bristol’s fundraiser asks that you believe in him as he believes in his school:
I am now 59 years old – and in the words of my friend and physical trainer of professionals Pavel Tsatsouline, Colonel George Bristol is “a hard man with very high mileage. He will never quit on a mission.” That statement is true, and I am committed to this community here at Whitefish Christian Academy – and my part of the mission is clear.
On 8 December 2017, I will execute a workout of 3000 repetitions to fund raise for families and teachers of our school. The exercise list will include all of the traditional exercises that I do here with our students: Pushups; Leg Raises; Kettlebell Swings; Dumbbell Clean and Press; Farmers Walk with 80 Pound Sandbag; Jump Rope; Indian Clubs; and the TRX Suspension Trainer. I will execute it in one workout session. This workout is one I taught a group of the students as part of a program called the Ministry of Strength that I initiated when I took over as Headmaster. My part of the mission is to give my all for this community. Giving my all to a worthy cause is something I learned in the Marine Corps. That is my part of the mission.
I got exhausted just reading about the Colonel’s planned exercise circuit. And here’s how you, if you have a little extra change lying around, can help:
Help me complete this mission. Help me by contributing to this group. Your contribution will give you a tax credit as per the 501C(3) status of my school. Any amount of money you can give will go EXCLUSIVELY to teacher and student scholarship. I am looking to raise $10,000.00 to give several families the ability to remain here. Time starts right now. You have my solemn word – as a Marine and a man – that every dollar contributed will go DIRECTLY to those in need.
Generous people have ensured that Bristol has already raised almost $12,000 for his school, but you know that whatever excess money doesn’t get used up this year will be used next year. So, as I said, if you have a little change lying around, it’s a good thing to seed the next generation of educated, moral people. Without them, what’s America to do?
Training Marines to be good, rather than telling them not to be bad. As you all know, as a parent, I subscribe with absolute fervor to a “Catch them being good” philosophy (which you can read about here). Indeed, I bring this philosophy to every area of my life. As part of my journey from insecure, verbally vicious, judgmental young bitch, to fairly secure, usually quite nice middle-aged lady, I’ve learned that appealing to people’s best instincts, rather than scolding them for their worst, is a marvelously effective way to get things done — and to do so with honor and good cheer.
No wonder, then, that I loved an article that my friend Sergeant Major Michael Burke of the United States Marine Corps wrote for the U.S. Naval Institute. I can summarize the article briefly — it urges the Pentagon to stop drowning Marines in endless, repetitive classes warning them away from all sorts of (often politically correct) bad behavior, while failing utterly to give them an inspiring vision of what it means to be a Marine.
Mike’s philosophy not only ties in with my whole “catch them being good” shtick, it also dovetails with a complaint I have about the man-hating third-wave feminism that permeates so many of our institutions: Rather than giving boys and young men a positive vision of manliness (courageous, loyal, innovative, caring for those who are weaker, etc.), it simply tells them that they’re failed woman — and dangerous, to boot. We are doing our young men a disservice and, as Mike compellingly points out, within the military we’re wasting an opportunity to help our troops aspire to a positive vision of themselves.
Jeff Sessions is a slug, but a good slug. I’ve found Jeff Sessions to be a disappointment in so many ways. He wrongly recused himself from the Russia investigation into Trump’s alleged collusion with the Russians, allowing the Democrats to run riot for a year. Even though we now know that the real collusion was between Hillary and the DNC, on the one hand, and Russia, on the other, Sessions has been peculiarly tentative about investigating that issue. And of course, he’s still refusing to touch Hillary’s pay for play scheme while Secretary of State.
In other words, Sessions is not engaging in political prosecutions — even though these would be aimed at behavior so corrupt that the prosecutions are arguably necessary to preserve America’s integrity going into the future.
Having said that, Daniel Greenfield makes a very good argument that Sessions, operating outside of the political limelight, is slowly but steadily returning America to a rule of law. Because the rule of law is the entire underpinning of a civilized nation, perhaps Sessions deserves a lot more credit than I (and other conservatives) have been giving him.
Of course I was correct about college classes. Last year, when I got a gander at various college course catalogs, I decided that the modern liberal arts curriculum is a reductive disaster owing to the fact that professors know only their own (politically correct) theses. These people are too ill-educated to teach the survey classes I had at 40 years ago at Cal. Those classes exposed young minds to the whole span of the ancient world or the medieval world, or swept through centuries of British literature. Yes, these classes were shallow, but their breadth truly enlarged our minds and gave us at least a passing knowledge of the facts and ideas underlying our own culture.
Professors today, I joked, know one subject and then run it endlessly through race, gender, and feminist filters. To that end, I said, one finds course catalogs boasting things such as “Button Manufacturing in 1810 New Hampshire and its Effect on [Blacks or Women or Homosexuals, etc.].” At least, that was supposed to be a joke, and not a very good one. What’s sad is that Leftist education is so bad it turns my silly joke into a pale simulacrum of what’s really going on in America’s institutes of Lefter learning:
For my sins this year I enrolled as an adjunct member of the American Historical Association, and just received the program for their annual meeting in Washington DC coming up in early January. The first thing I notice is how thin the program is compared to the annual program of the American Political Science Association. The next thing you notice is how narrow and politicized so much of the program is.
Herewith some panel titles:
The #NoDAPL and Water Is Life Movement and Historians [because the Dakota Access Pipeline, just barely completed, is an important historical subject already]
Teaching Queer Themes and Experiences in World History
Race, Sport, Spectatorship
Dancing Reformers or Reformed Dancers? Dance, Religion, and Gender in the Reformation
Sex, Gender, Intimacy, and Race and Lingering Questions of Justice in World War II’s Southwest Pacific Theater
Queer Contortions: New Directions in the History of Race, Sexuality, and the Body
Race and Empire in Global Music History, 1500-1800
Insects Histories: Contested Boundaries in Human-Insect Interfaces, 1700s-1950s [Not sponsored by Terminix or Raid, for some reason]
Total War and the Genesis of Industrial-Scale Recycling
There’s more at the link. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wonder how much of your taxpayer money is paying for this kind of narrow, Leftist, academic garbage.
I continue to be troubled by the Roy Moore accusations. A few random points. First, I agree with the defense his attorney is offering. I would offer the same were I in the attorney’s shoes.
Second, I find very bizarre the uproar that Moore in the late 1970s dated women 10 or 12 years younger than he was. As someone familiar with pre-1970s literature, and especially with pre-1970s romance, I can say with absolute assurance that this age difference was a normal spread. One of my favorite writers, Georgette Heyer (who is still popular today), routinely paired men in their early thirties with young women still in their teens. The outrage is especially ludicrous coming from Hollywood, land of old men with young women.
Third, I do not know what authority Mitch McConnell has that would allow him to refuse to admit Moore into the Senate. McConnell’s sense of outrage (whether because he genuinely believes Moore is a bad man or because he knows Moore is Bannon’s challenge to McConnell’s GOPe reign) does not substitute for constitutional permission to refuse to seat a duly elected Senator. After Moore is sworn in, the Senate can presumably impeach him, but that’s about it.
Biden is one seriously creepy dude. I read somewhere that, if Biden and Trump were to run head-to-head today, Biden would win. I don’t believe that. If Biden and Trump were to run head to head, two things would happen. First, the braying, brainless donkey that is Biden would have to debate Trump. And Trump, unlike Paul Ryan when he debated Biden in 2008, will not be either cowed or respectful. He will run rings around that empty-headed plagiarist.
Second, people are becoming increasingly educated about the fact that Biden is a truly creepy, disturbing man. If he hadn’t latched onto the public teat so successfully, Biden would have been the scary old man in the neighborhood, the one that parents warned their daughters to avoid at all costs. And no, I’m not exaggerating. This post and this one make the case without room for argument. I’m still feeling the slime crawl up and down my spine from watching those videos.
While I’m on the subject of pedophiles — and I’m not saying Biden has had sex with little girls; I’m just saying he seems to want to — you can watch for free the documentary An Open Secret, a movie from two years ago that Hollywood unaccountably (ahem) refused to pick up and promote. Loaded with interviews, it tells the story of sex and children, Hollywood-style.