“A Disease of the Public Mind”


That is the title of a book about the first US Civil War that resulted in the assassination of President Lincoln. The soldiers in the South hated those in the North and vice versa. Northern soldiers have since been credited with undeserved virtue while Southern rebels were labeled racist enemies of the state, a moniker that still survives in the present day. But neither side was fighting over the abolition of slavery.


Trump’s opponents claim he will re-institute Jim Crow oppression, put black people back in chains, end democracy and put people in Hitler’s concentration camps. The continuous character assassinations, legal persecutions, numerous impeachments, unfounded accusations and insinuation caused what has been called Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS), a disease of the public mind resulting in a recent assassination attempt.


Follow the Money
The Constitution the North and South agreed upon in 1788 enshrined the economic principles of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, fostering equality under the law, individual sovereignty and limited government. Slavery was still too contentious an issue to settle. Starting in the next century the British led a moral crusade to eliminate slavery globally. While politically virtuous, Britain could afford to pay off slave owners and generally didn’t face the the vexing question for US plantation owners of whether freed slaves could support themselves and, if not, whether this would lead to murderous riots as had happened elsewhere. Abolition was a contentious issue everywhere slavery was practiced, typically with long drawn out steps to complete. But the long simmering political dispute that came to a head in 1860 wasn’t about abolition, but money. The federal government relied almost exclusively on tariffs raised in Southern ports – most of which went to northern states – on imports financed with the fruits of slavery, cotton exports.


Since the Civil War, limited government has given way to big government. The Democratic Party has created many dependent constituencies whose continued prosperity depends upon continuing Democratic power and largess: the bureaucracy, the government at all levels, teachers, labor leaders, academic educators and administrators, trial lawyers, government contractors, social security recipients and what are still euphemistically called journalists, among many others. The current Civil War is also about money. Trump has been in both political parties, fits in neither. But ”you are fired” represents an existential threat to Party members.


For contemporary Democratic politicians, almost all trained as lawyers, money beyond what is available by taxing the rich exists in banks, especially the Federal Reserve Banks, to be distributed according to the spoils system. For Republican politicians (but not RINOs), mostly former businessmen, prosperity comes from productive work and from savings productively invested. For those businesses and workers who are not on the receiving end of the spoils system, whose taxes pay for political largess, limited government is the only solution. There is very little middle ground.

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Finishing School

So, the recent fiery yet “mostly peaceful” pro-Hamas demonstrations of support on various university campuses making the fiery and “mostly peaceful” headlines over the last couple of weeks may yet have unfortunate results for the affected schools. This would be a consummation devoutly desired by those of us on the sort-of-conservative side of the political spectrum, who have viewed the increasing academic lunacy and dysfunction with concern and mistrust. Honestly, it’s long been obvious that there is a massive stench emanating from those ivy-hung quadrangles of higher learning. The tuition to attend them has been increasing at a breakneck rate for two or three decades, even above the rate of inflation, while the graduates of those institutions appear dumber and dumber and the ratio of administrative staff to student body approaches 1:1. Of late, even those graduates boasting diplomas from formerly respected colleges appear barely scathed by literacy, or any kind of practical, useful-to-the-working-world knowledge and skills at all. No wonder that an increasing number of 18 year olds are coldly, rationally considering the cost-to-benefit ratio and opting for a trade school or an apprenticeship.

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Yon Tanpèt Pafè

In the wall mural of global incompetence that is our Crisis Era, Haiti has become the most lurid corner, a hallucinatory labyrinth worthy of Hieronymus Bosch; not so much the canary in the mine as a collapsed side tunnel whose maimed and trapped victims are within earshot and line-of-sight of First World institutional leaders already fumbling with a dozen groundwater leaks and toxic gas buildups in the main shafts.

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Distant Storm

Out of the blue in the week before Christmas, my daughter asked me if I had any idea of how the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, early in December, 1941, generally affected the Christmas mood that year. Of course, she knows that I wouldn’t have any personal memories of that period (as I wasn’t even born until 15 years after that event) but I grew up pretty well marinated in memories and memoirs of World War 2 – even more so when I sat down to write a novel set in that time period. Yes, the Christmas of 1941 was a nerve-wracking time for more than just Americans, even if a war in Europe had been going on for more than two years. In the Far East, countries and colonies were falling like ninepins to imperial Japanese invasion and occupation all through the first months of 1942. I have gathered so from memoirs; and also from my own memories of the lead-up to Christmas, 1990 and the buildup when operations began before the first Gulf War (the last year that we were in Spain) and how mothers and fathers put on a brave face for small children. They did their best then, as we did that year, to have an absolutely normal, reassuring Christmas, with presents and Santa, carols and a nice meal. In 1941 and for three subsequent years, parents had to explain the sudden absence of older brothers and cousins, younger uncles and fathers, and the necessity of blackouts. Probably later, they had to put a brave face on depressing headlines in the newspaper that yet another island, town or province had been attacked, and might soon surrender – just as I and other parents stationed at European bases had to explain Desert Shield; new concertina around the base perimeter, a flightline full to bursting with parked transport aircraft, the long hours that military parents and spouse volunteers were all working.

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The Return of the Commie Crud

I see that the media handmaidens of the Democrat Party are gearing up, preparing to scare the ever-loving snot out of the general public again with a new Covid variant. I swear, I can almost hear them in the newsrooms, dancing about, shaking rattles and wailing “Oooga-booga! Run for your lives, it’s a new Covid variant! It’s gonna kill granny, an’ everyone! Strap on the masks, get the vax, universal mandate! Social distancing! close down all the things! Mass insanity! Cats and dogs living together!” Or something like it. I suppose the readily boggled will fall … again … for that old panic magic, but will the rest of us?

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