Archive for January, 2013

Post-Defeat Paralysis Syndrome

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

OVERCOMING

Post-Defeat Paralysis Syndrome

This article is posted on the Policy Think Site at http://jaygaskill.com/PostDefeatSyndrome.pdf

http://jaygaskill.com/PostDefeatSyndrome.htm

 

By Jay B Gaskill

 

Romney lost the 2012 presidential election because the GOP, the supporting PAC’s and his own staff failed to “engineer” the turnout of all the faithful and favorable in sufficient numbers.  In a catastrophic blunder, the Romney campaign bought into a turnout-software nightmare that crashed.  This was an idiot’s plan—or it was an act of desperation because the GOP lacked the necessary on-the-ground organizational strength to match the democrats’ turnout game.

 

In my opinion, Governor Romney would have been a great president. His individual campaign performance was all that one could reasonably expect from a single human being following a rigorous schedule.  His campaign failed because WE failed to elect him.

 

It is time to get past the PDP Syndrome. Failure is a teacher or an executioner. This is an old story. The mammals survived the dinosaurs because of evolutionary adaptation.  The same two rules govern Nature and Politics:  Adapt and prevail. Fail to adapt, and die.

 

This country still matters to hundreds of millions of oppressed people who still see us as a beacon of hope.  The conservative perspective is more vitally relevant than ever. You /we still “count” because, now we will make a difference…because we must.

 

OUR 2016 opportunity will be framed by what the GOP and the dissident Democrats who are uncomfortable with the left wing domination of their party manage to accomplish in the in the next 30 months so. Yes, we need allies who are democrats.  Common, patriotic values transcend all the partisan crap. It’s that kind of crisis.

 

Among the huge lessons from the 1016 electoral defeat, three leap out:

1)     The center-right must NEVER AGAIN cede the values debate to the left by default;

2)     The soft underbelly of the progressive left is its alienation from the so-called “common” working people; the elite progressives are vulnerable to a common-sense populist message delivered by someone who can speak with credibility and intelligence;

3)     Organization, organization, organization, with real people wins elections because trust and motivation require personal contact.

 

You think you feel bad now? Imagine life under the current regime, if the GOP loses the House.

 

Even if the house remains in GOP control, if the radical progressive mindset in the White House continues, POTUS cannot be restrained by the Supreme Court alone.

 

Want a lift? Imagine life if the GOP retakes the Senate.

 

The Congressional and Senate elections are critical to the POTUS 2016 election outcome on several levels, not the least of which is the organizational development opportunities they present.  Winning the Senate back is just barely doable, provided the effort is taken with the seriousness that the project requires.

 

  • THE SENATE

 

There are 53 Democratic, 45 Republican and 2 Independent senators. THIRTY THREE senator seats are up for election in 2014, currently held by 13 Republicans and 20 Democrats. Elections for the SENATE will be held on November 4, 2014. That is just over 20 months away. Conventional wisdom has the GOP picking up 2 seats at best.  That’s not nearly good enough. There are other opportunities for a turnover, including these four races:

 

  • Alaska Democrat Mark Begich beat Republican Mark Stephens by one point. Begich is up.
  • Minnesota Democrat Al Frankin beat Republican Norm Coleman by less than one point. Frankin is up.
  • New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen beat Republican  John Sununu 52/48. Shaheen is up.
  • West Virginia Democrat Jay Rockefeller is retiring.

 

But this goes well beyond the House and Senate races.  The next presidential election will determine the fate and status of the USA as the bastion of freedom in a world where freedom-protecting civilization is now at great risk.  Doubt not:  that, by then, the status and standing of our beloved country will have been damaged; that our enemies-list will have grown; and that they will have been emboldened by our weakness.

 

As the critical 2016 election approaches the elements of a grand coalition of the center and right, even of some patriots on the left will be waiting for leadership.  This is the coalition that, if energized, will rise up, retake the country from the fools, repair her and restore this republic to the “shining city on the hill” that a great president once, so eloquently described.

 

The time for grieving and paralysis is over.

 

JBG

 

NOTE – THIS ARTICLE IS CONNECTED WITH A SERIES OF PIECES ABOUT THE CONSERVATIVE CHALLENGE.

Read –

[–] “The Time is Now” http://jaygaskill.com/TheTimeIsNow.pdf

[—] “Never Give Up” http://www.jaygaskill.com/NeverGiveUpConsolidated.pdf

[—] “A Marxist President” http://jaygaskill.com/AMarxistPresident.pdf

 

& Stay tuned for a concluding piece.

Copyright © 2013 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

Pull quotes and links are welcome & encouraged.  For other permissions and comments – contact the author via email law@jaygaskill.com.

 

 

THE TIME IS NOW

Monday, January 21st, 2013

THE TIME IS NOW

To the silent Conservatives: You are relevant again.  It’s time to pull your weight….

An Alert – VALUES DO MATTER.

BY JAY B GASKILL

ATTORNEY @ LAW

 

Conservatism is the liberation agenda that focusses on conserving the limits and boundaries that protect freedom in a changing world.  Liberalism is the liberation agenda that focusses on changing the world by challenging limits and boundaries.  These political stances, taken together, advance civilization when they are in creative engagement with each other.  But that dialogic cooperation works only when their core principles are mutually commensurate.

For the moment, the hard left has fractured the working relationship between healthy liberalism and vital conservatism by substituting a postmodern, politically correct ideology for principled liberalism. Healthy liberalism was historically founded in a principled commitment to human freedom shared by conservatives.

The 2012 electoral success of the hard left has shocked conservatives into an incoherent crouch – grown men and women are in a metaphorical fetal position, grumbling unintelligibly or not at all.

Traditionally, conservatives have come together in opposition to the greatest threat, as in communism’s most aggressive phase 1947-1997. But when not firmly united around their core principles, conservatives can easily be shoehorned into “the party of NO” and “the coalition of privilege and prejudice.” Too many of today’s conservatives are not able to state their core principles, much less follow them and sell the sound conservative policies that are needed.

The left continues to score with its anachronistic attacks on the paleo-right because modern conservatives have failed to shed the baggage of their predecessors’ past political stances (such as an alliance with royal privilege in the old country, support for brutal union busting in the early industrial period and resistance to women’s suffrage – even though these and other positions have long since been abandoned. These were mistakes that “seemed good at the time.” In reality, they were moral errors that flowed out of a failure to understand and apply the fundamental ethical principles that undergird vital conservatism. Often, they were the result of what the writer- philosopher Ayn Rand described as “the inability to think in principles” (which is also the malady of the politically-correct ideologues that populate the postmodern left).

It seems that the left has been more vocal in criticizing crony capitalism and corrupt financiers than the conservatives have. A vital conservative movement would have been out in front on these issues, unafraid to take on the corrupt entanglement of commerce, banking and politics, because, after all, they represent a dishonorable breach of deeply held conservative principles.  Instead, conservatism has lost control of the core values-narrative because too many conservatives have been complicit in the erosion of the moral ground.  As a result, the most visible conservatives are tongue-tied when it comes to stating moral principles with sincerity and confidence; and they are quiet as night burglars when it comes to using moral principles to shame real people and real institutions.  Who do they think they’re protecting? …Allies? Who needs enemies when your allies are so corrupt that they give capitalism a bad name and discredit your cause in the bargain?

The moral ground that supports vital conservatism must be rediscovered before conservatism can recover its vitality.  The path to that recovery is marked by seven guideposts:

1)   An unshakable commitment to human dignity, the Universal baseline of respect for individual integrity, the foundation-stone of our rights;

2)   A fierce dedication to the protection of the individual, the family, the community, the state and the nation from all predators (whether criminals, terrorists, or authoritarian governments), because our lives, property and freedoms need real guardians;

3)   Rock-solid support for the sanctity of individual choice and for the practical measures that undergird the validity of our chosen promises, including the obligation to pay workers and to pay debts as promised, the right to be paid, to earn and retain the fruits of our earnings; this is an impartial support that starts at the humblest level by holding the powerful and the weak accountable to the same standard.

4)   Steadfast adherence to the justice principle – meaning proportionate individual accountability for one’s actions and their consequences, meaning risk and reward, risk and failure, crime and punishment, and all the rest;

5)   Firm rejection of collective “justice” (a contradiction in terms), because it always constitutes individual injustice, because the collective unfairly treats similar matters as if different, and different matters as if the same;

6)   Bright-line clear recognition that ordered liberty (the reciprocal recognition of human dignity, the protection of life affirming creative expression, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) is a moral imperative, not just some construct made up by the “dead white men” who wrote our founding documents;

7)   The sober and realistic recognition that the coercive powers of governments are legitimate or illegitimate only as they substantially conform to or fail to conform to these moral principles.

The moral ground does not erode away in a day.  It diminishes by stealth through a series of acts of compromise, temporary lapses, moments of expediency, each step of which at first seems to honor the larger moral principles while making just one exception. [Yes, there always must be compromises, especially as we face of some overarching, supreme challenge or mortal enemy. But that just ramps up the obligation to firmly and clearly restate the moral principle at stake, and the limits and temporary nature of the compromise.]

Here is the danger. Moral compromises all too quickly morph into the abandonment of the entire moral ground, high and low. This leaves liberty and human dignity as commodities. But commodities are subject to trading away.  If you will recall, trading away human freedom and dignity was the very basis of slavery.

The liberal West paid a steep price for its alliance with the Stalinists to defeat the Nazis. We can hardly fault that original decision, properly made on dire practical grounds. But our leaders were far too lax in making clear that the Soviet Regime was also an evil that we would need to confront, all too soon. The corruption of the left began during the early Cold War with its ambivalence and apologetics about Stalin and communism.

The habitual neglect of the moral foundation becomes corruption, and it inevitably empowers a dangerous malignancy to take on a terrifying momentum in the cukture. This is the current situation among the civilized Western nations, and even within the USA itself.

This is why conservatism is suddenly so relevant.  We are living in one of those historical pivot moments, a rapidly approaching branch point. The so-called party of “NO!’ is like the fire brigade that revelers finally call after they have set fire to their own homes. Without moral principles and concrete, confident actions leading to a working coalition, the fire brigade will fail to answer the call. And conservatives will have failed civilization at the crucial moment when the resurgence of their core principles was most desperately needed.

The signs of the historical pivot are manifold.  The fate of beleaguered Israel is an impending test. The debt, inflation, entitlement crisis is another. Stopping the rise of a nuclear-armed Islamic Imperium is still another.  But all these are just aspects the same historical pivot: Will a morally confident coalition surge up from the center, led by vital conservatives and reawakened freedom-loving liberals? Will it arrive in time to bring us back from the abyss?

If the conservative movement fails the moment – if we fail the moment, the consequences for our children, grandchildren, and their children will be unthinkably grim.

At the end, it will be a choice of legacies: Are we to be remembered in gratitude for our moral courage or in shame for our infamy?

JBG

COPYRIGHT 2013 BY JAY B GASKILL

Contact the author via email at law@jaygaskill.com.

Watch for – Part Two: The New Coalition

The author is a California lawyer and analyst.  His web site, The Policy Think Site, is at < www.jaygaskill.com>, and his principal Blogs, The Dot 2 Dot Blog and The Out*Lawyer’s Blog, are linked there along with a Profile and additional contact information.

 

MORSI – EGYPTIAN NAZI?

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Meet Mohammed Morsi,

Crypto-NAZI?

Commentary

By Jay B Gaskill

 

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in EGYPT in 1928. The group openly supported the Nazis during the 1930s and worked closely with Hitler’s forces during WWII, fighting the British with espionage, sabotage, and terrorism.  This was confirmed when declassified documents from the British, American and Nazi German sources, as well as from accounts from the participants, came to light after the war.  We also learned that the Muslim Brotherhood disseminated Hitler’s Mein Kampf and that virulently anti-Semitic fraud, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, both widely distributed in Arab translations, all in order to fan the flames of Jewish hatred.

Following a series of post-war bombings and assassinations by the Brotherhood, police seized an automobile in November 1948, and discovered written terrorist plans and the names of Brotherhood members. As a result, 32 of its leaders were arrested and its offices were searched. The Egyptian Prime Minister then banned the Brotherhood. But late that year, Egypt’s prime minister was assassinated by the Brotherhood in retaliation for the government crackdown.

Flash forward to the 21st century.  The Brotherhood alive is and well…and essentially unchanged.   The vaunted Arab Spring has turned into a takeover opportunity for the Brotherhood. When the main Muslim Brotherhood candidate for the post-Mubarak presidency was disqualified from the 2012 Egyptian election, Mohammed Morsi became the new Muslim Brotherhood candidate.

The Brotherhood’s credo was and is, “Allah is our objective; the Quran is our law, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.”

On June 24, 2012, Morsi won the Egyptian presidential election. In November, Morsi granted himself unlimited powers to “protect” the nation.

Some revealing remarks made by Morsi in 2010 came to light recently when Egyptian television aired a video. In the clip, Morsi is seen referring to “Zionists” as “bloodsuckers who attack Palestinians” as well as “the descendants of apes and pigs.” He says Egyptians should nurse their children on “hatred for them: for Zionists, for Jews. They must be breast-fed hatred.”

Not to worry: “Egypt’s Islamist president sought Wednesday to defuse Washington’s anger over his past remarks urging hatred of Jews and calling Zionists ‘pigs’ and ‘bloodsuckers’”… CBS News http://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/

Are you reassured?

Apologists for Morsi tend to point to Egypt’s economic situation, apparently relying on the modernist fallacy of the moment that money can solve everything. Here’s a wakeup call for those apologists:  Some people and cultures are not primarily driven by money, as shocking as that might seem to the postmodern materialist psyche.

This naïve nonsense promotes an eerie disconnect from reality.  Thomas Friedman was not immune to the spell when, in late August last year, he mused that-

“As for Morsi himself, I’d like to see him succeed in turning Egypt around. It would be a huge boost to democracy in the Arab world. But what Egypt needs most will not be found in Tehran. Morsi’s first big trip shouldn’t have been to just China and Iran. It should have been all across Europe and Asia to reassure investors and tourists that Egypt is open for business again — and maybe on to Silicon Valley and then Caltech to meet with Egypt’s Nobel Prize-winning chemist, Ahmed Zewail, to signal a commitment to reviving education in Egypt, where half the women are illiterate.”

Naturally Tom Friedman is increasingly disappointed and dismayed by Morsi’s actions.  Clearly, President Morsi is driven by other motives, ideological and religious values far less connected to prosperity and economic progress.

This should not be a surprise.  If the materialists[1] (whose motivational theories echo Marx’s long-discredited economic determinism) were right, the jihad would have guttered out after the Nazi defeat, soon after the Egyptian ban on the Brotherhood in 1948, and now the Middle East would be peaceful and prosperous, having shed the shackles of all primitive versions of Islam.  But that’s just the point, isn’t it?  This is a contest between 13th century believers (who are not only willing to die for their beliefs, but to lie to the infidels) and the 21st century decadent secular cultures of the West, the very existence of which is deeply humiliating because the Western countries and Israel are so unfairly prosperous. Israel is particularly hated at the moment because its success as a Western style, liberal democracy is a humiliating embarrassment living in the same neighborhood, without even the prop of oil revenues to explain its success.

Israel is gravely at risk. That risk is all the more urgent because of the perception among the jihad crowd that when Mr. Obama says that he “has Israel’s back”, our president is following the trail blazed by the British PM Chamberlain in 1938. You may recall that Mr. Chamberlain announced that he’d made peace with the Nazis because he was foolish enough to believe Hitler: “The settlement of the Czechoslovakian problem, which has now been achieved is, in my view, only the prelude to a larger settlement in which all Europe may find peace. This morning I had another talk with the German Chancellor, Herr Hitler, and here is the paper which bears his name upon it as well as mine.” The Czechoslovakians were overrun by Nazi tanks; Poland was swiftly conquered; more invasions and conquests followed, then a World War ensued, the execution of millions of Jews – all of this followed Chamberlain’s dangerous a naiveté.  Mr. Chamberlain, as it turns out, had no one’s back…not even his own.

As Shakespeare’s Jewish character famously said, “I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die?”

We are all Jews.

The scientific and medical contributions of Jewish men and women are nothing short of staggering, especially when compared with those of any other definable group. Consider just the outpouring of Jewish musicians, scientists, artists and researchers who escaped the holocaust to the USA – the ones who got out helped transform American life from the 1930’s to the present day.  The creative loss represented by the mass killings of Jewish people by the Nazis (and Stalin) who did not get out was a blow to civilization itself so grave and dire that the full scale of it may never be known.

Israel has arisen from the ashes of the holocaust as a vital, creative country, a liberal democracy in the best Western tradition.

I would have thought that all civilized people who care deeply about freedom and justice would be Philo-Semitic. And, inter alia, I naturally assumed that they, as I do, would forever condemn the holocaust as a monumental Evil never again to be repeated; that they would therefore continue to support the decisions of Truman and the UN creating Israel as a modern, sovereign resurrection of the old Israel, and as a refuge state for Jews all over the world; and that they would logically agree that Israel has forever and irrevocably been granted the same sovereign right and duty of self-defense as enjoyed any other Western nation that has not been conquered.

And I would also assume that we can all rejoice in Israel’s success as a civilized Western democracy and center of creative energy and accomplishment (more new patents per capita than almost any other place in the world), using limited natural resources, utilizing extraordinary human resources, all in a hostile part of the world where liberal Western values are rarely honored. …And so I would also assume a consensus that the USA will readily commit our resources, intelligence, economic and military, to protect Israel from another holocaust.

Yet Israel has reason the doubt the US. We have reason to doubt the current administration. I pray that I am wrong, but —

Israel is surrounded by enemies, recalling the laments from Psalm 22, well familiar to Christians and Jews alike – “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from helping me…Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help…For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me”

Is there “none to help?” Was I wrong about American consensus? Who are we?  Whom have we elected?  Our Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel have good reason to be concerned.

Pray for peace if you will, but first pray for Israel.

JBG

 

Copyright 2013 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

Forward this link and quote from this article as you will.  For other permissions, please contact the author by email at – law@jaygaskill.com .



[1] If you haven’t already read my critique of materialism and its malign consequences for one’s moral backbone, go to this link – http://jaygaskill.com/outlawyer/2013/01/14/wake-up-its-dawn/

GUNS, GERMS, AND STEALING STUFF

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Guns, Germs and Stealing STUFF

Lessons from the Underground

By Jay B Gaskill

As published on the Policy Think Site at — http://jaygaskill.com/GunsGermsAndStealing.htm

Those still in the grip of the “use a gun, go to your room” criminal justice model are puzzled why so many unenlightened Americans cling to their firearms and churches when civilized people are beyond all that.  For these naïve minds, crime is a sort of flu, and guns operate as the disease vector, the medieval plague rats, if you will, of the modern urban era. And morality is what nice people do to gain approval and advancement among other nice people in a nice world that would by almost perfect if there weren’t so darn many firearms in private hands.

This will not be some armchair Op Ed by an academic or drawing room criminologist who “has taken a lot of classes.”

“My three decade career (as a public defender of Alameda County, based in Oakland, CA) ended in a final decade as the boss, when I served as the head Public Defender for that county, supervising 140 lawyers and professional investigators, reporting to country bureaucrats and five elected officials.  Over that period, I estimate that I had conducted considerably more than 14,000 confidential, in-depth encounters with crooks of all ages. I spent enough time behind bars (excluding nights, of course) to serve a term for car theft.  No sociologist or criminologist has been able replicate that experience.  No typical public defender was paying attention in quite the same way that I was, because I was a student of the human condition. What a field study!”

{Excerpt from my essay/speech, A journey Inside the Criminal Mind.  Go to this link for more about the thug mindset… http://www.jaygaskill.com/InsideTheCriminalMind.htm }

Most violent crime, including the armed thefts we call robbery and carjacking, are opportunistic, and most street crime is impulsive.  Almost all armed criminals are carrying illegal firearms, most of which have already been used at another crime scene.  My investigators remarked at the fact that a firearm is almost never recovered from an Oakland crime scene because “it never even gets dropped to the pavement before another crook has run off with it.”  Oakland’s police department has been thrice decimated by budget cuts.  The result is a catastrophic under-policing of a high crime prone subpopulation that includes several thousand parolees in a city of only a few hundred thousand.  To keep the lid on, I believe that Oakland needs at least 1,400 street cops (hint – high police ratios were instituted in NYC by Mayor Giuliani and wisely retained by Mayor Bloomberg, and as a direct result the big Apple is one of the safest cities in the world).  Oakland has fewer than 600 cops on the street at the moment (slightly more on the payroll), and crime is busting out all over.

No one in Oakland is talking civilian gun control.  Why?Here is a thought experiment.  You are an able bodied family man or woman, and you live in a place like Oakland, CA.  You qualify for a handgun, after appropriate training.  You are not firearm phobic. You can afford it.  Your neighbors have been terrorized.  You can’t afford to move away or hire a private security service.  You look up the average 911 emergency wait times for your area. Assume one of these is the average wait time for you:

[  ] 10 minutes

[  ] 20 minutes

[  ] 30 minutes

[  ] 60 minutes

[  ] 90 minutes

At which delay point (check the box) would you seriously consider getting a firearm to defend your family?  In the Bay Area, a staunchly progressive-liberal culture, there are several subgroups that are very much into self-defense training and technologies, including personal firearms: The group includes gays, single women and elders.  Why?  Because they are vulnerable targets.

Chip Johnson is an Oakland based columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle.  He usually writes about Oakland, and he never pulls his punches.  Yesterday, Oakland officials held a press conference to brag about how they, with limited resources, had gotten a handle on the crime problem.  Not. Johnson’s piece, “Oakland officials have lost grip on violence”, is worth a full read.  Here’s a sample:

 

“Across the street from the spot where the news conference was to take place on the windswept 6400 block of International Boulevard, Alexander Brown, a 22-year-old student, talked about his run-ins with violence. He has been robbed and beaten, and had a gun stuck in his face two years ago.

“He relies on his deep religious faith to see him through. “I put my faith in my creator,” said the young man.

“Literally 5 feet down the block, brothers Boogie and Antwan Johnson, who were walking home, also had a story of violence to tell.

“Antwan, 37, caught a stray bullet in the left thigh from an assault rifle last November. Boogie, 23, reeled off the names of five friends lost to gun violence in the last four months. Right next to the Johnson brothers, a store owner who asked not to be named pointed to a hole where a bullet had pierced his front door.

 

“Finally, a group of high school students from Aspire Academy, a public charter school, walked past – all of them in school purple.

“I asked what they do when they feel threatened by someone or see something sketchy happening close by.

“We run,” said Armando Alajandre, 15.”

{LINK– http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/johnson/article/Oakland-leaders-have-lost-grip-on-violence-4194028.php  }

Some citizens of this still-free republic would rather not run.  Some object to those who advocate a state monopoly on the technologies of self-defense, especially of the handgun, the great equalizer that gives a 75 year old grandmother, trained in its use, to power to deter a thug four times her size.

It still deeply irritates me that poor people, who make up the overwhelming majority of crime victims in America’s inner cities, are offered all kinds of entitlements by the modern welfare state, except the one that really matters the most: the right to be safe and secure from the predator thugs they are forced to live with.  When we fail at providing this essential protection, who are we to deny our citizens the right to prudent self-help?

In 2010, the U S Supreme Court ruled in McDonald versus City Of Chicago that the right to self-defense protected by the Second Amendment is fundamental to the American conception of ordered liberty and must be applied to limit not only federal power but also that of state and local governments.

Almost any thug in Oakland who is on parole or probation can be repeatedly searched for firearms without a warrant, at times and places determined by law enforcement, not by the criminal. Such sweeps should be conducted every week, and can be expanded to include areas under the subject’s control, including vehicles and other stash places. Catching a thug with an illegal gun is a win-win – the miscreant is off the street and the gun is out of circulation.  Instead, the “use a gun, go to your room” set chooses to grandstand, by holding no-questions-asked firearm buybacks, netting a few under -used weapons, like those owned by Granny before she was sent to the rest home, and Uncle Bill’s WWII 45, that was found in the garage.

Mass murders are another matter.  Read my Piece on Evil, Insanity and Dead Children, written in the aftermath of the Connecticut massacre.

{LINK –  http://jaygaskill.com/outlawyer/2012/12/17/evil-insanity-dead-children/   }

If you feel like jumping on a bandwagon, try supporting local police staffing levels, push for tough firearm home storage laws, faster, more complete and sophisticated background checks for firearms purchases, and repeated searches of the convicted criminals living among us.

We are not going to disarm the good guys anytime soon.  No should we.

JBG

Copyright © 2013 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

For all permissions, contact the author by email at < outlawyer.gaskill@gmail.com >.

 

CRUMBLING ARCH IN TWO PARTS

Monday, January 14th, 2013

THE ARCH CRUMBLES AT DAWN

AN INTELLECTUAL JOURNEY IN TWO PARTS

PART ONE

Copyright© 2013 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

For permissions & comments, contact the author via email < law@jaygaskill.com >.

 

By Jay B Gaskill, Attorney At Law

 

It was no accident that Marxism was erected on the edifice of economic, historical and social materialism.  And it was no accident that Marxism in all its forms has bulldozed the value of individual human dignity, the last bulwark against the dehumanization of humanity.

[][][]

The arch-materialist position is running on empty. The persuasive force of that view – that life, the universe and everything is all just stuff, in effect that you, me, and all our hopes and thoughts are nothing but matter and energy – has been groaning under the weight of the information age and the cumulative abuses of the materialists whenever they have achieved political power.

 

Arch-materialism is not just a love of material things; it is the denial of the moral reality of everything else. In its most malignant form, materialism is a wrecking ball with the clear and present capacity to take down modern civilization.

Values are not just inclinations; they are the living channels of our moral awareness.  The single most harmful consequence of arch-materialism was the demotion of values to emotional states and of morality itself to an emotional construct, a plastic one that the authoritarians among us have molded to fit their ends.  Ideologies are theologies stripped of the universal moral underpinning.

 

For a thousand years, the morally aware among us have agreed on the core values that sustain civilized life, the prohibitions against stealing, cheating, oath-breaking, assault and murder.  The implications of this consensus are profound. When different human minds separately keep coming up with the same insights, principles and norms, the sense of discovery is a tell.  Discovery is not limited to physics and mathematics.  Discovery is not invention. The core moral principles are discovered, not just made up “by dead white men” or anyone else.

 

I propose that we have arrived at a new place in the development of thought, one in which we now accept that meaning is also a discovered property of reality, detectable only by conscious, intelligent minds (which also provides us with a pretty good working definition of living, conscious intelligence as the set of faculties of any living organism that detect meaning and significance).  The overly skeptical, arch materialist minds of the post enlightenment sophisticates among us are operating on borrowed skepticism and borrowed time. Their position on center stage is over.  But their naughty adult children, the ones who still tell our real children that “if it feels good, do it” are loose and active, much as the pathogens of a plague survive the rotting corpses that it has already killed.

 

The late Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (See footnote[1]), wrote about an impossibly powerful computer – “Deep Thought” – that was tasked by mice to discover the “secret of life the universe and everything”. After performing prodigious calculations over eons, Deep Thought finally came up with an answer: The number 42. (See footnote [2])

 

Adams was telling us the importance of asking the right question.  And Deep Thought’s answer was revelatory. The computer was “at 6’s and 7’s” because the question asked it was ultimately beyond the power of any algorithm or non-living thinking device to answer.

 

We need to break into the territory where the answers our questions about life the universe and everything are located. In other words, we need to break out of the intellectual trap of arch-materialist thinking; this is the conceit that absolutely everything in and out of our minds can be fully accounted for by material processes.

 

We humans are stuck at the fault line caused by our own release of acidic skepticism about two and a half centuries ago. The doubt acid was unleashed on the world (I tend to think of Pandora’s Box or the Sorcerer’s Apprentice) by well-meaning intellectuals bent on bringing down entire archaic and oppressive social institutions. When the well-meaning intellectuals unbottled the magic solvent, their main goal was to weaken the support systems of the royalist-clerical autocracy that these intellectuals despised.

 

Their strategy worked…and then some. An early success (the American Revolution) was followed by an epic cascade of unintended consequences. Once out of the bottle, the acid of comprehensive doubt began dissolving everything of value; the damage went well beyond the targeted institutions.  By the time the doubt virus had infected the modern and postmodern mind, churches were on the ropes, ethics itself was in disarray and the entire civil order was left defenseless.

 

Human nature so abhors a moral vacuum that something, no matter how repugnant, will always fill it. Without the firewall of faith-anchored morality, invented “scientific” doctrines swiftly gave rise to virulent mass movements.  Among them, Nazi race theory and Marxist human-nature transformation theory filled the moral vacuum with toxic ideologies.  These were faux scientific ideologies, deeply irrational to the core.  Marxism and Nazism acquired the patina of moral authority by default – the great acid flux of doubt had disabled or crippled everything else that we believed in.

 

The entire skeptical project was founded in a false premise: the notion that the material realm holds all of reality’s secrets. But that very premise, the arch-materialist’s vision – that there exists nothing other than the physical-mechanical – was never deeply examined nor carefully questioned.  It generated a world view that was as fiercely held and doggedly defended as any fundamentalist religion. For a plurality of the dominant intellectuals in the academy, it is still the glorious paradigm of the current age…but not for much longer.

 

Arch-materialism makes outrageous claims on its face, something akin to the lie that the naked emperor of the fable was clothed in splendorous raiment.  The notion that everything that is or can be is completely reducible to mere “stuff”, to matter and energy, and their processes and interactions, with nothing “left over”, leads to a series of absurdities in which, for example, Mozart’s Requiem can be fully and completely reduced to air pressure fluctuations that induce brain electro-chemical responses in some subjects.

 

The claims of arch materialism are bankrupt. There is no room in arch-materialism for the “I am” or the “I love” or for the “I ought”, except as you or I might arbitrarily decide. In the world of arch-materialism, our decisions themselves are a sort of ephemeral gloss on the biochemical, bioelectrical fluctuations that we “really” are, and our very consciousness, the sense of being, is a mirage.

 

This was the single greatest fraud perpetrated on the human family of all time.

 

More and more of the intelligentsia are coming to their senses; one by one, they are returning to the older, more balanced and more integrated wisdom traditions.  As these newly awakened minds recover from the spell of arch-materialism, a realization dawns:  The mechanistic part of reality, the subject of the physical sciences of measurement and prediction, is just that, a part or phase of the greater scheme.  Meaning cannot be redacted from the picture.  Meaning is not a measurable property of physics, chemistry or the other physical disciplines; nor is it “just made up”.

 

The recovery from the grip of arch-materialism is almost like waking up from a spell.

 

The Secrets of Life, the Universe and Everything can be unpacked only when we acknowledge the deep and enduring reality of ongoing creative emergence (See footnote [3]), the essential ontological link between the material and the not-material phases of reality, and the role of our own minds as the bridge state between these two. (See footnote [4]) The gifts moral intelligence and esthetically tuned awareness are among the cognitive tools that were issued our species.  Arch materialism has temporarily disabled us from using these tools to discover the nature of reality and the reality of nature.

 

If the esthetic is real (and it is), but cannot be captured in the narrow confines of comprehensive materialism; then so it goes for the ethical aspects of reality. And if the esthetic and ethical are real, then so is the spiritual. If meaning exists at all (and it does), then meaning, qua meaning, necessarily exists outside the confines of narrow materialism.  It follows that Reality naturally includes both the material realm of energy, matter and space and the non-material realm of meaning.

 

Reality in its totality can neither be defined by nor limited by the material realm.  The lowly possum has a bifurcated brain, one in which the huge bandwidth connections between left and right hemispheres (that we smart humans take for granted) are missing.  You can show something to a possum’s left side without the right side “knowing” anything about it.

 

The artificial bifurcation between the material and spiritual, between the real of the measurable physical and that of un-measurable meaning is a mental disability.  It is as if we humans had decided to emulate the lowly possum.  We need to pursue a mutually correcting dialogue between the two.  For me, one insight opened up all the rest — that the overall integration of reality is a primal fact, the a priori key to further knowledge about life, the universe and everything. We thinking, feeling beings are the interface between these two realms.  We are the venue of the meta-dialogic. There is an overall rational structure to our values that can be mapped.

 

For those of us who believe that acts of faith can be both reasonable and heuristic (See footnote  [5]), these recovered insights have truly infinite implications, among them: A universe that generates creatures that are capable of apprehending meaning and purpose; is a universe that has meaning and purpose.

 

To the blind followers of arch materialism, we can do worse than repeat the words of Hamlet – “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

 

 

THE CRUMBLING ARCH at DAWN

PART TWO

Why pick on poor, old Marxism?

Feedback from my recent article, The Arch Crumbles at Dawn (where I predict the demise of arch-materialism), included a complaint because I singled out Marxism:  “Please substitute the word capitalism for Marxism. Open your eyes and look at the damage.   …And, what has been the damage of Marxism as opposed to the current state of affairs, and the vampiristic, insatiable appetites of morphing capitalism?”

My article was about values and their Source.  Every social /economic model has its best and worst exemplars.  Communism, at its best, was a drawing room theory adopted by gentle idealists who supported the arts, the wars and wouldn’t hurt a fly; at its worst, Communism was used to create a brutal authoritarian system in which millions were murdered and a productive country was impoverished and enslaved.   At its best, Capitalism honors the human dignity of one’s trading partner and encourages creative innovation; at its worst Capitalism has been a cover story for organized crime,  and the crony capitalism of corrupt elites (really, organized crime by another name) who play ball with liberal and conservative politicians alike.

How many times have you heard an intelligent person assert that “there is no such thing as morality,” or “we determine our own morality” or “life is an accidental event” or “there is no purpose to any of this, just human will”?  These and a thousand other similar sentiments have their roots in philosophical materialism which is arch-materialism dressed up in skepticism.  My article was a fraction of the larger critique that includes Nazism and Islam.  That larger discussion was just touched on with this passage from my first piece –

“Human nature so abhors a moral vacuum that something, no matter how repugnant, will always fill it. Without the firewall of faith-anchored morality, invented “scientific” doctrines swiftly gave rise to virulent mass movements.  Among them, Nazi race theory and Marxist human-nature transformation theory filled the moral vacuum with toxic ideologies.  These were faux scientific ideologies, deeply irrational to the core.  Marxism and Nazism acquired the patina of moral authority by default – the great acid flux of doubt had disabled or crippled everything else that we believed in.” 

Marxism was the God(less) Father of all the later forms of modern, “scientific” social reform experiments, from Nazism, Fabian Socialism to the Third World “revolutionary” regimes of Cuba and Venezuela, all of them authoritarian nightmares writ large and small.

Until materialism (in the technical sense I’ve been using the term) took over the political arguments in the public square, the social reform proposals of the day were argued in the context of  well-established moral traditions.  Slavery, for example, was vanquished because of the moral confidence of the abolitionists who relied on a moral tradition, not by throwing over traditional morality itself as was the case of Marxism.

Materialism was the ammunition of “weaponized doubt” (for more on this, see my essay posted at http://jaygaskill.com/WeaponizedDoubt.htm ). This was my term for the acidic skepticism that took down traditional institutions, both bad (royalism) and good (churches), until the playing field was open for truly revolutionary ideas, unconstrained by moral scruples.

Arch-materialism empowered “chemistry” to supersede morality (chemistry is a stand-in for arch-materialism). Dostoevsky said it first. In The Brothers Karamazov, his character, Mitya Karamazov, is in jail talking with his brother. Mitya says that he is “…sorry for God” because, ‘Your Reverence, you must move over a little, chemistry is coming!’” …and he adds, “How…is man to fare after that? Without God and a life to come? After all, that would mean that now all things are lawful, that one may do anything that one likes.”

In that 1880 novel, Dostoevsky nailed the central problem of the modern and postmodern age: the notion that science has displaced God, deep tradition and universal humanism, shunting aside our most trusted sources of moral wisdom.  In this “modern” view, moral truth (if it exists at all) is best explained by anthropology…even chemistry. When Dostoevsky wrote the Brothers, a malignant alternative to traditional morality was gestating right down the street. It was God-hating, bloodthirsty Marxism, the ideology that would destroy Russia and bring the planet to the edge of nuclear winter.  Dostoevsky was a prophet. [6]

Arch-materialism granted permission for “science” to do anything without reference to the overarching moral order.  Arch-materialism necessarily supersedes morality, because without the non-material realm, morality does not exist except in our heads.

With that background, let me return to that much maligned system we now call capitalism, by posing a question. Which would you rather have: a world without Marxism or a world without capitalism? The Chinese will not abandon capitalism because they refuse to starve.  They will try control it (because they fear= it is an agent of regime change) and distort it (into a nationalized, semi-antonymous progress-engine) as long as possible. Russia is basically in the same place.

Karl Marx is credited with naming capitalism (in Das Kapital).  More than any other intellectual, Marx cleverly moved the focus away from free individuals engaging in commercial trade to the few, well connected players of the late 1900’s and early 20th century who were tightly allied with powerful politicians and were not above using political power to gain market control.  Many of these “capitalists” were given monopolies by the Crown or government.  This form of “capitalism” is called mercantilism, and it has more in common with China’s state-owned businesses than the realm of free markets and usually bankers. Pure capitalism, in the Milton Friedman sense, requires a political and economic system that abhors force and fraud, and effectively supports honesty in our dealings with each other.  That is why it is still comparatively rare.

Capitalism’s historical excesses are real.  They are the result of human nature.  We are flawed creatures with a predisposition to blatant greed, gross dishonesty, and we are all too eager to succumb to power lures.  The communists were no different.  All social systems must contend with these human tendencies, including the systems modeled on Marxist ideology.  But the authoritarian abuses of Marxism are inherent in its very conception and structure. Marxism is a model of economic governance that is founded on the morally unconstrained, “scientific” remaking of human society (and even human nature). Communism rested on the faux-scientific premise that fixing the very structure of private ownership (eventually abolishing it) will correct all the abuses in society.  Such a conception cannot by its very nature avoid authoritarian abuses so severe that they that should chill the hearts of liberals and conservatives alike.

German National Socialism arose as the dark mirror image of its enemy, Russian Communism. Nazism was founded on an equally loony faux-science, the pernicious notion of a state-run eugenics program aimed at racial superiority – this in contrast with Marx’s scientific social engineering aimed at enforced equality. The socialist project in all its forms (whether Fascist, communist or communist-Lite) is the bastard child of Marxist materialism.

Our culture, indeed the whole modern Western social order, are deeply infected with arch-materialism and its spawn.  Mr. Romney’s 47% gaffe was an echo of Marx’s economic determinist materialism.  And the campaign’s laser-like focus on economic, i.e., narrowly material issues instead of values, was a concession to Karl Marx’s materialism.

Look around you. We are expected by our dominant handlers to seek material things and the attendant status they seem to confer above all other considerations.  Values? Especially moral values rooted in religious and other traditions? Not so much.

The 2008-9 American mortgage debt collapse was sold by our elite opinion makers as mostly a financial malfunction, brought about by well-meaning people caught up in an imprudent bidding bubble.  As if getting something for nothing and getting rich quick without productive effort, as if tricking your fellow investors and nationalizing a Ponzi scheme were not symptoms of a profound moral failure!

The mortgage/banking crisis of 2008-9 was a truly massive moral failure with catastrophic financial consequences for the innocent and guilty alike.  Our elite-run financial system was embarrassed and almost brought down by endemic dishonesty, self-deception and endemic breaches of trust. Many of the same elites have proposed fixing this mess by deflating the value of our obligations (which amounts to theft by stealth in my moral universe), and by treating miscreants and victims alike (the very definition of injustice).

If we fully implement their proposals, another damaging moral failure is certain to follow.  The collapse of materialism and the resurgence of moral values are just in the early stages.  That is why I described this as dawn. When it takes place, our recovery will not be more than another bubble, unless it has a necessary moral component.  When dawn comes, it’s time to get up. We have a lot of work to do.

 

JBG

 

Jay B Gaskill

Attorney at Law

 

A WORKING BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Barrow, John D. and Tipler, Frank J.

The Anthropic Cosmological Principle

1988 (1st Ed 1986) Oxford U. ress ISBN 0-19-282147-4 (paperback)

Bohm, David

                Wholeness And The Implicate Order

1980 Routledge ISBN 0-7448-0000-5

Buber, Martin

                The Eclipse of God

1952 Harper and Brothers

 

Davies, Paul

                About Time

1995 Simon & Schuster ISBN 0-671-79964-9

                The Cosmic Blueprint

1988 Simon & Schuster ISBN 0-671-60233-0

                The Mind of God

1992 Simon & Schuster ISBN 0-671-68787-5

Denton, Michael J.

                Nature’s Destiny

1998 Simon & Schuster ISBN 0-684-84509-1

Einstein, Albert

                Out Of My Later Years

1950 Philosophical Library

Kant, Immanuel

                Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals

1964 Harper & Row (1st H & R Ed 1948, German Ed. @1788)

Monod, Jasques

                Chance and Necessity

1971 Alfred Knopf  ISBN 0-394-4661-5-2

Penrose, Roger

                The Emperor’s New Mind

1989 Oxford U. Press ISBN0-19-851973-7

                The Large, the Small, and the Human Mind (Editor & contributor)

1997 Cambridge U. Press ISBN 0-521-56330-5

                Shadows of the Mind

1994 Oxford U. Press ISBN 0-19-853978-9

Plantiga, Alvin C.

                God, Freedom, and Evil

1994-1996 W.B. Eerdmans ISBN 0-8028-1731-9

Polkinghorne, John

                Belief in God in an Age of Science

1998 Yale U. Press ISBN 0-300-07294-5

                Beyond Science, the Wider Human Context

1996 Cambridge ISBN 0-521-62508-4 (paperback)

                The Faith of a Physicist

1996 First Fortress Press ISBN 0-8006-2970-1

                Reason and Reality, the Relationship Between Science and Theology

1991 Trinity Press ISBN 1-56338-019-6

                Serious Talk, Science and Religion in Dialogue

1995 Trinity Press ISBN 1-56338-109-5 (paperback)

Prigogine, Ilya

                The End of Certainty, Time Chaos and the New Laws of Nature

1996 Simon and Schuster ISBN 0-684-83705-6

Searle, John

                Mind, Brains and Science

1984 Harvard U. Press ISBN 0-674-57631-4 (cloth)

Schweitzer, Albert

                The Philosophy of Civilization

1960 Macmillan Paperbacks

Vermes, Pamela

                Buber on God and the Perfect Man

1994 Littman Library of Jewish Civilization ISBN 1-874774-22-6

 

 

 



[1] Adams whimsically described the series as a “trilogy in five parts.”

[2] Deep Thought was a computer that was created by the pan-dimensional, hyper-intelligent race of beings that appear in our universe as mice. As to the answer 42, Adams (through a character) said, “I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you’ve never actually known what the question was.”

 

[3] Stay in touch with this concept.  Emergence represents the seemingly spontaneous appearance of order in otherwise less ordered systems.  Think of bird flocking behavior and the seeming self-assembly of the constituent molecules essential for living organisms. The phenomenon is well studied, but less comprehensively applied than it can be.  For example, conscious awareness can be understood as an emergent state of higher order in a neural system.  Creative leaps, whether in evolution or thought are examples of emergence.  Of course, much more remains to be said on the topic.

[4] In effect, the entire non-physical realm (thinking of the realm Plato’s forms as a stripped-down precursor) and the realm of physical processes can be understood as phases of the same encompassing reality (i.e., the share the same ontological status, much as matter and energy of solid and gas represent phase states of the same “stuff”.  This is very condensed version of a longer discussion by the author.

[5] Heuristic systems are capable of learning from experience.  Similarly, the necessary faith-exercises  that enable us to rationally deal with the unseen, including the inferential and the partially known, allow us to detect important aspects of reality that arch-materialism conditions us to ignore. For example human trust always requires an exercise of faith. In this sense, arch-materialism is anti-heuristic; it even rejects the faith of scientists that the universe will be intelligible to human reason. The scientist/theologian John Polkinghorne (below) is excellent on this question.

[6] …And so was the poet Matthew Arnold, when he wrote, “The Sea of Faith/Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore/ Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled/ But now I only hear/ Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,/Retreating, to the breath/Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear/And naked shingles of the world.” From Dover Beach (1867). …And so was William butler Yeats: “Turning and turning in the widening gyre/The falcon cannot hear the falconer/ Things fall apart. the centre cannot hold/ Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,/The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere/The ceremony of innocence is drowned;/The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity.” The Second Coming (1919-20)

 

 

THE ARCH CRUMBLES AT DAWN

Friday, January 11th, 2013

THE ARCH CRUMBLES AT DAWN

 

By Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

 

It was no accident that Marxism was erected on the edifice of economic, historical and social materialism.  And it was no accident that Marxism in all its forms has bulldozed the value of individual human dignity, the last bulwark against the dehumanization of humanity.

 

[][][]

 

The arch-materialist position is running on empty. The persuasive force of that view – that life, the universe and everything is all just stuff, in effect that you, me, and all our hopes and thoughts are nothing but matter and energy – has been groaning under the weight of the information age and the cumulative abuses of the materialists whenever they have achieved political power.

 

 

This five page essay (with a bibliography) is posted in full on The Policy Think Site as a free PDF download only.

 

Here is the link – http://jaygaskill.com/TheArchCrumblesAtDawn.pdf

 

JBG

WHO IS OBAMA?

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Our President is a MARXIST?

http://jaygaskill.com/outlawyer/2013/01/02/pravda-agrees-with-gaskills-obama-assessment/

 

Putin in 2009 outlined his strategy for economic success. Alas, poor Obama did the opposite but nevertheless was re-elected. Bye, bye Miss American Pie. The Communists have won in America with Obama but failed miserably in Russia with Zyuganov who only received 17% of the vote. Vladimir Putin was re-elected as President keeping the NWO order out of Russia while America continues to repeat the Soviet mistake.

http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/19-11-2012/122849-obama_soviet_mistake-0/

also see – http://now.msn.com/pravda-calls-obama-a-communist

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