The idea of electing comedians and comedy teams to office is very attractive to the Italian national character. I have praised them for this before. It shows a maturity of understanding rare in the annals of modern democracy. Given the omnipresence today of po-faced progressive parties, the alternative cannot be po-faced “conservatives,” whom the po-faced Leftist media will methodically smear and slander, as for instance in Canada and USA. They accept that verdict, and agree to lose. Rather one needs people with a sense of humour and no political past. I suppose this is the argument for Trump; though I would argue that he takes himself quite seriously, and doesn’t see the joke at all.
For vulgarity is not the same thing as humour. It is a dimension of comedy, but the full commedia dell-arte requires more. It must be spontaneous on several theatrical levels to occasion real surprise, and catch the po-faced off their leaden balance. It requires masks and good costumage. It requires stock gli immorati, ridiculously in love as much with themselves as with their sweethearts; fine silk dresses or alternatively the patched clothing of an impudent Colombina, with her weaponized tambourine. It requires confusions of identity, in the spirit of old Terence, and Plautus. It needs fantesche and servette (maids and serving wenches); Smerildas, Nespolas, Diamantinas.
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Plus, men who make jokes that are genuinely funny, such as some untranslatable remark Beppe Grillo tried the other day about the new Muslim mayor of London, which made all the po-faced heads explode. He has been called, repeatedly, “the most dangerous man in Europe,” for his ability to attract audiences, and make them laugh, despite being banned from Italian state television and so forth. He does not run himself, but is content with his position as backstage producer, out of his conviction that criminals should not aspire to political office. (Almost everyone in the Italian Parliament has a criminal record, many in the first degree.)
Among his most dangerous notions is that citizens should be permitted free speech, and that the power of politicians should be curtailed. This goes considerably beyond the “Brexit” position, that British politicians should be re-empowered at the expense of European ones.
Archive for the ‘Little People’ Category.
Ancient regimes were intellectually and morally self contained. They themselves were their own frame of reference for good and evil, better and worse. Their gods were the gods of the city or of the empire. When they worshiped those gods, they essentially worshiped themselves. There was no difference between politics, religion, and society. Hence, there was no basis for individual freedom. The closest to ancient polities in our time, prior to, say, the last forth years or so, was Japan—the world’s largest tribe.
Christianity, which gave medieval regimes their character, which character endured in the Western world up until recent decades, revolutionized life by recognizing each individual’s direct relationship to God—the creator of the universe, the essence of goodness, and hence the one and only standard of right and wrong. This, including Jesus’s mandate to separate duties to God and to Caesar, made it possible for life in the West to be lived on several independent levels. This is (or was) our charter of freedom. As Luther put it: “Be on you knees before God, that you may stand on your feet before men.”
Modern regimes, by denying the existence of God and his laws have, once again, placed their own human authority beyond any challenge but by power. Collapsing the distinction between freedom and power quite simply destroys the autonomy of individuals and of society—hence of freedom.
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In today’s America, right and wrong, better and worse, have become mere appurtenances of partisanship and power.
A culture of death. Ozymandias
A jury on Friday awarded $5.7 million to a former PTA president framed by an Irvine couple, apparently enraged by a schoolyard comment, who planted drugs in her car.
The Orange County Superior Court jury deliberated for less than hour before finding that Kent Easter and his ex-wife, Jill Easter, acted with malice, oppression or fraud when they planted bags of marijuana, Vicodin and Percocet in Kelli Peters’ car in February 2011.
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Kent Easter, a Stanford-educated attorney who once worked at one of the county’s top law firms, was convicted of felony false imprisonment in 2014 and spent 87 days in jail. Jill Easter pleaded guilty to the same charge and spent about 60 days behind bars.
Kent Easter, who represented himself in the civil trial, declined comment. Jill Easter, who also represented herself, was not present in court for the verdict. Kent Easter’s law license has been suspended, while Jill Easter was disbarred.
* As an attorney who represented “fraudsters,” Kent Easter was “trained at the shell game,” said Marcereau, who’d sought $8.5 million in damages.
* Easter said he doesn’t have the means to pay a large judgment. He is trying to get work as a legal consultant because his law license was suspended, but it’s not much and he has been living with his parents while caring for the couple’s three children, he told City News Service.
* Easter told jurors, “I never should have hurt Kelli Peters,” and he acknowledged that he would have to pay some sort of damages. “I’m not saying she was not upset, but this is not a million-dollar case,” he argued.
* He also argued he has already been punished by having to serve a six-month jail sentence, perform 100 hours of community service and by losing his law license and career. “I’ve already paid dearly,” Easter said. “I’ve lost my law license and career … and the law says you have to take that into account. … I’m not able to pay punitive damages. I’m a 41-year-old still living with my parents now. … I’ve lost everything I’ve ever had but my family and I don’t see the point of being punished further, but that’s up to your judgment.”
* The jury’s judgment? You owe Kelli Peters $5.7 million, bucko.
Is it really so difficult to believe that there is widespread wrongdoing, and widespread lying about it, among U.S. law-enforcement agencies, particularly those in big, Democrat-run cities infamous for the corruption of their other municipal institutions? Why do conservatives find it so plausible — obvious, even — that the IRS and the EPA and the Atlanta public schools are corrupt and self-serving, but somehow believe that the Baltimore police department isn’t?
It is possible that what is really at play here is an emotional response to protest culture. Seeing the Black Lives Matters miscreants and Baltimore rioters on one side of the line, conservatives instinctively want to be on the other side of the line. The same thing happened with the Iraq-war protests: When the dirty hippies take to the barricades, conservatives are drawn to the other side. That led to some bad thinking and poor decision-making about Iraq. Are we making the same mistake with regard to police misconduct and allegations of police misconduct?
Let him with eyes see.
Why conservatives and Republicans should be defensive about the fact that Baltimore, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Honolulu are misgoverned to various degrees of criminality is a mystery. Conservatives with real political power in those cities are as scarce as hen’s teeth. Could it really be something so simple as the fact that we do not feel comfortable standing on the same side of a bright red line as the malefactors in Ferguson and such opportunists as DeRay Mckesson, now a Baltimore mayoral candidate, and Al Sharpton? Sharpton is a grotesque and one of the most dishonest men in American public life, but that does not mean that the people running Baltimore and its police department aren’t also crooked. Some police officers are indeed heroes. Some are villains. Most are ordinary, time-serving municipal employees like any other, and telling ourselves otherwise is sentimental rubbish.
These Are Not the Good Guys: The Right is deluding itself about law enforcement. By Kevin Williamson
See Radley Balko’s column for more examples.
“Why do you people love the state so much? It doesn’t love you.”
A right-winger is someone who disagrees with the liberal narrative, has the temerity to say so, and dares to actually try to change the conversation.
Statolatry, making an idol of the state. And it appears to be a thuggish cult. With numerous members among the clerisy. Forward, moral preeners and philosopher kings!
“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”
– Saint Pope John Paul II
“Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
– James Madison, Speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention on Control of the Military, June 16, 1788
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
– C. S. Lewis
The ruling class also refers to abortionists as providers of medical services for “reproductive rights,” and indicts as “extremists” those who illustrate what the abortionists do with photos of what surely look like children, with arms, legs, and heads chopped or burned. Yet each of these little ones’ DNA shows him or her to be a son or a daughter of a particular mother and father. Lincoln argued that no one has the right to exclude any other person from the human race. Why is it right so to dispose of millions of little sons and daughters? By what right does anyone dishonor as “extremists” those who show the victims for the human beings they are?
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But science is reason, not pretense. Only the power of government can translate scientific illiteracy into scientific pretense. What President Dwight Eisenhower warned against in his 1961 farewell address has become our reality: “domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money.” Government money is the means by which ruling-class power has become the scientific pretense by which we are instructed what to eat, how to shower, what medical care is proper and what is not, and what to think about right and wrong.
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Demands from on high to join in mouthing lies call forth a visceral reaction: “Who the [expletive deleted] do they think they are to impose this warp of reality on us?”
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As the great Solzhenitsyn reminds us, the sine qua non of liberty is refusal to live by lies.
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Americans tell pollsters that we distrust our bipartisan ruling class. Accusations of racism, sexism, ignorance, etc. have not convinced us. People who pay attention to public affairs are not ignorant about how these accusations contrast with reality.
Standing Up to the Ruling Class, by Angelo M. Codevilla
“What would you call a society that made adoption incredibly hard and abortion incredibly easy? I’d call it sick at heart.”
– Peter Hitchens
“The whole point of a free society is to reduce the number of things that are political, particularly at the national level. When everything is considered political, the totality of life is politicized. And that’s just a clunky way of describing totalitarianism.”
– Jonah Goldberg
“The real conflict in political theory … is not between individualism and community. It’s between voluntary association and coerced association.”
– David Boaz
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
– Sir John Dalberg (Lord Acton)
“‘Bipartisanship’ sounds like a good idea in theory, but it usually ends up as broad congressional agreement that the American people have too many liberties or too much money.”
– Jonathan Blanks
“It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been motivated by the fear of not looking sufficiently progressive.”
– Charles Péguy
F. A. Hayek worried (presciently, as it turns out) that the two faces of dependency—as public ward or as hireling—would encourage certain undesirable mental and political habits, a kind of deep-set servility born of the delegation of basic responsibilities from the individual and the family to large bureaucracies, public or private. The Company Man and the Obamaphone Lady have more in common than you’d think.
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It was not that long ago that independent proprietorship was an ordinary form of economic organization, and that working for wages was seen as only a step removed from serfdom.
Tags: Kevin Williamson
In Habersham County, Ga., police looking for a drug dealer — at a home in which he did not reside — broke down the doors thinking they’d find drugs and guns, which of course they didn’t. But they did manage to toss a flash grenade into a baby’s playpen, burning part of the child’s face off. The family was left with nearly $1 million in medical bills, and the kid will need surgery every few years until he stops growing. The police insist they did nothing wrong. And as in New Haven, when they found the drug dealer for whom they were searching, the Georgia authorities brought him in without incident, without kicking down any doors or throwing any stun grenades.
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Even in medieval times, the distinction between lords and serfs was not so pronounced.
The Police State, cheered on by the Clerisy
One of the greatest dangers of war – a danger that is simultaneously both a cause of war and a consequence of war – is the stupid anthropomorphism of collectives: “Us” versus “Them.” Individuals are lost sight of; they become invisible. All that is seen are the mentally-constructed wholes (usually, but not always, represented by governments that do indeed claim to be the living embodiments of their peoples).
“They” are “Our” enemy, so any damage, even if it’s “collateral,” to any of “Them” is proper, even good – and sometimes downright glorious. “We” treat “Them” as the Bad; “They” treat “Us” as the Bad. And because “We” must spare no effort to defeat “Them” the Bad, “We” turn on each other if and to the extent that any individuals amongst us dare to not join in “Our” crusade against “Them.”
Henderson on Epstein on War and Libertarians, by Don Boudreaux
Pro-tip: “Socialism really fixes the environment. Just ask the USSR and China.”
— Daniel Greenfield
Chinatown Bus Pioneer Fung Wah Strangled by Federal Bureaucracy
We’re from the government and we’re here to help!